Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Well, Here We Go ...

Our vacation was wonderful, and now I'm paying for it (literally and figuratively!) with a backload of work. I'll try to post some pictures later on.

Just taught a class on the dangers of an enlarged ego in terms of addiction relapse. Hopefully my patients got something out of it; I can never be sure if these things are helpful or not. Seems like the patients I believe are getting it often relapse and the ones I thought weren't paying attention do well sometimes. And since we're talking a relapse rate of roughly 80% for people in their first attempt in recovery, it's pretty much a crap shoot. Sad, but true.

Work is slowing down today, due to the holiday, but the first two days of this week were crazy as all get out. I'm hoping and praying that today continues to go well. Maybe I can get caught up on my holiday emails and stuff. Tonight's going to be packed, with One Ring and I conducting the Christmas Eve service at our church, then dinner with the inlaws. I still haven't wrapped her presents! I just talked with her on the phone, and told her that I really need one more day of prep time. I don't know how, but Christmas has once again snuck up on me. Weird, considering that it's the same day every year!

Well, posts will probably continue to be sporadic as the holidays move on through. I should be starting guitar lessons after Christmas, and I'm trying to save enough to purchase an electric guitar in the near future. Right now I'm still using Drink Man's Epiphone Studio model along with my grandfather's acoustic to practice. I've managed to butcher Good King Wenceslas and a couple of other songs. Hopefully I'll be able to play without scaring the dogs before too long!

That's all from here for now. I hope everyone has a joyous holiday season.

Peace out.

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Monday, December 15, 2008

Countdown 'til Freedom

In exactly one hour and thirty-nine minutes, I will be leaving this place to take a much needed five day vacation. That's right, One Ring and I are hitting the road again, and this time, any interruption will be met with deadly force. We're that serious!

One Ring finished her papers on Friday, and I accomplished the impossible by preaching in a church without it (or me) bursting into flames. Strangely, Governor Sarah Palin's Church did. Very ironic. So after all the angst and trauma accompanying those events - as well as the usual work and life stress - we are bailing on reality and heading off.

In other news, I seem to have acquired a stalker. Good news is that this stalking has only taken place online, and has yet to break into the real world. I just checked, and there are ten people listed in the state of TN who bear my name or a close proximity thereof, so even if the individual in question managed to get that far, hopefully they won't be able to find my front doorstep. Still, this event has caused me to reconsider my online presence. Should I continue blogging, or should I try to remove references to me that can be found on the net? Is it even worth it to try?

In case you're wondering, yes, I do know who this stalker is, and yes, it's a person who was once connected to my family. And no, there can be no reconciliation or even reasoning with this individual, as there are not enough years of life left to accomplish the amount of therapy necessary for normalized behavior. The last time I went through this, I was in graduate school. It was 14 years ago, and it really messed with my head. Now I'm obviously a mature professional, but it's still more than a little on the unnerving side.

So now I have yet another good reason to head off on vacation. Barney and Kona are already in the kennel, the bags are mostly packed, and the tickets are standing ready. The only thing left is for me to complete the paperwork and get our tails to the airport in the morning. Hopefully when I get back, the world will be a little bit better. At least Christmas will be closer. All my Christmas shopping is done, except for One Ring's stocking stuffers. So my stress level in that department is relatively low.

One hour, twenty-two minutes and counting ...

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Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Burnout

Well, it's that time again. Roughly an hour and a half until I get to flee the premises. I only have a little bit of paperwork to do, but the day has had just enough odd things happen to make me feel grumpy. I now have my office door shut and am trying to drum up the umph needed to finish what needs to be done.

Part of the problem is that if my door is open, my patients feel that I'm waiting for them to come in and talk to me. So when I'm up to my eyeballs in chart notes, or even on the phone, usually what happens is that someone just waltzes on it, plops down in one of my chairs, and then sighs loudly until I address his or her (usually) minor problem. Makes it hard to be sympathetic, or more importantly, empathetic. Basically I just want to call them pathetic and leave it at that.

Meanwhile, Drink Man is arguing with other people who work over here at the VA, and the walls are very thin. Not that I don't disagree with his positions necesarily; I just want some peace and quiet.

Sigh. Well, One Ring called and has been appraised of the situation. Hopefully she understands if I'm not the happiest camper by the time I get home. Or hopefullly the chocolate cookies I purchased will have the desired effect on my mood. In the meantime, though, these chart notes aren't going to write themselves.

Peace.

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Hi, Remember Me?

Didn't think so. Life's been so insanely busy lately, there have been times when I've almost forgotten who I was and what I'm supposed to be doing! Of course, I just blame the ADD and keep on going.

So here's the update: One Ring is down to her final paper for the semester. It's due on Thursday, so I don't really expect to see her much until then. I've been locking myself in the spare bedroom (otherwise known as "my play room"), where I've been hammering away on Drink Man's electric guitar. I was supposed to give it back to him last week, but he's been busy with a new puppy (no, not one of ours; he bought an - get this - Irish Wolfhound!). So I'm hanging onto it as long as I can. Last night I worked on chords, playing "Kumbaya" (which I am beginning to hate!) and the first part of John Lennon's Happy Xmas (War is Over) . Needless to say, my rendition of the latter doesn't sound anything like the song that Lennon wrote!

Meanwhile, One Ring and I are getting ready for a brief trip to Florida with her family. I'd normally be looking forward to it, but I've been too busy to even notice that the time is rapidly approaching. Which is a shame, because normally I like anticipating vacations - even short ones.

Christmas is going to be spent in TN this year. It will be the first Christmas I've ever spent away from my family, so I'm expecting some odd emotional moments. Granted, I'm 38, so it shouldn't mean anything, but who knows. The good news is that this will be the first Christmas where One Ring and I do not have to travel anywhere! Why? Well, I have to work the 24th and 26th and One Ring and I were drafted into working on the Christmas Eve service, since the Pastor of our church is currently recovering from hip surgery. Personally I think she planned it this way - Lord knows I would if I were in her shoes, but that's just me.

Short story is that I'm staying at home with One Ring and the dogs this Christmas. Everyone else has to visit us. Yay!

Okay, it's almost time for lunch. Hopefully today will not be like yesterday and I'll get to blog more as the day progresses.

Peace.

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Friday, December 5, 2008

Attention Pirates. You're Pathetic!

I've commented before on the general lameness of the current bunch of pirates who are roaming the waters off Somalia. They've abandoned the hit and run tactics that made the careers of Calico Jack Rackman, Black Bart Roberts, and Blackbeard. Instead, this new breed seems to like taking hostages and holding onto the ships until insurance companies pay up. Take, for example, the case of the MV Faina, the Ukranian cargo ship that is carrying military equipment such as tanks, missle launchers, and machine guns. Pirates have been sitting on that ship for over two months now, and have lowered their initial demand of $35 million a number of times.

Meanwhile a pirate "mother ship" was sunk by the Indian Navy. I didn't even know they had one!

But this week's news has brought word that piracy has truly become sad and pathetic. 2 small boats attempted to hijack a cruise ship off the coast of Yemen this past weekend. The cruise ship OUTRAN the boats!

Let me say that again. The pirate attack craft were outrun by a cruise ship. You can read about it here.

Captain Kidd is rolling in his grave!

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Thursday, December 4, 2008

Coming In From the Cold

Yeah, it's cold here today. Fortunately they finally seem to have the heat in my office set to something resembling a normal temperature. Usually I'm either sweating buckets or feeling chilled. Of course, my office door, which is usually open, is right across from the main door. So I get a blast of cold air whenever someone comes in or goes out.

A lot has happened in the past week or so, and work continues to be busy. As a result, the posts are coming a lot less frequently than I would like. Usually I see something and think, "That would make a good post!" But lately, by the time I can actually get to my computer, the topic is no longer relevant. So what I'm left with is having to do these weekly catch up posts.

So here we go.

So far One Ring and I have weathered the economic storm that has hit these parts. I asked my boss, and my boss's boss, about some changes that have been proposed for the substance abuse program. Basically, my position was going to be eliminated, but I'd have the "opportunity" to apply for the slot that was going to replace it. Panic followed, but I have been told that I am "safe." Mind you, I didn't get that in writing, so they can always go back and change their minds. But for now, I'm not sweating it.

The big news - aside from the fact that I'm still getting a paycheck - is that I inherited my grandfather's guitar while I was in Virginia for the Thanksgiving holiday. My grandfather died in 1991, but the guitar floated around my family, passing from my mother to my brother (Sharkbait wanted to get it fixed up, but couldn't afford it and really wasn't interested in learning how to play). Now it's in my possession.

This guitar and I have a long history. Back around 1986, my grandfather called my mother and asked her that if he fixed up the guitar and paid for lessons, would I be interested in playing? She forwarded the request to me, and I responded - like an idiot, I might add - "Is it electric?" I turned my grandfather down when I found out that it was an acoustic. For the next 22 years, and especially following his death from cancer, I have regretted this decision. But time and other issues pushed this to the background.

Cut to 2008. Drink Man, the coworker who has the office next to me (one day I'll get around to explaining why he's being referred to here as Drink Man) has a side interest in songwriting. He and I have been talking music for a while and I told him the story of the guitar. He commented that it was never too late to learn, and that got me thinking ...

So I picked up the guitar last week and had it restrung on Monday. Turns out it's over 50 years old! It's an Airline acoustic, manufactured by some company - Harmony, I think the guys at the shop said - for Montgomery Wards. Not too many of them left in the world, since they were meant to be inexpensive beginner guitars. Most have ended up broken or left to rot. My grandfather's guitar, according to the guitar shop gurus, made it through the years with flying colors.

So now I'm sitting with an antique, and about to start lessons. I found what appears to be a good place yesterday. Very affordable, close to home, that sort of thing. Just have to wait for the holidays to pass before I can start serious learning. Until then, I have DVDs coming in from Netflix, and books from the public library ... and some very frightened dogs, who don't appreciate good music when they hear it! : )

Right now I'm listening to Rush (Snakes and Arrows, in case you're curious), and daydreaming of perhaps someday being able to play like Alex Lifeson. Which, interestingly enough (or not), was the same dream I had when I was 16. Power Windows was their latest then, and the song Big Money blew me away. And I won't even go into my desire to learn YYZ! I own Guitar Hero II, which has it as a bonus song. Even in the game, it's next to impossible to play - for me at lest - so no doubt it will be a long time before I can rock out to that one.

Of course, I had to promise my mother - man, now I'm sounding like I'm 16! - that I wouldn't go all metal on my grandfather's guitar. Never even thought of doing that, of course. So that brings me to my next big expenditure, and One Ring's new migraine: buying an electric and amp.

All in good time. Drink Man and I have been discussing the pros and cons of various guitars and songs to learn - he's apparently against learning Rush and thinks newer stuff is better. Not that it matters; I can't even play "Mary Had A Little Lamb" yet!

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Monday, November 24, 2008

Major Update Post

I know I've been really remiss in posting. Lots of reasons for that, the main one being that I post at work, and work's been busy. Busy work = no posting. I figured I'd just make up for it at home, but the home life has been crazy, too. Crazy home = no posting. Hence the long periods of silence punctuated with limited postings about the pirates operating off of Somalia and elsewhere in Africa.

All that to say that since today is a lot slower than expected (Huzzah!), I finally have time to write about all that's going on around me. So go get yourself a cup of coffee and get settled into a comfortable chair. This could take a while.

Go ahead. I'll wait.

Deep breath. Okay. We finally sent the last of the puppies off to a foster home yesterday. Now all that's left is to rebuild the bathroom where they were living. Puppies like to chew, of course, and these little monsters took out the molding, the toilet seat, the plaster on one corner of the wall, and scratched the paint off the door. We're also going to have to replace the flooring. Not that we're dreading that. A home improvement project like that will improve the selling value of the house, so the puppies actually did us a favor, since I'd probably wait until doomsday to do that kind of work!

But discovering that damage seemed to be the harbinger of bad house behavior. The fridge went on the fritz, and there's a weird noise coming from the pipes in the wall in our other bathroom. Even as I type, One Ring is dealing with repairmen (they actually showed up!). Hopefully there won't be any huge problems awaiting me at my house (Just got the phone call - it's not as bad as I thought, thank God!).

Just got back from lunch. Bunch of delays in finishing this. Fortunately, I only have two patients to deal with today, so this may actually get published.

One Ring and I are heading to Virginia for the holiday. On the way, we're stopping off to see some friends. Should be fun. We've done the whole 12 hours in one day, and now we're figuring that's a tad too extreme for us. So we're breaking it up into two 6 hour days. I'm looking forward to the break, though not necessarily the usual family drama that takes place over holidays. My mother's health is not the best, and when you combine that expense, the current economic situation, and the usual Thanksgiving and Christmas insanity, there's family stress that none of us need. I'm hoping it goes well, but, as usual, I'm fearing the worst. Plus there's the usual obligatory meeting with my dad. Grrr. Ah, holidays!

One big thing that's happening on this trip is that I'm picking up an heirloom. My grandfather left my family an acoustic guitar when he died back in 1991. Back when I was sixteen, he offered to have it repaired and to pay for lessons if I wanted it. My response, being the idiot that I was, was, "Is it electric? No? Then I'd rather not." Yeah, I never did realize that it was essentially the same thing.

So I regretted that decision for a long time - the next 22 years, to be precise. Now that the guitar, which had been in Sharkbait's hands for the last little while, is being handed over to me, I'm going to bring it back here to Nashville, have it repaired, and then learn to play. At some point, I'm also going to pick up an electric guitar (probably a Epiphone Les Paul Studio model, in case you're curious). Thing is, I'm really nervous about this whole endeavor.

Why?

Same reason fear grips me whenever I try something completely different and new: fear of failure and making a fool of myself. I know, it's completely silly when I try to think logically about it. Who cares if I'm not good at playing the guitar? It's not like I'm depending on this for my livelihood! Nor is it like I'm taking my grandfather's guitar away from someone else who could be playing it. It's been sitting in a closet for the last 20 years or so.

But still, those fears remain. One Ring's brother brought his guitar over the other night, and I tried to learn some chords. Let me tell you - I found it way harder than playing Guitar Hero! I looked up some tabs on the internet and tried playing a song - "Hey You" by The Exies - and One Ring's brother pointed out that I was about 9frets off! Ouch. Yeah, all correctable issues, and I'm going to be taking lessons. Hell, I live in Nashville. You can't cross the street without knocking over a guitar player. Still, the realization that this is a lot harder than it looks gives me pause, and makes me regret thinking that the members of all those high school garage bands I knew back home (I wonder what ever happened to "Chuck's A Hippie"?) were idiots. They may not have gotten good grades in school, but they could play, and that's a lot more than I can do at this point in life.

Plus there's that whole looking like I'm having a mid-life crisis thing. Don't think for a second that I've forgotten about the Bowflex commercial with the bald guy in his late 40s who is a salesman by day and a musician by night. They show him playing bass with his shirt off and wearing shades. One Ring asked me this morning if that was the look I was going for. "Nah," I told her. "That would involve way too much waxing!" We also joked around yesterday when we were at the local mall. I pointed at the Hot Topic store and said that as soon as I took some lessons, I'd be going there for my new rocker image. In reality, though, the last image I want to give is that I'm pushing forty and trying to return to some mythical point in my youth.

It's weird how the simple act of repairing a guitar and taking lessons can generate so much angst!

But that's the latest from here. I'm working a half day tomorrow and then we're off for Virginia. If I get a chance, I'll post from here before we leave or from one of the places where we're staying.

Peace.

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Thursday, November 20, 2008

More on Those Pesky East African Pirates

Just a quick note to bring everyone up to speed on what's been going on in the waters off Somalia. Seems that the pirates still have a hold on the Ukrainian frieghter that's carrying missles, tanks, and ammunition, while other pirates have captured a Saudi oil tanker. Meanwhile, yet another navy, this time from India of all places, has sailed into the area.

Unlike all the other fleets in these waters - such as ships belonging to the U.S. Navy - the Indian ship Tabar actually engaged and sank what they called a pirate "mother ship" after the pirates made the mistake of opening fire on them. Some of the pirates fled in small motor boats after their base ship was left burning and sinking.

You can read more about the modern pirates and the ongoing battle here.

You know, I'm just not getting these modern pirate types. 17th century pirates NEVER, to the best of my knowledge, willingly engaged any vessel that had more firepower. They used hit and run tactics. These Somali types hit, but then they hang around for weeks on end! And then they're surprised when they're attacked and sunk? Go fig. They're deserving of Davy Jones' locker, I say. Send 'em all to th' bottom!

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Monday, November 17, 2008

Think One Ring Will Get This For Me?

Saw this on Pirate Mod. I think it's got some appeal, eh? : )


My day has gone off the edge of the map. So I'm going to have to write more later.

Peace.

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Friday, November 14, 2008

I Hate Being Lied To ...

I've already mentioned (many, many times) that Halloween is my favorite holiday. There are too many reasons for this to list here. Suffice to say that ghosts and ghost stories factor prominantly. I try to watch as many good - in my opinion, anyway - horror movies as possible during this season, as well as try and turn my normally (very) skeptical mind to the "open" setting and watch all the shows on ghosts and hauntings that basic cable has to offer. For the longest time, Ghost Hunters on the SciFi channel has been a favorite destination. Why? Because the two lead investigators seemed to approach their work with as close to a scientific method as I've seen in that field and a what appeared to be a healthy dose of cynicism. Until recently, that is.

On Halloween I watched the seven hour marathon investigation of Fort Delaware, a Civil War era installation. And no, I didn't sit through the whole thing. One Ring and I skipped back and forth between that, movies we Netflix-ed, and answered the doors for poorly costumed trick or treaters (a major pet peeve of mine). But what we did see bugged us. There were so many technical glitches, miss cues, and botched scenes (do overs? On a live show?) that I was permananetly turned off.

But enough of me ranting about this. See for yourself.

Here's a selection of scenes that one viewer put up on YouTube. You can also see a review of the 7 hours broken up in three sections here, here, and here.



I still like the idea of ghosts and hauntings, but I have to admit that I'm more skeptical than ever after seeing the kinds of stuff that went on in that show. And I'm ashamed that I actually even considered that the Ghost Hunters crew might have been on to something. Oh, well. I guess I shouldn't be that surprised. When ratings and advertising dollars are at stake, keeping reality television "real" isn't that high a priority to many in the entertainment industry. Still, I hate feeling like a fool.

In other news Session 9 was REALLY creepy. And David Caruso's character got whacked. So it was a good evening's entertainment. : )

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Monday, November 10, 2008

Ahhh, Monday

At least tomorrow is a holiday.

Yeah, it's been that kind of day. Work, people on vacation, having to cover for them, nothing really going as planned. Nothing major went wrong, just a feeling of blah / malaise caused by the fact that tomorrow no one is working and my wondering why we get Tuesday off for Veteran's Day and not simply the second Monday in November. Yeah, I know, it was originally called "Armistice Day" and came on the 11th day of the 11th month at the 11th hour because someone thought that was cool. But you know what? As grateful as I am for all the sacrifices men and women have made for my freedom - and I am grateful! - I'd much rather have a Monday off than a Tuesday off. Just throws my whole week out of whack.


In other news, I've decided to extend Halloween again this year. What with my being ill and away on vacation, I feel that I didn't get to fully get into my favorite holiday. So, being that I have a ton of obscure horror movies coming in via Netflix, I'm forced to keep the season going until I'm good and ready for Thanksgiving and Christmas. And I'm sorry, but I am nowhere near ready for Yuletide, no matter how much Target and the malls want me to be!

By the way, if you happen across the Japanese movie Ghost Train, pick it up. Great movie. Not that original a plot - basically it's a haunted house movie moved to a commuter train station, but it does provide a good night's entertainment. Unless you're into gore, of which there is very little.

Speaking of haunted house movies, we also just finished Stephen King's Rose Red on DVD, which was a direct to TV miniseries that came out a few years ago. Yeah, the characters are somewhat stereotypical in nature, and the plot contains a few holes (like, if everyone is concerned for the safety of the autistic girl, why is she allowed to wander off so often? For that matter, why is everyone allowed to wander off so often?), but it's still an enjoyable couple of night's worth of viewing. Some of the parts of the house reminded me of the Haunted Mansion in WDW, especially after the refurb Disney did a few years back, which made me wonder whether the movie influenced the refurb, or vice versa.

I have Session 9 cued up next. Haunted asylum movie filmed and set in Danvers, MA. I hear David Caruso gets knocked off. Now THAT'S good viewing! : )

It's quitting time. I'm outta here!

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Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Everything Changes, Everything is the Same

Wow. That's really all I can say. Wow. One Ring, her brother, and I watched the returns last night, channel surfing to find the best coverage of the election. We happened to be on Comedy Central with The Daily Show's John Stewart announced that Obama had become the 44th president of the United States. At first we thought it was a joke; surely it was far too early to find a winner. In 2000 I stayed up until 2 AM waiting to see if Gore had pulled out a win. And if I recall correctly, it was pretty late into the night in 2004 before we found out that W had been reelected. We were hosting an election party that night, and man, did that kill the evening!

But not last night. At 10:00 PM central, Obama was pronounced the winner by Stewart. We switched over to CNN to confirm the news. Within ten minutes of the polls closing in California , Sen. McCain was giving his congratulatory speech. After that, it was just a matter of watching the celebrations and wishing we were in Chicago.

I couldn't believe the vast numbers of people who poured ount onto the streets to celebrate. 125,000 in Chicago (I told One Ring that I've seen smaller music festivals!) and Times Square in New York was packed out. They were even partying in front of the White House! One Ring stood up when those shots aired and imitated one of the Obama supporters, saying, "Um, yeah. Hi. We were wondering if you could move out, like, now? January is just too far away!"

"Nah," said I. "Bush and Cheney will probably cite emergency powers and declare that their taking over for a third term. You know, for the good of the country." God, I hope not!

Today, though, I'm feeling a slight slump. I mean, yeah, Obama had a massive victory - something like a 3% win in the popular vote and 343-163 in the electoral college vote (some of the returns haven't come in yet). Yes, in January there will be some huge changes, and the hopes of many are now resting on what he can do while in office - end the war, fix the economy, save the environment, create a health care system that actually works. But for now, it's the same old, same old. Bush is still president, the economy is still collapsing, and we still have two wars going with no sign of an end. It's going to be a long wait until January.

On the personal side of life, I'm gradually feeling better following my recent cold from hell. One Ring is feeling ill, and I fear she may have picked up the same mutant virus / bacteria / hellspawn. So we've reloaded our supply of cold medicine, and hopefully she won't be down for as long as I was.

We managed to move another puppy out of our house and into foster care, leaving us with two. One Ring's parents are going to adopt one - Rorschach - so we're pretty happy. The bathroom where the puppies have been living has been almost completely destroyed, so we're looking at a pretty substantial rebuild. Not looking forward to that at all.

Work is work. Enjoying it a lot, and learning a lot about people at the same time. There are still rumblings of major changes taking place in the system, but nothing definite. We'll see. I'm not worrying about it at the present.

Okay, back to the grind. More later, hopefully.

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Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Now This is Cool!

I'm still fighting my cold, and am trying to make it through the day doing as litle as possible (as you might imagine, I am an absolute wimp when it comes to colds!). Honestly, if being at home didn't mean dealing with puppy issues, I'd be sorely tempted to call in sick!

But enough of that. While trying not to work today, I came across this, which fits in perfectly with one of my recently visited places in the Happiest Place on Earth.

It's the Haunted Mansion Board Game! No, it's not the version of Clue that you can find online and in the parks. Rather, it's a build it yourself (out of cardstock, glue, and lots of patience. It looks great, and has a lot of detail. I'd probably build it myself, save that I still haven't gotten around to finishing the last Haunted Mansion model!

Okay, back to being sick. Peace.

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Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Currently Fighting a Losing Battle

with a cold. Will post more when I feel more like a human being.

Peace.

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Friday, October 24, 2008

Your Disney World Moment

Today's gotten off to a rocky start, with several of my patients misbehaving (and risking being tossed from the program). Thus I only have a moment to post. And since I have yet to transfer the pictures we took to my computer, I can only post this picture that I took with my cell phone.

The story behind it is that One Ring and I were walking through EPCOT when One Ring decided that she wanted to see which characters were at the meet and greet. So we went into the pavilion where all of that was taking place, but the line was way too long to even consider staying. So we went back outside.

We paused outside the character pavilion in order to readjust our gear and decide where we were going next when we heard a knock on the window. There was Minnie Mouse, waving to One Ring! I quickly pulled out my cell phone and snapped this picture:

It was a small event, overall, but it was one of those unexpected moments that made our vacation special. I'll post more pictures later today or this weekend, assuming I can find my sanity and have the time.

Peace.

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Thursday, October 23, 2008

Home Again. Home Again.

Yes, I'm back at work today, following my just under a week trip to Disney World. Yes, I got my pirate on while at the park, and also rode the Haunted Mansion the required 4+ times. Yes, we took lots of pictures and ate incredible amounts of food.

And yes, I'm exhausted and up to my eyeballs in back paperwork. Grrrr.

So I'm off to Starbucks to get the caffeine I need to get through the day with my sanity intact. After that, it's all about trying to catch up and getting back into the swing of things. As if I wanted to. I told One Ring that I'd like to put in for a transfer to Orlando, so I could go to the parks every weekend and after work! She just laughed, probably because she knows that I hate the heat and humidity that Florida has in abundance.

At any rate, I'm hoping to get pictures posted tonight.

Peace.

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Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Down to 3 Puppies!

One Ring's parents rolled into town last night and picked up Kona and two of the puppies. They'll be watching that bunch while we're on vacation. So that leaves only 3 more pups. Two will be going to a temporary foster home, and One Ring's brother hopefully will be well enough to watch the third. I'm keeping my fingers crossed.

But then, I haven't had much time to think about the home situation today. Work has been completely off the hook.

There seems to be cyclical patterns at work here in addiction medicine. For a while we'll have a group of patients who are very interested in their recovery and improving their lives. Then we'll run into a batch whose main concern seemed to be addressing every possible need - from staying out of jail to getting a free place to sleep for a month - other than sobriety. Sifting through the deceptions and manipulations to find the truth often takes more time than I can spare. No wonder I have no desire to watch the debate tonight - I don't want to end up doing the same thing I've done all day!

We've opened up new beds in my department, and that means new patients to get oriented. Some are more able than others, so there's been a lot of hand holding, so to speak. I don't mind that, assuming that my suspicions of the aforementioned problem have not been raised. But even so, I'm required to do the work no matter whether or not the patient is being completely truthful. Sometimes it just seems easier to assume that everyone is there for the right reason and keep rolling.

An hour and a half. That's all that's left. Then one more day of work before Disney World! I haven't been this excited about a trip in a long time. Guess that just shows how stressful the past year has been.

Well, there's more that could be said about that, but I'm still up to my eyeballs in paperwork and I'm not sure that all of my patients have completed all their tasks. At least one, I know, still has stuff to do. So I need to put out the bear traps in case he tries to sneak by my office door. If it's one thing I hate, it's having to track people down!

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Tuesday, October 14, 2008

What's Wrong with the World ...

... or, "The main thing that really irk me as we attempt to adopt out a bunch of puppies!"

At the risk of sounding like a 9,000 year old man, I'm going to begin this entry with the words, "When I was growing up ..." It's a cliche, I know, and immediately half the people reading this are probably thinking, "Nah, he has nothing worth reading today!" But hang on a sec, because I've got to rant to someone!

I'm talking today about the distinct lack of follow through that seems to be epidemic in our society. This weekend we had several people express interest in the puppies, some to the point where they came to our house and visited the dogs. One woman filled out an adoption form, and had the money ready to adopt our dog. And I've lost count of the number of people who have said, "Oh, yeah. This is the dog I want! Let me get home and fill out the paperwork and I'll get it right back to you!"

To date, not one of those people have adopted a dog. Several (including the woman who filled out the form and the couple who came to our house) have emailed us to say, "No thanks," and offer up some reason or excuse for backing out. But even more numerous are the people who simply drop off the face of the earth and are never heard from again.

Whatever happened to follow through? Whatever happened to keeping your word? If you say you're going to do something, do it! If you're not sure you can pull it off or make it happen, say so! Don't say one thing and then think that you don't even have to notify the office if you can't produce.

As all of this drama and frustration are going on, One Ring and I are still in the possession of seven wonderful, playful puppies. Two were transferred to another foster home this weekend, but still need to be adopted out. One Ring's parents are keeping two while we're on vacation, and two more are going to the foster coordinator on Thursday (just for our vacation). That leaves one. Hopefully One Ring's brother can help us out. If not we're going to have to kennel the puppy, and that can get rather pricey.

All things being equal, it could always be worse, but I still wish people would flippin' keep their word!

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Sunday, October 12, 2008

Just in TIme for Halloween!

If you're going to be near Disneyland, look and see what characters they've added for this year's festivities! Wish they'd do this over at Disney World!

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Saturday, October 11, 2008

Thought This Was Cute

It's Ninja Cat!

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Friday, October 10, 2008

Saw This One Coming!

I just wish I had thought of it first!


You can find this shirt on Cafepress.com. If the election wasn't so close, I might have picked one up myself!

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New Link

I Has A Hotdog, as probably everyone already knows, is a very funny website where people take pictures of dogs and then add their own captions. There are even utilities on the site for you to create your own. So be sure to check it out, as well as its sister site, I Can Has Cheezburger (Which is mostly cat pictures).

Just trying to make the day happier for all of us!

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It's a Miracle!

And Sharkbait was apparently holding out on me.

An autopsy of a Blacktip shark that died while at the Virginia Aquarium in Virginia Beach (where Sharkbait works) was found to be pregnant with a pup. Thing is, there were no male sharks around to impregnant said Blacktip. Cross species impregnation was also ruled out - I'm not even sure that even happens. At any rate, when DNA testing was done on the pup (Coming soon: CSI Aquarium!), it was found to have only the genetic material of the mother, and none of a father.

You can read more about the research here.

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Thursday, October 9, 2008

Now I Don't Feel That Bad About Having 9 Dogs in My House!

One more thing before I call it a day:

86 cats rescued from 2-bedroom Colo. condo

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There Are Headaches, And There is the One I Have Right Now

It's been a doozy of a day. On the good side, I was able to discharge a particularly problematic patient. Can't go into too much detail, obviously, but this gentleman (as opposed to "That one!") was extremely divisive, manipulative, seedy, and refused all offers of assistance. So a major stressor was lifted when he went out the door. On the down side, two of my coworkers are on vacation, and we've been hit with a whole bunch of new patients over the last two days.

Add to that the usual drama with the puppies, and you have one very tired pirate (ex) chaplain!

I did receive a couple of compliments from nurses that work on the hospice floor of the hospital - the place where I once worked as a chaplain. Both wanted to know where I had gone, and when / if I was coming back. And both were saddened to hear that the odds were extremely low that I would be working in that field in the near future. Their comments really meant a lot to me, as I often never know how much people are affected by my presence until much later, if ever. So it was good to see that I made at least a small difference up there.

Tonight we have a woman coming over to take a look at the puppies, and another person checking out the litter on Saturday. One Ring is working overtime to find a place for the horde to stay while we're on vacation. No easy task, considering that with the downturn in the economy, people are getting rid of their animals in record numbers. The Animal Control facility from which we rescued Kona has been putting hundreds of dogs to sleep a week. Most of the "no kill" shelters are filled to capacity, and the ones that use a foster system, like the SPCA of Tennessee, are hard pressed to find foster homes. But that being said, there's a chance that we'll at least have temporary homes set up for the puppies very soon. I say "we," but of course I need to be honest: it's all One Ring's hard work. If I had been in charge of the situation, I'd probably be half dead and buried up to my neck in puppy poop with little hope of rescue. Not a pleasant image, to be sure!

Okay, one more hour, and the day's circus comes to a close. One week and a wake up until vacation!

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Wednesday, October 8, 2008

I Admit It; I'm A Geek

I have a wristwatch that is currently bugging the hell out of me. Okay, maybe that's a little intense, but the thing chimes on the hour and I can't figure out how to make it stop. I also can't find the instructions. So the watch is now sitting in another room in my house, beeping away every hour, annoying everyone within earshot (especially at 2 AM). After several attempts to correct the situation - and failing miserably - I figured I needed to buy a cheap analog style watch that wouldn't beep, chirp, chime, or even have a working alarm.

It's a lot harder, these days, to find an analog watch - especially a CHEAP one - than you might think. Not sure why, but I guess putting all the gears together costs more than an led screen. Who knows. At any rate, I finally found a proper pirate - style watch on Ebay. Behold!

And I should be getting it within the week. : )

Since I stopped wearing the wristwatch, I've found that the day actually seems to go quicker. Odd how not having time pieces lying all over the place helps! I'm not all that used to having a pocket watch, but hopefully it will do the trick.

And yes, I am a big time pirate geek. Sigh!

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Monday, October 6, 2008

Blah

It's Monday, and I'm not a happy camper.

First off, this weekend went pretty well, but in the area of puppy adoptions, we crashed and burned. One of the dogs - Domino - was supposed to go out to a newly married couple. Well, apparently they still need to work on their communication, because the wife emailed us saying that the husband decided that it was a bad idea. Why he didn't bring that up when we had the puppy over their house is beyond me. We've got a couple of maybes, but given that people just don't seem to back up their words with actions lately, I'm not holding my breath. We went to yet another adoption fair, where the puppies finally collapsed after a day of being held and licking faces - we've trained them to do that, hoping that will hasten their adoption!
Now, wouldn't you want to adopt something this cute???

At any rate, we're at 7 puppies and holding. So if you know someone who's looking for a loving, playful puppy, let me know!!! We have them listed on the SPCA of TN website.

On the plus side, Vanderbilt won it's fifth game in a row, and is 5-0 - something they haven't done since 1943. They beat Auburn to get there, so I'm thinking the apocalypse is on its way. And looking at the economic news of the day, I'm growing more convinced that it is.

Despite that, vacation is in 11 days. I really need it. Work has been really annoying. I've got a patient who is seriously standing on my last nerve. Practicing compassion is not all that easy today! In fact, a coworker and I have been writing songs to blow off steam. So far my favorite is "Borderline Soldier" which is to the tune of Buffalo Soldier by Bob Marley. I may post them as soon as we get it written down. I'm too weary at this point to try and remember what we were singing!

Okay, I'm trying to get refills for my contact prescription. More later.

And adopt my puppies!

Peace.

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Thursday, October 2, 2008

And Then There Were Seven

Yep, one of the puppies was adopted last night! Prima, the first born of the litter(yeah, I know, really original name, but it was the best I could do at the time), was adopted by a nice young couple. Not sure what the guy does for a living, but the girlfriend works for PetSmart, so they'll have all the resources they need to keep her healthy and happy. They've renamed her "Cookie," which is okay, I guess (her coat resembles cookies and cream ice cream, kinda sorta).

In other puppy news...

... One Ring and I are taking Domino to meet prospective adopters tonight. In a chance meeting last Sunday, we met this couple as we were leaving an adoption event. They saw Domino, and said they were looking for a puppy who could hold her own against a larger dog. Well, Domino takes on Barney whenever she can, so we pointed her out and let them hold her for a few moments.

Hopefully, it will continue to be love at first sight, and we'll have her in a new home this weekend. Domino got her shots yesterday (as did Prima, Hogan, and Rorschach), so she's all ready to go.

The real stress comes with trying to find homes for all the puppies before we head off for Disney World on the 17th. Two weeks! But while we have lodging all set up for Barney and Kona, we were operating under the assumption that the pups would all be in homes - either foster or permanent - by then. A couple of days ago, we got word that there may not be foster homes open. Grrr. So now we're working on plans B, C, and D.

The puppies want to go to Disney World, but I have told them that is definitely not going to happen! : )

One hour left. Time to check on the news, get the paperwork done, and then maybe blog some more if nothing more needs doing.

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Tuesday, September 30, 2008

More Signs That You're Not Cut Out to be a Pirate Captain

Your crew starts shooting each other!

Yep, supposedly the stress of being surrounded by the U.S. Navy has sparked some debate among the 40 - 50 pirates aboard the Ukrainian freighter Faina. And, as sometimes happens with heavily armed high strung types, now they're forming factions and gunning for each other. Such a lack of discipline!

But they shouldn't feel too bad about things falling apart. The same thing happened to William Kidd, when his crew mutinied twice, the second time taking his ship and leaving him with only 12 or 13 loyal sailors to help him get from Madagascar to New York. And Stede Bonnet was such a lousy captain that his entire crew left him to join Blackbeard. Being that he didn't have even a rowboat, let alone any allies to help him get home, he stayed on as a "guest" of Blackbeard for almost a year. He took up piracy again, after changing his name (no one would serve under him!) and getting hold of another ship, but was caught and hanged less than six months later.

That's your pirate moment o' the day. Now get back to work, ye lubbers!

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Monday, September 29, 2008

Looks Like They Picked the Wrong Era ...

... to be pirates, that is.

I'm referring, of course, to the recent hijacking of a freighter off the coast of Somalia by pirates. Turns out the ship was loaded with tanks, rocket launchers, missles, and other military equipment coming from the Ukraine and bound from Kenya. Well, instead of following the time honored pirate code of running like heck after taking a ship, these morons have decided to drop anchor ...

... and take on the U.S. Navy. Definitely not a situation conducive to a long and happy life. You can read more about this standoff here.

By the way, The Pirate (Ex) Chaplain in no way endorses modern piracy. Historical piracy against oppressive monarchies, yes. Modern piracy against innocent victims (though I really don't think this arms deal was all that "innocent"), absolutely not. You might want to check out this article's section on modern piracy for more on what's going on out there on the high seas.

And, speaking of another category of bad ideas, looks like the economy is going to continue its free-fall into oblivion. I just checked the news, and saw that the stock exchange ended today way down, and plenty of investors are moving their money to gold. In more personal news, my bank was just bought out as it stood on the verge of collapse. At least my money (what little of it there is) is safe for the time being.

Now if I can just get all those gold investors to load their coins onto galleons ... now THAT could be interesting!

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Friday, September 26, 2008

One Hour More

And then I can flee this place for calmer (and saner) waters.

It's been crazy today. And I mean that in a clinical sense. I probably shouldn't be too surprised, being that I work in addiction medicine - which is part of the mental health world - but sometimes I just shake my head and wonder, "What were you thinking?" So far today, I've been ambushed by a coworker, lied to repeatedly by a patient, and trapped in my office by another colleague who wanted to tell me her entire life story. I suppose what's really surprising is that I've had more trouble coming at me today from the people I with whom I work than the patients! Although they, too, are proving to be a handful when it comes to group dynamics and issues of race, class, and every other -ism you can think of.

I just hope that this weekend is better.

Tonight One Ring and I are heading to a friend of her's apartment for dinner. The friend's boyfriend might be there, and I'm sorry to say that I'm hoping that he isn't. There are some personality issues that keep popping up, and I have a low tolerance for drama. I've already warned One Ring that this will be a short night if anyone acts out.

Still no news on the puppy adoptions. Three people expressed interest, but nothing has been etched in stone yet. They're cute and lovable, so hopefully we'll find good homes for all of them soon.

Okay, I have a little more work to do before heading home. Hope everyone has a great weekend!

Oh, remember that evangelist I mentioned - the whack job who thought that the age of consent should be puberty? Yeah, he got busted. I'm sure they'll just love him in prison!

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Good News for Pirates Fans!

Disney has officially announced that Pirates of the Caribbean 4 will be made! No word on when filming will begin, and only Johnny Depp has signed on so far. Still, it's a good day for everyone who enjoys hoisting the colors high and asking the age-old question, "But why is the rum gone?"

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Thursday, September 25, 2008

Somedays, All You Can Say Is, "Arrrgh!"

It's been a day. Long one. Got news that my job may not exist in another six months or so, which immediately sucked the wind from my sails. I'm going to be allowed to apply for the job that's replacing it - the new one has a great benefit package! - but there's going to be stiff competition, too. Boss did say that it's far too early to plan or worry about it, but I've a tendency to fret about things, and this definitely isn't sitting well, considering that I haven't been here much more than a month!

To make matters worse, the day has just dragged, which has given me more time to think about things. Which is never a good thing, especially when I haven't had a lot of sleep. Which I haven't. Hopefully we'll get these puppies adopted, and then life will return to normal. But until then, sleep is in short supply in our house, what with all the yipping, barking, and whining. And that's just between me and One Ring!

Well, I have to go fax my time sheet off to the big office in Nashville. Joy, joy!

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You Know, All Things Considered ...

... you'd think that attacks by witchcraft would be considered the LEAST of her worries!

Palin pastor prayed for 'witchcraft' protection

But that's what makes election seasons so interesting. Every day the news just gets weirder and weirder!

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Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Just In Case You Needed A Reminder ...

... that all religions have their offshoots that are not only strange, but dangerous, here's a little reminder:

Evangelist: 'Puberty' is age of sexual consent

Ahh, Tony Alamo. I remember finding his propaganda stuck under my car's windshield wiper blades every now and then. Even as a youth, I thought his ideas were pretty out there. Then came 1998's news that he had been keeping his wife's body around because he expected her resurrection. And the tax evasion charges. And the anti-Catholic rhetoric and his claiming to be a "completed Jew," even though he was never Jewish, never converted, and has given statements that suggest he's also an anti-Semite.

All of that is troubling enough, but now he's picking on little girls. And that's disgusting, horrific, and, thankfully, criminal. I hope that this investigation closes him down for good.

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Tuesday, September 23, 2008

There Has to be Better Ways to Spend an Afternoon!

I have 30 minutes until I can flee for home. And flee would be the right word, for I have had a day. Patients squabbling, coworkers acting weird and threatening to leave (again), and Whirling Dervish got some bad news (again) regarding his job search. Add to that the usual craziness that inhabits these corridors - addiction medicine is always insane - and basically it's been a peach of a day, with long periods of boredom and moments of terror.

Or however the quote goes.

So now I have The Cure blaring out of my computer speakers - sad little things that they are, but it's all I have right now - and I'm staring at the clock. Blech.

The package containing my wooden ship and a gift of a model pirate ship from Sharkbait arrived yesterday. My mother even added a present of a framed drawing of a conch shell. The wooden ship and the drawing are now in my office, and the pirate ship will join them as soon as I get it built and painted. Of course, I haven't built a model since I was a kid, so this will be interesting. The pieces are really small, too. I figure the whole ship will be less than 6" long. This may take me a while. Unfortunately, hobby shops seem to be in short supply out this way, so finding model glue and paint may not be as easy as it used to be.

In puppy news, it looks like we've got homes for three of the puppies. We've had inquiries about Othello, Prima, and Rorschach. We're also pushing to find foster homes for the ones who aren't looking like they're going to be adopted right away. So far the SPCA of Tennessee has been really good about working with us. I just want to be sure that the puppies are somewhere else before we go on vacation.

Okay, ten minutes to go. Chart notes have been entered and signed. Time to pack up and bug other people before I go home and then off to the great hobby shop hunt. One Ring just called and said that she saw a new one at a nearby shopping center. Worth a look see.

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Puppy Love

This morning, Barney the Dog of Destruction got to meet Hogan the Puppy Escape Artist for a few minutes. Surprisingly, it went well!


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Monday, September 22, 2008

The Next Car I Drive ...

... is getting this bumper sticker! Click on it to see where to get it. And if anyone wants to buy it for me, feel free! : )

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Weekend Chaos

Hey all, hope everyone had a good weekend. What with the end of "Talk Like A Pirate Day," this post will be written in modern english (the language, not the band!).

Things were pretty strange in these waters. Don't know if you heard where you are, but there was a run on gasoline in Nashville this past week. News that there was a disruption in the supply lines due to Hurricane Ike reached us, then mingled with a rumor (no one is sure where that came from) that said that middle Tennessee was going to run completely out of gasoline. In no time there were wait times of an hour or more at most stations, as motorists filled up, topped off, and filled back up gas cans in order to beat the rumored shortage.

Thing is, the rumored shortage became a real shortage, as just about every station ran out. Gas prices shot up to over $4 here, and over $5 in Knoxville. Shows you what a rumor can do.

Needless to say, that snafu held us back a little bit. Fortunately, I still had half a tank of gas in my car and was able to run us around on our weekend errands until the tanker trucks started reaching the gas stations again. We did go to another pet adoption fair put on by the SPCA of Tennessee. The big news is that two of our puppies, Rorshach and Prima, may be adopted soon. I took the news pretty hard, because Rorshach is the runt of the litter, and my personal favorite. So when One Ring told me the news, I yelled, "No! Tell him that she's already mauled three children and ate a Pit Bull for breakfast!"

It didn't work, and as soon as she's old enough, Rorshach is off to her new home. We're waiting on Prima's possible new owner to fill out the paperwork, but he and his girlfriend seemed so smitten by her that I'm pretty confident he'll jump through all the hoops to get it done.

That's about all that went on this weekend - and it was quite enough. And in case you're curious, here's what the puppies are looking like these days. I snapped these two pictures with my phone while we were driving over to the adoption fair.



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Friday, September 19, 2008

Happy International Talk Like a Pirate Day!

Remember, matey, it be yer solemn duty to speak the right way all the day long!

Want to know more? Click the link down below on the right hand side for the main site, or look here for the FAQ.

Off to teach a class. I'll write more later.

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Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Only 2 More Days ...

... until this year's International Talk Like a Pirate Day.

Arrr, me matey, ye know ye want want to. All the bilge rats and salty dogs be doing it!

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Okay, NOW It's War!

Up until now, I've kept out of the conflict brought about by religious extremists. True, I've commented on whacky things that Christians, Muslims, Jews, and others have said that simply do not make sense. But now a religious leader has spoken up in such a way that I cannot stand on the sidelines any more. As Popeye said, "I've stands all I can stands, and I can't stands no more!"

According to this article, Sheikh Muhammad Munajid claims that mice are agents of Satan. Yes, you heard that correctly. Mice are Satan's creatures, and that everything that they touch becomes unclean.

But we're not just talking your average rodent here. Nope. Even cartoon mice are part of Satan's great conspiracy, since they have convinced children that mice are actually okay. Said the Cleric:

"The mouse is one of Satan's soldiers and is steered by him.

"If a mouse falls into a pot of food – if the food is solid, you should chuck out the mouse and the food touching it, and if it is liquid – you should chuck out the whole thing, because the mouse is impure.

"According to Islamic law, the mouse is a repulsive, corrupting creature. How do you think children view mice today – after Tom and Jerry?

"Even creatures that are repulsive by nature, by logic, and according to Islamic law have become wonderful and are loved by children. Even mice.

"Mickey Mouse has become an awesome character, even though according to Islamic law, Mickey Mouse should be killed in all cases."


Uhm, Mickey Mouse should be killed? Never mind the fact that it is impossible to kill a fictional character - but Mickey Mouse? Killed? Assassinate my niece's favorite character, the one she asked me to give her love when I go to WDW next month?

Forget diplomacy. Here's one guy that definitely has a broadside coming! Death to the infidel!

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Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Boring Day and Other Tales

Yep, it's a dull one. I'm down to two patients on my roster, although a third was just admitted to the program. And since half the staff moved to another building on campus, things here have been quiet. Too quiet. In fact, downright boring. I know, I know, I should enjoy it. But to be honest, when I'm not active, I get sleepy. And I really don't want to be falling asleep at my desk right about now! Even though a nap sounds awfully good!

So, instead, here is an update of what's going on in casa de Pirate:

First off, Barney the Dog of Destruction has struck again. This time, the victim was One Ring's cell phone, which she accidentally left on the coffee table when she jumped up to tend to the puppies. Behold, if you will, the tragic remains:




We're going to the Verizon shop later in the week to replace it.

On Saturday, One Ring and I went to a local PetSmart for a pet adoption fair. It's still too early to adopt the puppies out - they're too old by 3 weeks or so - but it was still important to get them out in the public so people can hold them, fall in love with them, and get it set in their minds that they need to adopt one or six. Three or four people seemed interested, but we'll see if it holds. Hopefully, we'll have them all housed by the time we leave for Disney World on October 17th.

That's right, there's just one month left until vacation! I can't wait. And since we added on points in the Disney Vacation Club, we were given a free vacation in December! A little excessive, doing the Disney thing twice in less than three months, but I'm not complaining. One Ring's parents are tagging along on the second journey, so we'll get to show them our favorite restaurants, hang-outs, resorts, and that sort of thing. Should be lots of fun. Okay, I need to get out of my office before I lose my mind or fall asleep on my desk. Peace.

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A Proper Office for a Pirate

Gradually, my office is being converted to fit more to my personality. I ordered a ship in a bottle, which arrived last week. That's now sitting on my desk. My mother should be shipping the wooden ship model I purchased when I was in Virginia Beach sometime soon. And last night my brother, Sharkbait, called to let me know that he had picked up a pirate ship model. So now I'm all set in terms of tall ships. All that's left are any wall decorations I may find or some other dust collectors. Pretty good progress, overall. Here are some pictures of the ships, in case you're interested:


The ship in a bottle, obviously.









And the pirate ship that Sharkbait is sending off this week. I don't have any pictures of the third ship. I'll post that once I receive it and get it set up here.


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The Irony! The Irony!

"I am prepared. I am prepared. I need no on-the-job training. I wasn't a mayor for a short period of time. I wasn't a governor for a short period of time."-- John McCain, October, 2007

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Monday, September 15, 2008

You Know You've Gone Too Far ...

... When Karl Rove says you've gone too far!

Seriously, I can't wait for this election season to end. I just hope that the best candidate gets elected. At least, the best candidate who is currently running gets elected. I honestly believe that the smartest, most talented people in the United States would never subject themselves to the garbage that appears to be required to make a run for the White House.

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Thursday, September 11, 2008

Finally, a Desk Set I Can Live With!

Well, the office is finally clean, organized, and looking good. Still no decorations, though. My mother is supposed to be sending the wooden ship I bought up in Virginia Beach, and I ordered a ship in a bottle that was shipped a couple of days ago. So I'm on the way in terms of changing this place into a proper nautical-looking office space. Still, I thought that something seemed to be missing.

Then I saw this, and a smile crept across my face.

Yep, apparently Disney came out with a Pirates of the Caribbean desk set a few years back, and now they're showing up on eBay and other places. Hopefully, there's some still at WDW itself, since that's where One Ring, Tigger, Pooh, Boo, and I will be next month. If not, I'll check online once I get back.

Tigger mentioned this a couple of weeks back when I told him that I was decorating my office, but I couldn't tell what he was talking about. Now it all makes sense, and it looks pretty awesome. My favorite items are the pistol stapler and cannon tape dispenser!

Okay, back to work. Sadly, there are still 2 1/2 hours to go until quitting time.

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Email War!

Today has been a slow morning thus far, as most of the staff is packing to move to a different building on campus. I'm staying put, so I've been occupying my time by cleaning my office and organizing my filing cabinet. One Ring would be so proud, since I never do that kind of thing!

But there's something more important going on here in the office. Mr. Ed, the guy who suggested I apply for this job, has decided to take me on in an email war!

It started out when he put me on the email list for the McCain / Palin campaign. I let it go without response - sort of the same way the Democrats responded to the swift boat attack of '04. Then came the subscriptions to the ultra conservative newsletters. War was declared. Thus far I have signed him up for (in no particular order) the Communist Party of America, the Green Party, Obama for President, Scientology, the ACLU, PETA, MoveON.org, and a few others. I told him that he's lucky that NAMBLA doesn't have a website anymore!

He's struck back by signing me up for Bill O'Reilly, Stop the ACLU, the Jehovah's Witness email list, Sean Hannity, and some sort of Strom Thurmond center at the University of South Carolina (shudder!).

No sign of let up, and we're both exchanging broadsides just as fast as we can reload. Good news is that it's lunchtime, and that most of these sites require people to respond to an email to get the e-subscriptions rolling. Otherwise, I'd be looking at a full mailbox on a daily basis!

It's lunchtime now; maybe a can negotiate a temporary ceasefire!

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Wednesday, September 10, 2008

How Can A Day Be Both Great and Rotten?

Today was great, in the sense that, after crunching numbers and making budgets, One Ring and I decided to add on to our time share with the Disney Vacation Club. Not only that, we bought into the Animal Kingdom Lodge, which is just flippin' awesome. Given the way the day's gone, this is just about the only thing that has kept me running on an even keel.

What's going on, you ask (Well, even if you didn't, I'm going to tell you)? Well, the guy who asked me and encouraged me to come on board in this department just decided that he would be much happier at another facility in South Carolina. He was given an offer by a friend of his, with an increase in pay that would offset the cost of living difference between here and there. He also is interviewing with a music producer tonight for some writing gig. That might keep him in the area, but he was so unhappy today, it's unclear what's going to happen.

Part of the problem - a large part, if you ask me - is that there is a lack of professional behavior between staff members. It's almost a Survivor / Lord of the Flies kind of thing, where groups and alliances have formed and are now picking at members. Medical staff is sniping at therapists, contract level secretaries are telling people higher up the food chain what to do. That sort of thing. Not sure what's caused the spike in ill will, but it seems that over the last week or so, friendly faces have grown far less so. To be honest, it reminds me of some of the churches I led!

I'm staying out of this kind of fighting, obviously. I've seen way too much of it to know that there's no good that can come out of it. And since overall I like this job - I just got a great compliment from one of my patients who is doing really well, progress wise - there's no need for me to jeopardize things by allying myself with one group or another. Which probably means that eventually I'll be hit by both! Eh, who knows. Anyway, this is the best paying job I've had in a long time, and One Ring and I are happy with the way life is going, for a change. So I'm in for the long haul. Raise the jolly roger and ready the cannons!

Yo, ho, haul together,
hoist the Colors high.
Heave ho,
thieves and beggars,
never say we die!

(From Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End)

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Tuesday, September 9, 2008

And This Is Why I Don't Like Pundits!

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Lull in the Action

I'm finally getting a chance to breathe today. Been a busy one, as I've been trying to prepare several patients for rotation back into the real world now that they're (temporarily at least) sober. Lots of paperwork, counseling sessions, and arranging of housing options for the homeless vets. Enjoyable, but sometimes stressful work.

In the meantime, One Ring and I are trying to decide whether or not to expand our timeshare with the Disney Vacation Club. Not something to be taken lightly, but something I would love to do. More time in Florida, more opportunity to invite family and friends to go with us, and more chances for me to act like a kid again. Hopefully, we'll be able to make it happen.

Speaking of "making it happen," I was unable to convince my sister to allow my niece to come with us to Disney World. Seems that my sister and her husband want to take the kids on their own for their first visit. However, since they just bought a boat, and my nephew is two, that won't be for another four years, at least. Needless to say, I was left grumbling about the whole situation. Unfortunately, barring breaking federal kidnapping laws, there's nothing I can do to convince her otherwise. Sigh.

And the boat they bought? It's an outboard motor boat. 17 footer. The kind just like everyone else in the world owns. Ick. Give me sails and maybe a little manuevering engine, but nothing more mechanical than that. A nice sloop ... something with lots of sailcloth and cannon. Now that's the life for me!

Other than that, my quick trip home to Virginia Beach went well. I bought an inexpensive wooden ship that is supposed to be the HMS Victory. Since it was made in China, though, it doesn't have all the detail that would identify it as such. Come to think of it, I think it doesn't even have a British flag flying from the mainmast! My mother is shipping it, since there was no way I could get it on the plane ride home. As it was, I was travelling without checking any bags. First time I'd tried that, and it's definitely the way to go.

Tropical Storm Hanna hit west of my mother's home, so we were spared the brunt of the storm. I spent part of Sunday helping her clean up her yard. No house damage to speak of, just branches in the front yard, same as every other storm I can remember. Which was a big relief. Lots of other people haven't done so well.

Well, 45 minutes until I'm on my way home. Hope everyone is having a quiet, enjoyable end of the day!

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Monday, September 8, 2008

Some Days You Feel Like This

Just plugging along, no energy and not really going anywhere. I feel bad, because I've been just staggering through the day, doing what I can but feeling like I haven't done anything. And, at this point of the day, I wonder if I have.

Hopefully tomorrow will be a better one. Right now all I want to do is crash and sleep.

I realize that I promised to write about my trip, my conversation with my best friend from high school, and my conversation with my sister regarding my requests to take my niece to Disney World. Unfortunately, I am just not thinking clearly enough to get all that down. Maybe later tonight, maybe tomorrow. But we'll get to all that fun stuff.

Speaking of fun stuff, the photo above of course comes from the Pirates of the Caribbean ride at Walt Disney World. Years ago I thought I saw a statue of this scene was available for purchase. I think it would look awesome on my desk, but now I can't seem to find it on eBay or anywhere. Am I just imagining things, or did such a thing ever exist?

One Ring just called me and told me that our Magical Express tickets (the free bus ride from the Orlando Airport to our resort) arrived today! Five weeks to go!

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I'm Home

Well, actually I'm at work. I got in about 11 last night, and didn't make it to bed until after midnight. So I'm pretty beat. No biggie. I'll write more about my trip and tropical storm Hanna later on, since I have a meeting in about 8 minutes. In the meantime, I leave you with this gem.

How to Win a Fight With a Conservative is the ultimate survival guide for political arguments

My Liberal Identity:

You are a Peace Patroller, also known as an anti-war liberal or neo-hippie. You believe in putting an end to American imperial conquest, stopping wars that have already been lost, and supporting our troops by bringing them home.

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Friday, September 5, 2008

Gone for the Weekend

This is going to be brief, since I'm heading off for the airport in just a little bit. I'm flying up to Virginia Beach, VA to see my family for the weekend. After my mom's health scare, I felt that a visit was more than necessary. So I'm off. Down side is that there happens to be a hurricane or two making a bee line for my home town. So this will be a rather soggy adventure. But it beats the hot, dry weather of Tennessee any day.

Also got a really big surprise today. Out of the blue, my best friend from high school found me on Facebook! I'd been looking for him for years, but to know avail. Last I had heard, he had some brain damaged plan to go work on crab fishing boats out of Alaska. Good news is that he didn't do that - I kept expecting to see him floating out to see on an episode of Deadliest Catch! Bad news is that he's stuck in Iraq along with the rest of our troops cleaning up W's mess. He made a reference to KBR and war profiteering and how he was outraged at it. So I'll have to investigate further to see what he was talking about. Anybody out there know anything about that?

Okay, that's all for now. I'm hoping to meet up with Tigger, Pooh, and Boo while I'm in VA, but what with Hanna showing up, it's not looking good. I'll write more from Virginia or on Sunday night when I get back home.

Peace out!

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Thursday, September 4, 2008

This Should Provide All The Information You Need ...

... to decide on your choice for Vice President of our nation. It should also, by extension, determine your choice for President. I know it did mine (not that I hadn't made up my choice months and months ago).

"I think God's will has to be done in unifying people and companies to get that gas line built, so pray for that."
-- Gov. Sarah Palin, urging Pentecostal congregants to pray for a $30 billion natural gas pipeline project that she wanted built in her state.

So let's take a look at that, shall we? Is God all for unifying people? I think so. Lots of Bible verses (as well as verses in the scriptures of other religions) talk about how the Divine wants people to put down weapons and learn to love each other. So that parts okay.

But then she says, "and companies ..." Now we have a problem. Companies aren't people, and although they have legal rights - sometimes more rights than the people they employ and those who are affected by corporate decisions! - They are not mentioned in any scripture, any theology, any religious dogma anywhere as being something whose health and vitality are something that the Divine is even remotely concerned about.

And why does Palin want people and corporations to come together? World peace? Environmental health? Curing illnesses? Nope. She wants people and corporations to come together so that a $30 billion pipeline can be built through her state!

To combine a building project that has no religious value or significance (aside from potential environmental damage to God's creation) with a prayer request is not only wrong theologically, it's simple political pandering. It's manipulating religions for political and economic gain. And that, in my humble opinion, is about as wrong as you can get.

So keep that in mind as we approach election day. What kind of religious ideology do you want in Washington D.C.? I don't want that kind, taht's for sure!

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Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Two Reasons to be Happy Today

1. My day today was nothing like yesterday!

2. There's only 20 minutes left before I head home.

and 3 - there are 3 reasons to be happy today -

Starbucks starts selling the Pumpkin Spice Lattes today! Woohoo!

I'm serious, it doesn't take much to make me happy these days.

Enjoy the rest of your afternoon

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See? I Told You It Was Good For Me (And You)!

New Article just came out on the benefits of Zen meditation. I'm getting busy again, so read it, enjoy it, and get to meditating!

I'm going back to work.

Peace.

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A Meme

According to Wikipedia, "A meme (pronounced /miːm/)[1] is any thought or behavior that can be passed from one person to another by learning or imitation. Examples include thoughts, ideas, theories, gestures, practices, fashions, habits, songs and dances. Memes propagate themselves and can move through the cultural sociosphere in a manner similar to the contagious behavior of a virus."

In other words, it's a series of random bits of information that one person posts on a blog or website, then a bunch of other people post similar stuff in the same way the people pass colds around.

I bring all of this up because I came across a meme a few minutes ago and figured that I'd continue my slow morning with my own answers. I figure that it's been a while since I offered any information about myself beyond what my day to day life is like. So here we go. This one's called the "ABC Meme."

accent: I was born outside of Boston, but lost the accent when my family moved to Virginia Beach when I was 7. So my relatives up north think I have a southern accent, and people down south think I don't have an accent at all.

booze: Rum, it's what pirates crave!

chore I hate: mowing the lawn. In fact, I hate any outdoor chore. Pave the world, I say. Zen rock gardens are the way to go.

dogs/cats: Despite the fact that I now have ten dogs in my house, counting the eight puppies that Kona had two weeks ago, I am still a dog person.

essential electronics: computer with Internet connection.

favorite perfume/cologne: Hate the stuff. Allergies, you know.

gold/silver: gold coins all the way!

hometown: Virginia Beach, Virginia

insomnia: yes, all my adult life.

job title: Addiction Therapist or Readjustment Counselor, depending on who you ask.

kids: None. See previous posts for a discussion of this.

living arrangements: living with the wife and dogs in a wonderful house.

most admired trait: In others? Humility and serenity, I suppose. Those are things that I aspire to reach myself.

number of significant relationships: Never kiss and tell.

overnight hospital stays: As a patient? Never. As a chaplain? Too many to count.

phobia: falling from high places. Or, more accurately, "Sudden Deceleration Trauma."

quotes: I have too many that I love to list them here.

religion: I am an ordained minister in the United Church of Christ. I also have an ongoing interest in Buddhist meditation and philosophy, and attend meditation sessions on an irregular basis.

siblings: One sister, 34, who is the mother of my niece and nephew. I also have a brother, Sharkbait, who is 28. We get together to sink ships and pillage small towns every so often.

time I usually wake up: as late as possible, but lately it's been at 5:45. Sadly.

unusual talent: I have the creepy and irritating ability to guess what a present is before I open it. This has driven friends and family alike to the point of apoplexy on occasion.

vegetables I refuse to eat: cauliflower

worst habit: giving up too easily. Or maybe Kroger rage.

x-rays: Nothing broken yet, but I've had a few. MRIs and CAT scans, too.

yummy foods I make: One Ring does most of the cooking around the house, but I can make a few dishes. I'd cook more if I had to, but for now I'm pretty good at making reservations.

zodiac sign: According the the western system, I'm a Leo. I don't believe in that sort of thing, so it doesn't matter much to me. According to the Chinese system, I was born in the year of the Dog - Iron Dog, to be precise, although that gives rise to odd renditions of a certain Black Sabbath song. I don't believe in that, either, so I haven't read up on it.

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Taking A Quick Break in the Morning

I just finished my first lecture of the day - feelings and addiction recovery, for those of you who are curious - and my second cup of coffee. So far, the day is starting out much better than yesterday ended. Hopefully, it will stay that way!

So I'm celebrating the moment of rest by taking a short quiz. Pretty lame, actually. I'm in the process of trying to find a better one. In the meantime, I'm celebrating that there are now 18 working hours left until my brief vacation!










Yarrrgh!
Your Pirate Name be ...
Black Bart
You are the craziest of all pirates. Your actions make no sense, but that's why people follow you, they think you have got some secret plan. In reality, you are stone cold crazy, but your love of shiny things drives you to loot.

'What is your Pirate Name?' at QuizGalaxy.com


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Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Looks Like A Soggy Trip Home

Just got off the phone with Sharkbait. He had texted me yesterday, suggesting that I bring some extra clothes along in case I get stranded in Virginia Beach. "Stranded?" I asked. "Why would I get stranded?"

"'cause of Hannah." He wrote back.

Yeah, I had spent so much time focused on Gustav, who was tearing through the gulf, that I never even noticed that there was another storm hanging out in the Caribbean.

So now it looks like I'm going to miss out on getting to see the ocean, walk on the Chesapeake Bay, or pick up some sea glass. Well, not if I want to do it and stay dry at the same time. Apparently they're predicting that at some point over the weekend, it's going to hit the Carolinas, and then head north. Which means for a very wet time with the family. Oh, well.

Sharkbait did tell me that he is scoping out a few places where we can go shopping for office decorations. Which is way cool. Got to get my pirate on in this place. I had to lower the boom on one of my patients, more as a way of letting him know that I'm taking his recovery seriously than just to bust on him. Didn't feel to good. I'm sure that I would have enjoyed it a lot more if I had the appropriate look to the office. You know, something that would make my threats to keelhaul seem that much more believable!

The good news is that we're now down to an hour and a half on my first day back from the Labor Day weekend. That means I'm about two hours from a nap, as One Ring should be home long before me and the dogs will be pacified by her presence. She has that effect on them. Last night Barney, after getting beaten up (again) by Kona, curled up behind her on the bed, so his head was touching hers. I don't think there was a point through the entire night that he was not touching her for security and comfort!

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