Tuesday, September 22, 2009

tick tock tober

In a way, I'm glad I got the flu when I did. It was a shame to miss several events over the weekend but it would have been worse if I had gotten sick a week or a month later. My October will be exceptionally busy.

The excitement starts later this week when I start an eight-week class at the FBI Citizens Academy. On one October weekend, we will take a field trip to the firing range. My uncle served in the FBI for many years. He and I will have a lot to talk about when I travel to Norfolk for a family wedding on another October weekend.

I was happy that my work schedule will allow me to emcee a great event in Virginia on October 10th. My friend Maureen is organizing the Ride for the Cure at her horse farm in Middleburg. Three celebrities I know have donated items to the silent auction. Thanks go to Jimmy Kimmel, Susan Olsen and Richard Cheese. By the way, Susan tells me that she already mailed off an autographed book to the auction before her son's cat used her last four books (including my copy) as a litter box.

I've already written about my plans to attend the screening of "Fish Bait" at Flat Hollow Marina & Resort on October 24. We are also going to attempt to participate in "Thrill the World," the worldwide "Thriller" dance. Director Jeff Joslin emailed me today to say that he is working on lining up a venue for a screening and party in Knoxville on Friday the 23rd.

With all this activity, there has to be something I will miss. Because of my commitment to the FBI Citizens Academy and because my wife will be singing at a wedding, we cannot attend her college reunion weekend at James Madison University. One of our favorite bands from our college days is reuniting for the event. The Skip Castro Band is playing a gig called "Boogie at Midlife."

But wait, there's more. I'm still undecided about whether or not I will attend the Knoxville Snuggie Pub Crawl on October 17th. What do you think? Obviously, I have the uniform of the day.

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Saturday, September 19, 2009

virtual reality

Most people in Knoxville probably planned on staying inside today and watching the Tennessee at Florida game on CBS. A few people might switch over to NBC to see if former Knoxville Catholic star Harrison Smith makes some tackles for the Fighting Irish as they take on Webb Michigan State. My wife occasionally flipped over to ABC to see if the Nebraska band got any screen time while at Virginia Tech. A college classmate of hers directs the Marching Red.

Yesterday, I was told I had tested positive for flu. I feel like I only have a cold and fortunately haven't had a fever. That could be thanks to the Tamiflu or the Mucinex D or the ibuprofen I've been taking. The physician's assistant in training told me to get plenty of rest and fluids. As a result, I didn't go to any of the many things happening today.

Although I wouldn't have danced myself, I would have tried to watch some of the Rocky Top Dance Challenge at the downtown Marriott. I also had thought about dropping in on the Hola Festival at Market Square or maybe even Greekfest at St. George Greek Orthodox Church. While sitting on my couch, I can revisit the events via my blog posts mentioning the Hola Festival in 2006 and Greekfest in 2005.

My illness has also caused me to cancel dinner plans for tomorrow night. My wife and I were invited to a friend's house. It's a shame because he's an excellent cook. It was again our responsibility to bring dessert and I had decided to try a slight variation of a recipe that intrigued me over a year ago. When we reschedule, I will finally get to taste some brownies with a swirl of Roasted Raspberry Chipotle Sauce substituting for the same company's blackberry sauce.

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Friday, September 18, 2009

toot toot yeah retweet

The 287 friends, listeners and spammers who decided to follow my feeds on Twitter in the past five weeks may be disappointed with today's blog post. This afternoon a physician's assistant in training told me that I tested positive for flu and that I should rest. While I was waiting to be seen, I read the USA Today and used my fancy new QWERTY phone to post random stuff on Twitter. I know it's a cop out, but the best thing for me to do tonight is recycle those thoughts. I'll give you a few from last night too.

You may notice in one of the items that I have decided to bring back the eighteenth and nineteenth century abbreviation for et cetera. It saves one whole character, which means something when Twitter only allows you 140 of them. That sounds like something Andy Rooney might say if he were on Twitter. There are a few parodies of him, if you're interested.
  • I'm thinking about doing a #FollowFriday tomorrow but I'm concerned that you'll say "duh, I already know about all those people."

  • Best quote about #theoffice - "If you don't know a @MichaelScott, you are a @MichaelScott."

  • Why is #Survivor in black & white? Are they back in Kansas?

  • What is wrong with me? How did I forget that Pam is pregnant on #theoffice?

  • So there's not another person inside Kevin on #theoffice? That was just gossip? So confusing!

  • My wife remembers from last season of #theoffice that Pam couldn't get x-rayed after getting injured playing volleyball. Aha!

  • Thanks Dave for the Kanye-licious link! RT @RavinDave Hey Frank, check out http://tinyurl.com/m2rec2 I promise you'll get a kick outta it.

  • What the heck.. #FF @celebritydeaths @knoxtweetlunch @FrankStrovel @caswalker @volsHannah @niftykrisha @AllAccess @JohnHudgens @Helen_Keller

  • My wife is sick, my boss is sick and I'm starting to get a runny nose, &c. I'm in the doctor's cough-filled waiting room now.

  • Hey Robert Bianco at USA Today, you used "churlish" twice on the same page (7D) today. Just so you know.

  • This is weird but my favorite part of USA Today is the NFL announcer listings on Fridays. Sam Rosen & Tim Ryan will call the #Redskins game.

  • I wonder if Fox Sports broke up the team of Dick Stockton, Moose Johnston & Tony Siragusa because Goose would say, "thanks Moose, Dick..."

  • Best #NFL announcing teams? Buck & Aikman; Nantz & Simms; and for nostalgia, Enberg & Fouts. Sorry Al Michaels, you're not on my list.

  • Hey @clydetombaugh, may I borrow your copy of Tim McCarver's new CD?

  • According to the student physician's assistant, I tested positive for type A flu, like my wife. It is not the fashionable H1N1 strain.

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Monday, August 03, 2009

what happens in vagus…

Now that it's a month later, it's obvious that there were no lasting side effects. However three-and-a-half hours into our road trip, we almost called off our vacation to New England. I was riding in the back seat of our CR-V with my feet up on a cooler. When I shifted positions, my left leg cramped up. The pain was so bad that I couldn't speak. There wasn't much room for me to stretch my calf muscle. When the pain eased some, I told my wife and son that I felt lightheaded.

The next thing I knew, my son was saying "Dad, Dad can you hear me?" It was like he was trying to wake me from a deep sleep. I had passed out. By this point, my wife had already taken the next exit on I-81. We were somewhere in the vicinity of Radford, Virginia.

In addition to being lightheaded, I now felt nauseous . My wife called GOOG-411 to find the closest hospital. She couldn't tell them where to look because we didn't know exactly where we were. She had pulled into the parking lot of an office building with no visible landmarks. She called her brother, who was able to access the Internet and give her directions to the New River Valley Medical Center in Christiansburg.

While my wife was on the phone, I laid down on the back seat with both doors open. The cool air felt refreshing and I didn't want to get up. The late David Bloom was on our minds although I thought I had walked around enough at our last bathroom stop to prevent a deep vein thrombosis. I silently said a bunch of Hail Marys, with an emphasis on the line "now and at the hour of our death," just in case.

When we got to the hospital, I got into a wheelchair and was pushed into the emergency room. I was tired and thirsty and honestly thought I might get out of there with a diagnosis of "dehydration and exhaustion." They eventually gave me a bag of saline solution and some anti-nausea medicine that they normally give to chemo patients. The nurse didn't get it when I joked, "you don't mess with the Zofran."

They asked my wife and son if I looked pale when I fainted. It was hard to tell because I had gone to Sun Tan City the night before to get a VersaSpa treatment. Later, when they peeled the EKG electrodes off my chest, a layer of tan came off too.

When the doctor asked me what day it was, I confidently replied "Friday." Wrong. It was Thursday. In my defense, the last thing I did before leaving work on Thursday was to voice-track Friday’s midday shift. I recorded several announcements saying it was Friday and to meet the station staff "today" at a contest registration event.

The doctor diagnosed my incident as a vasovagal syncope. The intense pain caused my heartbeat to slow down. I wasn't getting enough blood to my brain and I passed out. Apparently something, possibly my swimming, has lowered my resting heart rate. The pulse oximeter showed my heart rate to be around 58 beats per minute. Reclining in the hospital must have gotten the blood flowing back to my brain because I thought of the title for this blog post while lying on the bed.

In talking with the doctor, we realized that this had happened to me once before. Several years ago I was trying to help my father-in-law replace the InSinkErator in our Dale City townhouse. We were about to put the house on the market for our move to Burbank. While trying to remove the old disposal, a shard of plastic broke off and punctured my right palm. There was very little blood but a lot of pain. I felt lightheaded and nauseous so I went into the bathroom to throw up. Instead I passed out. I woke up to the upside-down sight of Aunt Dee headed toward me on her walker to take my pulse.

By the time we left the hospital, it was too late to continue driving to my mother's house in Northern Virginia as planned. We went to a Denny's but I was nauseous again and had no appetite. A full night's sleep at the nearby Holiday Inn Express cured me and I was able to enjoy their complimentary continental breakfast. We re-routed our trip from there directly to Saugerties, with a stop for lunch in Hershey.

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Friday, January 23, 2009

the backwards robe

This hasn't been the best week for me. I've been fighting a cold, which started with a sore throat the night before the second performance of the cantata at All Saints Church. Plus I was saddened by the anniversary of my father's death on Wednesday and by the news today that a co-worker died after a long illness. There were a couple of other things too. On the plus side, I was asked to sponsor a candidate in the RCIA at Sacred Heart Cathedral and I got to go to the circus.

Late Tuesday night, my wife and I went to Walgreens to buy me some more decongestant. While the pharmacist was checking our driver's licenses, I was looking at the "As Seen On TV" shelf. I decided to buy the item my wife has been wanting since she first saw the commercial. And although it's hers, she let me try on her brand new Snuggie.

It reminds me of a choir robe, a hospital gown and an airline blanket. It's fairly thin, which became obvious when I held it up to a light. Apparently there is also a product called the Slanket, which claims to be thicker and is considerably more expensive than the $14.95 we paid for the Snuggie at Walgreens. Unlike the TV commercial, we only had to buy one Snuggie and didn't have to pay an extra $7.95 each for shipping and handling. We still got the bonus book light, as promised on the box.

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Wednesday, December 03, 2008

and party every day

There's an old joke that says Jews don't recognize Jesus, Protestants don't recognize the Pope and Baptists don't recognize each other in the liquor store. Which is why it's funny that two former Baptists I know both sing the praises of a liqueur called Rock & Rye.

The two women do not know each other. Both are very active in their respective church choirs. They take a little Rock & Rye if they have a sore throat the night before they have to make their joyful noise. I thought that maybe it was a Southern thing but I found a reference to the use of the liqueur as a cold remedy in a 1934 New Yorker article.

My wife bought a small bottle of the drink a few years ago. I never tried it until recently when I had a mild cold that didn't respond to Nyquil. I finished off our old bottle which meant there was none left when my wife needed some a few days later. That's how I found myself in two liquor stores, looking for a replacement bottle.

I couldn't remember the brand name of the bottle we had at home. I just knew that it had an orange rind in the bottom. The first store had small bottles of Leroux Rock & Rye, which had no orange rind. I drove over to Bob's Package Store and found a small bottle of Leroux and several large bottles of Mr. Boston Rock & Rye. It had the rind but I didn't think I needed a bottle that big. I got the bigger bottle not only for the rind but because I recognized the picture of Mr. Boston. However I didn't see any people I knew, Baptist or otherwise.

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Sunday, June 03, 2007


"Knocked Up" did well enough to take a strong second place at the box office this weekend. To beat the opening weekend crowds, we arrived at the theater at 3:00 this afternoon. Instead of buying tickets for the 3:05 show, we chose the 3:30 show and were the first people in that auditorium. The movie is very, very funny. It drags just a little when the married sister becomes suspicious of her husband but that fight sets up some good comedy down the road.

I am always amazed by the parents who choose to bring their underage children to R-rated movies. Today I saw one mother get up and walk her child out after a particularly descriptive exchange about the bedroom misunderstanding that results in the title pregnancy. In addition to the sex and profanities, the movie is full of drug use. To me, the pot smoking was excessive but the combination of mushrooms and Cirque du Soleil was hysterical. I saw one of their shows years ago in a tent on the beach in Santa Monica and hated it.

Two or three of the stoner characters get the pinkeye in a brief scene. Their theory on how they got sick makes me wonder what I might have touched at the place where I came down with it. Although my doctor wasn't sure if I had the bacterial or the allergy-associated pinkeye.

While we're on the subject of cinema, let me say that the MTV Movie Awards seemed like a giant commercial for "Transformers." I usually love parodies but the viewer submitted clip for "United 300" was in questionable taste.

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Tuesday, April 10, 2007

avoid rubbing

Tonight was the first time I had to miss an Einstein Simplified performance due to illness. More on that later.

As an improv fan, I like the concept of "Thank God You're Here" but I didn't love the execution. The celebrity who walks into a scene had to completely improvise but the rest of the cast stubbornly stuck to their scripted outline even if it meant denying the improviser, a cardinal sin of the genre. I started liking the show a little better when I began to think of it as a fleshed out version of an improv game called "Every Other Line." A reviewer for TV Squad pointed out several specific examples of the denials that drove me crazy.

Since I was at home tonight, I watched "American Idol" and "Dancing with the Stars" in real time. That reminds me, what were Lance Bass and Alfonso Ribeiro doing together in the audience during Monday night's dancing show? Maybe they were doing some belated joint promotion for their 2005 made-for-TV movie "Lovewrecked." I did a Google Blog Search and found only one other person in the blogosphere who also noticed them. During tonight's Big & Rich performance (with special guest Drew Lachey), I called WATE to complain that the broadcast was not in HD. Like any red-blooded American male, I wanted to see Cheryl Burke fill the screen. A nice man in the control room told me it was not his fault, it was a network problem. Nobody else could see the show in HD either. While I had him on the phone, I got a chance to mention a pet peeve. I told him that I didn't like the way they always switch back to SD a couple of seconds too soon before airing local commercials during "Lost."

During the commercial breaks in tonight's shows, I sent invitations to join LinkedIn to a few people whose email addresses I didn't have handy when I first registered with the site. I now have 39 connections. But I also have 179 outstanding invitations.

Yesterday my wife, our son and I rode the Mystery Mine, the fantastic new roller coaster at Dollywood. After the ride, we had lunch and then went to see "Rhythm of the Dance" in the same theatre where I had seen the Fercos Brothers last July. There must be something soothing about the sound of pounding Irish feet because just like when I went to see "Riverdance" in LA, all I wanted to do was relax and go to sleep. At the end of the show, I could barely get my eyes open. That's when I first suspected that I had the pinkeye!

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