Friday, May 31, 2013

Dr. Who vs. the octopus

Monday was Memorial Day. (Nothing to do with this picture, which is just some construction stuff I thought looked cool.) Monday was also the day I found out one of my housemates almost died the day before.

He'd gone out for sushi with his girlfriend & decided to try octopus. Ate a bunch of it. Came home, ready to take a nap. His girlfriend wanted to watch Dr. Who, which he happily agreed to. They started watching & he was going to say something to her & he could barely talk. Then his lungs seized up. Fortunately he was able to throw up, but he hunched over, barely able to breathe. She got out her epi pen (she has a peanut allergy) & was poised to use it if he gave the go ahead. He dialed 9-1. After some time, he felt as if he was going to make it, which had not been the case.

Talking to a chef friend later, he found out that it was probably not an allergic reaction to the octopus, since he didn't get any swelling. It was probably bacterial, the result of mishandled food. Some bacteria can cause paralysis, so it's a good thing he puked it out of his system. If he'd gone to sleep, he wouldn't have woken up & none of us would have known why.

A wake-up call. How Dr. Who saved his life. He was ready to dial that last 1, conscious of the fact that if he had to, it would probably be too late. By the time the ambulance arrived...

Wow. We are all very glad it turned out the way it did -- that we didn't have such an up close & personal Memorial Day.

To completely change the subject, I took a walk downtown this evening to get my mail from the P.O.Box. (Wasn't really expecting any mail, so I wasn't disappointed to find only some balance transfer checks from Capital One. They've already been shredded.) Really, it was just an excuse to get out in beautiful evening temperature. In the City County Plaza, there were a bunch of tents set up for an event. I asked someone who looked as if he might know & he said it was the beer city festival. I expressed a bit of interest & asked how one got tickets & how much they cost. He said they were $40, but they were sold out. Then -- wait for it -- he said he had one ticket & asked if I wanted it. Wow! He told me to just go eat at his restaurant, Barley's Taproom, sometime. So sweet.

Tomorrow I'll walk over & have some beer & raise a glass to Barley's.

& now I shall get some sleep, in preparation for that heavy lifting.

Blog alternative:
Take an evening walk. Be ready for a miracle.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Ms. Pacman in the casino with a dumb phone

One of the necklaces that my friend Ken
(Hi, Ken!) was handing out at a World
Fantasy Convention some years ago.

I bought a new phone last month. Actually, I bought 2.

Tale of the first. I have (had, well, still have, because it is in my possession, though it has been decommissioned) an old smart phone with a battery that lasted about 5 minutes. It used to have a good battery but I think I partial-charged it a bit. Then I got a new battery & was very good about fully charging. Apparently it wasn't much of a battery to start with, so it quickly deteriorated. Rather than get another battery, I decided to get another phone.

Now, I didn't use the smart phone features. I don't text, unless required to. I don't have a data plan. I can look things up & have the world at my fingertips when I'm at my laptop. I don't think I -- & perhaps most of us -- need that level of connectivity. It can interfere with a different sort of connectivity, which is to be in your own body, experiencing your own sensory input & feeling your own feelings.

I decided to take a baby step backwards with a new phone. Yes, a flip phone. (I know what you're thinking: do people still use those?) That lasted about a week, & then I dropped it once, from a not very great height & the back flew off & the battery flew out & I hied myself back to the AT&T store to pay the $35 restocking fee & get the flip phone's burly, robust, older brother.

Lest you be mocking me, I find that it is actually quicker to navigate on the dumb phone. (Think shortcut keys rather than drop-down menus.) I love my phone, & it's water resistant & shock resistant. Take that, Android. Kiss my grits, iPhone. Grin.

I had a lovely Mother's Day. Drove down to the casino at Cherokee & played in the Sunday tournament. Attendance was lighter than usual. I guess the "take your mother to the poker tournament" movement hasn't caught on yet. It was only a $60 buy-in, so I got to pay for it with the $75 I won at my cash game the previous Monday. I made the final table of 10. The top 3 or 4 were getting paid. Then, on the second hand of the final table, I was sitting in the big blind with 10 7 of diamonds. No raises, so I checked to see the flop. 8 9 Jack. I had flopped a straight! I put in a little "trapping" bet of $1000 to get some action. Everyone folded except this one guy who raised it to $2000. Excellent, I thought. He's probably got a Jack. I went all in. He called. I was ecstatic--until I saw that he had a Queen 10. He'd flopped the higher end of the straight. No Queen came, which would have given me a chopped pot. I went home with 10th place & a story. I couldn't have played the hand any differently. I laugh, thinking about my "trapping" move. It was like Ms. Pacman trying to trap one of the Doom guys who had a bazooka.

Blog alternative:
260. Turn off your smart phone for an hour or two. Or leave it home. Take a walk. Hug a tree. Pet a flower -- but not a bee.

Friday, May 10, 2013

Into the green heart of you

A few days ago I got a lovely email & have been savoring it. My poem is in several literature textbooks (check out YouTube even, to see student projects based on it) & I appreciate the feedback I get.

... I teach 9th & 10th grade English at a small school in Oklahoma.  I wanted to let you know that for the past few years, I've included your "Egg Horror Poem" in my poetry unit.  My students always love reading it.  Sometimes I ask students to choose a poet and then create a poster about that person.  They are to include biographical information, examples of the poet's work, and their own original poem created in the same style as their poet.  Each year when I've done this you are always chosen by someone as their "favorite," along with Emily Dickinson, Dorothy Parker, even Shakespeare.  I wish I'd had time to do the poster project this year, but unfortunately the year got away from us, but I did want to let you know how much we love your poem. I was happy to run across your website this morning (today was the day I introduced a new class of students to your poem) and thought I would let you know that your work is appreciated.  Thank you for sharing it with all of us.


Kim Wallace
English I & II Teacher
Talihina High School

Thank you, Ms. Wallace, & all your wonderful students. If any of you ever want to take a picture of your poster & email it to me, I'd love to see it!

I have a new project -- to be revealed later -- that is enhancing ALL of my projects, even those that have been backburnered (read: sorely neglected).

Must get back to it -- & to this lovely day. Springtime in the mountains. Delicious.

Blog alternative: (For new readers, I believe in living ones life with less screen time & more green time.  By green, I of course mean getting out in nature, but also creating, experiencing, doing & being. I wish for all of us lots of me-ing & less checking up on anyone who isn't physically inhabiting our skin. Hence, a suggestion of something to do rather than reading blogs & facebook & such. Delivered, ironically, in a blog.)
259. Make a poster inspired by a poet or a poem.