Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Pleased to Meet You, Hope You Guess My Name

My wife and I were having a conversation concerning the reason I write my blog, and she suggested that I let you, my readers, in on the "why". As you have probably guessed, even though this blog tends to go all over the place, it keeps circling back to things that make me want to scream. A friend of mine, blogger and photographer extraordinaire Mark T., used to highlight his blog with pictures of rolls of duct tape. The more angst, the more rolls of duct tape were needed to keep his head from exploding. Sometimes I have felt like stealing the concept for this blog!

Therapy. Therapy for me, mainly, and maybe inspiration for you. That's the idea of the blog. And not just psychological therapy; but physical. Oh yes, there is a physical reason for me to blog. Let me give you the history:

Years ago I used to write poetry on a semi-regular basis. I've posted a few of them in this blog, and will post more as the mood warrants. Writing one usually began with feeling a very strong emotion, and the deep desire to express it. I'd grab a pen or keyboard and start pouring it out. I would know the poem was complete when the emotion subsided. There were times when I would find myself typing a word or phrase, getting up from my chair to pace - with tears pouring out of my eyes, to sit and type another word or phrase, and repeat. I guess I'm an emotionally-intense person.

A few years ago I found myself being jarred awake, about an hour and a half after falling asleep, by an "evil Tiger Woods" with a nine-iron to the side of my skull. At first I thought they were migraines. Migraines that were so bad that if I had a gun within reach I would have put the barrel in my mouth and pulled the trigger. After about a month of these, and being deathly afraid to fall asleep, my wife and I started scrambling for anything that might stop them.

One of the symptoms was that my jaw ached really bad. We contacted the dentist, thinking that maybe my wisdom teeth were coming in. I had one removed in Navy boot camp (1984), so I thought maybe one of the others were causing the issue. Nope. My wisdom teeth were fine. I did have wear on my teeth - the dentist determined I had been grinding them. So he gave me a bite guard to wear when I went to sleep.

Ever use one of those things? First off, you drool like a St. Bernard. Second, you try to fall asleep, with the fear of choking on the damn thing. I never had the choking issue: I clenched that thing so hard that when I woke up in the morning I had to pry my jaw apart to remove it (it had suctioned my jaw together). Clearly this was not helping.

We tried sleep aids. Now, I'm not much into strong medication. I don't even like getting intoxicated - I like maintaining control. So we started with something that the body normally generates: melatonin. This stuff gives me really weird and vivid dreams (who needs Netflix??), but doesn't eliminate the grinding. Someone at work suggested Ambien, so I talked to my doctor. What I was prescribed was what I call an Ambien knock off: Zolpidem. What this does is calm your brain down when you sleep.

Here is what was happening: when I fell asleep my brain would run like crazy and I would stress. I would start grinding my teeth, which would tighten the muscles that ran from my neck up the side of my head and WHAM! Migraine. Or, more accurately, a tension headache. The Zolpidem helps my brain from running like crazy, which eliminates the first link in the chain of events. I don't take it every night (as prescribed); only when I feel my jaw getting achy, or I don't get a good night's sleep the night before.

Now why the blog. My wife, my dear, sweet, beautiful and scary-smart wife, suggested that I do what I would do to express the emotions I was feeling. But instead of poetry specifically, just write. Let it out. Get it out of your head. There was one small problem with that concept: I already write. I'm one of those guys with an AWFUL memory. I journal EVERYTHING (or as much as I remember) already. So just writing won't do it. So, I took inspiration from my wife's blog and started one of my own. Not only do I write, but I expel. I get it out of my head and out "there". There is an old cliché that says, "Joy shared is doubled, and sorrow shared is halved." I've got the whole world to share with. And thanks to you, my readers, I have not had a migraine/tension headache ever since.

There you have it. Now on with the rants!!

© Emittravel 2012

Saturday, July 21, 2012

"The Facts Ma'am, Just the Facts"

My wife follows a number of blogs that hope to inspire better education. Being a high school teacher, she is always looking for ways to improve her craft. As she was going through some of her RSS feeds, she played a video from www.joebower.org that actually annoyed me. She was kind enough to send it to me so that I can share it with you, and give you my inevitable two-cents.


Before I rant, I just want to say that there is a lot of good things presented on www.joebower.org. The above link is an exception, not the rule.

First off, I'm not a card-carrying-member of the Tea Party. Nor am I a part of the oh-so-honorable Occupy Movement. I am a person who does something on my own: I think. And in this instance, I'm thinking that the message above is an insult.  Here's why:

According to the video, the Tea Party kept the conversation to "taxes, taxes, taxes". It's no wonder, since the topic at hand was a tax increase to "save the library". Being that those who supported the tax increase knew that they were on the losing end (with an economy in the toilet, people stretched beyond limits, and a government spending billion after billion on failed bailouts), they had to change the conversation. What did they do? They lied. Call it what you want: clever marketing; a play on words; expanding the truth. In the end, it was a lie. Instead of talking about the tax increase they came up with this "book burning" story - a falsehood, a slanderous premise, a lie. The Tea Party had no desire, nor ever considered, burning books. But when you can't win with facts, you change the argument.

They pummeled the story of book burning in any form of social media outlet possible until every non-thinking entity was screaming at how terrible the Tea Party was for wanting to burn books. Again, something they've never put into their bylaws or mission statement. At the last minute, when they were about to get "caught" with the lie, they said that not funding the library would "be the same as" burning books. Really? Are you kidding me?

So, the lesson here is, don't worry about the facts. Facts don't matter. Emotion is the key. Better yet, don't even mention the facts - they only get in your way.

© Emittravel 2012

Monday, July 16, 2012

Stuff My Brain Says #43

According to a recent news article, the U.S. Navy's new "gender-neutral" aircraft carriers will not have urinals. My question is, would you get written up for leaving the seat up?

© Emittravel 2012

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Quit Your Whining

I want to whine. Today reached the mid-90s - with a heat index over 100. Very hot. Stifling. Wearing shorts, sandals, and a t-shirt is almost unbearable. I normally go outside with a hat, but it is almost too hot to keep it on my head. I seem to almost always be drinking from the faucet - glass after glass. Yet, the sweat seems to pour out as fast as I drink it in.

I want to whine. I hate the heat. I drive my Jeep with the top on because the sun is too cruel to take the top off. I can't ride my scooter because the idea of helmet, gloves, long pants, boots, and jacket discourage me before I can enjoy the idea of the ride. I know I can ride without the gear, but I don't believe the lack of safety gear is worth the risk. So I don't ride. Besides, the wind that hits me provides no comfort - I feel I'm in an air oven. And red lights are excruciating.

I want to whine. But I can't. Why? Because the above two paragraphs hold options: I can stay inside with air conditioning. I can choose to ride the scooter or not. I can reach into the freezer and add ice to my glass of water if I so desire. And there are those who can't.

Across the ocean from me are men and women in full battle gear - boots, helmet, flack jacket, camouflage from head to toe. And they don't have the option to take off their gear - the lack of safety is not worth the risk. They carry water on them - no ice. Warm. All they can drink is on them. They can't step over to the sink like me.

Unlike the air conditioned roof over my head, they have no shade. The shade of a Humvee is nothing in comparison. Outside is dust and bitter wind. Inside is an Easy-Bake Oven on steroids.

And they don't whine.

They do what they do because it is the right thing to do - and they know it. They do it for you, and they do it for me.

So I can't whine. I can only pray. Not for MY comfort, but for THEIRS. Their safety. Their health. And a quick return home.

Join me.

© Emittravel 2012

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Stuff My Brain Says #42

Some random stuff my brain says:

So, if you traveled faster than light, would you see yourself traveling?

I really have to quit trimming my beard over dark towels . . . I'm just sayin' . . .

Irony moment: did you ever consider that Simon & Garfunkle's "I Am a Rock" is sung as a duet?

I've come to believe that Neti Pots are not designed for people with mustaches . . .

If "mail" is the word that describes "letters or packages that are sent or delivered by means of the postal system" (thanks dictionary.com), then shouldn't bills be described as "fee-mail"?

Did you ever notice that little dogs think they are big dogs, and big dogs think they are lap dogs? Proof positive that God has a sense of humor!

© Emittravel 2012