Me, My Brain Waves, And A Galaxy Far, Far Away.
Friday November 15th 2013, 8:07 pm
Filed under: Health (Not Cancer), Me, Myself, and Reid, Sodapopcornculture

This is me. I have a bunch of electrodes super-glued to my head that are connected to wires. You can’t see the wires or the electrodes because I’m wearing a hospital-issue turban so that I can’t scratch at any of the electrodes or pull them off my head. (I prefer the turban to the cone for which I was first fitted.) I’m also wearing a mustache in observance of Movember. Each day I’m in the hospital, the epileptologists are significantly lowering the doses of my anti-seizure medications so as to create “a big event,” which means a hallucination that both I and all the electrodes will experience.
Reid

This is Dengar. He was a bounty hunter that lived in a galaxy far, far away. He was hired by Darth Vader to catch Han Solo and the Millennium Falcon, but failed for reasons I can only assume were related to him experiencing some sort of seizure or hallucination-related problems.
Dengar

This is the device through which I’m being watched every moment of every day that I’m in the hospital. It has a camera on top that swivels around to follow me when I move. It also has a microphone, so as to catch me when I’m singing to myself.
The Machine

The Big Brotherly monitoring device sends all its feedback to a select group of highly trained people that constantly monitor whether or not I’m doing anything embarrassing enough for them to post on YouTube.
The Machine's Control Room

The device, by way of interpreting the information sent from the electrodes attached to my head, reads and shows my brain waves in real time. It also shows me slacking off in real time.
All Of Me On Display

The device’s name is Yoda. I don’t know who named it Yoda, but that’s it’s name. Yoda, like Dengar, also lived in a galaxy far, far away.
Yoda The Machine

I think that pretty much sums up today, except for the injections in my belly and the mechanical umbilical cord the device stuck in the back of my head so that I can enter The Matrix™. Thanks for all your ongoing support!

–Reid.



Just A Man In A Toy Aisle Trying To Discern The Plot Of “The Dark Knight Rises”
Thursday July 19th 2012, 11:59 pm
Filed under: Sodapopcornculture

7/20/12 Update: although this blog entry has nothing to do with what happened in Aurora last night, I’ve renamed it and removed the links to it off of Facebook. It was simply posted at a bad time and, to folks who didn’t know better, it would understandably seem in very poor taste.

The original title was: “The Dark Knight” Is Nothing Like You’ve Imagined!

That’s right, I know what you’ve imagined, and I know that The Dark Knight Rises is totally and completely different from that. Or maybe it’s more that I know what you definitely have not imagined, and that’s exactly what The Dark Knight Rises is. Yeah, that’s what it is: whichever one of those you find less creepy.

The other day, I was intensely perusing the toys in the toy aisle at Target… uhm, because I got… lost. Yeah… that’s totally why I was so gleefully pulling entire sets of newly released Batman action figures based on The Dark Knight Rises off the shelves and balancing them recklessly on top of armfuls of other officially licensed Batman-themed crap merchandise (in retrospect, I should’ve grabbed a cart, but I was too caught up in the moment), imagining all the fun I’d have playing with all those bat-tastic toys, despite their extremely limited five points of articulation, down in my bedroom in the basement of my parents’ house (my very own Batcave!), recreating 1993’s classic Batman #498 with all of my carefully rehearsed voices for Batman, Bane, Michael Caine, and especially Catwoman… was… because I got lost.

Anywho… several Internet people have suggested that the director and co-writer of The Dark Knight Rises, Christopher Nolan, created a campaign of intentionally misleading promotional materials (commercials, posters, toothpastes, etc.) for the film, solely to hoodwink the moviegoing masses about the the film’s actual plot. Some crazy geeks theorize that to truly enjoy the film, which is both radically different from what we expect and also an awesome new take on the Batman, we must experience it freshly in theaters with no preconceived notions about its true nature. So naturally, I looked over a few of the toys to see if their packaging hinted at any big surprises in the film.

Michael Caine: The Action Figure

Imagine The Limitless Possibilities For Adventure When Playing With A Butler Action Figure!

Predictably, most of the action figures were packaged generically enough that they did not give away anything surprising or even vaguely interesting about the keenly-guarded plot of the film.

That is, until I laid my eyes on this baby:

Swing Yer Bat-Pardner Round n' Round!

Yeeee-haw! A Gen-u-ine Gotham Hoedown!

No, your eyes are not deceiving you! These action figures are indeed square dancing! They’re straight out of one of the most critical parts of the film, in which Bane challenges Batman to a good ol’ fashioned Gotham hoedown! Holy spoilers, Batman! This package of cheaply molded, crappily painted plastic “action” figures that bear little resemblance to their big screen counterparts is absolute, indisputable proof that The Dark Knight Rises will be a mindblowingly original take on Batman. I can’t wait to see all that do-see-do-ing and swingin’ of partners round and round!

Well done, Christopher Nolan. Well done.

–Reid.



Whaddaya Know, I Fixed My Blog! Also: I’m Championing Women’s Health!
Sunday February 05th 2012, 11:53 am
Filed under: Attack Of The Internet!, Leukemia, Liberty!, Sodapopcornculture, Technobabble

I did it! Reid Levin Dot Net is officially fixed and back online in working order! Woohoo!

What do you mean you didn’t even notice it was gone or busted up? Listen here, you, just because I’ve restored the ability to comment doesn’t mean you can talk back to me! Oh… wait.

Unfortunately, the couple of posts I made in January that weren’t about my blog breaking reverted back to early draft versions of themselves. I may try to re-write and finish parts of those, or post them as they are, or ignore them forever and go about my business. Even more than losing those, I’m been very troubled by having to deal with some things over the past few weeks and not having had a place to write about them privately for everyone in the world with a web browser to read about.

Not only that, but I had a really amazing line for The Susan G. Komen for the Cure Foundation when they pulled their funding for breast cancer screening from Planned Parenthood earlier this week. I kept not posting it, though, because I was so damn certain that I was going to get my blog back online that night. But as every night passed, and I didn’t get the site back up, my amazing line became closer and closer to useless. Finally, Komen relented to social networking pressure before I got my blog up and running again, and before I released my amazing line upon the world.

And now? It’s totally worthless in this context! I mean, don’t get me wrong, I’m really happy they relented and all those lower income women will get their breast cancer screenings. I’ve just always kinda had this small childhood dream of being acknowledged as totally super awesome, is all. It’s always been a tiny goal of mine. One day, maybe. I’m sure there’s a lesson in all that.

I think it’s probably to use one liners on Twitter and Facebook when the time’s right–regardless of whether or not they will appear on my blog or not (heh, heh… Bloggernaut). Like my great Ron Paul line that, even though it was so great, I won’t repeat it here because it’s outdated now. It’s still great–I mean, really, really great–but, it’s a week or two out of the 24/7 news cycle and I don’t want to be tacky and repost a slightly outdated bit here just because it’s so great. I already posted it on Twitter and Facebook when it was fresh and new and that made its greatness really shine. I was smart back then. All the way back on January 22. Man, such a great line.

Hmmm… maybe this new amazing line would make a good bumper sticker, just a general line, not really directed at a specific organization, but more at those who would tamper with women’s health issues in general. Like conservatives, and ehm… bad doctors:

DON’T BE A PUSSY, SUPPORT WOMEN’S HEALTH

Yeah, that’s a bumper sticker right there.

–Reid.



Addiction and Withdrawal (and some other things that’d take away from that dramatic title) (whoops)
Tuesday August 30th 2011, 9:18 pm
Filed under: Friends, Health (Not Cancer), Me, Myself, and Reid, NYC, Sodapopcornculture

FROM THE WRITER, WRITTEN AFTER EVERYTHING ELSE, JUST BECAUSE: I’m sick right now. I have been for what feels like a very long time. Most of August, at least. This is a long entry, because there’s a lot to cover. There’s a lot to say about what’s going on right now. I’m going to try to write shorter entries as soon as possible, in the hopes that I get my groove back. Right now, though, I’m moving even slower than normal due to the aforementioned being sickness. Now, onto things I wrote before now.

* * *

I’m giving up the day rating system because, frankly, I don’t like rating things with numbers. For me, when rating things, the values of numbers feel arbitrary while the values of words feel exact. And to all those equation-huggers out there vilifying me as an anti-numeralist and saying I have some sort of anti-numbers agenda, let me be perfectly clear: this has nothing to do with my anti-math campaign. Just like our traditional Roman alphabet, numbers should be used to rate things on blogs–just not my blog. Look, I love using numbers for all kinds of stuff, like… ranking things! Yeah!

Now let’s see where we left off…

Ah yes, rebound headaches and New York City.

I made it to NYC for the first time in nearly a year!, albeit while having continuous rebound headaches. I spent most of my time in a hotel room, with the lights off and the air conditioner turned way up (up, of course, being the direction one turns an air conditioner so that it will make the temperature go down), just trying hard to sleep. Which was all well and good but, believe it or not, wasn’t the highlight of my trip.

I was able to attend Wes’s bachelor party and join some good friends in celebration. Wes and I grew up together in Colorado, and he moved out to NYC after college. At some point early on in Wes’s life in NYC, Paul Syracuse and I inadvertently matched him up with Paul’s friend Emily, another transplant to NYC. Wes and Emily will be getting married soon in Emily’s homestate of Iowa. Due to the intermixing of these various social networks, I got to celebrate with some friends I grew up with in Colorado and some friends I’d made in NYC. It was really great having guys from these different groups of friends, many of whom are normally so scattered to the four corners of the world, in the same place at the same time. It was nice catching up with people I don’t get to see all that often, and it was fun hanging out with everyone. I was glad I toughed it out for the party. Not the whole party, but for a good chunk of it. Not a big chunk, but definitely a good chunk. Yep, a chunk of the party that lasted exactly as long as I was able to tough it out with migraine-strength headaches. I made it through dinner. But still! It was great.

I did only a few other things whilst in NYC, when my head would allow. Matt Gallo and I saw Will, BTTM’s stage director, performing his sketch comedy play phenomenon, Dystopia Gardens, which was just reviewed by the New York Times. I saw Spider-man with Jason, Reiman, and a surprisingly at capacity-looking audience. And I got some ice cream. By the time I was leaving, my rebound headaches were much less frequent. This in no way stopped them from getting in the way of things I wanted to be doing, but it was certainly a nice feeling knowing they were on their way out.

How would I rate the trip? On the one hand, 1) there were tons of people I didn’t get to see that I would’ve liked to have seen; 2) my hotel was hosting a creepy child beauty pageant (is there any other kind besides creepy?), for which “parents” bred intricate ballroom gowns with little girls inside them, who had been trained to sit, fetch, and bark “America The Beautiful;” and, 3) I was plagued by rebound headaches. On the other hand, Spider-man didn’t fall on me. I therefore consider the trip a success.

After I returned home and took a few days to recover from traveling, I finally began the wean off the one medication, more than any other, that I’d been waiting years to stop taking: methadone. Methadone is popularly known as an anti-addictive drug to help people get off extremely addictive and deadly opiates like heroin. It’s also a very powerful pain-reliever. When I was in the hospital for all those many, many months in 2008, I was put on a tremendous number of pain medications to help with my tremendous amount of pain. Among them, (you guessed it… probably) methadone, which I’ve never completely stopped taking.

That isn’t to say I haven’t tried before. From late July ’08 through January ’09, we successfully weaned me down from 80mg of methadone a day to 10mg a day with no trouble. We proceded to the next step of the wean but had to stop when, for the first time in my life, I experienced withdrawal. My docs talked about various other plans to get me completely off the stuff, but it was decided that chemo was hard enough on me as it was and that I was still experiencing chronic pain, so I couldn’t go off it until I was done with chemo. Over the intervening days and weeks and months, as I learned more about methadone and all of its bad side effects, the more I wanted off of it. Eventually, chemo ended and eventually the doctors in charge of my pain medications came up with a new plan to get me off methadone–this time, without withdrawal. My first day on this new plan, when I took the smallest dose of methadone I’ve taken since January ’09, I was almost as happy as the day I finished chemo.

A few days passed, and the wean was going great. I was having fewer and fewer rebound headaches, but as I said, they were still causing trouble. Like many of my health issues of the past four years, the rebound headaches didn’t have the best timing. They’d pounce on me when there was something I wanted to do, and they were nowhere to be found when there was something I didn’t want to do. At last, they seemed to depart for good, just in time for another pre-wedding celebration: an engagement party for my buddy Loren and his fiance, Laura. They’re great. They’re perfect for each other, and I’m very happy for them. Very happy. That being said, I didn’t know people still had engagement parties, a curiosity which I made a point of asking the happy couple about. They explained that since they are getting married in a year or something, that they were holding… or doing… a sort of a… uhm… I don’t know. I think the whole thing was a brilliant racket to get double the gifts of a normal wedding. Brilliant. Good for you guys! It was a great party, too!

Several days passed. And it started.

Methadone withdrawal. Again. But different this time. Worse. Awful headaches, stomachaches, body pain, sweats, hallucinations, and all sorts of other symptoms. And due to my experience with rebound headaches, I can now only take short acting pain medications eight days a month. There was a about a week before it was clear that I was suffering from withdrawal. And it’s been another week since then. I have no feeling for when it will stop. It’s hard to decide if this day is one of the days I should take a pain reliever, or if I should hold off in case there are worse days ahead when I’ll need it even more. I really don’t want to be in any worse condition than this without some kind of relief.

And, yes, eight days a month. Because I had rebound headaches, that’s my limit on any short acting pain medication, which includes everything from Advil and Tylenol to Percoset and Oxycodone. If I don’t adhere to this for what could be years, I risk triggering the headaches again. And to think, If either of the doctors that put me on 2,400mg of ibuprofen had first asked me if I get many headaches, that would have sent up a red flag. It’s very likely that I wouldn’t have had the rebound headaches and that I wouldn’t have had these restrictions put in place. Rebound headaches are also called medication overuse headaches, and it’s easy to see why when you swallow 2.4 grams of Advil a day continuously for almost two months.

When I’m finally able to tolerate this dose of methadone without signs of withdrawal, I’ll take a breather, and then weaning will continue. I’ll step down to an even lower dose. Withdrawal hurts. It hurts my body and it hurts my mind. Today, I’ve had trouble putting sentences together. Thoughts in my head are all over, but hard to find when I go looking for them. I am, however, finding it particularly easy to hold a conversation with my fan. I’m scared, because I know what going down a dose has done to me this time, and I fear what it will be like next time.

My rebound headaches and my methadone withdrawal share some similarities. The origins of both the headaches and the withdrawal can be traced back to well-intentioned doctors putting me on pain medications for long periods of time (ibuprofen and methadone, respectively). In both cases, I took the medications exactly as directed–to. the. letter. And from each, I wound up with a disease no one can simply go out and catch. Addiction. Addiction, addiction, addiction. I had a healthy respect for addiction’s power before, and a good level of disdain towards it. Now, after spending the better part of a month learning about withdrawal first hand, and knowing I’ll probably be spending at least one more doing the same, my feelings about addiction have all turned to fear.

But don’t let there be any mistake, methadone: I want to kick you for good, more than I want to stop right now and feel better. And believe me, I want to take that little extra dose that I know would make me feel better. I really want to take it. But I won’t. I never asked for you, but you forced me into addiction anyway, and you’ve caused me so much anguish. You may be a big, ferocious beast, methadone, but I’ve fought much bigger and much badder beasts than you. And I’ve slain each and every one of them. No matter what it takes, no matter how long it takes, I’m going to win this. And you will lose.

–Reid.



Friends In Alignment
Monday August 01st 2011, 2:00 am
Filed under: Denver, Friends, Me, Myself, and Reid, RestauRants, Sodapopcornculture

Saturday was a 6. Yeah, that’s right. 6/5.

I don’t know about this number day ranking system. I feel like people reading my blog like it better than I do. Don’t worry, I’ll think of something to mend the rift between me and numbers. Oh, and the 6 is not due to me thinking the number system is inadequate–if the numbers went up to 10, this day would be an 11.

Two of my oldest best friends in the entire world (“world” is used here as it’s used in the “World Series,” in that it’s not really the entire world, just the parts I care about), Jason and Reiman, who now live in some other states someplace else somewhere, were both in town on the same day. Neither had any foreknowledge that the other was coming into town, nor that both were staying for a week, one right after the other. By chance, they had one overlapping free day–this was the day I’d been waiting for to celebrate my 28th birthday (again) in a big way.

The coincidence that they were both here on the same day was a lot like an alignment of planets. Planets, which cannot think or change the speed at which they orbit the Sun, cannot speak to one another before aligning, nor can they align for very long. Perhaps this makes such an alignment even more special; a rare moment that is something to be appreciated and remembered. Or, alternately, maybe my buddies just need to coordinate with each other better when they’re coming home. I don’t know, it could really be either of those.

Anyway, it was a great day/night/early morning. Honestly, I can best describe what we did as “palling around.” Where we were and what we didn’t wasn’t nearly as important as who we were with.

Oh, and I’m not just saying that to cover up some sort of illicit activities in which we may or may not have been involved. Because we definitely did not rob any banks. So just let it go, okay? Just let it go already. Jeez.

Eventually, we met up with another of our close friends, Matt Sullivan of the Matt & Coreycondo Sullivans. The Sullivans live to the southwest, far beyond the Great Temple of Ikea (I think it’s Aztec). Together, the four of us saw a double feature of two movies we found very entertaining.

First, we saw “Captain America,” which exceeded my expectations. Not only was I entertained and impressed, but I’d say “Cap” could be in contention for the title of best Marvel Comics movie ever (hey Chris Evans, congrats on getting another chance at being in a good Marvel movie!) except that the end of the movie felt like a lead-in to another movie rather than the end of this movie. While someone might argue that this is okay because it is the lead-in for another movie, someone would be wrong. I give “Cap” 45/50 stars. I give the musical number 13/13 stripes.

Second, we saw “Cowboys & Aliens,” which all four of us enjoyed thoroughly. It delivered on its name, it was fun, and it was a great fit as the B movie of our double feature. I give “Cowboys & Aliens” 3/4 Indys for entertainment value, 22/22 Bonds for being the best movie about cowboys and aliens that will probably ever be made, and ∞/∞ motherfuckin’ snakes on this motherfuckin’ plane for being a movie that, before I die, I need to meet the person that greenlit it.

After the movies, Matt went home for no good reason other than it was midnight; he was tired; he had stuff to do in the morning; the theater was right by his house, and we were going far away in the other direction; and he wanted to take care of his wife Coreycondo, who wasn’t feeling good that night. Pfft, what a spoilsport.

Mattless, we proceeded to iHop. Oh, also Matt didn’t want to go to iHop because he eats people food. It was neat being back in our old high school late night truckstop hang out. We extended our day until 1:30 AM, at which point Reiman’s drooping eyelids frightened me since he had been our getaway driver for our series of bank heists the whole day.

The 6/5 isn’t about any one thing we did. It’s about the feeling I get when I’m around my best friends: total and complete happiness.

* * *

Sunday was a 4. A pleasant, no to-do list, rest and recovery day.

Notable events:

-Although it sounded fun, I turned down an invitation from the Brothers Reiman to attend the Colorado Renaissance Festival. I had done a lot on Saturday, and even though I felt okay, I decided it would be better not to spend the entire day and evening walking around in 97° heat.

-I took a long nap.

-We watched a lot of TV. A few “Daily Shows,” a “White Collar,” and a “Warehouse 13.”

-I worked on this blog entry for a few hours. Writing these entries at the end of the day, which I see as necessary if I’m going to write about the whole day, keeps me up way too late. Eh, well… I don’t know if that’s true. I’d probably still be up now anyway. But these things do take me a very long time to write. Maybe I should write less? Start writing earlier? Write faster? No, I don’t think I can make myself write faster; I type fast and think… slower. I need to figure this out.

-But not tonight.

–Reid.



Turning 28 on the 28th: My First Chemoless Birthday In Four Years

Thursday was a 5. My golden birthday: my 28th birthday on July 28th. The first birthday I’ve celebrated while not on chemotherapy in four years. It was a long day, but it was a really good one.

I continued my strength training with my trainer at the gym. Although I’ve only been working out at the gym for two weeks, I’m already starting to feel the benefits. I walk out of there feeling really good, mentally and physically. I’ve got a lot of muscle to rebuild, and then it’ll be on to Beyond Rebuilding: Building Beyond Rebuilding! I also verified last week’s hunch as to why I was limping around the day after working out: working out at the gym is way harder than working out at home. Ow. I feel good. Ow. Really good. Argh.

I met my mom and my sister Rachel for lunch. Rachel flew in from DC just for my birthday! What a special thing to do; it meant a lot to me. She and Rebecca then left Friday morning for Las Vegas to celebrate Rachel’s 25th birthday with 13 friends. Rebecca set the whole thing up for Rachel. 3Rs: we’re very lucky to have each other. Also, we need official 3R power rings.

J and I went to Mile High Comics (my dad referred to this as “our own little Comic-Con”), which neither of us had been to in a whole bunch of years… many, many years. We both agreed, being the wise geeky continental travelers we are, that the old favorite store just doesn’t stack up against our favorite comic book stores in New York and Atlanta, respectively. Honestly, I don’t even really read comics anymore, except for Fables. And even then, I don’t read the individual issues, I buy the graphic novels that reprint 10 issue story arcs. Even then, I… no wait, that’s it. But I still felt like the old place was somehow less than I remember it being.

There was something really cool, though. This month, Marvel Comics made variant covers of Spider-man for comic book stores all over the country. Each cover has Spidey holding a copy of the Daily Bugle with the headline: Spider-man Saves [Comic Book Store Name] and that store’s logo. So now, thanks to J, I have an issue of Spider-man in which Spider-man apparently saves Mile High Comics! Which doesn’t actually happen inside the comic. But the cover is cool, because Mile High is the big Colorado comic chain, and we have hometown pride. Also, I forgot how dumb the Mile High Comics logo was. Captain Woodchuck? Why? Oh well, whatever. It’s still cool!

We had dinner at Piccolo’s, a local Italian & Mexican food restaurant. It’s delicious, and I’ve been eating it all my life. Mom, Dad, Rachel and I met Rebecca there. She brought me balloons, to officially certify that it was a real birthday celebration. Grandma, Gigi, Papa, Uncle Neal, Aunt Stacie, and my cousin Jeff were all there too, to help celebrate. Lots of pizza and spaghetti were consumed. We all talked and laughed and our goblets ranneth over with root beer and Shirley Temples and some sort of alcohol. As expected, Gigi yelled about the debt ceiling. An adorable proto-child stared at my balloons so longingly, and grabbed for them from twenty feet away with such might, that I had to go give him one. He immediately began ungratefully, yet so adorably, grabbing for the other balloons–he knew I was powerless against his adorableness. My sisters gave me some books I’ve been wanting. They (the books, not the sisters) have an added benefit beyond being full of information. Because they are so massive and so solid, after I’ve read them, I can use them as the cornerstones of a large building, or perhaps as anchors for an aircraft carrier. A good time was had by all.

I barely made it home without falling asleep. My parents insisted that before I would be allowed to go to sleep, I had to open my gifts from them. Tyrants! It turned out not to be so bad; I got more books I’ve been wanted and a cool electric shaver. For shaving! Some time ago, I tired of shaving my face with razor blades. To avoid this, I tried several things: I grew a beard, I brought scruffy back, and recently, I’ve been shaving my face with my electric beard trimmer. This new shaver is perfect, in that it will let me shave quickly, easily, and without the pain of being used on my skin when intended for trimming beards. Also, my parents helped pay for part of the cost of the graphic tablet I recently won in victorious battle against various local electronics stores.

I finally went to bed, expecting to collapse into a long, restorative sleep.

* * *

Friday was a 2.5. There’s not much to tell. Also, I might need more numbers to rate these days.

It turns out I forgot to take my pills before bed last night, and then I had a really terrible night. I don’t know if that was entirely due to not taking my pills, although I’m sure it played a role. I also overdid it yesterday. I felt cruddy and tired all day and couldn’t seem to fall asleep during the day, despite trying several times. I got a few things done here and there. I’ve been feeling noticeably better for awhile, so a day like this, while not a bad day, was certainly a frustrating one.

* * *

Saturday, there will be more partying. Of a different sort. I don’t quite know what sort yet, but it’ll be excellent. Hooray for several day long birthday celebrations! Did I mention that Matt and Coreycondo Sullivan put a candle on a cookie for me and got everyone to sing me happy birthday at poker the night before my birthday? Well, they did, and it was great. ¡Viva las celebraciones!

–Reid.



To-Do List #1: Remember What To Put On To-Do List
Sunday July 24th 2011, 11:59 pm
Filed under: Family, Me, Myself, and Reid, RestauRants, Sodapopcornculture, Technobabble

Argh! Something came into my head, I said to myself, “oh yeah,” I was just about to add it to my to-do list, but instead of simply typing in whatever it was, I first read over the list of things already on the list. And then I accidentally clicked “You have 5 friends with birthdays this week,” which brought up my email and Facebook’s notice that 5 of my friends-on-the-Internet have birthdays this week. And I forgot what I was going to add to my to-do list. It might not have been that important (I don’t know, maybe it was), but it’s hovering around the outside of my head, like a balloon with a static charge. And just like a balloon floating around and sending little tiny sparks shooting into my skull, this missing task is floating on the boundary between my awareness and my critical irritation threshold.

I’ll just try to move on for now. Sigh. I’ll try…

I’ve had over a full, good week with no down or bad days. That’s awesome! I can’t tell you when the last time I could say that was. Well, I mean, I could tell you. I could’ve said it anytime, really. It wouldn’t have necessarily been true, and in fact, it probably wouldn’t have been true, but I could’ve said it. Even during chemo! But, as I am out to tell the truth, I suppose what I meant was that I can’t remember the last time I actually had so many good days in a row.

Today was a 4. I felt good and happy despite the weekend being a wash for my to-do list. Speaking of my to-do list, I think maybe the thing I was going to add to my to-do list had to do with my to-do list. Though… that doesn’t make a whole lot of sense… hmn, anyway…

-I was able to drive again today! My chemo-era-medication-induced blindness-at-ten-paces did not make an appearance today. There’s an editor’s ransom in dashes back in that previous sentence. I love driving. It gives me a feeling of independence after being sick and unable to go very many places for several years. I also just enjoy going places, and being the one to take myself to them.

-I had lunch with Rebecca and Grandma at Zaidy’s Deli. It was good to spend some time with Grandma, just we grandkids. We caught her up on our various goings-on. And Rebecca turned into a pickle. They only had sour dills, though, so Grandma and I, who like half sours, were okay.

-Rebecca and I went over to Grandma’s new apartment because Becca had not yet seen it and I like the jelly beans there. It’s a beautiful, huge apartment and it’s just fantastic for Grandma. We looked through some old photographs and discussed what to hang on the walls. It was very nice to spend an afternoon with Grandma. Oh, and the jelly beans are a brilliant marketing strategy to encourage repeat visits.

-I took a nap at the expense of my to-do list. I don’t think I got a single thing on it done this weekend, which I suppose is okay. Especially since I haven’t just been lollygagging around, and there’s always tomoDAMNIT! What was that thing I was going to put on the list?! It’s driving me crazy! Wait! Waitaminute. CRAZY! That’s it! Let’s see… crazy… nuts… peanut butter… no, never mind, it was nothing.

-The Folks and I went to a new Mexican restaurant with Aunt Stacie’s family. Together, we are a group that likes our Mexican food, but often with quite different discriminating tastes. Between us, we’ve tried every Mexican restaurant this side of the Rio Grande. Well, I dunno, that might be a little bit of an exaggeration, but we’re pretty darn close to having tried every Mexican restaurant this side of the Rio Grande. Okay, no, not really, but we have tried lots. Maybe a dozen. Maybe even a baker’s dozen. Lots.

The service at this place wasn’t the best. My mom ordered something unsmothered, which arrived at the table smothered in pork green chili. My mom doesn’t eat pork, so she asked the waiter if there was pork in the chili in which her food had been smothered. He said no. But then she found a chunk of meat that definitely could only be pork, and she showed it to the waiter. At first, he stood by his original position, that there was no pork. Then, that tactic having failed, he insisted that what she had found was cheese. Finally, he identified it as “only a little pork.” She got a new plate with her original smother-free order.

This wasn’t representative of the service as a whole. Or of the food, which I thought was very okay. Or of the place’s name, which I can’t remember. So, in closing, I guess I’ll ask someone the name tomorrow and give this place a rating or probably just forget.

-We went to the grocery store to trade all our coinage to a Coinstar machine. Apparently, my mom noticed recently that one of the options on Coinstar machines is to get gift certificates for things like iTunes and Amazon.com for the value of all your coins (with no fee). This could be something that’s been going on for years, but we just noticed it. When I lived in Brooklyn (2003), I hiked to the only Coinstar machine that showed up on Coinstar’s map of Coinstar machines on the East Coast. I swear I left Brooklyn, and back in those days, you could only get money. And there was a huge fee. I remember getting back $17.85. I trekked outside New York State altogether I tells ya…

Anywho, I have no idea how this all came up tonight, but before dinner, my dad told me to grab any spare change I had lying around. In fact, I had a ceramic blue piggy bank with my name on it and a silver Snoopy bank absolutely filled to the brim. Both banks were probably given to me when I was born, although the coins inside were added by me over the past 10-12 years. In the end, I wound up with a $58.19 Amazon.com Gift Card and a 2 eurocent, which had apparently been amongst my change.

-We took a walk tonight, but this time a little earlier so we were not walking around in total darkness. Another beautiful night.

-We ended the night with the season premiere of TNT’s The Closer on demand. In the future, will there be any reason for non-news networks to broadcast pre-recorded programming? Its seems like they could simply release their shows (with commercials) on a schedule through a video on demand system, rather than having people “tune in.”

OH! HOLY CRAP! I KNOW WHAT I WANTED TO ADD TO THE TO-DO LI

…nope, lost it again. Damnit.

–Reid.



The Tablet Quest Comes To An End! ALSO: Succulent Burgers, The Cable Box, and Indy Meets the X-Files
Saturday July 23rd 2011, 11:27 pm
Filed under: Family, Me, Myself, and Reid, RestauRants, Sodapopcornculture, Technobabble

Today was a 4. I felt good and despite not getting most of what I wanted to get done done, it was an all around good day.

-I slept in very late.

-Went to lunch with the Folks. Dad was in the mood for burgers, and listed off a bunch of burger joints from which we could procure burgers. This put me in the mood for burgers. Dad ushered us into the car and drove towards The Counter at Park Meadows Mall. Oh man, I love their burgers. You can put anything from a list four pages long on your burgers, on myriad kinds of bread or notbread, you can even choose from a variety of meats and non-meats. These burgers are so succulent, we only have them once in a very long while, for risk of over-succulating. Mmmm… The Counter.

-It turns out The Counter went out of business several months ago. That’s a shame.

-We wandered around the outside part of Park Meadows and found a fish place called the Fish City Grill. It’s in a place that I can’t imagine gets much foot traffic. In fact, I would say, of all the places in the entire mall, including the outdoor part, it’s probably in the worst spot for foot traffic. Nonetheless, they’ve been open for three years (and we did stumble upon them, despite their odd location). Pushing our cravings for succulent burgers aside, we all had various fishy lunches. I had fish and chips, which was really good. The chips, or fries as we call them in America, were waffle cut fries and they were delicious. They were very fresh (some even had a bit of potato skin still on them) and not only complimented my fish well, but also the meals of some vultures. It was a great restaurant, to which I will probably return. Out of a possible 19 cod with capes, I give Fish City Grill a solid 15 caped cods.

-We went to Best Buy and picked up my Wacom Intuos4 Medium Graphics Tablet. The same Best Buy we’d gone to yesterday, where we’d been told they had no Wacom Intuos4 Medium Graphics Tablets in stock, despite their website clearly stating they had several Wacom Intuos4 Medium Graphics Tablets in stock. My mom, whose brand of never-give-up spirit is the stuff of legend, was able to reserve a Wacom Intuos4 Medium Graphics Tablet online this morning somehow, and was told we could pick it up today. Honestly, I’m overjoyed to finally have my Wacom Intuos4 Medium Graphics Tablet, but, seriously, what a stupid quest to obtain the thing!

-We went over to Grandma’s new apartment and helped her with some things, like putting stuff away, taking things down to her storage lockers, and breaking her cable. That last one was a bit of unintentional bonus help that we did not even realize we had rendered for awhile. At some point, we realized that the TV connected to the cable box we’d been moving around had been displaying a message to the effect of “Your cable will return momentarily” for several hours. This message, clearly a lie, left us with only two options: 1) call the cable company, or 2) bash the TV screen in with a rock. Despite some dissent, we ended up going with the smarter of the two options. The hardest part turned out to be finding a big enough rock.

-We had dinner with Aunt Cindy’s family at a place of their choosing: The Tavern. Hah! They did not know that we try to play trivia there almost every week. I don’t know that I’ve ever been there when not playing trivia before, but luckily, their food is very good, so that worked out well. Also, the hostess, who is not a hostess I recognized from trivia nights, just happened to seat us at our regular trivia table. WoooOOoOoOooO… cosmic trivia alignment… It was neat to hear my cousin Gabe recount some of his favorite adventures in Israel. He’s been there all summer and just returned (and got his driver’s license, to boot). He went on the Israel Study Tour, the same trip that I went on before my senior year of high school, and the same one Aunt Cindy went on before her senior year of high school. It’s really an amazing program for Jewish youth in Denver and Boulder. And of course it was good to see the others as well! Good times.

-We took a very nice walk with Ferris. The sun below the horizon, it was getting dark and cooling off from the 98° heat of the day. There was a cool breeze, which was almost as refreshing as the sprinklers that hit us. It was really nice to be outside.

-We returned home and watched one episode of a TV show. I’ve said it before: I didn’t watch more than two TV shows before I moved back in with my parents. For a few years, that annoyed me. Now I can either see the value of these great shows to which they introduced me or, alternately, I’ve grown addicted the squawk box. We took a break from the USA Network tonight and worked our way over to Syfy to watch the second episode of Warehouse 13’s new season. I love that show. It’s got very good characters and very cool toys; together they make the show. It’s a solid mix of Indiana Jones, the X-Files, and a little bit of Ghostbusters.

You know, like Indiana Jones 4: George Lucas Used To Be A Great Storyteller.

–Reid.



Grandparents, Dragons and Knights and Wizards or Something, also… THWARTED!
Friday July 22nd 2011, 11:58 pm
Filed under: Family, Me, Myself, and Reid, RestauRants, Sodapopcornculture, Technobabble

Today was a 4. I felt good, got some stuff done and was thwarted at getting some other stuff done.

The day in brief:

-Mom and I had lunch with Gigi and Papa. Normally lunch with them is a nice, short, efficient affair (they, like all of my mom’s side of the family, are escape artists), but today we took our time and spent two hours eating and talking. It was wonderful to sit and talk with them for that long. Gigi recently obtained some pictures and documents of her father’s family, which she showed us. She told us about each picture–I love family history. We dined at a new restaurant nearby called Purple Ginger Asian Fusion. It wasn’t bad, but it was quite underwhelming. I give it 4 pieces of a bland 8 piece sushi roll.

-We went to Borders because it’s going out of business and I had two gift cards there. I bought the Tao of Pooh and the Te of Piglet (which I might already own in NYC, but oh well, I want to read them again), and I still have some gift money left. Which is fine, because it turns out Borders.com still works. I’d like read some high fantasy books, but I don’t really know where to start. I like Arthurian legend, Harry Potter, Fables (the fantasy comic, not the genre… although I do like the genre, too), and I really liked The Chronicles of Prydain when I was young. I’ve tried to read The Lord of the Rings, but I’ve never been able to get into it (although I enjoyed the movies). I don’t think I’ve read much other high fantasy than that, which surprises me. I’d appreciate any suggestions!

-We went to Best Buy to best buy my graphics tablet for $120 cheaper than I bought it for at Micro Center. However, despite their website stating that they had them in stock at that location, they did not have them in stock at that location. THWARTED!

-We went home. I best bought the tablet online for in-store pickup at a different Best Buy that had several in stock. However, less than five minutes later I received an email stating, “Haha just kidding that Best Buy locations doesn’t have the tablet you want either! Fooled you! Haha!” THWARTED AGAIN!

-By this time I was very tired and hot, so I decided I would put off thwarting those thwarters and their thwartenings that had thwarted me. Revenge can always wait. Nap time is hard to put off.

-Due to the time spent at Borders and dealing with Best Buy (which all took much longer than expected or reasonable), I didn’t get some other things done today I wanted to get done today. It’s all small on-the-computer stuff, so I think I’ll be able to get it done tomorrow.

-My folks and I watched three episodes of Burn Notice. So much USA Network. It sustains us through the summer. Or part of it at least. And a brief period during the winter. We can quit any time we want to.

–Reid.



Training, Taking It To The Micro Man, Rolls With Rebecca

Today was a 5. I felt really good, got stuff done, and enjoyed the things I wanted to do.

-I started strength training again with my trainer Diana. We haven’t worked together for a long time because I haven’t been up to it for a long time. She used to come to the house and bring barbells and weights, but since I’m no longer burdened by chemo, I was able to go to her gym. I’m confident this will help me on my road to recovery. I’m very excited to be training again! I even remember some of the tricks she taught me, like sitting, shaking, and rolling over. Unfortunately, even after all this time, we’re still confronting my barking problem.

-I ran some errands (I drove! I could see today!), including marching into Micro Center and returning the overpriced graphics tablet I’d purchased there. When the woman asked what was wrong with it, I told her they were selling it for $120 more than another business in the area. She asked if I wanted her to see if she could price match it. I told her I had no problem with her, but that I didn’t want to give the store the satisfaction. By “the satisfaction,” I meant “any money whatsoever,” and whether she knew that or not, she let me return the tablet and wished me a nice day. Hah hah! Take that, you corporate barons, what with your high prices, lying sales associates, and very friendly and helpful customer service representatives!

-Rebecca and I started what we hope to make a new tradition of getting dinner one night a week. Since she moved out of the house, we figure this is a good way to make sure we stay in the habit of spending sibling time together and keeping one another up-to-date on our various goings-on. Tonight we ate at Sushi Sa Sa (try saying that a million times fast) in the Highlands neighborhood near downtown. The Highlands is hip and cool, so naturally, we fit right in. We ordered some original Sa Sa sushi rolls and some traditional sushi rolls; it was all delicious and surprisingly filling. I have to agree with Rebecca’s assessment that it was some of the freshest fish we’ve ever had in sushi. Highly recommended!

-As a bonus to our sibling night, we ran into popular radio personalities Slacker and Steve, who, much their credit (and my surprise), recognized me from that time I was on their radio show to support The Children’s Hospital (I thought there were pictures in that post… there are pictures somewhere). This was not only impressive because they surely meet thousands of people every week, but because I was totally and completely bald when we first met. And now I have hair. Very cool.

-I drove home, and no day would be complete without watching at least one episode of some television show with my parents. Tonight, Royal Pains featuring The Fonz and Lou Grant.

I’m as worn out as person who did a lot of stuff all day, and as happy as a clown that won the lottery.

Goodnight,

–Reid.