I Feel Your Pain, Perseus

Over instant messenger, I inserted myself into my wife’s morning in typical fashion. “I have proof you are a goddess.”

“Well ok then,” Doc responded.

“Follow my logic here,” If fingers could take a deep breath before spewing forth several lines of truth they wanted read before being stopped, that is what mine did. “We both know that as a rule, I do perfectly well without human contact. I do not, however, do well with protracted lack of contact with Doc. Therefore Doc is not human. Is Doc some other type of fauna? Obviously not. Is Doc an alien? Only to herself. The only logical conclusion is deityhood. Perhaps you were assigned to me in order to countermand the designs of my mother, Nergala. This indicates you are a deity aligned with the forces of good.”

“LOL,” was her only reply.

“How did the shower go?”

“It’s tomorrow.”

“My bad. I see you do not deny the evidence placed before you. This confirms your status as one aligned with the light. An evil or neutral goddess would deny it or just lie about it outright. Goodness is further confirmed by your not having smote me at any point in our twenty-year marriage. Thanks for that. The not smiting thing. I’m sure being smote isn’t cool.”

“I don’t often want to smite you.”

“I do not often ever want to read Marx. It is putting me to sleep.”


“Then my mind wanders off into you being a goddess which confirms I am something of a demigod over whom some shadow pantheon vie for control. So, there. That’s what I’m up to today.


“Ollo? You there?”


“Fine. Don’t answer my prayers then.”

Wretched Winter or Pique and Pretense. You Decide.

indexMany questions put forth to me of late can be answered quite simply. Questions like: Why are you in the gym at PT? Why aren’t you in formation? Why are you so grumpy today? Why are you wearing a three-piece arctic sleeping bag? Why are you laying on the ground?

The answer is “Winter”. Winter is more than a mere scapegoat, however. Each of these questions was asked of me today alone. So, let me explain. It was five freaking degrees Fahrenheit, that’s negative fifteen in Celsius, after the sun came up this morning. Before that, the temperature could only be measured in Del. Del are essentially anti-Scovilles. I would guess that the pre-sunrise Del reached as many as 50, which is almost equivalent of 20 bones breaking or giving birth to a human child, but only if you are male. Thankfully, we reached a balmy 24F/5C later in the afternoon and I was able to ditch the sleeping bag.


That directly answers the gym-formation-sleeping bag question, but the grumpy and laying on the ground are a little more convoluted. It’s still Winter’s fault though. I think the grump kicked off after the gym. The gym part was pretty good, even though I was forced to watch the Green Bay Packers being skull-drug. After a good hour of cardio (10,000 steps before 0630! Tacos and cake for breakfast!), one works up a little perspiration. Said perspiration freezes instantly on contact with 45 Del weather, or roughly 90 anti-Scovilles. Reader’s choice, really. I did learn something interesting. If your sweatcicles form while you are wearing a fleece beanie, eyebrow waxing is completed totally free of financial burden. If you want to look slightly fish-like, it might be worth your while. All previous joy at the prospect of cake and tacos for breakfast became little more than whimsy.

A long hot shower eventually defrosted me sufficiently. Before getting dressed, I took the precautionary measure to drown the dry and cracking skin/scales of my legs in vast quantities of lotion. I sat down to eat and my body rebelled after the first mouthful of eggs. I should have never mentioned tacos and cake to it. My left foot twisted in an inordinately painful cramp (about 30 Del, I think) while doing its best impression of transformations normally rendered only in werewolf movies. Since I couldn’t straighten out the cramp, I reached down and uncurl the offensive phalanges, but they were in cahoots with other, more distant body parts. You know that tendon that runs from clavicle to somewhere near your ear? Yeah? That sinister sinew joined the cramp fest and snatched my chin to my chest. I think this may have been an attempt to empty the contents of my mouth since it was neither cake nor taco. Or is this like a normal allergic reaction to buttered shae?

presentation1*note to self: Never make that sound again. Especially if you are in bullfrog country during mating season.

So, there you have the source of grumpiness. I only compounded that state by taking out my trash, which is normally not a source of pique. This was the part that very nearly ended my life. Potentially life ending events are excellent sources of pique, so it’s fine. I’m justified in my pique-ishness. Indulge me: pique. Last one. I promise. I stepped onto a patch of snow by the little block buildings that serve as dumpsters where I’m stationed. It was more ice than snow, really and I caught myself sliding to my death in a dumpster. Considering that I had recently removed approximately 187 pounds of trash from the communal laundry facility, I think it safe to say that if I broke something or became unconscious, none of the Lieutenants in this building would be happening by one morning to take out their trash. So, you see? Dying alone in a heap of empty detergent bottles and a million dryer sheets was a very real possibility.

If I could offer any one single piece of advice to anyone reading this that might be considering a career in the military, it is this: Never let your brothers and sisters in arms know when something bothers you. That thing that bothers you will become a point of great fascination for them. I swear many of them would gleefully poke at a bullet wound as long as they knew it was not truly life threatening. It’s a compulsion of sorts. Kind of like poking at the site of a dental procedure to see if it still hurts, maybe? Thus the “Why are you laying on the ground?” question. Because Winter. Because I wanted to construct a hasty snow angel for the Commander. Because I’m stretching after a really good workout. Anything. Anything other than I slipped on the ice and I think my tail bone is broken and I just peed on myself and can’t feel my legs. Can you help me with this snow angel? But be careful not to damage the lotion layer while moving my legs.

The 9th Circle

Doc loves finding little video clips demonstrating human stereotypes that she thinks fit me accurately. More often than not, she is way off base. Like the time she found some video of a guy with ADD and his family that raps and sings about it. I explained in that post how badly she got that wrong and went on to demonstrate such. Her response was to address me by her favorite pet name for me. I can’t repeat it here. Mixed company and all. But it is completely endearing. Honestly. I don’t know why.

However, I am a big enough person to give props where props are due. She found one recently that was ludicrously accurate. A video, I mean. Not a prop. It was more truthful than I can possibly relate given the limited nature of human language. If I spoke in the tongues angels or math maybe I could. But I don’t. So, I’ll just show you. Just to preface this, I am represented by the bulldog and she by the other creature that is insanely and inexplicably happy to cavort in the frozen powder that is my current nemesis.


Look. I get it. It has been suggested to me that my lineage should have me happy in the absence of heat. One might think my Norse and Welsh blood would make me ok in the cold, but my Moroccan blood despises it. Can you think of a single ancient culture’s version of heaven that is freezing? I think perhaps Dante’s 9th circle is probably the most accurate depiction of hell ever rendered.

It’s not just the cold though. Of late, the second-place holder on my list of things-I-hate-about-winter is running a tight race for the top slot. Dry skin.

Dry skin might be a bit of an understatement. Just look at this image of my leg:


I’ve taken numerous steps to combat the itch and the evidence of reptilian DNA. Regular lotions don’t quite work, so I found this cocoa butter and shea butter conglomerate that seems to help. I’m not entirely sure what a shea is, how you milk it to make butter, or why this particular dairy is good for your skin when the bovine butter clearly doesn’t work. Tried it. I don’t recommend it. The regular butter I mean. Look. You get desperate when itchy skin strikes during curfew and all you have is butter and olive oil.

One must be careful though. I’ve never really been a lotion kind of guy, so I am still learning things, such as the fact that certain lotions contain acid apparently and this acid reacts with scrapes and cuts in much the same manner as alcohol. Not the fun to drink kind. The kind that parents use to exact retribution for years of lost sleep by applying it to any little abrasion on their angelic son’s skin. I also learned some fascinating acrobatic feats designed to get into bed after a lotioning (it’s a word now, spell check). It’s amazing what traumatic brain injuries and bruised ribs can teach you when you have slipped nude and screaming from the edge of your bed while half asleep. Also, the floor is colder on your bare booty than it is on your bare feet or bare face for that matter. Close run second by nipples. But you can’t gouge furrows into vinyl tiles with a frozen butt cheek. So, it’s anybody’s game at this point, really.

PSA: Olive oil will stain your sheets and the smell sticks around for a while. The entertainment value might be worth it though. A clearly human shaped grease spot on linens confuses the crap out of MPs as well as the Korean police. If only it were warm enough to recreate this on concrete in front of the barracks. Although this might draw some strange looks in the middle of the day. Any time of day now that I think about it.

PS. Korean police do not believe in the Moth-man no matter how hard you try to explain it.

The Next Stokowski?

I got to attend the symphony while I was home on leave recently. I am a little ashamed to admit that at 44 years of age, this was my first symphony. I’ve always been a jeans, t-shirt, and rock concert kind of guy. The symphony never held any real appeal. I know now that this is because I never experienced one for myself. I’ll not go into great detail as to what pieces were played. I’m not an aficionado who is able to offer a cultured critique, but I thought it pretty good. However, I will share several observations that, at times, became quite distracting. To me. And anyone near me, it seems.

Before we got settled in, it occurred to Doc that she’d left her phone in the car and lest she become textually frustrated, I offered to go retrieve it for her. Besides, I was wearing a killer suit. There is nothing quite like the feeling a well-made suit imparts and I felt like walking around in it. Perhaps strut is a better term for it. Obviously not a Mick Jagger or Tina Turner strut. That would look ludicrous in a black, double breasted, pin striped suit. There is a point to this. Not the suit part. The me going to get the phone part. So, as I crossed the street to the parking garage, a young woman in a black dress (skirt?) and white button up shirt (blouse? Don’t judge me. I don’t know the correct terms for what she was wearing) was crossing in the opposite direction. She smiled in acknowledgement of my suit and cast her eyes downward while pushing her hair behind her ear. I’m not implying she only had one ear or that all the hair went behind that one. It just happened on one side. Anyway, I thought nothing of it except that she had a spectacular head of hair and a pleasant smile. As I entered the garage, a young jovial looking bearded fellow wearing black slacks and a white shirt (wait staff I presumed), came sauntering out of the garage with a lit cigarette hanging from his grin. It wasn’t until the show got underway that I remembered either of them. As it turns out, she was the first-string cellist. An odd sort of name for it, I think. She sat in the first chair. Maybe she should be first chair cellist? Later in the performance, the happy looking smoker came forward to play a duet with another guy. They both played these miniature versions of trumpets in a manner that impressed me considering at least one of them was a known connoisseur of cheap tobacco. The realization of what I’d witnessed struck during that duet. Flustered, slightly embarrassed looking girl followed at distance from the shadows of a parking garage by a grinning, smoking guy? My head went straight to American Pie and band camp, at which point I was promptly shushed. Do you have any idea what it is like to have all of this to say when it is apparently inappropriate to do so? I was sure my head would explode.

Then there was the choir. Oh, my God, the choir. They weren’t bad, mind you. I’m not a huge fan of choral music though. Their apparent lack of organizational acumen distracted me to no end. In my mind, they should have been arranged in some fashion by height. Ascending order. Descending order. Maybe like a pyramid. Give them all special stools so they were of uniform height. Anything but this random placement based solely on something as arbitrary as voice sections would have aided in calming the twitch in my left eye.

I also took umbrage with what instrument gets to lead. There was no piano present and the extent of my knowledge on lead instruments told me that the piano should lead. Being a former percussionist, I think percussion should lead in the absence of the piano. Doc informed me that the largest string leads when there is no piano. See where I’m going with this? If the piano makes noise by banging on strings with little hammers, it is clearly a percussion instrument. Without the hammers, it’s just a box full of wire. Therefore, the biggest drum should lead. In this case that would be the timpani. Boom! Percussion dominance established.

I should direct a symphony. The biggest drum would reign supreme. Center stage would be dominated by the largest Japanese hurricane drum I could find, and the choir (if I had one) would be as uniform in height as a platoon of Imperial Storm Troopers. Also, the members of the string section could consort freely with members of the brass section without the apparent stigma currently keeping two lovers from openly professing their affections. My symphony would be awesome. And possibly syphilitic. You never know where brass players have been.

3 A.M.

Three o’clock in the morning. Again. Why am I awake? Welcome to my mind on jet lag.


I think my right pinky toe is broken. It hurts like all hell at the very least which is essentially the same thing as far as I’m concerned. It seems that the left foot learned proper target acquisition from the right foot, which is an old pro at this game it likes to play. I have to wonder if it isn’t from being tall. You know, like dinosaurs had two brains because they were big and needed additional globs of self-aware cholesterol in order to get around without dragging their back end behind them? It’s a sound theory. My noodle is too far away from my skis for the skis to function in such a manner as to NOT cause me harm. It only took 44 years, but the right foot is now getting good at finding things for me in the dark. It’s a slow learner. Apparently. This may explain why I can’t dance. I think these considerations may strengthen my theory.

Come to think of it, I didn’t have this problem when I was younger. My head was closer to my feet back then. I didn’t exceed six feet until after high school. Add to this the observation of my father that I walked around with my head up my butt or with my butt on my shoulders (he was full of these fun little observations), and you may find that my theory is plausible.

Yet there is my grandson to consider. Tiny little guy who bumps into everything. His head and feet share close proximity and neither are pointed in the same direction at any given time. More research is required. I wonder if I could get a government grant for this one.


Burning existential questions: If a step is one foot moved forward and a pace is two steps, what is a stride? Is it just a long step or is it like a pace? Who cares? I do. This may impact how 10,000 steps a day is reached. If I knock out 10,000 steps first thing in the morning, maybe I can just lay down under a warm blanket today. All day. Why am I awake at 0300? Does putting my foot onto the floor count as one step? Sometimes I hate my brain. Is this why we sleep? To give us time away from that annoying organ? Maybe I can bank the excess steps every day so I can be a vegetable on Saturday. I’m so frigging tired…