Monday, March 30, 2009

What wasn't on my mind...

Okay...I was worried about my foot. The infection was causing pain where there was no infection to be seen, and I was terrified of a case of osteomyelitis. For those who've forgotten what that is, it's an infection in the bone. Exactly two weeks ago, my doctor increased my pain meds and told me to get x-rays. The increase caused my sleeping to get off schedule, to it wasn't until Thursday that I got the x-rays.

Friday rolled around, and I called my doctor's office to find out if I needed to be in a hospital or not. The nurse was leery of saying anything, as she's not trained to read a medical report in full. The doctor was no longer in the office, so I would have to wait until Monday. But my stress was so high that she got the report and looked for any sentence that contained the word "osteomyelitis." She found one. That sentence also contained the word "Negative." Thus, I was able to relax.

Monday arrived, and someone called me with the official report. There was no sign of osteomyelitis. My mind went into full relaxation mode. Or, putting it more clearly, I stopped obsessing over the idea I had this serious infection. I was SO worried about it that when I went to the emergency room weeks before, I was sure they were going to keep me, and shaved my arms from hands to shoulders. It might seem strange, but I often tell people that it hurts more to have an IV removed than when it's put in. All that tape and hairy arms equates to a great deal of pain.

Okay...So far, so good. With my greatest fear set aside, I delved into a computer game, as I reported in my last post. My brain was fried, and it needed rest. Thinking creatively instead of being overwhelmed with concern was quite restful.

Oh, but good news can't hang around me for long. If I won a million dollars in the lottery, I'd manage to be taxed 99.99%. In terms of illness, that's how it tends to play out. Osteomyelitis would have meant a brief hospital stay, followed by many weeks of IV antibiotics. Compared to what I was told today, that would have been good news...

I had my followup visit with my doc today. I was able to report some semi-good things. Like the fact that the place where my toenail once was is no longer draining anything. It's not even worth putting a bandage on it, because there's nothing open for foreign matter to get into it. Also, the size of the wound is visibly smaller. *I* can see it, and that remains a good sign. I still have a case of cellulitis around the site, which is painful...but I'm not screaming in agony, thanks to decent pain management. In fact, my morphine dose was reduced today, because I seem to be getting better.

Oh...that includes my shoulder. As the temperature here in AZ has done a bit of bouncing, I've been able to see a correlation between my pain and weather fluctuations. Yes, my shoulder still hurts, but it hasn't been the tear-inspiring experience it was before. What's more, the two week supply of morphine he gave me has lasted longer than that.

Overall, things seemed to be looking up.

Then he gave me the results of the x-rays. As I said, a bone infection was riled out at this time. He wants me to be careful, and come running back if there are any severe changes, but my doc told me we can go back to scheduling me for when I simply need medication refills. But the x-rays also confirm I have Charcot foot. From what I know of Charcot's Joint, it showing up in an x-ray means it's advanced enough to show that my bones aren't lining up the way they should. It's why my ankles give out from time to time. It's why my feet swell and hurt so much when I've been on them too long.

It's why, at this very moment, I'm in tears. My feet have become hazardous to my health. The lack of sensation in them means I won't know there's a really problem until it's too late. And because I'm trapped within the realm of what I call "poor man's medicine," I'll have to wait until there's a severe issue with them until I can have surgery to correct any problems, and then I'm right back at the beginning, fretting over my lousy healing and infection.

Once upon a time, when I would complain, it was about the common things that weight on the minds of everyone. There was nothing terribly out of the ordinary about the things I'd gripe about. When I was done, someone was usually there to say, "Well, alt least you have your health."

I don't even have that anymore.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Later that week...

I needed a break. Seriously. I've been stressing so much over being ill, and various other unhappy circumstances of my life, that I believe I was making myself sicker. Thankfully, City of Heroes/Villains (CoX) saved me. It sounds kind of silly, doesn't it? A computer game saving a life. But I needed to be doing something, other than wallowing in pure misery. NCSoft provided an amazing vent.

One of the great things about CoX is that their updates are free...so far. Yes, there are different versions of the game, with little extras tossed in for those who by a specific version. The "Good vs. Evil" version offers a special badge (something badge collectors drool over) and special edition costume sets. The game was recently released for Mac users, and that came with unique costume parts. But overall, the additions to the game are bigger, better, and cost nothing.

For example, last year they made two major changes to two different zones within the game. Both were wastelands, with stories of destruction as to why there were chasms across the maps. One zone, Faultline, was partially rebuilt; now it appears as a disaster area in the process of repair. The other zone, the Rikti War Zone, or RWZ, was turned into a cooperative area where heroes and villains can team together to fight interdimensional aliens.

Again...Big changes for free.

A couple of months ago, the next update went into closed beta. A short list of people were invited in to start testing what the developers (devs) were calling "Mission Architect," or "MA." It is what it sounds like. Players were allowed to go in, find an MA interface, and start creating their own missions! No more suffering through dev-created story arcs, which tended to play out the same as all other missions throughout the game. They handed the keys of the asylum to the lunatics and waited to see what happened.

For a month, we heard plenty of rumors. Articles from gaming sites and magazines were featured, teasing those who wanted to play with this new toy. Finally, the new update went to open beta, and that's when I vanished.

Several things have been happening since I joined the masses flocking into the test server.

1. In order to test the system, I needed to start writing a story. I took a villain I'd created a couple of years ago and done nothing with, and built a story around him. This was no easy task, because there are many fields in the MA to fill out in order to tell a story properly. These fields are not necessarily in order. You see, you can make up to three story arcs per account, with five stories per arc. So what's on the very first page? Oh...just the final item a player would get once the arc was completed, which is a summary of the whole adventure. Thus, I jumped in and got writing.

2. The idea of beta testing is to point out bugs in the system. This update is infested! Not a day goes by when I'm not filling out an online form to report something out of whack. If anyone has ever had me edit something, you know my comments are never simple. What can I say? Creative writing is in my blood. When I file a bug report, it's not just filled with as many details that I can find, but also an attempt to entertain the person that'll eventually read the bug report.

3. There is a vast circle of people discussing numerous aspects of the MA. What's good, what's bad, and what can be done to make it better. The debates can become heated, but in the end, we're just trying to help make the game more enjoyable.

That's what happened to me. No focusing on my or other people's problems. I seriously needed this psychological break, and it's been good for me...mostly. I mean, just because I've wrapped my mind around something other than my woes doesn't mean my problems went away. But I've been able to worry a little less the last week, and it's been therapeutic.

I hope everyone out there is well. And if you're not, then you need to find a way to BE WELL!

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Okay, STOP!

Before the world goes insane, sending me more and more aid, it should be known that two people did so, sending a total of $175 via PayPal. Mind you, that service takes out a small percentage, but help has been sent and received. To the two people who sent aid, I thank you from the bottom of my weary heart.

I'll be whining again in a few weeks about how crappy my finances are in a few weeks.

Once again, I find myself in a position to do evil, but unable to commit. There is no reason why this post HAS to be here. If I were any kind of scam artist, I'd keep silent and let others who might be planning to help do exactly that. I could let the money roll in, and no one would be the wiser, right?

Well, I would know. Though my friends may or may not find out down the line that they sent me aid, I would know who did what, and to abuse that kindness is a crime unto itself. Oh, I still have other needs that should be taken care of, like replacing those pots and pans that I've gone without for so long. But I can get by without cooking; slapping a sandwich together is not cooking.

So...It will take a few days for that money to be transferred from PayPal to my checking account, but I should now - hopefully - make it to 3 April. Again, to the two who stepped forward in these troubled times, you have my sincere gratitude.

Be well.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Message received...

Ummm...That is, the lack of messages and responses is understood...I think.

I was told some time ago that my perpetual complaining about one issue or another becomes an irritation. People grow tired of hearing about my problems. I honestly wish I didn't have any problems to report. I'd rather be posting that I'm as well as can be expected, and the good deeds I've done here are there.

Instead, I'm sick. (Yeah, I'm sure you're shocked to hear that.) I'm also completely broke. (Yeah, another surprise.) So I'm over here, now dealing with a perpetual wave of nausea I can't shake, with no way to even buy over-the-counter meds to help with that, and a single box of Pop-tarts for food. And, apparently, no one wants to hear it...

So...ummm...Yeah, no one has offered any aid of any kind. I have nothing left to sell to get a little cash. I feel like garbage all the time, and my pleas to the medical community to hospitalize me for a few days to clear up my immediate health issues has also fallen on deaf ears. So that guy everyone knew who was so willing to help others...? Y'know...the one who both publicly and privately listened endlessly to the problems of others and offered what advice he could? He's in no shape to help, and no one wants to hear his woes, apparently. I tried to ask the many for aid, and "the none" said anything at all. Is it selfish? Probably. But being as sick as I have been has only inspired a growing depression, and the growing silence has me sinking deeper.

If anyone at all is reading this, I'm actually crying over the fact that my life has found a way to become crappier than it already was.

I guess until I miraculously feel better, or someone who can help actually does so, I think I'll just shut the hell up.

This is Rob, AKA "Bor," signing off.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

I need to buy...

...a panic button. This way, I have something to hit when I'm in some kind of trouble, and it acts like a kind of "Bat-signal" across the globe. People would see it and say dramatically to anyone within earshot, "Rob's in trouble!" Then they'd drop everything to come to my rescue. Right now, I have several things going on, and I don't know which of them to complain about first.

As it has been for the last month or so, I went to the doctor yesterday for a followup visit. Even I can look at the wound on my left toe and say, "Yes, it's healing." But the toe is still incredibly swollen and red. Some may remember a few weeks back, when I went to the emergency room. Well, on my doctor visit two weeks ago, I signed a release form so the hospital could send the results of the x-rays they took. As of yesterday, my doctor's office still hasn't received anything.

So when the doc came in and looked at the various holes on my skin, I told him that I'd like to get another x-ray, since we have no word on the old one, and I want to be sure this infection isn't getting into the bone. My doctor said that he doesn't mind "over-treating" a wound on a diabetic foot, and I can't help but wonder where that attitude was when he took to toenail off, and I asked about getting a shot of antibiotics. (Check my 9 February 2009 post, "The 'joys' of being me.") So he wrote an order for the x-ray.

I also reported this unusual rise in pain in my right shoulder, shoulder and gave a brief report about my summer of 2000 surgery. He just rewrote a prescription for percocet on 9 March, so he couldn't write a new one now. But I was due for a refill on my morphine sulfate, and he chose to give me a two-week supply of double the dose.

People seem to think that when I say I'm on morphine, I'm on a drug made from the happy juice of the happy fruit that grows on the happy plant. I should be so lucky. I took a double dose last night, as ordered, and I felt like my IQ had bottomed out. I was a zombie, and finally drifted off to sleep around midnight, having read the same page in the book I'm reading for almost an hour!

Also, my thought on morphine, and drugs like it, is that it doesn't so much as kill the pain, as make you not care that you're in pain. Oddly enough, I still feel the pain, and I still care.

This morning, I woke up, looked in my fridge, and realized I was low on food. This included a lack of cream for my coffee. So I took my meds on something other than coffee, and in about an hour, I was a zombie again and back in bed. I slept for two hours, woke up and took other meds, just about all of which warn may cause sleepiness, and I was back in bed, asleep for another two hours.

Right! I'll avoid taking any more percocet on top of the morphine until I've done my food shopping. And before I head to the market, I'll check my balance to see how much food I can get...

$39.53

Well, it's better than having nothing at all...except I'm discovering the price of food, and a few other things, are on the rise. For example, I needed to buy more bandages for my toe. A box of 25 gauze squares used to be $1.79. It's price is now $2.88!

Oh...on Monday, when I had some prescriptions refilled, I discovered that the morphine has a whopping co-pay of $1.10. No big deal. These painkillers are things I would be severely uncomfortable without, but I wouldn't die without them. But my insulin and syringes, which I would die without...? Those they squeezed me for over $3!

Thank G-d the government is giving away money to companies like AIG, who can then pay out BONUSES TO EMPLOYEES FOR BAD BUSINESS PRACTICES, while folks like me are left to beg, month after month, for help.

Yes, folks...It's that time again. I don't know what to do anymore. If 15 people would commit to sending me $10 each per month, that would be an extra $150 that would likely stop me from needing to beg. The thing is, I don't know anyone who has $10 to spare these days, let alone 15 people willing to just throw money at me each month.

And now, the best for last...I can't find the thermometer I once had. Nike probably knocked it into a corner of the apartment I can't get to. Still, I feel like I have a fever. Without the thermometer, I get to sit here and wonder if it's the meds that are making me feel like crap, or if the infection in my toe has taken a serious step toward getting truly bad.

I'm off to bed. I'll be praying for various miracles over night...but I'm starting to think I've used up my allotment of miracles.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Do I enjoy abusing myself?

WARNING! This post reaches a point where the greatest horror of my entire life is experienced. It is graphic, so those not able to handle such a reality should not read this one.

Have you ever found yourself doing something stupid, known you're doing something stupid, and yet you continue to go on doing the same stupid thing? Well, That's what I did last night.

It started with a bit of reading about some conspiracy nonsense involving one of Obama's cabinet appointments. This one person had apparently gone to a meeting of the Bilderbergers, (which I'd always thought was a special at TGI Fridays). The conspiracy theorists are all over this Bilderberger group, claiming that their intent is to subvert Western government and turn us all into obedient drones. You know these kinds of people. They call the average folk "sheeple," and believe they have some kind of special knowledge the rest of us don't.

My mind immediately thought of 9 September 2001, and all the conspiracies that claim our government was behind the destruction of the World Trade Center. "Buildings don't fall like that unless explosives are set!" "What about the destruction of Building 7? That was obviously a demolition!" On that latter point, the have various videos that show a line of windows blowing out in what appears to be a precise sequence.

I have news for the conspiracy folk...While there are certainly questions about how the entire disaster was handle in such a botched manner, city engineers tend to design skyscrapers with the intent that if they ever came down, they wouldn't topple over. Why? Because if they did, cities like Manhattan would become the biggest set of falling dominoes ever seen. Thus, part of the structure of skyscrapers involves the floor becoming part of the building's support. If the floors go, the walls collapse inward, and the building comes straight down.

Or as straight down as possible. When the towers collapsed, there was a bit of tilting in the fall. Watch enough videos, and you can see it happening.

I may be living in Arizona now, but I was on Long Island during the attack. Disabled or not, a part of me wanted to rush to the city and help. There had to be something I could do. As the days passed, and the search for survivors and victims continued, I wanted to be one of the volunteers handing out water to the real heroes of the disaster: the police and firemen on site. But I didn't have so much as a dime to spare for a train ticket.

Meanwhile, last night, after looking over some of the silliness at a conspiracy theory site, I was drawn to YouTube to watch some of the equally silly videos about the grand conspiracy behind Building 7. As I did so, I stumbled upon what was apparently a documentary aired on CBS. I was stunned by the footage I saw, and it was all captured by accident.

Jules and Gedeon Naudet, two brothers working on a documentary about a rookie firefighter going through his probation period at a firehouse, happen to catch one of the two known pieces of footage that shows the first plane hitting the towers.

I suddenly found myself drawn to the entire documentary. I didn't WANT to watch it...I HAD to watch it. I had to see what these two Frenchmen captured on film. I had to know what had really happened. Perhaps, in some way, the conspiracy theorists had gotten to me, at least piquing my curiosity...

...and I was exposed to the most terrifying pieces of film in my entire life. It was not what was shown; it was what was heard! The sound of bodies making impact at ground level. On the news that day, there was film of tiny figures falling along side the buildings, and your mind doesn't connect with reality. Some part of you wants to deny that it could possibly be a human being. No, you think, it must be some debris that's falling. A person trapped up there would search for some way to escape; not leap out of a shattered window. But you know the truth, despite that inner denial. Then it's confirmed by someone who was in the lobby at the time. One of the firefighters on scene recalls later, "I just remember looking up, thinking, 'How bad is it up there that the better option is to jump.'" And when you hear the impacts on film, you see all of the firemen in the lobby just stop and stare out of the shattered windows in stunned silence.

I don't know how they did it. I really don't. There they are, walking into the tallest buildings on the island of Manhattan, knowing that a plane has crashed into it, and these men went in with what they thought was the simple purpose of putting out a fire and rescuing people. They knew the elevators were out, so they were resigned to the fact that they would have to run up 80 flights of stairs to get to where they needed to be. What's more, they were in the lobby of WTC 1 when the second plane hit the other tower, and they divided their efforts to do the same thing next door! They're not thinking about the heroism it takes to do what they're doing. What's on their collective minds is, This is my job, and I'm going to do it.

When the first tower came down, (which was the second one hit), the documentarian was still in the lobby of the first building. At that point, his camera did more than capture history; the flood light attached was used to help illuminate the area to help the firefighters work.

Shortly after watching the impact of that first plane, I was pulled away from watching when I realized my heart was like a trip-hammer. I could heart it beating loudly in my ears. The trauma of that day was all coming back, and if I didn't do something about it medically, I imagined my heart exploding from the agony of reliving that day.

I've made other posts about this. I was on the far eastern half of Long Island when it happened, but one could easily imagine being in the city and hearing the explosions, and feeling the air shake from the impact. Now I have the added experience of the screams of horror...of the bodies crashing to the ground...footage taken while inside the WTC lobby.

I don't feel it necessary for anyone else to feel what I feel, yet some of you may be wondering about this documentary. Put plainly, if you cannot handle it, don't watch it. The person who put the documentary on YouTube is "logprof". The 22 videos he has set up for this program starts here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6OUBRhRZSss&feature=channel_page.

The memory of the fallen from that day should not be diminished by the foolishness of conspiracy theorists. This is not an event in our history that should be sensationalized. But it should never be forgotten, and this documentary is a heartfelt reminder of the worst day in our lives.

As for the title of this post...Well, I knew what I was getting into when I started watching the documentary. I knew I should have watched any of it. Believe me, I have more than enough memories of that day. Now I have new memories to add to the trauma, and what keeps crossing my mind is, Do you like feeling this terrible?

Please, my faithful readers...Be as well as you can be.

(This post went through no other editing than a spellcheck. I ask that you forgive any errors you may see.)

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Innkeep, more whine!

Some of my faithful readers may or may not remember me saying I had torn my right rotator cuff at the start of the summer of 2000. I slipped at the very last job I ever had, and threw my arms out to maintain my balance. I slid about 10 feet, and never hit the floor. But what I didn't know was that I had two things wrong with my shoulder. One was the sharp edge that had developed along the end of my clavicle. The other was a loose tendon on the underside of the whole shoulder assembly. Thus, when I threw my warms out, my shoulder unhinged, a tendon along the top was raked by the sharp bone, and then everything went back into place, all within the time it took me to slide along the floor.

The surgery to fix everything involved using heat to tighten up the loose tendon underneath, debriding the tendon on top, shaving the head of the humerus because it showed signs of wear, and shaving that sharp edge on the clavicle. It sounds simple enough, and not all that painful, until it clicks inside one's head that shaving bones can be equated to BREAKING them! I didn't exactly understand what shaving a bone meant until I watched an actual tape of the surgery. The doc removed the top layer on the end of two different bones.

So it's really no surprise when all of the local anesthesia wore off and I was on the verge of tears. The sling I was given immobilized my upper and lower arm completely, and even then it wasn't held 100% in place. The slightest movement made me want to scream, and sleeping meant having to lie on my back and NOT MOVE! Any movement, and I was up in a flash, tears streaming down my cheeks from the pain.

That was almost nine years ago. One would think I could put it behind me and move on. That is, until the temperature outside takes a radical drop, say around 15 degrees Fahrenheit, and my shoulder reminds me of that surgery. As though I didn't have enough pain, recent weather changes have been adding to the pains I experience regularly. Even typing this relatively short post is irrtating, but I have orders from my little buddy, D-D, to keep people updated.

I'm off to quietly whimper and moan in bed. Be well, my friends...or, at the very least, be weller than I.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Wow...just wow.

Thanks

Sargent Collins aka Vic Colicchio.

And yeah I've been in lucky getting work, but I very seldom get hired for my NY accent. I use a few different hispanic "voices" and most of my credits are for those characters.

I also use"hector Comachos" voice in a lot roles.

But yeah I'm an old time New York native and thanks for taking not of that. much appreciated

Vic

Just when you thought your blog wasn't being noticed by anyone important, along comes an actor that plants a comment and thanks you for noticing him. Three months after the post, no less! (Look at my post, "New York State of Mind.") My blog has been autographed!

Of course, how he found my blog remains a mystery. I can almost hear the conversation now...

Friend: Yo, Vic! So guy mentioned you specifically in his blog.
Vic: Yeah? What'd he say?
Friend: That you knocked a New Yawk accent outta the ball park in Inside Man.
Vic: Awww, crap. Gimme the web address. I gotta see if he went on and on about being a New Yawk native. If he did, he's gonna box me in and all my work is gonna end up as a New York character.

Because, as you all know, I have that kind of power in the film industry. That I haven't sold a single screenplay, or even a short story, means nothing. I have Hollywood under my thumb, I tell you! Under...my...THUMB! (Insert maniacal laughter here.)

I don't know Mr. Colicchio, and to be honest, I don't know how much of his accent was the New Yorker within. For me, having grown up on Long Island and working in Brooklyn, then living here in Arizona, my accent is skewed. The amateur actor in me throws accents around for comedic purposes, and that's about it. But there are times when I imagine myself on a set, in a role that requires an accent, and some dialect coach is constantly running over to me and saying how my NY accent sounds terrible!

Mine is a self-educated understanding of the actor's art. A lot of people think actors are babied 100%, and that someone hands them a script, they memorize a few lines, then go home to their mansions or penthouse suites. It should be that easy. If you want an education on the extremes of acting, watch the Lord of the Rings Trilogy, special edition. Each one has around six hours of extra material, and those actors went through hell.

But that's an extreme, as I said. Inside Man must have been a different kind of madness. Mind you, I have no facts; this is me at my best guessing.

The actors are up at all sorts of goofy hours, because exterior shots are reliant on the positioning of the sun. Sure, they can digitally manipulate the lighting, but that gets expensive. It's sometimes easier to shoot during the day, and use artificial lighting to mimic daylight. Thus, the actors get their call sheets for odd hours, and they have to be on set at that time.

By the time the actors get to set, there's the hope that everything is ready. Are the extras set? Do they know what to do? Did the director accidentally speak to one of them, and now the extras are demanding SAG scale rates? (Those tricky extras will try that!) Are all the lights functioning? Are all the props in place? Are there any continuity issues?

Continuity...There's a fun one to cope with. Films are rarely shot in order. If the weather is bad one day, they'll move the production inside, where they might shoot a scene that's toward the end of the movie, and they just started filming! For the actor, it's like trying to read a book, but reading different chapters at random. In between shots, the makeup people are running in to touch up. It could take a dozen takes of one shot to get it right, and actors aren't machines, they're human. They flub lines, forget a cue, and fumble props. Laughter ensues, and the takes now roll on forever. Then there are the things that can't be controlled on set. In the middle of a location shot, an ambulance could go screaming by when there's supposed to be a moment of piece. The siren ends up dominating the soundtrack, so the actors are dragged into a sound studio to re-perform their lines.

Inside Man, that astounding film that brings back that NY state of mind, was shot in 39 days. That's principle photography, as far as I know. That time doesn't include reshoots and editing.

Me? I'm the smallest, yet most important part of the process, provided I ever make a sale. I'm the guy who creates and writes the story. And once I sell the script, it's no longer mine. Script doctors may come in and fix this, change that, and by the time they're done with it, I may recognize the character names and the title...that's it. What do I want for my scripts? Well, a nice sack of cash would be nice, but as a nobody, I'll have to settle for what's offered. My greatest demand is a writing credit. If an ampersand appears before or after my name, so be it. I want that writing credit so I can become a member of the WGA.

But you folks go ahead and look up Victor Colicchio. In the minds of the masses, he may well be "that guy" who was in "that movie" or "that TV show." Me? I'll always be a fan of that small but great role in Inside Man.

Oh...and if you're reading this, Vic...*assumes Hollywood producer attitude*...I got this script. It's gonna be a blockbuster! It's the story about a guy and his dog...but the dog sings, see? I mean like an opera singer, right? And the guy is trying to make a bundle on the dog, but the dog is kidnapped by terrorists...

In all seriousness, I have a horror script that takes place mostly in Manhattan. Comments go through my e-mail first, and I accept or reject them. If you want to take a look at that script, send your e-mail address though on a comment, I'll jot it down, delete the comment, and then show you what I have. Oh...and it's on Final Draft 7.0.

Then again, faithful readers, I doubt he'll see this one. But here's hoping!

Be well!

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Issues!

I...have...ISSUES!

First, I'm having a problem getting on to GitP. When I DO manage to get there, navigating the site turns into the page I'm becoming far too accustomed to: Site is not responding. "What do you mean the site is not responding?!? I was just there!!!" So to those readers that are wondering why Bor hasn't been around and isn't responding, it's because he's outside the site and banging on the virtual windows, shouting for someone to let him in.

Next, the 3rd of the month arrived, and I wasn't feeling up to making a long trip to the bank that day. I went next door to the market, as they've prepared a money order in the past with just my debit card, and I was told they no longer do that. This news came at 3:00 PM, about an hour before my bank closed. Thus, I had to make the trip to the bank on the 4th and add that $5 late fee because I was not well enough to make the bank run on the actual due date. Like I can spare the $5 to start with.

Monday, of course, was my follow-up visit with my PCP. I told him of my adventures at the emergency room. I seemed to have skipped some information here, so I'll share what I told him. "The CAT scan showed nothing. The X-ray shows something, but not my big toe, and the urine and blood samples they took also showed nothing."

Yes, dear readers...I received a call on Saturday by a follow-up nurse from the hospital to tell me that my fifth toe, AKA "pinkie toe," is showing something, but she was unable to tell me what. A couple of times she made mention of an old break in the bone, but I've never broken that toe as far as I know. When I mentioned this news to my PCP, the first thing he said was "Charcot's joint." I'm starting to think he has "Charcot's on the brain."

Meanwhile, to address the spasm in my back, he prescribed a muscle relaxer, which seems to help. Maybe I'm being a touch paranoid, but to address the possibility of a kidney issue that remains unseen on the CAT scan, I'm drinking cranberry juice to clean them out. (With the added bonus of plenty of vitamin C!) In fact, I bought a few food items to address my digestive tract, just in case. The scary part is that I practically need a finance plan in order to buy the healthier foods. I can see it now, walking into a bank..."Yes, I need a body loan. How much is my flesh worth, and what is the interest on the loan payments?" (It'd be rather upsetting if the loan officer said, "I'm sorry, Mr. Meadows, but your body is worthless. I recommend donating it to science and making it a tax write-off.")

While trying to juggle my own issues, I'm still getting calls from my truck-driving friend, Leroy. It seems that when he and his wife have an argument, I'm the guy he calls. I have chased people away when they come to me for relationship advice, but this guy seems to think I'm some kind of love guru. These calls turn into their own adventures.

Because he keeps altering the timeline a bit, Leroy knew his wife a year to two years before they were married. As he runs into ongoing problems, I often remind him, "It's not like you met in Vegas, had a wild weekend of passion, and then went to a drive-thru chapel to get married. Her behavior should not be a surprise to you." I feel like I'm Captain Obvious, and it has become my job to point out things he already knows, or should know.

The above is an example, but I have more. You see, how wife has been in several abusive relationships. It seems she's met one madman after another, some of whom have crippled her and her children emotionally. She has major trust issues, and they show in her behavior. Leroy, in turn, continues to try new methods of getting through to her...and a lot of them are negative in aspect. He tends to rely on anger or apathy in the hopes of making her wake up. He's even tried adopting her attitude to see how she likes receiving as she's giving.

Along comes Captain Obvious. "Leroy, has it occurred to you that switching up your behavior as much as you change your underwear is only reminding her of the lunatics she's already been with? I want you to understand that I'm not the guy you should be taking advice from; I'm single for a reason. But my thought is that when she behaves badly, you should take it like a man. It's like the old 'punching contests' friends would have when you were younger. You take what she has to give, and but think about the things she's saying. Think about why she's saying them. Then, instead of crawling away, you TALK TO HER! Don't act like the guy who loves her; BE the guy who loves her. Remain a kind, considerate rock of stability and explain that what she's doing hurts you. Explain that it hurts when you can have a more meaningful conversation with me than with her. This searching for different ways to get through to her haven't worked, and they're not going to work. She's a mess. And if you continue to be a mess yourself, your marriage is going to fall apart, which I don't think is what you want."

Now that I think about it, I should have simply broken into song. They do it all the time in musicals, and there's a song from Camelot that would have done nicely.

How to handle a woman?
"There's a way," said the wise old man.
"A way known by every woman
Since the whole rigmarole began."
"Do I flatter her?" I begged him answer.
"Do I threaten or cajole or plead?
Do I brood or play the gay romancer?"
Said he, smiling, "No, indeed."
How to handle a woman?
"Mark me well, I will tell you, sir.
The way to handle a woman...
Is to love her...
Simply love her...
Merely love her...
Love her...
Love her."

Yes, I think life would be a lot more interesting if it were like a musical. Everyone would know the words to the songs and the dance steps. Living on cheaply constructed sets would be more of an adventure than existing inside these pesky buildings. And only in a musical can a Caucasian man run down the streets of Spanish Harlem shouting "MARIA!" and have only ONE woman come to the window.

Yeah...less issues in a musical, I think.

Musical cue, please...?