The Double Whammy

I honestly thought it was impossible to top the Mother Of All Leg Cramps, but last night my body proved me wrong. Over the course of the evening, I had drunk abot 1 liter of root beer and no alcohol. But at my usual 11:00 PM when I got up from the couch, BOTH of my legs cramped up, starting from the inner hip joints and culminating just above the knees. The pain was so intense, I could not straighten either leg, leaving me to hobble to the kitchen to try and get some water. After a small drink, I tried to straighten my legs while massaging the cramps, but nothing was helping. The cramps were slightly better with my legs more bent than straight, and since I needed to go pee, I hobbled slowly to the downstairs 1/2 bath and tried to relax sitting on the toilet. Eventually the cramps subsided and I was able to walk out like a normal person, 30 minutes after the cramps first started.

I got another drink of water and went to bed. Later that night, I had to get out of bed twice because I could feel the cramps starting a little bit again. I ended up sleeping on the couch while ignoring the TV through my eyelids.

Note to self: Getting old is bad enough without this type of self-sabotage. Please stop.

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Don’t worry, be happy

I’ve written before of how my mother was a “light duty” bi-polar. And though I’m not bi-polar, my mother’s condition does appear in certain ways within me. You see, I’m a hyperactive, and slightly depressive; switching quickly between these. But unlike my mother, I have worked very hard over the years to keep my emotions in check.

When I was younger, in my teen years, I would force myself to be depressed. I would listen to soulful love songs over and over; and since I did not have a girlfriend, that would push my emotions lower and lower, until I’d bottom out, crying. Many a rainy day in Virginia would be the backdrop for my “forced mental exercises”. I’m 54 years old now and you’d think all of this would be far in my past, but you’d be wrong.

Last weekend I went to a Peter Frampton concert, one of my favorite performers from my teen years. His album “Frampton Comes Alive” was the first record I ever heard in stereo, and it made a lasting impression on me. But during last night’s concert, I looked around at some of the other patrons and I thought to myself: “I’m not sure which is sadder – watching a bunch of old farts smoking pot at a concert while trying to relive their youth….. or realizing you are an old fart and never had a youth life, thus you have nothing to relive now.

Today I was having a short conversation with a friend, through texting, when I sent him those quoted words. He replied: “What do you mean? You had to negotiate a minefield of ass-kicking teens for years and then you packed your s* up and headed for California, takes balls man. That’s some youthful adventurous s*” I replied to him: “I left Virginia because I couldn’t get a date. Moved to California and met my ex. Wasted years with very little to show for it. I’ve driven cross country a total of 10 times, yet have not done much sight seeing. Life is supposed to be an adventure, not just one job after another.

And this is how my mother’s illness shows itself in me. One minute quite happy, the next not. But not to the extremes that she would go. Not bad enough to require medication. But many times it takes quite the mental restraint by me.

At times I’ve wondered what would happen if I let go, just allowed the thoughts to take over. Would I spin completely out of control? Would I turn violent? Or all these just fanciful dreams spawned by watching too many TV cops shows…? I hope I never find out.

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He died of a broken heart

Ric Ocasek, lead singer and guitar player for the band “The Cars“, passed away the other day, at the age of 75. He was much older than most of us had thought he was.

The Cars were my favorite band when I was in high school. Their lyrics were complex, but were usually buried in a “new wave” tune that overpowered the words that they were trying to get out. I’m not a fan of punk rock or other new wave styles, but I enjoyed their music as well as some of the lyrics that seemed to hit home in my own personal values.

Ric was a slender, lanky build, with an oddly shaped face; one that seemed to fit in with the type of music that they played. “New Wave” music was “edgy”, “odd”, “weird” and “quirky” for it’s time, and so was Ric.

When Ric married supermodel Paulina Porizkova, he gave hope to many geeky males that maybe they could land a beautiful woman too.

In high school, I had a major crush on a girl that was one year younger than me. She was slender, blonde, pretty, and a cheer leader; all traits that a socially inept, geeky guy (like myself) might find difficult to interact with. I tried my best to befriend her, but in the end, she turned me down flat and sealed it with the phrase no guy can recover from: “We can still be friends“. I had been shot down, much like an airplane nose-diving into the ground. I was heart broken and thought the love of my life had slipped away without even getting a fair start. At the end of the year, I was able to secretly sign her yearbook with a line from The Cars song “Up and Down”:

Under the cold and darkly sky
You’re the only light I’ve seen

One of their album covers, “Candy-O” featured artwork of a semi-nude woman on the hood of a car. There was a guy in school that airbrushed this picture onto the trunk of his car.

Another album cover, Heartbeat City, is a favorite within the Mopar community simply because of the 1971 Plymouth Duster with the rare “340 Wedge” hood graphic that was featured.

When the band broke up in 1988, I grieved knowing that I would never see my favorite band performing live, even though I knew the geek in me would ever allow me to attend.

Through the years I have continued to enjoy The Cars music, mostly because it exemplifies “The ’80s”, both in sound and (for me) memories of a simpler time.

Ric and Paulina had separated in May 2017 and I believe this was the real reason why Ric passed away. The love of his life, for 28 years, was gone; and for him, this meant the end of one of his biggest inspirations in life. The coroner labeled his death as “natural causes; both hypertensive and atherosclerotic cardiovascular diseases”, but call it what you want, he died of a broken heart.

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Say what?

Apparently my wife & I both have “selective hearing”, or maybe we’re both going deaf.

Seriously, every other sentence is one of us asking the other to repeat what the other had just said.

  • Say again?
  • “Didn’t hear ya”
  • Huh
  • “I said…..”
  • Hmmmmm, what honey?” “Nothing, I burped

It’s frustrating, because I think I’m talking at a normal volume level and tone; in fact, if I purposefully talk louder, I get accused of yelling.

Is this how senility starts? I don’t think so, because I don’t have this specific problem with my co-workers.

So what is the cause of this?

Some couples are so “in tune” with each other that they complete the other’s sentences. Apparently my wife and I are just the opposite of this.

Some of the problem is the background noise in out house. The A/C is loud, the fridge is loud and the TV is *CONSTANTLY* on (not my choice), which adds to the problem of hearing each other.

Are my concerns justified? Is there a cure? Or should I enjoy senility while I can, because we all know life is too damn short.

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Life is the #1 cause of death

Recently, a guy I know passed away. Sure, people die every day and it is the natural end to every living being, but knowing and accepting this natural fact does not make it any easier. Your brain tries to cope with knowing that you will never see that person alive again and it’s enough to make your thought process come to a complete halt. It’s the ultimate example of “cognitive dissonance”.

It’s one thing to grow old together and die from natural causes, like my friends Bob & Char. They had been together for 50 years, then Bob fell ill and passed away. Char lasted another 6 years or so, then she passed away. They were both in their 70s and there was nothing out of the ordinary with their passing.

It’s another thing to be in the prime of your life and then have your life stopped abruptly. A couple who were happily married for a long time now have to deal with the loss of a big chunk of their life. High school sweethearts have an emotional chunk torn from their hearts, from their souls, from their very being. Think about it – your widow has to pack your bags alone, your seat on the airplane is empty, your side of the bed is forever cold. It’s almost enough to make one actually want to remain single, just so that if something terrible were to happen to you, the shock does not affect anyone else. But humans are social animals and life is more enjoyable if you share your experiences with others.

In the end, there are lessons to learn from all of this; and that is that life comes in many forms on this planet and we must treat those life forms with respect. Humans think we are at the top of the food chain but in reality, we are not. Step into another life form’s backyard and the odds are now against you.

Image may contain: text that says '*slamming hand on table* SHARKS DONT INFEST WATERS THEY LIVE THERE'

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“Dilbert is alive & well and works here!”

This is a copy of the company review I left on when I quit working for my longest employer. I wanted to keep a copy of it, since it’s one of those “fueled-by-anger” rants that was one of the main reasons for wanting to leave in the first place.

Jul 28, 2015

Helpful (8)

“Dilbert is alive & well and works here!”

Former Employee – Anonymous Employee in Elk Grove, CA

Doesn’t Recommend Negative Outlook No opinion of CEO

I worked at ALLDATA for more than 9 years


If you’re a “type A” personality and you enjoy being around other “type A” personalities, then go for it. Unless you want to earn a decent living, then maybe not.


I worked at ALLDATA twice, for a combined total of over 17 years; and by admitting this, many people will know exactly who I am. I went back to ALLDATA because it was an easy job that I was over-qualified for. After working my way back up to the position that I had left (4+ years earlier), the only real financial gains I saw were realized after filing personal bankruptcy last year. The company offers AZ stock purchase at 85% of retail cost, yet if you don’t have any expendable income, you obviously can’t afford to buy any stock. And let’s not forget the over-inflated stock prices of $600+ per share. They also offer a 401K plan but again, if you have no extra income, how can you afford to buy in? The increases in medical premiums are offset by the annual raise, so I left just as broke as I was 9 years prior when I had gone back. ALLDATA and their parent company AutoZone, claim that their people are their greatest asset, yet the reality is they are no where near a “people company”. Lower staff are expected to be shining stars, yet their best efforts will gain them nothing more than a cheap pin (“flair” for those of you are fans of “Office Space”). Annual raises are a joke, averaging between 2.8 & 3.0%; unless you are able to “redesign the wheel”, which will gain you a whopping 4.0% raise. I know this because I did exactly that not once, but twice over the years. Middle management gets a bonus if (and only IF) their lower employees exceed expectations (which they never will). Upper management re-arranges the EBIT reports so that magically they always get their bonus *every time*. (Funny how that works, right?) Over the years they have tried nearly every “management fad”, usually a decade after every other mainstream company has tried those same ideas. My Dilbert desk calendar was accurate to within 2 days, which is really quite scary when you think about it. How can a company that claims to be the leader in their field be so far behind? If you really care about the people, start by asking them why they are leaving, rather than just giving them an on-line link to a survey (instead of an actual exit interview). Several key people in the department left (myself included) because they were sick and tired of the continued BS, and management’s response was to cut 1/2 of the remaining staff in that department. But hey, thanks to NAFTA they can get programmer level employees to shovel the data even faster than before, assuming of course the “new tools” that had been promised for 15+ years actually stay up and running for more than a week at a time. The automotive knowledge base that built the production department is no longer needed, so don’t expect helpful answers if you’ve got questions. Would I recommend ALLDATA as a place to work? No way.

Advice to Management

Your own shortcomings are plainly obvious to everyone around you. It’s long past the time for “trying something new”. Try starting with the basics, like listening to your employees.

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What was I thinking?

I’m 54 years old and I’ve never had a vacation. Sure, I’ve had time off work, I’ve traveled some, and I’ve seen quite a bit of the countryside by car; but I’ve never had one of those go-visit-someplace-tropical, sit-on-the-beach, and feed-me-fruity-alcoholic-beverages-until-I-roll-face-first-into-the-sand kind of vacations. So when my wife’s youngest son announced he was getting married in Cancun, Mexico, I knew my wife would want to attend and this would be a good opportunity to have a dream vacation.

I must have been daft.

  • I never thought much about “warm trade winds”, which really means “hot and humid breeze”. Hmmmm, pretty sure I moved away from Virginia because of hot & humid weather.
  • I’m a light weight when it comes to alcohol, so I was hung over just hours after arriving.
  • So here I am, fair skinned with enough sun block to stink up the entire neighborhood, and I’m sunburned, of course.
  • My co-workers warned me to NOT drink the water or put ice cubes in my drinks, but SOMEthing (probably the cold clam salad) has racked my intestines something fierce. 24 hours after arriving, I’m spending “quality time” on the toilet every 45 minutes.
  • This, of course, meant that we could not go out and do anything. No day adventures in the jungle, no snorkeling boat rides, no any damn thing.
  • Watching TV was of little consolation because, guess what, I don’t speak Spanish.
  • We stayed at the Hard Rock hotel, which is rock & roll music themed. The lobby constantly has something playing, as do the restaurants, and even speakers by the beach. My beloved peace & quiet was only found in the hotel room.

So I gotta ask myself, what-the-fuck was I thinking?

I was thinking that I wanted to spend some time with my wife. Apparently I was wrong.

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