Saturday, April 29, 2006

Mark Brady: Zipper-Knee

I left my house at 4 am on Sunday. I was starting to fall asleep, and knew I'd miss my train. I got my luggage together, and fortunately found a cab to Penn Station - the best $21 I'd spent all week. Inside the station, a small but LOUD family sitting behind me kept me awake with their prattling about how musky their cab driver smelled. The woman of the group let out an intrusive "MMM-HMMM!" In agreement with every other sentence. All I wanted to do was sleep, but it wasn't happening.

With 30 minutes to go, I got up, bought some breath strips - Altoids and Listerine & a bottle of water to keep me awake.

Because of my destination, I was upgraded to business class and had a decent amount of leg room. I plugged my headphones in, queued up some hypnosis/sleep assistance music (no, Lynne, not jazz), only to hear a baby cry out two seats behind me. I could just picture tossing the kid off the train. Yes, I know I'm evil. That's what happens when I'm deprived of sleep. I was only able to sleep for half of the 4 hour trip. I woke up in Albany, and just relaxed for the last 40 minutes.

It's grey and rainy here in Bumblefuck, and it looks like it'll be that way all week. Dammit, I'd like some SUN while on vacation. Whenever I come up here, the weather's crappy.

Mom picked me up, and we went grocery shopping; I must have spent over $100 on food, mostly veggie crap, so I didn't have to make extra trips. Getting my ass to the grocery store (without a car or drivers' license) would take at least 40 minutes.

We got home, I put my crap away, played with Tasha (DOGGIE! - a black lab/rotwieler mix)


and went to bed around 1:30. At 2, my parents went to visit grandma & Aunt Celeste. I slept (o glorious sleep) till 7 when my sister called. I FUCKING HATE THAT PHONE. I let the machine pick up, fed Tasha, fed myself, read the paper, and started reading Crisis.

Parents came home by 8, I kept reading until 11. Watched Oprah's Minge & Gary hold Towlie hostage (that's a South Park reference for those who don't/can't watch), and went to bed. Woke up at 6:30 to get ready for a long day at the hospital.

We arrived at 8 am. They finally called Dad in at 9 to get him prepped.

This waiting room sucks. Cell phones aren't allowed in the hospital at all, so I had to write all this out in a small notebook Mom was carrying.

There's a big older guy in here. His gut protruding, breathing loudly through his mouth, and practically gargling his coffee instead of drinking it.

My 8th grade history teacher is here. He goes to church with my Mom. He hasn't recognized me, and I'm more than okay with that.

I just met my sister-in-law for the first time. She's having some gastro reflux whatever test. Her Shit-Listed brother nearly sliced his fingers off a couple weeks ago. They've been stitched back on but one of his finger nails is gone. While Karma may be a bitch, but I wouldn't wish that on him. Like I've said before, an apology would be a nice start.

It's 9:50 and they still haven't called us in. The operation should start soon. I just want to know what's going on so I can cut off the rest of the world for a while; there are Infinite Earths whose fate demand my attention!

And just as I wrote that bit, they called us in. Dad has all sorts of tubes plugged in and seems fine. The anesthesiologist looks like Lynne's dad, only taller. They're giving him a spinal tap and a nerve block for the operation, and then a patient-controlled morphine drip afterwards. The surgeon walks in to take Dad to the OR. They have the technology, they are rebuilding him...

Resistance is futile.

The operation started a little after 10, and ended a little before noon. They only had to do a partial replacement (right leg), so recovery time will be halved. Dad will come home Wednesday morning.

Mom is relieved. Between this, her sister, her mom, and her crazy boss, she's just about had it.

Oh, here's a hint that I hope everyone takes to heart:

If your ankle is thicker than my neck...If the roll of fat flows over the shoe, maybe it's time to go outside for a walk.

Just maybe.


Day 4: Wednesday

I woke up at 11 AM to:

a) the sun, finally!
b) Dad coming home thanks to Aunt Celeste
c) the beginning of the flu
d) all of the above.

It's a cool, breezy 58 degrees, but there ain't a cloud in the sky for the first time in days.

The skin on Dad's knee looks like a zipper. Staples & stitches. It looks really fucked up.

If Dad was a villain in the Tick, his alter-ego would be Zipper-Knee!


(I've cracked up!)

My sinuses are so damned clogged.

Friday at 1 AM, my 100-degree fever broke. After getting a decent-night's sleep and cleaning up, I spent an hour or two with my aunt and grandmother. Grandma keeps telling me to look up my 3rd cousin, a 90-something guy I've never met who apparently still lives in the area. What the hell am I supposed to say? "Hi, you don't know me, and you probably don't even remember my grandfather, but I thought it'd be cool to sit through a half hour of awkward silences because I have nothing better to do."

Grandma, I love you, but that's just plain stupid.

Dad starts physical therapy on Monday. He's gonna be in a world of hurt. It's bad enough that the pain keeps him awake. He hasn't slept for more than 15 minutes at a time.

By the way, this is me at age 2:


It's a very old picture and obviously damaged from water & mold (like you can't tell).

What the hell happened to me?

Saturday, April 22, 2006

Going away

In order to make my 7:15 AM train to Bumblefuck, I have to pull an all-nighter. There was a screwup when I bought my ticket, and by the time I noticed it, it was too late. I expect to arrive at 11 AM.

It's been months since I've even been awake at those ungodly hours. I summon the power of Red Bull!

While in surgery, the doctors will decide on whether or not to replace just half of Dad's knee, or all of it. Not that it'll make much difference in healing/recovery time. I've spoken to a lot of people who know someone who has had the operation. Recovery takes 4-6 weeks. After that, the patients are much happier with the outcome. That'll be good; Dad's been in pain for a couple years now.

The surgery is scheduled for 8:30 AM Monday. I'm going to the hospital with my folks. I'll be tweaked out a bit, as my sleep schedule will be completely screwed.

Being upstate also means I'll not have any internet access. If anyone needs me, just call.

On the plus side, it's spring instead of winter, and I get to enjoy the trees, and take my dog for walks. And we all know how much I love dogs.

I'll return to this glorious city around 7 PM next Saturday.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Mom's freaking out.

Dad's knee replacement surgery is on the 24th. I'm going up there from Sunday to Saturday. Once again, I'm spending my vacation time on others instead of myself. I know it's selfish, but damn, I never get a chance to do what I want to do. Vacations are spent with family, and that's never a vacation.

Dad'll be in the hospital for 2-3 days. One of his sisters from California will be visiting as well, so that'll be cool. I haven't seen Celeste in years. I'll hang out with her & Grandma for a day.

One of Mom's sisters is going through chemo. She's going to be all right, but it's one of the many straws on Mom's back.

I'm sick of being strong for everyone else. I just want to chill for a week, you know?

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Oh, this can't be good.

I got a very nice note (and a check) from the US Treasury Department today. According to them, I overpaid my taxes, by a lot.

My first thought was: woo-hoo! Hookers & blow!

My second thought was: wait, I don't do that shit.

3rd: I should pay off some debt.

4th: has 10% off Amazon prices on all books. Oooh, Absolute Watchmen, Crisis, JLA/Avengers, Alex Ross/Paul Dini in the DCU, and so many more hardcovers...someone get me a towel.

5th: This could pay for a nice dinner with the guys for the bachelor party.

6th: I should start a high-yield savings account, the kind Lynne is always telling me to get.

There's enough money to divide it four ways and take care of 3-6. I'm expecting another sum (which is the same amount as the original divided by 4) from a previous freelance job, which can cover my trip up to Bumblefuck to help my dad out after knee-replacement surgery. The operation is on the 24th.

Or I could say fuck all that and get a really nice TV.

And upgrade my RAM,CPU, get a new massive hard drive (oy, the formatting, the partitioning, the many hours would that take?)...ohhhhhhhhhhhhhhh dammit! I can't make up my mind!

Damned sense of responsibility!

So, why can't this be good? My history with financial luck means I'm going to have $$$$ worth of shit happen to me, and my refund will be $34 short of what's needed to cover the damages.

Thursday, April 06, 2006

Speech writing

As some of you might recall, I'm going to be the Best Man at Carlos & Tara's wedding. I just got the official invitation in the mail today, and then it hit me: I gotta write a speech!

I had thought about it a few months ago after Carlos had first asked me, and considered that since the wedding's in June, I can just think about it for a while.

Now that I've had time to ruminate on just what the hell am I supposed to write, I've come up with a few ideas. A bit of funny, a bit of romance, and a bit of truth. Maybe a bit of cultural spice; Carlos being Puerto Rican & Tara being Irish...

Hmmm...I just got an idea.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Tenderness and Intimacy

The first person I felt really close to was Rachel E, an English woman who lived in the apartment above me all four years at SVA. We clicked immediately because of our love for silly cartoons and British comedies. She and I would cuddle up on the couch and giggle ourselves to sleep. Rachel was the first person who wasn't family to kiss me on the cheek regularly. In our second year, her roommate Clarissa would join us. It was really nice; one of the few times I'd ever felt comfortable in my own skin. That is a rare thing.

It would come again when Lynne and I were together briefly. There's something about her that, to this day I can't put my finger on, but I felt comfortable with her. Although romance never worked out, our friendship just grew stronger, especially after college. While she may not be all that comfortable with being touchy, she understands it.

A year after college, I met Inger. Like I said in a previous post, our eyes locked and we simply saw directly into each other. The days we spent together while I was searching for a job and she was distraught by a personal situation, we were wrapped around each other. Our affection was magnified by our similarities.

Two years later, Louise and I bonded over Amelie and air conditioning. We'd fall asleep in each others' arms, our bellies full of "Mexi-nese" nachos. Once I woke up to the sensation of her fingers on the back of my neck. I tilted my head and kissed her forehead. In the morning, I told her how it made me feel like a human being for once.

When I met Trish, I was very surprised by how affectionate she is towards me, especially since she barely knew me. We used to work together, but school work took priority. Last Friday night she went to celebrate a co-worker's birthday, and got...a TAD drunk. She swung by my office afterwards. Trish put her arms around me and said "hug me hard...harder." We sat down on the couch. She put her head down on my thigh, clasped her hands around it and drifted in and out of sleep. I put my left hand on hers, and she sighed/moaned softly as I gently stroked her hair. On the cab ride to her place, she curled right up to me and we held hands, playfully thumbwrestling without any effort.

That level of affection made the past three miserable weeks worth it. It also reminded me of what I have to offer when I (eventually) start dating again.

Monday, April 03, 2006

Go talk to some fish!

You'll need to crank the volume on some of these.

Super Friends:

Muppets for dinner:

Louie at the Last Supper:

Fluffy-Soft intro, full episode:

International Signs:

Just the 160,000 of us:

Louie 1:

Louie 2:

Episode 103:

Episode 106:

Episode 107:

Episode 201 (featuring monkey torture):

Episode 203 (featuring Barry & Levon):

Episode 205

Episode 206

Barry & Levon - $240 of Vanilla Pudding:

Mr. Flemming's Arrival:

Prison Break:


Intro & Hotdog sketch:

Love and War:

Sideways House:

Public Service Announcement:

Fried Bumblebees:

Lincoln Logs:

The Pope's visit:

Were you raised in a barn?

Things to do on a vacation:


Taco Mail

Please sign the pettition to get it released on DVD!

Holy BALLS, I'm out of shape.

"Gime? What's a gime?"

While it isn't much of a surprise, I realized just how crappy I've treated myself the past few years (2 pints of Haagen-Dazs in a weekend...often). Last Sunday, my roommate asked me to go to the gym with her. I figured since I had joined over a month ago, it'd be nice to actually GO THERE. We hopped onto a couple of elliptical machines and went at it. I walk at a fairly brisk pace, and assumed that this would be no sweat.


Five minutes into it, and my legs were extremely tense. After 20 minutes of start, stop, start stop, roommate suggested that maybe the hardest setting isn't the way to go on the first day.

Ya think?

I felt fine afterwards, but when I woke up Monday morning, someone drove an 18 wheeler over my legs. Walking was...interesting, because I wasn't sure where my foot was going to land, and painful. Can't EVER forget about the pain, because it didn't go away.

Not until I went back to the gym Wednesday morning after work. The beauty of working the late shift is that by the time you get to the gym at 2 AM, NO ONE IS THERE. I got back onto the elliptical machine, put it on the easiest setting, and lasted five minutes before my legs were ready to commit mutiny again. I coerced another five minutes out of them, and then moved on.

With the whole place virtually empty, I got to play with all the weight machines. As I did so, I looked over to my left and spotted the rock climbing wall.

I went back again this Sunday, and will go every day. I bring along a little notebook to keep track of what exercises I'm doing, and at what settings. I've spent two hours there each time, and felt great afterwards (except for waking up the next day, but even that's getting better).

Today I did MUCH better on the elliptical machine, because I went on the treadmill first to warm up. I saw someone using the rock climbing wall, too. This middle-aged guy scrambled up the wall pretty quickly, and then slid down on the safety rope.

It makes me want to get a grappling gun.


Maybe I'll give that a whirl in August, when I've made a considerable amount of progress.

Oh, and Lynne? You're right. I did break down and create a playlist for my mp3 player. I thought I wouldn't need one; I figured putting Molossus on repeat forever & ever would do it, but that got a little boring after a while.