Archive for March, 2009

That other blood sample

Tuesday, March 31st, 2009

I’m kind of proud of myself.

After a few days of stalling, I finally made the appointmen for my blood tests, etc.,.  After 12 hours of fasting, a 7 AM appointment, a needle… (gah!!!! I hate needles!), and several vials of blood – the first round of tests is done. Now I just wait.

Dum dee dum dum…

For the record, Quest Diagnostics blows Lab Corp out of the water. The friendliness, general quickness, etc., of my appoitnment this morning was like nothing I’ve ever seen at Lab Corp.  Then again, it’s not like I go that often. Still, I didn’t want to be there this morning, but I left saying to myself “that wasn’t so bad.”

So anyway, now it’s time to wait. At  some point I’ll have to go and get the results and then I’ll likely begin a series of appointments with a specialist.  Woohoo!  Go me!

EDIT: 1 hour later – I have to remember this could all come back “negative,” and I could be just fine. Worrying over nothing would be silly. I’m just proud of myself for not stalling too long on the tests.

Contributed by: Scott Copperman

That other disconcerting answer

Thursday, March 26th, 2009

“Hmmm, I’m going to send you for some additional tests, and I want you to go see a specialist when the results come back.”

I just got back from an appointment with my doctor.  It was a huge victory in itself that I didn’t  cancel and reschedule the appointment (as I usually do), but right now I’m kind of wishing I did.

Still, the fact that she feels I need to go for further tests says there may be something significant which I should try to address while I can. Yay being proactive, right?  Ugh.

Let’s change the subject.  Let’s talk about my doctor, or at least her office.  This was my fourth appointment going back to last February.

In early Feb 08, I went in for a routine annual check up.  I’d called to make an appointment, and I was told to come in at 11 AM on Monday the whatever.  I did exactly that, only to find out my appointment was not in the books.  Grrrr.  So I rescheduled, for a week later.

A week later, I arrived, and sat to wait for my rescheduled appointment with the Nurse Practioner. I waited approximately 45 minutes beyond my scheduled appointment time. I spent that time listening as the secretarial staff gossipped about the various patients who called in. One caller in particular was concerned because her daughter had been diagnosed with mono, and the mom wondered if she should be doing anything special to avoid getting the disease herself.  After reasuring the caller with phony friendliness, the secretary and nurse practioner commented “what a ridiculous question! what is she doing, French-kissing her daughter?”  Um, personally, I didn’t think it was that stupid a question, and when you have questions like that where should you go for serious, judgment free information?  Ugh, I had no desire to share anything with these people… but I was only there for an annual checkup.  Still, I made a mental note to find a different doctor to go to.

Finally, my appointment came and went.  I sat a total of 70 minutes waiting for 5 minutes of attention from the Nurse Practioner.  She sent me for some routine blood work and told me to call when I had completed the tests.

A week later, I called for the results and was told I needed to come in.  GASP!  Why wouldn’t they just say everything’s fine on the phone, right?  Well… I stressed for a week, then went in to wait for nearly an hour before the Nurse Practioner told me  everything was fine.  Soooo frustrating.

Today, I had 10 AM appointment. I sat in the waiting room for 50 minutes, and another 20 in the patient room, but this time I met the actual doctor.  I like her.  For how frustrated and ready to snap I was, she actually had me laughing a little as I left.  This is a pretty impressive thing given the potential result of these tests.  But, at the same time it was a good thing for her staff because I came out looking for a prescription my wife had called for when I first arrived.

“She didn’t talk to me.”

There are only 2 clerical staff, so if it’s not one, it must’ve been the other (and it was) but clerical person #1 couldn’t be bothered to make that connection.  So I restated the request.

“She should’ve called it in.”

“She did, at 9:45.”

“Well, she didn’t talk to me.”

Picture 15 more minutes of this, the smile had faded from my face as I was getting frustrated that Clerical person #1 would not simply talk to person #2.  Thankfully, the doctor intervened.  And I was finally free to go.

Ugh. I don’t want to go for these tests.  Yes, it could be that they find nothing.  But, if they show what I suspect they will, … well, I don’t know what exactly will happen.

Contributed by: Scott Copperman

That other generation gap

Sunday, March 22nd, 2009

This was the scene earlier this morning…

“Dad, I think something’s wrong with the phone. When I call Jake, it’s not going through.”

“What do you mean?”

“It’s not ringing, I’m getting this weird noise”

“Well, why don’t you call from your cell phone? That’s how we figure out if the problem’s with our phone or theirs.”

*dials*

“Umm, no, it’s still happening…”

“Okay, well then, it’s their phone not ours…”

“Yeah, see?”

“Wait, that’s what you’re hearing? That’s why you think the phone is broken?”

“Yeah.”

“Bud, that’s a busy signal.  You’ve never heard one of those before?”

“No.”

“It just means somebody’s on the phone and they don’t have call waiting or they have it turned off.”

“Oh. Okay, so what do I do?”

My son is almost 9.

Wow. I had no idea he’d never heard a busy signal before, but I guess it makes sense. It makes me wonder how many other things he has no idea about.

He’s probably never heard the old-school modem dial-up sound. Never used a pay phone. Never spoken to a live person at directory assistance, if ever even used the service.

And this is a kid who’s far from sheltered: he’s tech savvy, driven a boat, skiied, flied in commercial and private planes, made a podcast, and has a diverse group of friends. I’ve even gone out of my way to expose him to a lot of retro and old-school things: when he was young and all the toy phones were fake cell phones and push button, I ebayed an rotary play phone – so I know he’s at least seen that. He’s simply never encountered this phenomenonwe call “a busy signal.”

I’m thinking I may need to try to expose him to some additional bits of Americana.

Contributed by: Scott Copperman

That other song about wanting to be an astronaut

Saturday, March 7th, 2009

I’ve got a song by Roger, Roll  in my head…  I Want to Be (Click here to hear it).

I’ve got tons of work to do for my graduate class (and I mean TONS!) but right now I just want to transcribe the lyrics… so here we go…

I want to be an astronaut,
on the moon with my guitar.
Ohhh ohhh it will never happen,
but that’s all right,
‘cuz I have you.
I want to be a jedi knight,
in the constellations.
Ohhh ohhh it will never happen,
but that’s all right,
‘cuz I have you.
You are the girl,
I will show my appre’tion,
just a little aggression,
just a little impression of my feelings.
Oooooooooo ooooooooo ooooooo ooooooo ooooooooh
Oooooooooo ooooooooo ooooooo ooooooo ooooooooh
I want to be a  sailor, in a boat, on the sea…
Ohhh ohhh, it will never happen,
but that’s all right,
‘cuz I have you…
You are the girl,
I will show
my appre’tion,
just a little aggression,
just a little impression of my feelings.
Oooooooooo ooooooooo ooooooo ooooooo ooooooooh
Oooooooooo ooooooooo ooooooo ooooooo ooooooooh

I don’t know why, but songs like that just stick with me sometimes.

If you are into music, you should check out “The Sixty One“.  (If they ask, you can tell ‘em SHC1970 sent you.)

Contributed by: Scott Copperman

That other Watchmen (comic) review

Wednesday, March 4th, 2009

[This entry is 100% SPOILER-FREE]

The movie is coming out at the end of this week, and in anticipation of the film’s release I’ve reread my copy of the graphic novel.

This was my third full read of The Watchmen. I first read it in 2006, with a second read in the summer of 2007. I have to say I’ve warmed to the book, and while my first impressions are probably of some value – there is no reason to go into them here. Instead, I present to you a brief outline of my reactions to the text.

What I liked about the comic:

  • I love Silver Age comic book artistry. Compared to the anime-influenced art of the late 90′s early 00′s or the style of illustration used in many compics today, I prefer the art of the early/mid 80′s. I should probably be naming specific artists I like, but I don’t want to make a fool of myself by getting a name wrong.  None the less, the artwork in The Watchmen is exactly my cup-of-tea. But beyond that, it has a richness, attention to detail, and coloring that takes it all a step further. This is one of those books I would not want to see Bruce Timm or some other modern illustrator mess with (even though I admire their work on other subjects).
  • I like the “expanded universe” content. The supplemental material (personal files, news clippings, medical records, etc.,) adds to your attachment to and understanding of the characters. The story told in The Watchmen inovles many characters over many years – the extras are a clever (and ahead of it’s time) way to fill in holes and build connections.
  • I like the story itself and the sophisticated manner in which it is told. If you’re a LOST fan, you will appreciate the use of flash backs and multi-character centered story telling.
  • The characters are flawed and grounded. Even the omnipotent Dr. Manhattan has qualities which we can associate with real people. For a Silver Age DC comic, this is almost unthinkable.  It’s this quality of characters which had me a Marvel fan more than DC at the time.
  • Although I didn’t at first, I’ve come to like the characters themselves. At face value, they seem a bit corny, but when you realize they are to represent potential real world versions of the Golden Age and Silver Age heroes of comic-dom, then you view them a little differently. They are what they are supposed to be, and each of the players fits his/her role perfectly.
  • I like the ending. It could’ve gone a variety of directions, I like the direction that was chosen.

Although I genuinely enjoyed the story, I can identify two qualities of the graphic novel which threatened to dereail my reading:

  • It’s very intense. I’m not saying I wish it were a popcorn, feel-good, slapstick or action movie-style story- far from it. In fact, I found the story to be very engaging. But this is not light reading. I first read The Watchmen on a red-eye flight from Phoenix to New York. You can’t read this book when you’re tired. There’s a lot of subtlty and depth to the story, and you need to be able to give it your full attention or you can feel like you’re missing something. Like LOST, this book jumps all over the place at times. It ties it together nicely in the end, but mid-reading you can get frustrated.
  • It’s long. Sticking with what I said above, reading The Watchmen is an investment, and it doesn’t really pay off (or satisfy you) unless you make it to the end. That’s a lot of reading… . Even as a fan of comics, and someone who reads quickly and often, this took several months to start and several days to finish. It was worth it, but it was quite the “nerd hurdle” to borrow a phrase.

Which brings us to the movie.  I’m pleased to see from the trailers that the film is true to the comic book: literally pictures brought to life. Visually, I think it’s going to be a masterpiece. It had to be a monumental task to produce this picture, but they appear to have done a great job.

I don’t know if I’ll go see it, however. It’s not that I don’t think I’ll enjoy it: I’m sure I will. It’s more an issue of having no one to go see the film with. My wife will have no interest in it. Yes, its’ a character story, but the context will scare her away. My kids are far too young for the film. Even if it’s “clean” enough, it’s still too sophisticated for pre-teens. I may go alone (I’ve got no problem doing that), but I’ll probably wait until the film is on video.

So this weekend will come and go without much Watchmen fanfare for me, but I’m glad the film was made and that it was made in this way.

Next up?  Green Lantern, due out Christmas 2010… ooooooh!

Contributed by: Scott Copperman

That other R-Rating

Sunday, March 1st, 2009

My wife just pointed out that “Big Man Japan” is rated R.

Booo! Does it make me a bad parent to think maybe he can just go and see it anyway? He’s already seen The Rock (w/Nicholas Cage).  Bad language we can handle. Nudity or gore, probably not so much, and given that film is likely dubbed I have to think it’s going to be the latter.  How frustrating.

Now what?  Kaiju Big Battel is having a live contest in Brooklyn in early April but that’s a 2-3 hour car/train ride, and the show starts at 9 PM. That’s probably too late to make it practical.  Maybe though.

Jay’s a big Godzilla fan, and I know he’d appreciate it.  I’ll figure something out.

Contributed by: Scott Copperman