Category Archives: silly things

From the outside looking in


I know I have been gone for a while and this is probably not a good way to return, but stuff happens. The worst part is it usually happens all at the same time.

It began with my laptop, which suddenly needs a new motherboard. My first thought on this is the machine might have been dropped, smacked or electrified by a static shock—I don’t remember doing any of these things. However it might have been one of our Ghosts. It goes without saying that I have been using it a lot because my desktop computer, a five year old monster, has been overheating and shutting off at the worst of times so I don’t trust it. Naturally, all my writing, and The Game I play are on the laptop.

When I heard from the company that is fixing it the first thing out of my mouth was, “Did the hard drive survive?” Happiness surrounded me when she said it did. It quickly vanished when she told me the cost. Since EVERYTHING is on it, I have no choice but to fix it because the thing is only a year and a half old, and I am still paying on it. (I know, shame on me.)

The second distraction; Every Sunday morning, I go visit my mom and hand her a check for the weekly grocery store trip the apartment complex takes. As I was getting dressed to leave, trying to pull myself away from The Game, she calls, “I’m thinking of calling the hospital, I don’t feel good.” Her legs gave out on her a few days ago and she fell in the bathroom, taking the towel bar with her and bumping her head. Just a bruise remained of the head hitting and she had a mark on her side, but she felt better Friday.

Okay, I don’t know why she believes I have to give her permission, but I set her straight, “Well Mom, if you don’t feel right, and think something is wrong, call 911. The hospital is very close; they will be there quicker than I will. Call them.”

“Okay Son.” I believe at times she does forget my name. I told her to keep me informed of everything and call me if she needed me.

I’m sure she sat in her chair where she could see the ambulance pull out of the ER and drive less than a minute to reach her parking lot.

About two hours later, my phone rings—number unlisted. The voice on the other end belonging to a polite female tells me that my mom will be here a while so they can run some tests. They know what the problem is, but they want to find more! Mother also wants to know if I will be coming over soon. I suppose she just wants me there so I can sit in the ER waiting room bored for two or three hours while she is having all the fun.

Three or four hours later, still sitting at home in my very comfortable sweats watching “Priest”, I try to call my mom. Since she left her cell phone at home I have to travel and visit every operator connected to the hospital before I am connected to her current nurse. Twelve ear splitting rings later someone picks up the phone.

In the background, an aged confused voice pleads with someone, “This phone won’t let me call out, it says there is an incoming call…”

That would be me speaking loudly into the receiver, “Helllloooo?” Distant sounds come over the speaker phone as I hear someone being tackled and then a corpse being dragged off into the distance.  

“ER Nurses station, Nurse Prachett speaking.” That wasn’t her real name, but it seems to fit.

“Yes, I’m checking on my mom…” Information is reluctantly shared and she tells me they are giving her antibionics (these are normally called antibiotics, but I’m a writer and I can call them what I want to) and will be giving her more tests. I hope she studied well. Of course they don’t know yet if they are going to keep her over night. All they want to do is run tests on this little old harmless eight-one year old so they can soak her for as much money as possible. “Well please tell her I called and have her call me if they keep her overnight.” The chances of an overnight stay were beginning to look good.

At six, my phone rings again. It’s my mom this time, telling me she is being held at the hospital for observation and they want to take some more tests. Of course they do.

Monday morning comes and I spend another exciting day at work in the office, but for only four hours. In my opinion, this would be a good time for me to pick up my mom, its 11:00 am, no traffic around anywhere (almost) and I have nothing better to do then play The Game or write.

“Mom, how you doing?”

“I’m fine; they just got done taking an X-ray of my head…”

“Uh…when did the problem move? It wasn’t in your head before. Did they find anything?”

“No…they didn’t.”

Being the polite son I am, I let that slide without commenting. “Do you know when they will be releasing you?”

“No, not yet, but maybe as soon as the doctor comes in and says I can be released…”

“Okay, call me when you are officially released and I will come get you.”

“Ok son. Oh, by the way, can you stop by the apartment and pick up some blue jeans, a sweat shirt, my shoes and my cane?”

“Ummm…did they pick you up naked?”

She was laughing so hard she disconnected one of the plugs connected to one of the thousands of machines surrounding her bed and alarms went off all over the place. I’m sure the little room she was in filled up fast. When all the commotion calmed down she told me she was wearing a night gown when the paramedics picked her up.

I know she wanted me there, part of me of course wanted to check on her, but she was in good hands, nothing was horribly wrong, it wasn’t like the last time—the heart attack that turned into heart burn—so I stayed home.

She called again around 6 pm, telling me they were releasing her. She would be done with all the paper work in about an hour and a half. We decided it was a waste of time to have me drive out there and wait—considering I had not cooked dinner yet or eaten anything since noon.

Now I am beginning to get upset, I know the medical profession is cutting corners, everyone is saying Medicare is losing money and the Health insurance companies are grabbing whatever they can. It is reasons like this that the health care industry is so Fraked up right now:

1)      They prey on all citizens, elders more than anything and more so at the beginning of the year so they can grab whatever deductable they can from the patient. Thus putting their victims in a larger financial hole than they are already in. And if they have trouble paying the $5000.00 bill they raise the prices of everyone’s insurance.

2)      They waste their time and the patient’s time on useless tests. I don’t know how many they gave her and I won’t until I get the bill, but the only thing they found was the infection which they figured out in less than an hour. Come on.

3)      Her, and then the insurance company, are going to be charged for a private room (which she did not ask for) until Noon on Tuesday, which she wasn’t using since 9pm Monday. I am sure that after an hour or more cleaning it they will have another patient laying in it. That means they are getting paid twice from two different patients for the same room for at least a day.

 

Of course this is only the opinion of an outsider looking in; I have no real proof of how the medical profession works. I just like to complain about it.

 

One good thing, Mom is home, with a borrowed walker that she thinks she needs. She is doing fine. A few other issues have kept me from my writing these last couple of weeks, but I am beginning to get back into the swing. I’m spending a lot of time reading “On Writing” and “The Tarnsman of Gor.” When I can keep my eyes open to read the Gor book anyway.

        What are you working on now? What are your distractions?

Warning! This could happen to you!


I need to share a horrible experience I had Saturday afternoon. It was one of those things you hear about from time to time yet never expect to happen to you. The worst part is the fact that it may happen again.

It all started as I reclined on the couch, being very content to flip between editing and email, and my step daughter came home. This is usually a once a week occurrence at the most—less now since she has her drivers license and a car that works.  After the rampant and exciting greetings, including the jabs about her never being home, she took over the TV remote.

My heart stopped for a second, fear rose within me as I silently pleaded with her to think before viewing. Out of the corner of my eye I watch the screen;

‘Okay…Netflix…Anima…please  no!’ A sigh of relieve escapes my lips as she moves on down the list, stupid comedies, animated soft porn, other cartoons, silly sitcoms…It appears on the side of the screen and I pray she doesn’t see it…but she does.

“Jackass 3D! This is a funny movie mommy, you will like it. B won’t mind.”

I like how she thinks she knows me, yet she is watching me as if to get approval. “I’ve ignored worse.” As much as I tried, my eyes were drawn to it, but not one snicker, he-he, or laugh escaped my clinched jaw. (I think I sprained something in my neck by shaking my head back and forth.) Lucky fo rme the torture did not last long, some scenes were skipped entirely (ones she even thought were dumb) until it was stopped by her own will.

All I can say to myself is, “Why?” Why do they make these ridiculous movies about people—grown men in body only—that insist on doing whatever they can to cause pain? And in 3D! I love a good comedy as much as the next guy, usually, and I get a laugh out of the occasional unexpected-or expected-groin hit, but to have an entire movie devoted to this sort of pain is plain stupidity. Gets even worse when you realize they set these up on purpose.

I’ll tell you, if a friend of mine wanted me to superglue my rear end onto someone’s back I would be thinking twice about how deep this friendship really goes. Friends don’t let friends be jackasses.

However, I am guilty of the little pleasures in life, like watching some of the videos that clog what we use to call Court TV. I have uttered the occasional snicker at the drunk driver that has issues walking a straight line or said “ouch!” at the car chases that end in the car and driver being demolished. And most recently, when it is on, we do catch MTV’s Ridiculousness with Rob Dydrek, when we go to bed. These little thirty minute views into the stupidity of people are put very bluntly on air and I actually do smile. My wife laughs so loud at them the stepson texted her last night, “You guys are having too much fun, stop it!” (Maybe he thought we were doing something else.) Sometimes it can be painful to watch and I do feel a little smarter seeing these people trying to do stuff they really shouldn’t.

I think my main issue with shows or movies like Jackass is the little question that tickles my brain every time I see how popular they are.

It’s just one word, why? Is the world so use to seeing into everyone’s back yard that we can’t help but laugh at some people’s misfortune? Or is my wife right when she says “The only reason I watch these is because it makes me feel smarter.”

On a good note: As I was browsing some info on IMDB.com I came across the trailer for a new one Disney is putting out there, an adaptation of Edgar Rice Burroughs series John Carter of Mars. The trailer looked pretty good, but we shall see how it looks on the screen. I read all these right after I read all the Tarzan books. Hope it does well.

Thanks for visiting, hope you enjoyed my thoughts.

Just the right time.


Just at a point where I needed a good laugh from a silly movie, Netflix came to my rescue this weekend. Luckily at a time my mom was driving me crazy and the looney bin seemed like a short walk away, help was a shorter walk to the mailbox. It was in the form a black comedy with George Segal and Ruth Gordon in the 1970 movie Where’s Poppa? (This was released in the theaters (Overseas?) as “Going Ape.” I like this title better.) For the past ten years, when ever my wife calls her dad she says, “Where’s Poppa?” Now I know where she got that.

Where's Poppa?George stars as Gordon Hocheiser, a down on his luck single lawyer living with his mom – Ruth Gordon. The first scene alone sets the pace for this little flick that my wife TOLD me I had to pay attention to. As always, I did as I was told – and was pleasantly surprised. (Her exact words were, “If you hadn’t met me, this is where you would be today.”)

Needless to say, old Gordon is not having a lot of fun with his mom living in the apartment with him; he even goes so far as fantasizing about her death /disappearance. With no help in sight – Gordon searches for a capable nurse to help take care of his forgetful mom. Instead, he ends up finding the love of his life in the form of the beautiful Louise Callen. Played by Trish Van Devere , (her movie debut) Louise is a recently divorced woman that was married for a whole thirty six hours. This starts moving once Momma scares off Louise and Gordon is forced to call his brother Sidney, played over the top by Ron Leibman.  Sidney got lucky early on and married a Gladys, played by Rae Allen. He seems to be a little henpecked but when Gordon calls and threatens to send Momma to a home – he comes running. Unfortunately he likes running though the park…a lot, even with his wife telling him not to.

The following is not an exact quote:

Gladys: You’re not going!

Sidney: But I have to, Gordon needs me. And if I don’t – she’s moving in here!

Gladys: (Pause) Okay, go – run as fast as you can! GO THROUGH THE PARK!

I think the tush scene (“I’d recognize that tush anywhere!”) is worth the eighty-two minute run time for this movie. Carl Reiner directed it so he threw his son Rob in a cameo which was fun, but luckily didn’t last too long. Paul Sorvino also had a small part for his first movie role.

Because of a scene that happens during Sidney’s second run through the park I am only leaving this with three stars – which is very generous.

During the lazy weekend we also watched a movie I can’t remember the title of, so it must only be a one star. It reminded me of “Cliffhanger” a little except the weather was nicer. We also began a triple feature of “The Transformers” (Robots in disguise) but ran out of time before we saw the latest one.

Sometime in the next week I will be throwing out my thoughts on this years Fall TV season – so far filled with nostalgic flops, flat remakes and dinosaurs, so please come back, and thanks for visiting.

You did What?


Okay, I admit, was a little stuck on today’s entry, so I goggled blog prompts and found this, Imagination Prompt Generator It asks questions to get your juices flowing, I think I went through 10 before I came upon “What have you done before that you will never do again?” This caught my unwavering attention for two reasons, 1) A woman and I were discussing this topic just the other day, and 2) If I have an excuse to make myself look silly, I’m going to take it dammit.

Please enter my time machine.
Ten years ago, I found myself single and looking for love in all the wrong places, or at least the wrong web sites. Also included in my search for the perfect mate I tried to get back into shape. Driving on the road for nine years, stopping at all the fast food places I could (they should be called FAT food) and being married with kids for 22 years had a measurable effect on my waist line.

During my search, I began talking to a woman that had rollerblades and actually used them, three times a week. A light went off in my head and I immediately wanted to try this.
Part of our gym class when I was in high school was roller skating and the only difference was the position of the wheels.

The next day, I stopped at a used sport store and bought a pair of inline skates, the salesman was kind enough to throw in a helmet, elbow and knee pads. He wanted to sell me a DVD on how to rollerblade, I declined because I watched this stuff when they had it on TV years ago.

That weekend, I contacted my newest conquest friend and asked them if they wished to meet me this Saturday down at a little cement trail the city had built just for this type of insanity.
She laughed, I went by myself.

Once parked in a nice safe spot, I changed into my inline skates; knee pads, elbow pads and the helmet that made me look like one of the aliens from that Sigourney Weaver movie.
I started out a little shaky, trying to keep my balance as I circled my car, using it for support. After I got the balance thing all good I started pushing away from the truck and eventually made it to the three foot wide cement path. The ground was nice and even, no cracks, just a smooth blacktop trial heading off into the distance. I began at a safe speed and eventually worked up to an almost faster speed when I realized that the people ahead of me were dropping off the edge of the world.

“Darn, a hill!” I think I used another word there. Once I reached the top of the hill my momentum carried me over the top and straight down. At this point in my life I really didn’t want to watch it all over again so I turned into the grass and discovered how to stop safely. (The ground was very soft there.)

Once back on my feet I continued, by now I was soaking wet from sweating like a pig being led to slaughter. As I gained on a couple ahead of me, they were walking; I breathlessly asked them how long this track was.
“Six miles,” he said, “you’re about half way through it.”
I think the shocked expression on my face scared them because they began to run, real fast. Just about then, I wished for a lasso.

I plowed on, my legs and back wondering if they lost communication with my brain because they were screaming in agony. I didn’t even bother looking at my watch, but after what seemed like hours of torture, (imagine watching Jerseylicious) I saw the area where I parked my truck.

If my legs didn’t feel so numb I would have started dancing.

As I began the last 100 yards of the journey an older woman, maybe in her late 50’s slowed down and asked if I was okay. I told her I wasn’t sure because every part of my body was numb.
She told me to keep moving but start to slow down. I figured I wasn’t in hurry so why not.

Taking almost baby steps, I continued. Five minutes later a black SUV pulled up beside me, I thought for sure it was the government coming to arrest me for impersonating a physically fit inline skater. It was the woman that passed me a few minutes ago and she told me to get in.

My mom always told me not to get into a car with strangers, but my mom wasn’t here. I opened the door and hopped, err crawled inside, directing her to where my car was parked.

I thanked her as I fell out of her car, asking for her phone number on the way out. I was surprised I got it, but she told me to call her when I got the chance.

At least there was one positive note about my experience, and it wasn’t over yet. After I got home and staggered up the steps to my apartment, I collapsed on the bed. It was only 11am.

I woke the next morning, my body trying to remember how to walk. Muscles I didn’t even know I had screamed out in unison that I really shouldn’t move as I crawled into the bath tub to soak in a hot pool of water.

Two days later, most of the pain was gone and I decided to give it another try. But this time I played it a little smarter; I went to a local a park that had a one and a half mile trail. Once suited up, I pushed off and sailed down the first hill. As I rounded the top – I lost control (If I ever really had any at all) and ran right into the grass, tumbling about 20 feet.

I laid there for a second, testing my body to see if I broke anything, then looked around – good – no one saw me. I continued on the rest of the trail as my knee began bothering, but I assumed it was only old age. I did have one problem when I went down a very steep hill and saw a crowd of people standing at the bottom. I just yelled, “Move out of the way, I don’t know how to stop!” That emptied the trail very quickly.

When I managed to get back to my truck I sat on the tail gate and removed the skates and then the knee pads. That was when the pain hit me, like a ten pound sledge hammer hitting my knee over and over. I managed to hobble to the driver’s seat and thanked God that I didn’t have a manual transmission. The pain was in the right knee so I very carefully drove with my left foot. This took a little getting used to.

The next day, I wasn’t any better – it had swelled up three times its normal size so I had a friend take me to the doctors. It turned out I tore my meniscus in my knee. That required surgery and two weeks of recuperation.
I threw away the roller blades. I’m not touching those again, I wasn’t born with wheels on the soles of my feet, so I would I need to add them.

That’s mine, so tell me, what have you done before that you will never do again? (Don’t worry, I won’t tell a soul.)