Friday Fun – Slither.io

Hooray!  Another episode of Friday Fun!  Today’s game is Slither.io, an online multi-player game that is RIDICULOUSLY addictive.  Believe me, your whole office will want to get in on this one!

slitherio main

In Slither.io, you start as a little snake moving around in a world filled with little glowing dots you have to eat to get bigger.  There is literally no limit to how big you can get!  What’s stopping you?  The other players!  As this is a multiplayer game there are tens to hundreds of people playing at any given time.  If you run into the side of another snake you die and turn into a bunch of glowing dots for them to eat.

slitherio eat dots

I cannot emphasize how much fun this game actually is!  There’s also a TON of strategy for a game that uses a mouse and one button to play.  You see, you can speed up (temporarily) to zoom ahead of an opponent and cut them off.  Remember, if they run into you they’ll turn into a bunch of glowing dots you can eat (see above).  This is by far the fastest way to grow.  If you’re particularly clever you can circle an enemy and trap them, slowly tightening until they’re done!

slitherio circleslitherio circle eat

The game board is huge, but there is an edge so it keeps everyone fairly contained.  Plenty of room to scrounge in the emptier spots or fight for your life in the center.  My favorite strategy is to go straight to the center and hang around until one of the bigger snakes gets killed then try and grab as many of their dots as I can.  Either grow fast or game over!  FUN!

Anyway, go give it a try!  The game is Slither.io and you can click any of the links in this post to get there.  Enjoy!

As always, thanks for reading and you’re welcome.

Living the Dream,
Humble Dave

Gum Control

What an important topic.  I’m not even confident that I can do it justice, but I’ll take a whack at it.  It affects all of us, in one form or another, so it’s fair game.  We’re going to discuss the flaws in the system, starting all the way up at the manufacturers and working our way down to the personal responsibilities of each and every one of us.

First off, the manufacturers.  Why do half these brands give you 4 or 5 chews before all the flavor is gone?  THAT’S CRAP!  It’s infuriating, and it should be illegal.  Or really, in a perfect world the people would rise up DEMAND longer lasting gum, voting with their wallets and either put these crooked gum manufacturers out of business or force them to put out a product that isn’t a piece of used tire dipped in “strawberry” flavoring or whatever.  Seriously, it’s infuriating.

I was going to end that there but it’s just so darned INFURIATING!  WHY?  WHY DOES MY GUM FLAVOR HAVE TO WEAR OFF IN SECONDS?!  ARGH!  “Oh, this is delicious.  Nom nom nom nom ugh.  This is a gross piece piece of rubber and I’m chewing it because why?  Because I hate my life?  There isn’t enough misery in the world that I have to make the simple act of fake-eating (seriously, that’s basically what gum is anyway) into a miserable, teeth-hating, jaw-aching experience?  We’re either all a bunch of masochists or we’re just too apathetic.  It makes me sad.  AND ANGRY.  But mostly sad.  About the gum, that could be so much more.

So, we already know that gum manufacturers could do more about the flavor.  But that’s not the only problem, is it?  Yup, now I’m looking at you, gum-chewers.  OI!  SHUT YOUR gum chewer open mouthMOUTH WHILE YOU CHEW YOUR GUM!  The whole world doesn’t need to hear you masticating all over the place.  It’s disgusting.  Also, you look stupid while you do it.  And we all hate you.  But all hope is not lost!  Chew your gum with your mouth closed and all will love you again*!  You’ll be respected, probably get that promotion you’ve been hoping for, and the guy/girl/other individual you’ve been pining for will notice you and ask for your hand in marriage**.  Give it a try.  The world may not thank you, but I will.  Thank you.

gum-chewing pull
Also, if you do this with your gum…. stop.

Now there’s one other topic that’s so critical to this vital debate that we couldn’t even discuss Gum Control without it.  People who spit their gum on the ground, or stick it underneath things.  We all hate you.  You are just the worst.   And why?  There are garbage cans everywhere these days!  Spit it into a piece of paper and stick it in your pocket.  Don’t have paper?  WHAT DID YOU DO WITH THE PIECE THE GUM CAME IN ORIGINALLY?  Man, I’m getting fired up here.  And as a last resort, if there’s truly NO WAY you can dispose of it, SWALLOW IT.  You won’t die***.  Seven years from now it will work its way out of your system (according to childhood rumors).  It’s not too much to ask.  People like you are the reason chewing gum is banned in Singapore (with a few exceptions).

So let’s all work together and solve this problem.  Share your thoughts and possible solutions in the comments.  As always, thanks for reading, and you’re welcome.

Living the Dream,
Humble Dave

*     Maybe
**   Probably not, though.
*** Probably

Have You Ever Regretted a Google Search?

I have.  Only once, really.  Now I’m not talking about, “Oh I clicked this link and now I regret what I saw.”  No.  I’m talking about actively searching for something you thought you wanted more information about, only to realize that you were much happier in ignorance.  I’ve only done it once, and if you read this, maybe I can save you a mistake.

A number of years ago I got laser eye surgery (technically I had “Advanced Surface Ablation”, which basically means they melted the front of my eyeball off before lasering it into the right shape).  I THOUGHT it would be a good idea to do some independent research.  I started with the doctor who would be performing the surgery.  All good news!  Hooray!  You know she did Tony Hawk’s eyes!  And if I’m remembering correctly (and if you know me, you’d know this is questionable), the guy who invented the machine that does the lasering comes to her for “touch ups.”  Great!

Then I decided to research what could go wrong.  Holy Sh*t (I almost never curse in these blogs, but even just remembering that search is bringing back the anxiety I had after reading these search results.).  The stories were awful, but the PICTURES were the stuff of nightmares.  Apparently shooting lasers at your eyeholes might have a downside.  Who knew?  This ALMOST made me change my mind.  Fortunately I didn’t, and after a week of absolute misery (thank you Wife for being the absolute best nurse ever!) I have 20/20 vision.  I did not receive any super powers (which I’ll admit left me slightly disappointed), so… you know… I wouldn’t go into it expecting that, I guess.

laser eyes

Anyway, the chance for error is teeny tiny, especially if you go to a reputable place.  Here’s a tip: You don’t want the lowest bid for laser eye surgery.  Mine was $4,000 ($2k/eye).  TOTALLY WORTH IT.  I maxed out my FSA that year so about half of it was pre-tax.  But I digress…

Anyway, that is probably the only time I’ve regretted actively searching for something on google.  What’s your story?  Share it in the comments below!

As always, thanks for reading.  And, you’re welcome.

Living the Dream,
-Humble Dave

It’s The Simple Things

homer drooling

If you know anything about me, it’s that I love French Fries*.  Shoestring?  They’re okay.  Skinny fries are good. Crinkled?  Yes please!  Waffle fries.  Love ’em; they’re like a meal all on their own.  Steak Fries. Oooooohhhh steak fries.

Salt is mandatory, but ketchup (what the heck is catsup anyway?) is usually a nice addition.  Especially bacon ketchup, but I suppose that’s a whole blog post on it’s own.  Now ketchup packets were a wonderful invention, making it easier to travel, and was probably born of the fast food craze (hooray drive through!) but I’ve done zero research on that so I wouldn’t go repeating it as fact at your next ketchup party (as crazy as the world is, I’m fairly certain that’s a thing somewhere).  But the packet hasn’t evolved much over the years until fairly recently.

heinz dip&squeeze
This is the next evolution of the ketchup packet, and it’s genius.  Sometimes I don’t want to spray ketchup all over the place.  Sometimes I just want to dip my fries in the container, like chicken nuggets into a bbq sauce container.  It’s so simple, yet so elegant.  If you want to dip, you can dip.  If you want to squeeze your dead tomatoes all over your dead potatoes, you can do that too!  Clearly I have fries on the brain.  Obviously you could use this to squeeze ketchup onto a sandwich or something besides fries if you wanted to do so (even on your spaghetti, Dad).  It’s just amazing.  Now I don’t know if Heinz has some kind of patent on this or they buy them from a company with a patent, but I do know this: It should be shared with the world.  So simple, yet so much joy.

I suppose everything has its downside.  It looks like there’s more material, so more for the landfill, which means it’s probably terrible for the environment.   But it’s all about perspective, right?  The environment will absolutely try to kill you if given half a chance.  It doesn’t seem SO bad when we reframe it as self-defense.  Of course, if we kill the environment we won’t have anyplace to live, so that’s bad too.  Oof, I don’t think I can solve this puzzle in a ketchup blog.

This was supposed to be another short blog.  Literally just a picture of the ketchup thing and “These are great.  Go try ’em.”  Ah well.

Anyway, sound off in the comments if you know of any other genius inventions that are this simple and awesome.

As always, thanks for reading, and you’re welcome!

Living the Dream,
Humble Dave

 

*I capitalized them because French Fries DESERVE to be capitalized.  We capitalize your name and you haven’t made half the impact they have.  Show some respect!

American Airlines Saves The Day!

I’m an idiot.  I fully admit this.  I can occasionally do wondrous things, but like everything, they’re balanced with acts of such stupidity that it’s not impossible I’m the fulcrum on which the entire universe is balanced.

Anyway, Wife and I were supposed to go on an amazing family vacation last July.  16ish family members renting a giant house in Myrtle Beach (is it in or on Myrtle Beach?  Or at?  Meh, I’m going with in.), right on the beach.  My incredibly awesome parents bought tickets for wife and me.  That was very nice of them, but they’re very nice people so this makes sense.  We were REALLY looking forward to it.  Had boarding set up for the dog and everything.

So naturally we had to cancel because of my stupid neck.  We waited as long as we could.  Finally, it’s a few hours before the flight and I realize there’s no freaking way I could do it.  Moving was agony.  Sitting still was agony with the exception of ONE POSITION on my couch.  Seriously, I’m not even joking.  Sitting on the far right and leaning onto the armrest with my feet bent underneath me in a slightly uncomfortable manner but it doesn’t matter because temporary relief for my neck. So, yeah, the uber to the airport, walking through security, carrying a backpack, sitting on the plane, etc. etc.  Individually none of those things were possible.  Stacked together they were even more impossible.  If something could be more than impossible this was it.

I canceled online, then emailed American Airlines customer service and awesome CJ confirmed our cancellation and agreed to waive the rebooking fee for us.  He sent me an email confirming everything, and reminding me that I had to use the value of these tickets within 1 year of PURCHASE DATE, and fly within 1 year of the original trip date.  What a great guy.  This is customer service, people take note.

Now, please keep in mind that I’m in extreme pain, super disappointed that we won’t be going on this annual trip that’s been planned for a year, and very highly medicated.  Although this doesn’t absolve me for reasons that will become clear, I feel it’s worth considering in my defense.

Defense of what?  Be patient, people.  Dang.

My parents visited in October after I was starting to feel better.  Not great, but better.  My Dad, ever the pragmatist, suggested I should book flights for the next family vacation July 2018 to make sure I don’t run into problems with the voucher.  Did I thank him?  Did I bow to his years of wisdom and practice of the Six P’s to minimize the potential for error?  Nope.  I had PLENTY of time!  The trip wasn’t for 9 months!  I’m an idiot.

He mentioned it once or twice again during the week he was out, never pushing, but definitely emphasizing I should do it before something goes wrong.  Meh.  What could possibly go wrong?

whatcouldpossibligowrong

They went home.  Over the next couple months Pop mentioned it a couple more times. “You should really use that voucher and book the flights.”  Ugh, I have PLENTY OF TIME!  I’ll take care of it soon.

Anyway, soon rolls around this week.  I think, “Maybe it’s time to book those flights with the voucher.  It’s about 5 months until the trip, that seems like a good lead-time.  So I booked the flights and everything went smoothly, right?

Oh man that would make a boring post.  I called AA (American Airlines, not to be confused with Alcoholics Anonymous.  JUST BECAUSE I LIKE WHISKEY DOESN’T MEAN I HAVE A PROBLEM!  Shut up.  YOU have a problem.) and the lovely lady on the phone kindly informed me that the vouchers expired.  Excuse me?  That can’t be right.  You see, if this is the case then I have several problems that can’t be ignored. 1) I just wasted over $1,000 of my parents kind gift. 2) I now have to pay for an expensive flight cross country. And 3) I HAVE TO TELL MY FATHER AND HE WAS RIGHT AND TOLD ME SO!  AH!  NO!  Actually, that 3rd one happens more often than I’d like to admit.  I really, really should listen more closely when he offers me advice.  Kind phone lady insists (politely) that unfortunately she can’t help me, but I can email AA customer support and maybe they can do something.  I am despondent.  And unconsolable.  Inconsolable?  Inconsolable, that’s what I am according to this.

But wait, there’s a glimmer of hope!  I might be able to find… wait… yes!  I still have CJ’s email and contact info!  I email him with my issue, my challenge, my gross stupidity.  I prostrate myself before his infinite goodness and beg the forgiveness of American Airlines and the gods of “people-who-don’t-listen-to-their-parents-and-pay-the-price.”

And I wait.  And wait.  And wait.  No, not because they were slow to respond or didn’t care.  But because it was President’s Day, and George “Wooden Choppers” Washington and Abraham “Awesome Beard” Lincoln deserve some respect.

But the next day I receive a response.  Awesome CJ works his awesome magic and sorts me out.  Why did he do it?  He didn’t have to.  Could have easily said, “Sorry Mr. Dave, but you’re an idiot and if there aren’t consequences you’ll never learn from your mistakes and grow, emotionally, as a productive member of society and, more importantly, as a human being.”  I would have walked away dejected, but understanding of their position.  After all, it was obviously all my fault, and if there’s one thing I’ve learned in all the years of making mistakes is to own it and move forward.  I rarely make the same mistake more than 5 or 6 times.

one-on-one-meeting

But NO!  CJ doesn’t play that!  He walked right into his boss’s office and said, “Boss, this guy Dave’s an idiot, but we’re going to help him anyway.  Why?  Because we can!” and his boss said, “Yes we can!  Because we’re American Airlines and we’re awesome!  You go right back to that idiot and sort him out properly.” (dramatization)

 

CJ took some extra time and provided the type of customer service that happens fairly often, but you rarely read about it.  CJ and American Airlines are awesome.  How can I properly thank him?  I did the online survey, obviously.  But that didn’t seem like enough.  So I sent this:

“CJ, thank you so much. I really appreciate this.  You’re a legend.  I’ll be writing about this in the next few days on my blog HumbleDave.com so you’re definitely going to be internet famous.  I have about 30 readers so you’ll probably have to wear a disguise when you leave the house to avoid being mobbed by fans.
If any of your supervisors are reading this: GIVE CJ A RAISE!  And a promotion.  I’m thinking c-suite.  Maybe Chief Customer Relations Officer.  $500,000/year salary plus bonuses (obviously) and use of a company private jet.  I’ll be keeping an eye out for the press release, American!
Seriously, you saved the day.  Thanks a whole bunch.  I’ve attached a picture of a happy dog for your viewing pleasure.”

CJ, if you’re reading this: I now have 36 followers, so you’ll need a better disguise than a fake mustache and glasses.  Actually, I just realized that since I have no idea what you look like you might have a real mustache and glasses.  Oh well, I leave the disguise up to you.

Anyway, the point is this: CJ is awesome, and American Airlines is also awesome.  The other point is that great customer service still lives, but you have to give companies the opportunity to provide it.  In the immortal words of Michael Scott:

you missMichael Scott, truly “The Great One.”

Thank you CJ, and thank you American Airlines.  You saved my butt.  I appreciate it.

Living the Dream,
Humble Dave

 

It’s Nice to be Nice

This isn’t some mushy blog post about how being nice to people makes you feel good (it does, btw).  It also isn’t some philosophical mumbo-jumbo about the nature of the Universe.  This is about complete and total self-interest, that also happens to help other people.  Being nice offers real, tangible benefits for you, as well as intangible benefits for others.  But since this post is about complete and total self-interest, we’re going to ignore the benefits to others (for now.  But really, if you’ve read any of my other blog posts you know that my style tends to be a bit…bouncy.  Just because I start somewhere doesn’t mean I end up where we’d expect).

So what the heck am I talking about, and how could being nice help me?  Tangibly (Huh.  I wasn’t entirely sure that was a word.  I’m always pleasantly surprised when an uncertain word comes back without the “red line” beneath it.  Today is going to be a good day! Where was I?  Right.  Tangibly.).  I need an MRI for my neck (why?), and scheduling of such a thing can take weeks and weeks.  Now, “weeks” when you’re in pain is a long time.  I don’t want to wait weeks.  So I call on Tuesday and talk to the scheduler (Carrie).  I am super nice and upbeat.  Cheery, even.  I schmoozed her.  But I’ve got to be honest: Carrie was awesome.   Sure, she started out gruff and all professional.  The old “Let’s get this done, I have a million other patients to deal with” attitude.  Can’t blame her!  I was on hold for 10 minutes waiting for help.  They’re ALWAYS busy.  But in the face of my cheery self she loosens up and finds me a date of March 1st.  No, sorry, there’s no cancellation list where they’ll call you if someone else cancels.  I should call back every morning to check.  No problem, Carrie, thanks so much for your help!  Seriously, a week and a half isn’t too bad! Not what I wanted, but C’est la vie.

And that’s where the benefits start kicking in.  Because you know what?  People WANT to help people who make them feel good.  Because that ALSO feels good (yup, already made the first sentence of this post into a lie.  Deal with it.).  So anyway, Carrie says, “You know what?  I’ll keep your name and number next to me here for the rest of the day and if someone cancels I’ll give you a call.”  Carrie’s the best.  We hang up and frankly, I’m not expecting any calls.  Come on, she’s busy!

smile loud

About 15 minutes later my phone rings.  It’s Carrie, laughing because literally the call right after mine was a cancellation, and do I want to come in on the 27th.  Heck yeah I do!  Lots of thanks and emphasis that she is appreciated.  Boom, I’m in 2 days earlier (remember, when you’re in pain every day is an eternity.  So technically, I’m 2 eternities better off!).  Life is good!  Also, she’s feeling great because her normally “standard” day is suddenly just a tiny bit different, and better.  I could hear the smile on her face.  It felt great.

Anyway, I’m going about my business when about an hour later my phone rings again.  It’s Carrie!  HI CARRIE!  She just had another cancellation and do I want it?  It’s for the 22nd, this Thursday (now today, as I’m writing this).  HECK YEAH I WANT IT!  THANKS CARRIE; YOU’RE THE BEST!  Bi-directional happiness ensues.

So what did we learn?  Being nice to people has tangible benefits.  I get my MRI a full week earlier, which means I can make my neurosurgery appointment earlier.  Which means we can solve my neck problems sooner.  Which would be so awesome.  So, so awesome.

And this isn’t my only story.  These go on and on.  In another soon-to-be- written post you’ll read about how being nice via email to customer service reps can help fix your gross stupidity in letting airline ticket vouchers expire a month before you tried to use them (Sorry Dad.  You were right, I was wrong.  You’re smart, and I’m dumb.  You’re very good looking, and I’m not good looking at all.  Fortunately, we’re all good now!).

I know some people are reading this and saying, “He’s only faking being nice to get something.”  To that I respond: That’s not true.  I’m a nice person most of the time.  But regardless, IT DOESN’T MATTER.  If you act nice, you are nice.  Nobody knows what’s in your head.  You could be thinking about horrible, terrible things.  Nobody is affected by what’s in your head; people only know you by the actions you take.  BE NICE.  If you won’t listen to me, listen to the late, great, Patrick Swayze.

be nice

How will you know when it’s time to not be nice?  You won’t, Dalton will tell you.  Also, if you don’t know this quote, then go watch Roadhouse.  That movie is amazing.  But seriously, just be nice all the time.  My mom has similar wisdom, “Kill them with kindness.”  Be nice.

Thanks for reading!  And since you’re all awesome, I know you’ll share that awesomeness with everyone else (see what I did there?  I was nice, and now you want to tell people about my blog!  Seriously, tell people about my blog.).

Living the Dream,
Humble Dave

 

The Six P’s

My father once told me about the six P’s, and I’m going to pass them along to you.  When I’ve followed this advice my life has been easier and less stressful.  When I have ignored it… well… let’s just say you don’t want to ignore it.

The Six P’s:

Proper Prior Planning Prevents Poor Performance

This is definitely one of the most valuable pieces of advice I’ve ever received, and it’s easy to remember.  It’s right up there with “Don’t touch hot things”, “Be careful with that piece of glass”, and “Power tools are not toys!”  Learn it. Live it.  Share it with others.

Now, I was going to end this post here, but because I’m wholly incapable of keeping things “short and sweet” I’ll add this one additional piece of trivia: There is some controversy regarding the Six P’s.

You see, there may be a lost, but not forgotten SEVENTH P!  This is a matter of debate between my father and his brother (who will henceforth be referred to as “my Uncle).  The “P’s” were passed down by my Grandfather to his two sons (I assume my Aunt, their sister also knows this, but she’s wisely elected to stay out of this so I won’t drag her into it now).  According to my Uncle, it should be the Seven P’s as such:

Proper Prior Planning Prevents Piss Poor Performance

Frankly, I don’t see that 7th P adding any real value, so we’re going to fall on the side of Six P’s and call it a win.  Sorry Uncle Stevie, the internet has decided.  Are you going to argue with this man?

ben franklin
I didn’t think so.  Long live the 6 P’s!

Proper Prior Planning Prevents Poor Performance

As always, you’re welcome.

Living the Dream,
Humble Dave

Are you using Amazon Smile?

If you answered anything other than “Yes,” read on.  If you answered “No,” that’s something other than “Yes” so please read on.  Come on, keep up.

Amazon Smile is a program where 0.5% of each eligible purchase you make on Amazon is donated to the charity of your choice.  It doesn’t cost you anything.  Literally nothing.  Prices aren’t higher because of this.  If you’re a Prime member you still get free 2-day shipping.  The ONLY reason not to use this service is if you’re a terrible, hate-filled shell of a human being.  Seriously.  If you don’t do this because you’re lazy, I get it.  That makes sense to me.  I have a solution for you down below.  If you don’t do it because you don’t care, then SHAME!

shame

Seriously though, I know you’re going to take advantage of this wonderful feature.  Read on…

This is super complicated, so you might want to take notes.  You know how when you shop online at Amazon you go to Amazon.com?  Instead of doing that, now you’re going to type “smile.amazon.com” into your web browser.  That’s basically it.  The first time they’ll ask you what charity you want to support.  There, that’s it.  I’m not joking.  After you do this, nearly everything you buy will go to support the charity you chose.  Going forward Amazon will tell you exactly how much money you’ve sent to the charity.  It’s awesome.

Here’s the one challenge you’re going to run into, but don’t worry, I have a solution for you as well.  Anytime you google a product or something sends you to amazon, it’s going to send you to the regular site.  YOU, being “woke”, as the kids say, want to go to smile.amazon.com.  Fortunately, a computer genius made a chrome extension which will automatically redirect you!  WHAT?  THAT’S CRAZY!  I know, but it’s try nonetheless.  Computer geniuses are awesome.  It’s called “Smile Always.”

smile always

I assume you know what a Chrome extension is, just as I assume you’re browsing the internet by using Chrome.  If not, you’re somebody else’s problem.  No, I shouldn’t be a negative nancy.  I’m fairly sure that Firefox has a similar extension you can download.

If you’re using Chrome, click any of the “Smile Always” links peppered throughout this post (there are two, I guess that’s not a lot of pepper).  It will take you to the chrome store where you can download the extension.  Once installed you’ll see a little box with “SA” to the right of you search bar.  It just rides along in the background.  Anytime anything tries to take you to Amazon.com, it redirects you to Smile.Amazon.com.  It’s totally seamless and effortless.

barking-lot-logo

It’s been a while since I set this up and I’m pretty sure I’m remembering this part correctly.  I THINK when you choose the charity they offer you a list of 4 or 5 to choose from.  You can actually type whatever charity you want into a box and if it’s available you’re good to go!  I am currently donating to “The Barking Lot,” the shelter where we rescued our pup, Cody.  If you can’t think of someplace you want to support, I recommend them! They rescue dogs from high-kill shelters, the streets of Tijuana, and the dog meat trade in Asia.  Seriously, they’re awesome.

Okay, so now you’ve been properly introduced to Smile.Amazon.com you can shop and justify it by saying you’re donating money to charity!  Hooray for everyone!

As always, you’re welcome. 🙂

Living the Dream,
Humble Dave

 

The Importance of Socks and Pump Up The Volume

You know, I came here with a purpose today.  I was going to write about something so important, so CRITICAL to a happy life that I rushed to my computer to ensure you had access to this information immediately.  And it really IS amazing how the right pair of socks (or lack thereof), can completely affect your life.  Think on I’m wrong?  YOU’RE WRONG.  And I’ll probably tell you why.  Only probably?  Yes.

The thing that diverted me nearly completely from The Tao of Socks, is the fact that Pump Up The Volume should be required viewing in high schools across America.

pumpcoverYou probably haven’t seen it in a while.  It’s the story about a high schooler played byKevin Bacon who runs a pirate radio station out of his parents basement.  First of all, Kevin Bacon is a national treasure.  Second of all, the messaging seems incredibly relevant these days.  I really don’t think I can do it justice, so I’ll leave you with this: Violence in our schools is bad; we all agree on that.  Where we disagree is on the causes and how to solve it.  This movie deals with the raging emotions, unreasonable expectations, and incredible pressures that teenagers have to deal with.  It also offers hope.  Go watch it.  You might hate it, but I’m still right.  Happy Harry Hardon to the rescue!

pumpup

While I’ve got you, I’ll recommend Gleaming the Cube as well.  Another Kevin Bacon classic.  No bigger message, just a fun 80’s movie.

gleaming

 

 

Socks.  Welp, this seems trivial after helping to solve the school violence problem, but I’ll give it a go.

 

There’s are loads of different kinds of socks.  I was going to try and list them here but when I started I realized that it’s an exercise in futility.  I’m not sure if I mentioned this already, but there are LOADS of different kinds of socks!

I also realized that this isn’t the kind of thing that can be explained, it has to be experienced.  So here’s my proposition:  Buy a nice pair of wooly socks.  Big, fuzzy, wooly socks.  Then go wear your normal* socks for a day.  At the end of the day, after you’ve completed your tasks/chores/responsibilities and are ready to relax, change into the wooly ones.  Then sit down and relax** however you do it.  That’s better, right?  the socks?  I know!  They add a whole other dimension to the experience.  It’s like, before you were relaxing.  And it was good!  But now you’re relaxing, and it’s much better.  By a measurable factor of 2-wooly-socks better.  There’s no need to thank me; you are SO welcome.

So there you go!  An unplanned posts on a Sunday evening.  Enjoy!

Living The Dream,
Humble Dave

*There are many kinds of normal socks.  To improve your overall mood throughout the day, I recommend getting a “fun” pair of socks.  Splashes of color.  Spiderman socks.  Whatever.  Go crazy.  You’ll thank me for this when you’re standing in a business meeting negotiating a multi-million dollar deal, you suddenly remember you’re wearing Marvin the Martian socks, and you smile.  You’re welcome.
**If you’re unsure how to relax, or don’t like your current technique and are looking at other options, please allow me to make a suggestion:  Comfy chair, glass of whiskey (however you like it.  Don’t let someone else tell you how to enjoy your whiskey), fireplace.  Combine those three things with one of the following:  A good movie, a good book, or quiet contemplation.  Enjoy.

What an Enormous Pain in the Neck

As my wife will attest, I have a habit, nay, a gift, for injuring myself in stupid ways.  Blew out my knee paddle-boating, 2nd degree burns on my hand from steam coming out of a lobster pot, minor neck injury from staying in the same position too long playing video games, etc.  I mean, come on.  I’m the guy who can hurt himself sleeping (not joking, keep reading).

Normally these are minor, relatively quickly healed injuries (the knee’s been an issue, but that’s a topic for another post.  This is obviously about a NECK.  Pay attention).  Unfortunately, that’s not always the case.

In July of 2017 we took our strong and excitable puppy to Petco Park for a big dog event.  We got to march on the ballfield; it was awesome!  At one point I’m talking to someone and pupper sees a dog he wants to go play with and BAM, he’s off like a shot.  I’m holding the leash firmly so he gets to the end of 6′ and snaps to a halt.  But, not before all 60 lbs of his momentum rebounds right into my neck.  I thought nothing of it at the time…

Next day, neck and arm hurt a bit.  No big deal.  Go to July 4th party.

Day after that, neck and arm hurt a bit more.  No big deal.  Go on long mountainous hike.

Ouch Day.  Excruciating pain in my neck, radiating down my left arm into my fingertips. Yup, I think I’m broken.

Have you ever had neck pain?  It’s remarkable how many things you do in your normal course of life which rely on your neck muscles in some way.  Even just sitting in the car while someone else drives, your neck is constantly working to stabilize your head.  Incredible.

I went to a few doctors, had x-rays and an MRI.  I don’t rembulging-disk-treatmentember all the technical terms,but the cervical disc between C5 and C6 in my neck is compressed and bulging out the sides of my spine.  This bulge has caused a narrowing of the tunnels my nerves use to leave the spine and visit the rest of my body, hence the pain my in shoulder, arm, and hand.  You know how Doctors always ask your pain level on a scale of 1-10*?  I was spending most of my time at a 6, and tapped a 9 once or twice.

Per the Doctor, I have three options:

  1. Medications, rest, and physical therapy.  Based on what they saw in the scans this was considered the best, and least invasive option.  The downside is that it would take the longest.
  2. Cortisone shot in my neck which would hopefully reduce the swelling and fix the disc (I guess?).  The downside is that if my blood didn’t clot fast enough and it bled into my spinal column, paralysis from the neck down.  That didn’t sound like fun.
  3. Surgery!  They can take out the bad disc and put in an artificial one.  Downside: Surgery.  I really didn’t even consider this as an option at the time, and didn’t pursue any of the details.

So anyway, July, August, and September involved me sitting on the couch unable to do much of anything.  I went to a painful PT (physical therapy) session 1-2 times/week.  Periodic doctors appointments.  That’s it.  It was just awful.  Missed an incredible family vacation.  Missed months of dog walks and good training with my new pup.  I took pills, slept, watched movies, read, PT, slept, and took more pills.  Ad nauseum.

Started to feel a bit better around October, and by November I was able to walk him again, albeit carefully.  I was being weaned off the many medications I was taking.  There was a light at the end of the tunnel.

Sometime in January while on a walk he saw some crows that were talking smack and decided to give chase.  Caught me off guard and boom, gave the old neck a shock.  It hurt, and had clearly done some damage, but not terrible.  If I was careful, it would be okay.

We focused on “heel” and loose leash training from here out.  Keeping my by our side on walks instead of letting him have the full leash to roam.  It was working great!

One quiet night I’m sound asleep when I hear Cody’s ALERT BARKBARKBARKBARK!  I jerk awake, sitting up quickly, and promptly wrench my neck completely out of wack.  I knew immediately this was going to be trouble.  Yup, hurt myself safe and sound in my own bed.  Woke up the next morning with the neck hurting worse, some pain in arm.  Got even worse over the next few days.

So here I am, nearly right back where I started.  I’m sitting on the couch in light pain (it’s usually better in the mornings) while the wife walks the dog.  I have a doctor appointment and PT scheduled.  And of course loads of meds.  I don’t have the patience to go through another 3 months of slow healing only to re-injure myself again, so I’m going to explore the other options in more detail and see what I can do.

So, I guess the only advice I’ll pass along here is when you’re going to the gym, don’t skip neck day.

Living the Dream?

Humble Dave

*The Doctor’s 1-10 Pain Scale, level details by Dave:
10 – Pain so bad I passed out
9 – I’m fetal on the ground crying and helpless
8 – Pain is all-encompassing.  Only thoughts in head are how to make it stop
5-7 – OMG this hurts in varying degrees.  Doctor visit mandatory if doesn’t stop
3-4 – Pain bad enough that I’ll probably see a doctor if it doesn’t go away in a few days
1-2 – That’s annoying.  Rub some dirt on it and walk it off.