Writing, Tweeting, Losing Sports Championships. Plus! Special Bonus: Is Being A Dictator All It’s Cracked Up To Be?
Monday February 03rd 2014, 9:28 pm
Filed under: Denver, Liberty!, Me, Myself, and Reid, Sodapopcornculture, Who Knows?, Word Nerd

I’ve been wanting to write a lot lately, but I have a pinched nerve in my neck. It’s referring pain down to my thumb and forefinger, through the ol’ carpal tunnel, which I believe Chris Christie conspired to close at some point recently, for all but two tendons. In lieu of writing, I tried dictating to Siri, but that just didn’t feel like writing. Because it wasn’t. It was dictating. If there’s one thing I know for certain about my skill set, it’s that I’m a much better writer than dictator (to which the good people of Sincostan can attest).

Then I figured out I could just mash at my iPad screen for an experience similar enough to writing, but without the pain of actually typing. So here I am mashing away! mashmashmash!

Last night, the Broncos were crushed by the Seattle Seahawks in the Super Bowl. As a Denver native, I am obviously a sad fan. I’ve been tweeting about it:

1) As a #Broncos fan, I feel just like Mitt Romney on Election Night. Winning: inevitable. Losing: ha ha! impossible! We’re fools, Mitt. Fools.

2) Hard watching #Broncos blow championship in a night, but way easier than watching #Rockies take four to do the same. Plus that was baseball.

To understand that second one, you need to know, first, that yes, Colorado has a Major League Baseball team (the Colorado Rockies) and that, second, yes, they somehow bungled their way into the “World” Series.

Going into the Series To Determine Which Team Is The Best In The World Despite Its Only Participants Being Based In The USA Save For A Single Canadian Team (how worldly!), the Rockies had won 21 of their last 22 games. Unfortunately, the Rockies’ opponent was a real baseball team, the Boston Red Sox. The Red Sox clobbered the Rockies in a “best of seven games” series. The Red Sox were best in all of the only four games that had to be played.

Finally, it’s worth noting that I find watching baseball to be incredibly boring. Not as boring as watching golf (how the hell can anyone watch golf?!), but pretty damn boring. That is, unless I physically attend a baseball game with friends. Then it’s a nice outdoor social event with a game of baseball going on in the background. You even have to stand up occasionally–it’s good exercise!

mashmashmash!

–Reid.

P.S. This was originally just going to be copies of my two tweets, but it kind of got away from me. Mashing seems to soothe my writing cravings.

P.P.S. “Sincostan” is the cleverest and only math joke I’ve ever written. Or noticed, that’s probably more appropriate. Come to think of it, Sincostan isn’t even really a joke. Unless you consider portmanteaus to be jokes. Which I know you don’t. It’s okay, my feelings aren’t hurt.

P.P.P.S. Huh. I don’t have a dedicated “Sports” category. I wonder why that’s never come up before. I don’t have one for “Math” either. Weird.



A Very Honest Post About My Health In Which The Main Subject Eludes Me.
Thursday October 03rd 2013, 5:27 pm
Filed under: Health (Not Cancer), Who Knows?, Word Nerd

Earlier today, I felt super compelled to write a quick blog entry that included a brief update about my health and also about how I wasn’t just spending my time sitting around playing Nintendo, which led to the very brief blog post “I’m Not Sitting Around Playing Nintendo.”

In addition to the two health things I mentioned in that post, my hallucinations still going on and the ear and/or nose and/or throat disease I was given metaphors and antibiotics for, there was one other obnoxious health thing I wanted to touch upon. However, I couldn’t remember the words I’d been using for the entire past week to describe it and since I was aiming to write something quickly, I decided to just cut it.

Of course, as soon as I put that blog out, I remembered the word. And, as was only logical, I then proceeded to take a nap.

When I woke up, I immediately tried to recall the word, only to discover I’d forgotten it again. Even though I was moving around, suffering from this thing, the damn word I’d used over and over and over all week to describe it was gone. Again.

So I decided to have some lunch, clear my mind, return to my computer, and, with the greatest of ease, punch out this simple word that it turns out I STILL CAN’T REMEMBER.

The first word that comes to mind is “oxfinder,” which has several problems with it right from the start. First, I don’t think it’s even a real word, though I’ll admit that has rarely stopped me in the past. The second problem is that I’ve been using my lost word to describe an upet sense of balance, and I just don’t get that feeling from oxfinder.

Wait! I got it! Spirograph! I’ve felt like I was at the center of a spirograph all week, all wobbly and things rotating… this isn’t the right word, either. But it is much closer than oxfinder.

Man, I am getting genuinely irritated about this. I hate it when words fall out of my head. There are several reasons why that’s prone to happen to me, including my post-chemotherapy cognitive impairment (chemobrain), the few stupid medications I was put on during chemo that I’m still taking, these damn hallucinations preventing me from getting good sleep, and also, I should probably not overlook the fact that I am a human being and we all forget things sometimes. Though, I will contend that words do not fall out of your head as often as they fall out of mine.

GYROSCOPE!!!

Yes, excellent! Gyroscope is, in fact, the word I’ve been using all week without any impediment, whatsoever. Where did you run off too, you little word?

Like I was incorrectly explaining about a spirograph, I have felt that I’ve been in the middle of a gyroscope all week, all wobbly, with the whole world rotating around me. I’ve needed a lot of assistance to get around the house, because I keep feeling like my momentum is changing direction without my permission and that the gravity of the earth is teaming up with it just because they think it’s funny to make me feel like I should be walking on a wall. I don’t think that’s quite how gyroscopes work, but it seems preeeeetty close.

Anyway, gyroscope, gyroscope, gyroscope. That’s the word.

For more fun learning about subjects mentioned in today’s blog, here are some Wikipedia articles about spirographs and gyroscopes, both of which require so much more math to fuel them than I ever, ever could have imagined. Also, it turns out an OXFinder is a thing. I haven’t even the smallest desire to know how much math it runs on.

I’m the rotor in the gyroscope!

–Reid!



Writing And Not Writing.
Wednesday August 14th 2013, 12:41 am
Filed under: Me, Myself, and Reid, Word Nerd

I started writing this on Saturday, but ran into a self-imposed deadline. I decided to finish it tonight.

1) When something impacts my life in any sort of meaningful way, one of my first instincts is to write about it. Recording important moments and events through writing is a way for me to preserve my state of mind, something that wouldn’t necessarily be the case if I looked back at my calendar to help me recall things that happened. Even a video of such moments only captures so much. There’s a very important extra dimension to all noteworthy things in life that I know, if not preserved in writing, I would surely forget.

2) I find writing very therapeutic. Editing and rewriting contains happy moments when various ideas come together, things I didn’t realize had any connection in my first draft. Building these connections, snapping them into place by moving a sentence around or by adding a word or two is very rewarding.

3) By the third or fourth edit, my writing is almost pure anxiety. My constant need to fix and change and add and better every detail is overwhelming. Even though my anxiety manifests itself physically, causing me to sweat and tremble and growl and bang my head, it’s been very difficult for me, over the past few years, to stop myself from over-editing and rewriting entire pieces over and over again.

4) All of that anxious rewriting is to blame for several years of only a trickle of my writing appearing here. I’ve written volumes, entire epics that I’ve torn to shreds and written over and over again. I have nearly as many unseen drafts from the past three years as I have posts from the past six years.

5) I’m not under the impression that anything I write here will launch a career or vault me to superstardom. That’s not why I write in my blog. Why then, the need for perfection? There are not many things I’ve felt I could control in my life over the past several years. My blog is one thing over which I have complete control, even if I can’t control the OCD that overtakes me once I start editing and rewriting. I’ve had help coming to this realization.

6) Since I’ve started back up again, I’ve set rules for myself. They’re definitely helping me not go insane to finish writing posts I start. I’m spending much less time editing and rewriting because of time limits. The hardest thing has been reading each post after I’ve made it public and then not going back and editing it.

I always, always see sentences I want to rewrite and little jokes I could have worded so much better, not to mention the occasional misspelled word and vagrant punctuation mark. Why is there a comma in the middle of that word?! Usually the answer is–and I’m not ashamed to admit this–I have an addiction to commas. I NEED MORE COMMAS HERE AND LESS OVER THERE TO BALANCE OUT MY COMMA KARMA!! But, ultimately, I’m pleased that I’ve managed to stick to my rules so far.

7) I cannot think of anything from my life that I’ve been too self-conscious to write about in this blog. Perhaps I am very open about my life or perhaps I just can’t remember those particularly personal moments I chose not to write about. All the more reason to write as often as possible!

8) Despite my feelings of openness, there is a part of my life I have always had trouble writing about here. When other people’s personal lives are involved in my personal moments, I hit a barrier. For instance, I never wrote about my break-up with my girlfriend of nearly a decade on here, and I probably won’t ever do so. I haven’t written about some critical family situations that have occurred over the past year. (even writing those last two rather unspecific sentences was very difficult for me)

These things have all majorly impacted my life and have played roles in continuing to define who I am. But, ultimately, they present a barrier I haven’t been able to cross. I’m trying to figure out a way to confront this that doesn’t make me feel that I’m outing other people’s most personal moments. I need to find a way that’s comfortable for me to write about these things, because not writing about them has left some very big unwritten holes in this blog.

–Reid.



TWO (well… one and a half now, really) DAYS TO GO!! GRATUITOUS USE OF EXCLAMATION POINTS AND CAPITAL LETTERS!!
Wednesday May 11th 2011, 4:58 pm
Filed under: Leukemia, Word Nerd

Tonight, I will take my FINAL DOSE OF METHOTREXATE!! EVER. I mean… it’ll still be in my system until next week, but the significance of actually TAKING MY LAST DOSE is still HUGE!!

Tonight, I will take my PENULTIMATE DOSE OF 6-MERCAPTOPURINE!! EVER. Huh. That “EVER” doesn’t really make SENSE. Maybe… let’s see… if I say… my SECOND-TO-LAST DOSE OF 6-MERCAPTOPURINE!! EVER. Yeah, that’s BETTER.

FREEDOM FROM CHEMOTHERAPY and its many ills (and, to be fair, protections) draws NIGH!!

I can hardly believe I’m so close to being done. WOOHOO!!

–REID!



Tweet: Palindrome :teewT
Monday April 04th 2011, 11:51 pm
Filed under: Tweet Tweet, Word Nerd

Today I began writing this palindrome but it may still need some work krow emos deen llits yam ti tub emordnilap siht gnitirw nageb I yadot!



A Totally Sweet Look At The Protagonist’s Name in Rumpelstiltskin. Awesome!
Wednesday February 09th 2011, 1:25 am
Filed under: Knowledge Junkie, Who Knows?, Word Nerd

A few days ago, I asked what the protagonist’s name is in the classic fairy tale Rumpelstiltskin. Thanks for all your answers! This wasn’t a trick question, however, I think there is some valid reasoning behind two different answers. The answers come down to who the protagonist is in the tale.

1) “She doesn’t have a name,” referring to the Miller’s daughter who becomes the Queen is correct. So is “The Miller’s daughter.” The Miller’s daughter is the main character of the story and is most often regarded as the protagonist of the story. In short, she is put in a bad position by her father, she makes deals with Rumpelstiltskin, she becomes the Queen and she overcomes a legal dispute with Rumpelstiltskin. If Disney ever makes a Rumpelstiltskin movie, she will get a name like Mabel or Gertrude or Sharon and she will sing songs and we will empathize with her.

2) I would like to offer up an alternative answer. Put aside all of your childhood memories and preconceived notions about the story and the characters of Rumpelstiltskin. Once you’ve safely stowed all of those notions and memories, read the following brief refresher on the story that I have prodivded:

-A Miller flat out lies to people, saying that his daughter Mildred can spin straw into gold.

-Mildred cannot spin straw into gold. This is a ridiculous claim and is clearly untrue.

-Nevertheless, the incredibly stupid King believes this to be true and locks young Mildred in a tower.

-The King orders Mildred to spin straw into gold or she’ll be executed, while her lying s.o.b. father can presumably just go on with his life as a liar whose lies got his daughter killed.

-Millie, who has no idea how to transmute matter, is visited by Rumpelstiltskin, who is some sort of short impish demon alchemist who’s always wanted to be a father, but due a genetic disposition, cannot procreate.

-Rumpelstiltskin enters into a contract with Mildred to save her life by spinning straw into gold in exchange for her necklace.

-The King, who likes shiny objects, is absolutely thrilled with all this stringy gold, but he’s also a greedy bastard and tells Mildred to spin more gold or else he’ll kill her.

-Rumpelstiltskin returns. Millie and he enter into a new contract in which he will save her life again in exchange for her ring.

-The King is so elated to have more strands of gold that he tells Milford he’s going to kill her if she doesn’t make more.

-Once again, Rumpelstiltskin saves the day. He and Milbert enter into their final agreement, in which he will save the her life a third time in exchange for her firstborn child. This may seem like a steep price, but keep in mind the following: he will have literally saved Milbot’s life three times from the bloodthirsty king; he has thus far only asked for a necklace and a ring; he’s always really wanted to be a dad; and most importantly, Milktoast entered into this agreement, fully understanding what she agreed to.

-The King, who is in a state of euphoria at the sight of all his new gold guitar strings, decides he’ll marry the fair and beautiful Maid Millman, whom he was threatening with death mere hours earlier. He is unaware that his new queen is a big fat liar and that their relationship is built on a foundation of lies.

-The Queen has a baby whom she loves. The King also has some fondness for the young lad despite not being able to throw him in a tower, demand something unreasonable of him and then kill him. This seems to be the King’s favorite activity.

-Rumpelstiltskin, dressed to the nines, strolls into the castle, beaming because he’ll finally get to be a daddy, and politely asks the Queen for his compensation for saving her life that third time.

-The Queen wants to break her contract with Rumpelstiltskin, who is heartbroken at the thought of not being able to adopt this child.

-While it would be well within his legal rights to take custoday of the baby and raise him as his own, Rumpelstiltskin offers the Queen a way out of the contract. All she has to do is guess his name.

-The Queen overhears Rumpelstiltskin talking to himself about how wonderful and fulfilling it will be to play catch with Rumpelstiltskin Jr and to go fishing with Rumpelstiltskin Jr and to pay for Rumpelstiltskin Jr’s college education with all the things he’s turned into gold. From this, the Queen surmises that her hero’s name must be Rumpelstiltskin Sr or Rumpelstiltskin the First or something. On her third guess, she finally guesses plain old suffixless Rumpelstiltskin.

-With a heavy heart, the grief-stricken Rumpelstiltskin withdraws his claim to the baby, his chance at parenthood destroyed for ever and ever. He is so sad that he flies away in a cooking ladle which he crashes into a mountain. THE END.

A protagonist doesn’t have to be the narrator or main character of a story. The protagonist can be someone we, as readers, get to know through other characters. These characters give us many different insights into the protagonist, but they also each have their own biases, opinions and perceptions, which can either help or hinder our understanding of the protagonist. A protagonist doesn’t have to be a hero, or even a good person at all. A protagonist must be someone we empathize with and someone we want to see succeed.

Based on these points and on the summery of the story above, I submit to you that the tragic protagonist’s name in Rumpelstiltskin is, in fact, Rumpelstiltskin. Take it or leave it!

Happily ever after,

–Reid.



Tweet: What The Stiltskin Is That Name?
Sunday February 06th 2011, 12:03 am
Filed under: Knowledge Junkie, Tweet Tweet, Word Nerd

Nothing new. So here’s a question: what is the protagonist’s name in “Rumpelstiltskin?” Not a description, job or family relation–the name.



FANTASTIC TALES OF SENSATIONAL SPECTACULARISM! Vol. 1, #1
Monday January 31st 2011, 11:42 pm
Filed under: Attack Of The Internet!, Friends, Word Nerd

Reid A. Book Comics, Short Stories, Radio Dramas and Exotic Pets, Ltd. presents:

FANTASTIC TALES OF SENSATIONAL SPECTACULARISM!

Vol. 1, #1: “Improbable Probability Probably Propable!”
A fantastic tale of sensational spectacularism by Reid Levin, E.I.C.

Drink Moxie!

It was a particularly cold Monday morning when my phone exploded with the sort of tone that sounded like it was trying to say, “Dios mio! Reid! Reid! Reid! A Facebook message of extreme importance has just arrived! It is critical that it be read immediately!!!” It was a quiet pleasant chiming noise, really, easily ignored as I spoke to my doctor and forgotten before I’d left the examination room.

Later that day, when I arrived back home, I activated my phone to reach out and touch someone. There was a notification on the phone’s screen about the bygone dispatch from my close confidant Mr. M. Gallo. I eagerly dismissed the notification so as to read Gallo’s message, only to be blocked by another notification. Dictionary.com’s word of the day had been posted. A mere hindrance, a notification of no consequence when compared to Gallo’s important communiqué (the only kind of communiqué he ever sends). I dismissed Dictionary.com’s irritating impediment of a message posthaste and proceeded to read my crony’s message of dire importance, cleverly titled “A message of not exceeding importance, but still…” so as to disguise its true import. A classic move by my old friend Gallo. With a tone that implied immediate action was absolutely necessary, he warned:

…it looks like sometime recently you friended someone on here named “Kim Wendy” probably because her profile says ‘Pace’ and she has many other Pace “friends”– but I don’t think she’s a real person- I think it’s a spam-bot-phish-fake account. Look at her page.
Just saying…

I read with growing unease his grave warning of a robotic flimflam man, a bilker, a bunco, a con artist, a crook, a cheat, a hustler, a scammer, a swindler, an all around shady and indecent machine until “Good Lord!” burst from my mouth as if shot from my trusty Kensington .25.

Gallo’s message was right, but it was too late. I had, in fact, had a previous suspicious encounter with this contraption of lies, which presented itself as a colleague. I’d been had! Duped! Swindled! Bamboozled! Hornswoggled! And then, the worst part of all: I ran out of synonyms! My fingers dashed to open the Dictionary.com app to use it’s built-in thesaurus, so that I could fully exclaim just how hard that lying piece of Satan’s technology had megabit me.

I stopped dead in my tracks. The word of the day that I had earlier dismissed as inconsequential held my gaze; I could not look away. My jaw dropped in utter astonishment. The word: thimblerig, a verb meaning “to cheat or to swindle!” It was a coincidence of galactic proportions that gave me my final synonym. That no-good automaton thimblerigged me! Believe it… or not!

Look forward to the next edition of FANTASTIC TALE OF SENSATIONAL SPECTACULARISM!

Drink Moxie!



Celebrating, Rocking, Awesomeness (Backwards, Poorly, Foppa, respectively)
Monday January 24th 2011, 1:14 am
Filed under: Denver, Family, Music, Word Nerd

Tonight, I’m feeling much better. I started feeling better midday today and kept feeling better from there. My first week back on it, oral methotrexate hit me harder than I anticipated it would. That said, it didn’t hit me nearly hard enough to make me so much as question seeing my journey to its end. The timing–when I could start to feel it, when it was at its worst, and when it finally decided it was bored with me–matches up fairly well with how it used to time out during weeks of [the opposite of total disaster]. When I say “used to,” I mean before methotrexate was beating me with an aluminum bat every day of the week with no recovery time between doses, which is what led to me being taken off of it. It’s very reassuring that it is acting predictably again.

This evening we went to Aunt Lise’s house to celebrate Papa’s birthday. He turned 84 today, and I was glad I felt up to spending the occasion with him. Papa and Gigi, my mom’s parents, moved away from Denver for a long time, for at least 15 years. They moved back last year, and as much as I hate to give it any credit, leukemia bringing me back here from New York has allowed me to reconnect with my grandparents, especially with Papa. He had very good news for everyone: next year, he’ll be turning 83. Apparently, his age is going to start moving in reverse from now on. I told him I looked backward to celebrating his previous birthday with him.

Remembering my forgotten few week old personal goal of posting an original song online by the end of this month, I played some guitar today. I had also played a bit last night, but I haven’t really practiced on a regular basis for… at least… since… hnh. Uhm, let’s see here. I can remember I was practicing “Rain” (singing the tape-reversed words at the end backwards, “nnniaaaaaaaaR” and so on), and I know it was here in Colorado, and I know I wasn’t in the hospital. So, sometime between July-ish 2008 and November 2010. It doesn’t seem like it was very long ago but it had to have been long enough ago that I no longer have any trace of the thick callouses I had redeveloped on my sinister fingers. My timeline makes almost no logical sense so I have no idea when I last practiced, but judging from how bad I was today, it was probably longer ago than I realize.

Okay, wait. I have to admit something. In the second-to-last sentence of that last paragraph right up there, I used the adjective “sinister” to describe my fingers entirely to make you think that I’m an amazing guitar shredding machine. Everything I said in that sentence was true, but now I feel really bad for misleading you. It just seemed so cool when I realized I could use the word as a double entendre. Still, sorry about that.

I’ve been able to recover some old notes about songs I wrote and have also been able to remember enough of others that I’ve been re-evaluating them and rewriting a lot of them more better..ly. I know there were songs I wrote that I was really happy with, but I can only vaguely remember lyrics and lukewarm lixx. It’s very frustrating, especially because I recorded absolutely everything at the time on my computer, which is now either in an attic in Connecticut or in a landfill in Connecticut. I recorded an audio tape in 2005 of some songs that I liked. I sent that tape to Joe in Africa. I won’t bother Joe in England. When he returns to be Joe in America, I will ask if he still has that tape. Is it weird to ask for it back? Yes. Maybe I’ll ask him to play it to me over the phone. Yeah, that’s definitely less weird.

Finally, Peter Forsberg has returned to Colorado to play professional ice hockey. Tonight, he skated with the Avalanche, who were practicing at the Family Fun Center, which is right by my house. I don’t care that he’s injury prone. I don’t care that this was just one practice. I don’t care that the name “Family Fun Center” makes it sound like the Avalanche practice at a Chuck E. Cheese’s. I don’t care about any of that!

Just having Forsberg around, skating with the team, is so amazingly supremely exceptionally fantastically awesome and also pretty great (especially because at trivia the other night, I was complaining about him no longer playing for the Avs) I’ve happily found myself subconsciously muttering “Foppa, Foppa, Foppa,” over and over to myself. Foppa is Forsberg’s fun-to-say Swedish nickname. Although, subconsciously muttering sounds like those the Swedish Chef might make could also indicate some sort of brain damage. Either way, I was very happy to see all the fans on TV that showed up to the Family Fun Center, wearing their #21 burgundy Avalanche jerseys and yellow triple crown Swedish Olympic jerseys, for the sole purpose of seeing a Colorado sports legend do some drills with his team.

Well, for that and then to play ski ball and whack-a-mole and eat some pizza.

–Reid.

—————-
Now playing: The Presidents Of The United States Of America – Stranger
via FoxyTunes



Sad News and Cousins Inciting Happiness
Tuesday January 04th 2011, 12:39 am
Filed under: Family, Friends, Leukemia, Word Nerd

Woke up feeling good, but took about an hour to get out of bed. Felt okay all day, albeit very sleepy.

Received very sad news this morning that a friend’s father passed away very unexpectedly last night. Although I only ever met the man once, my friend told me lots of stories about him when were roommates. And while I will admit that my friend and I have grown further apart over the years, communicatively and geographically, it doesn’t really seem to matter today. I find myself carrying around a great deal of sadness for him.

Went to lunch with cousins Adam, Amy and Noa. I really miss the other cousins who left town last week so I’m really glad to have Adam’s family back in Colorado for a more extended stay. Adam and Amy’s daughter Noa, the first cousin of the next generation in our family, is three years old and adoramazing. When Mom and I got out of the car, Noa came over and told me she missed me (from two days ago), which of course endeared her to me (even more so than her already extremely high level of endearment) for all of lunch. I was given the honor of coloring in her kid’s menu and signing her name. It’s very hard for me to be around her and not smile.

I slept through the afternoon and am still sleepy. Hopefully there is an easy solution to this problem.

Good night.

–Reid.

—————-
Now playing: Steve Conteh – Call Me Call Me
via FoxyTunes