50 Followers!

Thanks everyone. I’m honestly humbled that you’re taking enough interest in my thoughts that you want to know “what’s next?”

Also, it’s my dog Cody’s 2nd birthday with us! Happy Birthday Cody!

Living the Dream,

Humble Dave

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The Universe Is Not Out To Get You

This isn’t the sort of thing I’d normally write in my blog.  I usually like my writing to be fun and upbeat.  Like most people, I suppose, I like to show people “Happy Dave,” and not the other guy.  Why dump my problems on other people who undoubtedly have problems of their own to deal with (Grammarians, you can take your “with which they have to deal” and stuff it)?  But who knows, maybe I won’t even publish this blog and you’ll never read it anyway.  Here goes.

The Universe is out to get me.

I got laid off from my job March 31, 2017.  It didn’t come as a big surprise, although it happened faster than I expected.  I wasn’t TOTALLY upset, because I wasn’t really interested in what I was doing anymore.  It was one of those jobs that kept the machine moving by taking value from one space and adding it to another.  Ultimately, I wasn’t really adding value to the system, just moving it around.  I USED to be a true believer in the work, back when I started, but after 10+ years of doing it… well, deck chairs on the titanic.

My goal was to take three months to relax, recharge, and reassess, then move forward in a new direction.  I wanted not only a new career, but I wanted it in a new industry.  As if that wouldn’t be hard enough, my real challenge was I had no idea what I wanted to be when I grew up.  It makes no difference that at the time I was 40.  I was still lost.  Regardless, my plan started off well enough, I suppose.  I relaxed.  I surfed the web looking at different companies, jobs, etc., just trying to learn what else was out there.  I spent a lot of time with our new dog whom we rescued March 1.  Although there was always that ever-present pressure to get a job, things were okay.  Well, okay enough, anyway.  The important thing was that I was excited to try something new, and motivated to execute this new plan.

Unfortunately, the Universe is out to get me.

July I got a neck injury that left me in INCREDIBLE pain.  Forget moving around, but not moving around was almost as painful.  I had to take an extensive cocktail of nerve-blockers, painkillers, muscle relaxers, anti-inflammatories, etc multiple times a day, and that was so I could sit on the couch.  Doctors visits, meds, x-rays, meds, MRI’s, meds, Physical Therapy, meds… you get the picture.  It SUCKED. I wrote a whole blog back in February about this bit which you can read here.  If you want to save time (you should read it though, it was a good one!), I’ll tell you that it ends with me feeling better and beginning to embark on beginning to embark on a real estate career.  I had some hope.

But the Universe is out to get me.

In mid February I re-injured my neck.  This sent me into a deeper depression, and I lost all my motivation to study for my real estate exam (If I’m being completely honest, which I might as well since I’m not convinced I’m actually going to publish this blog, my thoughts were turning dark.  I got scared, realized I needed help, and made an appointment for therapy.  Never had it before, but I figured, this is what it’s for).  After more doctors, meds, x-rays, and MRI’s discovered that my neck was worse, and in addition to bulging discs I had some bone spurs pressing on my spinal cord and narrowing my nerve canals.  I don’t think nerve canals are the technical term, but I like it.  They’re where the nerves leave the spinal cord and exit the vertebrae to go do their thing in your body.  And those canals were partially closed off.  Result: Incredible nerve pain. Hooray!  After seeing a couple of neurosurgeons we determined I needed Anterior Cervical Discectomy and Fusion (ACDF) surgery.  I wrote all about this here.  Surgery went great, and I wrote all about the hospital stay here.

So now I’m 2 weeks post-surgery.  Neck is healing well, although I have a heck of a scar, still some numbness and nerve pain, and an inability to life anything heavier than a jug of milk, I’m doing okay.  Saw the neurosurgeon yesterday and he confirmed my recovery is on track.

So here we sit, back on the couch. I’m not quite where I was April 2017.  Still no job.  Can’t walk my dog, due to the injury (heehee, dog doo).  Still don’t really know what I want to be when I grow up, although I recently watched an awesome TED talk that might help with that.  I do have a potential career in the works in the meantime as soon as I get back into studying for and subsequently passing my real estate exam.  And perhaps most importantly, with all the extra time I’ve had to think, I realized something:

The Universe is NOT out to get me.

Despite being incredibly humble (and you know it’s true, because I have my own website that says so), I am incredibly ego-centric.  Everything that happens, happens to ME, personally.  Cut off in traffic, THAT ASSHOLE!  Drop the cap of my water bottle on the floor?  FUCK YOU, LIFE!  Get injured, WHY ME?  And you may or may not know this, but when you’re depressed the little problems get so much bigger.  The gardeners not mowing a small patch of grass in the yard becomes a problem so insurmountable that it frustrates you the point of tears.

It’s only very recently, after my first therapy appointment, that I’m starting to realize it’s nothing personal.  The Universe is truly NOT out to get me. Everyone has problems, and everyone can choose to let it go and move on.  It’s been hard for me to step outside myself and realize this.  And I’m far from accepting it emotionally.  But hopefully this will help me to move on.  Besides, things tend to balance out, so I’m probably due for something good soon, right?

Anyway, sorry for this wall of text.  I’ve been writing it for so long I don’t even know what in here anymore.  If you’re reading it, I didn’t go back and edit anything (although I did make some edits “on-the-fly”) so if it’s tripe just say so in the comments.  If anything I said resonates with you go ahead and comment on that as well.  Also, if you hated it just pretend you never read it and move on.  This will probably not be indicative of the stye of post you’ll see on my blog.  I apparently felt it was necessary at the time, and in here nobody can tell me what to do.  If I’m learning anything through this process it’s that, for me, writing is cathartic.  Also reading, but that’s also for another blog post.

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

Living the Dream,
Humble Dave

edit: so I wrote this yesterday (4/20/18) with really no intention of publishing it, but what the heck.

A Jug of Milk

I recently had ACDF surgery, which you can read more about here, and during my recovery I’m not supposed to lift anything heavier than a jug of milk.  For weeks.

Go to your fridge and pick up a full gallon of milk.  Heft it a few times.  It’s got some weight to it, but not too much.  Now look around your house and think about everything that might weigh the same or more.  This is incredibly irritating.

Laundry basket? Not if it’s full of clothes.

Garbage cans? HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA.  No.

A baking sheet covered in bbq sauce slathered chicken wings? Oh, you sweet summer child.

The sliding glass door to the backyard that sticks a little?  I’m doing it, but I think I might be pushing my luck.  Side note: I bumped into the door while going through it yesterday and it gave me a not-entirely-gentle reminder that caution is still warranted.

The metal patio chair around my table in the backyard?  This is another one where I feel like I’m pushing my luck.  Doing it anyway.  So far so good?

Walk my dog?  That’s kind of how I got into this whole mess to begin with.  I’ll need to heal up first.

That package the UPS man left on your front step?  Ah.  This is where it starts to get tricky.  Is it too heavy?  Nearly impossible to tell without trying to lift it.  Which could be bad.  This is the intersection of natural curiosity and natural selection.  You see, I could just open it to determine what’s inside, and then make a more educated guess as to its weight.  But if I CAN’T carry it, now I have an open package on my doorstep.  I COULD just try to carry it inside, and force through the pain.  But, I have this terrible image of two screws ripping out of my vertebrae whilst I lay screaming on the ground.  Yeah, get THAT image out of your head.  I actually kicked a box yesterday to see if hat would help.  It did, but do I really want to go kicking all my stuff to estimate weight?  What if it’s fragile?  No, the juice isn’t worth the squeeze.

So… a jug of milk is my limit.  Something in the 5-10 lb range according to the brochure my surgeon gave me.  Fortunately, all is not lost.  I can lift Jello, and so I can survive.

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

Living the Dream,
Humble Dave

The Way of Jello

During a recent experience you can read about here I learned about the wonders of #Jello, a medicinal miracle, excellent not only for your body, but also your soul.  Although sometimes you must seek it out, it will occasionally appear when you need it most brought by a helpful stranger in colorful scrubs and comfortable shoes.  Accept this gift.  For Jello Is Love, Jello Is Life.

This recent experience got me to thinking, is there a deeper meaning to this miraculous substance?  Is it possible to put into words the lessons that were imparted to me, or must they be experienced to be truly understood?  And the answer, of course, is “Yes.”

And here it is.  I give you, “The Way of Jello“.

  1. One must be solid, but jiggly. Be viscous.  Immerse yourself in your environment, but don’t give up everything that makes you what you are.
  2. Let people see into, but not through you.  It’s important that you let people get to know you, but you don’t have to give away all your secrets.
  3. Explore a variety of shapes, colors, and flavors.  The world has so much to offer, don’t close yourself off simply because something appears different than what you’re used to.  Step outside of your comfort zone.
  4. Be delicious.  If someone gets close enough to put their mouth on you, make sure they enjoy the experience.
  5. Don’t be afraid to get a little mushy.  Sometimes getting a little emotional can be cathartic.
  6. It takes great change before we reach our full potential.  Like Jello, that strange powder which becomes an amazing treat full of life lessons and  awesomeness, if you’re feeling stuck don’t be afraid to make a dramatic change to shake things up.
  7. Subject yourself to a wide range of temperatures.  The proper application of both heat and cold is necessary to healing injuries to your body, as well as your soul.
  8. Step outside of your comfort zone. You must escape your little box to reach the next phase in your evolution.
  9. You make your strongest impact not on yourself, but on others.  Never underestimate how simply being yourself can affect those around you.  Like Jello, make it a positive experience for those with whom you come into contact.
  10. Always be prepared to perform at your best.  All times are your time to shine.

Remember: #JelloIsLove, #JelloIsLife

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

Living the Dream,
Humble Dave

Coke Zero Sugar is Better than Coke Zero

You know what I’m talking about, right?  Coca Cola just tweaked their Coke Zero formula and rebranded it Coke Zero Sugar.  I tried it a month or two ago and immediately liked it better.  I was predisposed to dislike it.  I don’t always respond well to unnecessary change… change just for the sake of change.  But I really like it.  I’m a fan.  Way to go, Coke.

But that’s no longer the focus of this post.  When I went hunting for a good “Featured Image” as wordpress likes to call it, I found something that caught my attention.  Incidentally, am I stealing pictures if I just pull something off google images?  I mean, I don’t make any money off this blog, so I’m not using it for commercial purposes, so who cares, right?  Right.

Anyway, so I found this picture above of the new Coke Zero Sugar and Coke Zero poured into some glasses that I assume whoever took this photo just thought looked cool.  I happen to recognize them, as I have a couple in my cabinet.  They’re Glencairn Whisky glasses.  If you drink whisky (or whiskey) these are great glasses to use.  If you’re pouring soda into them you might want to re-examine your life-choices.  Because if you’re a fully functioning adult and old enough to drink whisky out of special whisky glasses, you should probably have normal drinking glasses for your soda if you’re too hoity-toity to drink it out of the can.

Anyway, this was originally going to be like a two-sentence blog.  “Coke Zero Sugar is better than Coke Zero.  That is all.”  That was my whole plan.  One day I’ll write a short post.  Today is not that day.

Living the Dream,
Humble Dave

The Mystery of Cody – REVEALED!

Welp, we finally did it.  Completed a DNA test for the pupper to learn more about him.  If you’ll remember from a previous blog, the shelter told us he was half Malinois, half Labrador.  Are you ready for a surprise?  Yup, he’s neither of those things.

Quick background.  We used Wisdom Panel 3.0 DNA test.  They go back 3 generations, and after that things start to get fuzzy.  Because of this limitation, there is usually a percentage of the dog’s DNA they’re unable to identify with any certainty.  They mark that as “Mixed” on the results.  So, without any further delay, here’s Cody:

25% American Staffordshire Terrier
Definitely see the similarities in coloration, eye shape, muzzle characteristics (although Cody’s is longer, it has the same colors and jowl shape.
American_Staffordshire_Terrier_Face_Side
12.5% Akita
Almond Eyes, pointy ears.
akita
12.5% Boxer
He definitely has a lot of boxer characteristics.  Coloring, high hips, and he boxes with his front paws when he plays 🙂
Boxer
12.5% Bulldog
Maybe this explains his extra skin?
bulldog
12.5% Collie
collie shaved

Shaved (above), it looks more like Cody than the full-haired Collie below.

collie fuzzy
25% Mixed
question dog

So the real question is, what’s the mixed bits?  I’m guess there’s definitely some Shepherd in there, whether German or Belgian I don’t know.  Lab?  I don’t see it.

I think ultimately, Cody can best be characterized as a Mutty Mutt.  I mean, come on, he has at LEAST 5 different kinds of dogs in his recent history.  Loyal dogs, working dogs, friendly dogs, guard dogs, and family dogs.

So, meet Cody the Mutty Mutt.   Championship napper. Cat, Lizard, Crow, and Rabbit Chaser.  Insect Killer. Cuddly Snuggler.  Huge Pain in the Ass.  Best Dog in the World.

20170513_183835

We love you, pupper!

Living the Dream,

Humble Dave

Douglas Adams Quote of the Day

On Democracy, Elections, and voting…

 

“It comes from a very ancient democracy, you see…”

“You mean, it comes from a world of lizards?”

“No,” said Ford, who by this time was a little more rational and coherent than he had been, having finally had the coffee forced down him, “nothing so simple. Nothing anything like so straightforward. On its world, the people are people. The leaders are lizards. The people hate the lizards and the lizards rule the people.”

“Odd,” said Arthur, “I thought you said it was a democracy.”

“I did,” said Ford. “It is.”

“So,” said Arthur, hoping he wasn’t sounding ridiculously obtuse, “why don’t people get rid of the lizards?”

“It honestly doesn’t occur to them,” said Ford. “They’ve all got the vote, so they all pretty much assume that the government they’ve voted in more or less approximates to the government they want.”

“You mean they actually vote for the lizards?”

“Oh yes,” said Ford with a shrug, “of course.”

“But,” said Arthur, going for the big one again, “why?”

“Because if they didn’t vote for a lizard,” said Ford, “the wrong lizard might get in. Got any gin?”

“What?”

“I said,” said Ford, with an increasing air of urgency creeping into his voice, “have you got any gin?”

“I’ll look. Tell me about the lizards.”

Ford shrugged again.  “Some people say that the lizards are the best thing that ever happenned to them,” he said. “They’re completely wrong of course, completely and utterly wrong, but someone’s got to say it.”

“But that’s terrible,” said Arthur.

“Listen, bud,” said Ford, “if I had one Altairian dollar for every time I heard one bit of the Universe look at another bit of the Universe and say ‘That’s terrible’ I wouldn’t be sitting here like a lemon looking for a gin.”

Douglas Adams, So Long, and Thanks for All the Fish

A Mediocre List of Office Pranks

Laughter is the best medicine.  Unless you’re sick.  Then it’s actual medicine.  But the rest of the time: laughter.

You can always TELL a joke, like “Q: What kind of bees make milk?  A: Boobies!”  But sometimes you want PLAY a joke.  And in the office, there are a surprising amount of jokes you can play that are HR compliant.  Never play a prank using food or drink.  Remember, if someone gets mad, you lose.  The prank should be funny all around.  Here are a handful of my favorites:

Quick and Easy:

  1. Unplugging the mouse/keyboard.  This is a pretty easy one, and you don’t get many style points for it.  However if you’re short on time it’s a good fallback.  Also, you have the added benefit of suggesting to the affected individual, “Did you try plugging it in?”  Good stuff.  Bonus points if they call IT support for help. Resulting Emotion: Frustration.
  2. Cover the mouse optical laser.  This happens to be one of my favorites.  You tape a small piece of paper on the bottom of the mouse, covering the laser.  When they move the mouse, the cursor stays put.  They’ll find it eventually, and it usually gets a laugh.  Also extra bonus points if your victim involves IT support.  Resulting Emotion: Frustration.
  3. The Adjustment Bureau, Part 1. If your office is like mine, everyone has an adjustable chair.  The armrests go up and down, the backrest goes front to back, and the seat goes up and down.  An change, large or small, to any one of these items can be a source of amusement for everyone.  My favorite targets of opportunity here are the armrests.  Either move them both so they no longer fit under the desk, or move one so they’re wonky.  Resulting Emotion: Irritation.
  4. Out of Ink?  Just like it sounds, you remove the ink cartridges from the pens at their desk.  There are two schools of thought, here.  You can do it to ALL of their pens, in which case the prank is a quick one.  The other option is to remove them from a couple of the pens.  They may or may not notice right away.  The second option has the added benefit of lasting a bit longer, as it may be a week or more before they pull the other inkless pen.  Resulting Emotions: Confusion, Irritation, potential Exasperation.


The Long Con:  
Okay, so #1 and #2 are short term pranks.  The effect is immediate, and the prankee usually discovers a solution in short order (but hopefully after a bit of frustration).  The Long Con involves minute changes over days, weeks, or even months.  you get FAR more style points for proper execution of one of these pranks.  Patience is a prerequisite.  I’ll just include one of these…

  1. The Adjustment Bureau, Part 2. This is one of my favorites. Every few days, make a minute change to your chosen victim’s chair.  This one seems to work best with height adjustments to the seat (up or down).  I wouldn’t recommend making more than 2 changes per week.  Always do it either before they get in or after they leave.  You want maximum time from the last time they sat in the chair (Friday after the leave or Monday before they get in are the best times).  A tiny, tiny change in height each time.  If they try to fix the chair, simply change it back when they step away from their desk.  Never move it more than one “notch” at a time.  The goal is to have them sitting all the way at the bottom before they realize what’s going on.  Resulting Emotion: Confusion.

Please remember, the goal of these types of pranks is a laugh.  If you make someone angry, you either picked the wrong prank, or the wrong target.  Ensure that your potential victim is someone who would appreciate a joke like this.  And perhaps, most importantly, remember that there is always  retribution.  Never play a prank unless you’re prepared to be pranked in return.  Above all, have fun!

Live the Dream!

-Humble Dave

Do you know other office pranks you want to share?  Leave them in the comments below!

Lagavulin 16 Review

There are no words capable of truly describing and imparting the earthy wonder that is Lagavulin 16. So if I may be so bold as to quote the legendary Ron Swanson, who describes it simply as: “Nectar of the Gods.”

londonwhiskyadventure

Laguvulin-16

In my experience adventure involves two stages. First you decide to do something new and exciting in life only to instantly regret it. Next the adventure is over and despite your early misgivings you’ve somehow decided that it was the greatest thing ever. Whisky pairs perfectly with these stages. In total fear it suddenly dawns on you that you want a whisky. Afterwards you get pretentious about it as you start wondering what whisky could possibly be apt to end such an extraordinary day. For the past week I have been contemplating what should be the first whisky I review on this blog. I wanted something, bold, nuanced, and which you might not appreciate the first time you try it; in short a mini adventure in itself. In the end the decision was simple and that rather bothered me. So I racked my brain a great deal more and still…

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What the Flip is Wrong With the Phone Companies?

This is what happens when customer service is an afterthought.

Chasing Unicorns

All my wife wants to do is call someone in case of an emergency. So I got her a Tracfone. Tracfone allows you to pre-pay with a phone card that you have to buy for about $20, every three months. But the past few years I’ve found it harder and harder to get the damned pre-paid cards to work.

Last week I gave up on Tracfone. My wife bought a new pre-paid card, and no matter what I did, it wouldn’t upload air time on her phone. So we’re out $20.

Then my wife got all excited about Jitterbug. For $15.00 a month she could have a flip phone that would be easy to use, and never require those damned pre-paid cards. The Jitterbug company advertises a lot and has a good reputation. Seemed like a good deal for us, even if it was a little more expensive than a…

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