Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Endorphin Machine

This morning, I was reading an interesting article at about immunity to pain. Here is a snippet:

"Welcome to the wonderful world of endorphins. The very name of this miracle substance means "morphine produced naturally in the body." It's the ultimate feel-good substance. It's released into the body during exercise, excitement and orgasm, and it has the power to dull or completely eliminate pain by coating the receiving end of the synapses in the brain that would otherwise receive pain signals from the rest of your body."

I had to chuckle as I experienced all three examples of endorphin release (exercise, excitement, and orgasm) last night. Looking over the Black Friday flyers, I thought it might be a good time to get a widescreen TV. I had planned on going to Wal-Mart to get one early Friday morning, but first wanted to stop somewhere to see what size TV would be best for our family room.

Yesterday evening, after eating at Friday's, my wife and I went to Best Buy. An employee greeted us at the door. I said to him, "You ready for the weekend?" He replied that retail employees are never really ready for the pandemonium that occurs the day after Thanksgiving.

We headed back to the TV's and realized that a 19" is way too small of a set. A 32" set would be much better while still being affordable; Wal-Mart's set was about $50 cheaper than Best Buy's. It was then that I noticed a sign which said, "Why wait until Black Friday to get this set when you can have it today?" Paying a bit more for Best Buy's set might be worth not having to get up early and braving the crowds on Friday for a TV that might not even be available by the time I got to it.

My wife and I discussed the matter before heading into the can to clear our heads a bit. The thought of having a 32" widescreen LCD TV in my home that very night is what caused me to feel genuine excitement. I was a bit light-headed and giddy, something that I rarely experience.

Once we brought it home, I wondered what DVD I should watch to test it out. I settled on the first "Lord of the Rings" movie (my favorite film of 2001). It was pure heaven.

The LCD made the picture much brighter and the colors were incredible. I laughed at many of the same parts as when I initially viewed the movie, something not typical for me.

I watched the first half of the film last night and plan to continue tomorrow; I have the extended edition (that's what she said) of all three movies which comes out to close to eleven hours, so I'll be occupied with them for the next several days.

Before watching "Rings", I walked 22 minutes on the treadmill which is where the exercise portion of the endorphin equation came in. I plan to put even more time on it this evening. The orgasm element came into play a bit later. I don't know which of the three gave me a greater high last night. Ultimately, it doesn't matter as I can do any and all of them pretty much anytime I want.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Hope Trail

One evening in the mid 90's, having completed my homework at the Winona State computer lab, I decided to write something for fun. But how to get in the proper mood? After messing with some settings, I stumbled upon the idea of working with a unique font; a Western-style one, in this case. Here's what I came up with:

Hope Trail

Sunlight burned across the desolate prairie. She walked through the tall grass, her dark brown hair blowing against her face. Her eyes were as determined as the settlers of a hundred years ago.

She walked with self-assurance, her eyes focused and her forehead tensed. She wore blue jeans, faded and torn. Her blouse was red and smelled of fire. The miles she had traveled could be seen on her face, sunburned and dirty. Her heart pounded as she gazed at the lonesome valley.

She thought of the long road that lay ahead, but she was strong, as strong as a dozen oxen on a rampage. She would never quit, not as long as blood flowed through her veins. Though all was lost, she still had hope and one more chance. She walked under the blazing sun as sweat began to form on her face.

She found a patch of water and stopped to rest. Lying under the big sky, she wondered if she would ever see home again. It had been so long and she had suffered countless hardships. But this time things would be different. This time she would fulfill her destiny. Life leads one through many detours, but you usually end up where you want to go. And she was so tired of taking detours. She slept for a long while as an eagle soared across the summer sky.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

The Lesser of Three Evils

I just started reading one of the books I received for my birthday. It's about how to deal with change. The first chapter talks about the three major types of changes that can occur in one's life. They are:

Relationship, such as the dissolution of a long-term one
Money, such as the loss of a job, and
Health, a diagnosis of cancer, for example.

Now, it's trouble enough if you're going through one of these things, but imagine experiencing two or even all three at once. This got me to thinking, which of the three would I choose to experience if I had to? Not health as they say if you don't have your health, you don't have anything. Not relationship as it can be a son-of-a-bitch to find a new one.

No, I would choose money as this would seem to be the one that could most easily be controlled. If a person loses their job, there are quite a few options available. Even if unemployment benefits cannot be obtained, it's not too difficult to tighten one's belt by eating out less and spending a smaller portion on various entertainments. Many companies will allow their customers to set up payment plans. School loans can be deferred. Chow mein is inexpensive and sex is (usually) free.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Endless Sleep

As I began my fifth year of college in the fall of '93, all was not well. I had recently been diagnosed with major depression and though talk thearapy was helping, the psychiatist said it would take several weeks for the antidepressants I was prescribed to take effect (assuming they worked for me, that is).

School was a chore. As a Business major, I took a number of Marketing classes. Under normal circumstances, I would've quite enjoyed taking Consumer Behavior, but I sure wasn't up for it that fall. My creativity was sparked a tad, however, when the professor, a Mr. Bovinet, asked us to write up a couple paragraphs on what product best fit our personalities. I went with an awfully downbeat piece, but what could I do? That's how I felt. Herewith is a copy of what I submitted (click on the pic for a larger version):

I wondered what his reaction would be. If confronted, I would just say that I was being seen by professionals. He wound up giving me a good grade on it and didn't ask any questions though I noticed that he seemed to keeping an eye on me for the remainder of the term (perhaps looking for any other possible suicidal indicators). I found out later that Sudafed isn't a sleeping pill.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

November 10, 1970

According to my parents, I was born on this day in 1970. Richard Nixon was President, the number one song was "I'll Be There" by the Jackson 5. Below is an entry I made into my personal journal on November 17, 1999, almost exactly ten years ago:

"My birthday went very well. My mom picked me up at work at 4pm. She took me home to take the dogs out and then we went to Fridays. She said someone was waiting for me. It turned out to be my dad and, of course, my wife, my life. We had a very good dinner. My love gave me an Adam Sandler CD, a Tori Amos videotape, a cake, and a ski mask. My mother gave me the Friendship with God book by Neale Donald Walsch as well as a framed picture of me and my parents when I was a toddler. My father paid for the meal and gave me $100 cash. I spent five of those dollars on "A Country Christmas 1999" at Target. This year's Christmas will be spent at the cusp of our moving into our first house."

Ten years later, I have to chuckle at the consistency of my gift requests. This year, I've again asked for Neale Donald Walsch's latest book and would've asked for Tori Amos' newest one but for the fact that it comes out today.

It's not mentioned in the post, but my father coming was quite notable. You see, he was a Jehovah's Witness and they are strictly forbidden from having anything to do with birthday celebrations, one reason being that a couple big-time parties in ancient times led to some beheadings (for more info on this, go here).

In my mind, that's not enough to throw out the tradition. It'd be like if a woman slit a man's throat after having sex and a law was decreed that in order to avoid this happening again, no one should ever have sex. It's basically throwing out the baby with the bathwater.

The reason my dad decided to come even though he was still technically a Witness was that he had become disillusioned with the faith after the way one of his sons was treated by the elders in the congregation after he (the son) made a slight lapse in judgement (he looked admiringly at himself in the mirror; no, it wasn't that, but it wasn't much worse).

The Witnesses' loss turned out to be my gain and I'm not just talking about the one hundred smackers I received that night.

Addendum: Here is a pic from last night's (11-10-09) celebration:

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

A Night on the Town

Last night, the Mrs. and I went to Friday's for dinner. It was strange being there at 5:30pm and seeing it dark outside. There were a number of people at the bar, but not too many in the restaurant proper. We had a coupon for a free appetizer which my wife used to order potato skins. However, she asked that they come without sour cream or bacon. When they were brought out 20 minutes later, it was just potato skins with some cheese on top. Not very appealing to me, but she had quite a few. The waitress asked how many trick-or-treaters we had; I said a couple dozen. She said she and her kids dressed up, but not a soul rang on her doorbell. Poor girl, all that leftover candy.

Next it was on to ShopKo to buy a few necessities. In the beauty section, I looked for my trusty Carmex. There was a supervisor wearing a Brad Johnson jersey who was overseeing the work of a couple new recruits.

Not able to find my precious white jar of lip balm, I took a half-spent jar of it out of my pocket, went up to the super, and said, "Hey, BJ. Where do I find this?" One of his subordinates showed me. As I walked away, I heard him ask, "Why did he call me BJ?"

Next, I went to the DVD section where there was a young guy with long black hair doing some stocking. Journey's 80's classic "Don't Stop Believin" was playing. I was quite surprised to hear him say that he loved the song (he hadn't even been born when the song originally came out). I made a comment to my wife about a movie I wanted to Netflix called "Whatever Works". He overheard and said he'd never heard of it. His intrusion into our conversation made him seem like a video store clerk-wannabe. Sometimes I miss those days myself.

After checking out, we headed to the movie theatre to see "The Invention of Lying" (I had seen it a month before, but was eager to go again). We walked into the lobby and didn't see anyone who we could purchase a ticket from. A moment later, I noticed an employee talking to another employee. After a few seconds, I said "Ding" relatively loudly (I did this a couple weeks ago at a bank when a teller didn't notice me at the counter). It's obviously meant to simulate ringing a bell for service.

After doing this last night, the ticket lady kept talking to her coworker. So a few seconds later, I did the "ding" again. The lady then came up to us. My wife asked why I did this. The lady overheard me say, "Well, when I worked at the video store, the customer always came first, so you wouldn't talk to another employee if there was a customer waiting". The theatre is called Chateau, but it is experiences like this that impel me to call it Shiteau.