WTOM, on the air!

Day 1 working from home.

NewWifey(tm) convinced me I should wear the same clothes I always wear to work, so I could get in the same mindset:

WTOM Radio

I think it helped. You could really hear the gravitas in my voice.

In other news….

Spring arrives in North Jersey:

Snow Flowers resize

I took that picture this morning between mic breaks. Snow! On March 23! Oh well, at least it’ll put the bears back to sleep. I need them to be immobile when I run out of quarantine supplies and have to forage for meat.

Speaking of, anyone else in the same boat here? On Saturday I looked at the mountain of foodstuffs I’d purchased to carry us through this plague, and instead of thinking “if I portion this pile correctly and practice moderation we should be able to ride this out for a couple of weeks without starving“…I threw a huge fucking banquet because I needed cheering up and it all looked so good and really, it’s such a big pile that a little more off the top won’t make a difference, right?

I thought so. You suck at this too.

This is WTOM, signing off.

Ciao!

.

.

Curse o’ the Irish

What is it about St. Drinking Day, anyway? Almost every year something wacky goes down on this day at DangerHouse. And I don’t mean NewWifey(tm).

There was the year the dog exploded. There was the year NewWifey(tm) got arrested for driving topless while locked in a set of novelty handcuffs. There was the year I almost burned the house down when I put the corned beef on “Low Simmer”, but it was one of the first times I’d used an electric oven and didn’t realize I’d turned the knob the wrong way. We went out for a motorcycle ride while it cooked, and returned to a crematorium. There was the year I got confused by the calendar and made our entire St. P-Day feast on the wrong day. That’s not nearly everything, but you get the idea. It’s the one day a year I always brace myself for.

I’m glad to report that this year has not broken the streak. St. Patrick’s Day 2020 finds NewWifey(tm) stuck in Virginia (the state, not the girl), unable to get home to help me devour the 4 point-cut corned beef slabs I purchased so we could compare methods. It’s a long story, but…she’s stuck in Virginia. Hopefully she’ll miss any impending travel bans and be able to drive home later this week. But for now, she’s stuck in Virginia (the state).

And of course, coronavirus.

Seriously, what is it about St. Patrick’s Day? A pandemic now? Seriously? “Luck of the Irish”, my Italian ass.

Speaking of coronavirus, Friend O’ This Blog Sally of “Bewitching Kitchen” is not only a way better cook than you, she’s also a way better scientist than you. She and her husband are both microbiologists and virus researchers, and they just collaborated on a coronavirus post that simultaneously scared the living shit out of me and gave me hope that I might actually survive it. The lengths they go to may seem a bit extreme, but they of all people know what we’re up against. So if you’re looking for advice a bit more in-depth than “wash your hands every three minutes and wear a 6-foot wide donut”, you might want to mosey on over there and scare the shit out of yourself as well.

A few more observations concerning these “Bring out yer dead!” times:

1. You know that old aphorism “the more something is forbidden, the more people want it“? It’s true. I have never wanted to pick my nose more in my entire life. And I don’t mean a discreet fingernail scrape just inside the rim, either. I’m talking a 3-digit deep, scratch the back of your eyeball, 5-day spelunking expedition of a pick. I’m ashamed to say I finally gave in to the temptation yesterday. And although everybody in the Walmart stared in horror, I have to admit it was the best social distancing tool I’ve found so far.

Which brings me to….

2. People were told to self-quarantine, but they were not told where. Many seem to have chosen Walmart. On my drive home from work yesterday the roads were deserted, so I said to myself “With everyone staying home, now’s a good time to panic buy!” I pulled into the Walmart lot off Rt.287, and…it was like Christmas Eve! There were no parking spots, sweaty fat people were desperately rushing up and down aisles grabbing any and everything indiscriminately off the shelves, every 10 feet there was a sobbing child who’s parent had just chucked her out of the cart to make room for another case of chitlins, and checkout lines reached all the way to the next town over and their Walmart. I turned around and went home. I live in a forest. I’ll cut down some trees, grind them into pulp, and make my own damn toilet paper.

2. I put a t-shirt on when I got home from work yesterday, and two minutes later my back felt cold. I have apparently been stress eating. Make that stress gorging. I’m hoping when NewWifey(tm) finally manages to straggle back she’ll be able to sew the burst seam together again. And then tell me to eat salads.

3. I need to erase hide all the porn clips on my computer desktop at home. With mandatory quarantines seemingly not far off,  our company is setting up all us announcers with home broadcast studios. When I get home today I have to let an IT wonk connect to my PC and remotely install all our proprietary software so I can get on the air and tell people things they’ve already heard a billion times and are still going to ignore.

4. Working from home pros: up at 4am instead of 3, filling the gas guzzler once a month instead of three times a week, nekkid radio!, PS-4 during commercials, PornHub on an open tab, better food in the company fridge.

5. Working from home cons: sobbing wife sound effects bleeding over mic, no cleaning lady every afternoon, better food in the company fridge (see #2, above), limiting myself to one square of toilet paper per poop. After coffee.

So that’s how the Apocalypse is playing out so far on my end. It’s turned me into a fat slob in a torn shirt, sitting in front of a computer in my basement with a finger jammed up my nose.

Who knew it would take a world pandemic to make me finally feel like a real American?

.

Pictures, I got pictures.

It looks like Happy Fun Time Camera activities are on hold for a while. My camera club has cancelled our next two shindigs, one of which was the competition where I just knew I WAS GONNA FINALLY TAKE THAT FIRST PLACE RIBBON. Damn you coronavirus!!

I can still wander around the house and take shots of dust bunnies and commemorative Elvis plates, but who wants to see more of those?

So here are a couple from my archives. This first one is one of the very, very few selfies I’ve ever taken. A couple of months ago my online group held a competition with the theme “kitchens”. Talk about right up my alley. How could I lose? And I didn’t:

Makin' Pasta 1

That was a tough shot to make. I had to press a remote trigger to fire the camera shutter on a 2 second delay, and in that 2 second gap I had to grab the egg shells and drop the yolk into the flour below, hopefully with the yolk in midair when it fired. After about 15 tries I nailed it. But I didn’t use 15 eggs. Buried in that mound of flour was a ramekin, and I dropped the yolk into that. If I missed the shot I just fished the yolk out, re-loaded the empty shell, and tried again. Every 4 or 5 drops the yolk would burst and I’d have to grab a new egg. But by the end I’d only used 3 eggs total – the perfect amount to make pasta! It was the tastiest shoot I ever did. (For the geeks: I had a soft box set up on the floor to my left, pointing up. Without it I only had a key light – the fixture right over my head – and that put everything below my hat brim in dark shadow. I also wore a dark shirt so the yolk would stand out, but I only mention that because I love to brag about how much forethought I have.)

Let’s see. Oh! How about a spider that apparently likes Raisin Bran and scared the shit out of me when I opened the box and saw it:

Spider 2

Any arachnophiles out there who can identify the species? I have no clue, myself. All I know is he was hardly noticeable when covered with milk and sugar.

Sticking with animals, here’s an unhappy calf:

Glaring Calf resize

Don’t worry little buddy, you won’t be angry much longer. You’ll be keeping it veal, real soon.

Finally, a little girl stealing pickled cauliflower:

Warwick Pickle Girl

Welcome to New Jersey.

Ciao!

.

.

Italians and Wolves at the Door

This is the way the world ends.
This is the way the world ends.
This is the way the world ends.
Not with a bang, but with a fight over toilet paper.

So this tiny little virus is gonna kill us all, huh? Weird. I was always told it would be something like this. I guess you just can’t trust documentaries.

Ah well, I had a good run. And frankly, I’m at the point where I welcome the cold embrace of Death anyway. Oh wait – social distancing. Skip the embrace. Being in hell is gonna be tough enough. I don’t want to develop a cough there, too.

Speaking of death, NewWifey(tm) is also managing to keep it at bay. Sorry about the lack of updates, but since my last blast I’ve been keeping busy playing Nurse Ratched,  Driving Miss Wifey(tm), Chef Boy-R-Dee, and Media Pariah. Not much time to scribble lies here like I’d like to.

The good news is, the “Things That Are About To Kill NewWifey(tm)” list is getting shorter. Physical therapy + drugs – wool socks = gradual recovery.  Still a few kinks to work out, but overall she’s on a good trajectory. She can even have sex again without crying for any reason other than disappointment.

The bad news is, that may be about to change again thanks to coronavirus.

You’ve heard about coronavirus, right? COVID-19? Come on, I know you have. I referenced it above, albeit obliquely, in my brilliant opening poem parody.

If you’re a regular reader of this blog then you’re probably smart enough to have read the CDC’s “About” page description of this fucker: “The SARS-CoV-2 virus is a betacoronavirus, like MERS-CoV and SARS-CoV. All three of these viruses have their origins in bats. The sequences from U.S. patients are similar to the one that China initially posted, suggesting a likely single, recent emergence of this virus from an animal reservoir.”

If you’re not smart enough to follow this blog, then you’re probably more familiar with the FOX/Breitbart/White House version: “The SARS-CoV-2 virus is a man-made pathogen developed by the North Koreans with financing from George Soros. It was injected into dogs which were exported to China and fed to 10 year old iPhone assembly line workers who coughed onto the touch screens and exported them to America to wreck the economy and help get atheist Chelsea Manning elected president.”

(Wipe that smug smile off your face, Brits. Your new Science Minister is not only not a scientist, but never even went to college. Or the dentist. Welcome to our world.)

Whichever version of the Truth is yours, there’s no denying that it’s of concern to a lot of people. And right now, that includes me.

NewWifey(tm), as I say, has risen from her death bed and is gradually improving. Not quite ready to run the New York City marathon, but at least good enough to drive there.

In fact, she did go driving. To Nashville, Tennessee. The day after the winds kicked up.

Why? Why would an otherwise sane –

Scratch that. It’s NewWifey(tm). Of course she’d drive to the site of one of the worst weather disasters that glorified trailer park has ever seen while wearing a cervical collar and taking meds to keep her from fainting behind the wheel at random times.

And it’s all because of this:

Bunny Egg resize

See that? That is the current Must Have item on the little old lady cross-stitch circuit.

And NewWifey(tm) is selling ’em.

Every year at this time all the big names in the cross-stitch world gather in Nashville, TN, for the industry’s biggest event: Nashville Market. It’s where designers and producers try to convince shop owners from around the world to carry their line in the coming year.

NewWifey(tm) is a designer and producer. If she manages to convince enough shops to carry her line in the coming shopping season, she has a great year. If she doesn’t, I don’t get sex. So we both want her to do well.

This year NewWifey(tm)’s product line featured a “Spring Release”, which included the above bunny and several others. They’re sold as kits for the customer to assemble themselves:

Egg Grouping Horizontal (1 of 1)

When she released those two pictures as previews on Instagram and Facebook thousands of little old ladies got moist for the first time since Mount St. Helens exploded. And with about as much force. NewWifey(tm) was getting frantic messages from shops around the globe asking if they could reserve her entire stock so their competitors would be fucked. I’m not kidding.

And that was just her seasonal release. Her other line is a monthly subscription release. Every month the lucky subscriber gets to stitch two tiny little boxes, one with that month’s flower, the other with its stone. She’s also got a more traditional sampler, and a stitch-it-yer-damn-self bracelet:

Bracelet f-6.3 resize

Little old ladies were literally offering to drive to DangerHouse from freakin’ California so they could get their liver spotted hands on these things before anyone else. But NewWifey(tm) told them all no, they’d have to wait til Nashville Market.

So knowing she’d probably have a contract put out on her if she didn’t show, NewWifey(tm) loaded up the Forester with cardboard eggs, thimble box kits, bracelets and STAY AWAKE! pills, and drove for three days in a neck brace to an area that had just been reduced to near fine rubble by the latest global warming consequence.

Fine. If it were anyone other than NewWifey(tm) I would have started writing their obituary the minute their car pulled out of the driveway. But if you’ve been following my blog for any length of time you know what I’m dealing with here. This is the woman who cracked her head open in a fall, and two weeks later pulled her surgical staples out with a pair of needle nose pliers so she could enter a motorcycle race:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

So I’m not worried about her driving a Subaru Forester from New Jersey to Nashville in a neck brace.

I am worried about her getting coronavirus, though.

See, shortly after she got to the hotel she got a text from two fellow designers. They were flying in to Nashville International Airport, and could NewWifey(tm) pick them and their bags up?

Sure” said NewWifey(tm). “No problemo!

And she did.

She drove across town to Nashville International Airport where she picked up the two designers who had just flown in from Milan, Italy, on the last flight out before the coronavirus travel restriction there kicked in. And then had dinner with them, and afterwards helped them set their rooms up for the show.

Stunade!

Then, of course, she helped disassemble their rooms and drove them back to the airport three days later when the show ended. I’m gonna go out on a limb and say she got the traditional kiss on both cheeks at the gate. Maybe even tongue.

From there NewWifey(tm) drove out to Arkansas to visit her mom, which is where she still is right now. She starts the drive back to DangerHouse sometime next week. If you read about an outbreak deep in the woods of Ozarkistan soon, you’ll know who Patient Zero was.

So far, by the way, she still seems hale and hardy. Considering she drinks enough wine at every meal to kill more germs than an autoclave, I’m not surprised. But if she calls on the drive back and says, “I think I’m starting to run a fever, and for some reason I’m short of breath“, I’m changing the locks. There ain’t enough toilet paper in this town for the two of us. I know. I’ve looked.

Well, I’ve got to wrap this up and go wash my hands. I’ve been keeping my fingers inside my nose to protect them from airborne pathogens, and they’re starting to get a bit sticky.

.

.

In other news, have I ever mentioned there’s a wolf preserve not far from my house?

There’s a wolf preserve not far from my house. And they give tours. So last weekend I drove out there, dragging the Nikon along with me.

The wolves were beautiful to look at, but because I took their “educational tour” and not their “photography tour”, it was not really conducive to picture taking. For one thing the wolf areas were surrounded by TWO chain link fences each, and it was tough not having every damn shot ruined by diagonal bars of metal crossing the scene. Plus the wolves were either too far away for my 300mm lens to grab, or they were obscured by all the ground brush, or they were right up against the fence. I took just over 300 pictures, and I think less than ten are keepers. And they’re only keepers because I managed to somehow wedge my lens between the links of the fence and grab an unobstructed shot. They’re not good pictures otherwise – more like glorified snapshots. But it was all I could do.

They also had an enclosure with a pair of foxes, and another with a lynx and a bobcat. But again, that damn fence. And a lot of people pushing up against it. Kneeling to get an eye-level shot would practically mean being teabagged by some fat Jersey grocery clerk out with his ugly wife and kids:

Crowd at Enclosure (1 of 1)

They do, as I mentioned, offer photography tours. But they cost THREE HUNDRED FREAKIN’ DOLLARS for two hours. For that money they let you walk between the two fences of the enclosure, and there are windows where you can stick your lens through for a fence-free shot. Plus the wolves are pretty tame and come when called, so you’re guaranteed to get good closeups and action shots of them chowing down on Liv-a-Snaps. But did I mention – IT’S THREE HUNDRED FREAKIN’ DOLLARS! For that money I’ll buy my own damn wolf on the dark web and have a lifetime of free wolf pics. Or at least free pics until he escapes and eats the neighbor’s kid or something. I give that two weeks. So it would be worth it.

Anyway, these are the pics I managed to somehow salvage from the outing:

Wolf on Rock resize

.

White Wolf Peeks Out resize

.

Wolf Pokes Head Out resize

And this is the little statue they have guarding the entrance. I don’t know why they went with Siamese twins, but they did. Anyway, I purposely under-exposed the shot to give it a more ominous feel. Does it feel ominous? Huh? Does it?

Wolf Statue Entrance resize

I think it looks ominous.

But not as ominous as….

CORONAVIRUS!

Ciao, kids. Now go wash your hands. You never know where this post has been.

.

.

Chief Among Us.

CHIEFS STUFF

Hey, guess who I fucked last Sunday night?

If you said, “The #1 Chief’s fan!“, you win!

Now I am not a sports fan. Well, not a team sports fan anyway. Compared to the sports I’ve been participating in since pre-birth – motorcycle racing, fencing, and boxing primarily – watching heavily padded guys hand each other a ball, or swing a stick at one, is like watching a 3D printer churn out a scale model of the Taj Mahal. You gotta admire the skill it takes, but it feels like you could build the actual Taj Mahal faster. It’s no wonder they sell so much beer at the games. Only with anesthesia could you sit still that long watching nothing.

(I will give a grudging nod to the sport of hockey. When I actually saw a match in person the ability of sequoia sized men to skate backwards faster than I can drive and engage in MMA matches at the same time made quite an impression on me.)

I’ve seen exactly one basketball, one football, and three baseball games in my life, and I consider them five of the most excruciating experiences of my life. And I used to go to community theater.

I’m not a sports fan.

Neither is NewWifey(tm). Like me, once she experienced the sphincter clenching thrills of full bore motorcycle racing, the only thing other “sports” were good for were as soporifics.

Which is why I stopped dead in my tracks when I came home from a photo outing yesterday and saw NewWifey(tm) glued to the TV watching a football show.

“Honey? Are you…”

She shushed me. “Quiet, I’m trying to hear what the Chief’s pass rushing record is!

I was stunned. Not just because NewWifey(tm) was watching a sports program, but also because she was doing so decked out in what looked like a brand new football jersey and matching face paint.

“Baby, I – ”

SHUT UP! Talk to me during the commercial!

I squatted down next to the sofa. I couldn’t sit on the sofa because my half was taken up by a large cardboard FedEx box overflowing with what looked like more sports stuff.

Finally a commercial. But before I could say anything NewWifey(tm) reached into the box and pulled out a red sweatshirt and threw it at me. “Quick, put this on! And get me a beer!

“Baby, I -”

BEER!

I knew I’d have to wait until the next commercial to get a word in so after fetching her beer I put the sweatshirt on and squatted back down. It was a Kansas City Chiefs shirt, with a gigantic arrowhead in the middle. The guys on tv were now comparing how each team’s center snapped the ball or something.

Finally. Again.

“Ok baby, what’s going on. Why are you watching football? And what is all this stuff?” I waved my hand at the 4 foot long box that was reclining where I should be reclining.

It’s the Super Bowl! WOOOOO!!

“Um, honey, we’ve been together for over 20 Super Bowls now and we haven’t watched a single one. You hate football.”

But the Chiefs are in it! And I’m their #1 fan!

“You hate football.”

BUT THE CHIEFS ARE IN IT! WOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!

“How did you even know?” I said.

While you were out this morning the FedEx guy banged on the door and dropped this box off. It’s from my brother.” She handed me a note: “SIS! THE CHIEFS ARE IN THE SUPER BOWL! WOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!”

I looked in the box. In addition to the shirts, bro had packed a giant foam #1 finger, a Chiefs hat with novelty beer holder attachments on each side, several little flags on sticks to wave, Chiefs scarf in red and gold, a plastic bow and arrow with gigantic arrowhead in team colors, and a Chiefs Christmas ornament for some reason. “There was also a case of Boulevard Beer from Kansas City” she said, “and a pound box each of smoked brisket and pulled pork from Jack Stack BBQ. They’re in the fridge.”

I checked the shipping label. Her brother paid $118.14 to have that pile overnighted to us.

I had to wait for the next commercial break to ask the next question.

“You hate football.”

She enunciated very clearly, like she was trying to explain to a retarded 8 year old that “just because the cat poops in a box….”

I grew up in Kansas City” she said. “The Chiefs are the Kansas City football team.”

“Yeah, but, I grew up in the greater New York metropolitan area. You don’t see me whoopin’ and hollerin’ and waving giant foam fingers when the Giants or Jets make it to the Super Bowl. If they ever have. You know why? Because it’s football. We hate football.”

NewWifey(tm) looked at me like I’d just asked her to explain why we need to breathe.

She spoke very slowly again, but this time with a subtle threatening undertone. “I grew up in Kansas City. The Chiefs are not football. They. Are. Our. Religion.” Her eyes narrowed. “Do you believe in the Chiefs?

“I’m not a sports fan.”

Then get the hell out of here. Only Chiefs fans are allowed in the living room today. I’m their #1 fan, and I say so.” She pointed to a novelty parking regulation sign that I somehow didn’t see was included in the box, and which she nailed to the wall behind me. It said, “Parking Reserved For #1 Chiefs Fan“.

Fine with me. I hightailed it to the computer room to play some Minesweeper and watch porn. Around 7:30 I went to bed.

At 8 o’clock the bedroom door burst open and NewWifey(tm) came running in. She flung herself on the bed next to me, sobbing in great heaving sobs. I turned the light on. Her face paint was smeared and running down her face, and she had giant globs of BBQ sauce all down the front of her new jersey.

“Honey! What’s wrong??”

Between sobs she managed to gasp out, “The…Chiefs…are …down…by….10 …in….the…….FOURTH!!

I didn’t know what that meant, but I gathered from her demeanor it was not what she wanted.

I put an arm around here. “There there, sweetie. I’m sure they’re gonna make a comeback in the 5th with some more runs or whatever. Don’t lose faith!”

She flung my arm off her. “Don’t touch me! YOU’RE NOT A CHIEFS FAN!” And she went running from the room again.

Women.

I drifted back to sleep.

45 minutes later the bedroom door burst open.

But this time….

WE WON! WE WON! THE CHIEFS ARE THE SUPERBOWL CHAMPIONS! FUCK YEAH! WOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO! GOOOOOOOOOOO CHIEFS! CHIEFS! CHIEFS! CHIEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEFS!!!

NewWifey(tm) leaped back onto the bed, her red and gold face paint now smeared as one single orange color from her hairline to sternum. She reeked of smoked pork and midwestern beer.

Say it!” She yelled at me. “SAY IT!

Despite the tornado that just blew in, I was still groggy with sleep.

“Say what??”

NewWifey(tm) grabbed me hard on each side of my head, and shook. “SAY IT!!

“Uh….Go Chiefs?”

“YES!!”

She tore off her pants, tore off my pants, and hopped on. “SAY IT AGAIN!

There was no confusion this time. “Go CHIEFS!” I yelled. “Chiefs! Chiefs! Chiefs! Superbowl Champs! WOOOOOOOOOOOOO! CHIEFS!!”

NewWifey(tm) bounced up and down in her stained jersey, head back, eyes closed, mouth open, blurting out gutteral “Chiefs! Woooooooooo!” at random. BBQ sauce and face paint smears were everywhere, including Little Elvis somehow. The room smelled like a hops farm.

A half hour later she was passed out on the bed, still in the splotched jersey and war paint. I nodded off next to her, and 6 hours later I was on my way to work.

As a football fan.

No…a Chief’s fan.

Woooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo!

(I sure hope the Royals make it to the World Series next. I bet I know who the #1 Royals fan is….)

Ciao!

.

Random Picture Blast

My local photography club theme for the month of March is “Cemeteries and Tombstones”.

I’m submitting my picture of a dead soldier, with the grieving widow by his casket:

Beer Funeral 1 PS Vignette resize

It’s a shoe-in for first. Place your bets.

.

ps. GO CHIEFS!!

.

Another Candle.

I grow old, I grow old. I shall wear the bottoms of my trousers rolled.” (Prufrock)

Fuck that. I don’t wear trousers. And if I roll the bottom of my fustanella any higher you’ll see the boys even when it’s cold out.

But yeah, another year under the ever expanding belt. I took today and tomorrow off from work, because if past birthdays are any indication NewWifey(tm) will see to it that I need at least 24 hours to recover from whatever she’s planning. Wish me luck.

Regarding NewWifey(tm)….

I’m starting to become nostalgic for the old days, back when the most pressing health concern for NewWifey(tm) was an exploding ovary or two. Anyone remember that? When her lady plumbing burst while we were on holiday in Nashville? Ah, the good ol’ days….

Since our last exciting episode, NewWifey(tm) has been to:

A neck doctor.

A brain doctor.

A leg doctor.

A shaman.

A heart doctor.

Another heart doctor.

An ear, nose, and throat doctor.

Dr. Seuss.

The liquor store.

Wait, Danger, are you saying this is all because she was wearing wool socks?

Well, yes and no. When she hit the deck she wrenched her knee and hit her head. But when we went to the Knee Wrench Doctor and the Head Hit Doctor, upon examination they each found additional things for NewWifey(tm) to lose sleep over. So they sent us to other doctors. Who sent us to other doctors.

I’ll spare you a recitation of all the medical jargon we’ve been subjected to the last couple of weeks. But basically, open your copy of Grey’s Anatomy to a random page, jab your finger blindly at it, and wherever it lands they found something wrong with it.

There was one bright spot. The neck doctor told NewWifey(tm) that her bulging discs, loss of cervical curve, and impressive levels of arthritis, will all be easy to address. Turns out bulging discs are fairly normal in people over 30 and not much concern if they’re not herniated. And the other two should respond well to a few rounds of physical therapy. “Just don’t give any head for a couple of weeks” the doctor said. (Wellllll…that’s what I heard she was saying, in my mind. But then, I always do fret about the worst case scenario.)

At the other end of the malady spectrum is our new “Adventures in Cardiology!” adventure. One of the more alarming side effects of NewWifey(tm)’s fall has been her inability to stand up without falling over again. If she gets up quickly from the recliner – say, because I accidentally lit the curtains on fire again – I better be there to catch her on the way down when she blacks out or she’ll put another dent in her skull. And our floor.

The initial diagnosis was an imbalance of pressure in the blood vessels on the sides of NewWifey(tm)’s neck, and the slight rise in pressure when she stands up amplifies that difference, causing her brain to get confused and just shut down in frustration. Kinda like when a Meek Mill song pops up in your “WHITE POWER DEATH METAL!!” Pandora mix.

So off we went to the cardiologist to see if we could get NewWifey(tm)’s inner playlist fixed. The cardiologist did some tests and took some readings, gave her a carotid artery massage (which was not as restful as it sounds), and…told her to come back for more tests and readings, but this time at a medical center where they had some specialized equipment.

The “specialized equipment” turned out to be a table with all sorts of strappy restraints sprouting out of it like a leather kelp forest. The restraints were there to keep you from sliding off, because once you were on, the table was gonna be tilted into all sorts of positions rather suddenly. “Look honey, it’s just like our wedding night!” I said. The cardiologist laughed. NewWifey(tm) grimaced. That’s a painful memory.

The cardiologist called in another cardiologist to observe and advise, and once the team was assembled the festivities began. The nurse strapped NewWifey(tm) in and applied a bunch of wires (ignoring my advice to add a ball gag) and said, “We’re going to see how the blood pressure going to your brain changes as we move the table around. You may get a little lightheaded at times, but it’s nothing to worry about. Just relax and enjoy the ride.” She smiled and hit the button.

With that the table began to tilt, sending NewWifey(tm)’s feet towards the floor and her head to the ceiling.

“See, it’s not so bad!” the nurse chirped. “Now, if you feel at all uncomfor…hey, are you ok? Miss? Miss?

NewWifey(tm) had passed out. As I knew she would. Not even 5 seconds had elapsed – a new record, I found out later.

The cardiologists poured over the results.

I kid you not, this happened next:

Cardiologist #1: “Oh no. The pressure drop differential indicates a future of pain and bland foods for her. Frankly she’d be better off dead.” *

Cardiologist #2: “Eh, she’s just dehydrated. Give her a Coke and tell her to pick up a case of Poland Spring on the way home. Later, losers.” **

*Not literal.

**Literal.

So…what do we do? Is it GoFundMe time, or do I just have to stick a garden hose in NewWifey(tm) til she moistens up? Both doctors shrugged when I asked. They did agree on one thing though: more test$ are needed. Stay tuned….

Anyway, that’s what I’ve been doing the past couple of weeks instead of blogging. But as today is my birthday and I’ve already had a breakfast Pousse Café (or 3) and a Prunella Mandorlata, I’m gonna do what I want, dammit.

Speaking of which…

The doctor said I shouldn’t give head until after my physical therapy. Sorry.”

“Does she know we still have that immobilizing table from our wedding night?”

Hey, that’s right! Well then, Happy Birthday baby!

So if you’ll excuse me….

(BTW, I got The Card again. But this time I remembered. Eventually.)

.

Picture This

I mentioned I’ve been cranking my photography game up to 11 lately, right? Ok, my results might not be at 11 yet, but my enthusiasm is. As part of this mania, I joined an only Nikon owners forum when my main purpose (according to them) seems to be to annoy the other members with pointless and nonsensical comments. Big surprise.

The group hosts a weekly challenge in addition to all the typical forum chatter. Every Wednesday the moderators announce a subject or theme, and we all then have a week to submit a photo which complies with it. The photo has to be taken that week, no archived stuff from your “Better Than Ansel Adams!” folder. Fellow photogs give likes, and the top three like getters at the end of the week then move to the finals, and everyone votes for their favorite. Top vote getter is proclaimed the winner, and he/she gets to determine the next subject or theme. It’s just for fun, there’s no money or glory in it, and I’d kill my mother to win some weeks.

Last week’s theme was “Still Life with Fruit”, and I took what I would have bet a kidney (although not my own) it would be the winning entry:

Still Life With Fruit RESIZE

I love Old Masters chiaroscuro stuff, so this was my little homage. It took a bit of doing too, aside from the obvious composition you see in the finished shot. There was plenty of tweaking of camera settings, and I had to get the right light. I wanted natural sunlight, but we were cursed with an unnatural stretch of bright, cloudless days which is death to the chiaroscuro artist (cloudy skies give softer, more even light). Finally we got a cloudy afternoon near the end of the deadline and I was able to get ‘er done.

Here’s the setup. An open window for key light, with a white reflector on the opposite side to fill in some shadows, and a black bed sheet for backdrop. The hardest part was getting the reflector angle and distance right:

Still LifeSetup RESIZE

Yes, we still have our Christmas wreath up. And our tree. Shut up, McScrooges.

I honestly thought this was gonna be a winning combo and I’d get to pick next week’s challenge: “Tapirs! Tapirs! Tapirs!” (Since they don’t hate me enough already)

But no. I ended up in a 3-way tie for second (there were 4 finalists this week). Getting as many votes as me was some guy who did a satirical take on the theme (which I grudgingly respect), and a picture of an apple with a ragged spiral cut – also not a still life. The winning shot was at least a still life, but NOT AS GENIUS A STILL LIFE AS MINE! IT ISN’T, IT REALLY ISN’T I SAY! WAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHH!!

Here, look for yourself.

Poop. Nobody appreciates the Old Masters anymore. And I want that kidney back.

Ciao!

.

.

A Little Prick

Before I forget, everyone go here and subscribe. You won’t regret it. (Although she might.)

***************************************************

I took a picture* of NewWifey(tm) a couple of weeks before Christmas.

Yes, those are all hers:

TROPHY WIFE FOCUS STACK 9-Pictures

Yeah, I’m hittin’ that.

The title of my blog, “Dangerspouse Rides Again”, is no mere homage to old timey Westerns. When I first started this mess I was actively, avidly, racing motorcycles practically every weekend that I wasn’t working or in jail. As was NewWifey(tm).

A brief retelling here, in case you don’t know the backstory: I met NewWifey(tm) in a motorcycle racing chat room. She had recently taken up the sport, while I was a seasoned veteran (my dad, a factory racer and multi-discipline champion, had me riding by the time I was 4, racing by 11).

She fell under the spell of my writing prowess and blatant lies, and in the late 90’s moved from the Midwest to my (then) bachelor pad to start a new life. When she discovered that I was sleeping on a mattress in my walk-in closet because my bedroom had been converted into a garage for my motorcycles and she didn’t bat an eye, I knew I’d found my soulmate. In 1999 we purchased a proper house with a proper garage, and two years later we were married.

On our bikes, of course:

Wedding 2001 front

(She’s holding up the hem of her dress to show off the grease stain that resulted from it getting caught in the chain as soon as she dropped the clutch. Didn’t phase her a bit.)

We raced together through most of the ‘aughts, she collecting three Womens Class Champion belts along the way.

However the last half decade or so has seen a real riding dry spell. Between my two elbow reconstruction surgeries and her starting a small business we haven’t even started our bikes, let alone raced them. So on New Years Day we each resolved to make time in the coming year to at least get some serious practice in, if not enter an actual event. One of us – and I’m not saying which one – also resolved to lose at least some of the weight he put on while recovering from two elbow surgeries, since his bike might not be strong enough to haul around his current tonnage.

Why am I tell you all this in a post about little pricks? It’s actually germane to the story. See, the type of racing we do is called “trials”, and trials is a sport that relies more on balance and control than speed. Riders try to gracefully navigate difficult terrain without putting their feet down or crashing like a fucking nob. (All of those clips are of me, btw.)

People who are good at trials have incredible balance. I can walk a tightrope while eating a sandwich and doing the NY Times crossword puzzle. (Ok, that’s an exaggeration. Make that, “and doing the Highlights Magazine ‘Spot the 6 Differences!’ puzzle.”) NewWifey(tm) can wash and fold my laundry while balanced on a giant ball like one of those circus seals.

So imagine my surprise when I arrived home from work the other day to find her flat on her back, both legs propped up on pillows and an ice pack on each knee.

“I fell” she said.

You don’t fall” I said. “You’re a trials rider.”

“Yeah, well, this trials rider never waxed a Pergo laminate floor in wool socks before. I splayed like a 10 year old Asian pole dancer as soon as I stepped off the rug. It was worse than that time you bought the sex chair home and turned the ratchet the wrong way.”

Ouch. Nailed both knees, huh?”

“And my head. Went down hard face first.”

Just like that sex chair.

“When I can get up I’m going to stick a knife in you.”

Ok, ok. Lemme see.”

I gingerly lifted each ice pack off. Her left knee was a rather cheery pink, but otherwise looked none the worse for it. But her right knee rather alarmingly resembled an overinflated rugby ball, except larger.

Then she parted her bangs. There was a round blue ice pack on her forehead.

I’m just going to take this ice pack off for a second” I said.

“I don’t have an ice pack on my head” she said.

That’s when we drove to the hospital.

When the nurse saw the ziggurat on NewWifey(tm)’s head she didn’t even bother with the mandatory open-back gown, just gave her an express ticket to the x-ray machine where they zapped both knees and everything above her sternum. I stayed behind in a hard plastic seat.

Twenty minutes later they wheeled NewWifey(tm) back in a gurney. Two minutes after that a haggard looking doctor came in carrying a clipboard and a folder of x-rays. He didn’t waste time.

You’ve got a fluid buildup on your right knee but there’s no structural damage. I’m sending someone in to drain it. You have a loss of cervical curve, an impingement probably from the same, and pretty severe arthritis in the neck possibly from an old fracture we found. There’s the possibility you may have carotid sinus syndrome from this, so you need to schedule an MRI. If you start feeling faint when you raise your arms or tilt your head back that’s what it is. I don’t see signs of concussion.”

And with that he walked out. I don’t think he looked up from the clipboard once.

NewWifey(tm) lay there stunned, trying to make sense of the medical tsunami that was just shotgunned into her. I could tell she had a thousand questions, but all she managed was, “From wool socks…?”

I had questions too, like ‘is she gonna live?‘. But before I could ask, another white coat walked in. This one was carrying a baseball bat.

“Actually, it’s a syringe” she told me. “I’m going to drain the fluid off her knee.” She turned to NewWifey(tm), who’s eyes were trying to escape her skull out the front. “Now, you’re going to feel a little prick….”

With that, NewWifey(tm) passed out cold.

Uh, Miss” I said, “when she comes to, try a different phrase. See, whenever I say that to her it means…

NewWifey(tm) came to. “IT’S NOT GONNA FIT!” she screamed.

The nurse patted her on the head. “It’s ok, honey. I’m sticking this in your knee. Not anywhere else.”

And so she did. That Louisville Slugger of a syringe went in probably 9 times, each time withdrawing enough fluid to save a least one burning Australian koala. The final amount would have made Susan Smith smile. An orderly carted away the tub and the nurse handed NewWifey(tm) a prescription for some steroids and a course of physical therapy.

Then she turned to me. “Mr. Spouse. It’s perhaps lucky that your wife hit her head like that, or we might not have done an x-ray on her neck and found these other problems. Until we get the MRI results back we won’t know how serious they are, so until then see that your wife doesn’t do anything strenuous.”

Does that include racing motorcycles?

“That depends. Is it a motorcycle racing video game?”

No. It’s motorcycles.”

“Then, no.”

Can she still do laundry? I can never get my underwear really white for some reason.

She shot me a look.

Ok, ok” I said. “No laundry. Got it.

“Oh, and one other thing” she said. “That little prick in her knee better be the only little prick she gets until we have those results. Understand, Mr. Spouse?” She didn’t wait for an answer, just turned and left. Not that I had an answer.

Gaah! Stupid wool socks. I hope that sheep suffered.

So that’s where we stand. NewWifey(tm) just had her MRI. We’ll get the results Wednesday, and plot a course of action then. Best case scenario: physical therapy will restore some curve to her neck bones, which in turn will ease the arthritis and impingement, and stop the carotid syncope danger. Worst case: uh…it won’t. I’ll have to wear dingy grey underwear the rest of my life.

And of course she also wouldn’t be able to keep her New Year’s Resolution to ride this year, if that’s the case. But that’s ok since I can still ride, and that’s all that matters when you’re a little prick.

Ok, I’m off to shop for a Real Doll to carry me through this dry spell. Have a good night, kids. And remember: cotton socks save lives. And knees and necks and pricks.

Ciao!

.

This, for a certain small hedgehog:

Mercury 2 resize

I have a near comprehensive collection of NatLamps, right back to Issue #1 (including the famous “We’ll Kill This Dog” issue.) That cartoon was in this issue, the cover of which seems eerily prescient now:

NatLamp Cover resize

Of course in 1972 the Vietnam War, including China’s involvement in same, was all the rage. So that’s what this cover art is probably referencing. But still…eerie….

***********************************************************

*I really went full bore with my photography over the last year, winning some online competitions and even landing a small side-gig. For you nerds, this picture of NewWifey(tm) is a 9-image focus stack, shot through a 24mm at floor level. I’ve got some post processing artifacts (around the throttle and the right side of her helmet) to clean up, but otherwise it came out well enough that it won a focus stack competition last month. Not bad for a little prick.