Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Seems like just a couple of days ago....

Plus 2 years... that I started blogging! Dang, it WAS! December 28 was my 2 year blogaversary.

I could back it up a couple of months since I've been out of sync, but let's just call it doing field research for blogging, stand up, something to bitch about, or at the very least something to compare to should times get tough again.

I've said that 2009 has sucked the big one and that 2010 has got to be better. I must admit, though, that 2009 had some positive aspects to it and I am thankful for them. I would like to go through a soul searching listing here, but I'm still not feeling THAT creative and this isn't for the contemplative author in me, I just want to give some general thanks.

Facebook - I know. Some folks just aren't very Facebookish, but I have met great new people. Best of all, I've reconnected with many people from Seneca, SC where I grew up. Often times reconnecting was like meeting new people because now we're all adults, we know what's important in life as well as what's NOT important... like all the petty high school stuff we were all living through last time I saw many of them in person. I've laughed and cried and visited many a trip down Memory Lane with these folks and I've been very sad that I haven't been able to travel back yet to see everyone in person. (Brace yourself Bobcats... January is coming!)

Family - My natural family, the two sisters and the brother. They're something I'm eternally grateful for and I don't know if I could ever tell them enough or make them realize the depth of my gratitude that they are a part of my life. You all may be 7 states and 17 hours away, but you're here with me 24/7.

Family - My 80's adopted family. You've seen "LeainSC" comment on my blog. She's been my "pseudosister" since the early 80's. We started the brother/sister thing since everywhere we went people thought we were dating. She became my sister for clarity, she stayed my sister... well, probably because I knew too much about her to let me go too far away.... In that package deal came her real younger sister and her mother. Later, Lea met her husband to be and after I finally convinced him (with cash) to marry her, he did. That quartet-o-crazy has made such an impact on my life throughout the years I wouldn't be able to laugh without them.

Family - The extended/chosen family that most gay folks make when they move away from home. Chicago is my second home and the people here have been a constant stream of smiles and support not only in the ick of 2009, but for the past coming on 10 years that I've been here.

So a big ole thank you to my fellow bloggers, my friends who with a 2 line email or text can make me laugh hard enough wet my pants, and to anyone who just thinks of me with a smile and a positive hope.

My new venture begins in 2010. Here's to the next decade!


Wednesday, December 16, 2009

As I live and breath!!



Hi everyone, remember me? I'm that tall goofy, sometimes catty (yes, sometimes) and hopefully often humorous blogger you haven't seen or heard from in quite a while.

I'm back.... ish...

Where have I been you ask? In a word - depressed.


I learned about depression in health care. I worked with depressed people and even walked that fine line between supporting a chronically depressed person who, unknown to them, their depression perpetuated itself, and finding a stern, but supportive way to tell the constantly depressed "yes, life's a bitch, pick yourself up, find a way over and let's move on.

One thing I always wondered when I observed depression in others was how did they get to this point? No one could answer me completely and I couldn't understand why until now. You don't see depression coming. You don't feel it settle in for the long haul making itself comfortable. You just feel one day that it's not there, then suddenly you find days, weeks, maybe even months have passed and you've watched every show TiVo has saved for you two or three times; you're watching a show on why lasagna noodles are wavy on the side vs. uniformly flat (an hour long devoted to this) and the show stays on because while the physical exertion of changing the channel is nothing, the mental stamina needed to actually compare this C-IV level anesthetic of a show to others is just a prospect you don't want to face. So... noodles it is.. how interesting, and yes it is like that sea anemone that undulates through the sea, and on and on and on and on....

So, next question, why was I depressed? It was overall a mixture of actual events, fear for the future, loss of the past and the worry of being a failure. It started in mid-October when after a 3 day weekend to recover from my annual meeting I come in to work to find that I would no longer have work to come to. I won't go into the details because by this point, I don't give a crap. However, when staff was being let go, it was FAC's decision that I should be one of the lucky ones.

What's FAC you ask? Ask away, I'm not saying here in print. However, if you know me and my penchant for foul language blended with names, you may figure it out. If you can't, I'll tell you directly. Here's a hint... the C is the C-WORD that most everyone hates.
Anyway, since FAC had done my job before I came there in addition to her job, apparently her omnipotence could deliver the association through the cataclysmic financial year that was, after all, obviously my fault. So Obama administration, blame Bush on all the money woes the country has, but leave this little section of blame off of Dubya's shoulders... it had to be me.

So, after having fired 2 people since I began, in nice professional adult conversations, FAC apparently decided that while I may be a big pussy pacifist and shy away from arguments let alone physical confrontations, FAC saw fit to have not one, but TWO armed guards be present in her office when I was shown the door. I was so flustered I didn't really ask anything during the informative session, but I did ask about the two gentlemen. "Well, I was told that in this day and age I should be careful." Damn, All this time I could have been planting C4 and plotting against the Hethen Americans... but I didn't grab the chance when I had it. When the gents walked me outside with my stuff waiting for the cab, we ended our conversation smiling and sharing a laugh. Yeah FAC, I think they were probably there more for MY protection than yours. For me to do something like that would actually require me to give a rat's fucking ass about you to get the ire up to actually do harm.

AND HERE'S THE KICKER!!! FAC, God's supreme gift to association management and the self proclaimed paragon of people skills and communication, hid behind the 65+ year old part time accountant/human resources staff member (whom I love to death). This meek little lady who handled the entirety of the conversation with me (the suspected Al Qaida terrorist meeting planner) while FAC sat there. I'm sure FAC was thankful to have that human shield to do her dirty work. This human shield, who also has lung cancer and at the end of 2008 had a biopsy and was out of work off and on for several weeks. My thought, "Poor Mary (not real name) she's had lung cancer, she's dependent on her cane, she's so independent, but now she's having a throat biopsy which will affect how and what she can eat for some time. I hope she'll be OK." What did FAC say? "Well what are we going to do about the audit? Why did she choose to have this done now?"

Many lessons I've learned the hard way in life have been harder because I have to learn them more than once. One thing I HAVE learned in my 43 years is that Karma is kind, Karma is your friend, but Karma can be one MAJOR bitch. And even though I don't get the pure joy of actually seeing it happen, Karma is going to come and teach you a painful lesson FAC. I won't get to see it. I may not even get to hear about it, but the universe is just and I know it's coming. I just truly hope that your lesson doesn't negatively affect those wonderful coworkers I left behind.

Author's note: I truly didn't mean for that rant to come tumbling out the way it did. This is my first writing since mid October and damn if the words and emotions just didn't come flowing out like lava.

So I find myself unemployed
Again
at the end of the year
Again
And looks like I'll have to either skimp or postpone getting my family and friends holiday presents
Again.

Geez... could this get anymore oppressive?
Yes

By now, everyone reading this knows I'm gay. If you didn't.... now you do. This wasn't always the case. I used to call it my Mason Dixon secret. Everyone above the Mason Dixon Line knew... no one below knew... well, no one confirmed that they did. (When I first talked with MaleSib about whether he knew, he said "I'm an artist, I'm a musician, I work in a design firm.... DUH...." )

Having grown up in rural South Carolina where having a gun rack was only a couple of small steps from gay bashing, it was a closely guarded secret I was petrified to let go. Even today I feel a tad uncomfortable talking about this side of my life with loved ones from home. Not that they care, not that I'm discussing.... well.... those things.... but the reflex of secrecy is never far away when it comes to folks from back home.

There was one person who existed in both worlds for me. I met him when I lived in Charleston, SC and he was gay. He was the first gay person I truly, fully knew and he was the first person I was able to look at and say "yes, gay people are just as normal as anyone else" and that's what he wanted me to understand throughout the first years of our friendship. It was a bit skewed because he was one of those people who was drop dead gorgeous, built like a brick shit house, but was completely unaware and/or unaffected by it. He knew me at my heaviest but of the two of us, it was only me seeing me at my heaviest.

There have been very few people in my life that I've been so moved by their personality, ease and demeanor that I sought to emulate them and wish that I could have the ease of self that they had. Andy Bauer was one of these people. He was my halfway house between being straight and being gay. He was one who could make me laugh so hard no number of sit ups would equal the exercise my stomach muscles had just experienced.

Two weeks after I lost my job to FAC, I lost Andy to a car wreck while he was in Germany.
To quote Forrest Gump "That's all I have to say about that"


So here I find myself entering November. I don't have anything to do that doesn't cost. I don't have anywhere to go. I refuse to take loans and I thought I'd be content to catch up on television and couch surfing.

Early November slid into mid November. Mid November slid into late November and my plan to TRULY clean my apartment and take part in NaNoWriMo (where I write 50,000 first draft words on my first novel had stayed right there with me on the couch, not moving; not succeeding, and shutting myself away from my friends, family and even my blog and (gasp) Facebook.

I'm not quite out of the woods yet for feeling blah. But, LeafromSC and her husband resumed their yearly trek to Chicago for Thanksgiving and having faces I love with me made a great energy to start rejoining life. I still haven't written a word on my novel (NaNoWriMo 2010?) but I'm about 60% through my to do list on cleaning, decluttering and preparing to redecorate my apartment with my landlord.

Depression is a discreet, but total asskicker. Don't underestimate it and look for the signs in your loved ones. They may not want to hear it from you, but often just having someone break through that shell of gloom gives a spring of positive if even for a moment. I found myself collecting those as I went through November and I'm starting to see hope. Hope in the form of a probable career change. I'm still looking for a full time job in my industry, but I do start Pharmacy school part time in January. I want to get to that 130+K yearly salary, buy a nice car, travel a little (rebuild my now non-existent 401K) and go by FAC's office, walk up to her and channel Kathy Griffin and tell her to SUCK IT!!!

Love to you all, thank you for the well wishes and concern. It really is knowing you're all out there that makes me smile. And as I always told my Mom; don't worry about me and suicide. I'm too much a chickenshit to do it. :)

Friday, October 30, 2009

just for space

Hi there!

It's been a while since I blogged. There's a good reason which I'll expound on soon. The real reason for this particular blog was to move that horrid Jim Carrey trailer picture down on my blog so I could see my other blog links.

What a waste of space huh?? :)

Blog you soon!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Hello, your 15 minutes are up, thank you, good bye....


Last night I was doing some writing with the TV going in the background and I heard the advertisement for Disney's "A Christmas Carol" with Jim Carrey.



It struck me as I listened to it that even if I had not heard the name Jim Carrey, I would have known it was him simply by the fact that I've heard it all before... again and again and again. He's like Tom Cruise; a good actor, but he's not the character he plays, he is himself AS that character. Jim Carrey is not Ebenezer Scrooge, he's not the Grinch, he's not Ace Ventura, he is Jim Carrey pulling out the same sight and sound gags that he's beaten the dead horse with since he first played Fire Marshal Bill on In Living Color. Don't get me wrong, it was funny... 15 years ago. Since then it's as old and predictable as Cats.

So while griping on FB last night about Jim Carrey, I thought of others that are far extending their time of fame and really do need to step aside or come up with something so new we don't recognize that it's you! Here's the top list of offenders in my humble opinion....

Obviously... Jim Carrey - See rant above



Jack Black

WTF is this fool about anyway? I've never missed a Disney movie in the theaters since Aladdin came on the scene, but I didn't see Kung Fu Panda in the theaters because I just couldn't get past the fact that this idiot was at the helm. I did, ultimately, see the movie and I do like it. Mostly because A) the rest of the cast is fun and Dustin Hoffman is priceless. and B) You don't actually SEE Jack Black. I remember seeing The Holiday and thinking it was a cute story, but was SURE that Kate Winslet's inner monologue was:
"Bloody Hell! Cameron gets to snog on Jude Law and I get.... THAT?!?!?" Where's my agent?"
I guess not since Andy Kaufman has there been someone who continued to be famous just for being an idiot.


Jay Leno



I actually like Jay Leno. Not as a talk show host, but as a stand up comedian he was priceless. I think the reasoning behind his show this fall isn't so much that "Ooohhh... America loves Jay and will revolt and fall into the ocean if we don't have him on TV somehow" it's more "We don't want to have to pay for another series in the 10pm slot so let's just pay one and take him well past his 15 minutes." Still, he could have said no. Did Johnny Carson keep milking that pig? NO... Sorry Jay, time to go.


Twilight & Vampires


Now before Lea in SC throws an aneurysm, let me define this one a little differently. I don't think Twilight's time has come and gone, but we're close if you don't hurry up and launch this damn movie. Was the first movie good? Yeah, it was OK.... if I were a 16 year old girl I may have enjoyed it more as we took incredibly LOOOOOOOONNNNGGGGG boring shots of Kristin Stewart pining inwardly for the vampire boy she wants, but maybe shouldn't have because her hangnail could mean her instant death but her heart will go on blah blah blah.... yeah, young teen love is great, but let's get to more killing.

Anyway, this movie sparked Vampalooza and created so many vampiric spin offs that the market was quickly saturated with a fad that could not last. The first movie was uber-hyped and produced an overall 'meh from much of the world, yet we do want to see the next installment. However, this phenom has hit its apex and Vampire popularity is starting to dwindle. If Twilight wants its moon to stay new, it better launch before we're so tired of Vampires it's not tossed into the same "ho hum" heap that CW's Vampire Diaries was in before it even had a chance to be liked. Twilight, your 15 minutes aren't up, but you're rounding 10 minutes and to reset the clock you need to get going.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Racism is Alive and Well on CTA



Or Two Wrongs Don't Make a Right

I take the X80 Irving Park Bus twice a day five times a week. I also take the Blue Line between Irving Park and Harlem twice a day five times a week. I noticed something about a year ago and since then I've kind of kept a watch on it just out of curiosity and today's incident prompted me to write.

A little back story for the non-Chicagoans. CTA offers an "X" route or eXpress route on some of it's longer and more high traffic routes. Coming from Lakeview's Center of the CTA Bus Universe that is Irving Park Road and the lake, the 80 Irving Park Route is a popular option for getting from my area by the lake to the Blue Line and on to the airport.

The Irving Park 80 route will make approximately 20 stops between Broadway and the Blue Line. The X80 will make approximately 8. So you can see that the X80 is a commuter's best friend! I've been in Chicago long enough that when I first started commuting, there was no X80 as it started in 2004. For the first month or so drivers would stop for people who hadn't quite realized the difference between the 80 and the X80. Then after that they would motor right past them.

Flash forward to the past year. In the mornings I walk to the Broadway stop where there are at least two buses parked at any time. More often than not there is one 80 and one X80. You can easily guess which one I will get on.

Often times you'll see people still at a stop that is not serviced by the X80 and, as they should, the express bus goes right past them. Sometimes, on the rare occasion, the bus WILL stop. I notice these times and I also notice this:

The rider waiting to be picked up is black and the driver is black. OR the rider waiting to be picked up is Hispanic and the driver is Hispanic. I've never seen a driver stop at an undesignated stop for someone of a different racial group. While yes, it's a nice thing to do, two wrongs don't make a right. There are those screaming "Well it's what white people have done for ages!". To those I have two rebuttals; not THIS white person so get off the generalizations, and does that make it right to be done in retaliation?

There are so many things done these days in the name of this "retaliation" that it is clear to me that racism will NEVER fully die. Not as long as it is kept alive by the ones who say they're the victims of it. Once a black woman was making racial slurs toward a white guy. Someone called her a bigot. She said "I'm not a bigot, I'm not white".

I guess it's time for me to go out and persecute and throw rocks and slurs at the straight folks and beat them within an inch of their life so I can tie them to a barbed wire fence to die.

What, that would be wrong??

Thursday, September 24, 2009

The Bad Side of Good News

Today it was announced that a major step forward in the prevention of HIV infection occurred. From MSNBC:
BANGKOK - For the first time, an experimental vaccine has prevented infection with the AIDS virus, a watershed event in the deadly epidemic and a surprising result. Recent failures led many scientists to think such a vaccine might never be possible.

The World Health Organization and the U.N. agency UNAIDS said the results “instilled new hope” in the field of HIV vaccine research, although researchers say it likely is many years before a vaccine might be available.

Today on Facebook a friend posted to my home page the question "What are your thoughts?" along with the link to the MSNBC article above. My first thought was "GREAT!" Then, as you would suspect, the rest of my mind kicked in.

Yes, overall, I'm SUPER pleased! It's a very small step. It was only effective in 30% of the cases and it is really only effective on one of the strains in Thailand. BUT that's all more than we had last year.

What made me even consider a dark cloud about this was the line in the article that says it is likely to be "many years before a vaccine might be available".

There's a vaccine for swine flu coming out this fall
and that pig hit the fan last year!

Why am I bitching about that? Because if in the early 1980's HIV had been touted as the cataclysmic, earth shaking bug that Swine Flu is now, we could be enjoying the fruits of HIV research NOW... not YEARS from now. But because it was first called "Gay Cancer" then called "Gay Related Immunodeficiency Disease" or GRID the general (i.e. religious republicans...) wouldn't touch it. Many were saying it was God's punishment on the Gays.


It was several years and hundreds (if not thousands) of AIDS related deaths after the discovery before our "beloved" president, who is SUPPOSED to represent EVERY American even said the words HIV and AIDS in public. Until then nothing was being done. People were dying and no one in the establishment gave a rat's ass because who's going to miss a few fags out in San Francisco?

A group called ACTUP decided they'd had enough of seeing their friends die; dropping like flies around them. My guess is that less than 10% of the people reading this post truly know what that is like. ACTUP did just that... They acted up! In the joking words of my faux family back in South Carolina they "Showed ass at....." and fill in the blank where applicable.


I don't want to turn this into a rant the length of the Bible, but if you heard me say anything even minutely negative about the great leap forward in AIDS research that we experienced this week, I wanted you to know why. This is a GREAT DAY!!!! I'm just disappointed it couldn't have been August 8, 2001.

So back to the sunshine that today is! It is a great leap forward and we're that much closer to finding a vaccine to prevent and then hopefully one to cure.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Creeping me since 1979

One of the benefits of being in a small town and being a latch key kid (and also being tall for my age since birth) was that occasionally I got to see movies I wouldn't normally be able to. Specifically horror movies.

Now before you start tsk tsking my mom and her parenting ability, there has actually been a very positive outcome from this. After growing up seeing blood, guts and gore in movies, I was essentially desensitized to gore by the time I started working in the Emergency Rooms of my health care career. Broken bones, blood, guts, brains shot out... nothing bothered me to the point of not being able to handle it. Don't get me wrong. I felt for the people, I felt bad and was impacted by these injuries, but the affect was that to this day I can NOT understand people who say (and do) "I faint at the sight of blood" wuss...

So while I join millions who still enter the planet's oceans fearing either sharks or cellos with their forever known duuuuuuh dum..... duuuuuuuh dum. dum dum dum dum dum dum..... ( it's the Jaws tune... work with me) There is another, much more seemingly benign fear that I have to this day as a 43 year old thanks to a horror movie, and that's the fear of 3:15am.

If you didn't see or read The Amityville Horror, you don't know. Part of the story was that the 'evil' of this house continually woke up George Lutz (played by James Brolin) at 3:15am and all sorts of evil would ensue.

There have been times in my life where I would wake up in the middle of the night and it would be 3:13am... and I'd lie there (under the covers) petrified until the clock read 3:16. I'd often give it until 3:20 because who knows, maybe evil missed the L and was running a little late. But still, from the time I saw this movie until last night when I woke up at 4:00am on the dot needing to go to the bathroom I still at the very least NOTICE the time in the middle of the night.

One of the last times my entire family was together before mom passed, I found out through telling the story that my brother MaleSib ALSO had this 315aphobia. My first reaction was I was glad I wasn't the only one. My second was a sense of relief that he never found out until I was an adult because he didn't need any more ammo to scare the bejeezus out of me as a kid! Being the web based tech geek that he is and loves, he was surfing about and found an online auction of pop culture items and sent me a link to a couple of them. The first was a computer panel from Star Trek: First Contact. The second was this:


It's not only A clock reading 3:15, it's THE clock from the movie.... SEE... if he had known I was afraid of 3:15 as a kid he'd have set his clock every night until I was in a padded room!

Luckily the bidding starts at several hundred dollars and a gag gift isn't worth all that. Although, perhaps if we got it we could have a sledge hammer party and bring closure as he said.

But then the hammers would start to bleed, the flies would come out in the winter and some pig's eyes would appear in the broken glass and turn away suddenly with a OINK!

Don't get those last references? Good, that means you'll be sleeping well tonight. Me, I'll be taking some Tylenol PM and not drinking water after 8pm.

Friday, September 18, 2009

OK, I'm back sooner than I thought...


But for good reason!

I'm starting up again to take part in the Susan G. Komen for the Cure 3Day walk in August.

My mom, who you all know if you've read my blog, passed away in 2005 and I really want to do the walk to honor her. So cough it up! (Lea, you're set) I'll be posting on my Walk For Patsy blog as I get ready and there will be a comedy benefit with me, my fellow blogger Stephen and another of our comedy friends and (hopefully) a surprise REAL get-paid-for-it comedian in Chicago in February so if you're local, get ready!

Meanwhile, get out the credit card and help out!
Donation Page

Yes I'm shamelss... go give dangit!

Yes I know.....

It's been forever since I posted. (well, a week in blog time IS close to forever)

Work has been oppressive as we prepare for our annual conference in Anaheim, California. The highlight of which, aside from seeing someone after 6 months, will be finally getting this albatross of a conference over with.

However, I have several postings that I've started, but left unfinished as work pulled me away.


I'm going to turn my United flight 556 into my writer's office and the four hour flight into my catch up time. That... or I'll read Kathy Griffin's new book and laugh annoyingly out loud for my fellow passengers :) Am I sitting with my coworkers? No. They know better than to sit next to the 6'7" person who doesn't fit into anything commercial.


Watch for more posts to pop up after September 26.

If you don't, blame Kathy Griffin

Friday, September 11, 2009

George Patrick McLaughlin

This is a special post for Project 2,996

George Patrick McLaughlin

I hope it’s not too forward of me, someone who’s never met him or had heard his name until this week, to call him Georgie. However after reading about him, Georgie seems to be the name those who loved him used and I would guess, by the smile that I’m sure was everpresent, that he liked Georgie just fine.


Georgie was 36 when his life ended and our lives changed forever as he was one of the 2,996 victims in the September 11 attacks. In honor of Georgie, though, I’d like to think that he and I were a little alike in that while we respected the tragedy, we would both be the kind to try to lighten the mood. I didn’t know him, but I feel that through reading about him and reading the comments posted on various sites to him that I came to know him as I come to know literary figures.


Georgie seemed to be the one that made people laugh, no matter what. I imagine that his time at Matawan Regional High School in Matawan, NJ prepared him for what his mother called “majoring in girls” at Wesley College. Comments of the parties, talks, and Georgie watching out for his friends populate all the comments made through the various Remembrance sites.


The Georgie in my mind was loyal to his friends and family. He had 3 sisters and while not the oldest, I see him as the big brother to all of them. Georgie could be laughing and having a good time in one moment, but switch gears to help someone who had a problem the next moment. How would he help them? Make them laugh. Long talks, pulling them out of the blue mood and making them feel bigger than the problem they had originally experienced. His ability to look after and over people were so strong that people reference his insight and taking care of a recently passed loved one even after Georgie was gone.


Georgie, my fellow Irishman, those you knew miss you greatly, but still smile even if through tears when they think of you. I never had the privilege of meeting you, but I’m glad I had the chance to learn a little about you and form who you were in my mind. I hope I got it right. The world is at a loss without you in it, but it is a comfort to know we have a good hearted man with a sense of humor watching over us.





Monday, August 24, 2009

HOLY COW....

I'm still speechless (no pun intended) at what I just found over at Neatorama.

You can watch The Miracle Worker all you want, but to see Helen Keller HERSELF is moving to me beyond words.

"....wading through a shitstorm of people....."


Yes, it's official.

I'm hooked.

Many people in my life will say "Well duh...." But for some reason I didn't make it to the second episode of Nurse Jackie when it was originally airing. It wasn't because the show wasn't good enough, but timing... my timing... was off.

In this age of "come back and view it later" when you can more often than not go to the website of a show and catch up on episodes, I find myself doing just that. If I miss a premiere episode or a couple just after, I won't try to come back in. Instead, I like to have one of those vegetative days where I just marathon a program, catch up on rest and catch up on the show I've been missing.

Nurse Jackie is nearly every nurse's chance to say "Hell yeah!" because the writer's allow Jackie to say and do the things we were never able to. Don't get me wrong. MUCH of what she's doing is SO very illegal. I even found myself toward the end of my marathon beginning to feel worry because she's going to get in trouble sooner or later. I mean... shave a corner here... OK.... do a little trickery there... well.... gotcha covered. But by the end I'm starting to fear for my OWN non-existent nursing licence!

My fellow blogger RadioPeter is thinking about nursing school. I think that this show is a great primer for wannabe nurses. OK, forget the part about how easy it may seem to steal and freebase Oxycontin (it's not... you WILL get caught) but the real, raw look into what nursing is and what they go through is unapologetically placed on the screen and BAM.. that's it.

In one scene Jackie's nursing student feels like she just can't do the job. Sometimes that's a sign for you to tell the student "Yes, you're right, get the F out now and go into stenography because all YOU want is a doctor husband..." But there are some that you KNOW they have the spirit for it and while the job is crap, you don't want them washed out by it. Jackie lays it out in a line that will be cheered by me for a long time:

What's this about? Nobody ate your muffins? You found an ear in the toilet? So what? You know what this job is honey? This job is wading through a shit storm of people who come into this place on the very worst day of their lives. Just so you know, doctors are here to diagnose, not heal. We heal. All saints is in the business of flipping beds. That's it. End of story. The fact that you have even the slightest inclination to help people puts you miles ahead of 100 percent of the population. So stop crying, okay? Buck up. If you need to cry, go do it in the ladies' room. Is that clear?

Tonight's episode is the season finale. All I can say is I hope Edie Falco is enjoying her hiatus... cuz lady, you better get back to the set soon because if I can't watch you find new ways to incorrectly take your illegal pain meds... I may have to try them myself.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Compassion is as compassion does!

I'm afraid if I went Feisty today all I'd have to complain about is work and that's not good. One thing I will mention is my distaste for the release of a terrorist.
Today, the Scottish justice secretary announced the decision to release the Libyan intelligence officer convicted of taking part in the 1988 bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland. The convicted terrorist, Abdelbaset Ali al-Megrahi, has been diagnosed with terminal cancer, and is being released on “compassionate grounds.”

Did Ali al-Megrahi have any compassion for the people in the plane? Nope. Do I think he should have been released. HELL no. But he was, and he's not going back into prison. The only icing would have been if he'd been shot 2 steps from actually stepping on Libyan soil. Whatever. There's a nice spot in hell for you brillo headed asshat. Enjoy....

But today, while not the happy good weather Friday I'd like to have, does have a pick-me-up to it. Fellow blogger RadioPeter is working his way toward nursing school. Last night we met for dinner so I could regale him with nursing stories and school advice. I hope it's helpful as it is a decade old and from a southern state. He asked "Were you in a union?" and I sat there, chopsticks in mid bite with an undoubtedly dumb gaze as I thought... "uhhhh.. no... didn't know they had those.."

He introduced me to Vietnamese (corrected by Peter! whooops!) food and I gave him my favorite ER gems like the whistling coke bottle and the patient who sat on the fan blade of his riding lawnmower engine.... Equal trade I think. I also learned of a Nurse Jackie marathon and I will be submersing myself into Jackie world this evening and tomorrow as I let my mind recover from this ASS of a week that is ending well with a new friend and a nurse who had it worse than me.

Ain't life grand? :)

Thursday, August 20, 2009

From Bad to Good


I'm in a foul mood today. I'm trying my best to come out of what work has put me in so my usual recourse is Facebook and my favorite blogs. I realized I can't get out of blue funk when I keep seeing Michael Vick and that poor dog so I'm cannibalizing Neatorama for a fun story they just posted.

In honor of the children's game Candyland having its 60th Anniversary, Lombard street in San Francisco was turned into Candyland and several children's benefit organizations brought kids out to enjoy it, interact with characters and have snacks at the end. Very cool idea I believe!

Not enough to pull me out of the mood, but it's a step!

Friday, August 14, 2009

Look! Something Shiny!

Fiesty Friday - ADHD edition

I've not had much of a Fiesty Friday feeling lately, but in the past few days I've been getting inspiration left and right! Time to make up for lost time.... Let's start with:


Are you F-ing kidding me????

Michael Vick is not only out of jail early, but he's also being signed on to the Eagles. He can't play until the NFL lifts his ban, but someone still signed him.

The Eagle's coach said on the news this morning that everyone deserves a second chance. Apparently he knows as many of his team members have criminal records. I agree... people do deserve a second chance.... so do dogs.

Can we tie Vick up naked, pour A1 steak sauce on is wang and let this poor guy below go after him? If we're lucky, the NFL will not lift the ban and he'll be a dead duck. If he DOES get permission to play by November 22 when they come to Chicago to play the Bears... it won't be the Bears that soulless fucker has to worry about. Myself and a whole bunch of other animal rights folks will be looking for a way to make his life hell! (and it won't be pouring beer on him)

Beer? Segue moment!

The Wrigley Beer Thrower
- OR -
Why suburbanites shouldn't be allowed at Cubs Games
(yes, a gross generalization of suburbanites)

My own views on why suburbanites shouldn't be allowed at games stems from their apparent inability to function when it comes to CTA and public transportation.
(We could HONESTLY be half way home before they figure out where to put their money while they juggle their barely hidden beer which IS illegal on CTA no matter what you do out in Wheaton on Metra)
What happened my dear non-Chicagoan readers may ask?

Well, this asshat, J0hnny Macchione from Bartlett, IL comes to the game... He's on Facebook, go hound him!




Gets the DUMBASS idea (like many testosterone + beer addled straight boys with stupid facial hair) to dump beer on this Phillies player as he's going to catch a ball.





THEN, when security comes to take care of the offender, what does this friggin douchebag do? Points his finger at someone else!!!




Causing security to go after the guy in glasses


Then the stupid facial hair, beer tossing, testosterone ridden, fuckwit from Bartlett, let the guy take the fall and disappeared into the crowd.

Now I will give the knuckle-dragger 2 points of credit. He had good aim. If you watch on video how quickly and nonchalantly he tossed the beer, it's a wonder it hit the player so perfectly. The other point of credit, he quickly realized (or someone told him) that on a nationally televised game by a Chicago TV station when an opposing player was about to catch what was about 4 feet from being a Cubs home run, there was PROBABLY a video of him dumping the beer.

He apologized (oh so sincerely.... whatever) on TV and said he was sorry for disgracing the Cubs. You didn't disgrace the Cubs Fuckwit, you disgraced yourself, Bartlett, and other stupid 21 year olds with lame facial hair. The only person who could possibly be happy with your antics was the guy who caught the ball and caused the Cubs a win several years ago. For now the spotlight is off of him... for a moment.

YELLING! - OR - I'd rather be Deaf than listen to more of your bile!

The whole health care and death squads crap makes my head hurt. I'll let my other new BFF explain it better. Take it away Rachel!




and finally on a serious note.....

Why can't it be the bad people?

This reminds me of a story Max's Dad did back in September of 2008 about the senseless death of an innocent. While Taccara Swain is still alive as of this blog post, she's in critical condition after being shot in the head by someone who was having a heated argument with another gang banger in another car on the South Side of Chicago.

Was Taccara hooking on that street? No
Was Taccara out causing trouble on the streets? NO
What was she doing? Walking her 2 year old cousin home after they'd been playing. Taccara heard the shots begin, she bent down to shield the two year old and took a bullet herself.

If the guilty parties are caught, I say tie them up and put them in the same room with Michael Vick when we let the dogs go after them. Then they'll really be singing 'Who let the dogs out!'

Taccara, we're all thinking of you and hoping for a recovery for your physical injuries for now, and, God willing, you live your psychological injuries later.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

What a loss!

EUNICE KENNEDY SHRIVER 1921 - 2009

All the papers keep showing her more recent pictures, but knowing what she did with the Special Olympics I like to think that no matter her age or outside appearance, Eunice still had the heart and drive of the young woman pictured above.

In today's RedEye there was a piece where world leaders expressed their thoughts on the passing of Mrs. Shriver. Her brother, Sen. Edward Kennedy said
"She understood deeply the lesson our mother and father taught us - much is expected of those to whom much as been given. "

Too often that saying would fall flat when those of us regular folks are hit so hard by the economy and we look at the lavish lives the Kennedy family lead. However, with Mrs. Shriver I can see that she truly took this to heart. If you don't believe that, would we ever see pictures of joy and inclusion like the ones below without her?



I had the opportunity to work with the Special Olympics once and these people feel as joyous as Olympians!

Great work Eunice! We'll miss you greatly!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Update-a-palooza!

Hi Everyone, So sorry I've been absent. Between work and life it's been hard to keep up with the blog. No excuse I know, but part of what's kept me from regular posting is I'm actually writing! WOOHOO. I can hear some of you now screaming to see what I'm writing, but patience is a virtue. I will never show you raw writing so you have to wait for me to write it, review it, make some fixes and bring you an almost complete passage. Not that there's not editing suggestions I'll take once I put it out there, but as Stephen King said the first draft is written with the door closed. The door is closed people!

I will say that I've been surprised that some of my fears about writing have been alleviated. Some instructional books and famous authors say that they spend time writing out character profiles, outlining the story then filling in the detail after all the pre-emptory homework. Others (like my new BFF Stephen King) say that they just start writing and it comes. Mr. King said he doesn't write the story as much as his characters create the story and tell him about themselves and he trusts them, the characters, to tell him about themselves. When I initially read that, I thought it must be a trait that comes after years of consulting the writing muse. Just yesterday I started writing a new piece and surprisingly the story just started unfolding. I see the story happening in my imagination and I've been surprised to see the story taking turns that I hadn't thought of on my own. It's quite exciting!

So stay tuned for some short stories that will either appear here or in a brother-blog.

Even though I've been writing, I've still been annoyed enough to post my rants here so let me catch up on some.WHO
THE F*CK
CARES????
Why are we still paying attention to these baby factories? They divorced, someone cheated, the kids squeal, eat and poop? WHO CARES? This morning as I was watching the NBC news they said NBC staffers in New York stated that when Kate was a guest on the Today show she was one of the worst guests, that she cursed like a drunken sailor and when the camera was moving to take a shot of her entourage she threatened to walk off the show. Merideth Viera denied this, but I have a feeling there's a little truth in there.

I can't wait til their 15 minutes are LONG since over!

Thursday, August 6, 2009

... for that OMG moment...

I've never watched Gossip Girl. Even before it started it sounded sophomoric. I have absolutely no clue what the show is about. I couldn't name one person who stars in it. The only thing I know that came out of it is the OMG phenomenon and how every product or service aimed at tween and early teen girls has used it somehow.

and now I will too, but in a completely unrelated way. (its my blog, just go with it)

Several weeks ago I wanted to find an image that was related to Clemson University (where I went to college if you didn't know) or Tiger Band to use as my profile image on Facebook for a change. I came across a picture that was impressive; a tattoo on a guy's back in the shape of a tiger paw with the tiger face inside it.

Nice art work, right?

So today (even as I type this) I'm on a conference call where my only contribution is to start the call and then convert oxygen into carbon dioxide. I've been surfing the web for the past hour and I found a site with about 50 + lists ranging from 15 Worst Plastic Surgeries, 20 Unbelievable Human Medical Conditions to 15 facts you didn't know about your body (did you know the human body can produce aspirin on its own? It's a FACT!)

My OMG moment came when I clicked on the list called "Another 10 Misspelled Tattoos".....



OH

MY

GOD!

I'll even throw in a WTF for this one.

When I got my tattoo it was illegal to get tattoos in South Carolina. (I drove an hour north and was in North Carolina.. so there you Bible thumping blue law freakshows!) But now the laws have changed and you can. Perhaps they may have needed a spelling test for certification.... I don't know... .but the only reason I could possibly think of for a South Carolina person not to be able to spell Clemson properly is that they were a USC GAMECOCK FAN! (Clemson's century old rival) or really hated this poor boy.

Perhaps he went out of state... perhaps he went west of the Mississippi or however far you have to get away from the southeast or eastern seaboard to not have heard of ClemSON. Hell, even the name Clemmons has two "m"s in it.

The back piece is beautiful, the tiger paw still has me in awe of the artwork. But this child is scarred for life and I KNOW the University won't change its name to help him.

I bet he was a Kappa Sig....

Monday, August 3, 2009

... whilst Deirdre' wept cool tears...


I've been doing my due diligence with my writing and learning what I can where I can. I've learned a lot and hope to be successful from taking the advice of people who know, even if they seem an unlikely source for that knowledge. I've discovered something through the advice though;

Like the TLC show "What Not to Wear" I think there should be a show called "What Not to Write". Sadly, many of the people who need this valuable lesson probably see themselves as too professional to need the advice.

Such is a writer for the Los Angeles Times, Shari Roan.

Shari wrote a piece that appeared in today's issue about a little boy, born deaf, that has received cochlear implants . While her article offers hope for the boy, and I'm happy for him, she apparently was absent the day they taught the lesson "make sure your article and title don't piss off people" The initial title on this article is "The Sound of One Boy Healing". The subsequent title is "Cochlear implants open deaf kids' ears to the world"

Lesson 1: Healing. Was his hearing loss due to an injury? Nope, he was born deaf. It happens. He's healing from surgery yes, but the title alone, as it always has, makes deafness sound like an illness. If you believe that, I have about 8,000 people in the Chicago area alone that I can text and have them share with you how wrong that is.

Lesson 2: This is nitpicky, but I'm pissed so I can be nitpicky. "...open deaf kids' ears to the world" If you paid attention to the "how the implants work" section in your own article, Ms. Roan, you'd see that the technology bypasses the ear entirely. So there! NYEAHHHH!

Lesson three: Not a "What Not to Write" but just a point to my readers who may not know. The father of the child says:
"We just want him to hear," says his father, Michael, 38, a registered nurse, on an October day at the couple's town house in Harbor City. "We want him to be independent."
Talk about pigeon-holing your kid early?!?! I guess I had better tell my Deaf friend Raymond who owns the largest interpreting and Deaf services agency in Chicago who just purchased a vacation home in Michigan, owns a gorgeous condo and just bought a nice new Lexus that he better give it all back since being deaf means not being able to fend for yourself. And a NURSE said that....

Lesson Four: Wouldn't it be simpler to say...?
This reminded me of a bit in "Auntie Mame" when she's writing her memoirs with a wordy ghost writer:
"I wonder if the general public is going to understand all this symbolism. (She reads) 'Like an echo from the caves of Coccamaura, I came forth whilst Deirdre wept cool tears.' Wouldn't it be simpler to say, 'On the day I was born, it rained in Buffalo?'"
Yes, Ms. Roan, instead of your sensationalizing with "some sliver of the racket... can penetrate his brain" wouldn't it be simpler to say "He can hear"? (thanks Just Kevin for the reference!)

Anyway, I will tip my hat to Ms. Roan for one thing. As I found out in my short and ill-fated job when I lived in Southern California, nothing is a complete waste. If nothing else, from that job, I learned what NOT to do in convention & event planning. As with Ms. Roan, (and as if I didn't know this already... called common sense) I have strengthened my knowledge of What Not to Write!

Thursday, July 23, 2009

And Stephen King is the key.....

I've always been amazed at people who've been at their jobs for 15, 25, 30 or more years. My personal best was 5 years at Roper Hospital in Charleston, SC. That's not to say I'm flighty with jobs, but between downsizing, changing careers, etc. I've just been a bit of a nomad.

While security is a great thing, I think I was meant to be one of those people who wasn't necessarily meant to stay in one career path or one place for good. I may have had a longer tenure with a company if I hadn't had such a burning curiosity for a variety of things. Even growing up this was the case. I couldn't be in band and on day one play the tenor sax and end my musical life on tenor sax. I explored everything and now I've played (or played at) tenor, alto, soprano sax, clarinet, bass clarinet, flute, Irish fiddle, didgeridoo and had a fun stint with rifle/color guard.

My career has seen the same multi-interest translate into new careers. Sign Language interpreting, medical technology, nursing, convention planning, etc. And now, while this isn't a career change, I am finally looking to pay long-absent attention to a creative skill I've seemed to always enjoy, but didn't realize I was always enjoying it. I like writing.

I don't plan to hash out the great American novel or even have writing a novel as a goal, but it could happen. As with any new topic my mind sparks an interest in, I first started with the Dummies books. As usual, it was a great overview and skimming of not only the writing process, but the business side as well. There were references to other books galore, but one that stuck out in my mind was Stephen King's On Writing. I started reading it this past week and I'm really impressed and surprised by this book. It's so conversational you feel as if he's sitting with you.

If you like Stephen King's fiction in the past get this book if you haven't read it already. The first nearly half of the book is almost a biography, but you see in his biography where his past created his future. The portion on where the idea(s) for Carrie came from out of his being a janitor in a high school were informative. Especially how it almost wasn't written.

So building on his very first bit of advice from writer and fellow blogger SueBob (who I get the extreme pleasure of meeting face to face this week while she's attending BlogHer here in Chicago!) I'll be adding Stephen King's fun and not so fun advice. I hope to start sharing some work, both old and new, with you soon.