Thursday, September 26, 2013


This interview with Zara Itani is just plain fun. Jade sneaks in and attempts to "assist," Zara. I won't say anymore, but it is very well done and clever. Remember that her e-books, normally 2.99, are .99 cents for a limited time. I hope you all enjoy the interview!

Mister Love reminded me of this...
      Source: Greatnamebro
   Via CaryMcNeal at LOTD and/or

Living a full life as a “retiree” (Full Disability) at 55 after a full life of viola-playing and solving some problems with operating systems and networking that had major cooties, has given me lots and lots and lots of free time. So, being the creative left-brainer (71% and that’s some fucked-up wiring) that I am, I’ve come up with new ways of entertaining myself. But why should I keep all the fun to myself? Not content with just spamming Face Book and making up stupid answers in surveys (why, yes, there are 35% people in this household who are of Aleutian descent) or screwing with the NSA: run the sentence “The Quick Brown Jihad jumped over the lazy Cheney” through 10 translators, starting with English. Then German, Urdu, Chinese, Russian, Arabic, Estonian, French, Samoan and then back to English, and post on Face Book. Do this 10 to 20 times a day, and their sniffer algorithms will barf up meaningless Blargle and die. 
Anyway, I took up looking at mugshots, especially those of arrests in and around my area, since it’s always nice to see a familiar face, I ran across this:

 “Quandarious” Hammond, had the bad luck to get picked up for something stupidly ridiculous in Tampa. Did baby mama even wonder what the root, “Quandary” means? Per it means “a delicate situation.” I wonder if he has brothers with names like (per “Perplexitymaxus,” “Impassemus,” and his sister “Up-A-Tree-Ney-Ney.” Understandably, ma has absolutely no hope for any of these bright little stars. Or maybe she does, because her name is probably Delusia-Trey-Ney, 
This has got to be the single most spectacularly ridiculous name ever. The only other thing like this I’ve ever run into was when I did IT support and we would occasionally have to call Chennai, India, for some of the mainframe passwords changes. The problem here was cultural, more than stupidal. These folks were brilliant as hell and wonderful to work with, but they had no idea about how to pick “American-sounding” names. I talked to people there with the, (Swear to God) names of, Surprise, Happy Birthday, and Arson. When I mentioned “Arson” to my boss, he said, “hmmm, I wonder if he sits next to “3rd-degree Manslaughter” and “Breaking and Entering.” I always looked forward to those calls because I couldn't wait to see what name they'd picked out of the Webster's dictionary.

Monday, September 23, 2013


Here is Jade's Interview regarding how she began writing and then went through the process of, first self-publishing and now joining up with a publishing agency. Jade wrote her first novel for the NaNoWriMo in 2010. Her interview is fun and she knows herself well. When she states writing is more of a compunction for her and that being so, makes types of people like that easy prey to alcohol, tobacco, drugs, I can relate in a huge way. Music is like that for me and certain computer games. I quit drinking and smoking in 2010; I'd be pushing up daisies now, if I hadn't. In truth, I'd rather fix the computer problem that had the biggest batch of cooties, ever, ahead of writing. Being on Full Disability ("Retired") allows me to indulge the fun things, although lately, I've been thinking of taking on some part-time job from home. Who can't use a little extra dough? As of late, we've had a few extra expenses that we weren't counting on, and it's hard to stretch when you're on a Surprise Fixed Income. 

One of the reasons I haven't blogged much about what is going on around here, is that there really isn't much going on around here. Remember this guy?

Ray-ray Martineau who thought your 15 cents was his 15 cents. He was convicted of Grand Theft back in 6, of this year and told if he showed his scurvy face around here again (well, not like that,) he'd be violated and have to serve his full term, of 3 years and 1 day. We ran an indigogo for his victim, because ray-ray kept asking for a continuance, hoping the victim, Mr. Wallace (no relation) would drop the charges. To keep Mr. Wallace from doing so, I ran an indigogo for 500.00, and although we got less, JC and Alex and I chipped in, so Mr. Wallace would have some money. Those of you who contributed, you know who you are, *wink, wink* It being such a bitch of an economy, it is hard to raise money, but this worked. 

We, then being the high-minded souls  on Nebraska Ave started a pool to see how long it would take Ray-ray to get violated. I said 4, and chipped in 5 bucks, JC said 7 months (looking for some sort of spiritual turn around?) and shipped in 5 bucks. Alex said 6 months, which sounded about right. Then, we held our breaths.

Well, shit. He was violated on 8/23/2013 for "failure to register as an habitual criminal." They should have violated him for being an habitual psychopath.

Like I said, this guy would run around FSJ and tell the wildest stories. In 3 days, he got his bike stolen, his wallet stolen and his 3 day bus pass stolen. There are certain people that make my "spidey senses" tingle, and I am immediately not only stone-blind, but stone-deaf. You'd have a better conversation with that Umbrella stand over there.

I still think  Ray-ray's going to be going behind bars before the end of his "year" on the box. There is no way he can pass a piss test and those are random. Once, he tried to get JC to pee in a cup for him. I was on the other side of the OTHER house and I could hear JC's Wrath of God voice from where I stood. I still laugh at that. Ray-ray must have scuttled off like an armadillo when JC cut loose like that.

Speaking of Wrath of God, I was waiting for the bus at the supermarket the other night and one of the area's known predators (they have to live somewhere and are in a different class than an offender) was all hunkered up in the corner of the bus shelter. I had my backpack and 2 cloth bags, cane and sunglasses on, although it was after dark. I knew he was there.

I put down my bags and stood to the edge of the shelter. He started in about how little and vulnerable I looked. I let him yammer for a minute, and then, I jumped up, and WHIPPED around, landing on both feet (that ET med really works) pointing my cane at him and said, STOP! I know what you are. I've been here for years. Don't say one. More. Word. And he didn't.

That's the one thing about this area. You cannot show weakness. I know that every time I go out, there's bound to be weirdness on some scale, and my senses are pretty heightened. I may not see detail well, but I can hear and sense and feel the air as it is moved by objects and creatures. Rather like, "Maxwell's Devil," maybe.

Sunday, September 22, 2013


There are some reasons I have this picture of the beautiful Jade Kerrion and her books where I would normally display #ROW80. First, there's no #ROW80 going on, although when I first started #ROW80, I just kept on going. Second, when I uploaded the HTML code, for the images you see to the right there, I found this peculiar box, that could mean any sorts of things, and being me, I began to play, um fix. I discovered that the reason the picture does not display is that that is the equivalent of a “404, not found.” Rather like my head. I isolated the part of the code that was throwing the “404” error, and pasted that link into a new browser window. The picture you see up there is what came up, along with the “404” error. I made a note and emailed Jade. When the Magic Blog Fairy sets things a-right, it will be fixed. It wasn't the code; Jade sent me EARLIER a copy of the the book cover reveal she wished to be used in place of “404. Page Not Found." So, yeah, let's call it a "404-PEBCAK error. Problem Exists Between Chair And Keyboard.” I will honestly look for any pretext no matter how slight to get under the hood, when it comes to anything regarding systems, networking, applications and programming. Just keep the hardware away from me. I did make a copy and paste of the URL to get the image you see above; I would NEVER under any circumstances, touch anyone's code without their permission.

This is the scroll and serif of my viola, Wolf. Wolf was "born" in 1836, just 10 years after the death of Beethoven. I've had him since I was 19 and have never played another viola since, unless it was upon invitation of another player, who wanted to play Wolf. He was made by Guidantus Florenus and is of the Bolognese school of fiddle makers, not the Stradivari and Amati and Guarneri houses. At 15 7/8" which is small for a viola, he's got a huge sound. He was named by a luthier up in Royal Oak Michigan when I had work done on him. Nobody touches him but me, capisce? It's like computers, or workmen and their tools, ask first. I wouldn't have cared if it had been freakin' Jascha Heifitz; ask first.

It is axiomatic among musicians, computer engineers, writers, that OTHER PEOPLE KEEP THEIR GODDAMNED MITTS OFF MY STUFF! I came out of the ladies' room, during a break when I was in one of the nameless thousands of symphony orchestras I played in, to find a Russian woman, who had played in the first violin section of the Cleveland Orchestra, playing Wolf. I almost punched her in the eye. I don't get on other people's computers unless I've been given permission and only for repairs. I don't change what people write; that is the intellectual property of someone else. I certainly don't play other people's instruments, unless invited to do so.

The other reason, I must admit, is I am lazy and as per usual, it got hectic around here; when doesn't it? JC was supposed to have his wrist operated on for squamous cell cancer on Thursday, and the supplemental insurance company that provides the rides, never showed up. So, we have to reschedule that, which is so hard on him. He hates the waiting and is understandably frightened. He has a low pain threshold, but he wants it over with as well. We called 3 times, and no one ever showed up. I hate this. When did the world become so careless? After 7 weeks of wrangling with my psychiatrist's office, supplemental insurance office, pharmacy and drug-maker, I am finally back on my anti-depressant, Cymbalta, since Friday. I hope it works because, Damn! I am sick and tired of crying all the time over what seems to be nothing.

I understand that no one has a perfect life, that there are always bumps and stumbles and just plain driving off cliffs, intentionally or not. But there have been times recently, when just every stupid, malicious, mendacious and cowardly act has come back to haunt me. Is it because I've been depressed? Probably. Is it helping me now? Not one bit. Fuck guilt. At some point, after all the maudlin wallowing and all the mea culpa, mea culpa, mea maxima culpa, you have to suck it up and get back up on that horse.

Yeah, I am so so sorry, I smoked for about 30 years, but I am not nearly as bad off as my mom. Could I have done things differently? Why even ask. Everyone has things they wish they hadn't done. What I have to do now, is to keep going. And that has been the biggest hurdle for me, over the last 1 and 1/2 years. Since I have my psychotic break, and had to deal with tremors and weird sensations, numbness, loss of sense of smell, drooling. I've been legally blind for almost 10 years now and I don't even count that a deficit anymore. It's the recent stuff. The stuff that's slippery and hard to define.

I have horrible problems with my sugar dropping quickly, precipitously and within 20 minutes, to the point of dementia. One night I was here blogging, and I looked at Gina Valley's smiling face and saw God. For real. I knew it was time for some OJ. I know how to keep it from dropping, but now it spikes high, higher than it ever has been. 335, 158, 150, 168. WTF? What do I do to counteract that? Eat salt? Buy a salt lick? A bit more sinister, my white blood cell count is high, not high enough to think leukemia, or non-Hodgkins lymphoma, but something else. Having worked in a teaching hospital 35 years ago gives one just enough knowledge to put me firmly in the trenches with all the other hypochondriacs.

Comparing my past blood tests with ABC blood test Company (highly researched) all of my -cytes and various -leukos and trilobytes are just a teeny hair off, until we run into eosiniphils. Oops. I guess I've spent wayyy too much time out of country. Of course, RBC is practically in the negative range, because, redheads are almost always anemic and I have fought that since forever. Scratching around in my chart, which is conveniently online (what asshole thought that was a good idea? Oh! I know! Someone who clearly has no idea about how computers and networking works, and that people like me exist) I also discovered that I carry the diagnosis: childhood failure to thrive.

That has got to be the single most depressing thing I've ever read about myself. Maybe that will teach people like me to keep my nose out of places it doesn't belong. It is true; I was a preemie, in the days that few survived, but not by much. I spent 2 weeks in an egg crate I guess, before my dad took me home, as my mother went back to work. He took me to class, the bar (where I learned to walk) and took good care for me. He was the ever-patient father. If I started to fuss and squawl during his studying, he just fired up the record player, either some Big Band stuff, or more likely, Beethoven and an-ever growing list of classical music from Johann Strauss to Tchaikovsky and Rachmaninov. A lot of you know the rest, so maybe I should just be damned glad I've had the life I've had, and shut up already. I've got the coolest friends on the planet, so, I know I still have lots to do yet. My bucket list is to visit these mega-talented people, in no particular order, ANDI-ROO, GINA VALLEY, AMBERR MEADOWS, AARON BRINKER, NEYSKA, CATERUSSELL-COLE, ALBERTA ROSS, ROBERT LEE HAYCOCK, Baking-in-a-Tornado, Sundae Rye, YumaBev, Nancy Cooper, Cyndee Bowen, That DJPARIS guy, (who has apparently been booted from some kind of men's support group--sounds like me) and a bunch of other people that I just can't think of right now. They are probably heaving a sigh of relief. A visit from me is like a visit from a batch of confused Mongols, only slightly more polite; emphasis on the slightly. Nancy is about the only one of this fine batch of folks who blog and write books for a living who does not have a blog, but she is a first-rate writer and a wonderful, dear friend.

Anyway, while I was tap-dancing through whatever that was, Jade and I were emailing back and forth madly (okay, it was one email and an answer.) She had already sent me a picture of PERFECTION UNLEASHED. I uploaded it and away it went! Her books are awesome. She is awesome! For the next week, starting tomorrow, to help Jade Kerrion celebrate and launch the release of the FOURTH book in her DOUBLE HELIX SERIES, I will be posting a couple of the interviews that she put together. One is with the author, Jade, and the other is with Zara Itani, one of the stars of the DOUBLE HELIX series.

When I read the interviews, I was originally asked to choose one, but was so taken with both, I asked Jade if I may run them both. She readily agreed and for more than one or two days. I hope you have as much fun reading them as I did, and don't hesitate to leave comments for her. All of her contact info is to the right of this post – I've “tailored,” (read mutilated) this template so many times, we're lucky to have words to read. You also have the chance to purchase her e-books .99 (discounted from 2.99.)

Congratulations and kudos are due Jade. She is a marvelous writer and a wonderful person and I wish her every success in her book launch and subsequent blog and book tours. 

Thursday, September 19, 2013


The title says it all. In a desperate attempt to come up with some kind of topic, and since my WIP is pretty much lying doggo at the bottom of a lake, for the time being, until I can get past some of whatever the hell is going on in my life, I'm taking the lazy way out.

Yup, just record all the random shit that pops into my head, as so many bloggers do from Fashion Week, the Super Bowl, the Curiosity landing on Mars, and my favorite, the GOP convention. The convention graced us with its presence here in Tampa, last summer, and had the gall and hypocrisy to troll up and down in their stretch limos on Nebraska Avenue, looking for not constituents, but the hos and the crack, while trumpeting and fum-fawing about “family values” and all of their other platform-type argle-bargle. Those limos looked like a Hollywood Premiere, or maybe Prom Night; same diff. It was also typical of the GOP to blame the lack of enthusiasm and the ultimate loss of Mitt Romney to Tropical Storm Debbie. Then, they blamed the Republican Governor Chris Christie of New Jersey for not showing up at some rally or another, because he stayed at home to help his state after Hurricane Sandy. Sheesh.

We need to do away with these bastards on the grounds of sheer hideousness, never mind their space-ship politics, although they have some seriously warped ideas about everything and no rational arguments.

I sat here in my little room and “pretended” to live-blog, but not nearly as well, nor as hysterically funny as Chuck Wendig's #fakedebate, which was a true howl. But, the best thing I got out of that whole craziness with the GOP cluttering up Tampa, was connecting with Jason Linkins who writes political analysis for Huffington Post. Turns out he was in town, in Ybor City, enjoying a pizza and tweeted about it. I saw it and tweeted back. He ACTUALLY responded! I've been a fan of his writing and analysis for a long time. He's funny, and oh, so bright and can make really dense issues clear. Rock on, Jason!

Trying to figure out our own HARTline bus schedule was a nightmare. Plus, there were so many trucks with bullhorns hollering “VOTE FOR ROMNEY,” it reminded me of the old-timey campaigning on the hustings, when LBJ would race around Texas and drum up votes. These guys just competed with the boom boxes, making everything unintelligible and louder. But, I digress.

Blogging In My Head

11:30 pm: Uninstall and re-install HP software for the 85th time. While doing so, stumble across all the shit Uninstall left behind. Boot into Safe Mode and zap all the HP shit. Whilst doing so, discover that all the PATH statements still have that goddamned JAVA . Delete from strings and save. Reboot and pray. Yay! It worked; still have the touch!

Startin' to hate these guys, too. Perfect install, eleventy-billion times. This white elephant scans, but won't save, so I save it as a screen-shot and it's great. And don't talk to me about the Martians at Customer Support.

12:00 am: Scan “Mel Bay's Ukelele Chord Book. Gag gift, trying to find Asleep At The Wheel “Ida Red.”

Mel Bay has a book for every single instrument ever made; zithers, balalaikas and probably krumhorns and bagpipes. Here's a joke. Q: Why do bagpipers walk when they play? A: To get away from the sound. My dad's rolling around in his urn in the 8th Air Force Cemetery, right now.

12:30 am: Still looking for that stupid song, the gag won't work without the song. $%$^(#

12:32 am: Starting to feel crappy. Test sugar.. HOLY SCREAMING SHIT!!! 335 WTF???

12:33 am: Make a sandwich; eat sandwich. Why in the hell are those birds cheeping on Hulu+ oh, it's the Cheep-Cheep commercial. Some shit about insurance? Who knows. At least it's not those fucking bears.

12:40 am: JC pops up. Blink, blink. He fumbles for his shoes. “You okay?” I ask. “Yea, gotta pee.” I say, “my sugar was 335!!!!!!!!!!! AAAAARRRRRGGGHHHH!! But I ate a sandwich” JC, not being quite awake, says, “That's nice.” He trundles off to pee.

2:00 am: Binge-watching the 4th season of the “Good Wife” on Hulu+ I feel like a bat, up all night and then sleep until 3 or 4 pm. Ick. I always think of my stand partner “Somnambula.” This was when I was a touring musician and spent 9 or 10 months of the year on the road. When I first met “Somnambula,” we were playing in an orchestra that was like the “101 Strings,” or the “Cascading Strings,” or as we called it, the “Castrating Strings.”

We played all that schlocky kind of music, light opera, operetta, or crap like the “Yellow Rose of Texas” where we had a 100-voice choir that shouted it's way through these masterpieces. Anyway, we were playing some idiot waltz, and damned if “Somnambula” didn't just fall asleep in the middle of an oom-pah-pah measure (violas were the pah-pahs; if anyone EVER practiced this crap, they needed to go back to remedial viola school. One of my roommates, another violist, told me about a violist on another tour who DID practice that shit. She and I were like OOOOOH NOOOOO!) Beethoven you practice. You sight-read this crap.

Anyway, “Somnambula's” switch went to “off” and stayed there for about 16 measures. I could see him out of the corner of my eye and he looked like a still life. Then, his switch went to “on,” and damned if he didn't come right in where he was supposed to. I got used to it. Every viola player I have ever known has had a screw loose somewhere, including me. “Somnambula” would be all bright-eyes and wide awake at 4 am, but during the day? Forget it. Once, he didn't make the bus call, and the bus captain went back into the hotel to look for him. My dear, belated friend Spencer said “He's probably hanging by his toes in a closet somewhere.” I still laugh.

4:10 am: I have a “practice studio” kind of set up in the back of the apartment. My preference would be in the living room, but JC has his computer and TV there. This will work, I can open the back door and watch the birds and possums and raccoons. Not so much tedium awaits, it's building stamina and running patterns. Ugh.

4:22 am: Pick out JC's clothes for tomorrow (today, really) and set out copies of his medical release, so he can go back to school. Living a riveting life, but I like to do things for him.

4:25 am: Pondering on how to mess with the NSA some more. New trick. You have to have 2 cell phones, but one has to be a throwaway prepaid. Call that one, leaving it open and hide it somewhere: dumpster, trash can, close or far in your city. Talk on your phone, using lots of cryptic numbers, and phrases. Parts of adverts and catalogues are perfect for this. Do this enough times, someone will show up at your door. Let them know you've been receiving coded messages on your dental fillings. It really helps if you have a couple of your windows covered over with tin foil, as I do, because of the heat factor, but this will work just as well.

5:02 am: When did advertisers decide that “idiot music” was the norm? Da-de-da-de-da-de clapclap Da-de-da-de-da-de clapclap (repeat 87 times in the key of Happy) It sucks so bad; it's worse than Mozart. Well, maybe not. Even I can write better music than that and I stink on ice. “A Prius for Everyone,” is the flamingest worst. It sounds like music composed by a bastardized Atari and a Mattel Jack-in-the-Box.

5:03 am – 3:00 pm Sleep and badly. Sugar still a pain in the ass. Fasting sugar is 158. WTF? Still, I have a dr appointment scheduled and blood work to be done. Getting old isn't for weenuses.

3:00 pm to 6:00 pm: Hunt for stupid reference in one of the “Asleep at the Wheel” tunes on YouTube, where during a vamp, 2 of the fabulous guitarists throw around this deathless badinage; Guitar player 1: “Look, Mel Bay has a book on Learning to play the Guitar in 3 days!” Guitar player 2: “Let's buy it!” All gleefully said, as they hammer through some of the finest Texas Swing and I can't find this GODDAMNED SONG. I have Mel's Uke book and even his Balalaika book, but I'll be damned if I can find this stupid song! Without the book, my very carefully scanned and arty(!?) cover will have no meaning, kinda like my life, right now. Just kidding.

7:00 pm – 9:00 pm: Oh boy, chili dogs and “World's Dumbest ________ .” This show is guaranteed to run forever, because there is no shortage of stupid in this world. And even when you can see the outcome from 2000 miles away, they go right ahead and do it anyway. Some commit serial stupidities; 3 or 4 times. Unreal.

9:00 pm – 11:00pm: Trying to kill the Boss in “Death of Chivalry” quest. Here comes the fail-boat, toot-toot! After I die for the 3rd time, I say “the hell with it,” and decide to watch season 4 of “The Good Wife,” on Hulu + for awhile.


2:00 am: Off to bed; JC is going to have surgery on his wrist tomorrow and I am going with him. I know he's scared; he has a low threshold to pain and it is worrying him. So, I'm going to keep him company and distracted, because I do love him so.

P. S. I finally got the dr. authorization for my Cymbalta, today. 7 weeks. Unreal.

Sunday, September 15, 2013



I have been dealing with this situation for the last 6 or 7 weeks, which is already stupid, because I have better things to do than play Hot Potato with Doctor's Offices, Insurance companies, Pharmacies and Drug companies (I have used my 1 Cymbalta coupon for the year already.) I cannot get a steady supply of my Cymbalta. I take 30 Mg per day and it works well for me. Years ago, shortly after my mother died, I took Zoloft and was unable to get over that muzzy-headed, terrible limp, don't-give-a-shit feeling. I was still married, to He Who Shall Not Be Named, and he being the narcissistic asshole kept thinking I was going to bring him into the picture, with my analyst. I never planned on doing so, because I didn't trust him. At any rate, as I was paying out-of-pocket, I soon had to stop the sessions, as I could no longer afford them. Talk analysis is a bit over-rated I believe when you're pretty sure you know the causes of the pain.

At any rate, I have fumbled along with this since the age of around 16. My mother was depressed and tried to take her own life, something I will never, never do. The horrendous trauma and the complete bewilderment of my father, along with his feelings of betrayal and loss, even though she didn't die then, pretty much put the cap on what was by then, a stormy marriage. I was 7.

I was 1 year old and my father was in school. He was my primary care-giver.

This led me to vow that I would NEVER have children, and to my shame, I aborted my baby, and kept that vow. Of course, I felt horrible, worse than horrible, but the alternative of adoption was not a choice I could live with and I knew that child would have had as bad if not worse a time as my own; I would have been a horrible mother. I cannot say that with hindsight, I may have been an O-K mom, I just know that I wouldn't have been stellar mom material. Don't get me wrong, I love children. I play with them and can talk to them and teach them and relate well. It was just never, ever in the stars for me have them, so I leave my legacy another way.

Depression is a huge battle. It goes on and on and on and on. And even when you're having good days, you just enjoy the HELL out of the them, because they don't last. But then, what does? Nothing goes on forever. Maybe, depression is God's way of telling us this isn't forever and always. But, look around. If you're halfway aware in this day and age, people are dying; in Syria, now. Back in the 50s, it was the Korean “Police Action,” 60s and 70s, Viet Nam. None of this is new. I will be depressed when I die; that is a statement of fact. How I choose to deal with it, is another matter

What is new is this, the nihilistic attitudes of people who just don't give a good goddamned about their jobs, their relationships, their reputations; anything. What follows is an excerpt of what I have been dealing with for the last 6 weeks and there is absolutely no need for this. I have supplemental insurance, I have Medicare and Medicaid. I have boatloads of friends who are willing to pay for the Cymbalta prescription I already have and none of this is necessary. I just need people to do their goddamned jobs.

Like I did, like I know my readers do. I took pride in my viola playing and being able to do the things I did. I was excellent at it and I have the reputation to prove it. The same thing in IT and I have awards on the wall here in my little place that prove I was good at what I did. I still am. I am 100 for 100 in fixing and rebuilding computer laptops this last month, my colleague and I, and we take pride in that.

I'll fix it for ya, but like violins and Mozart, Unless you're an IBM Thinkpad I hate the bastards.

So, why, tell me, why do so many people not care? A case in point. A friend of mine, Nancy, has a “hoosier” cabinet at her house not very far from her that belongs to me and was given me by my mom when she died. I left my 3rd call today in as many days to Nancy, and said “I thought we were friends. At least treat me as a person of some consequence and Just return my call. Thanks, 'Bye,”

I wouldn't have been so direct with her normally, but this is what it is like trying to get things done. Being depressed and trying to get things done, doesn't help. Then, I think I went too far and will hurt her feelings. Fuck it. I've been having my feelings hurt my whole life and no one ever gave a shit. I want to turn the back part of our place into a little music place, where I can practice and get to my music, but our kitchen is small and my hoosier will give me extra counter space. Besides, IT'S MINE.

Anyway, depression, and a lifetime of dealing with it, makes our brains different than other people's brains. I'm not going to say “normal” because I don't know what the hell that means. I never did. But what it's mean for me is a lifetime of combating feeling unworthy, unloved, useless and in some cases, helpless. Being bipolar can sometimes be a plus; I get a lot more done, like right now and I have to take advantage of that. It also keeps me away from the general populace, which is a very good thing, since most are stupid and will piss me off when I'm like this in a heartbeat. This isn't my Asperger, this is just badly-repressed rage, pure and simple. Asperger is a different sort of "doesn't play well with others," for all you MDs, DOs, PhDs, and other alphabet-soup types out there reading this shit.

It can also be a huge deficit. I have a low impulse inhibition from my essential tremor (which has been remarkable stable through this turmoil, although my COPD is really, really bad) and I will go from 0 to batshitcrazyinsane in less than 2 seconds. Cymbalta kind of mellows that out and I am more liable to, oh, I don't know, think about the consequences before I punch that cholo in the face, with a right jab, who is pissed because I can't find my wallet in my backpack, because I can't see. Maybe I should have just hit him for being so fucking stupid, since I have a cane and glasses and it's apparent I have some impairment. The reason for my insta-insanity? He was clearly impatient and I apologized. So, I said, "Hey, Cholo, you got somewhere to be? I don't think so, don't be so shitty about it." At least I didn't say "Chinga tu madre." There would have been a brawl.

The nihilism is perhaps a defense for people like Becky, the receptionist at the Psych's office who, when I called for the 2nd time Friday afternoon, after talking to Juan at Simply Health and very kindly faxed doctor's authorizations to both my Psych's offices and then waited, per Juan's instructions for 1/2 hours, said, “Hi, This is Mary Walla--” she cut me off, with "hold please" and put me on hold. For 20 minutes. All I had was a simple yes or no question. All I wanted to know was did she receive the paper work that Simply had faxed to both offices. I tried to call the other office, as well. It was 4 pm on Friday, September 13, 2013. I tried and I tried and I tried. I couldn't get through to anyone at those offices. But to just put someone on hold and then turn off all the phones? That's the second time Becky has done that to me.

As most people in the medical community know, you cannot stop treatment for depression and then start, stop and start, stop and start. It's like that for lots of conditions and illnesses. Depression is one of the worst; the yo-yo effect is horrible and JC is threatening to put me in the hospital. But he can't. As long as I'm lucid he can't. I know he's worried about me, but this is not like the time I WAS Baker Acted. I had a psychotic break, then. I feel this; as the author Harlan Ellison interview I heard on NPR, “I wake up angry.”

My parents introduced me to Ellison when I was about 8. I've read his work off and on ever since. He is a keeper.

I agree with that statement. Rage against the machine. Rage against the injustice. Fury at the outer trappings of a society so corrupt it knows not when to fall. Fury at the men and women who lie, cheat and steal their way to the top. Fury at the connivers who pass meaningless, porous laws and then compel the citizens of the land to live or die or be imprisoned by them. Work up that kind of fury that is pure and hot and meant to burn away all the corruption, sybaritic don't-give-a-good-goddamned about anything, nihilistic people who have turned this world into a cauldron of rot. Then, turn that fury to good, write letters, run for office, go to law school and become a constitutional scholar. Stoke that fury. Because this rot is here to stay and it's chromatic in the sense that it runs the spectrum; top to bottom. THAT's how I'm going to deal with this situation; I hope. 

Wednesday, September 11, 2013


This being the 12th year since the horrific events of September 11, 2001, I thought I would take a moment and write about things that have changed personally, rather than globally. This is actually the 3rd year I have posted the main body of this post describing the events from my perspective. But since so very much has changed in ways I never expected, I thought it might be interesting (well, to me at any rate) to go over some of the particulars.

On the day of September 11, 2001, I was married, to He Who Shall Not BeNamed. I was also still sighted and able to drive. I worked at Verizon but played viola and violin and traveled all over the Southeast of Florida. We had just bought 2 acres of prime land and were putting a house on that land. My mother was still alive. I still had all of my pets; Trotsky, Boots, Rusty and Eric. There was no reason to believe that anything would change.

Then, in May of 2002, my mother died. I had noticed shortly before her death, that I was having a bit of a problem with swelling feet and although I could see, my brain was registering 2 of everything, but in typical Mary fashion, I ignored all of that. I settled her affairs and came back to Tampa and thought that things would go as they always had, but my husband had other ideas. He decided that he wanted to “save” the world, I guess, so he quit his high-dollar job and got a Bachelor of Science in Social Work and went back to working at 9.00 an hour jobs. Meanwhile, I noticed I was having trouble with my breathing and I was going blind. The rest, they say is history.

I cannot say if I had not gone through all of that if I would be the person I am today. I know I am compassionate. I am also brave, and tough as hell and honest. I had to go through all of that shit to get here. Is it fair? Most certainly not; something I helped obtain is not being shared with me, but it's only things we're talking about, not values. I can say, that there is limitless love and compassion in dealing with those less fortunate than I and that is beyond price. I've also learned that we cannot allow ourselves to get caught up into “situational ethics.” That is pure, unmitigated horseshit. It's either right, or it's wrong.

Requiem in Time of War” by Ärvo Part is actually a very personal piece of music, and was written in honor of Benjamin Britten. I've cited it many times, but will set it aside for now. Although, the section I cite is so powerful, it is deeply personal, and the tragedy that occurred on 9/11, was felt globally. I have many Muslim friends who mourn this. What human would not? Any faith is based on principles of doing right, and in any cosmology, it is generally a given that the universe is infinite, therefore, we can allow for infinite faiths, as long as we're not bashing each other over the head about God.

Samuel Barber, who was an American composer originally wrote a string quartet, that contains the famous “Adagio for Strings.” It is used in time of mourning, and for music nerds, has a most interesting notation, not 4/4, but 8/8. It is heart-breaking and I have played it many, many times. It never fails to move me, but it is tragedy on a larger scale than that of Part's. The quartet itself was written in 1936, but the Adagio is the most frequently played movement, and generally with huge string orchestras.

Leonard Bernstein conducting; this is probably the best rendition and one of the finest performances I have ever heard. Naturally, I've played it countless times and adore this piece.

When I first started this, I wasn’t sure I would post it, it seemed too personal and maybe banal, but it is heartfelt and events of this scope can make us remember again why we cherish life, love and each other, even after all these years. Also, it had nothing to do with homelessness. Well, maybe figuratively; if you think about it long enough, maybe we are all rootless. I still feel the dystonia of that event and as if I’ve lost my already somewhat tenuous anchor as a citizen to this country. Maybe with all the events from September 11, 2001 until now, I just feel betrayed.

In a way, this is a sort of re-post. I’ve left some of the original material from last year’s post, “Untitled,” including some of the events that occurred on September 11,2001, but have included some new; too much has happened since then, in my life and in the world around us. My writing style has changed somewhat as well, which is to be expected, I guess.

On Tuesday, September 11, 2001 I was working at Verizon, in the Southeast Region Tech Center, up around North Tampa. I worked in the complex that houses the CERT (Computer Emergency Response Team) for the entire southeast region. I was also just home from a quick junket to teach a software application class developed in-house by Verizon and our fabulous in-house Software Development department, or whatever we called ourselves back in the day.

By 2001, I had worn many hats at Verizon; platform support/network support specialist (fancy babble for “reset idiots’ Unix, IBM 5250 and Win passwords,”) Lotus Notes support (which should have been run on an OS/2 platform, hence the constant garble of WinNotes Email, and effed up Data Bases) and managed to supervise 95 floor technicians, who on any given day, were “hosting” giant “parties” of “Doom” and hoping I wouldn’t hear/see their multi-player raids. I caught them occasionally, but far be it from me to bitch and report. They got a lash with a wet noodle, unless I was in-game on my work computer, then they got ignored. Just kidding, but I am a Clan Elder in Runescape. . . never mind.

I had kicked around in PC Support and Mainframe Support at Verizon and IBM and was driving around the Southeast, playing gigs and fixing customer’s computer bullshit from my hotel rooms at night. No wonder my marriage collapsed. I had gotten bored and stale with Tech Support and was offered a position in Development/Implementation. Much more fun was to be had installing and teaching classes in our software at various Verizon-type places for about a year before the Trade Center attack.

On the Wednesday before the planes hit the World Trade Center, I had flown over them at sunset, courtesy of Delta Airlines and Verizon. I had just finished a 3 day teaching gig at the old Bell Labs up just north of Boston, Massachusetts. I remember the Towers; clear, lambent and vivid still. They were molten gold and bronze. Coppers and greens glinted off the glass surfaces. The argent light made them appear almost live and to move as we flew over them.  They looked to be so permanent and so monumental. I thought they would be there always. I was given a gift from God that day. Beautiful and breathtaking they were and of course later, heart-breaking. I was flying home to Verizon to the Tech Data Center where I was based.

The following Tuesday, September 11, 2001, I was on driving to our Tech Data Center to teach a teleconference via Communications Bridge. You know, the “conference” call where twenty-five people all get on a phone call and holler at one another for four-hour stints at once to “learn” the newest, hottest application of bug patches from Development. Some are playing rap in the background, some are eating their lunches. Most are anywhere on their PCs but where I have asked them to be, so they can “follow along” with the gibberish I’m trying to impart.

I left my house in Central Tampa at about 20 minutes to 9 that morning. It’s about 20 to 25 minutes from the Verizon Tech Center. As I was motoring up Nebraska Avenue, I turned on 970 WFLA. I tended to listen to talk radio when I drove, because I play so much music. The morning show is good; local personalities. I avoid Rush, Glenn (shame on Tampa for giving him a boost) but I love the morning folks.

I tuned in on the middle of an interview with some guy who was living less than six blocks from the WTC. I just caught the end about the plane hitting one tower. I thought, “Geeze, those poor towers. Flown into again? Bad luck, yadda-yadda.” In truth, I can’t remember specifics, but that was my general feeling. Then I heard this huge roar and people screaming. The radio interviewer lost his composure and the guy being interviewed was completely hysterical. Then, the radio feed was lost. I knew we were under attack.

My speed went from 30 to 90 in less than two minutes. I ran red lights. There were sirens, but I never saw police, never saw fire trucks. I dodged other motorists, missing them I’m sure, by inches. I had to get to Verizon and in my Center before they shut it down. I parked in Visitor Parking and grabbed Wolf out of my back seat. It had taken me about seven minutes from the time I heard the second tower impact while on Nebraska Avenue to get to work in North Tampa. Wolf, or rather his case, weighs a ton. I schlepped viola and self up the drive and got to the walkway. The damn doors were closing. I took off my heels and sprinted. Squeaked just into the main area and ran up to the third floor, my lair. My cubby hole sat above all the Mainframes and Communications hardware for the Southeast, that were housed on the first and second floors. Wondered if we were a target.
We had huge plasma monitors covering two walls in a room that houses about 150 people. This place was never quiet. I could always hear the phones, people talking on Bridge calls, technicians asking questions, laughing and brainstorming. The hardware guys would be lugging stuff around, installing and un-installing stuff and adding to the din. This center is a hub for all sorts of telecommunications support, not just in the Continental U.S., but in Europe, Central America and parts of the Pacific.

It was always a noisy mess, but I loved the noisy mess part of it, as much as anything else in the job. The Center was funereal on that day. No phones ringing, no conversations, no hardware being shunted around. There were probably 80 or 90 people just standing, watching the monitors. The Towers were still standing. No one spoke. No one moved. I stood beside my boss, Kat Torres. An aside; Kat was the first person I met at IBM. I went to Verizon about two years after she left IBM for Verizon to work. Kat is my dear, dear friend. I am god-mother to her daughter. She and I stood there silent, crying. I have no idea how many hours we stood side by side. We left only to try and contact our loved ones.

The class was never officially canceled. I rescheduled a new time for the following Tuesday, but it would be almost a month before I gathered my people for another one. There were seven people from Verizon on the roof or roofs that day. I do not know the specifics, but I do know that some of the lines and routers continued to emit “handshakes” for a long time after that day. We could trace their IP signatures via the mainframes. I am not a hardware person. My expertise lies in software and networking, so I am unfamiliar with why this would be so. I used to monitor the transmittals regularly until they ceased. Why, I don’t know, but I felt compelled to see them, to make sure they were there. Maybe I hoped that against all reason, the people were still there. Most certainly I was mourning; for all of us and dreading what I knew we were going to become.

For us to go from that time to this and look back is probably no more compelling than looking back at any great national tragedy. There are still things that beg the question “why?” Since then and now, our new marches into Folly, Iraq, and Afghanistan, that Graveyard of Empires and countless other Geo-political messes, we’ve had the so-called small disasters, the Aurora shootings, American Nazis killing Sikhs and countless other hatreds. The casual and not so casual cruelties, the fanatical hatred, vitriol, spite and venom that we spew and use to cause destruction just baffles me. I can think of no reason to justify any of this. Not political ideology, religion, patrimony; none of it is justified.

This is one of those days when I feel unable to state or sum up with any clarity how it can be overcome. The only thing I can do, as my own small confuse-a-what self, is to do what I’ve been doing. Go on my way. Doing what I do. Sow my confusion, along with my bit of hope, love, inspiration, caring and laughter.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013


This is a blast from the past, but I think it's a good post. From September, 2013.

I have been told that I can raise computers from the Dead and that I practice the Dark Arts in the understanding and healing of them. However, even the most virtuosic of violinists at the apex of the violin heap, has had a slip or two off the fingerboard, and played clams a-plenty. I also have a huge affinity for the viola and despise the violin, for a few reasons. One being, I am never comfortable playing a violin, so naturally, I have or have had several of the things at one or another time in my life, rather like mice or cockroaches, and I have had only one viola, my Bolognese-built snob of an italian, maker, Guidantus Florenus, or Wolf, as his luthier named him, when he was appraised and certified after his bonafides checked out. So, I have no need for other violas.

Those violin notes high up on the "E" (EEK!) string are harmonics. Maybe. I wouldn't know, because they're above the hearing range of anything that lives on this planet. My friend Nancy, who has been my stand partner, much to the woe of our manager (it's his fault, since he knows we get into trouble) swears those are real notes. I think she's lying and I know I'm faking, when some moron of a band-leader seats me in the first violin section.

However, I rented violins for a while, then I bought a few, then I sold a couple, because the first were just not quite what I wanted, and then I bought another and it was okay and then I sold that one. I am currently violinless, which is really okay with me, since I am not playing professionally much anymore anyway. Wolf rocks and that is all I need.

This is just Wolf's scroll. Note the serif (point on the bottom) Seen head-on, (the pic of which I don't have) the two sides are asymmetrical which is a hallmark of Guidantus. He packs a wallop of a sound and is a dream to play; like butter.

Now, if we were to transfer all this love/hate over to... oh, I don't know say, computers, it would go like this. I love desktops. The bigger and leaner, the better. I have an ancient Gateway, that JC farts around on and watches Hulu+ and Netflix on and he's happy with that. I have a dual-core, that is pretty much over-clocked right now and it works well. It has an extra power supply for the monitor and software for my vision. It works even better once I rid it of all the dancing baloney, hoo-ha and JAVA type stuff that slowed it down and allowed it to be susceptible to all manner of bad ju-ju. Still, I am looking to upgrade to another quad-core AMD this year, with up to 16 X the amount of speed and Terabytes, rather than Gigabytes, for some very specific reasons. Sheesh. Thank the Christ you don't have to do that with violas; although it could be said I already own the equivalent of Big Blue or Cray of violas, so that analogy doesn't work.

Yes, take your stupid mousey control thingy and vamoose, along with Herr Mozart and that high, screechy thing, the violin.

Yeah, you scoot too! (Truth be told, this is a beauty; probably a Storioni, or a Stradivarius.) Whatevs, man. Begone!

What does work, is the statement I make about “slipping off the fingerboard” as it relates to system rebuilds. Over the last week, I and my “colleague's” business has seen an up-tick in repairs, rebuilds, shooing away of malware, trojans, hijacks and just general fuckery. Most of our “patients” have been laptops, which now and forever, I equate to violins.

Don't get me wrong, I love my IBM laptop T42. Probably because it is an IBM product and I am proud of having worked for them and being a top-drawer engineer there. I fixed all manner of gaffes, goofs and even restored 2 idiots' laptops that they left in the car overnight in a town in North Dakota. They had already called in once, and the idiot IBM engineer who talked to them first told them to leave their laptops “in the sun for a few hours and that will work.” It didn't and I received and fixed the second call. Epic in the history of "Stupid I Have Known at IBM" for the 1st guy. But, believe me, I have committed my share of confuse-a-what writ large.

Spreadsheets, databases, documents, suites. All of this crap will only replicate the data after it has been entered. I used to think that I should keep a Magic-8 Ball and tell callers, "It is too soon to tell" and other cryptic shit, or talk like Yoda. IBM wouldn't have minded. As long as it got fixed, you could play hopscotch in the aisles. Those were the days.

I once got a call from a guy who was trying to copy some data in a cell in Lotus 1-2-3, from Row 2 to Row 500, or something. So, I assiduously walked him through the process, highlighting the row, in this case row 1, hit CTR + C, then use the down arrow and holding down Shift + CTR, highlight the rows, then hit CTR +V and voila! All of your numbers or formulae or what have you are supposed to be copied. Only this didn't work. Blank cells. I went at this from every way I could think of and the guy was really patient. I put him on hold and consulted with some of my fellow engineers around me. And we were all coming up with nada, zilch, bupkus.

So, I go back to my caller and apologized for making him wait and explained; yargle, blah, blah. There was a silence for a moment, then I hear this tiny voice in my head set, “Am I supposed to have typed my numbers INTO the cell I want to copy first, y'know, like before I copy?” I turned to stone. I wanted to say, “well, Lotus 1-2-3 doesn't come with the ESP module yet, so yes moron, you do.” But, that should have been one of the first things I asked him. Still, I was the OS/2 Goddess.

Similarly, after my great save last week of the doomed quadcore, wherein I used several highly unorthodox techniques to rescue the operating system, using a different rescue method than the one given and utilized a non-sanctified disc and changed the BIOS boot order and DAMN! If that didn't work. So, what followed yesterday, reminded me that yes, I am human and may not reclaim my status of Goddesshood. I'll settle for Beastess. Yes, I have feet of clay, make mistakes and laugh about them later. I am my own best audience.

I don't hate violins or laptops as much as this precocious nitwit, not by a long shot. But on a scale of things I hate, he's barely ahead of having the shits, throwing up or dying.

Another Toshiba laptop. Oh, how I hate thee, Toshiba Satellite C655d-s5200. You work and all your parts are running, so can you please tell me why, in the name of Chthulu, why every Goddamned ethernet controller I feed you, you refuse to see? What the hell is wrong with you. You go online, hard-wired, wifi and no problemo, but you will not and refuse to see any Ethernet controller. Are you one of those stupid orphan cards made by some fly-by-night company that is in 6 Satellites and we're just screwed? Should I even give a shit? The worst part of this whole thing came to be when I realized I couldn't get on with my wifi antenna because I had it plugged into the phone jack. I guess I missed “Recognizing Shapes” class at school. Once, I plugged the wifi antenna in, Surprise! Internet. But no damned ethernet card. I really, really hate, you Toshiba Satellite C655d-s5200.

I'm sure this was a riveting class and I missed a whole bunch of stuff that would be mostly helpful. For now, I'll just continue trying to put wifi antennae into phone jacks. I mean, it's not like I can see the damned things, anyway. 

Thus has become my pogrom against laptops in general. The whole mouse and pointer and select thingy is spastic. I use plug-ins on my own. I vow here and now, NOT to start acquiring these nightmares. I also don't do hardware and am not keen at all about Windows of any stripe. So, a new pet hate; along with Mozart and violins, we can now add laptops.


I went to the hospital on Friday, with a piece of paper that had a bunch of gibberish on it. It just said something about pulmonary whatsis and I had no idea what to expect. I showed up early and had all of my stuff for once. Usually, I leave shit at home and papers, or scrips have to be faxed and it's just a nightmare. I should have everything pinned to me, like those idiot mittens we all had growing up in Michigan.

So, I was early, and got checked in and then was given directions to the banks of elevators in TGH, Tampa General Hospital. I don't know what it is about hospitals, but this is one of the most confusing places, as was the University of Michigan hospital, where I worked during school. At U of M, you didn't enter on the first floor, like a normal building, you entered on the 4th floor. At TGH, there are east and west units. I think I was directed to the western units. All I know is the lady says, “You go left past the Golden Tree” (what is this, a Runescape quest?) another left, go to the end and you'll see elevators. Go to the 2nd floor to pulmonary.”

Off I go, past the Golden Tree and find the elevators. TGH is a teaching hospital. I love teaching hospitals; they're madhouses and there's all sorts of stuff going on. Besides, this was my home for almost 2 months in 2010. Anyway, I'm waiting by the elevator, with a bunch of folks and there's a mad stampede, unseen but heard from a hall to my right. A passel of doctors appear, and they do a football huddle and whisper excitedly for several moments, then they tear back off the way they came. A drive-by consult. All that was missing was the clap and “BREAK!”

The elevator comes and I'm the last on, as I'll be the first off, so I get to push all the buttons. I get to the 2nd floor and hop off. The pulmonary wing is absolutely dead, crypt-like. There's a guy sitting behind the desk, and he says, “Wallace?” I said, “yup.” So I mosey on over and I see there's an electronic scale. He says, “What's your first name, I was told, but I can't remember anything, I'm as sharp as a bowling ball.” I start to laugh and tell him. I ask if this here scale works and he says yes, so I jump up on it. Well, it didn't do anything. Boyd says, “It's got to be turned on, first. Hop off.” I did and I turned it on. 108.2 pounds. Hallelujah! I haven't been over 104 pounds in over 7 years.

I am so lame when it comes to taking pictures. It's like a cow driving a car.
Attempt #1 (It should be noted; this was BEFORE I was diagnosed with essential tremor, so that's part of the problem. The other part is, the Wallace gene will guarantee that bad pictures are taken 99.99% of the time.)

I told him this is a major achievement for me and he's looking at me like, "Sheeh, most women have the opposite problem, and you're thrilled to be 3 pounds heavier". Boyd's ready for this test and I am too, I really had no idea what we were doing. So off we went. It turns out it was a spirometry test, as I have COPD, which like essential tremor, is partially inherited, but mostly dictated by behavior; smoking. I had quit 2 years earlier for the last time and didn't miss it. But through the whole test, this guy is just telling one joke after another. He's better than I am! The only thing I told him that cracked him up was when I commented on his last name, “Storey.”

When we lived in Michigan, we went to a high Catholic Church and in the summer time, one of the members of the church, a veterinarian, named Dick Storey, would open his lakefront house in the afternoons and have house parties and we would all go after church. Being an only child, I never mixed well with other children at all, but was perfectly at home with adults, so I would hang out in the living room, where Dr. Storey had a baby grand piano. Thank God, my parents were not of the “children are seen, but not heard” school of child-rearing, although on this occasion, they may have been reflecting on their choice. But they would step in if things started to get out of control. Once, after a dinner, I was hanging with the guys, because they were a hell of a lot more interesting then the women in the kitchen, who were cleaning dishes and probably slurping martinis. The men were drinking whiskey and smoking cigars. The other kids were outside, playing dolls, or army men, stuff I had zero interest in, at the time. I developed a raging interest in Military History later on; I was really a crappy girl-child.

Boyd's co-worker/buddy came over and I almost poked his eye out with my cane fiddling with this shit. Boyd helpfully hung onto it for me as I tried to take a picture, and not make shitty videos.
Attempt #2

But, back to the Veterinarian and the piano. During a lull in the conversation, I announced apropos of nothing, “Dr. Storey, did you know I can play the piano?” Dr. Storey, having 5 of his own kids, and being extremely patient, said, “why, Mary, no, I did not. Why don't you play a tune for us.” My 5 year old self proceeded to clamber up on the piano bench and play “Onward Christian Soldiers,” which I had learned in VBS, the previous week. When I was done, I said, “Any requests?” My father hollered out, how about “Alexander's Ragtime Band.” I said, “Okay!” And I proceeded to play “Onward Christian Soldiers,” again. I asked for another request, but before I could fulfill another happy listener, who had asked for George Gershwin's “Summertime (that would have been awesome,) my mother came and whisked me into the kitchen. That was pretty much the end of my piano-playing career.

Boyd got a kick out of that. But, Boyd had quite a story of his own. He spent time in the Navy and then, re-upped as a sonar man for several tours. He's been with TGH and not only does testing on patients like me, but the heart transplant patients. These tests, consist of blowing into a tube, several times, as a machine registers lung capacity, elasticity and volume.

We did it several times and it went like clockwork; his patter was continual and I asked him if anyone had ever complained, because it has a lulling effect, which also caused me to concentrate on what we were doing. I've noticed in the medical profession, the very best, will have a way with being able to get through the static of a patient's fears. They will be able to get the patient to buy into what needs to be done and it is something that is not easy to do, although it may look easy. He said he'd had a couple of complaints; but overall, the response was just fantastic.

When I had my ulcer surgery, way back in 1985, it was so successful, because the doctors and nurses made me part of the team. My own recovery time was 1/3 what was expected for a major surgery back then.

Mr. Boyd Storey, RRT. A laff-and-a-haff and a great guy! I enjoyed this and I hope I get to see him again. Attempt #3 was the charm.

So, as easy as it is to bitch about stupid doctors and the insurance companies themselves, when you run across the best, I think it appropriate to acknowledge them. I made a deal with Boyd. I told him if he didn't mind my mentioning him in a post that I would write a letter to his department head (he gets a Starbucks gift card) regarding his superior ability and his way and kindness with people. Thanks, Boyd. You're the best!

For those interested, I am not bad off. I have 43% lung function, but I walk and get around and am strong as an ox. As long as I keep not smoking, which I haven't done for over years now, I will be fine. I plan on being around for another 30 years, as the Wallaces and the Rosses have a longevity gene. Besides, I have too much to do.
A note: Since this post was written back on September 12, 2013, I have participated in several Clinical Trials and my lung function/capacity has increased to 90%. I started doing this in honor of my mother, who died at a relatively young age of 70. She lived every day fully with this disease, with far less than the lung capacity and overall good health that I now enjoy. The other most wonderful thing about this, is I'm helping to find a way to beat back this disease; as I mentioned, it's partly inherited and at my Clinical Trial place, Clinical Research of West Florida, there are patients who NEVER smoked, yet suffer from COPD. One day, it will be a thing of the past.