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radioactive
Jun 13th, 2008 by wrekehavoc

heh.

as foreshadowed last week, yesterday, i had a stress test with pictures. this means in normal human parlance that i had some radioactive dye injected into my arm so that they could see how well my heart functions as i walk faster and faster uphill. not really too hard until you realize that all i was allowed to eat all day was toast and a little juice before 5 am. and the three-hour test started at noon.

but i passed. i believe the doctor’s words were: you have a good heart. he literally went into no details, such as my recovery time after hitting 90 percent of my heart rate. nada. i still don’t even know what was seen on my echocardiogram i had the day before. (because of insurance vagaries, i had to schedule the tests on different days.)

i still have chest pain which radiates down my left arm. i guess since i am not dead it is probably something else, like a nerve. but the nifty thing i have now is a letter. a letter which will help me enter federal buildings, airports, and anywhere else with a detector. see, for the next three weeks: i’m radioactive. i can set off all sorts of things.

i always thought i was a little radioactive, considering i grew up a little ways from a nuclear power plant. but now, i have a letter to  prove it.

whee! better living through science!

YouTube Preview Image

i wonder if i glow in the dark?

home
Jun 11th, 2008 by wrekehavoc

BS sent me this article from the Inky regarding perhaps the most pressing issue of our times: where does north jersey end, and where does south jersey begin? and, more importantly, is there a culture to central jersey? a research-minded person has just completed a documentary on this very topic, and i, for one, hope it makes its way to the DC metro area, where there are boatloads of NJ refugees transplants.

now, most of you folks who have either never been to the garden state or whose experience of my beloved home state consists of a ride on the turnpike (helpful hint: hold your nose as you pass through elizabeth) probably have no earthly idea that we new jerseyans think we have different culchahs. we do, though to be fair, a lot of our customs depend on our proximity to either new york or philadelphia.

for me, for half my life, this was home. and in the old days, it was simple to me: you were either in the 201 area code, or you were in the 609 area code. growing up in toms river, i lived literally on the border of 609 and 201, though i was proud to be in 201 merely because i was sick of the yeehaws in south jersey who perpetually wanted to secede. (we were willing to let them, believe me.)  i always figured monmouth and ocean counties were sort of a mix of north and south, as we always had an influx of people from both philly and new york. to me, monmouth and ocean were and ARE central jersey, and everything north of monmouth is north jersey; and everything west of both is south.

now, of course, there are 50,000 area codes covering the state, so my definition pretty much goes kerflooey. that, combined with the fact that monmouth and ocean seem to be completely infiltrated by new yorkers looking for better home prices (well, they were better until the influx) leads me to wonder whether my two home counties are still central anymore.  i mean, route 9 — you know, bruce’s fabled highway, which passes both by my old house as well as by BS’s hometown in scenic freehold boro — is a nightmare now, with traffic that rivals long island. i’ve been gone for nearly 20 years, and the place is completely different.

but i still return. my family is still there. i can’t get decent pizza outside of the new york metro area. i can’t really experience the sleazy joy of the boardwalk anywhere else quite the way  it is there, the rancid odor of the sausages and zeppoles, the taffy which can cost you $1000 in dental work if you’re not careful. the salty smell of the shore, the green of the pine barrens, the swirl of hungry seagulls swooping and diving inland before a storm, the delicious, secret thrill of hanging out amongst people who probably live a lot more dangerously than you do.

i just can’t really feel that anywhere outside of my old stompin’ grounds. i guess i don’t really care whether it’s north, south or central jersey, in the end. it’s just an overpopulated, underappreciated place.

but one thing’s still for sure: people in new jersey never, ever, call it joisey.

dirty laundry
Jun 10th, 2008 by wrekehavoc

how goes the struggle?

well, my inbox today brought this lovely photo:

and i thought, oh no. how could this possibly be? putting aside my ambivalence to the man as a presidential candidate, a sharp, politic person like barack obama would not possibly sanction something so incredibly horrific and disgusting on his election website, right?

it has, of course, since been taken down; and the only way to read it is via google cache.

but it made a person like me wonder: how the hell would this end up on a candidate’s site? (and, as a red sea pedestrian myself, i’m wondering: if there’s a vast tribal conspiracy, vis a vis the elders of zion, how come i am not getting my cut of the money? kidding, really kidding!!!!!! …although it is horrifying how many people — including the venerated henry ford — who believed/believe this stuff. to. this. very. day.)

apparently, the obama community blog is open to anyone. and this post is apparently cut and pasted from a site, realjewnews. ( i won’t even dignify it by linking to it, it is so full of trash.) (thanks to realclearpolitics for doing legwork on this.) apparently, having an open, interactive community is what the candidates are all about this season — former candidate clinton and mccain, too — including permitting anyone to blog on their site. so do i think obama really thinks this? i can’t imagine it, but i don’t know: i don’t live in the man’s head. but i know one thing for certain: he would never publicly say any of this tripe.

as someone who worked for a formerly large internet company for a few years; as someone with a masters in politics; and as someone who has been watching the internet for quite a few more; i personally think this is an interesting paradox. presidential candidates usually want to control their message to the nth degree. it is difficult enough to allow comments from anywhere on a political website; it is harder still to control blog entries, as they are generally larger and more noticeable.

even now, in the land of web 2.0, the behavior is still the same. non geeky people think: gee whiz, this new functionality. we MUST have it on our site! there’s little thought to the matter. consultants are paid. functionalities are launched.

and truthfully, unless you are properly staffed to deal with a web community that is potentially as large as the world, you probably have no business offering such capabilities. is there a community reporting mechanism? are there posting rules? what qualifies as offensive? (the latter is especially hard to define on a political website, methinks.)

your website is assumed to be under your control. even if obama never ever has been near a content management system or any sort of technical apparatus, his website still considered to be a mouthpiece of his campaign.

and just as official spokespersons can save your butt or get it nailed at times, your website can apparently do so, too.

guilty pleasure monday: what i am (edie brickell & the new bohemians)
Jun 9th, 2008 by wrekehavoc

there goes rhymin’ mrs. paul simon:

edie brickell is an inspiration to any of us chicks who wish we could just jump up on stage and start singing with a local band. which is what she did one night when the new bohemians were playing. the rest is one-hit wonder history.

what i am is one of those quizzically-lyric’d tunes that just makes you want to bop around, whether you are in a bar or whether you’re dusting your furniture. i remember when it came out. i was in graduate school, living in one of the many ancient 1900s rowhouses that new brunswick is famous for. yes, just me and three others: my buddy Kip (who is still friends with me, years later, in spite of the hyperventilation incident during finals); another woman who had a boyfriend who liked to hunt and cook venison in our ancient kitchen; and a woman who apparently had psychological issues. serious ones. (we just won’t go there today.)

oh, and did i mention that the giant oil drum which held the key to the power in our home was actually leaking copious amounts of oil into the ground and into our home? i suspect we all ended up with our fair share of brain damage from the fumes.

ah, the handy street house from hell:

courtesy of the woodbridgefd

this is probably not OUR handy street house from hell, but it sure looks like it; and based on the oil situation, it could have been what happened to us.

but back before we ended up on the porch because of the nasty-ass venison fumes; and back before i moved out because i could no longer live on a Superfund site, we had us some happy times. like defrosting the ancient tundra that had formed in the ancient freezer. and studying like crazy. and my most favorite memory: when my boyfriend, now known as BS around these parts, came to visit me one day. somehow, Kip and I were cooking something — G-d knows what, considering that the kitchen was semi-functional — and BS showed up. edie brickell came on the radio. next thing i know it, BS and i are dancing around the kitchen, along with Kip. it was so spontaneous, and probably hilarious considering the (lack of) size of the kitchen.

but there we were, silly as ever. is there anything too deep about this memory? probably not.

I’m not aware of too many things
I know what I know, if you know what I mean.

twisting by the pool
Jun 8th, 2008 by wrekehavoc

we belong to our community pool. it’s hard to believe, in fact, how much it costs to be a member of said pool, and yet, we do it. there are not many options where we live; we can’t actually put one into our backyard (besides the overwhelming expense, our back yard is a bit of a luge run), and it’s close to the house. yes, we are lemmings.

anyway, in years past, we have not known anyone at our pool, save for another family from our synagogue. i have actually tried making friends, but apparently, there is a huge sign on my forehead that says: avoid! avoid! she has a strange sense of humor, and her hair is bad! but this year, as BC goes to school with a lot of the kids from our neighborhood, i figure we will meet plenty of the people who swim.

today, we went to the pool. luckily, our new neighbors were there. wow. who knew that the pool experience is so much more fun when people actually talk to you!  BC played with our neighbor’s two kids, while jools hung mostly with BS and i. and lo, and behold: the dude, whose feet touch the 3 foot bottom on tiptoe, actually hit some milestones, all in one day.

swim without waterwings: check.

swim with head underwater from mom to dad: check.

jump in pool and recover himself enough to swim to appointed adult: check.

so very proud i am. truly.

it would have been a completely perfect day had the boys BC knew from school not come around and started calling jools stupid! these are third grade boys going off on a five year old. i wasn’t there — BS witnessed it. and while BC was outraged for her brother (yes, the same brother she thinks has psychological problems and, in her professional opinion, needs speech therapy), BS told her to ignore the boys. why should she care what they think?

clearly, i need to let BS know that this is not the way bombastic me would have handled this. see, i take no prisoners and wear my mom badge proudly. and i have no problem with taking a boy by the hand and marching him to his mother, asking her whether she approves of her son taking on another child nearly 5 years younger than him, unprovoked,  and calling him denegrating names.

and you wonder why other people avoid me at the pool.

piece o' my heart
Jun 5th, 2008 by wrekehavoc

welcome to crazy-busy central, where, at the rate we’re all going, someone’s going to shoot out an eye. jools is graduating from preschool next week; BC is hugging trees at school (as uncle larry put it, though they’re actually simply identifying them. but you know uncle larry, AKA the man who is to the right of attila the hun, will never shy away from an opportunity to put a political slant on a situation, joker that he always is…); and i’ve had a date this morning with a cardiologist.

see, i just don’t have enough specialists in my life at the moment, so i thought i’d go for the gold. i’ve been having pains in my heart and weakness that radiates down my left arm and into the left side of my neck and head. i feel like a crazy person, but BS strongly suggested that i’m not and that i need to take care of myself (as did my parents), so i broke down and ended up at a cardiologist, someone who seems quite approachable. my blood pressure is fine, and so was my EKG, but next week, i have to have a treadmill stress test and an echocardiogram. i figured next week would be good in case they need a vein, as tomorrow is another date with my IVIG!

(i wonder if keith richards experiences this many medical interventions?)

i have to laugh at the concept of a treadmill being my stress inducer. ha! i seek out the elliptical stepper to relieve my stress. here’s my idea of a real stress test:

1) up intermittently all night with one child who is barfing.

2) wake (ha! ha!) in the morning knowing that something is due. a report? paperwork? oh. now i remember. a presentation in front of bigwigs. a presentation i dutifully and diligently completed but was going to put finishing touches on last night after the kids went to bed; only, too bad for me. a kid got sick.

3) the realization that your spouse and you will now play the game whose job is more important today!? let the shouting begin!

4) “winning” that competition, off to work you go, exhausted, with other child in tow. drop other child off at school. park car; take a bus and two metros to work.

5) give important presentation, realizing that important piece you didn’t get to was actually more than just windowdressing. oops.

6) call from other child’s school. child is barfing. please come pick up child. spouse cannot pick up child, as other child is currently reenacting the magic of krakatoa in full bloom.

7) take two metros and a bus to get to car. get to school. get to child. child blows chunks on your Jones New York suit. (hold in those tears. it’s not your turn.)

8) after your dry clean only apparel is destroyed when child helpfully wipes a wet paper towel over the spew, get kid into car. do happy dance when you locate a plastic target bag in the back. place target bag in front of child.

9) get home to find that spouse, too, is kissing the porcelain god. spouse sees you, mutters something of the whereabouts of barfy child #1, then runs upstairs to the bedroom and closes door. buh-bye. won’t be seeing him again until saturday.

10) there you are: sleepy, queasy, in heels and a formerly good suit, with two kids looking up at you for help. it’s 3:00 p.m. go.

now you can attach electrodes to me and see how well my heart fares. not that this has ever happened to me… well, not necessarily in this order. i suspect there are other, better scenarios out there. i can even recall the night when i had a child and a husband barfing and a child not breathing. i held a bucket under one and a nebulizer on the other. oh, if only i had the wherewithall to take pictures of this joyful wee-hours-of-the-morning family experience. but in the end, i had to leave the barfers to themselves and drive the non-breather to the hospital at 4 a.m. — behind a weaving, probably drunk driver. really. good. times.

in short: i don’t need no stinkin’ treadmill.

(doctors? you can thank me later for this test design.)

guilty pleasure monday: come down in time (elton john)
Jun 2nd, 2008 by wrekehavoc

elton john has been through many metamorphoses. he has been just the piano player with the honkin’ big glasses. he has been the guy in the goofy donald duck costume, lording over central park. he’s been married, and he’s been gay. (still is, of course.) he has been the champion of AIDS causes and of little ryan white. he has been the friend and defender of lady diana. and of course now, he takes his place as a sort of elder statesman in the pop pantheon. he has had monster hits, and he has made some monster dogs.

there are those who like to think of sir elton as a bloated relic of bloated material. granted, there’s not much that i really enjoy from his catalog once you get into the 1980s, but like him or not, the man has had an amazing career, and there’s a reason for that. even the most jaded music fans should hear me out.

the elton john i love best is the early elton john; slightly unsure of himself and very hooked on piano-based ballads and rockers. his first few albums, while not necessarily chockablock with hits, contain some extraordinary music. my personal favorite of them is tumbleweed connection, a sort of concept album which uses the old west as a backdrop for some incredibly moving music. there are no US singles here, so this is an album i think largely forgotten by many. burn down the mission is probably the most famous song on the LP, with perhaps country comfort also getting some AOR airplay in the ’70s. but certain songs, however unknown like talking old soldiers, are incredibly powerful. i defy anyone to hear that and not be moved. and where to now, st. peter (a cheerful ditty about suicide) was a favorite when i was young, prompting me to actually buy the sheet music and learn how to play the song properly.

but probably my favorite song on the album is come down in time, a slightly mysterious long song. i’m not too crazy about this particular clip of come down in time: elton is much older, and he sounds a little like elvis as he tackles it. nevertheless, it is a beautiful song, whether it’s like this or this (which is the demo, and a bit rushed.) for anyone else, it would probably be a careermaker.

for sir elton, it was just a hint of things to come.


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