creative writing, historical interest, miscellaneous drivel

Side Effects May Include “Death,” But At Least I’m Enjoying the Ride

sideeffects

 

I have to wonder at all these TV ads for various prescription meds.   There are a lot of them- especially the ones for rheumatoid arthritis and psoriasis- that actually say in their disclaimers that using that drug can lead to death.  I think I’d rather deal with  joint pain and skin rash.  The last time I checked, stiff and inflamed joints and/or unsightly skin are just a tad bit less severe than death.  Of course you have to weigh the risks vs. benefits when you decide whether or not to take a certain medication, but I try to steer clear of the ones where “death” is listed as a possible side effect.  I’m not a fan of “occasional bleeding from the eye sockets” or “prolonged anal itching” either.

pills

I know that the trial lawyers are always trolling about to strike it big on the pharmaceutical companies because someone dies (or is somehow maimed)  from a side effect of a drug.  There’s always a commercial on telling people they can get compensation if their son’s ADHD meds gave him titties, or if the pelvic mesh or the artificial hip gives out, or if that pesky vision loss brought on by gratuitous use of ED meds just won’t go away.

viagra-side-effects-300x265

Speaking of rides, I am enjoying mine immensely.  I am quite impressed with the Corolla so far.  Usually I know pretty well what I will and won’t like from the build sheet and tech specs.

14corolla

This car doesn’t really scream “mom sedan” like the older Corollas.  I had a 1998 (that was the last Corolla I had) that I really liked- but it was a bit on the frumpy side.  That’s why I just had to have the 2000 Celica when it came out.  I did take a moment to drool over the Scion FRS while I was at the dealer, but I need a four door, and I really don’t want to attract the attention of law enforcement.  This Corolla is about the same size as the older Camrys and is quite a bit larger than the Yaris, but it still doesn’t feel like a land yacht.  The steering and suspension are a lot more responsive than the Yaris (not a surprise there) and it doesn’t get blown around in the wind like the Yaris did.

The freaky thing about this car is the electronics.  It has navigation and Bluetooth and all the toys (which I am still learning) and those things are pretty fun.

Of course I am weird in how I buy cars.  I know pretty much exactly what I want before I even contact a dealer, and I know pretty much what I’m willing to pay.  I know the tech specs – all that stuff about suspensions, transaxles, engine displacement, torque, horsepower, etc. – and features better than most salespeople, although the navigation and smartkey options are new to me.

I’ve always appreciated the four cylinder sports car- along the lines of the ’83 VW GTI  or the 2000 Celica, both of which I can still smack myself for trading off- but in practical application I’ve had more four cylinder econoboxes and mom sedans.

I think I’ve found an interesting compromise here.

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assorted rants, gratuitous self pity, historical interest, misanthropy

A Clockwork Heart, Burned Out, and Possibly Quite Nuts

clockwork heart

I’ve always admired the art of clockwork.

I was a holdout on analog watches (watches with actual moving pieces inside them- and imagine it- hands!) for a long time.  I wore an old windy-type analog watch (and that old Timex from 1970-whatever still works) for many years even when digital watches were easy to get.  I still have a nice Fossil analog watch I wear on occasion, although it has a quartz battery movement which has fewer moving pieces and is more accurate than traditional clockwork, and doesn’t need winding.

There’s something to be said for the representation of time as movement, because time does move.  A metronome moves (at least the traditional ones do) back and forth keeping time as it moves, and as the rhythm of music moves it keeps time.  There’s something about that tick-tick-tick of a conventional metronome that is comforting and maddening at the same time.

Metronome

Even with my bad coordination I could play music.  As a bass player – and this has been a very long time ago- it was infinitely important to feel the rhythm and play along with the drummer.  Drummers are generally sort of weird people- but perhaps that’s because they are in tune with natural rhythm more than most.  I don’t claim to understand it, but regardless of the instrument, the rhythm has to be there first, a skeleton to clothe with the melodies and harmonies and chords.

Although I did enjoy playing bass, it got to be too painful for my hands and wrists and shoulders with the joint damage I have.  I am a singer- the voice is still there- though I don’t use it much anymore.  I learned a long time ago that it doesn’t matter if a woman has a good voice if she doesn’t have the body or the stage presence to go along with it.  I might enjoy singing, but there’s no way in hell I could ever make a living doing it.  There’s no visual to go along with the auditory.  I gave up on that a long time ago too.  I can sing in church.  That’s good enough, and it keeps me out of trouble.

metallica

Dudes do metal better than chicks anyway.

The coolness of Metallica aside, right now I’m fried.  Fried in so very many ways that I can’t see daylight.

burnout1

I don’t like admitting weakness, but it’s harder and harder to keep up that “iron guts” faςade these days.

I’ve been reading a book (The Joshua Code by O. S. Hawkins) that gives some commentary and encourages one to memorize a Bible verse per week in each of its 52 chapters.  This week’s verse is John 11:35, which is the shortest verse in the Bible-  “Jesus wept.”

There are times that for the love of God I wish I could weep.  Sometimes I think the reason why I find it so incredibly difficult to cry is that I’m afraid once I get started that the tears won’t stop.  I may be an emotional desert, but when it does rain it pours.  Worse yet for me, the tears come largely unbidden, without any kind of reason, and  are virtually impossible to control.

As if control were everything?  As if I have control over anything?

It’s curious that in my own personal economy, showing emotion=weakness.  I don’t like to be seen as fragile, human or vulnerable even though I know good and damned well I am all of the above.

Maybe that’s why I’d rather sing.  It’s sort of a stealthy way of showing emotion, after all- unless I’m singing something that for some reason sets off the tears- and that happens too.

corolla

Oh, and my new ride just came in.  2014 Corolla S Plus.  Black metallic, black interior…

I wasn’t going to do it.  Until I discovered just how feasible it is.  It helps not having a credit rating that’s in the toilet. I’m going tonight to drive it and hopefully get paperwork, etc. done.  There’s nothing wrong with my Yaris (and getting a new car wasn’t entirely my idea) but having pretty much the same drivetrain I had in my Celica (which was a 1.8L 5 speed manual) in a sedan is going to be fun.  Especially because this is a VVTi 1.8L 6 speed manual, which to the non-techie means I gain about 40 HP over what I have in the Yaris (Cliff’s notes- more power!).  With every possible toy known to man, except for the automatic, which I absolutely don’t want anyway.  From what I see on the build sheet this car was custom built for the 13%.

* 13% of American drivers prefer manual transmissions, which means we generally don’t get many options when compared with the 87% who for some whacked out reason don’t like to shift when they drive.

I’m only going to live once, and it’s not like it’s a Porsche.  It’s a Corolla…as in mom sedan, but with a bit of a twist.  If I’d really wanted to go over the edge I’d have gone for the Scion FR-S.  But I need the 4 doors, have a hard time seeing out of something that sits that low to the ground, and I don’t want to be cop bait.

fr-s

Tempting, but not very practical.

More on the new ride later- the Corolla- after I get to drive it.

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creative writing, gratuitous self pity, historical interest, misanthropy, theology

Discipline Your Kids, A Fresh Outlook, and I Need a Road Trip- Bad

toddler-tantrum

Do your kids a favor- teach them to behave like civilized people- at least in public!

When I was growing up in the dark ages of the 1970s-early 1980s, acting out in public was a sure fire way to get yourself beaten into the next county by the next nearest adult.  If you were unfortunate enough to be beaten out in public by a non-parental adult, when one’s parents did find out, (and they always did)  you were beaten again- to make sure you were beaten good enough.  Now people are afraid to even say anything to someone else’s miscreant child, fearing the wrath and possible litigation by the parents.  That sucks.  There are a good number of kids I see out in public that could use a good old fashioned hiney-warming.  I’d do it… if I thought the parents would have the good sense to back me up.  I guess they would rather announce to the world that their children are being raised by wolves than to administer a bit of well placed correction.

There was no sparing the rod (or spoiling this child) in my family.  Believe that.

Mom (being the good Catholic mother she aspired to be) would beat the daylights out of you for messing up the Catholic Calisthenics during Mass.  Even if you were a toddler (sorry, NO nursery) you did not sit when the rest of the congregation kneeled, nor did you stand when the rest of the congregation sat.  You did not have a coloring book, crayons or Cheerios.  You sang every word to every hymn, and you did not fail to respond with the correct responses as printed in the Missal.

 

Missal

The word “Missal”- for those who were fortunate enough to have been raised in a Protestant tradition-isn’t a typo.  I am a bit of a spelling Nazi after all. “Missal” is sort of the Catholic how-to guide to Mass, and is never to be used as  a “missile,” as in a projectile to throw at an annoying sibling.  Even though my sisters did.

kid fight

Siblings fight.  So why do people have multiple children?  Especially if one of them just ends up being a punching bag?

As an adult I can appreciate liturgical worship- and I do- but it was baffling to me as a kid.

Sunday morning Mass sort of went like this:

Dad drops us off at church.  Dad did not do Mass.  Ever.  He would be back in about an hour or two.  Church wasn’t Dad’s cup of tea, especially in a church where, as he would say, “the preacher wears a dress.”

priest robes

Follow Mom up the steps and (unless you wanted dragged out by the hair and back handed within an inch of your life) don’t forget to bless yourself with holy water and genuflect (another foreign word for Protestants- kneel before you walk down the aisle to find a seat because you’re approaching the altar) before sitting in whatever seat she thinks you should sit in.  Mom liked to park us in the second or third pew from the very front- where the priest can be sure to give you the stink eye any time the word “hell” is mentioned.  Hope and pray that (as usual) I didn’t get sandwiched between both sisters and therefore was open to assault from both sides.

Find the Missal.  Follow the instructions to the letter even while being poked, prodded, pinched and wet willie’d from both sides.

Spend a few minutes wondering why Jesus chooses to live in the funky gold box where the communion wafers were stored-  when He’s not out and about looking for sins and finding reasons why you should go to hell, that is.

Sing the closing hymn and hope Mom didn’t decide to chit-chat with every single one of her old bitty friends on the way out, although it was inevitable that she would.

It’s a wonder – or should I say a gift of the Spirit- that I can set foot in church at all.  But that is a very long story.

cathedral-in-Milan-752811

I do appreciate the aesthetic of Gothic architecture, especially if we don’t try to jack it up by doing a “70s update” on a 19th century (or earlier) building.  The church I went to as a kid was one of those beautiful Gothic style churches- until someone decided the interior needed a cheesy 70s update that included green astroturf carpet, everything painted white and green (acck!) and just plain hokey furniture.  Either you want to go modern or have the Gothic aesthetic, but the two styles don’t mix.  It’s church, not steampunk (which is half ways tolerable, ’cause steampunk is cool) and definitely not the set of “The Price is Right,” which is what that hideous “renovation” reminded me of.

price is right

Just substitute green for red, and that was pretty much how tacky it looked.

Church would have been a bit more interesting with Bob Barker.  At least when I was a little kid.  Grandma loved “The Price is Right.” That was back when Bob Barker still dyed his hair.

I need a road trip but don’t really have anywhere I want to go or, should I say, can afford to go and have time to go.   I still want to go to the Mütter Museum in Philadelphia and I’m going to have to figure out the logistics.  I have to go to my nephew’s graduation in NC next month, but that’s more of a “have to” than a recreational pursuit.  Not to mention Dad scares the living hell out of me with his need for speed while driving in the mountains.  I’ve never been comfortable with mountain driving- especially considering we will probably be in their Dodge minivan.   It will probably be my luck it will be rainy and windy too while he’s going 90MPH down a 6% grade.

The last time I let Dad drive on a road trip,  I closed my eyes and put the Ramones’ “I Wanna Be Sedated” on repeat.  That helped.

I really, really need some quality ivory tower time, as in several days of being completely away from dealing with other humans.  The bad thing is that’s not going to happen.

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assorted rants, creative writing, gratuitous self pity, historical interest, misanthropy, theology

You Don’t Get Out of Life Alive, but, Choose Your Battles Wisely

 

Axl Rose

My son didn’t ask, but mothers are pretty good at unsolicited advice in life and love and all those things that are only somewhat discerned by merit of age and time.  If I were to try to explain to him why he should abandon the “friends with benefits” arrangement he’s got going on with the ex-stripper, it would go something like this:

The great theologian and philosopher Axl Rose (of Guns-N-Roses fame) once stated in his version of Bob Dylan’s “Knocking on Heaven’s Door,” that, “You don’t get out of life alive.”  I  also understand his point about both the bank and the mortician- the two inevitabilities of this life are death and taxes.  Nobody escapes either of those.  Nobody escapes the common human dilemma of finding one’s way through life and surviving in the process, either, though some do a better job of it than others.

As far as the wisdom of the concepts of “not getting out of life alive,” and “you can’t take it with you,” go, both sort of go along with the Biblical admonition to give one’s life as an offering. You were created to have a purpose in this life, even if it’s simply one of being an example of what not to do,  or serving to expand others’ vocabularies.  We all came into the world naked and not having any stuff, and we all go out the same way, so what are you going to do with the time in-between?

coffin

We all know that our physical bodies are going to become worm food.  There are a few things worth sacrificing and fighting for, precisely because we cannot preserve youth and health and wholeness in these physical bodies, or for that matter, youth and health and wholeness in any aspect of our lives.  Entropy WILL win.  Systems all eventually break down, if you want to frame the inevitability of entropy in tech geek terms.  Life in this world is a finite proposition.

The question is, what do you do with the finite resources you have been given, that you can acquire, that you can pool with others?

gold-bars

It’s great if you can amass all kinds of wealth and get all the best stuff, and prepare for every possible contingency, but in the end, what do you do on that night when your life is required of you? (I’m referring to what Jesus said in Luke 12:13-21.)

If you don’t get what really matters, then who cares about money or power or prestige or stuff?

I’m not going to go on a morality-chastity-clean living rant, because I am no poster child for any of the aforementioned.  I have never been a paragon of virtue.  I am a Christian, but that is only by the grace of God.  He left me to my rebellion and own devices for awhile (about seven years’ worth) so I could see just how much trouble I could get into out there in the pig pen. I got a rather nasty taste of how nasty and depraved I can be apart from a relationship with God.  Finally, I realized, again, by the grace of God, like C.S. Lewis did, that if I were going to be sane and worth anything to myself and others, that it was and is Christ or nothing.

That realization does not make me more virtuous or more moral or  more prudy. It does not make me less human or  less fallible.  It does make me all the more aware that anything good anyone sees in me is not my inherent goodness, but the goodness of God. I fail a lot, but apart from Him I fail and screw up a lot more.

hypocrisy

 

Yes, Christians are hypocrites. Get over it.  So is everyone else.  I can say that, but for the grace of God, I would be a LOT worse.  I need God precisely because I know how depraved and hopeless I am without Him.

All these theological and philosophical observations being said, and back to the assertion that one of my purposes in life is to serve as an example of what not to do, I will give you a heartfelt admonition.

If you are one of those people who are blessed enough to find true love in this life, don’t let it go.  I know that it can and does happen, even if it is too late for me.

true love

Part of the reason why I can be so cynical and snarky when I consider matters of the heart is because true love has always eluded me.  I’ve been used, abandoned, exploited and deeply damaged by people who claimed to “love” me.   My wiring is such that I don’t understand or communicate very well in the emotional realm.  To add insult to injury, most men are intimidated by intelligent women, and most men are not terribly thrilled with plain and frumpy looking women.   I blend in to the wall pretty well.  It’s a survival mechanism.  At no time in my life were dudes ever banging down my door.   If they did talk to me it was to get my phone number- so they could call my sisters.  I was even voted, “Least Likely to Get Laid” in my (unofficial) high school senior will.  So I felt like I had to take what I could get, even if it meant settling for minimum standards such as, “vertical and sucking up valuable oxygen.”

Minimum_Standards

Hair and teeth optional, especially at my age.

I hate to admit it, but all I can say about my own marriage is that at best it’s a symbiotic relationship, but a good deal of the time it’s more like a parasite vs. host relationship.  Maybe it’s harsh to call Jerry a parasite, but he can and does suck the life out of me with his incessant whining and infantile demands.  He didn’t need a wife, he needed a mommy.  And I’m not all that great at playing the mommy role, but it’s all I have to offer.  I haven’t gotten a better offer, and even if I did, I would be morally obligated to decline it.  In Jerry’s defense, he has put up with me for all of these years, as frumpy and plain looking as I am, and as eccentric as I am.  That says something- although in Jerry’s mind it’s probably, “there’s someone in this world who will fetch my beer and smokes for me.”

But if you find true love, that indescribable and blissful universe of two, understand what it is.  Hold it, cherish it, fight for it, and never let it go.  Otherwise you will find yourself in the same predicament I am- either completely alone, or bound by a sense of duty(?) pity (?) desperation (?) to someone who only cares about you as long as you’re useful to them.

unique-not-useful

I guess I’m good for as long as I can fetch beer and smokes.

I will tell you that expediency and usefulness are not the same as love.  Sex doesn’t necessarily equate to love either.  It’s easy to get caught up in hormones and horniness (been there done that) but when the excitement and lust die down, what do you have?  From my own experience I can say that following the hormones and horniness path has led to a lot of guilt, embarrassment and shattered dreams.  It’s not worth it.  I’m thankful that my past indiscretions didn’t wreak as much havoc as they could have.

Don’t follow in my path.  Don’t let a chance at true love go because of fear or because you need to hold on to perceived obligations.  It sounds trite, but love will find a way.  Unless you’re an eccentric old bat who’s proportioned like a mutant troll.

True Love Quotes and Pictures (5)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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