Saturday, October 31, 2009

I do not like Halloween for anyone other than young children. To me, it's a holiday for them. Not adults. So, I guess that means that, unlike so many others, I am not a Halloweener.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

JIM: I was rooting through my closet the other day. I don't even remember what I was looking for, but in the back, WAY, WAY in the back, I came across a pair of corduroy pants. So, in honor of Dave, I took them out to wear. And it was good.

In fact, I am wearing them, quite comfortably, right now.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

This is the email that I received from my mother this evening. It speaks for itself.

Dear David,

Sidney had an appetizer the other morning, a wrinkled and ugly tree frog. He/she must have exuded a nasty smell because Sidney jumped two feet off the ground and violently shook his head. He went back for the prey and stepped on it. After he had it in his mouth again he shook his head violently again and dropped it and stared at it. I guess he had had enough and was ready for his regular food!

Dad went out Friday afternoon and bought a car. It is a Chrysler PT Cruiser, 2007, 1035 miles and cream colored. He only went one place and did not shop at any other dealer. He said he wanted a car now so he bought it. I was seething and angry for a day. It reminded me of the time he took my car, the oldsmobile 88 and ended up buying a diesel cutlass which was a mistake from the beginning. I think you went with him to buy it when you were very young.

It does fit in the garage but space is tight because I have boxes and stuff along the side of the garage waiting for the electrician to come and install fluorescent lights above the washer and dryer. I have also taken down the pegboard and replaced it with a white one. I have to cut the table down (it is really a door) to size and reinstall the horses for support. Then I can put the boxes back under the table and have access to the table for workspace. Tomorrow, Overhead Door is coming to check the garage door opener in the ceiling to see if we need a new one and hopefully we can get two new openers for each car.

I was trying to take a nap this afternoon and Sidney would have no parts of it. He would walk on my hair, lick my face and nose, and bark at me. His body clock sometimes gets out of whack and he thinks it is time to eat and you have to keep him entertained until 4 pm. Well, I got up and we walked around the pond and he went after all the geckos he could see and ended up getting wound around my legs all the time. I took the lead that stretches and that was a mistake. He sure loves to run and hunt!

We are having tropical weather today and we are due for a rain storm later on this afternoon. We could use some rain.

Hope all is well with you.


Monday, October 26, 2009

I didn't like work today as much as I usually do. It was a hard day. Much more activity at the doggie daycare than usual on a Monday. And there was a lot of barking. I was happy to get outside and walk six dogs, back-to-back, giving each dog a walk of about one mile. So, that's six miles for me today. My legs ache. But they always do when I get home from work. And they ache when I get up in the middle of the night to pee, and I have to shuffle my feet across the floor like Jerome Bettis after a big game. But they feel better in the morning, and the process starts over again. But today I was just not digging the scene at the daycare. The dogs were bothering me, the people were bothering me. I was generally bothered. I didn't like the dogs as much as I usually do, although the crowd did not feature many of my favorites. Oh, well. I got through it, I got to spend a lot of time outside on a beautiful Fall afternoon, and tomorrow is a brand new day hanging with the dogs.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

JIM: May take you awhile to download, but worth it.

DAVE: [VIDEO DOWNLOADING] It's still downloading. I guess it's a bummer that I don't get to watch all of these videos, but it does keep me from spending a lot of time online.

JIM: I don't send you anything like that very often, so give me the benefit of the doubt on this one and be patient.

DAVE: [VIDEO STILL DOWNLOADING] I know. I think it's almost there. Have I told you that I have moved getting DSL to the top of my "To Do" list? Which essentially means that it could happen within the next year.

DAVE: [VIDEO FINISHED DOWNLOADING] That was pretty funny. I guess pulling pranks on hot chicks is a whole industry unto itself. And this is what I'm missing. I do like hot chicks. I don't really need the pranks. Just the hot chicks.

Friday, October 23, 2009

I love corduroys. They are my pants of choice. When I think about all of the years of my life that I spent wearing khakis and chinos that I could have spent wearing corduroys. Why, my whole life could have been different.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

There is a really big black spider with a really big web camped outside of one of the windows on the second floor of my condo. And when I say a really big black spider, I mean that a Kleenex would not be enough with which to kill it. And when I say that it's outside of the second floor, I mean my bedroom. Where I sleep.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

And . . .

When I was telling the nurse with whom you meet before you see the doctor the reason for my visit today, she was surprised to hear that I was 40 because she said that I did not look that age. I do seem to hear that frequently. As do many of my closest friends from high school. It's an odd commonality that a small group of us share, despite being cigarette smokers, pot smokers, and heavy drinkers for parts of our lives (some still). I have some gray on the sides of my head, and my beard gets more gray every day. But some of my friends show very little gray. It's interesting. We're lucky.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Interesting experience. It really wasn't that bad. Perhaps worse was the series of jokes that my PCP made in what I guess was his attempt to "lighten the mood." It was only the second time in my life that I had someone's finger in my ass. (Conversely, it was the "fourth or fifth" time he had had his finger in someone's ass that day.) I didn't even remember the first time until today, and that was years ago in the emergency room. That's such a crazy story that it shouldn't even count. So, today will stand in the history of Dave as the first time someone put their finger in my ass. As I said, it wasn't that bad. It did take longer than I had expected it to take, but I guess he had to check a lot of things while he was in there. And he took a stool sample to check for blood. It was clean. As was my prostate. I'm in great physical health, all in all. Of course, I noticed in the handy-dandy "What's Your BMI?" chart on the wall of the examination room that my weight puts me in the "Overweight" category. And I can't argue with that. But I have an amazing metabolism. That's not the problem. The medications that I'm taking cause you to put on some weight. And I have. But as my doctor and I were discussing today, it's a trade-off that you make. Because despite my seemingly excellent physical health, I have depression. And I have to take drugs (and smoke others) to live a normal life. The good news is that I am enjoying that normal life.
Before you go to the dentist, you brush your teeth really well, and sometimes you even break down and floss them for the first time in, er, a little while. But what do you do before you go to see your doctor for a prostate exam?
DAVE: Oh, silly, silly Jeff Reed.

MICHELLE: I know - I just heard about that! I don't think his off the field behavior is winning him any points with Tomlin.

Speaking of which, I think we have the coolest coach in the NFL. I love that he totally rocks his Raybans during the games!

DAVE: Yeah. Tomlin's pretty freaking cool.


DAVE: Yes, yes, he's a handsome man. No question.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

As those close to me know (and other members of my vast readership can probably figure out), I come from an interesting family. My parents have many fine qualities, but one thing that neither of them is is affectionate. I grew up in a home where physical gestures of affection were, and still are, rare. Sometimes my father treats me more like a business associate (or perhaps even an employee) than a son. For instance, voicemail messages and emails from my father are always a fascinating look at the dynamic that exists between him and me. Here is an email that I recently received from my father in Florida:


I understand that some mail was left at the house rather than being forwarded. I usually get a month-end report from Morgan-Stanley, which arrives by the 7th or 8th of the next month. So far I have not received the September 30 report. I would appreciate knowing if it is among the mail that was left at the house. Then you can send it on to me. If it is not among that mail, I need to call Morgan-Stanley to ask them to send out another report.


Saturday, October 17, 2009

I work part-time at a doggie daycare located near where I live. Best commute a person could have. I have been working there for six weeks. It's a perfect job for me at this point. I do the bulk of the dog walking during my daily shift at the daycare. So, I am walking a ton. I wore a pedometer for a week to get a sense of how many steps I was taking in an average day. 14,000 steps. When I'm not walking dogs, I'm socializing and monitoring them in the daycare. I'm around dogs all day. And we already know that I prefer the company of dogs to humans. I have my favorites, and it's always nice to see them and walk them when they come in. I have learned so much about dog behavior that I can't even begin to quantify it. So much. And for the most part, I'm having fun. Even when I was walking dogs in a steady rain in the cold on Thursday afternoon, I was having fun. It's good for me to be outdoors, even though this has been a horrible Fall so far. On the nice days (that I can vaguely remember now), I really enjoyed being outside walking dogs. Anyway, so that's what I've been doing. And in that time, I have felt better than I have in years. Years. Since the last time I had a job that I loved. That was teaching English in a private school. My dream job. But I digress. Actually, I find that working with dogs all day is not altogether different from teaching in some ways. You always have to be alert to what the group is doing. You need to know how to quiet the group down if it gets excited. And you have to be able to get the group to focus. My new classroom is a big sturdy pen, and my new students are a diverse gathering of neighborhood dogs. And just like with human students, I am trying to teach the dogs something, and in turn, they are teaching me more than I expected.

When will the swine flu madness end . . . ?

Friday, October 16, 2009

JIM: I have a friend from college whose wife just had a baby. They named her Saiorse Rosalie.

Then, I got the email giving people the proper pronunciation of the name.

Then, I got another email correcting the spelling of her name because he spelled it wrong in the initial email. It's really Saoirse.

Don't these people realize what they are doing to their children? I see nothing wrong with a nice simple "Dave". Or "Jim".

DAVE: Troubling news, to be sure. But is that all that's bothering you?

As for me, my first prostate exam is on Monday. I'm pretty psyched!

JIM: Well, I have another friend whose wife had a baby last week and he named his son Finley. Because it's the Gaelic word for "proud warrior". Or something like that.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

"Well, I needed to go to the store" . . .

Stroller with baby rolls into traffic; mother charged
Thursday, October 15, 2009
By Jerome L. Sherman, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

A woman was arrested yesterday after a stroller holding her 1-year-old daughter rolled into traffic on a North Side street while she ducked inside a store, police said.

Lynnette Brown, 27, was charged with reckless endangerment and endangering the welfare of children, according to an affidavit of probable cause.

About 1:30 p.m. yesterday, police Officer A.J. Scarpine witnessed the baby's stroller rolling across the cobblestones in the 1000 block of Chestnut Street. Two cars heading from opposite directions on the street came to a screeching stop.

A tan van heading north skidded slightly on Chestnut, which was wet from rain, and the vehicle's front bumper tapped the stroller, the affidavit said. Officer Scarpine ran to the stroller and found the baby, Myonna Mollett.

The baby's mother, Ms. Brown, then exited a store on Chestnut and said to the officer, "That's my baby. What are you doing with my baby?"

When the officer explained what had just happened, Ms. Brown replied, "Well, I needed to go to the store."

"But you left your baby outside, alone in the stroller," Officer Scarpine told her, according to the affidavit.

"I wasn't that long. Why you messing with me [sic]," Ms. Brown said.

The officer then arrested her. Ms. Brown faces a preliminary hearing on Oct. 23.
DAVE: I wanted to get your picks for the LCSs. In what you may consider a surprise move, I'm taking Los Angeles and Los Angeles. The Dodgers and the Angels. If that's the World Series, I wonder what time the games would start to accommodate us East Coasters.

JIM: Well, the major media outlets have already made it perfectly clear to major league baseball that they want to see Yankees-Dodgers. And I'm a big fan of conspiracy theories. What TV wants is what TV seems to always get. And they think that Yankees-Dodgers will make them the most money...

Of course, money has nothing to do with it. What I've seen them say is that they need to have the Yankees versus the Dodgers in order to "get back to the purity of the game" (I'm pretty sure that's an exact quote from somewhere too). There was no explanation though about what makes the Phillies and the Angels (and I assume the other 25 mlb teams) "impure".

DAVE: Well, I can't speak for the other 25 teams, but the Pirates are most definitely "impure."

JIM: You're sulking again. Just enjoy some good playoff baseball. You had to like those last two Phillies games where they scored the go-ahead runs with 2 outs in the ninth and then had to bring in Lidge for the suspenseful save both nights!

DAVE: I'm not sulking. Just stating the facts. I have been enjoying playoff baseball. However, the first-round sweeps were boring, and this long layoff is just not good for anything. Just another way that TV has fucked up baseball.

JIM: Agreed.

Then again, baseball might as well be fucked up. Everything else is.

DAVE: Now who's sulking?

JIM: You picked up on that, huh?

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Seventeen years ago tonight, I was an undergraduate student at the University of Pittsburgh. I was working on a paper that was due the next day, while simultaneously watching Game 7 of the 1992 National League Championship Series between the Atlanta Braves and my then-beloved Pittsburgh Pirates. The details of the evening or even the game or even the bottom of the ninth inning aren't important now. We know how it ended. I've talked about it in this blog before. A bottom of the ninth that started out with so much promise deteriorated quickly and ended when Sid Bream scored, thus breaking so many hearts in Pittsburgh, including my own.

The Pirates, fans of good baseball, and I have not recovered yet.

But I did get a great name for a dog.
What the fuck is up with this weather? I'm wearing socks on a daily basis. And I've been looking at little fleece caps. I've never liked to wear a winter hat because of the number those hats do on my hair when I take them off. Static cling of biblical proportions. But now that my hair is so short, I really don't have to worry about what a hat like that will do to my hair. One of the many advantages of having short hair.

Monday, October 12, 2009

I am always amazed when I take my recyclables to Construction Junction that there are so many people who live in Pittsburgh who prefer to take their recyclables there, rather than putting them out for curbside trash pick-up. Why do we do this? Is it because we think or fear that the blue garbage trucks that come around once every two weeks to our homes do anything different with the blue bags of recyclables than the blue garbage trucks that go to Construction Junction to empty the dumpsters there, which are often overflowing with recyclables? What is the difference? And yet so many of us do it. Including me.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

This afternoon I watched the first two episodes of the new season of "The Hills" on MTV. I miss Lauren Conrad. And why is Spencer beginning to look like John Travolta in "Urban Cowboy?"

Friday, October 9, 2009

Like many residents of Florida, Sidney is a friend of the manatee.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

JIM: Have you heard this? Congress is going to pass a law that gives every American a $500 savings account when they are born.

DAVE: Every American needs health care when they are born. Not a savings account with $500.

JIM: But I read that they tried this in Great Britain and some of the accounts actually increased in value over time. Some of them even got to be worth $600.

DAVE: Are you being serious? The integrity of my blog depends on it.

JIM: That is what I read.

One of the politicians quoted also said that these saving accounts would continue to help stimulate the economy. Since the money in the accounts would not be available to be withdrawn until each child reached 18 years of age and could only be used for very specific purposes (such as education or retirement), I'm not sure I understand that comment. Then again, most people would say that there are a lot of things I don't understand.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

JIM: My wife's friend's mother passed away on Sunday. The only reason we found out about it was because my wife's mom read the obituary in the paper. But, since few people read newspapers these days and newspapers, especially local ones, will become pretty much extinct in the not-too-distant future, how are people going to find out about this kind of stuff from now on?

DAVE: You make a good point. With the internet people do not go to their newspapers for the kind of stuff that they used to. I don't know how that information will get disseminated in the future, other than word of mouth.

DAVE: It's ironic that you raised that issue about obituaries today. I'm not kidding, just yesterday I was thinking about the friends in my life. I don't belong to a "social group," per se. I have individual friends who are usually themselves members of their own social groups. Many of my friends don't know each other, or have never met. They only know about them as I refer to them in conversation. And on top of that, many of my friendships are conducted primarily through email, along with the occasional phone call or meeting up. Sound familiar, Jim? So, anyway, I was wondering (for whatever reason), if I were to die, how would people find out about it in a timely manner (i.e., to attend a funeral)? Don't ask me why I was thinking about this yesterday. It wasn't morbid, just idle curiosity. Something to think about while I'm walking dogs around Point Breeze on a lovely Fall afternoon. Someone (I don't even know who this would be) would have to access my laptop and get the email addresses of my friends to contact them. I don't have all of my friends' phone numbers in my cell phone because there are friends with whom I never talk on the phone. It's all email. Anyway, that's what I was thinking about yesterday.
"So, Dan Onorato is running for governor. That's great. But who is going to watch over the Boy Mayor in Pittsburgh?"
Friends don't let friends do this to their dogs.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

DAVE: Who do you like in today's 163rd game? I'm taking the Twins.

JIM: After your latest bile-spewing diatribe against the once-beloved Jim Leyland, I am not surprised.

Ok, maybe "bile-spewing diatribe" and "once-beloved" are both a little exaggerated. After your recent criticism of the Tigers manager, I am not surprised.

And yeah, go Twins. I say that Joe Mauer, the guy who should be AL MVP but won't be because he doesn't play in NY or Boston, will come up big.
Sidney has been in Florida for less than 24 hours, and he has already hunted down and killed one of the many little geckos that scurry about all over the place. In addition to all of his other fine qualities, that dog is a hunter. And Florida geckos are his prey of choice.

Monday, October 5, 2009

DAVE: I'm beginning to think that Jim Leyland is not the manager that he once was.

JIM: None of us are the person who we once were.

DAVE: True. But in many ways, I'm a better person than I was in the early 90s. It doesn't look like Leyland is.

JIM: How could anyone be after smoking as many cigarettes as he has?

JIM: And by the way, I knew you in the early 90s and I thought you were a perfectly fine person.

DAVE: That's very kind of you to say. But there was room for improvement.

JIM: Well, duh. There always is.

DAVE: I suppose you're right.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Does this ever happen to you?

Like most people, I have a routine for my alarm clocks that get me up in the morning. I set a soft alarm on my cell phone that goes off for about 30 seconds from across the room as a sort of "warning" that the real alarm is going to go off in 30 minutes. And then, half an hour later, the really loud, obnoxious alarm clock next to my bed goes off to do the dirty work of waking me up and getting me out of bed. So, last night (seeing as it's the weekend) I set the alarm on my phone but not the alarm on the clock next to my bed. This morning, when the alarm on my phone went off across the room, here I was banging on the snooze button on the alarm clock next to my bed trying to get it to turn off. It took me a few hits on the clock before I was awake enough to realize what was going on.

Go Steelers.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

My parents left with Sidney for Florida this morning. Last year at this time, when they left, I was not in good shape, and as my posts from last October recall, I deteriorated rapidly after their departure, going through a period of depression that was one of my worst. But this year is a completely different year. I had a good summer, one in which I felt better and more like myself and got stronger as the warm months went on. I am doing really well, and I was ready for their impending departure. In recent weeks, my parents had started to get a little on my nerves (as I'm sure I was getting on theirs), and I was spending less and less time at their house. I was really only going over their to spend time with Sidney. So, on my last night with my parents until I go down to Florida at Christmas, I endured their litany of last minute instructions on how to take care of their house while they're gone, as if I don't know the routine by now. Saying goodbye to my mother and father went well, and I felt comfortable with it. But I struggled to say goodbye to Sidney. I was playing with him, trying to find a way to express my love and affection for him that he would understand. But he's a dog, and he was distracted by the packing of the car by my parents and his toys. After several attempts, I finally cajoled Sidney to give me one of his patented, very gentle, soft licks on my nose. At that point, the tears started to come. I couldn't help myself. But I took great comfort in knowing that my tears were tears of goodbye, rather than tears of extreme sadness and depression. Sidney is a very special dog and a very important part of my life, both now and in the future when someday he will live with me again. A lot has happened to me in the last year, but I am in a much better place than I was then, and I am confident that I will not suffer the severe depressive episode that I experienced last Fall.

By the way, I drove to Youngstown, Ohio two years ago today to meet a young, spirited, happy dachshund and try to determine whether I wanted to adopt him. Like it was ever in question. Sidney (formerly Seth, formerly Oscar) came home with me that day.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Did you hear that the founder of the Gap clothing chain recently passed away? Apparently, he was laid to rest in his favorite suit made from premium denim. Black, of course.