grinninfoole: (strangelove)
OK, I found a work around for the glitch in the LJ app on my iPad, so I can write this post and see it at the same time. Much better.

I'm in Andover, visiting with my mother and brother as has become my wont. My brother has another chemo appointment tomorrow, and I'll be accompanying him. Assuming that he find this as tolerable as the last one, it will be the start of an ongoing series of treatments.

I have spent about three months of this year back here, lending what support I can. Besides cutting into my income, it's changed the situation at the store significantly. Back in May, when my brother was first diagnosed, I was here for most of the month to rally round the flag, and then my father died, so I wound up not working that entire month. While I was away, it became clear that the fellow managing the store was derelict in his duties and, worse, lying to the board about it. So, the first day I came back, he was fired and Lefty took over again as store manager (he's been coming up every week from New York), and we began this intense process of damage control to get the delinquent bills paid. It was a difficult couple of months, but we got things back on track, and we started grooming me to take over as store manager.

And then we found out that the doctors at MGH had been really wrong about Dave's condition. September was tumultuous, and we tried to find a way to tag-team running the store with each of us doing it part-time, but it just didn't work. So, while I'm still working at the store, I have stepped down as a manager, gone back to working hourly, and taking a pay cut. We have put out a call for applicants to manage the Northampton store, and I'll help train them up to the job, when I'm not out here.

I hope that my brother and I might take some fun trips together soon. I'm particularly thinking of Hawaii and then New Zealand, but sojourns to New York or Chicago also sound good.

I have been thinking about what to do with myself, given that I have more time on my hands, and what sort of goals I should pursue since throwing myself into work isn't really an option just now. It's lead me to wonder what it is that dedicated creative types have that I don't. One answer that has occurred is a social infrastructure that promotes writing, drawing, etc. and I think I might have stumbled into one just now around my new radio show.

Yes, I have a radio show, Civil Politics, on Valley Free Radio (WXOJ-LP, 103.3 FM for those of you in western MA) every Friday at 7 PM. I'm the host, and George Claxton and Susan Timberlake are the commenters, and we talk about political issues. We're less concerned with the tribal squabbles of our two parties, and more with what politics is about: competing interests, social problems, moral values, and finding ways to get along with each other. We must have 3 or 4 listeners already! (The show is available for streaming, and we're recording them as podcasts, which are online at civilpolitics.wordpress.com) I quite like doing the show, and I think it's an important set of discussions to have, one that more widely known media don't actually do. I have yet to listen to any of them again, but I will do, because I want to get better at it.
grinninfoole: (Default)
1) Mom is still in the rehab hospital, and the pain in her back is gone, but unfortunately she still suffers agonizing pain in her legs, and  she's actually losing some mobility in her feet.  Yesterday, she had a CAT scan to figure out what's going on, which appears to be a herniated disc with a bone fragment from the compression fracture in her t12 vertebra (which is what they fixed last week).  So, Mom 
needs more back surgery (a laminectomy) to fix the damage.  This is mostly good news, because it's a fairly routine procedure, and it will likely allow her to recover and come home.  BUT, it's serious enough that she'll need to be anesthetized, recovery from it can take a week or two even when isn't suffering from Parkinson's, osteoporosis, and somewhat frail.  

So, they just told Mom tonight at about 10 PM that on the schedule for 10 AM tomorrow, and she's kind of freaked out.  I'm already in Andover today, because Dave asked me to come back and help with taking Dad to a routine doctor's appointment.  So, I'm going to stay here another night and go with her tomorrow.  I'm glad I can help, but I'm worried I'm going to let something slip between the cracks with...

2) The Paint & Pixel Festival is THIS SATURDAY.  It's going to be a really fun, really cool show, and if you can make it out, I hope you will.  I'm stressing about because I'm arranging the panel discussions, and I still need to make a few arrangements that I should have done about a month ago.  :(   I hope that Peggy, the founder and main organizer, isn't going to crazy because I'm so behind.   Most of it's done, but there a few important details I need to finish.  Most importantly, I need to come up with proper titles, descriptions (to list in the program) and questions (to ask during the event itself).

3) I'm filling in on the next Mythspoken podcast, and I need to make time to plan what I'm going to say.  I want it to go smoothly, since I'm filling in for Mike, and Jim and I don't have the same easy chemistry.

4) I saw my doctor for my annual physical yesterday, and I'm apparently in decent health, except for being 50 to 60 pounds overweight, plus struggling with dysthymia (that's depression  that isn't so bad that I can't enjoy anything ) and a bit of ADD.  She recommended that I take my ADD meds every day, because that might stabilize and improve my moods enough that other areas of my life will be easier to manage.  (Apparently, the significant mood lift I experience from adderal is actually a sign that I do have ADD, as all your non-crazy folks just get more energetic and focused).

5) We had a great concert at the store on Monday night, the Ladies Of Ragnarok, which was three geeky ladies coming and singing nerdy songs up in the Mythos.  I have never been particularly interested by fan music before when I've bumped into it.  It seems, like fan fiction, that much of it lame, but some is actually well made, interesting and fun (albeit perhaps not to a general audience). I particularly enjoyed the Doubleclicks for their great comic stage presence (Aubrey the cellist is my new celebrity crush).  The crowd loved the show, and we got both Molly Lewis and the Doubleclicks to do an encore, so they did the mah na mah na song.  :) 


grinninfoole: (Default)
1) This coming Saturday will be the second Paint & Pixel Festival.  I've managed to arrange programming this year, which is good, but I still feel like I did a slap-dash job, and kind of guilty about it.  Peggy continues to impress with her passion and capability. 

We're hosting comics workshops for kids at the store as part of the build up to the show.  Colin, the education guy, has done a great job setting these up and running them.  Peggy also sponsored a couple of movie nights at Popcorn Noir, the next of which is the Muppet Movie on Thursday..... which will conflict with my Deadlands game.  aargh!

Oh, and there's a filk band performing in the Mythos on Monday at 7, which could conflict with dinner plans!  double argh!

2) On columbus day, M and I went to NYC, met with the Ladies of Brattleboro for dinner at the Green Table, and then went to see Sleep No More, which is an extraordinary experience in immersive theater.  One is given a mask & enjoined not to speak, and for up to 3 hours one wonders around inside a warehouse of four or five stories where a troop of interpretive dancers performs something inspired by Macbeth.  One can explore the trappings of the set as much as one wishes, or follow performers around or hang out in the lounge.  It's a choose your own adventure style of show, though only as an observer.   I wound up following one stunning beautiful woman around for a while, and wound up getting whisked into a locked room for a short private performance that, while a scripted part of the show, was quite intimate and moving.  Which, if you are thinking of something sexual, is completely wrong--yet it felt like everything you would fantasize about.  A great experience which was well worth the cost.  I plan to go back at some point.

3) My mom is still in a rehab hospital, still in real pain, but I think getting better.  I hope.  Dad is still slipping away a bit at a time.

4) I drove back to Andover last night, couldn't sleep, and watched the Matrix Reloaded on demand.  It's better than I recalled.  The talky scenes make more sense when I can process the sometimes ornate and philosophical dialog, and some of the WTF plot twists actual do make some logical sense.  The biggest weakness that remains, for me, are the pointless action scenes.  The first Matrix was good in part because all the fight scenes served the story, developed character, and looked cool.  In Reloaded, there a couple of set pieces that just take up time. If the Wachowskis had done more with them, they'd have greatly improved the movie.  (Three examples: the introductory fight with Seraph--what does tussling with Neo for two minutes tell him, or us, that we don't know?; then. the  big fight scene with a crowd of Agent Smiths drags on; and the fight with the Merovingian's goons in his foyer is designed to waste Neo's time, but must it waste ours?  What's the point of another display of kung fu?  Are these guys really as challenging as the huge crowd of Agent Smiths?)  On the whole, I stick by some of my earlier criticisms, but I have to upgrade my rating of the film.

5) Sometimes I'm fine, and sometimes the depression gets to me.  I need to spend more time with friends.  I clearly need that.

6) Had an interesting talk with Morlock about making changes in my life. He pointed out that I'm still struggling with some of the same questions that bugged me years ago.  Maybe, he suggested, I need new questions.  hmmmmmmmmmmm.

7) 2013 must be the year I learn to budget.  Just because my desires have heretofore not exceeded my means, doesn't mean those means are inexhaustible. I must get the hang of identifying priorities, choosing amongst them, and then setting aside the others while resisting impulsive spending.  Good grief!
grinninfoole: (Default)
The local news did a puff piece on the opening of Dark Knight Rises, and came to my store and talked to me.  They used a few seconds of me saying obvious stuff about Batman.  My impressions are: 1) is that really my voice?  and 2) ugh, the camera really does add 10 pounds. :(

Plus, Mike Lacrosse got the name of my store wrong. 

Anyway, here it is.
grinninfoole: (Default)
•Ran two Magic tournaments at the store this weekend. Was hoping for 32 people to play today, but only got 29. Still our biggest one yet, and I think everyone had a good time.

•I like the new set, Avacyn Restored. It has a lot of great cards, but I think my favorite is the Conjurer's Closet artifact.

•Feisty still sneezes sometimes, which worries me. I want to take her off the steroids altogether, but I don't want her to get plugged up again. She's nearly 14.

•Put $5000 more into the store, to help start up the New York location. I do hope this works out well.

•I have many balls to juggle, and a couple of them have bounced a bit.
-I need to finish and submit a claim for my dad's long term care insurance. (ughh, it's not the hard intellectually, but very difficult emotionally.)
-I need to fine a contractor to come repair the damage to my house.
-I have some work projects that dangle unfinished.
-My home is getting messy
-I'm not losing weight. I need to make more healthy food, go to Weight Watchers, and exercise. I still want to fit into my tux for Bottledgoose's wedding.
-I want to get some new furniture for my house, which is cash I probably don't have.
-Also, just spent 1300 getting brakes etc. fixed on my POS minivan. Probably more than its worth. Should have just unloaded it.
-I can't tell if I'm scarily obsessive about Grounded or not, because I think about her constantly. Not just every day, but all through the day, whenever my brain slips into neutral.

•Reading the new history of AIDS, Tinderbox, and loving it.

•Great TV: the recent run of Fringe, the season finale of the Good Wife, and the new Avatar series, Legend Of Korra. (Amon is totally a puppet of Ko, the Face-Stealer, hence the mask.) the Awake series is growing on me, too.
grinninfoole: (Default)
This weekend, my store is celebrating its ninth anniversary, starting with a party on at 6 pm Friday 9/9. There will be pizza, cupcakes, beverages, and prizes. It will be fun.

On the 10th, we're having a Magic mini-tournament, and hosting a D&D Lair Assault, and having our usual miniatures painting and board game nights.

On Sunday the 11th, from 1-3 PM, R. A. Salvatore will be in the store signing books. Come join us, and shut out talking heads who have learned nothing from the past decade.

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