Saturday, September 24, 2011

Ow, again.

The super garlic pills Chey gave me were working for my toothaches, so I stopped taking them and now the pain is right back where it was before.  It's a full blown headache now, and it feels like my skull is gonna crack open.  I thought I'd be able to deal with it at vigil, but singing was making it hurt even worse and I had to leave early tonight.  So, it's back on the super garlic.  I'm amazed at how well it worked - I just stopped taking it too soon.

I'm going to lie down now and see if this cocktail of ibuprofen, naproxen sodium, acetaminophen, and aspirin will do anything.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Here's what happened tonight right after work

Tonight Matt (the guy I work with) brought me a care package when he arrived to pick up Olivia at the end of the shift (he and Olivia and Stephen are all roommates) - Season 1 and 2 of Metalocalypse; an animated series about science fiction death metal headbangers, a book; 'On The Road' by Jack Kerouac, and one other item.  Lately Matt has been letting me borrow some of his books now and then, which I think is super cool.  I've never seen Metalocalypse or read the Jack Kerouac book, so I'll have something to do tomorrow on my day off.  I might even walk around tonight and read it.  It's a nice night... just perfect for Book Walking, actually.

So anywho, about the other item.  For the past week I've been playing music on my mp3 player at work, and Tuesday, when I came out of the cooler after stocking it, Olivia had it pressed up to her ear while she was fronting and facing and making coffee and sweeping and mopping.  She kept it for most of the day, listening to my music selection and every now and then commenting on a specific song.  So tonight, along with the DVD's and the book, Matt had also brought a little pair of portable speakers for hooking up to an mp3 player, brand new and still in the plastic packaging.  Olivia grabbed it and handed it to me and said, "Here, I bought you a present!  I forgot to take it with me to work today, so I had Matt bring it with him tonight.  These should work better than that styrofoam cup you've had taped to your mp3 player for the past week." 

She had bought me a pair of external speakers for my little mp3 player.  I was just completely taken aback.  It always takes me by complete surprise when somebody does something so nice for me, completely out of the blue.  Olivia is a real sweetie.  After I got over the awesomeness of the moment, I thanked her and gave her a hug and thanked her again and went on about how thoughtful it was and what a sweetie she was, and gave her another hug.  Then I found a pair of scissors and opened the package, put some batteries in it, and hooked it up to my mp3 player.  I started it playing, and we all gathered around (me and Stephen and Matt and Shaq and Olivia) and listened to my new little speakers.


Today I was checking this girl and she started fussing with the front of her shirt, as if she had something in there that she was trying to procure... a wallet?  Money?  A debit card?  Cigarettes?  A gun?  Just scratching her boobs, plain and simple?  The t-shirt she was wearing was casual and loose, and as she fussed around with it, she actually pulled her boob right out and let it sit there for several seconds, fully exposed, plain as day, like a single solitary secret searchlight just staring right at me as she dug around more deeply in the depths of her shirt for whatever it was that was eluding her.  As far as I know, she never found it, whatever it was.  Maybe she was just airing those things out.  Maybe she was giving me a sneak peek, like the episode with that other girl several months ago.  It's a weird thing about 7-Eleven... a surprising amount of nudity tends to occur there.

Early morning liturgy

Dax texted me last night while I was at work, asking me if I could come in at 7:00 this morning and read for the liturgy.  I really should start doing that on my own... anywho.  So I got up early and walked to the church at about 6:30.  It was a pleasant walk.  Nobody was out and about yet, and the streets were quiet and still.  It was nice and cool outside, and the sun hadn't come up yet, so when I got to the church the atmosphere was the way I like it - dark and candlelit and silent.  After I received a blessing from Fr. Justin, I waited in the choir nook until it was time to start reading the hours.  Just before that, Fr. Justin and I briefly went over the two troparia and the kontakion for the hours, and also the epistle for the prokeimenon reading.  Hopes were high that I wouldn't mangle anything this time.

By the time I had finished reading the hours, Louise and I were the only parishioners who had shown up, so I was a one man choir this morning.  As I was reading, I was actually kind of hoping that no other choir members would appear, as I wanted to experience what it was like to sing the entire liturgy by myself.  Well, I got my wish, and my voice held out fine through the whole thing because I sang the melody instead of tenor.  That was a relief, because to me, singing tenor for an hour is the same as trying to lift weights with my voice.  Also, since I was the only person singing, my goof ups didn't result in the usual exponential cascade of chaos among the other choir members.

I did get ahead of myself a couple of times, and Fr. Justin had to get me started on a couple of the tones, and  I was late walking up to the altar before the epistle reading, and I got flustered at the beginning and couldn't find the right page, and I only read half of the first line of the prokeimenon, and I read the wrong 'alleluia' at the end of it, and I forgot what I was doing during the middle of one of the litanies, but other than those nitpicks, things went fairly smoothly.

Afterward I went to CopyPro and printed up all of the tones onto little 4 x 5 note cards.  I know all of the tones by ear and I can sing them when either Dax or Fr. Justin starts off with the melody, but trying to memorize which tone is which puts a dangerous strain on my left brain.  Plus, the tones are referred to by number, and as far as I'm concerned, that's math.  Math is also dangerous to my brain.

I'm going to make a little book out of them and carry them with me everywhere, and hopefully they'll sink in eventually.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Semi-random thoughts about memory

I can remember each phase of my life that I've considered happy - when it started, how long it lasted, and when it ended.  There have been six so far: 

1. The high school band marching seasons of '87 and '88 (state marching band competitions).

2. The spring and summer of '93 (constant partying with my sister and friends) and on through the entire year of '94 (my first year in Austin on my own and living with roommates).

3. The spring of '96 to the spring of '97 (my friendship and relationship with Lorraine).

4. The summer of 2000 (my first semester at the Art Institute).

5. The fall of 2001 through the summer of 2002 (when Laura was living with me).

6. The spring of 2008 until the autumn of 2009 (a year into my life reboot after giving up poppy seeds and pain pills, then beginning my job at 7-Eleven, and my relationship with Leah, before things started to decay in earnest). 

Everything before, in and around, and after those specific phases ranged from ho-hum (most of the time), moderately depressing (frequently), or just downright horrible (rare, but awful... things such as heartache, my mom and dads divorce, feelings of extreme isolation, and full blown addiction).

It's interesting to note that the best period of my life, the spring of '08 through the fall of '09, occurred immediately after the worst, which began in early 2003 and lasted until the middle of 2007 - four solid years of constant drug use almost every day, feelings of hopelessness, and suicidal thoughts.  During that time, I believed that my life was pretty much over, and that the only thing I had to live for or look forward to was getting high the next day.  I may think that things are bad now, but I still marvel that my life is what it is, compared to what it was then.

Memory is a weird thing, especially when it's triggered by an association, such as a smell or a sound.  Mostly it's smells and sounds which trigger specific memories in me, and usually they are nostalgic memories of a past time in my life which was important in some way; sometimes bad and sometimes good.  It's remarkable when these associations take me by surprise, which is what happened today.

Recently I found an old mp3 player that had been lost since 2007, so I loaded some music onto it to listen to while I was in the cooler today at work.  I was digging through my old spare hard drive and came across an MC Chris album which I haven't listened to in a long time, since early 2009.  At the time I had really enjoyed it because it was so funny, so I thought, why not? and I loaded it onto the mp3 player. 

Today when I was in the cooler, I put on my headphones and started with Soundgarden.  That went by, and Asia was next.  Then MC Chris started, and when it did, I was immediately hit with a powerful rush of memories.  Oh wow, those days, when I first worked at 7-Eleven, it all came rushing back to me with the first few beats of the first song on that album.  Leah was a brand new friend, and the emotion that accompanies the memory of those days was omniscient.  Along with that feeling I also remembered that I'd used to like to tease her by playing and singing along with an MC Chris song called Fett's Vette (that song isn't on the album I was listening to, but that playful teasing was the first specific memory that erupted into my brain).  I had to stop for a moment as the emotions of nostalgia washed over me - it was so fun back then, and Leah and I had just begun to think of each other as more than friends, and the idea of church was a new and curious thing to me, and I was ignorant and happy, and all that mattered was the moment, and the moment was full of promise.

Sunday, September 18, 2011


Now I remember clearly why I started taking pain pills to begin with, back in '99.  Tooth.  Hurts.  Teeth actually.  Two of them.  They hurt almost all the time now.  Acetaminophen and ibuprofen help, as well as aspirin and naproxen sodium, but only for up to an hour or two, and sometimes not at all.  Oragel actually provides some relief, but only for up to half an hour at the most.  I've been going through a tube of oragel every two days, and it's getting expensive, at almost ten bucks a tube.  Dental work will be pricey too... Oh well.  At least I'm not stuck on a deserted island.  I was kind of wishing the other day that I had an ice skate handy, though... 

I've got a little money saved, and hope to have a thousand dollars in a few months.  I was planning on saving up for a new place, but I need to get something done about my teeth.  I was also thinking about buying some dental insurance and using that to cover about half of the cost of some dental work, and paying the rest out over time.  I've done that before.  I'll need major work... at least two extractions, I think, and maybe one crown and several fillings.  Maybe a root canal.  I dunno if I'm going to worry about bridge work after the extractions.  I've had it done before, but heck, I'm thinking that I can get some sculpey and just make my own tooth.  Why not?  I don't need no stinkin' dentist to charge me thousands of dollars for a couple of replacement teeth, when it would be more fun and would cost me practically nothing to make my own.  I could make fangs, even.  Or I could embed jewels in them, or coat them with a shiny black glaze, or tie dye them, or whatever the heck I wanted to do with them.  Getting them to stay in place will be the trick... what's that stuff they use for dentures?  Maybe a piece of bubble gum?  Or I could just make them so that they fit tightly, with some kind of texture that holds them against my other teeth, like rubber or something.  I'll figure it out, I'm smart.