The Day My Life Changed – Part 11: Don’t Look at Your Own Head Scan Without a Pro

If you missed my experience with the MRI on Friday, it’s right here in Part 10.

So obviously, when we got home with the disk, we threw it in a laptop drive to see what we could see, like The Bear that Went Over the Mountain. The software to read the scan files was on the disk along with all of the scan files. Convenient. So, we looked at my brain. It looked like a brain. But, paranoia drew my eyes to the asymmetry.

“There’s this cavity on both sides of my brain, but it’s slightly larger on the left than the right! What does it mean? WHAT DOES IT MEAN?!?”

“…” Jennifer, “maybe it means your brain is broken and you’re insane.”

“That’s not really up for question, though, is it?”

When Jennifer drove me in for my EEG, I was obviously getting tired of tests, but trying to be a good sport and find the entertainment value. They’d told me that I had to get up at 6:00, no coffee, fast, and go in with clean hair, because they were going to stick a bunch of probes on my head. I did them one better and shaved my head the night before. The waiting room was small. Everything felt small. I felt small. There was another couple in the waiting room. He had one of those old lady walkers with the seat, and he was on an oxygen bottle. There was also a plant in the waiting room. I’m pretty sure there were magazines, but nothing that I wanted to read. After what seemed like an eternity waiting, I got called in. The tech/nurse/professional (I don’t even know what to call these people anymore) was a cute little black gal. She led the two of us to the testing room and directed me to a chair. Before she started wiring me up, she told Jennifer that she’d have to go back to the waiting room.

She started attaching the little sticky probe pads to my head, “clean shaved, making my day!”

“Well,” I said, “I usually keep it shaved. I was getting a little fuzzy, and I thought this might make your job easier.”

I knew that they’d put probes on my head. I do have Google, after all. But, I was thinking like six to eight probes. It took her a good twenty minutes to wire me up, because she stuck no fewer than a bajillion of those little sticker probes all over my head, my face, my neck, my chest… Why are you probing my nipples to scan my brain? the first part of the test was clearly to get me relaxed. She turned the lights off and told me to close my eyes. Get your brain out of the gutter. She did NOT light candles NOR put on romantic music. Next, I was instructed to hyperventilate. This also made sense. Brain, sleep deprived, no caffeine, relaxing, oxygenated. Sure, if they’re going to induce a seizure-like state so they can scan my brainwaves through my nipples, then all else they’d need is flashing lights, right? Oh. So, that was the next step. She had me close my eyes again and there was a strobe in my face that went at various intervals. The pattern got to the point that I knew what interval was coming next. Although my eyes were closed, the strobe was intense enough to see through my eyelids. Once the test was finally done, Jennifer drove me home.

I talked to Doc Neuro. He had The Disk in his computer in the examination room. We may or may not have copied said disk. Hey, we paid a lot of money for that disk! Spinning his mouse wheel, he noted, “yeah, your brain looks normal. It looks fine. And, these images are sharp! I can see you’ve got some sinus congestion, but you live in Oklahoma, and most of us have sinus congestion this time of year. I can prescribe something for that, if you’d like.”

To see what happened next, come back tomorrow for Part 12.

The Day My Life Changed – Part 7: Emergency Room

If you weren’t here yesterday, you find out how I got to the Emergency Room in Part 6.

The EMTs wheeled me through the ER, down the hall, past all the rooms, to a strange little room in the very back. The room had white tile on the floor, and the walls were tiled to the ceiling. There was a second door that looked like it went straight outdoors. It looked like it might have been an operating room for the ER? Yikes! Please don’t cut me open today.

They unstrapped me from the stretcher, which was faint relief, and I was instructed to strip down and put on the hospital gown. Interesting. I’ve never had to wear one of these before. As I said in the beginning, I’d never really been admitted to a hospital. Like the EMTs, the ER staff people were all awesome. The doctor was a little Filipino man. He spoke to me deliberately and slowly. There was a nurse with a Latin accent who took my vitals and info. She was really sweet. Somebody put one of those flexible plastic needles in my arm and took blood, and pumped me full of Ativan and who knows what. That’s when things got interesting.

I was needing to use the restroom already. I’d been eyeing the restroom attached to the treatment room, but I was in the bed, in nothing but my backwards cape, and I didn’t want anyone to yell at me for trying to climb out of bed with a crapton of Ativan flowing through my veins. So, when the nurse brought me a bottle and asked me to pee in it, all I could manage to say was, “thank God, yes! I need to go!” They stole some of my blood. Then, this young dude with a northern-ish midwest accent came in with an X-Ray machine. Like everyone else, this tech was very pleasant and likable. The machine looked like freaking Glados from Portal 2 on wheels. Dude introduced himself and started adjusting Glados, snapping her joints into position, each detent clicking loudly into its lock. The drugs were doing a number on my perception by this point, and the lens head on the machine looked like Oleg Volk in a fever nightmare. They had shewed Jennifer out of the room by this point. Because radiation, doncha know.

He draped a lead blanket over my hips, from navel to knees, and commented, “that’s to protect your boys from the radiation.”

“Hey, I appreciate that,” me, not knowing what else to say. But, “I appreciate that?” Really?

So, he snapped a few shots of the inside of my chest, took back his testicle blanket, collapsed Glados, and wheeled her away, just like that.

Next, they wheeled me to the CT scan. “Computed tomography,” for those of you who might not already know. I’ve been told after the fact that you’re not supposed to look into those things. They either didn’t tell me at the time or I was so high on the ER goofballs that I didn’t understand. But, I watched those red lights with fascination. That was COOL! I’ve also been told after the fact that the red lights don’t exactly move so much. But, I swear, they were spinning clear around my head. Or, that’s what I saw, anyway. They told me that they were going to give me an injection of contrast fluid for a second round with the CT scan.

“Is this the stuff that makes you feel funny?” I asked with as much vagueness as should be expected from the sedatives.

“Um, yes,” the nurse/tech said, with great patience, “some people say it feels like you need to pee.”

“Yeah, okay. I’ve heard of that,” I mumbled.

So, she took this CAULK TUBE! I swear, this tube of contrast fluid was a good inch and a half in diameter and at least six inches long! And, when she injected it through the needle that was still hanging out of my arm, it felt thick going in. If the blood in your veins has a viscosity like watch oil, this stuff was like 80-weight gear grease. It only took a second before I felt it through my body. It didn’t make me feel like I needed to pee so much, but I get why people say that. It was more like everything got warm all of a sudden; not like going into a warm room, but from the inside. Suffice it to say, it was weird. They stuck my head back in the CT scanner for yet another dose of radiation, and spinning red lights, that aren’t really spinning, that you aren’t supposed to look at anyway. For a huge chunk of this time, they’d wired me for sound and had me hooked up to the EKG. I watched that for a while and tried to consciously change my vitals to freak out some pros. I’d been able to do this before, but it wasn’t working for me that particular day, for some strange reason.

Doc told me that I couldn’t drive. Initially, I thought this was medical advice. I wasn’t about to try after all that medication. But, in Oklahoma you can’t legally drive for six months after a seizure. Without looking up the actual code, it reads something to the effect of “losing consciousness involuntarily,” which is kind of stupid. So, if Party 1 puts a sleeper hold on Party 2, then Party 2 can’t drive for six months? That just doesn’t seem right. Doc also told me that I needed to see a neurologist. The EMTs and nurses had pre-warned me about this, and also warned me that it could take up to six months to get an appointment with a neurologist, and I’d probably have a similar wait for a subsequent MRI. Doc recommended a couple of names to see for a neurologist. As it turns out, we personally know one of the neurologists he recommended! I’ll tell you more about that in a bit.

Jennifer asked Doc, “We are scheduled to work a convention at the Fairgrounds over the weekend. Is he okay to do that?”

Doc paused, “Um… Yes, as long as he feels up to that, it should be okay. But, only if he feels up to it.”

“I will…” I don’t think anyone actually heard me.

At some point in all of this, I called my parents. I vaguely remember talking to them. I was high as a kite. I told them that I’d had a major seizure, but I was okay. I’m in the ER, but I think they’re going to let me go, so they don’t need to come or anything, I just wanted to let them know what was going on. No biggie, right? They were right there before I knew it, of course. At the beginning of the year, we switched our medical insurance from a PPO (I think) to an HSA. The deductible is a lot higher on the HSA, but the hook is that it will totally pay off in the long run if you don’t need to use the major medical anytime soon. Like, yeah. It’s way worth it just as long as you don’t have to have an expensive ER visit because your stupid brain decides to reboot all of a sudden. Because when you’ve been paying into your HSA for long enough, nothing comes out of pocket anymore. The deductible, co-pays, everything comes out of your Health Savings Account, as long as you’ve paid into it. But, if you only started a few months ago, and your head freaking blue-screens on you, you’re up a creek. Fortunately, the cute little Latina nurse gave us paperwork for an application for an interest-free loan. I was in no position to sign off on it, but Jennifer’s signature was good enough, apparently. As long as we pay it off in seven years, it should be good. We weren’t on the hook for nearly as much as I was afraid, and we can pay the loan pre-tax. I can think of a whole bunch of stuff I’d rather spend that kind of money on, but it will be alright. *Humph.* So, since my parents were still at the hospital when they discharged me, and our car was still at the Fairgrounds, they gave us a ride home. I slept the sleep of the gods that night.

Tomorrow, I’ll tell you how the rest of the weekend went in Part 8.

The Day My Life Changed – Part 6: Ambulance Ride

If you didn’t tune in on Friday, go to Part 5, to read about when I got to meet the nice EMTs.

So, the nice EMTs strapped me down to their gurney, which sucked. And then, they clamped said gurney into the back of the ambulance, which sucked more. And then, we got out into traffic, which sucked even more than that. Have you ever noticed how a-holes in traffic will bulldog you and then whip around you if you’re not going fast enough for them? Have you ever seen how they’ll do that even worse to emergency vehicles? When they have you immobilized in the back of that big white taxi, you are facing the back of the rig, right through the big window in that back door, so you get a close-and-personal view of said a-holes. And, I couldn’t even move around. It was horrible. At least Jennifer rode in the ambulance with me. The EMTs were really nice, even if they did laugh at my vocal protestations on the other idiots on the road. Goatee dude was driving. The gal stuck needles in my arm. I’m not sure whether I was being medicated, blood drawn, checked for glucose, or what.

“How are you doing back there?” asked the driver.

“Do you really have to ask?”

The EMTs laughed. They were seriously awesome. I felt like I was being laughed at, but I was not offended.

He asked, “what’s your name?”

“EVYL ROBOT.”

“Do you know what year it is?”

This time I knew, “2017.”

“Do you know who the president is?”

*deep sigh* “Donald JAAAAAYYYY Trump!”

There was more laughter. That can’t be an easy job. It’s nice to see people who enjoy the work, in whatever industry. That was actually what I was thinking when I finally got distracted from the other idiots on the road. Thanks be on High, the ride to the hospital went fairly quickly. But, that’s when the next exciting batch of funs started.

And, you’ll get to read about that tomorrow, in Part 7.

The Day My Life Changed – Part 4: The Event

If you haven’t read about the drive to the Fairgrounds in Part 3, you really should.

We had set up a table in the volunteer break room specifically for the photo team. There were tables all around the room, prepped for the convention. We had a floor map taped to the wall so we could physically check off which artists and vendors we had taken pictures of. Snacks and drinks sprawled across two tables for the volunteers. Jennifer had already told me several times that I didn’t look right and I should sit down and take it easy, but I’d have none of that. Work through it, you know?

Several years ago, there was another con that was an absolute disaster; not our con, mind you. The attendance was pathetic and a feature they had was a “ball pit,” which consisted of a small kiddy pool with the plastic balls in it. Their few exhibitors were understandably dissatisfied, so the con offered them “complimentary time in the ball pit” as consolation. It was so funny to us that our people set up a small ball pit in our volunteer room. Ours was an inflatable unit with net walls, big enough for two adults to lay down in, or several children to play in.

This is when my memory starts to get a little spotty. A lot of the central event memories only came back to me later, for what that’s worth. It was weird to have the memories start filling out in the weeks after. But, I’m two-thousand words into this already, and I’m only just now getting to the point, so I should digress. What I’ll give you next is the complete memory as it is now, rather than feed it I perceived it flowing back to me. If that makes any sense at all.

I was in the break room at about 2:00 p.m., helping another volunteer set up the aforementioned ball pit. The fixture itself is packaged in a nylon bag like a camping tent. We spread it out on the floor, and there was an air pump to keep it inflated like a bouncy house. I remember spreading it out, and either he or I attached the air pump. Then, I remember leaning over to straighten out some of the material as it inflated, and things went black. Do you know what it feels like when you stand up too fast and you see stars or sometimes black? That’s what it felt like, but I didn’t get up from it. It felt like being sick, and then nothing.

Tomorrow, we’ll hear about how it felt to come to in Part 5.

The Day My Life Changed – Part 3: The Truck

Here’s a link to Part 2, in case you missed it.

So, I drove the stupid truck. The weather sucked. It wasn’t exactly raining so much as misting. It was like Peru rain; just enough to run the wipers and make the road slick. In a truck that I was unfamiliar with that weighs like a million pounds. With an uneven load in it. Because the guys who loaded it don’t move stuff for a living (not a slam, God love them), but are a bunch of retail employees, accountants, and bankers. And, it was really windy. In a box truck. With the aerodynamics of a sail boat. I kept sipping on my Coke, trying to stay relaxed, despite feeling the load settling, and the wind rocking the NPR like a pirate’s ship in a storm on the high seas. With Jennifer leading the way, many-a-car cut between us to mash their brakes and hit an exit ramp, as though they wanted to get squashed by tons of video games. Despite my efforts, I white-knuckled that steering wheel all the way to our destination. Pulling into the gate at the Fairgrounds felt like the greatest accomplishment in the world. But, the trip wasn’t over yet.

I had never noticed how narrow the roads are at the Fairgrounds, but then, I’d always driven there in an imported compact car or compact truck, not the freaking Technodrome. I was doing okay until I went through this one intersection. I stopped at the stop sign, turned on the signal to turn right, and pulled out. Apparently, I didn’t swing out enough. I didn’t so much hit the stop sign, as scrape it. Incidentally, that stop sign was exactly at the same height as the rivets on the truck’s box, so, they strummed that stop sign like a guitar all the way down the box. Pop, pop, pop, pop, pop, pop, pop, pop, pop, pop, pop, pop… Of course, from my perspective, it was more like, “pop *fuck* pop *fuck* pop *God, please make this stop!* pop *ooh fuck*, etc., et al. Some of our aforementioned millennials in the party were trailing, and I could hear them snickering in my mind.

By the time we got to the venue, I had to pull the seat cushion out of my butt crack and pry my fingers out of the grooves that I’d crushed into the steering wheel. Backing the freaking building on wheels into the State Fair building was no big deal as compared to dealing with traffic with it on the highway. We got the thing unloaded, and I threw the keys at someone, disavowing it for eternity. Through the morning, I found myself irritable, drowsy, nauseated, and foul. I continued to sip at my Coke until it was empty. I helped set up display cases, arcade cabinets, tables, and stuff in general. I drank some coffee. I took pictures, and some time lapse video. Someone brought in a couple bags from McDonald’s filled with sausage biscuits and cheeseburgers. I still had no appetite, but I felt like I should eat.

I picked out a cheeseburger and took a couple nibbles. It was hard to swallow. I was drinking a lot of water because I knew that dehydration was a real risk. The place looked great! There were a couple of cars that got staged in the building; a DeLorean, the actual yellow and blue Jeep pickup from the movie Twister, a Jeep done up in Jurassic Park theme. We continued to set up exhibitor tables with table cloths and everything we’d need for the weekend. Between setting up fixtures, and unloading gear, and taking pictures, I’d make my way back to that same cheeseburger and nibbled at it a little more, force it down. I’d developed a cough. I assumed that it was allergies from the dust stirred up from the tables and table cloths and storage contents. Jennifer asked the Twister truck owner if we could set a camera in the bed, and he assured us that there was no way we could hurt it. My cough kept getting worse. I’d kind of gag at the end of the cough. Nasty allergies!

Tomorrow, I’ll let you in on what this is all leading up to in Part 4.

Local Police – But Let’s Not Talk Politics

I was really looking forward to this election cycle; not looking forward to the results, mind you, as I’m pretty sure the results will be disastrous one way or another. But, the cycle itself, campaigning and drama, it really seemed like it would be great blog fodder. But then, there was just too much material. We all knew campaigning for the general election would get juicy, but this is like trying to drink from a fire hose! I was freaking overwhelmed. So, as to politics, we now have to decide if we’re going to vote for the old, rich, corrupt narcissist, trying to put on a show for the common man, or the old, corrupt narcissist, trying to put on a show for the common man. Or, you could go third party and vote for the pothead, calling himself a libertarian, whose ideals are anything but libertarian. Except for the pot. And oddly, I don’t feel that any of the preceding is all that controversial. But, I said I wouldn’t get into politics, and so I digress…

There have been some palpable changes in our local police department over the last few years. A few years ago, they replaced all the motorcycles in my hometown with these souped up BMWs that have some kind of biometric lock that secures their short barreled ARs to the back fender. How a rifle makes any kind of tactical sense when you’re on a motorcycle is completely beyond me, but they look cool, and I haven’t heard of any hi jinx associated therewith, so I suppose it’s all good. I tried to get an in, to go take pics and blog about the new bikes, because they’re cool, but the receptionist simply took my name and number, and I never heard back from them. *Eek!* That probably means I’m on some list somewhere, of citizens who are just a little too curious about the cops and their motorcycles with mounted SBRs. In the past I’ve had contacts with the local PD that made me nervous, but those are stories for another time. More recently, in fact the last two contacts that I’ve had, however, have been nothing short of exemplary. Put that eyebrow down. One was when I rolled over grass in the median to get in the turn lane (there was no curb at the intersection) and the other was for a burned out tail light bulb. It’s not like I’ve been smoking my tires or drifting through intersections. These were two different officers, and I wish I’d gotten their names so I could publicly laud them, because they were both the shining example of how an official contact should go. They were both appropriately respectful, professional, enthusiastic, and downright understanding. The latter (for the tail light) even went so far as to say, “thank you for carrying a gun. Good people like you, carrying, only make my job easier, so please keep that up.” Yeah. It’s little things like this that make endear me to my hometown.

We don’t watch much TV; heck, we don’t even get broadcast television in our home. Pretty much all we watch is on YouTube, Netflix, or Amazon Prime Video. However, I’ll catch a news broadcast every once in a great while at the house of a family member, or in a public space. Anytime there’s a local event that calls the local media to ask for a statement from the police, it seems like two personalities show up over and over again. There’s a female officer whose name escapes me, but she stands out because of her looks and screen presence. She just has the happiest, most pleasant-looking face you could imagine. She’s got the semi-circle, anime eyes, and bright smile. She really looks like a live-action anime girl stuffed into a police uniform. And, she’s always bright and bubbly on screen. Even when they’ve called upon her to talk about something unpleasant, she manages to deliver in a pleasant manner, still paying due gravity to the situation at hand. You wouldn’t mind getting pulled over by her. When she asked for your license and insurance verification, you’d say, “d’awwww! Yes, ma’am.” I tried to ID her on a Google search, but to no avail. Suffice it to say, it’s pretty obvious why the PD throws her in front of the camera over and over when the media comes a-knockin’.

The other regular Okc TV spokesman that comes to mind is Captain Steve McCool. Don’t bother to image search him, just read his name again. Out loud. Captain Steve McCool. Captain McCool is always… well… cool. And to the point. Whenever he comes on the screen though, Jennifer and I will say in unison, “Captain Steve McCool!” with great emphasis. I can just imagine little seven-year-old Stephen (Steven?) McCool, riding down the street on his bicycle, thinking to himself, “self, with a name like yours, you’re destine for greatness! Someday, I’m going to make Captain in the police department.” I mean, seriously! With that title and name, he sounds bigger than life! Captain Steve McCool sounds like he should be the main character in a spy movie, as a cartoon cat! He sounds like he should be the captain of some great airship, blowing villains out of the sky with cannon fire. I’m just saying the guy has a cool name. I’ll bet he still got made fun of for his name when he was a kid though. If you never got made fun of for your name growing up, please tell me about it in the comments section. Kids can be such little jerks.

The first car I bought after Jennifer and I got married was a 1983 Honda Civic Wagon. That was my second ’83 Civic Wagon, after I totaled my first, which was my first car. That’s a story unto itself. I cranked, wrenched, and painted on that second Wagon until she was cherry. We loved that car. I had her just about perfect when this sixteen-year-old girl in a Ford Expedition meandered into my lane through a curve and crunched the front fender and the edge of the hood. Subsequently, a friend gave me an ’82 Civic hatchback to use for spare parts. The hatchback was a complete car, and I drove it home. It seemed like a shame to strip the hatch for parts, so I sourced sheet metal to patch up the Wagon separately, and made the hatch into a toy. At first, I stiffened up the valvetrain on the original 1.5-liter engine, opened up the intake and exhaust, and stripped the interior and air conditioning, as well as some other tweaks here and there. The engine would redline at around 7,000-RPM, and would spin the front tires from 60-mph. The real trouble was, running it that hard, I couldn’t keep it in head gaskets; as in, every 5,000 or so miles, I’d change the oil and head gasket. So, I yanked the 1.8-liter engine out of a 1979 Accord and shoehorned it in. I truncated the exhaust from there and added a Weber carburetor and a cowl induction hood scoop. I know that’s a lot of lead up to the actual story, but please try to bear with me.

I’d been tinkering on the hatchback (we called her Medusa) one day, tweaking and adjusting this and that, and I wanted to see how my efforts would pan out in real life. So, I wheeled her out to the little road behind our neighborhood. I looked carefully to make sure that there were no other cars or pedestrians. And then, I romped on it. And, I upshifted and floored the throttle again. And then, I saw the cop car behind the trees. I immediately started to decelerate, and the red and blues pulled in behind me. “Yup, he got me,” I thought to myself, as I pulled over and shut off the rowdy four-cylinder. The officer who came to the window was an older gentleman with a pleasant demeanor. It was almost like he’d just walked off the set of the Andy Griffith Show.

“Good afternoon,” he said cheerfully, “I suppose you know why I’ve pulled you over today.”

“I have an idea,” I replied, handing him my license and insurance.

“I was sitting here, watching for drivers in violation of seat belt laws, so I wasn’t watching my radar,” he politely fished for admission, “so I don’t know how fast you were going, but the way you were accelerating, I’m pretty sure you had to be speeding.”

I smiled coolly, and admitted to nothing.

“Well,” he smiled back, handing me my license and insurance, “slow it down, and please be careful.”

“Yes sir,” I said.

In today’s day and age, the police are taking a brutal and unwarranted political beating. The vast majority of the police that I see in action are doing a fantastic job, too, both local and abroad. Of the interactions I’ve had with the police, only a small fraction of them have been negative in the least, and I’ve never been in fear for my own safety. I know I’m preaching to the choir for anyone who ever comes to my website, but I just had to put this out there. These men and women are doing a job that I, frankly, wouldn’t want to. Often times, when I see our local officers around town, doing their thing, I’ll give them a smile and wave. This is my little way of participating in Robert Peel’s Principles. “Hey, you, thanks for doing what you’re doing! Keep up the good work!” I know I said I was going to keep it unpolitical, and I’ve probably skirted politics a little too much by now, but whatever. To my friends in law enforcement, for those of you who I’m pretty sure will read this, as well as those of you that probably wont, thank you. There are plenty of us out here that won’t make the news that approve and appreciate you. Because we don’t block traffic or break windows, we are the silent majority. But, we are the majority, and we very much appreciate what you do. And, at the risk of getting too mushy, I’m just going to leave it at that.

“Super” Tuesday

I’m baaaaaaccckkk!

*cracks neck* I actually wrote up the following piece several weeks ago. But, my blog was thoroughly infested with some pretty nasty malware, and anytime I went to log in, I found that my host had it locked up tight. Good on the host, I suppose, but this led to me not being able to post or even approve comments for what seemed an eternity. Thanks to Wordfence, we seem to have these issues under control now. If you noticed that your comment didn’t actually publish when you posted it here (and there were a couple of you), I apologize, and I think I’ve got you approved at this point. As I’ve already mentioned, I’ve had this written up for a while in a document on my laptop. Seeing as how I can finally post again, and it being Super Tuesday, and all, it seems like the right thing to kick off the continuation of my blogging career.

I disagree with my friends sometimes. Thank God for that! It would be a real shame to only have friends that I agree with on every single detail in life all the time. I think I’m right, and other people have opposing beliefs and think they are right. One of us might be right, and the other wrong, or we may both be wrong, and I have changed my mind on some issues over the years.

I have lost far more friends over politics than I care to discuss. Over politics. It’s not that I’m opposed to being friends with people with opposing views so much as their inability to reconcile our differences of opinion. How sad is that? Sometimes I’d like to have no party affiliation for the sheer bragging rights of having no party affiliation. But then, I’d be depriving myself of the primary election. I want to maximize my voting power, and that means party registry. *It’s recently come to my attention that Independents can now vote in the Oklahoma primary. We may have to revisit this…*

It’s important to me to be able to hold my nose and vote for the giant douche over the turd sandwich, and I usually like the giant douche and turd sandwich that this party offers slightly better than the giant douche and turd sandwich that the other party offers. Occasionally there may be a candidate that I genuinely like, but usually he or she is not even likely to make nomination, much less get elected, so instead of throwing away my vote on them, I’ll vote for the giant douche or turd sandwich instead. It usually comes down to which candidate I hate less.

Therefore, you certainly shouldn’t judge me for which candidate I “support,” because I probably don’t even like them in the first place, and disagree with their policies almost as much as you do. The electoral process is a sacred right, and a civic duty, not an identity. We’re supposed to disagree on how things get done. That’s what makes us awesome.

I shared a hilarious and immature political quip with two friends over the weekend. One of them, whom I have known for close to thirty years, and whose party affiliation I am not even privy to, straight up gave me the silent treatment. He didn’t respond at all. This didn’t shock me, considering his attitude over the last fifteen years or so. The other friend, who is quite vocal about being affiliated with the other party, and whom I have only known for the last couple years, laughed and said, “that’s awesome.” This is what I’ve come to expect from him as well, because he knows full well that I don’t think he’s dumb and smells funny. He and I disagree on issues, but we also have a lot in common. We acknowledge that we fundamentally want the same results, but where we disagree is in the details on how to achieve those results.

That’s called politics. It’s not a friendship deal breaker, it’s a conversation starter. It doesn’t make one of us good and the other bad, it makes life interesting. So, when you meet a Democrat, don’t automatically assume that they want to raise your taxes and take your guns away. Similarly, when you meet a Republican, don’t assume that they hate the poor and want to impose their religious morals on you. Then again maybe they do, but that still doesn’t make them less of a human being! If you assume they don’t understand economics, they probably feel the same about you. See? There’s already something you have in common. So, set your preconceptions aside, shut up, and listen to that other person instead of dehumanizing them to further your fight. I promise you’ll be much happier in the long run.

Whatever your political bent may be, I hope you have voted or will vote in the primary, assuming you are legally qualified to do so. Did I vote today? You bet your sweet peaches I did! Did I vote for whom I believe is best suited to lead our country? No, no I did not. There were three names on the ballot that I think would make a better president than the name I selected. But, as I pointed out above, I don’t think any of them have a snowball’s chance of making the nomination, much less the general election. No, I voted for the front-runner that I like better than the other front-runner. Ironically, I don’t believe he’s going to make the nomination even.

“So, what’s the point?” you might be asking. Well, I’m not going to sit around and not even put my $.02 in when it comes to assigning who gets to be leader next. I voted against our current president twice. My state voted against our current president twice. I’ve had separate conversations with at least two friends who voted for him. We’ve laughed together about how neither of our votes counted at all, seeing as how the state voted against him, and yet the country elected him. Come on, that’s funny!

I know that I’ve probably included entirely too many South Park references in this post, but sometimes Tray and Matt put it better than anyone else can. Anyway, it’s great to be back. I missed both of my readers so much! If you haven’t been out to vote, go and do it! Yes, I’m talking to you. And, be nice to each other, even when you have different values and beliefs. It’s a feature, not a bug.

And Then, There Was Beer Video

Every year, we receive a care package from LuckyGunner.com with some kind of Christmas goodies in it. This weekend, there was a 12-inch cubic box on our front porch from them. I nudged it out of the way of the door with my toe and noted that it had a bit of heft to it. “I bet it’s a ham,” I remarked to Jennifer.

“What makes you think it’s a ham? Did somebody already talk about theirs on the internet?” she asked

“No,” I replied, “but I’ve seen hams packaged for shipping and that’s what it looks like to me.”

We dragged the package inside and opened it up. Not ham. Inside the box was a brand new .50-cal ammo can (sweet!), two 12-oz bricks of ground coffee from Lock ‘n Load Java, and a pair of Pmugs from Battle Mug. Now, I have long wanted a Battle Mug, but I can’t bring myself to pay the near $200 for the billet aluminum version, and I had no idea they were making a less expensive polymer version.

I sat on the couch with my new Battle Mug, stroking it and murmuring about “The Precioussss.” As one does, we have accumulated a lot of bolt-on parts. It seems you get one gun with a rail on it, and they just start turning up. I was thinking over some of the junk that we’ve wound up with to this end, and what I might be able to attach to this crime against nature. And then, it hit me! We have a quick-disconnect 1/4×25 camera mount! And, I’ve got a 1/4×25 tripod to GoPro mount adapter! Scaring my family with maniacal cackling, I took off down the hall and came back with the necessary pieces to secure my GoPro Hero to the Battle Mug.

“Oh no,” Jennifer sighed as I assembled this stroke of genius insanity. As it turns out, my dad’s birthday was on Sunday, and he wanted to spend it at his favorite German-style beer garden in downtown Oklahoma City.

So, there we were, sitting at our bench when the server approached the table. I picked out a beer and asked her, “can you serve it in this?” As I held up the monstrosity proudly.

“Um…” she seemed skeptical.

“It’s like 25-ounces,” I said, as though that had any bearing.

“No,” she clarified, “I’m sure we can work something out, I just don’t want to break it.”

“Oh, you can’t break it,” I assured her, “they throw these things out of airplanes and stuff.”

Indeed, the beer cam was quite the hit. It was a great conversation starter and overall good time. And as promised, beer video:

Note to FCC: None of this stuff was given in return for any kind of review.

I Guess It’s Finally Winter

It’s 34-degrees out there. There’s mixed sleet, freezing rain, and the occasional flake coming down. We had no plans to shop Black Friday. So, we went to the YMCA to swim for a while. And then, in 34-degree winter mix, I went into the liquor store in a Speedo swimsuit. In all fairness, it’s really Speedo-branded boardshorts. And, I was also wearing a long sleeve shirt, fleece vest, and a jacket. But, it makes for a good story anyway. I hope you all had a great Thanksgiving!