Category Archives: Health


Does anyone like going to the dentist?

I ask this as someone who was in the chair for about 90 minutes today in what I thought was supposed to be the final visit of three to get a crown replaced. It was supposed to be 30 minutes, not 90. There wasn’t supposed to be any numbing or drilling, yet there was. And “final” got tossed out of the conversation early, so I’ll be back soon to try it again.

Not to mention that the re-scheduling and yet another try is now messing around with my schedule to get to Chicago for Worldcon in two weeks. Gee, which would I prefer to do, be back in the dentist chair or be at Worldcon in Chicago? Tough one, I know.

That got me to thinking about the “common knowledge” that being a dentist makes your stistical chance of committing suicide skyrocket. Is that true? It certainly seems to make sense, but it may or may not be.

More critical to me is the impression that every time I visit the dentist because something has started to hurt, it seems to hurt worse when I leave and never seems to get better at all even through two or three (or four!) follow up visits and procedures. It’s only after I lie on that last follow up and say, “SURE! FEELS GREAT! NO PAIN AT ALL! 😁” that it finally starts feeling a bit better in the following weeks.

Or maybe that’s just me.

With luck tomorrow will be a better day. No dentist, less pain.

Maybe I’ll write something. (I’m writing something.) Maybe there’s a good surpise waiting. (There’s a good surprise waiting.)

Maybe the dentist karma thing is the payment I need to make to pay my dues as an artist. (What a crock!)

For now, some more Extra Strength Excedrin or maybe even a couple Tylenol PM.

If my dentist truly loved me, she would give me some of the really good painkillers. She didn’t. She doesn’t. I’ll muddle through. But I won’t be chipper and cheerful about it!


Filed under Health

Texture – August 15th

Have you paid attention to your breathing lately?

Is your gut tight? Can’t remember the last time you took a deep, full breath? Try one, maybe two. Deeper. Doesn’t that feel good?

That nagging headache? What can we do about that? Maybe take that fancy smart watch and set an hourly alarm (and actually pay attention to it!) then take sixty seconds to breathe.

Not breathe and work on that spreadsheet. Not breathe and read those emails. Not breathe and scan through Twitter.


If it helps, there are apps out there. Free ones, paid ones, simple ones, fancy ones. Whatever.

Do that for a day or to. Be fanatical about it. See if it makes a difference.

And yes, I am talking to myself, reminding myself of what I know but don’t do. You can join the conversation and do it too.

Let me know if it helps. I think it will.


Filed under Health, Photography

Blue & Black

Following last weekend’s tripping incident (do I go to the penalty box for two minutes?) my arm has decided that it’s now time to turn some graphic shades of purple, black, blue, and yellow in addition to continuing to be tender.


Well, yeah, except that the “other guy” was gravity and it kicked my ass. Again, the good news is that I had the presence of mind to not stick out my hands and end up with two broken wrists and instead tucked and rolled, landing on my “off” elbow and shoulder.

To take my mind off of that, today I got to spend almost two full hours in the dentist chair. What I had thought would be ten minutes of biting down into goo to get a mold for a replacement crown turned into an ordeal of poking, prodding, numbing, needling, drilling, grinding, burning, sanding, polishing, and biting down into goo. About mid afternoon the anesthetic wore off and my tongue, cheek, and gums have spent the rest of the day getting reacquainted after their little nappy-bye, with lots of “WTF happened while we were asleep??!!”

I’ll be taking drugs to get to sleep tonight. If anyone needs me bright and early tomorrow morning, I plan on being neither.

I am FrownyFace McCrankyPants. I want ice cream but that would only make it much worse, and if that isn’t an indictment of our times I don’t know what is.


Filed under Health, Photography

I Got Home!

To find that after almost five weeks of watering the lawn at about 25% rations (twice a week instead of four times a week, for 8 minutes instead of 15), the lawn is turning brittle and brown quite nicely.

Good thing that it’s been in the 90’s and low 100’s and dry as a bone, too!

If it were my house I might be making changes in the landscaping, but it’s not. I’m sure the owner isn’t particularly happy, but thems are the rules and they seem to be enforcing it. I’m not planning on getting fined.

Now we just need to wait a couple of days and see if our somewhat obsessive wearing of masks and keeping as distant as possible from others at Baycon was effective. There are already reports of four COVID cases, but not necessarily in areas or panels we attended.

We’ll see. Whether or not we come out of his clean will have a lot to do in the final decision of whether or not to go to Chicago in September for Worldcon.

Fingers crossed…

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Filed under Fandom, Health, Photography, Travel


I spent a chunk of Saturday morning getting a CT scan on my head, which was cool!

I have no results, nor do I have any clue what they wanted to look at, although my sense of it was more of a “Well, let’s eliminate this just on the off chance that it might be an issue” for whatever they’re fiddling with.

So, for now I’m going with the old joke – “Results Negative – NO BRAIN FOUND!”

Funny until proven wrong!

What I was REALLY hoping for was superpowers, maybe even the newly acquired superhero skill set of Zoey in one of my favorite shows of the last couple of years. Nothing yet.

Getting old is not for the fainthearted.


Filed under Health


Left to my own devices, I would eat a LOT of “comfort food,” full of carbs and sugar and fat. Ice cream, bread, doughnuts, candy, margaritas, cookies, grilled cheese sandwiches, chocolate, chocolate, and then more chocolate, PB&J sandwiches, cheeseburgers, mac and cheese, clam chowder, french fries, burritos, rice, chili, sushi, kung pao chicken, tacos, wine… You get the idea.

And I would weigh 300 pounds, barely be able to move, would have a lifespan from here on that’s measured in weeks, be shooting insulin to stay alive, and be generally incredibly unhealthy.

Thus, the “adulting” shit I do and the highly different diet from that described above.

It’s a question of balance – I do not want to live like a monk, and I won’t. Nor do I want to live like a candidate for a Discovery Channel reality TV show, and I won’t.



Making mature, responsible decisions.

The tricky part is where to set the balancing point on that spectrum. Sometimes my doctor and I disagree. Particularly in terms of carbs and comfort food.

The measure of success or failure in this ongoing battle is the A1C measurement, a blood test that says how much sugar you’re retaining in your blood from your diet. This can vary as you age and can also vary from time to time as the medical powers-that-be change their mind on what’s acceptable and what’s not. The short version is that for me now I need to be between about 5.0 and 7.0. If I’m over that, my doctor is really going to push hard for me to start insulin to treat borderline Type 2 diabetes. I am really going to push back on that, preferring to control my A1C and blood glucose levels with diet (see above!) and exercise.

It’s a long running “discussion.”

I get my A1C tested routinely twice a year, and with one or two exceptions over the past fifteen years or so, I’ve hit those targets. One of the way I do that, while still maintaining a lifestyle balance that leaves me with the will to live when I finish dinner, is to have periods when I have an A1C test coming up (where I have an extremely restrictive diet) and periods where I’ve just “passed” my A1C and can be a little bit less restrictive.

(To be clear, “less restrictive” is not code for going totally off of the deep end and eating like a lunatic. It more means that once or twice a week, if I have dessert or some pasta or something “bad,” I’m not going to beat myself up over it or lose sleep. Moderation, remember?)

Today, I passed my “spring” A1C test. And tonight I celebrated by having pizza for the first time since December. Nothing fancy, just Dominos.

It was sooooooooooooooooo good!

And yes, I feel like I ate a bowling ball, and no, I did not eat the entire medium size pizza by myself. There’ plenty of leftovers for tomorrow or Thursday.

But the cheesy, saucy, thick crust Carb-o-lisciousness tonight was indeed a celebration.

Tomorrow I will have a banana and egg for breakfast, fruit and raw veggies for lunch, and something reasonably healthy for dinner with veggies and salad. (And some dessert! Maybe wine!)

But tonight, it’s a wonder that this got written and posted before midnight, because I am warm and snuggly in the bosom of a carb coma.


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Filed under Health, Paul


In my pre-teen days the latest and greatest was COLOR TV! NBC had “The Wonderful World of Disney” (not to be confused with ABC’s “The Wide World of Sports”) which was good, wholesome, family fare for Sunday night. It also helped sell more than a few of those color television sets.

One of the “classics” that we got repeatedly was “Pollyanna.” If we saw it in the theaters in 1960 I don’t remember it (I was only four) but I remember seeing it a couple times a year by the mid-60s. Which was fine – my pre-pubescent little hormones knew something was going on whenever Hayley Mills was on the screen and I was still in Catholic school and a couple years away from the start of my rebel, “they tried to teach me WHAT??!!” phase, so Pollyanna’s upbeat attitude no matter what happened went in one ear, rattled around a bit, and came out the other side none the worse for wear.

(What I didn’t like was my many siblings calling me “Pollyanna,” which came from their usually calling me “Pauley,” which I hate to this day. But what are siblings for if not torturing their older brother?)

This morning I was thinking about one of the themes of the story and one of the related plot devices, the Glad Game. I was having my teeth cleaned and examined (AGAIN!) with more things being found wrong and more poking and prodding and asking, “Does that hurt?” as I levitate three feet above the chair, sort of like Linda Blair with a little paper bib. In addition, laying there with that spotlight they use shining in my eyes, the “temporary” floaters in both eyes now were swimming around like a Busby Berkeley routine, and when trying to hold still my legs were cramping to remind me that they were still there. In that environment, it was tough to find a reason to be glad, just because. But I tried anyway.

I decided that while getting older might be a better alternative that the primary other option (i.e., death) it was starting to get to be a real pain in the ass. And all of the treatments I’m having rammed down my throat (eating better, exercising, losing weight, patience) are not in my wheelhouse. I keep getting told that they’re going to work eventually and the effort will have been worth it, and Pollyanna would no doubt believe that and be on that Peloton bike or climbing that hill every day while eating a granola bar and drinking pressed milkweed juice and singing the whole way.

Pollyanna needs to get real. This sucks.

I’m ready to go anti-Pollyanna. AP. Maybe pronounce it as “ape.” I’m going to “go ape.” The main aspect of which will be that I will be cranky every single day.

I’ll probably keep on doing the eating better, exercising, and losing weight. But I draw the line at “patience.” Enough is enough. Substitute in “cranky” for me.

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Filed under Entertainment, Health

Until Six Months After I’m Dead

How do I get my gut to “understand” what my head knows, that I need a break and some actual relaxing and down time?

You’ve all been harangued for a couple months about my schedule and workload and deadlines. I’m sure you’re as tired of it as I am, and I’m freakin’ exhausted.

We’ve now reached a short time when there aren’t any “FULL SPEED AHEAD, ALL HANDS ON DECK!” deadlines in the immediate future. Just the usual grind on about four different fronts, including work, the CAF hangar, home, and so on. Yet even when I have a day like today where I got rid of the “required” and “urgent” tasks for the weekend by 14:00 or so, I just had a pain in the ass time getting my gut to let me relax.

I need to be working on this, or that, or maybe I should try to get ahead on this other thing! And then there are all of those OTHER THINGS that I haven’t even considered working on for so long and they’re so far onto the back burner that you need Hubble to see them – maybe I can do some of those today!

What’s up with that? What part of my upbringing makes it so hard to let go, relax, and not feel guilty about it?


Yeah, let’s get to the important questions!

Where’s an Ambien or Valium when you really need one?

Humor. Right. That’s not going to happen, nor are the 100% legal alternatives. I blame the Midwestern conservative upbringing in the 60’s where we saw “Reefer Madness” as a propaganda weapon of terror on a regular basis.

I hope whoever and wherever you are, you can get your brain to cut you some slack and let you just breathe a bit.


Filed under Health, Paul

No Context For You – October 01st

How much of what we see, or a better term might be “perceive,” is “real?”

In a historic context, we can travel to ancient lands and see ruins or magnificent architecture that’s 2,000+ years old, or we can go to Disneyland or Las Vegas and see something almost exactly like it, in many ways even more magnificent. “Real” or “fake?”

If you ever have any eye issues you’ll start to see just how personal that distinction can be. I’m dealing with a little issue with floaters and flashes of light, which I’m told is normal and harmless and it will go away on its own soon. How? How will it “go away?” Are they going to give me some pills, or do some sort of surgery, or should I put warm compresses or ice packs (or both) on my eyeballs? No, my brain will just learn to ignore them, they say.

So far all my brain is doing is screaming, “SPIDER!” or “FLY!” or “LIZARD!” or “LOOK OUT!!” about every fifteen seconds, which is not nearly as much fun as it sounds.

Many years ago as my vision started to deteriorate I had laser surgery on my eyes and ended up with “EAGLE VISION!” It was great! I went from being unable to read or see anything at a distance without glasses (“Bats use me as a role model,” to quote a line from a long forgotten 1986 Jeffrey Tambor sitcom that lasted only eleven episodes) to being able to read “Copyright (C) 2004 Acme Eye Chart Company” at the very, very bottom of the sign.

This is sort of the reverse of that and it sucks. Painless (fortunately, ’cause I’m a wussy boy) but annoying as all get out. And they aren’t kidding – “just be patient” is the #1 piece of advice, unless it gets so bad that they put you on the list for an eyeball transplant.

“Just be patient” – HAVE THEY EVER MET ME??!!

So, my eyes might be lying to me, just a bit. It’s like my very own, personal optical illusion, 24/7/365.

But then I start asking questions and trying to troubleshoot it. For example, the flashes of light… I get that I don’t really see them in normal lighting or daylight, but if I go wandering around the yard after dark to try to look at the stars (and boy, take a look around this site for the past several years and look at all of the astrophotography and astronomy and space related stuff there is and you’ll know just how PISSED I am that I’m having real problems with THAT manifestation of this issue!) I’m seeing flashes every time I blink or move my eyes. It’s dark there, the relatively dim flashes stand out. Uh-huh. So why when I close my eyes do I never see flashes. Or when I just cover my eyes with my hands? Only when my eyes are wide open and I’m in a dark location?

Or not when I lay down at night? Maybe it’s a horizontal-vs-vertical thing? Nope, go outside at night, lie down on the sidewalk (it’s okay, the neighbors already know I’m a little odd) and I still see them.

So I ask the nice eye doctor folks about it. And they just smile, and nod, and put notes in my file, AND NEVER ANSWER. Because they don’t know.

This further supports the theory (and just to be clear, I’m joking here, I don’t want this to be the accidental start of another bullshit theory for the anti-vaxxing, science-denying, conspiracy-theory whack jobs to run with) that medicine and science aren’t real at all and this eye thing is a personal punishment from God just to piss me off.

It’s working.

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My October 2021 Wish List

And so we’re officially 3/4 of the way through 2021. I will say that, at least for me, it’s better than 2020, but that’s relative, not absolute. It hasn’t been a great year so far, or even a good one. But it’s slightly less horrible than 2020, and the four years of horror that preceded.

Sure, The Former Guy is gone. At least, gone-ish. We still have to deal with all of the monsters, fascists, and subhuman slime that are today’s GOP in the Senate, House, Supreme Court, a thousand lower courts, and so on. And TFG is still spewing BS on a regular basis. But at least he doesn’t have his finger on the nuclear missile button.

And I do have a great job now with people I really like working with, which was not always the case four or five years ago. So I’ve got that.

And while we’re still eyeballs deep in COVID and the unspeakably insane, evil, and psychotic anti-vaxx crowd, so far all of us in the family are in good shape.

But again, that’s all a case of, “Cool! We personally have only a 72% suckage rating, while last year it was 82% and for many folks even now it’s in the 98%+ sucakage range!” Not exactly a ringing endorsement.

So I have a wish list for October. I’m not going to wish for the statistically ludicrous (yes, winning the Lottery is always a given, I would love a nine-figure bank account, thanks!) or any fantasy-based  ridiculousness (i.e., having that whole GOP crowd vanishing off the face of the Earth and being transported physically to the deepest depths of Hell by an Act of God) but I do have a few changes, simple and not-so-simple, that I wouldn’t mind seeing.

In no particular order:

  1. Can the Chiefs pull their collective heads out of their collective asses and start playing like a team that’s been in the last two Super Bowls and would like to be there again this year?
  2. Along another sports line, while the Angels have again broken my heart by playing so below their expectations, can the Kings, just starting the 2021-22 NHL season, return to their Stanley Cup form and bring joy to my soul?
  3. Can I never again see one of these spam ads online? I’ve lost track of how many HUNDREDS of them I’ve seen (and deleted and blocked and muted and cursed to Hell) over the past two months or so. It’s always the exact same video and always the exact same text, even though the “sponsoring” account is always different. “blumbergfamilydentalcare” is selling these kinetic art pieces instead of, you know, doing family dental care? (Sorry, might be some funky HTML formatting there)
  4. Can we get a ton of “back burner” items taken care of at work (which got pushed there after two months of “OH GOD, we’re all gonna die!” priority items) and also not have any more of the latter pushing them back onto the back burner? I’ve got a feeling the year-end is going to get hairy, and it would be nice to have a basic level of accomplishment and a clean slate going into that.
  5. Ditto for the CAF hangar work
  6. Can I please get this string of minor, non life threatening, annoying as hell medical and dental things to just stop and leave me alone? This “growing old” thing sucks and I would like to talk to a manager.
  7. Can the juncos return soon? Instead of Solo Junco I’ve now seen two this week, but I miss having a couple dozen every day, fighting the finches over the bird seed.
  8. May I please get a little bit of time every now and then (maybe even every day?) to just sit and read a bit?

I’m thinking if the Universe is in a good mood, I might get at least bits and pieces of four of the eight wishes. We’ll see. (And I’ll take that Lottery thing as a bonus – I’ve earned it.)

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Filed under Health, KC Chiefs, LA Kings, Paul, Politics