Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Back To The Island

Ever since reinstating my Netflix membership a couple weeks ago I've been consuming most of my viewing time on it by binge watching an old favorite. "LOST" the awesome ABC TV series from a decade ago is just as phenomenal a second time.

One thing I've noticed these past 60 or so episodes I watched so far this go round is how many I've never seen. I thought I was a rabid Lostie back in the day. Ric used to ridicule my devotion to scheduling activities around its broadcast. I remember basically quitting the cruise ship sales place back in 06 because it cut into my LOST viewing (well, technically, if you remember, I was fired but I was hankerin' to get fired frankly).

Another nice thing about seeing it again is watching it in beautiful 16:9 HD. No last decade CRT.

Does it hurt the suspense much knowing what comes next? Not really, 'cause when you factor all the episodes I never saw, the ones I did watch but forgot much of (for one reason or another) and the extremely intricate plot and all the details which make it hard to keep the story straight in my memory, it really is like seeing it fresh and new.

What's more is the fact I can be really analytical and see something and say: "That's why such and such happens in an upcoming episode!" It's especially important when thinking of the ultimate outcome of the whole series with the final episode controversial total revelation. I won't spoil it by saying what it is but now I see that instead of being dumbfounded and shocked, I should have seen it coming all along. The hints are in almost every episode.

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

The Little Engine That Could

I think I can, I think I can, I think I can...

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Total Eclipse Of The Heart

So in exactly one year I'll hopefully be somewhere in the Heartland witnessing this once in a lifetime event. I posted about it here a few years ago when the year 2017 sounded so unimaginably futuristic. Well now it's almost here, don't ya know.

Like the poster says, its a full solar eclipse which will last up to almost 3 minutes in some locations. I'm shooting for somewhere around Nashville, Tennessee or Hopkinsville, Illinois. The latter location is also home to an annual celebration, conducted around this time of year, honoring some long ago alleged extraterrestrial invasion in the area. Hopefully they'll combine the two events.

The last time a full eclipse occurred over the continental US was back in 1979 and Maine was one of the locations of totality. If my parents had been a little more intelligent and wanted to treat us kids to a great scientific event, they could have planned an easy day trip there for us. I somewhat remember that we were able to see a partial eclipse from our home in Rhode Island so I guess I didn't totally miss out.

I'll make up for it next year though and plan a nice week-long vacation in the area.

EDIT: I'm wrong. The 79 eclipse was only over the Pacific Northwest in the US, The one closest to RI was back in 1970...that's the one I remember all the hype about. The Maine eclipse, as referenced in the book Dolores Claiborne was in 1963, a year before I was born.

Sunday, August 14, 2016



ER - I - AM

Here I am!

Right in that chair over there. Shackled in tight. With my bestie in a baby mask ready to torture me to death.

All the symbology is prescient.

The whole dynamic spectacle is nearly exact, scene for scene.

I'm living in a real-life version of the movie "Brazil."

I became, finally, aware of this when today (today in my dystopian upside-down reality) a hapless yet ruthless maintenance man burst into my apartment, waking me up, to repair my air conditioning unit. You know, the one with all the ducts. And apparently oozing, leaky diaphragms weeping moisture into my walls and, no doubt from the way he barged in, water was bursting like machine-gun wielding stormtroopers through the ceiling of the dwelling below. So he said. So I must trust him.

While he endeavored to litter my home with all manner of tube and wire entangling everything around (so I imagined) I pointed out the black mold. I told him, as I scrambled to find a pen and paper that I'd have the notification in writing, as required by Addendum 4, Clause 4, Paragraph D of the lease contract (not at all imaginary), for him shortly. But suddenly he changed from Bob Hoskins' mindless cog into DeNiro's Harry Tuttle and said I didn't need to put it in writing. Of course, after I went back to bed and he finished up whatever he was doing, I saw no elimination of the mold. He was a false Tuttle.

Failing to fully fall back asleep I got up for the "day" around 6:30 PM and took my shower being careful to not further agitate my oozing wounds...complications from plastic surgery of sorts. More specifically the sort that come about to permanently scar up my legs caused by all manner of sharp jagged things in the dark of the work campus that I bump into each night. My delicate skin is prone to such issues.

Having no time for sleep due to insomnia, apnea and the above style intrusions, I can't dream of being a New Wave archangel striking down a wicked Samurai Satan with my Heavenly Sword, I can only solemnly don my Oculus Rift and soar through the Pleiades trying to hyperdrive away from human-player griever pirate wings gathering near the first major battle of the likely already-commenced Imperial/Federation War.

I come into work a few hours ago, here at the Culture of Blame Department of the Ministry of Misinformation and learn that last night I printed out a 25 instead of a 35 for the units of insulin required by one resident. Oh no, oh dear. Who can I get to accept a receipt, stamped appropriately of course, for this error? Maybe it was a bug which fell in the printer?

Other analogies?

Katheryn Helman's character with her continually rejuvenating face lifts? Why everyone around me, really. My newly-hired coworkers here are like reflections to a time back when "Brazil" was still in theaters (albeit with its studio-bosses imposed alternate happy ending in place) and I was in their shoes...a young 21-year-old newbie with a future so bright I had to wear shades.

Michael Palin's Ole Boy Chap is clearly none other than My Habit. Ole chum, we used to hang together when we were younger. Then we moved on, he had triplets and got a fascinating job, one he could bring the kiddies to. As we reconnected due to happenstance, proximity and the promise of something better, things got uglier I'm afraid. And now here we are, me strapped in my torture chair and he in his grotesque mask.

But before he gets every drop of my spirit out of me, or puts any more drops of spirit into me, I chose to drift away to a virtual reality fantasy of happiness, where were all in it together. And then I'll be free.

Friday, August 12, 2016

Three, Two, One...

And away we go on yet another journey to complete failure.

I know it doesn't help one bit to be so totally pessimistic but frankly I've traveled down this path so many times I could run it blindfolded.

I'm talking about starting another diet weight-loss program again, of course. 'Cause that title ain't just a's my weight!

321 pounds.

I've been very bad over the past few months. I think it started around the holidays last year. Remember I was making Jewish Coffee Cakes and eating like it was Thanksgiving Day every day. And, of course, drinking almost every day. My usual Six Pack Plus (a 6-pack plus, usually some high-end IPA and a 25 oz. oilcan of Fosters)

Putting the disgust over my body, the health issues stemming from it and the side-effects of over-indulging aside, the big motivator this week was a stupid YouTube video showing dashcam footage of a guy on an ATV bike driving around a bend on a thin dirt road. He is surprised to find the truck our dashcam is mounted to trying to drive in the opposite direction and there was no room for the two of them to pass each other. Logically, someone would have to back up. But this ATV'er who, BTW, was probably at least 400 lbs., gets this stubborn scowl on his face and thinks he can just pass the oncoming vehicle by going a bit off-road. Problem is, the road is flanked on both sides by rather steep elevation. Too steep to even walk on let alone drive. But he's stubborn so he tries it. And of course he tips right over rolling back to the path onto his big fat ass.

"This is me," I thought to myself after a good laugh. This is how fat people like us get this way. We want what we want and we don't care about the consequences. Like him wanting to pass that truck and not have to wait, I'm sure he's that way with food. He wants as much as he can fit in his stomach and he's back for more in just a few hours.

This selfishness and greed and stubbornness has got to stop. At least for me. I can't keep living this way.

Will I go back to MyFitnessPal? Will I eliminate carbs? Will I juice? Will I go on walks? Will I even touch the 10lb. dumbbells in my closet? Will I really stop drinking?

Not a good sign: Today was Bread Giveaway Day here at work as it is every other Thursday. Among the breads, a single box of assorted donuts, unclaimed by either of the other two shifts who, no doubt, swept through the pile of bakery goods to scoff up all the best stuff. I already snatched it and gobbled down one of the donuts as dessert to my lunch of brats and rice pilaf.

Just begun and already heading in the wrong direction.

Friday, August 05, 2016

Culture Of Blame

Is it a sign of the times or what? Perhaps it's always been there but it's more raw and exposed because of these crazy times?

I'm talking about the workplace environment here where I'm employed. I've posted about it many times in the past, most notably during some of the "wars" between the dynamically distinct polar opposites that still seem to exist, year after year here.

But lately I've started to vocally call out this pervasive vitriol and label it for what it is. It's a Culture of Blame.

I first noticed it back in 2011 when dealing with the then Clinical Assistant Stephanie who apparently clearly forged an appointment book entry after the fact in order to sneakily cover her ass and falsely implicate my shift in the scuttlebutt over a never-completed task. The deftness in which she committed this blatant fraud was shocking at the time but actions like this have been noticed time and time again the longer I'm here. To the point of now where it seems to be so ingrained and propagated by even some of the newest-of-the-new staff, that it threatens to embroil even jaded ole fucks like me into some serious reactionary measures.

This place isn't unique in this demagoguery. I've seen it almost everywhere I've ever worked. But maybe it's the juxtaposition with this current mood in our country, IMHO, that it seems so very near to boiling over to outright revolution (of a sort).

I present as evidence, if you will, the following account of events that can only be ascribed to a sort of hive mentality mass psychosis, perhaps akin to the rise of fascism in early to mid 20th century Germany and Italy. Or just simply the millions of votes in favor of Donald Trump making him, embarrassingly, a major party candidate for the presidency of the most powerful nation on Earth.

One of the simple, yet incredibly important tasks we need to keep on top of on our shift is managing the timely display of resident and staff posters and cards celebrating birthdays. We have a list of dates and names, a folder of pre-printed small posters and birthday cards that have been passed around, signed by everyone and then stored in the said folder. During the wee hours of a person's birthday, we night staff must post one poster in one location, another in another and the card in the appropriate third location. Where and what these locations are is moot. You don't know these places. But I do and so do my coworkers, many residents and most especially the management team. And that's all that matters.

Last week one of our soon-retiring employees who is a sweet old lady and beloved by all had her birthday. But the night shift staff, tasked with preparing her acknowledgement posters and her card neglected to get them out of the folder and put them in their appropriate spaces. The two staff on shift were not including me. It was a Sunday night, my night off.

When the CEO was made aware of this neglect of duty she did like she often does and prepared a very neatly printed and precisely worded note, signed it with her neat-as-a-pin signature and left it in the night staff office. It was gone by the time I came on shift the next day but it likely looked like this:

Dear Tosha and Eric,

I am disappointed that there was no poster pinned up or card submitted for Miss Jane's birthday today.


[in handwriting:] Helen

(Except her version was, I'm sure, grammatically perfect as she's like that and I'm just a freakin' hack so mine isn't.)

Fast forward now to two days ago...

I personally took charge of the duty (as I usually do when I'm on shift) of checking the birthdays of the upcoming day. We had two folks due but, since one other guy, who's actual birthday fell on the next day, was leaving on a vacation, we got a message asking that his poster and card be displayed and delivered respectively along with the other two so he'd see and get them before he left. You confused yet? (Probably my horrible writing...told you I'm a hack.)

I put one set of the posters for each of the 3 guys on the med room/waiting area window (one of the designated areas) and place birthday cards for each, as per guideline, in their respective med boxes.

Morning staff and the residents apparently see and acknowledge the posting for two of the guys but no one sees the third. Including him, the guy it was for...and his visiting mother. This, of course, upset many people. And, if the poster had been omitted, I'd agree that it's a bad thing. Especially as this guy really is into his birthday and looked forward to seeing his poster.

This was abruptly and coolly brought to my attention by the incoming staff the next day who insisted to my face that the poster for this gentleman was not there. I calmly, but firmly protested since I had just an hour before removed the posters from the window in lieu of a new day. They still didn't accept my affirmation.

I went to the trash can where I had tossed the discarded posters I had removed, un-crumpled the THREE of them on the conference table in front of them and LO AND BEHOLD...THERE IT WAS! The poster for the guy they said was not there. The one NO ONE could see, was right there with his name in bold letters.

One of the staff nodded and seemed to accept the fact that they'd been mistaken and simply hadn't noticed it but the other said: "Well someone must have put it up later because it wasn't there in the morning."

What?! Does she presume there's a nefarious secret conspiracy to hide birthday posters only to have them reappear where they were supposed to be later? Or is she saying that I tried to cover my ass by corruptly posting his poster after the fact and lying about it? My fucking God, why the fuck would I do that?! Do I think I'd be fired if I forgot a fucking poster? And that I'd be so twisted to fake the "evidence" in order to avoid blame? The sad thing is, as the Stephanie incident from years ago proves, there are some that WOULD do such a fucked up thing!

I held it together and went home after that scene and though it took effort, I was able to calm down and not dwell on it. But it didn't stop there...

At the start of last night's shift, Charmaine showed up. This is very unusual for a supervisor to show up like this. Sure enough, it was about this poster issue. She wanted to know why it hadn't been posted. I told her about the incident that morning in the report room when I unfolded the crinkled up posters and showed that they all had been up, including the one in question. Then she says both her and the Clinical Director had not seen the poster that day either. And that they found the poster in the folder along with his birthday card.

Now, of course, several hours after the morning evidence was displayed, since I re-deposited the posters, including the one in question, back in the trash, there was no proof of my version of the story. I just look like a big, fat liar.

How the fuck is this real? Was all this some fucking Berenstein/Berenstain Bears alternate reality, parallel universe shit?

That's it. I'm joining the fray and I'm calling it was an alternate me! He's the fuck up! Make him walk naked down a long road flanked by commonfolk throwing refuse at him. Ring a bell and proclaim: