Monday, November 30, 2009

Last week, in response to the complaint from Amy the Christian that I was not disseminating any information about myself via Facebook, I gave her the web address of this blog, knowing that there are a lot of things that she doesn't know about me, but not being able to think of a good reason not to let her know about the blog. I know that I have mentioned her before, but without checking, I'm quite sure whatever I said was not derogatory. At least I hope not. Anyway, today I received this response:

AMY THE CHRISTIAN: Well, this is like a Thanksgiving miracle.

LOVE the Quiet Observer...I have done a bit of scanning and have really enjoyed your insights. I haven't dug too deeply, but I'll be sure to check in on a regular basis from this point on to read your musings.

I had no idea of your hatred for Luke Ravenstahl.

That was probably the most surprising thing I've learned about you so far.

Very sincerely,
Your Old Friend Amy the Christian
The doctor treating Ben Roethlisberger's recent concussion is Dr. Joseph Maroon. He is a concussion specialist who other NFL players with concussions often come to Pittsburgh to see. About fifteen years or so ago, I went out on a few dates with Dr. Maroon's daughter. She was an interesting young woman. Like so many of the women who have come in and out of my life over the years, she had "Daddy issues."

Friday, November 27, 2009

I like a firm pillow. The firmer, the better. But it's hard to find a really firm pillow. There are all sorts of pillows at all sorts of prices that claim to be firm, but the only pillow that I have ever encountered that was truly firm enough to accommodate my sleeping needs was the Laura Ashley ultimate support pillow. Yeah, that's right. Laura freaking Ashley. True, the pillows come from an unlikely source, and they are Laura Ashley, but the pillows are the best. FF turned me onto the ultimate support pillow shortly after we met in the Fall of 2005. They sell them at Marshall's and at Bed Bath and Beyond, and she came with me to Marshall's to pick out the right pillow. I got one, and I loved it immediately. I've had that pillow for about four years, and I recently decided that it was time to replace it with a new one. (One without all of my dribble stains on it.) That pillow and I have seen a lot over our years together, including a lot of time that I spent in bed when my depression was at its worst. But I've been getting some new things lately, and replacing some things, so today, while the hoards were flocking to the malls, I made my way to Bed Bath and Beyond (because I had one of those blue $5 off a $15 purchase coupons that appear ubiquitously in the mail) where I bought my new Laura Ashley ultimate support pillow. At the risk of sounding a little cliche, I find myself at a point in my life where I am leaving some things in the past and moving forward with anticipation. And when I go to bed at the end of my days, and lay on my side in the fetal position, my head will be resting on a Laura Ashley pillow. Ultimate support.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

It's Thanksgiving and the window air conditioner on the second floor of my condo is still in. I always take it out for the winter, but I never did this year. Do you remember how it got chilly seemingly overnight starting on Labor Day, and how it never warmed up again above 80 degrees, and how it got cold early this year, and how we never really had Fall, and how we never had an Indian Summer? Yeah, well, I left my air conditioner in through all of that because I believed that it would get above 80 degrees again. But it never did. And now it's Thanksgiving. I've accepted that it is very unlikely that I am going to need to use my air conditioner again until Spring. But I think I'm going to leave it in this winter. There is already so much heat leaking out of this old house, and there are drafts everywhere. Leaving it in probably won't make a bit of difference.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

I walk dogs around an area of Pittsburgh that is already overrun with dogs. And some of the owners of all of those dogs don't stoop and scoop. So, as a frequent walker in the area, I have to keep my eye out for those random landmines on the sidewalk. I have been walking dogs for almost three months, and it was not until today that I stepped in dog poo. And it was a bad one, buried and hiding surreptitiously in a pile of leaves. My left shoe got it. And it happened less than 50 feet from the daycare. Once I got back inside, I stood at the utility sink and washed my shoe for five minutes. It was disgusting. Stoop and scoop, people. It's your responsibility. And it's the law.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

The fairytale romance and marriage of Pittsburgh's Boy Mayor and Mrs. Boy Mayor appears to be over.

Monday, November 23, 2009

I am really in the mood for some carrot cake. Like, right now. Mmm. Carrot cake.
Ben Roethlisberger is a big, strong man. But I fear that his football career will be cut short someday by repeated concussions.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

November in Pittsburgh. The sun did not come out today until 3:30. It was a beautiful sight. Then sunset was at 4:45.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

PRECIOUS: pharmacology lecture this morning [yesterday] on autonomic nervous system drugs, mechanisms, etc, given by Dr. T. C. Theoharides, Ph.D., M.D. Professor of Pharmacology, Internal Medicine and Biochemistry; Associate Professor of Psychiatry; Director, Molecular Immunopharmacology and Drug Discovery Laboratory- Department of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics at Tufts University School of Medicine. Clinical Pharmacologist, Massachusetts, Director Drug Formulary Commission (appointment 1986-2010).

we're going over treatments for depression and he's talking talking talking about the mechanisms of all the MAOIs, SSRIs, tricyclics, etc, and I'm writing writing writing all these notes and trying to catch everything he's saying about how such and such neurotransmitter is the target of this drug, and such and such other neurotransmitter is the target of this other drug, etc etc...

and then he says, after like, the entire hour lecture -- "so what's the main point of all of this information? the point is that we have absolutely no idea how to treat depression."

i thought you'd appreciate that.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Post Number 500 . . .

The dog that was attacked yesterday was fine today. I was glad to see that no additional wounds had been found on him. He was pretty lucky. I was particularly nice to all of the dogs today, even the ones that I don't like as much as some others. Of course, I have my favorites. But today I made an effort to repeatedly pet and interact with all of the dogs at daycare. I love dogs. And I want to help all of them live better lives. And I miss Sidney and his cute little face and his little licks on my nose.
Later last night, when I took my socks off, I realized that the pain in my left ankle was not from long dog walks in the rain yesterday, but rather from a single puncture mark where the bulldog must have gotten me during our little tussle. It's not a bad dog bite. I've gotten a few since I started working at the doggie daycare, but I do think that this one is the worst one and the most painful. I'm limping a little bit this morning. But there are dogs to be walked today. And I am looking forward to seeing how the collie is. I've been thinking a lot about him since I left work yesterday. It really was an upsetting experience.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Yesterday, I had something pleasant on my mind. Today, I had to convince an English bulldog to remove its jaw from the head of a border collie mix who was not very happy to have the bulldog attached to it. I've become rather adept at breaking up dog attacks at the daycare. I don't separate the dogs the textbook way, but I get the job done. After showering the two dogs (as well as several innocent doggie bystanders) with the contents of the water pan (a technique that worked beautifully last week when I had to break up an attack on the same collie mix by a bull mastiff), the dogs didn't separate, so I made the mistake of placing myself between the two dogs to try and physically push the bulldog away from the collie. It worked, but I put myself in harm's way. But the beseeching yelps that were coming from the collie were too much to do nothing. I acted instinctively and swiftly, but the collie still got some scratches and was clearly traumatized by the whole incident. Frankly, so was I.

A little while after I wrote the above, it hit me just how to verbalize how I reacted during and after the attack. I reacted as though the dog being attacked was my own dog. I got down on my hands and knees, grabbed the bulldog's sturdy chest, and shoved him away from the other dog. Technically, that was a pretty stupid thing to do.

But I would do it again.

I have a Master's Degree in Education.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

I must admit that on this particular Wednesday evening, I have something on my mind. And while I'm thinking about that special something, I just thought I would let my vast readership know that I think that a little hair between a woman's legs is sexy.

That's how I roll.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

JIM: Hey, I guess I'm probably asking the wrong person, but do you have an external hard drive for backing up the stuff on your computer? I want to get one, but there are so many and I have no idea what to look for.

DAVE: Yeah. I got nothing for you. Why don't you just backup your files on a flash drive?

JIM: Dude, I have two kids and a wife armed with a digital camera.

DAVE: Not enough capacity? Jeepers.

"Uh, excuse me, sir. May I please borrow your phone when you're finished? I don't have any pockets to carry a phone."

Monday, November 16, 2009

Damn you, Fanene!!!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

At around eight o'clock last night, I went to Penn Station East Coast Subs for a large Italian, no onion, no banana peppers. Surprisingly, I was the only customer in the place, so I got my sub pretty quickly. While I was waiting for my sub and watching muted ESPN on their TV, this big black SUV, an Escalade, pulled up and parked in front of the shop. Then this muscular guy wearing a tight, light blue t-shirt and a big gold chain got out of the Escalade and started walking around the front of the store, looking back and forth inside. Then he finally came in and placed his order. I turned away from ESPN to get a look at this guy up close, and I realized that it's Jeff Reed. I think that he sort of turned his head away from me so as not to draw attention, but it was definitely Jeff Reed. I will say this for him, he knows where to get a good sub in Pittsburgh.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Precious and Dave talking about medicine . . .

PRECIOUS: I'm studying for my exam, and I'm just so frustrated. I'm learning details of a lot of things I already knew before coming to medical school... I feel like I really have yet to have some epiphany moment about WOW, THIS IS how disease happens. The truth is that so much is STILL unknown. It's the only thing I've ever studied where so much is still so yet to be discovered, and it kind of makes me angry. Everything feels so immature, so undiscovered, so poorly understood. As if medicine is this truly new, budding field. i want some answers.

DAVE: When people are really, really depressed, they shock them with electric current to help them feel better. Yeah. There's a lot we don't know.

PRECIOUS: Yes yes I agree that our treatment of mental illness is quite archaic, barbaric even to some extent of course --- but you WERE going to do it, weren't you? Wasn't it I that told you no no no!? Anyway, either way, that's obvious. It's the other things... like immunology for instance, that you really could have sworn was all figured out. But no. Not at all. Very frustrating.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Just to keep my vast readership up to date on the Tunnel of Love project going on over on the North Shore . . . From today's Post-Gazette . . . "The $538.8 million project to extend the Light Rail Transit system to PNC Park and Heinz Field is about half finished, and on schedule, said Winston Simmonds, Port Authority's rail operations/engineering officer."

So, the total price tag on this boondoggle has gone up about $100 million since the last time I heard about it. But it's still well below the final cost of $1 billion that I predicted in a blog post some time ago. But you heard the man. The project is "about half finished." So, there is still a lot to be done. I'm going to stick with my original prediction.

Oh, and from the article, it sounds like the ride is going to be a little curvy. Even though the trip under the Allegheny River is only 2,240 feet long.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Try and imagine my shock and horror when I drove by Mike Tomlin's palatial estate today and saw that there was a big "RAVENSTAHL: GETTING IT DONE" sign hanging on the big black fence that surrounds the Tomlin compound. Tomlin may well be the coolest head coach in the NFL. But that sign hurt me. It hurt me bad.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Racy news from Precious in medical school . . .

PRECIOUS: so, for the past month or so, i've been hearing these noises. they are so disturbing. i'd hear them basically all the time -- throughout the day and night (you see, i pretty much stay in the same location all day and all night... my desk). and quite frankly, i thought it was sex. i thought the noises were coming from my neighbors having sex. and they were INCREDIBLE noises. like, perverted fetish noises, yells and yelps etc, and they were so frequent that i figured these people were having sex ALL the time. multiple times per day, every day. So, of course eventually it began to get annoying. Can you imagine? I'm sitting here, studying, all the time, NOT having sex, while i always hear my neighbors not only having sex, but having sex that is making them SCREAM!? all the time!? well, it started to really piss me off so, tonight, it just kept going on and on. i decided i was going to investigate -- to either confirm or deny that this sound was actually sex sound; to confirm or deny that my sex life was pathetic. Well, the suspects live below me in the basement apartment, so i had to go outside in order to get a better listen. As i went outside, i heard the noise even more violently! and it was coming from above me! not below me. so i look up, and in the window a floor above my apartment there was positioned NOT a fucking couple fucking each other, but rather, a little yippy white bichon frise. she was barking. no. she was yipping. whatever she was doing, she was the culprit! this whole time! i'm so relieved. relieved that it wasn't my neighbors (aka, relieved that my sex life isn't THAT abnormal) and also relieved that neither of my bichons ever caused such a raucous.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Today I wore a light, blue jacket that I hadn't worn in years. Years, I tell you. And I don't like the jacket. I mean, I like it, but it is too large for me, despite being the right size. I suppose the fact that I feel like I'm swimming in it is the main reason why I stopped wearing it. But apparently I didn't stop wearing it until after I met FF in the Fall of 2005, about this time four years ago. Today while I was wearing the jacket, I reached into the inside pocket and found two items. A stick of Wrigley's chewing gum (I don't know what flavor) that FF probably gave me one night because she was always giving me gum. The other item was the ripped half of a complimentary ticket to see "The Mikado." I must have worn that jacket the first night that I went to see the Gilbert and Sullivan classic that FF was in the process of directing when we met. I know that play backwards and forwards. Anyway, it's funny because FF came with me to REI when I went to buy a better-fitting light jacket. Which I did. And which I never wear. But I'm going to start because this blue jacket is done.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

DAVE: I had my first prostate exam a couple of weeks ago. All clear. Have you ever had one of those, Focker?

FOCKER: never dude. i guess i gotta do that. life with kids is bonkers, and i only have one. there is no time for anything, but i love it all the same.

time to get on the phillies bandwagon i suppose, huh?

DAVE: I think you're a little late coming to the Phillies party. But it's as good a time as ever.

You're supposed to start getting prostate exams after you turn 40. I had been peeing a lot, so I went ahead and had it done, even though I would have otherwise been content to wait years. It really wasn't that bad, but the anticipation leading up to it wasn't great.

You have really turned out to be quite the family man. Life never ceases to amaze me.

FOCKER: what do they do in a prostate it invasive?

DAVE: The doctor sticks his or her index finger in your ass and feels around for about 5-10 seconds. Then you have to clean the lotion that the doctor put on his finger off your ass before you pull your undies back up. It's just good clean fun.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

World Series chatter . . .

DAVE: Good game last night. Just one question. What's up with Chase Utley's hair?

JIM: Yeah. It has been a topic of discussion. Whatever he's been doing, he should just keep doing it.

DAVE: Maybe Cole Hamels should slick his hair back.

JIM: If I was him, I'd try anything at this point.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Just a short time ago, I used moisturizing lotion on my dry, brittle hands for the first time this season. Being a man, I had waited as long as I could. The lotion on my hands is so fresh that my hands are still a little bit slippery. I also already have winter itch on my lower legs. When you scratch, it just turns into white powder. It's bad. But I don't put lotion on my legs. That there's for sissies, I tell you. I'm a man.
I eat a lot of takeout. Like every night. Recently, I made my first visit to my new favorite hoagie place, Penn Station East Coast Subs. They are so good. Perhaps the best that I've had in Pittsburgh, other than Uncle Sam's Subs. In college, my friend Jim (aka Mr. Blondie) took me to Uncle Sam's in Oakland for my first Uncle Sam's cheesesteak, and I have been going there ever since. Anyway, I was shocked when I got to the register to pay for my order and saw that there was no "tip jar" squatting there. I don't like tip jars in takeout restaurants. I never have. The emergence of them at coffee shops when places like Starbucks exploded unto the scene seemed to trickle down to every place that offers any kind of takeout food. But I fail to understand them at, say, a pizza place. I come in, I order my slices, the person puts them in the oven to heat them up, the person rings me up, and then the person takes the pizza slices out of the oven, puts them in a box, and hands the box to me. The person did the job that they were hired to do. Why does that deserve a tip from me? Am I wrong here? I tip generously when I dine out, and I very much appreciate the need for tip money by servers whose actual hourly pay is ridiculously low (but that's our system, no matter how flawed). But ice cream servers at Cold Stone Creamery? Child, please.