Wednesday, October 29, 2008

My First Attempt At Mobile Blogging

With all of the travel I will supposedly be doing in the next year or so, one of the seemingly appealing things about the iPhone is the ability to blog from virtually anywhere regardless of the availability of WiFi. This is my first attempt at blogging on the move, using an application called LifeCast. And truth be told, calling tonight's offering "mobile blogging" is a little like referring to reading in the john at work as a "sabbatical."

On this particular ocassion, I am blogging from my bed with the lights off and an electric heater on the floor. I have found myself awake many nights recently, sometimes because of particularly troublesome pain in my leg, sometimes because of difficulty in muting the pessimistic voices in my head shouting about the impending surgery, and sometimes because I have recently begun to fail in my efforts not to drink caffeine after 5pm.

At any rate, I will use the ocassion of my first mobile blogging test to share the outstanding news that my surgery has been scheduled and the less outstanding news that it has been scheduled for November 13. I had certainly hoped to have this done sooner, as had the nerve roots in my back. They have taken the opportunity to let me know of their displeasure since receiving the news by sending some of the most interesting signals to date. Nevertheless, I am on the books and looking forward to moving on in relatively short order. And I am quite okay with that.

If you see this on the internet, perhaps you will see fit to congratulate me on being a mobile blogger with what I am sure will be witty commentary. If not, I will hope this isn't an incidental email to a random person in my eclectic address book.

Posted with LifeCast

Monday, October 27, 2008

Lunch with Gina is forever, but Lunch with Russell on his comp days is almost as good.

• We seem to have successfully survived our first family wedding meltdown so far. I am sure that it will come back to bite us in the butt a bit, but Meghan handled a difficult and potentially painful situation very well.

"We will plan this wedding, and we will have a good time doing it, damnit! You will enjoy yourself or I will make you enjoy yourself, so help me."

• Meghan now refers to my iPhone without using an article as though it is a family member, which it kinda is. Example: "Well, if you're not sure were you are, you could ask iPhone."

• While Meghan was in rehearsal in Athens yesterday for this piece, I went and hung out on North Campus. I took the following photo on iPhone and now use it as my wallpaper. I am no Ansel Adams. Hell, I'm no Anson Williams. But for me, it's pretty good.

Sunday, October 26, 2008


After waiting to see the results of the injections I have been receiving over the last month, I finally decided to call my neurosurgeon and make an appointment. As I expected, I learned when calling that this appointment will basically be a consultation before surgery.

If you know me well at all, you know that I have a pretty great knack for focusing on the negative in a situation under certain circumstances. That seems to have taken hold lately as it has become clear that surgery is going to be necessary to fix my little back issue. Because I haven't really been able to move physically in the last several months, my body is not really aiding in my attempts to stay positive. Thus, rather than being excited about the wedding, the Dawgs, and the holidays, my mind wanders to darker places: to the risk of infection or nerve damage, to the concern that this won't work, or to the tired discussion of the brevity of life.

I know my melancholy can't have been easy on Meghan at all, but she has handled it very well. My friends aren't as exposed to it, but I think they caught a glimpse of it today. While watching the game I realized that I was alone in yelling angrily at the TV after a celebration when I probably should have been slapping hands and enjoying the long reception that immediately preceded it. I'm not "myself" and I know it.

It is now silly to say that I'm ready for this to be over. Besides its having been said dozens of times, the dominance of my temporary disability in my life is so overwhelming that anyone who knows me knows I'm ready for this to be over. I know Meghan is too, as she has suffered just as much as I have in innumerable ways. And my friends who have given up the front seat, or loaded a wheelchair for gameday, or walked very slowly anywhere we went, or made a bed on the floor when I was headed their way - they have been remarkably generous, but they're surely ready to get this over with as well.

Now it looks like I'm near the point where that is going to be the case. I am trying very hard to realize that and be positive about the future. But my body isn't necessarily helping me do that. So thanks for being patient with me.

And don't get me too drunk when we celebrate this little chapter's end.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Last February, I wrote and many of you contributed to an entry about "Improved Covers," which was a list of songs whose cover versions were more famous or beloved (not necessarily "better," whatever that is) than their original version. I am adding to this list yet another tune that I didn't realize, until this morning, was a cover:

"Every Time You Go Away" originally recorded by Daryl Hall and John Oates, covered by Paul Young.

Monday, October 20, 2008

The damage

The longer the issues with my back persist, the more it becomes evident that the real damage that this injury is inflicting is in two areas, neither of which is physical.

Because we have to wait and give conservative treatments an opportunity to take effect, I have no idea what my physical limitations are going to be on any given day in the next four months. I am currently scheduled to work for the travel company in mid-December. But I can't yet purchase my airline ticket, because I don't know if I'll be cleared to fly by that point, or even if it will be necessary for someone to clear me to fly. I want to plan a get-together for our wedding party, but I don't know what weekend might accommodate us because I don't know if or when I'll be going under the knife.

Secondly, my symptoms change frequently. Within a given day, I may have spasms so severe that I can't walk, tingling all the way down the leg, minor pain or numbness, or no pain at all. While I certainly would prefer for this entire problem to go away permanently with a simple injection, I have learned from repetition that a moment or half-day of painlessness is probably a bluff. Though it may sound sick, I'm getting to the point where I would prefer consistent pain so I won't be fooled into thinking that this problem is being solved. Throughout the last two days I have been relatively pain-free, but I also occasionally feel the old pain creeping back in exactly as it did two weeks ago. It is getting old.

I'm ready to get this over with. I don't want a temporary solution. I don't want any more drugs. I want to fix this permanently so I can get on with my life, have a drink my fiancee and friends again, make plans for the future, and lose a few pounds before I get married. It doesn't seem like it should be too much to ask.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

What'd you expect... a formal outline?

Bullets yet again.

• I had injection number two today. This time they did both shots on the right, above and below the spot where the did the right one last time. The doctor wasn't terribly optimistic, and pretty much said that if it didn't work then I needed to go back to the surgeon.

Up to this point, I have been hoping against hope that I wouldn't have to have surgery. And now, quite frankly, I want it. We've been fooling around for too long, and the stuff that does work quits working after two or three days. I ain't skeered.

• It's homecoming week. That didn't excite much when I worked there full-time, but since then I have loved it. Seeing all those old faces that can push time aside and hang like it was still nineteen-ninety-whatever has become one of my favorite events of the year. This year will be particularly cool because I get to rehearse the alumni band. I am really looking forward to the whole thing.

• Someone recently suggested naming recessions, just as we name hurricanes. I'm all for it.

• Speaking of the band: If you have a couple of hundred bucks and want to help out with the practice field, here's your chance. They're selling bricks for the complex, and they're pretty reasonable. The band only gets one full rehearsal each week, and that's on Friday - assuming of course there isn't a Homecoming Parade, a volleyball game, or a Derbies trip that interrupts it.

I know some folks have some hard feelings about components of the organization. I can understand how that would be justified, so I won't try to sway you. But if any of the others of you still remember fondly your days in the band and feel good about the band's direction, please consider this. And if you don't mind, please share this with someone you think could and would help.

• Very bad news from Meghan's parents house: Her dog Tibby died last night. She was fifteen-and-a-half, and brought Meghan and her family a great deal of happiness. Meghan was handling it very well, but in that context is devastated. I will probably write a few more thoughts about this later. But in brief, I have two feelings. On one hand I am hurting for her and her loss because she is hurting. On the other, I am jealous that she had the joy that a pet can bring a child, and later an adult. Tibby was a great, great dog whom I only knew for about a year. Her passing brought me to tears more than once yesterday. More about that later.

Monday, October 06, 2008

The Richt non-critique, my back, and marriage

I have tried so many times to write the explanation of what I thought was Coach Richt's greatest weakness and strength. Each attempt has reminded me of how completely unqualified I am to speak openly about football. Fortunately, I have a fiancee who answers my misguided football musings with a reassuring "That's right, baby," enabling me to maintain my illusion of myself as Hunter-Gatherer/Auto Mechanic.

My point was going to be that our Coach is consistent if he is alive. Sometimes that consistency causes him to rave about the fur coat on a naked emperor (ie, directional kickoffs, defensive philosophy at times, the occasional assistant coach or tight end). But more frequently, it causes him to be the last man standing. I wouldn't trade him for anyone.

On the "back" front, Tuesday morning marks one week since my first nerve block injection. To see me on Sunday evening would have convinced you that nothing was ever wrong. Unfortunately, it has been downhill since then, and tonight I looked as though I hadn't been treated at all.

On the wedding front, we have a date and a venue. The date is June 27, 2009 at First Pres. in Athens. We are working somewhat feverishly to complete the basic arrangements and get our guest list finalized. The latter of these two has been a very, very difficult process because of the hundreds of people with whom I became close all those years in Athens. I hope not to offend anyone by not inviting them, but I know that is not going to be possible.

I am already very excited about getting married. Shortly after our engagement, an old acquaintance whom I see in Athens every now and then said, "You're going to love being married. It is so much fun." I am pretty sure that, when I was younger, I thought of getting married as some type of certification... maybe kinda like getting your PGA Tour Card or having a world record officially recognized by Guinness. I guess that I realized at some point, and maybe continue to recognize more strongly, is that it really isn't about that.

While I am sure it means something special to each person who is or isn't married, it seems to me that it's about loving someone very much and in a very specific way, so that some combination of the following is true:

- You want being alone with that person to be your default condition.
- You want to mix up all of your stuff (some gender-specific items of clothing excepted, in most cases) so that you forget what belongs to whom, because you no longer care.
- You frequently get more joy by sacrificing for that person's happiness or well-being than you do by strictly serving yourself.
- You know that the "us" created by the new combination makes you individually and collectively better than any other combination of which you could be part.
- The thought of not being with that person forever feels completely wrong, and perhaps makes you nauseated.

There are many more, but that is my tired 12:08AM first list. I would love to hear your thoughts on the subject... preferably real ones, and maybe not parodies of the institution.