Sepia

You Didn't Have to Spare Me, But You Did, But You Did, But You Did, and I Thank You

Hardly a day goes by lately where I don’t see someone on Facebook or Twitter bemoaning the number of “idiots” on their friends/contact list who say imbecilic things about, say, the Louisiana flooding or some other regional misfortune. You know the kind of posts: “I had to defriend five people today for being jerks” and so on.


Apparently, the flooding in Louisiana has brought jackasses out of the woodwork to ridicule the people dealing with the loss of their homes, belongings, pets, and so forth and saying “this is what you get for ignoring global warming” or “this is what you get for being homophobic rednecks.” It’s not funny when a member of the religious right blames homosexuality or some other “sin” for a hurricane hitting somewhere; it’s not funny when the people on the other end of the ideological spectrum do the same in reverse.


And I’m extremely pleased to note that no one on my friends lists’ has said anything of the kind. Apparently my decision to cull my friends list down to zero and start over last year has paid off — I’ve only got people on my friends list that I know in real life and am at least somewhat interested in hearing from, and I don’t have any of the “guy I met at the gym who turns out to be a rabid David Duke supporter” types.


So I just wanted to thank you all for sparing me from a daily dose of crazy bigotry. I consider myself lucky that apparently I don’t know anyone whose day is brightened by adding a little hate to the world.

Sepia

Blanket Apology To The Human Race (and Most Orders of Animal Life, Excepting Only the Canada Goose)

angrygoose

I spend every day of my life wanting to apologize to everyone I know on social media and quite a few of the people that I know in person.

I believe that most people who know me either:


  • think nothing at all about me, or,

  • think I’m an annoying, attention-hungry loser

I’m not worried about apologizing to people to whom I’m a complete non-entity; that’s actually the preferred state, I guess, given what I assume the alternative is. But everyone else — all the people I’ve annoyed, all the people I’m going to annoy, and all the people that I’m currently annoying — to you, I am very sorry.

I’ve spent my whole life doing impulsive, stupid things and then realizing how offended people were and then asking myself “why the hell did I do that?” And I suspect that there are countless more things that I’ve done that I didn’t pick up on. That when I leave the room people look at each other and just shake their heads. That people cheer up when they arrive and I’m not around. And so on.A)Please don’t give in to the urge to post a follow-up saying “but that’s not true at all.” I promise you — I did not write this with the goal in mind of having people respond telling me that I’m not so bad after all, or because I was fishing for sympathy.

I sometimes think that the only way I can avoid cheesing people off through my spastic, dumb-ass sense of humor is to say nothing at all to anyone, to stay off social media, and to never go out in public except to go to work. (Somehow, I’m able to adopt a work persona that gets the job done and doesn’t feel a need to go off on weird tangents. Usually, anyway.)

I’m not overly fond of the blanket excuse offered up by over-psychoanalyzed Late 20th Century Man: “My parents did this to me.” I imagine that everyone’s parents did various not-so-constructive things along the way, and I believe that blaming one’s misfortunes on one’s parents is just a lame albi. My father did spend my entire childhood telling me that I was a jerk, that no one would ever like me, that I was an idiot, that I was a quitter who would never accomplish anything, and so on. That probably contributed somewhat to my belief that I had no friends, that the world was pretty much divided into:


  • people who don’t know me at all

  • people who can’t stand me

  • people who barely tolerate me

I was careful growing up to never ever ever refer to someone as my friend, for fear that they would look at me with a repulsed look on their face and say “We know each other. We’re acquaintances. But we’re not friends.” To this day, I feel weird about the term “friend”. Other people have friends. I have people I haven’t completely cheesed off yet.

But I don’t think this way of thinking this is all my father’s fault. I’m a gray-haired 48-year-old man. It’s past time that I take responsibility for my own thoughts and actions. It’s fairly pathetic to say “stuff that happened over 30 years ago continues to shape my thoughts today and every day.”

I think that the truth is that I really do careen through life doing a lot of dumb-assed stuff, and always have, and unless I take up the life of a hermit, probably always will. I’m very glad that I’ve got my work persona to fall back onto, but I can’t be that way 24/7. Somewhere along the way I developed a strong work ethic… but when I take the necktie off at the end of the day, the other Jay comes out.

And so I spend a lot of time face-palming at my own actions and wishing like crazy I had an “undo” button. And since I don’t… I wind up apologizing a lot, or wanting to apologize, or wishing I could go back and apologize. Unfortunately, it’s virtually impossible to make amends to everyone you’ve ever hurt, even if they were disposed to give you a chance. In my case, there are just too many people.


Sorry


And thus, this post. To you, dear reader, I’m really, really sorry for anything and everything I’ve done to annoy you, irk you, cause you to sigh despairingly, waste your time, bore you, or otherwise act like a millstone around your neck. If you want to contact me for a more specific apology, please let me know.

Unless, of course, you’re a Canada goose. The blanket apology, and offer of a more specific apology, does not apply to them. Canada geese are mean. To heck with ’em.

goosehead

Footnotes   [ + ]

A. Please don’t give in to the urge to post a follow-up saying “but that’s not true at all.” I promise you — I did not write this with the goal in mind of having people respond telling me that I’m not so bad after all, or because I was fishing for sympathy.
Sepia

Stupid Hypothetical Question De La Soirée

mysterious


If you came across a door in your house that you’d never seen before, a door that opened onto an absurdly large space that couldn’t possibly exist in your house or apartment as it currently exists — a space that resembled a very large empty warehouse with three or four locked doors (doors to which you have no key) but no windows — would you use the space beyond, since it’d amount to basically virtually unlimited free storage, or would you leave it alone and never go in there for fear that one day the force that joined the door to your dwelling would …unjoin it and take anything inside away to parts mysterious and unknown, or would you seal it shut for fear of what might come through from the other side?


[contact-form]
Sepia

Stratospheric High Blood Pressure -- Need A Good Aura Cleansing

high blood pressure


My blood pressure is really high despite taking daily doses of hydrochlorothiazide and losartan. 155 over 97, and so on. I’ve been on said meds for years, and nonetheless, nothing seems to work. My mom was the same way — she had absurdly high blood pressure and I think they had her on everything under the sun at one point in time or another.


I’ve tried to cut back on caffeine again — not that I’ve gotten up where I was about five years ago, but I worry that I’ve still been doing too much, especially by taking Excedrin for my ever-present headaches. I was also taking Sudafed every day because I wake up every day really congested and stuffy — another fun product of heredity and biochemistry — and my P.A. told me to immediately stop that.


Stopping the Sudafed didn’t have any effect on my blood pressure, though. After a week I’m still just as high as ever.


I should eat less and exercise more. I understand that exercise by itself doesn’t have much to do with blood pressure, but weight does. I’ve been very depressed, yada yada, and have blamed that for my lack of exercise and for my weight gain. But it’s probably time to get off that horse and get busy whether I have the mental energy or not.


I just got off the phone with my P.A.’s medical practice — I made an appointment for Friday and gave them my medicine dosages and my readings. We’ll see what they say.


Until then, though, it’s probably time for a good aura cleansing or something. Anyone know any practitioners of white magic? I’ve checked Yelp locally and none of the local wizards have decent ratings — all 1.5 stars and so on. Or perhaps I need to start taking colloidal silver. Or maybe just buy some leeches and offload a pint of excess blood every morning.


Hmm.


 


Sepia

Water Station

I’ve been having fun with my Ricoh Theta S 360 degree camera since I got it. It lets me take still or video panoramas using a pair of fisheye lenses, then upload them to places like Youtube, Facebook, or Google Street View.


I happened to have my camera and small tripod with me today when I walked from a Vermont Lake Monsters (short-season A minor league baseball) game to Noyes Automotive, where we’d had Carole’s car extensively detailed. As I walked down Ledge Road heading west toward Pine Street, I noticed that some nice homeowner had put out a large bowl of water with a sign reading “WATER STATION” at dog’s-eye level.


I took a photo of it with my phone, but then reconsidered — a still photo just showing the bowl in isolation didn’t really do the situation justice. Out came the Ricoh and tripod. This was the result (click and drag the image with your mouse). Now just imagine that you’re a thirsty pooch out for a walk with your owner. Awesome, right?



Sepia

The Politics of Dancing (Waring Blender Edition)

Waring Blender

Just killed my red Waring bar blender trying to make Carole a smoothie with skim milk, frozen berries, and frozen yogurt chunks (which she’d prepared in advance in a silicone cube tray). Apparently there are some things that are too much for a Waring blender — deep frozen 1 inch cubes of frozen vanilla yogurt, for one, and Warren Zevon for another.


Note the Oxford comma there.


Anyway, the thing gave me 11 years’ service, so I’m not too broken hearted.


I went to look up and order another and to my horror, the blender arms race has gotten a bit out of control; they make Waring blenders that go up to almost a thousand dollars. I assume those are for making the Bruce Banner smoothies out of pitchblende, carnotite, basalt, and, of course, skim milk.


Sepia

Walking 60 Miles In Seattle

Seattle 2015In September I’ll be walking 60 miles in 3 days as part of the 2016 Susan G. Komen 3-Day walk… a walk to raise funds for the fight against breast cancer. This is my 9th year taking part in the Susan G. Komen 3-Day walk series and this is my 26th walk overall. In order to take part, I have to raise a minimum of $2300, but of course, I’d like to raise much more. Funds raised by the walk go to fund research, education, treatment, and early detection.


I personally feel very strongly about each person’s right to live a full, happy lifetime, and moreover, that there are few things more tragic than the story of a life being cut short early, like a novel whose author just lost interest and gave up. Cancer sucks. I lost my father this year (to old age, essentially) at the age of 84 and I know how much that hurt – and he had a full, long life. How much more must it hurt to lose a wife or mother or sister or daughter to something that comes like a thief in the night?


I know, though, that everyone has their own fundraising priorities, and I’m just grateful to have friends and co-workers that are so generous in so many causes. If you can and will sponsor me, I’d be very grateful, but if you’re already committed in other areas, I’m glad to know that your heart is open and always looking to help others.


If you do wish to sponsor me, you can do so here: http://www.the3day.org/goto/jayfurr


If you work for a company that offers matching, please take a few minutes extra to do that as well. There are many Susan G. Komen affiliates in the USA, but the one you should pick is the one with tax ID 751835298, with an address in Chicago, IL, as shown below.


Susan G. Komen 3-Day

/SUSAN G KOMEN BREAST CANCER FOUNDATION

55 E. JACKSON BLVD., SUITE 1010

CHICAGO, IL 60604

Telephone Number: 800-996-3329

Fax Number: 888-294-2557

E-mail Address: dsomers@event360.com

Website Address: http://www.The3Day.org

U.S. Tax ID/EIN: 751835298


Thank you so much for your support, and for all you do to make our communities and our world a better place in which to live. I am deeply grateful.


Thanks,


Jay


Sepia

Certain Vegetables and Fruit


It can be very awkward at times when you’re a) very very very familiar with the early 1980s song “88 Lines About 44 Women” by The Nails, and b) you’re taking part in a conference call and hear a participant introducing herself with one of the names from the song.


I’m on a conference call right now and as we were introducing ourselves at the start of the call, a woman chimed in, “Brenda’s here.”


And for the last ten minutes I’ve had the line “Brenda’s strange obsession was for certain vegetables and fruit” going through my head over and over and over.


AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAGH!


(Thank God her name was “Brenda”, though, and not, say, “Tanya” or “Joan.”)


Sepia

Unsolved Mysteries

My life is full of mysteries. Some more interesting than others.


When I was in graduate school in 1988, a lowly candidate for the Master of Public Administration degree at Virginia Tech, I dutifully tried to do adult things like subscribing to the local newspaper. That said, I didn’t actually sit down and read the paper most days — I’d sleep until I had to rush out for class and then I’d come back much later in the day and brainlessly eat something and go to bed. Unread newspapers piled up in a big stack on my sofa.


One day I decided to throw them out. I picked up half the stack and headed for my recycling bin, then stopped and did a classic Hollywood doubletake. Fanned carefully out across the topmost paper in the remaining heap were five crisp new $20 bills. If I’d split the stack at any other point I’d have missed them.



To this day I don’t know how they got there. My mother had a key to my apartment in case I ever misplaced my own copy, but I can’t imagine that she’d have decided that the best way to slip me some extra cash was to conceal it in a stack of unread newspapers.


The cash was clearly on top of one issue and below another, not tucked into a particular issue. And I can’t imagine how I’d have dropped a whole newspaper onto the stack if there were five $20 bills fanned out on top of the stack at the time. The only explanation that makes sense is that someone put the money there, but again, why would someone choose that method of delivery? It’d have been so easy to overlook the money altogether. (I did finally ask my mother; she denied all knowledge and seemed as genuinely confused as I felt.)


Less Twilight-Zone-esque, but still perplexing, is the matter of my going-away gift that I received when my temporary position at Glaxo Pharmaceuticals ended in 1994. I’d been doing temp work at Glaxo for a while after giving up on my PhD program and moving to Durham, NC. Our department supported clinical trials on ondansetron, an anti-emetic used to prevent opioid-induced nausea, chemotherapy-induced nausea, and post-operative nausea and vomiting. When the powers that be decided there was no need to do any further clinical trials to support additional indications for the drug, I was surplus to needs.


So: on my last day in the department before moving on to another temporary position at Duke University, everyone wished me well and then one of the Pharm.D’s, Melissa, told me she had my farewell gift in her car. I thought that was a little odd — why hadn’t she brought it in? Mind you, I hadn’t been expecting a farewell gift at all; temps aren’t normally noted nor long remembered. But at the end of the day, as I was leaving the building for the last time, Melissa walked me out to the parking garage and retrieved my gift from her car.


It was a 24-pack (a “suitcase”) of Budweiser beer.


budweiserTo say I was a bit nonplussed would just about sum it all up. First, why a farewell gift at all for a lowly temp, and second, why Budweiser? I couldn’t recall ever even discussing alcohol and drinking with my former co-workers and I certainly hadn’t indicated a preference for the King of Beers.


I decided not to ask, though — best not to look a gift horse in the mouth, after all — and simply thanked Melissa and went off, suitcase of beer in hand, to my car. What made Melissa think “Oh, right, Jay’s position runs out tomorrow. Better stop off at the store to get him some Bud”? I’ve even thought about writing her to ask — what’s the Internet for, if not for cyberlocating people who you used to know decades ago and who’ve long since forgotten you?


But no. I think it’s best if I leave this mystery unsolved.