Monday, October 22, 2018

Doctor Doctor, give me the news (Got a bad case of wearing one shoe)


"Does an apple a day keep the doctor away? Only if you aim it well enough." - Anonymous

“After you find out all the things that can go wrong, your life becomes less about living and more about waiting.” - Chuck Palahniuk

Hello Blogiteers!

So here I am, catching my breath outside the door of my local bone and joint clinic, having arrived on time for my appointment to get a consult from my surgeon, the one and only Dr. Cerreon regarding how I'm healing, whether or not my stitches can come out, and most important to me at this moment, the supreme decision of if I can ditch the walking frame, and get one of those dorky walking boot things, so I can actually move forward and start getting my life back in order, and also to a lesser degree, finishing the job of unpacking the rest of our moving boxes.

However by myself, I finally did manage to assemble Ashley's solid steel 32 piece DVD rack, and then organized and filed her collection this week, so officially- I am truly one motherf'kng badass Gimp* by all marketable rights.
*[An insulting idiom for someone that is disabled or has a medical difficulty that results in physical impairment.]

Don't look at me that way- I still have priorities to tackle, despite my unable to tackle anything foot, and I'm on the verge of losing my mind due to staring at all the blank walls in our house, which is a result of my being too laid up to start hanging the mountain of art we still have in the garage. And don't even get me started on the numerous boxes of books, as I'll most likely enlist you to help me file all of them.

You can't throw a Creative into a Navajo White box ala Schrödinger, and realistically expect to find them alive when you return to open it up. Most likely, you'll find a suicide note and a completely realized and somewhat sardonic, Picasso-esque piece of art on the interior, written and painted from the very same vein they opened up thirty seconds after you left the room and turned out the lights.

What can I say? We do tend to have a certain flair for the dramatic.

But enough babbling on my part, it's time to find out the verdict, so here we go to discover wha... HEY LADY? Can you not see I'm using a walker here!?! Yeah... thanks... geez, somebody turns ninety and all of a sudden, they think they own the planet. Sometimes people using crutches can be so rude, you know? So, 15 minutes later after doing serious damage to my Sprint data plan, thanks to the fact that there are NO freaking magazines in the waiting room, I hobble my semi-disabled butt into a stereotypically small exam room, and after some small talk, I get the judgment, and it's...

GOOD!!!!

The ball is hit out of the park, and lands squarely atop the noggin of a tiki-torch carrying white supremacist chanting inanities... so in other words, no real damage, and an act of community service gets accomplished all in one shot. My healing seems to be quite on track, my stitches get taken out, and as a bonus, I'm getting some snazzy new footwear in my favorite color- that being black, and even my surgeon, the normally serious Dr Cerreon, states that "we're currently winning", so the afternoon overall, comes across as pretty damn good. I still have to use a cane, which sort of sucks, but now the issue of stability seems diminished, and seriously, look at this walking shoe...


Totally pimp, is it not? Sure, the simple black cane lacks personal pizzazz, hence why there's no picture of it, but the shoe? It's as if a flip-flop, an Addidas sport shoe, and a roll of Velcro set up an illicit three-way, and then spirited the unforeseen child away at birth. You know... much in the manner of Jesus.

And with the practicality of the cane as a bonus, it's just like our hypothetical Lord and Savior showed up, and started working miracles. For instance, I can now use both feet, albeit with great care, as I still can't expose my left foot to the full weight of my body, and I'm going to have to remind myself not to overdo it for the next few weeks, as this new phase of healing works itself out. This by the way, is going to be extremely difficult for me, as I'm chomping at the bit to both get out of the house, and to unpack the rest of our stuff, so I can equally stop tripping and obsessing over it.

But enough about my medical stuff, let's talk politics for a flash, because I haven't made anyone mad in a while, and at the moment, I've also been giving serious contemplation to the idea that the next time I see a member of the red-hat brigade, I'm going to swipe that redesigned Klan hood off their head, light it up with my trusty Zippo, and jam it down their hatefully ignorant throats as if were a Flaming Moe*.
*[The Flaming Moe is a drink first made infamous in the long-running animated series The Simpsons, and according to people who have too much time on their hands who study these things for some reason, the original drink recipe consists of an insalubrious amalgamation of crème de menthe, peppermint schnapps, tequila, and a dash of children's grape-flavored cough syrup. Just remember- the secret ingredient is Love.]

Specifically, I'm calling attention to the sham-show that is both the current incarnation of the GOP and it's so-called set of "values". To be clear, I'm not bagging on the moderate (read: sane) Rebubs out there, I'm talking about the ones who maddeningly, still support the Mango Mussolini despite his lies, payoffs, corruption, adultery, misogyny, and dare I say it, a lack of intellect so stunning it makes Kanye West look like the esteemed scholar Dr. Cornell West on his best day. A man whose entire purpose seems to be to turn this country and it's people into hateful and xenophobic nimrods, while pissing on everything that defines the values of what we hold dear as actual patriots.

Like most people, I'm suffering from a severe form of mental exhaustion overload due to the unvarying barrage of ignorance, corruption, misogyny, victim-shaming, massive narcissism, and tone-deafness that emanates from this so-called administration everyday, without fail.

Actually, I take that back, as the state of "fail" seems to be the one true hallmark of this sleaze-fest masquerading as a presidency. I'm not sure what Trump's problems in regards to his overall mental state are, but I'm also pretty certain they're extraordinarily hard to pronounce. Whether it's lining his pockets at our expense, sympathizing with the white supremacist movement, or using Twit-ler to attack everyone ranging from black people only, [weird that] to sexual abuse victims, it's fairly obvious our Hell-spawned, man-boy, slobbering incarnation of a President is at best, a narcissistic and racist buffoon, who at worst, happens to also be a wannabe dictator fetishist, albeit one possessing the nuclear launch codes.

I don't know about you, but I for one, feel so much better now that the most destructive force of nature ever evilly developed, is in the hands of the ass-clown who fired Gary Busey on TV, but cowardly thus far, lets others do it for him at the White House, as he feigns ignorance about it, like the punk-ass bitch he has always been. And it's probably also a good time to mention that he once stated that he truly believed reality TV was, and I qoute: "for the bottom-feeders of society", so now you know where he got his base of
anti-intellectual, misogynistic, racist, tin-foil wrapped, Confederate, Nazi flag, tiki-torch waving, orange-c**k-gobblers, who in their spare time, espouse conspiracies such as Pizzagate, Hillary's a serial killer, and Obama is running a shadow government out of his house, to name just a few of their charmingly loathsome qualities.

To quote English-American writer and pamphleteer Thomas Paine: "To argue with a man who has renounced the use and authority of reason, and whose philosophy consists in holding humanity in contempt, is like administering medicine to the dead, or endeavoring to convert an atheist by scripture. Enjoy, sir, your insensibility of feeling and reflecting. It is the prerogative of animals."

And trust me, you cannot debate with these Harpies of Hypocrisy, especially if you use civility, facts, and in general, reality overall as a construct from which to start from. No matter what facts are presented to them, they'll just shriek their pre-programmed Manchurinisms such as "fake news!", or decry that your evidence/civil demonstrations of common sense were wholly underwritten by Soros, [a classic] photoshopped, [even though that's their niche] or "taken out of context" even when you have video that proves otherwise.

My IG feed* is littered with the burnt-out husks of these simpletons of society, since I have acquired a salacious taste for their limited in size souls, and they just cannot resist flying towards my metaphorical bug-zapper light, even as they view the Vlad Dracul inspired corpse field that's obviously visible around them.
*[ https://www.instagram.com/wayne_michael_reich_art/]

Unfortunately, the majority of us on the right side of History seemingly think we need to extend an olive branch of sorts to these modern-day Neanderthals, even as they are currently pushing without prudence for the inclusion of an alleged sexual deviant to the highest court in the land, a view I vehemently disagree with on every level. These odious slugs have not earned our charity, our respect, or even the lowest tenets of our basic Humanity, whereas I'm concerned, and I highly doubt that POV will change anytime soon, given the current political climate, which hasn't been helped by completely tone-deaf and completely asinine statements from Cadet Bone Spurs such as: “It’s a scary time for young men in America; you can be guilty of something you may not be guilty of."

Classic projection at best, definitive admission of personal guilt at worst, and as always, a repulsive display of affinity for true male privilege, replete with an additional measure of misogyny thrown in as a personal throwaway joke. The man may not be able to punch above his weight, but he without doubt, does know how to do it below the belt. At this point, he's tarnished our national image so much, that it currently resembles an encrusted sculpture from Damien Hirst's artistic flop, Treasures from the Wreck of The Unbelievable*.
*[ https://hyperallergic.com/391158/damien-hirst-treasures-from-the-wreck-of-the-unbelievable-venice-punta-della-dogana-palazzo-grassi/ ]

Due to his disturbing penchant for being an entrenched narcissist, he's not only managed to make America look weak and morally rudderless in the eyes of the world, he's also infected his sordid mélange of racism, misogyny, willful ignorance, and indifference upon the body politic as noted earlier. Never in my lifetime as a political animal, can I recall someone so personally vile sitting on the American throne of influence, while concurrently having no idea what to do or how to present oneself to the international community.

By way of example, George Bush Jr wasn't ever going to be considered Einstein by any standard of measuring I regard highly, but at least I never thought he was going to attempt a full-on military campaign as a means of deflection against Agrabah*, like 41% of his followers once advocated**.
*[Agrabah is a fictional city from the Disney film Aladdin, which goes to show you that there's not only a desperate need to seriously underwrite public education in this country, but free access to birth control as well.
**
https://www.snopes.com/news/2015/12/18/agrabah-aladdin-republican-poll/]

As I've often noted publicly, the members of the Chinese-made Red Hat Brigade tend to be the human embodiment of a cheap bumper sticker- all faux intellectualism, but ultimately, presenting as flat, ignorant, and harder to remove from society than the wrapping on a compact disc. And yes, I did state "remove", and I stand by it 100%. Possibly 135%, since they're into inanities and alternate facts, and I want to come off as tolerant of the defective DNA that defines them. For the record, I have absolutely zero issue with anyone who thinks differently than me, based on the minor protocol that they are actually thinking to begin with.

Facts count. Science is real. Reality is concrete. And no, I don't care what you read on the Web, or saw on FOX, especially when it's praised by commentary from overly bleached fembots who uniformly, look like they were pressed out of a Barbie mold by the men of FOX who apparently, just stepped out of 1955. And in regards to this sub-group of knuckle-dragging troglodytes who think those same said women should be okay with the occasional ass-slap or unwanted comment at work about their appearance every now and then, they're pretty much interchangeable with our current incarnation of Congress- a group of taxing teat suckers who while rife with sexual predators of their own, felt the need to allow their so-called leader to apologize publicly to an "alleged" rapist for the minor inconvenience of being held accountable for the past transgression that brutally honest people refer to not as "boys will be boys", but by it's true name, that being rape.

They deliberately chose to mock and outright ignore the trauma and testimony of sexual survivors, albeit with an air of sheer cowardice as their underpinning. Most like Bob Corker and Mitch Mc Connell, did it self-righteously if not proudly, while the eternally slimy Jeff Flake performed an embarrassingly ham-fisted act of failed piety for the sake of the cameras alone. And the shaming, threatening, and blaming of said victims was truly reprehensible beyond all shadow of any doubts... especially for people who claim to represent us and our supposed American values.

To a man, and more disturbingly, some women- the eager trading of ones soul, integrity, and inherent compassion for nothing more than a few ethereal magic beans of limited power, borders on the actionably treasonous, if not the inhuman. Immigrant children ripped from families and put up for adoption, a morally corrupt administration headed up by the lowliest of jabbering grifters, a dismantling of the programs designed for our greater good for no other reason than pettiness and greed, along with a wave of unconstrained racism not seen in this country since the days of the Freedom March.

And these constructs of human pudding skin and hubris have the gall to say they stand for us? What a beautiful and shining vision that was, but is no longer, America. Hopefully come November, a sea-change occurs which begins the process of flushing out the carcinogen that is currently masquerading as leadership within this country, and than we can all stop wondering aloud just when this jackass Oompa-Loompa is going to kill us all with his spiteful idiocy and vanity, if for other reason than to overcompensate for his alleged shroom-dick.

Gag. Sorry, just needed to get that off my chest. I can vote, and continue on with my performance-art project of mailing anti-Trump postcards to the most die-hard of his supporters, but sometimes you have to vocalize your rage in lieu of debating whether the jail time would be worth it. Sigh... on to happier things.

That btw, being the publishing of a new media interview of yours tr by VoyagePhoenix.com, and here's the link, if you feel so inclined to read it:

http://voyagephoenix.com/interview/check-wayne-michael-reich-s-artwork/

With any luck, I won't come off as dense, but time will tell, as it always does, but I still like my overall odds here. As for the day to day of what's been going on, the further I move away from the PAS and it's intrinsic drama, the better my energy is. Not being directly involved anymore with what had become an exceedingly toxic soup, has allowed me the rare opening to experience an epiphany of sorts- that being how great it feels to be free of it. As noted clearly in a previous screed, while I still plan to promote and support a select group of artists and galleries within the scene from my new Lair of Snarkitude, the rest of the PAS can go fend itself.

I've spent almost ten years writing, critiquing, and suggesting how this two night a month mediocrity could improve it's standing within and beyond it's self-imposed borders, and quite honestly, I'm done with being the flag-bearer for people who deign to tell me from the shadows that they agree with what I've said, and yet still refuse to take public action of any sort to forcibly change the track of this mismanaged debacle erroneously veiled as a financially viable art scene. Speaking of which, having this forced downtime has allowed me to take an outsider's perch regarding the vibe of the local art river, balanced out with a fair amount of anonymity that I'm relatively unaccustomed to- which is sort of nice, if I was so inclined toward being rather candid.

No need to scare the straights right out of the gate, you know... although I'm sure I'll get around to it eventually. Or maybe not, depending on how my initial immersion goes. It truly will be a dice toss, no matter which way it spins. But despite the cautiously optimistic news from my surgeon, this has been a depressing cycle, nonetheless- my 20 year old Euromastyx pet lizard Geiger died unexpectedly this week, and my discrimination complaint was dropped without explanation by the AZ Attorney General's office as well, which just goes to firmly attest the truism that lightning doesn't hit nearly enough of the right people at the right time.

If there ever were a need for a Vogon analog, these bureaucratic boneheads would definitely fit the costume, if not the bill. I would offer up some other insults in typical vein, but that seems rather pointless when you're dealing with people who think that ignoring the obvious should be their go-to niche. Despite my past addressing of this issue which regarded my limited take on the supervisor who illegally fired me, I still feel the need to call attention to the particulars that these pencil-pushing pinheads glossed over, and I'll most likely tackle that at some length in a future screed.

Oh lucky you.

So for now, I'll just quote actor (and awesome Dr. Strange) Benedict Cumberbatch as a means to close off this topic for the time being: "There's so much in the 21st century that is stymied by bureaucracy and mediocrity and committee." Truly, a perfect assessment when it comes to this inefficient, ineffectual, and as one might be sorely tempted to opine if given the pause- exceedingly dishonorable agency. I'm not really sure what their employees "do",  but seeking the Truth is allegedly not a component of it. Unethically cashing a paycheck while loafing however, does seem more probable in MHO, given both the puzzling outcome and the seeming lack of actual investigation in regards to my case, but as I said, I may address this later, depending on my mood, the pool of pure writing inspiration, and whether or not I feel the need to remove someone's essence via their eye sockets...

You know, like you do.
Woof. This seems like an opportune time to take a break, don't you think?

And when I come back... I see how much art a former art hanger can hang while being completely off-balance, discover what it's like to truly celebrate Halloween for the first time as an entrenched suburbanite, and wonder if substituting in a custom walking stick as a calculated addition to my overall look would be considered a positive, or as completely narcissistic.

"That is why, no matter how desperate the predicament is, I am always very much in earnest about clutching my cane, straightening my derby hat and fixing my tie, even though I have just landed on my head." -Charlie Chaplin






Monday, September 24, 2018

The Road Still Ahead (Beyond the Toe-path)


"If my doctor told me I had only six minutes to live, I wouldn't brood. I'd type a little faster."- Isaac Asimov

"My doctor told me that jogging could add years to my life. I think he was right. I feel ten years older already."- Milton Berle

Hello Blogiteers!

What a short strange trip it's been regarding my settling in to our new life here just outside Silver City, New Mexico, and what a cache it's generated in regards to my writing- I don't think I've torn this particular size of hole in my writers block for quite some time now, and it feels great, just great. Granted, what "inspired" it was a horrific experience to be sure, but hey- the muse strikes when she strikes, and you've just gotta roll with the punches as they come, I guess.

On a more domestic note, we finally have all the living room furniture sited relatively where we want it, so the minor tweaking to be done here and there means that eventually all the books and art currently stored out in our one-car garage will come inside the residence and find their for-right-now homes, now that we know where those homes will be. Thank God, our kindly rent by the hour handyman was willing to give us a hand, or all of this would've had to wait until I was able to stand up and walk like a normal person, which could still be several weeks from now.

Somehow, I've managed to not let all of the aggravation of being incapable to fully unpack and finish what needs to be done, get to me. How, if truth be told, I'm not entirely sure. Oh wait, I do know- this town has three medical "green" dispensaries, and the product pricing is fairly competitive. All non-kidding aside, there is something about New Mexico that definitely causes one to cool out like a penguin on a glacier, and while I'm really not sure what it is, I don't seem to be fighting this current circumstance with my usual fervor, as for some unhindered reason, my psyche isn't really tugging at me to do so, which is a uniquely fresh occurrence for me to ruminate on whenever time here gets slow.

There's definitely an established pace here, and it's literally whatever speed you feel like, as long as that velocity is set squarely at chill. I never thought I'd say this, but minus all the personal medical drama, I'm really enjoying being able to breathe and even theoretically relax, for what seems like the first time in years.

No art scene drama (as of yet) no second-handers* up in my grill, (as of yet) no mewling Artlink sycophants (because they thankfully don't exist here) and you have no idea how bloody refreshing it's been not having to write about Phoenix's faux arts advocacy group Artlink, it's cravenly leader, [the very epitome of a second-hander, in my opinion] and all of it's bullspit. Heck, I've even started waving hello at perfect strangers here, because that's what us disturbingly friendly locals do.
*[A second-hander (taken from Ayn Rand's writings and philosophy) is a person who is primarily concerned with being esteemed and valued by others, at the expense of forming his/her own independent worldview. A person who derives their decisions from the worldview of others; with the sole metric of merit based off of how others will recieve and accept their decision not based on merit or truth but on popular perception.

They're also notorious for taking the solidly virtuous ideas of others, and cocking them up, primarily due to a toxic blend of personal arrogance and Ego, which describes Artlinks' procedural abilities and some of it's board members [IMHO] to a "T", as the cliché goes.]

As someone who's somewhat notorious for having what was once benevolently described as "a mouth full of razor blades", it's definitely extraordinary to find myself surrounded by what on the surface, appears to be genuinely decent people, which so far, has kept my bladed-tongue to some extent, fully sheathed. I'm sure given the law of averages, that eventually I'll run into someone here that will set me off, and if you've read the first part of my New Mexico saga, that sort of already happened, albeit on a minor scale, but so far, when I've run into a true jerk, they're either a tourist on vacation, or just briefly passing through this hamlet on their way to somewhere else.

And while I seem to be easily coexisting with the vibe of this place, I'm still holding onto that inherent and magnificently cynical snarkiness of mine that we've all grown to... well, let's just say "love" and move on shall we, if for nothing more than the sake of the narrative.

Given the fact that I've seen subtle little changes in regards to my outward attitude, I've taken it upon myself to make sure every morning that somebody hasn't swapped me out for a Stepford-brand Android as I've slept, by going through a standard check list:

Do I still think Annabella Lwin, Debbie Harry, Siouxsie Sioux, Milla Jovovich, and that one blonde girl from the old Pore Strips commercial are smoking hot? Check.

Do I still know in my heart that Ding Dongs are the far superior snack cake? Check.

Do I still believe that Highlander is a near perfect movie and it's sequel is an abomination unto the lord that should be sealed away forever inside one of those salt caves where they store nuclear waste? Check.

Do I still taste the glaring variation between a Mexican Coke and it's far uglier American stepsister, Pepsi? Check.

Do I ever see a time in my life when I'll walk by a Star Wars toy display, and not grab a lightsaber to do imaginary battle in the aisle as my GF pretends not to know me? Hell, no, but also, Check
.

I'm happy to report thus far, I still get overly annoyed at how long my tea-water takes to boil at this altitude (6K feet above sea level.), am vexed by the fact the sugar is in an area where it's hard for me to get to, and I get sincerely cross over experiencing that while Almond Milk poured over Frosted Cheerios is the bomb, the Cheerios always stick to the sides of the bowl when I'm trying to get the last of them out. In fact, I spent almost ten minutes cursing out the news feed on my Twitter this morning, a considerable amount of time griping about the dogs barking next door, and wrapped it all up with a treatise on why putting artichoke hearts and sun-dried tomatoes on formerly unsullied Pizza is akin to a constitutional crisis.

I find myself routinely annoyed by the trivial and unimportant, so yeah... still me.

And since I am still me, I am required to do "still me" things, such as going to see my surgeon in regards to how well my post-surgery wound is doing. Unfortunately, since I'm still using the walker, it's a little bit more complicated than just getting in my car, and popping on over to the ol' out-clinic [http://southwestboneandjoint.com/] for a stereotypically brief chat with reference to some supplementary medical advice.

As I described in a previous blog: "Every time I go to hoist myself, it feels as if I'm dead-lifting a city bus- American Chicago, not Red London double-decker, that is. Just for those of you who like to keep track of such trivial things. Considering my normal weight fluctuates between 185 to 205 pounds, part of me wonders if I need to stop fretting over my diabetic-related weight loss, and embrace it for a change, because if lifting my severely underweight ass hurts my arms and shoulders this much, I can only imagine what that extra thirty-eight pounds would feel like."

But before this inescapable workout day from Hell can even begin to manifest itself, like those three self-righteous ghosts of Christmas, there are some truly vital things that need to be addressed as preceding events.
 
First, there's the issue of getting myself dressed, a process that starts with cautiously sliding off my colorful lounge-pants, then sliding on my jeans even more guardedly over my bandage-wrapped foot, then attempting to put on a shirt, warily minding the pain and mobility issues involved there, and finishing off by attempting to use my nerve-damaged hands to zip said jeans, and button up. My jeans, that is, since some days can present a minor sum challenge, depending on how much my hands want to contribute to the cause that day, and also because I tend to wear graphic tee shirts, and not their more formal buttoned cousins.

So after wading through that fashionistas fjord, I deck myself out with my customary regalia of assorted rings, (8 in total) a single bracelet, and a watch and necklace that suits my mood for that day, I then have to put on a single sneaker, because of the one foot being bandaged up like Jocelyn Perisset Wildenstein* on a Tuesday, grab my walker, hobble down the mercifully short main hallway of my house, pickup my keys, and head for the front door.
*[Jocelyn Perisset Wildenstein is a Swiss-born American socialite best known for her extensive (and somewhat disturbing, IMHO) cosmetic surgery. Her nicknames run the gamut, from the obvious: "Catwoman", to the somewhat of a stretch: "The Lion Queen", and to the downright rude: "The Bride Of Wildenstein" a moniker given to her by various "news" outlets. After her divorce from her billionaire husband, she once calculated her yearly telephone bill at $60,000 and food and wine costs at $547,000, which is not too surprising, given the cost of British Banquet.**

**"British Banquet", is a so-called luxury cat food for the “insanely rich”- that being the cat's bad decision making owners that is, not the cat. It contains Arenkha caviar, line-caught Scottish salmon, hand-caught Norfolk lobster, and locally-sourced Devon crab. Each gourmet pack also includes organic asparagus, quinoa, and saffron for that “extra touch of luxury and refinement”.

This ridiculously costly future feces pile contains no preservatives, additives or artificial colors, and is also GM-free, because that's really important to an animal that coughs up hairballs, and eats it's own acid-chowder, am I right? It is not only fit for humans to eat, but tastes “absolutely wonderful”, claims it's manufacturer Green Pantry. A month’s supply costs nearly £750, ($982.50 noting current pound to dollars conversion of 9/2018) which equals a morally obscene  £9,000 per year, ($11,790.00) £12.50 ($16.50) per serving, or about £1.25 ($1.75) per mouthful.

First point of contention- no way in Hades is an animal that licks itself, ever going to eat better than me, ever. And second? If I do become ridiculously wealthy, and I go to buy this, please just shoot me in my fkng face. I'll totally understand.]

Arriving at said egress point, I face three challenges, the first being getting it open, (easy) the second is trying to get outside without tripping over the sill, which is way harder than you might think as there's a step down that due to the angle, throws my balance off, and third, is managing to grab the door that's now behind me in order to lock it.

Having never taken gymnastics in my youth, due to the fact that I'm not a small Russian pryzhki devushka*, nor considered flexible by any means measurable, I'm not entirely sure if my feral gyrations would qualify for competition, but I'm pretty convinced at this point, I could seriously challenge Simone Biles in the Balance Beam portion of the program. And while I might not take home the Gold, Silver's definitely going to be my bitch.
*[Pryzhki devushka means "jumping girl" in Russian. You're welcome ]

So at this point, if I've managed to successfully accomplish all three tasks without crippling or outright killing myself, it still leaves the issue of getting to my car, which requires slight maneuvering down a somewhat uneven (for me) and steep driveway. And if it's this fun for my bad foot in good weather, I can only imagine how truly delightful it will be if Winter decides to show up for the party early. And Winter would do this, because sometimes it just takes joy in being a complete and total dick.

Now, let's surmise that I've managed to safely get to my car, somehow gotten past the awkwardness of opening the heavy car door, firmly planted my underweight keister in the driver's seat, deftly folded up my pimptastic chromed ride, and with Tetris skills on loan from Alexey Leonidovich Pajitnov* himself, managed to wedge it in the passenger side floor area, and then close the door. Out of the proverbial woods, right?
*[Alexey Leonidovich Pajitnov is the Russian video game designer and computer engineer who developed Tetris while working for the (wait for the mouthful) Dorodnitsyn Computing Center, a subsidiary of the Soviet Academy of Sciences, which not surprisingly, was a government-founded R&D center. He only started to see royalties fom his work when in 1996, he co-founded The Tetris Company with business partner Hank Rogers.]

Well, not exactly. As I've noted previously, I can't bear any direct weight on my wounded foot at all- I can pivot and put a modest amount of load on my heel, but it's awkward and generally makes me feel even more off balance, which has led to some very close-calls in regards to my almost falling down. [As if I could fall up?] In order for me to drive, I had to provide some serious padding for my left foot, even though my current car's an automatic, which is fortuitous, as my last one was a stick-shift, albeit it one that had a sick paint job.


Upside of this car? I never lost it in a parking lot, it was pretty good on gas, cheap to fix, and on those exceedingly rare occasions when I'd get pulled over by the cops, the look on their slack-jawed thug faces at seeing a middle-aged, blond, blue-eyed, suburban white boy with a hardcore love for graffiti behind the wheel was priceless.

Thank the stars I have two lawyers on speed dial. But getting back to my compact, totally sexy Honda- at the moment for me to be able to drive while striving to keep my foot unharmed, there's effectively close to three inches of folded towels to keep it safe from any bumps or pressure as I drive. I can't even imagine how my old car would have worked out with this injury, and I get the feeling that my local Uber driver and I would have gotten to know each other really well over these last few weeks.

Because I really need to make some friends here, and that just might be the best way to do it. After all, who doesn't want to hear about how somebody else solved the problem of storing their dead clowns when faced with limited crawlspace?

Speaking of clowns whom I hope meet their demise via the inappropriate utilization of a plugged in toaster, a wet floor, and a bathtub, we're going to take a small off-course tangent for a few paragraphs. If you're a regular reader, you may recall me writing about my firing/dismissal in February of this year by a supervisor who doesn't (and didn't) understand that you can't fire somebody for having a chronic illness. If at this point, you're not a regular reader, and you have no idea what I'm blathering about, here's the cut and paste to help you catch up with the rest of the loyal Artbitch legion, and then afterwards, go bookmark this site so you can stay hip to my jive:

http://waynemichaelreich.blogspot.com/2018/04/gentrification-prefers-blands-pt5-money.html

Up to speed? Awesome. This is why I tell you to come to the meetings.

And the best part? We have cookies and cake. Seriously, I'm a baking badass, and willing to trade recipes. In fact, here's the one for my almost world-famous poundcake- it's a great base recipe, open to variation, and a crowd pleaser to boot. Plus, it has the added benefit of not being healthy at all. I like to serve it with fresh strawberries, but that's just the way I roll. If you've got any good ones to share, email me at darkreich@yahoo.com, with the words "Yo Artbitch- recipe here" in the subheading. Thanks!

Here it is:

INGREDIENTS:

3 cups all-purpose flour (NOT SELF RISING)
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 1/2 cups sugar
1 cup butter or margarine, softened
1 teaspoon vanilla or almond extract
*[A nice shake-up: sub out vanilla with same amount of lemon extract. Fold 1 tablespoon grated lemon zest and 1/4 cup poppy seeds into batter].
5 large eggs
3/4 cup milk or evaporated milk

PROCESS:

Heat oven to 350°F. Grease bottom, side and tube of 10x4-inch angel food cake pan (tube pan), 12-cup fluted tube cake pan or two 9x5-inch loaf pans with shortening; lightly flour.

In a medium bowl, mix the flour, baking powder and salt, then set aside. In a large bowl, beat the sugar, butter, vanilla and eggs with electric mixer on low 30 seconds, while remembering to scrape the bowl regularly. Beat on high 5 minutes, scraping the bowl intermittently. Beat the flour mixture into the sugar mixture, adding the milk every few seconds (20 or so) on low speed, beating until smooth after each addition.

Pour into your prepared pan(s).

Bake angel food or fluted tube cake pan 70 to 80 minutes, loaf pans 50 to 60 minutes, or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. After removing from oven, cool for a minimum 20 minutes- after this has passed remove from pan(s) to a wire cake rack if you're lucky enough to have one. Cool completely, or until such time where it's totally
safe where you can then cram a slice into your mouth. Enjoy!

Getting back on track, as you read in the link I gave you, I allege I was wrongfully dismissed for daring to be a diabetic, and like any good American citizen, filed a complaint with the appropriate agency. In this case, that would be through the Arizona Civil Rights Division, located within the Attorney General's office. I also filed a grievance regarding workplace conditions with OSHA*, and finally filed my workman's compensation claim** for the injury I had suffered the previous year. What can I say? I'm a big devotee of doing things in threes.
*[Never heard back, so no longer my monkey to worry about. **Seems to be going along smoothly.]

Anywho, The people at the EOCC couldn't have been nicer or more professional, and took my case under wing, and let me know the process of investigating the case could take six months up to one year, which I kind of expected.

As the saying goes, the wheels of Justice turn slowly, but grind fine. So last week, I finally got the call I've been waiting for, that being the one from the investigator who's in charge of settling the case one way or another. Nice lady, right to the point, and no discernible sign of a sense of humor, although to be fair, that might not be allowed to be shown during work hours. So, my complaint gets summarized back to me, as I'm asked if there's anything additional I want to/could add, and then the counter response from my former employer is then read with full detail back to me (in sections) so that I can offer either further clarification or dispute what's being said via a sharply worded retort, which tends to be my way. 

Now, before I get into my description of what transpired, I found it interesting that the owner of the company which is based in Michigan, was never given a copy of my complaint, nor was she ever questioned about it past having to fill out one questionnaire concerning my rate of pay, my length of employment, and a few other blasé boilerplate queries which all in all, were about what you'd expect.

At the present, I never anticipated my former supervisor to be straightforward about her actions, her words, or her gargantuan un-professionalism that I detailed in my past blog, but I also never expected fabrication that would make espionage writer John le Carre weep, and this blog writer almost turn green with envy... almost.

What I mean to say is... I pride myself on possessing a good imagination, and like to believe that at the very worst, I'm mildly competent at the art of telling an entertaining tale, but my old supervisor should quit where she's currently slumming, and earnestly seek employment in the Epix writers room for Berlin Station*, because her talents are being wasted on whatever equally s**tty menial labor job her lack of an actual skill-set has got her most likely doing now.
*[Berlin Station is an American drama television series that airs on the Epix network.The story follows Daniel Miller played by my GF's not so secret crush if I were dead, the amazingly and sadly unattractive Richard Armitage, who has just arrived at the CIA foreign station in Berlin. Guided by veteran Hector DeJean, played by the considerably better-looking Rhys Ifans, Daniel learns to run with the rough-and-tumble world of the field agent.]

Words that were never spoken, scenes that never happened, actions that were never undertaken, and to top it all off, no rational explanation for how I went from being in essence, the asst. manager with full keyholder responsibilities to being the (in her words) goldbricking guy sitting and doing absolutely nothing all day in the back. Shame I used to post consistently on my IG account what I was doing at work, shame my previous supervisor said he'd go to bat for me, and even more annoying still, that prior to her arrival, product returns concerning our warehouse were almost non-existent, and my initials for shipping clearances were on 95% of the invoice slips, and oh yeah- the drivers who delivered our raw material could easily testify to my involvement at work as well.

Darn. Reality is pesky for liars, isn't it?

All envy aside, I thoroughly enjoyed her depiction of me as a physically threatening presence while I was concurrently suffering at that time from the ravaging effects of un-diagnosed diabetic gastroparesis*, which made me nauseous, light-headed, and caused me to drop close to 35 pounds, along with a shoulder injury which had severely limited my mobility. Oh yes, nothing so scary as a human scarecrow who can't raise his arms above his head or walk upright, as his clothes are close to falling off of him.
*[Gastroparesis, is a disorder of the digestive tract that causes food to remain in the stomach for a period of time that is longer than average. This occurs because the nerves that move food through the digestive tract are damaged, so muscles don’t work properly. As a result, food sits in the stomach undigested. Symptoms include, but are not limited to, nausea, vomiting of undigested food, weight loss, bloating, loss of appetite, blood glucose levels that are hard (see: impossible) to stabilize, stomach spasms, and acid reflux.

I don't know about you given the information above, but I'd be scared s**tless, let me tell you. Especially if I was a morbidly obese person who at the very least, weighed three times as much as the person "I was concerned about" at that point. Adding to this asinine absurdity was her overly detailed complaints of my diabetic issues in order to assert she didn't fire me for being diabetic. Let's all let that sink in for a moment or two...

She consistently throughout her counter response, complains about my diabetes to prove she didn't care about my diabetes... does anyone else hear the theme song from the Benny Hill show playing in their head? It also came to light that my former supervisor had no directly expressed hiring or firing authority, a detail which was (allegedly) stated clearly, and that I was "supposed to know". Unless I'm an as of yet undiscovered mind reader, I'm not entirely sure how I was supposed to be in possession of that information since no one ever told me this, but it was in the counter response nonetheless, mainly as a subtle way for them to claim I just walked out, which is full-on bulls**t.

To be brutally honest, I really have no idea which way this will go at this point, as it's for all intents and purposes, a literal he said/she said case, and of course, the investigator didn't give anything away, but I'd like to think that my genuinely derisive laughter at most of the comments she was stating for the record did give her a clue (or a hundred) as to whom was telling the unvarnished truth.

Regardless of how the dust settles here, at least it's on record, so if the company pulls this crap again, at least it shows there's a previous track record of abuse, and that's all that matters. However, there is an addendum that I do find oddly satisfying: it seems that not too long after my departure, my former supervisor gave her two weeks notice, and left for greener pastures, because that's what disreputable lying cows do, and I'm certain it had nothing to do with her alleged fear of being held accountable by the EOCC, or most likely, her top boss- you know, the one who has no idea what I've stated in regards to my official complaint?

From everything I've seen in the close to thirty years I've been involved with businesses, if there's one thing top brass loves, it's being kept in the dark. That's sarcasm btw, for those of you in the back. What is even more interesting however, is that her counter response contained some comments about my character which may be actionable, and if they are, even at the merest... God help you lady, because I will legally hollow you out like an Easter chocolate rabbit.

Count on it.

Sorry. Just had to get that off my chest, as I really don't have the spiritual room or the physical stamina to deal with it's weight right now. Speaking of weight, I'm trying really hard to put all of it that I've lost back on, and the best way to do that out here where it's cattle country, is to devour some of that cattle, the way God intended, and sadly, also the main reason why Kamadhenu* never invites God to his parties anymore.
*[Kamadhenu, the miraculous "cow of plenty" and the "mother of cows" in certain versions of the Hindu mythology, is believed to represent the generic sacred cow, regarded as the source of all prosperity.]

One of the delights of living where I'm currently at, is the fact that meat here, like the value of life in Froopyland*, is cheap. I've been giving serious thought that maybe instead of having an almond milk/protein powder/peanut butter/yogurt smoothie in the morning to help put on those missing pounds, I should just throw two t-bones and a chuck roast in the ol' blender along with a few baked potatoes and some dollops of butter, and blend them till I get the manly as Earnest Hemingway protein fix that I crave.  Wait a minute... what's that? Oh. Okay. I've just been informed by my GF Ashley that not only will this not happen anytime soon, if ever, she's now asking where the gallon of vanilla ice cream and three pounds of ground beef went... just be cool, and keep your mouth shut.
*[The Adventures of Rick & Morty's Froopyland is an artificially generated world created by Rick Sanchez from a collapsed quantum tesseract some time in the 1980s for his only daughter, Beth Smith, when she was a little girl. Rick outright admits that his reason for creating Froopyland was to protect the whole neighborhood from Beth, who clearly showed strong psychotic tendencies as a child (though he immediately makes it clear that he didn't so out of the non-existent goodness of his heart, but just so he wouldn't have to clean up any of Beth's messes).]

Since that brilliantly thwarted plan of mine won't apparently be fulfilled within my lifetime, I have no choice but to seek meaty satisfaction outside my house, and if you live near Silver City, that so far in my humblest of opinions, means you either hit the Little Toad Creek Brewery & Distillery, or the local burger joint known as Blake's. Both serve really good burgers, and I'd rather eat local than corporate any day.

Pros:
The Toad has great service, terrific atmosphere, and is a pretty good-sized space with lots of seating, really good french fries, and is a nice place to bring your friends who are from out of town. Also, almost everybody who waits tables here is really good-looking. Not sure why, but I'm not complaining. Blake's also has kick-ass french fries, as well as ample seating, lots of parking, a cool sign, and... um, bathrooms, plus both are really easy to find, even if you're not a local. Obviously the Toad has bathrooms too, but Blake's is about to get hammered in the "cons" department, so I gave them a charity throw, to be nice.

Cons:
The Toad is also a bar, which means it gets a little rowdy on the weekends. That's it. If you like live music, then it really isn't a "con" by any means, so being that I don't, I'm willing to concede it's a wash. Blake's on the other hand... terrible customer service the few times I've gone- not sure if the staff is really sleepy or honorary members of the Undead, the building it's in looks somewhat run-down, tired, and is in need of some sort of face-lift, and while the burgers are truly good, half the time the staff forgets requested and paid for items that are supposed to be on said burgers, such as bacon, which should obviously be against the law. This is the kind of place I would take that one friend who knows all my dirt and never mentions it- I definitely wouldn't take the future in-laws here, just by way of example. Think of it as a dive bar for burgers, remember to double-check your order, and all will be well.

And with that, we finally arrive, if you remember how we started, at the clinic to consult with my surgeon about how my foot is doing... but I'm 5,217 words in, my shoulders are killing me, and i still have to get this walker out of my car, get it unfolded, and then shuffle my somewhat disabled butt up to the front door, so I think we'll pause here until the next  thrilling installment, and then take it from there.

And when we come back...

My doctor tells me if I'll ever play the violin again, I try to organize my studio, and Ashley and I welcome our first of hopefully many stay-over slumber party guests.

"Take care of your body. It's the only place you have to live."-Jim Rohn
















Friday, September 21, 2018

Hi-Yo Silver Away! Pt.4 (A Toe of Two Cities)



"Well then get your s**t together, get it all together and put it in a back pack, all your s**t, so it's together. And if you gotta take it some where, take it somewhere, you know, take it to the s**t store and sell it, or put it in the s**t museum. I don't care what you do, you just gotta get it together. Get your  s**t together."  - Morty Smith, The Adventures of Rick & Morty                                                                           
 "Forget the past - the future will give you plenty to worry about." George Allen, Sr.

Hello Blogiteers!

How's your day going? Mine has been both incredibly boring and frustrating, due to the fact that the all of my days are blending into each other, and also because there's outwardly so much to be done in regards to my house, the studio, and my future job prospects, and I can't do any aspect of it because of this goddamn, useless, jack-upped, schwanzlutscher* foot.
*[Yes, this is a German word. No, you really don't want the translation, as it would make your mother cry and lose all respect for you. Don't even Google it. And I'm giving you this advice because my Mom and I have never had a good warm relationship, and I think it's pretty cool that your Mom loves you unconditionally. That part must be really nice.]
 
For me, there's nothing more vexing than seeing a particularly worrisome issue, and then not being allowed (or being able) to just go and fix it. I like to think of myself as a problem solver, when I'm not creating new ones, and granted, I've suffered some injuries in my lifetime, but never anything like this toe amputation, or as it's more commonly referred to among the truly hip and way too cool for med school kids, a Ray resection.*

*[A Ray resection for localized necrosis, infection, and osteomyelitis is an accepted procedure allowing removal of the diseased toe and metatarsal. The traditional approach involves a rather lengthy incision and dissection that can compromise the vascular supply to the remaining forefoot. Oh, great goody gum-drops.]

In my case, my surgeon was providentially able to save a great deal of my metatarsal*, which if all goes well and my Ding Dongs don't melt, means I might have a pretty good chance of walking without a cane** or some other such human-propping device.
*[The metatarsal bones, also referred to as the metatarsus, are a group of five long bones in the foot, located between the tarsal bones of the hind- and mid-foot and the phalanges of the toes. ** I still may get one though, because my GF Ashley thinks that if I could get  one that proclaims my snarkitude, I could rock it as part of my image pretty damn hard. I've got my eye on this one from DC Collectibles, if any of you would like to start a Go Fund Me page...












 


  

This one btw, would also be more than acceptable too, just putting it out there..







 















But regardless of whether I have to walk with or without a cane, at least I'll be walking, which is more than I'm able to do right now. Having to be remarkably conscious of my limitations is a torturous countdown until such time I can ultimately begin to put weight on my damaged foot, and ditch the walker I'm currently bound to via a Deadite* curse.
*[A "Deadite" is a life-force, person, animal or plant possessed by a Kandarian Demon.They are described as evil demonic Zombie Hybrids, and are the main antagonists of the Evil Dead Movie Franchise.] 

And given that hoped-for destination is anywhere from an additional six to eight weeks away, it's possibly the most maddening thing I've ever had to deal with, outside debating who the top three best James Bonds are, which of course, are laid out as such: Connery, Craig, and my big ol' man-crush number two, Brosnan. Don't get me wrong, I loved Roger Moore, God rest his soul, but he played Bond for laughs, and that's not the kind of Bond I tend to dig. And as a side tangent, if you even think about uttering the name Timothy Dalton in my presence, I will stuff you inside George Lazenby, force you to watch the directors cut of Never Say Never Again in Kaixana*, and top it off by physically acting out scenes from Moonraker... naked.
*[This language, officially one of the world's rarest, was once spoken in a very small reigion of South America, by a core group of 200 people- sadly, there is now only one remaining orator of this unique tongue.]

Sorry about that. I take my Bond-ing seriously, and so should you.
Let's get back on track, shall we?

Now, the first time when I found myself hospitalized for ketoacidosis back in 2009, I wound up sentenced to a ten day stretch, but four of those hellish days were spent in a medically induced coma, so time just sort of zipped on by, given the situation. But even if you minus the amputation of one of my lesser toes, this inadvertent staycation straight out of Samsara* is driving me up the metaphorical wall, as almost everything I have to face, whether it be minor or grand is a challenge right out of an ANW** episode.
*[Samsara is the endless cycle of death and rebirth that is the result of our ignorance of the ultimate reality of the universe. The word means “to wander across,” as in lifetimes, and samsara is the result of karma or actions taken in this life that will determine the nature of one’s rebirth and the caste one is born into.

**American Ninja Warrior (sometimes abbreviated as ANW) is a televised American sports entertainment competition that is a spin-off of the Japanese series "Sasuke". It features scores of competitors attempting to complete a series of highly-challenging obstacle courses based in various American cities, in hopes of advancing to the national finals on the Las Vegas Strip, in hopes of becoming an "American Ninja Warrior".

I should also probably point out that despite my all-embracing knowledge of Las Vegas in regard to it's inimitable culture and social customs, it remains in effect that getting drunk on Mad Dog 20/20, stripping off your clothes and climbing the faux Eiffel Tower located in front of the Paris Paris casino, will not be held up to the same celebratory standards as when you successfully traverse ANW's Bridge of Blades sober, which I have always felt is somewhat of a double standard.]

You're probably thinking at this point that I'm being either overdramatic, or possibly seeking sympathy, but you'd be wrong on both counts. I honestly never gave pause to the thought of how difficult it would be to make a sandwich for instance, when you can't stand up. My balance has never been any good, even with my cat-like stealthiness, so my trying to do even the simplest things can  present themselves as a monumental challenge. By way of example, our house has a refrigerator that is insufferably "low", so trying to get out the yogurt and almond milk for my daybreak protein shake requires a balancing act not performed in public since the last time Cirque du Soleil rolled through town.

Did I also mention I have chronic back problems as well? Add that into the mix, and you'll understand why I sometimes dream about my icebox hovering like a hummingbird. I used to assume if your hands were incapacitated, you'd be royally screwed, but the more I deal with this, I'm really starting to think that assessment should be equally applied to one's legs and feet as well. I had to put a chair in the kitchen just so I can make a cup of tea, so it's a bitch and a half, let me tell you. Oh f**k it- it's a full-on bitch, that's invited it's friends to squat until such time as they get their collective s**t together.

One of the other impediments other than my injury of course, is the one device I use most frequently to circumvent it, that being my walker. Sure, it's sleek, collapsible, and lightweight profile for easy in and out of my (or any) car, makes for a truly sexy-looking piece of tech, (just see below!) but shockingly, there are some disadvantages.


 




















This BTW, is what mine looks like, but it's rendered in the standard chrome. I'm starting to think I should have coughed up the extra dough for this way more snazzy paint finish, which is branded as "Blue Ice". And don't give me any grief regarding this- just because I'm injured, doesn't mean I can't look stylish, too. Besides, Ashley couldn't find a walker fabricated of tiny skulls, which let's face it, has the dual advantage of being both a conversation piece, and really more "me", to be truthful. I do try to keep it real, y'all.

Originally, I went with crutches, but after three falls, two near-misses, and a memorable but in the future, further un-discussed encounter with a badly-placed zucchini in my kitchen, we opted for the far safer (and way more stable) walking frame from Walgreens. And overall, this four-legged-human-keeper-upper works relatively okay for helping me get around the ol' house when I need to. While I did opt out of getting the matching basket, due to it's long-term impracticality and the fact that it's damn near impossible to put baseball cards between it's way too small spokes, an old backpack substitutes nicely as my extra set of hands when I have to be outdoors.

What makes it a nightmare outside the house is the reality that since I can't put even the merest of weight on my stitched together like Frankenstein's monster foot, I have to lift my own mass. All 167 pounds of it, if the last weigh-in was even remotely accurate, and then "hop" whenever I have to take a step forward. Think about concurrently playing competitive
hop-scotch while you're doing arms day at the gym.

Remember, I'm at present suffering from the following: diabetic-related weight loss, which has led to a lack of muscle tone, a severely strained left-side supraspinatus* from a work-related injury suffered last year, and my other shoulder unfortunately starting to go out of whack for having to compensate for the same.

*[The supraspinatus (plural supraspinati) is a relatively small muscle of the upper back that runs from the supraspinatous fossa superior portion of the scapula (shoulder blade) to the greater tubercle of the humerus. It is one of the four rotator cuff muscles and also abducts the arm at the shoulder, for those of you who may not remember me talking about this in an earlier blog].

Every time I go to hoist myself, it feels as if I'm dead-lifting a city bus- American Chicago, not Red London double-decker, that is. Just for those of you who like to keep track of such trivial things. Considering my normal weight fluctuates between 185 to 205 pounds, part of me wonders if I need to stop fretting over my diabetic-related weight loss, and embrace it for a change, because if lifting my severely underweight ass hurts my arms and shoulders this much, I can only imagine what that extra thirty-eight pounds would feel like.

My best guess is that it would represent as if I strapped Warwick Davis* to my chest, and then went for a nice relaxing run.
*[Warwick Ashley Davis is an English actor, television presenter, writer, director and producer. He played the title characters in Willow and the Leprechaun film series, the Ewok Wicket in Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi, and Professor Filius Flitwick and Griphook in the Harry Potter films. His filmography totals 30+ movies. Impressive, no?]

Now, when I'm in the house, this dead-lift really isn't a problem, as I'm only traveling very short distances- bedroom to kitchen, or to my living room, bathroom, and studio, etc. But when I'm out of the house, the difficulty scale goes way off the charts. Picture having to park your car, lock it up, and traverse the parking lot of a Super-Center, hopping on one foot, and one foot alone. Then when inside, walk (such as it is) through the entire store, trying to find your item, and attempt to not get harassed by store security for putting it temporarily in your backpack, because pushing a cart or holding onto a basket is akin to juggling incontinent flaming honey-badgers when you're rocking a walker.

Oh, and don't forget to do all this while lifting close to 200 pounds every two-and-a-half seconds, making sure you don't trip or overbalance, and as you mercifully leave, doing the whole parking lot experience in reverse... good luck, Chuck. You're seriously going to need it.

But maybe I'm just being a negative Naomi, an apathetic Abraham, or maybe a morose Morgan, certainly a gloomy Gerard, arguably an unenthusiastic Ursula, perhaps even a pessimistic Peyton, when all things are considered. There does exist the very slim chance that when I'm done using this thing, my guns will not only be toned up again, but my chest as well- heck, if I keep gaining weight as I walk all over God's rapidly-fading green planet using this thing, I may be cut like a diamond by the time this forced convalescence is done. I'd have a six pack that would make the Spartans of lore not only weep, but might even compel them to drop their free-amphoras and pick up a walker instead.

I could go from this...



























to this*.











































 
*[Disclaimer: there is in fact no way, short of making a deal with the Devil himself, that Wayne will ever look like this. Like a slightly underweight James Hetfield? Sure, not even that hard. As an artsy-Jesus archetype? A bit of a stretch, but still within grasp. Maybe as Zaphod Beeblebrox? Sure, it would be a costume for a friends Halloween party, and at those things you pretty much just get points for coming as the Betelgeusian President of the Galaxy if you get the hair and coat right, but full Jason Momoa six-pack super-cut sexy awesomeness?

Not until they invent both cloning and consciousness replacement to go along with it. Those of you who have bought a Wayne in it's current condition can return him for a full refund. We won't even ask questions. We all know you were just trying to be nice.]

So, knowing the amount of pain this mobile version of the Rack can bring into being, one can envision why I don't get out much. It's fairly difficult not to get depressed given my current inability to squeeze out of the rank air-space that I find myself in, that being between a rock and it's eternally as rude partner, the hard place*, but I'm keeping my spirit up the best I can. And in regards to the Rock, it seriously needs to clean it's area up- what, are we still living in the Illiad?

Good God, you're an expression that's literally thousands of years old- take some personal accountability already, and kindly move out of your moms basement.
*[The origin of the idiom 'between a rock and a hard place' can be found in ancient Greek mythology. In Homer’s Odyssey, Odysseus must pass between Charybdis, a treacherous whirlpool, and Scylla, a horrid man-eating, cliff-dwelling monster. Ever since, saying one is stuck between a rock (the cliff) and a hard place (the whirlpool) has been a way to succinctly describe being in a dilemma. Everytime you read me, you all leave a little bit smarter- don't be afraid to show it off.]


What has helped me immeasurably in staving off some of the darker moments, past the obvious dedication and unwavering love of my GF Ashley, have been my peeps, my fans, Twitter, and the Internet itself. I'll break each down, not in order of importance, but in usage of said resource. Despite my tendency to over-share, I'm not going to go into detail about my deeper relationship aspects with Ashley, because that's a facet that quite bluntly, I prefer to keep private. And you all thought I had no boundaries...

First up, the peeps: aka my tribe, my family, my brothers and sisters. These people are beyond doubt, my bedrock- they have my full trust, my full loyalty, and my full protection.

Whether it's my friend Chelle posting photos of Wonder Woman daily on her IG account under the hashtag of #wonderwomanforwayne to add buoyancy to my day, or my brothers from another mother Cale and Martin making toe loss jokes in order to get me to laugh, these people have been solidly in my camp, helping me get through this most difficult time. As someone who is purposefully separated from 99% of my family, my oldest sister being the lone exception, I have solid faith in the following saying I heard somewhere on the ethereal plain once, and that I'm about to roughly paraphrase: "You can't pick your family, but you can pick your tribe, and sometimes that's a much smarter purchase."

Author Scott Stabile goes one better: " Find people who love you, for real, and who accept you, for real. Just as you are. They’re out there, these people. Your tribe is waiting for you. Don’t stop searching until you find them.” I'm very lucky to be able to say that I have, and if I haven't said it before or not often enough, I love and cherish you all...

Except you, Gavin... you know why.
And no, buying me a trained chinchilla won't help, you myopic putz.

The second demographic I've gotta throw some mushy squishyness to is my Instagram fan base- while small in number, (708 at last count) you guys have been fierce in response, and I really appreciate it. Between the well-wishes and stories of similar struggles, I definitely didn't feel alone during my hospital stay in a new town, where I literally don't know a soul, and that has helped tremendously in the keeping my spirits up department. It's definitely a nice reminder that in this, the most highly conflicted and divisive of times, there still exists a strong amount of incredibly decent people, and that breeds hope eternal.

And last but not least, I have to give thanks to the Internet, and it's bastard child Twitter, for keeping me both alternately entertained and horrified at both the depth and shallowness of the human condition, and it's impact upon the world at large. If you are even somewhat familiar with my IG feed, you'll know that I spend a good chunk of time cruising Twitter for trolls to snack upon and then mock, and rarely am I ever disappointed in that regard.

In fact, I have to laud Twitter for the victuals, nay the sheer banquet of human idiocy that it presents to the world, 24/7. From our asinine Mango Mussolini to the Deep State cultists, the ol' Twitterstorm rarely fails to delight my inherent snarkiness. There's nothing I enjoy more than puncturing a flawed stream of logic, and nothing on this fkd' up Earth truly brings me as much sheer unadulterated joy as forcing Trumplethinskins, racists, misogynists, and the hopeless anti-science crowd back under their fkng rocks, bruised and chastised, as they should be. And given those parameters, Twitter provides Manna* on a level that God himself/herself could never imagine when he/she created the concept of Manna in the first place.
*[Manna, sometimes archaically spelled mana, is an edible substance which, according to the Bible and the Quran, God provided for the Israelites during their travels in the desert during the forty-year period following the Exodus and prior to the conquest of Canaan. 40 years without pizza? I'd rather be enslaved by the Pharaoh.]

Throw in that I'm pretty much confined to home as of late, and you can see why I'm enjoying this bounty so much. And along those lines, much praise must also be attributed to the badlands of the Internet, where the options for entertainment and intellectual growth are seemingly limitless- if I watch any more educational programs or tutorials on YouTube, I'm fairly confident that I can build that NCC-1701-D Constitution Class Starship in my workshop, using nothing more than a few dilithium crystals*, some plumbing parts, and a few sheets of heavily-reinforced sheet metal.
*[In the Star Trek universe, dilithium is an imaginary material, which serves as a critical controlling agent in the ships' warp drive. According to a periodic table shown during an episode of TNG, it has the chemical branding of Dt and an atomic number of 87, which in reality belongs to francium, which due to it's most stable isotope, francium-223, having a half-life of about 22 minutes, provides no uses outside of basic scientific research. In the real world, dilithium (Li2) is a molecule composed of two covalently bonded lithium atoms.
Science. It's just not for picking up brainy nerd girls, although that is still an excellent use of the resource.]

I never thought I'd ever say this, but Twitter, Netflix, YouTube, and PBS online are actually helping keep me sane through this, the ever-changing maelstrom of my personal mental gymnastics, and thank Kothar-wa-Khasis* for that.
*[Kothar-wa-Khasis is an Ugaritic god whose name means "Skillful-and-Wise" or "Adroit-and-Perceptive". Kothar is attributed to be a Smith, Craftsman, Engineer, Architect, along with being an Inventor, who creates sacred words and spells, in part, because there is an association in many cultures of metalworking deities with magic.]                                           

Granted, I have been enjoying it almost too much, and for the time being should probably cut it back a tad or possibly two. As the German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche once opined: "He who fights with monsters should look to it that he himself does not become a monster. And if you gaze long into an abyss, the abyss also gazes into you." What is it about Germany that it always seems to nail the inconvenient truth consistently, yet failed to grasp the overall concept of not starting World Wars? A question for another age, I guess, but the Nietzsche man was dead on with this one. After a while the ichor associated with these pinheads of molassed philosophy starts infecting how you think, how you act, and more importantly, how you interact with others.

While I always (somewhat) joke about how being a cynic is a great position to stake out in life, as you're either constantly being proven right, or being pleasantly surprised, I don't really relish seeing it in my politics, or in the souls of others. I prefer the surrounding populace happy about life in general, despite the almost black Catholic streak of cynicism in mine. What can I say, except that I need something, anything to be annoyed about, just so long as I can comment snarkily about it. So you can just imagine how over the moon I am regarding my current situation, can you not? This may be the single biggest thing I've ever had in my life to complain about, hands and one foot down.

After all, I've spent close to what would be nine pages griping about it, and not just because I don't really have anything to write about in regards to the local art scene and the potential drama within- even though I will grudgingly admit, that is a factor. With past scrawlings, my meta-grinder operated best on a steady stream of art-related narcissism, pretentiousness, and general corrupt idiocy for sure, but I've been looking for chances to expand past that, and maybe this particular sea-change will be a good jumping off point so as to test that faith in my current abilities to do so.

I've long held the personal belief that everybody's got one first-class story in them, and maybe it's time to start looking at those untouched resources, as a means to go past my well-established comfort zone, and once again, I tend to find inspiration towards this objective within the words of the late Kurt Vonnegut, one of my literary spirit animals:

"If you want to really hurt your parents, and you don’t have the nerve to be gay, the least you can do is go into the arts. I’m not kidding. The arts are not a way to make a living. They are a very human way of making life more bearable. Practicing an art, no matter how well or badly, is a way to make your soul grow, for heaven’s sake. Sing in the shower. Dance to the radio. Tell stories. Write a poem to a friend, even a lousy poem. Do it as well as you possibly can. You will get an enormous reward. You will have created something."
- Excerpt from: A Man Without a Country

Now, since this opinion comes from one of the great Gods of Writing, I feel compelled to follow that counsel, even if it means I make some dreadfully false starts along the way, because there's no better teacher than extremely awkward mistakes that you make in full view and critique of the public... trust me on this*.
*[See: "Years Ago Blog on Kara Roschi"  Subheading: "Uncomfortable Public Apologies"]

And in a blatantly self-serving attempt to affix some fresh wax and Peregrine feathers to my new and optimistically redesigned Icarus rig, I turn to yet another deity of writing, that being Neil Gaiman, who states: "Tell your story. Don’t try and tell the stories that other people can tell. Because [as a] starting writer, you always start out with other people’s voices- you’ve been reading other people for years… But, as quickly as you can, start telling the stories that only you can tell, because there will always be better writers than you, there will always be smarter writers than you … but you are the only you."

Oddly, as I was mulling over this quote for inclusion in this particular piece of writing, I received the following email from one Robert Williamson:

"Hi Wayne,

I'm on the editorial staff of the Voyage Phoenix Magazine and I'm working on interviews with hidden gems from Phoenix and the surrounding areas. Eric Cox thought you would be a great fit for our Thought-Provokers series.

We're excited to learn more about you and share your story with our readers. There is no cost involved, but we'll of course need some of your time for the interview. Please let me know if you would be interested in being featured.

Thanks!
Rob"


My response? "Of course I would be interested, it is me after all. LOL."

I always say let them know who and what they're dealing with right from the start- cuts way down on the confusion level later on in my humble experience, and generally leads to clearer dialogue as time and the project moves forward. Also, much respect towards fellow Artist Eric Cox's recommendation of yours truly for this media interview opportunity- I'm proud to have written about Eric for PHOENIXmagazine back in September of 2016, and I'm even prouder to call him a friend.

Check out my interview with him here, at:
http://www.phoenixmag.com/arts/eric-cox.html
and go scope his fkng amazing and visionary work out at:
https://www.instagram.com/artsycoxy/

Let's get back to the ego stroking, which is always my favorite part.
Rob's follow-up went like this:
"Great! You can find the questions I've prepared for the article here: 

http:/ ***************************
You'll need one good personal photo and a few (say 4-8) other relevant images - so I'd recommend collecting those before starting the questionnaire. Timing-wise, we'd appreciate if you could have this back to us within 2 weeks.

If you have any questions, let me know.  Have a great day! :)

Thanks,
Rob"

I did love how they gave me a two week interlude in which to answer and return questions about my favorite subject, that of course, being me. Naturally, I submitted my responses to their focused questionnaire within a day and a half, because who am I to protract the publication of such an interesting, yet clearly humility-based, read?

Plus my cover photo by AZ photog Jim Hesterman [  https://www.jimhesterman.com/ ] was perfect- it is literally one of my favorite photographs of myself ever taken, and you'll just have to wait to see it., because if there's one thing I do know how to do, it's squeeze Oreo filling out of a turnip.
But before we get into all that, let's answer the pertinent question riding on the back of my Elephant-sized Ego in the room: whom exactly are/is Voyage Phoenix Magazine?


In essence, they're an online magazine highlighting the diversity of Phoenix's culture, that being it's nightlife, it's food scene, it's Creatives, and the impact that all of those truly varied partitions create towards shaping Phoenix as a whole in this, it's golden era of rapid change and redevelopment. What I found intriguing about my interview however, was the free-form approach it took- the questionnaire's generous structure truly allowed me to break out of the normal confines such interviews typically spawn, and the fluidity of doing so made me view this experience as enjoyable, rather than as an obligatory chore.

For instance, past media junkets I've suffered often make me contemplate how many shapes I could fold the so-called "interviewer" into if I could legally launch my furtive passion for human origami into the public spotlight. The answer btw, is seven. Eight, if
you can manage to stop them from screaming for help.

As Creatives, we rarely get to see what we actually said expressed passionately or as accurately as we would often like- sometimes it's the fault of an ill-prepared writer who cannot dissect the art-speak, sometimes it's the fault of the Creative who cannot move past the comfort of a long-guarded idiom, which makes translation of their philosophy not only difficult to articulate to the writer, but in the end, incomprehensible to the reader. Neither of those I am happy to report, applied here. The questions were simple, yet open ended, and allowed for some uncharacteristic depth, versus the standard cookie-cutter queries that forcibly create responses that are just as formulaic, and therefore, truly uninteresting.

It's one of my mantras that if you want someone interviewed, you either need to send someone who's done their full measure of research, or more simply, just send another contemporary of equal measure to do the interview in the first place. For instance in my world, I would have loved to see Nick Cave interview Lou Reed, or Hunter S. Thompson being questioned by Anthony Bourdain, or Kurt Vonnegut doing an essay on Ray Bradbury- can you imagine? I can, but these are the kinds of things us writers construct in our heads 24/7 to begin with. But as a Creative, being permitted to give a fully developed rejoin is as rare as a coherent public statement by Kanye West.

At the moment, I don't have a link to the article yet, as it hasn't been published, but as an enticement, I will include a snippet here, that being my response to a question regarding how best cities can help support Creatives and the Arts:

"Where cities can lend a helping hand is by supporting their local galleries, art-spaces, after-school and public center art programs, funding public art commissions, and by promoting all of the same. Financial incentives and tax breaks for rehabilitating and the reuse of buildings for galleries and/or affordable housing for Creatives, is also in my opinion, vitally necessary too. You can't have an Arts scene without Creatives. It really is that simple. The fact remains that Art rewards a community and it's citizens with beauty, insight, and inspiration. It should be recognized and supported for these realities alone."


Hopefully, this comes across as well thought-out, measured in it's depth, and most imperative to me, relatively intelligent. But that's not my call, that's up to the masses to decide at some point, and it's out of my hands as of now. As it should be. Time will tell, I guess, but doesn't it always? And speaking of time, (is that a nice segue or what?) I think now is the most appropriate moment to take a break until I can figure out a way to make the mundane tasks of my down-time appear riveting enough to write about.

And when we come back...I organize my sock drawer, wonder about... just kidding. I would never do that to you. However, I will discuss what my doctor really thinks about my healing progress, check out the local food scene, and hopefully have a published Q&A for you to read, that's way more interesting than any that I have done before.

"Change can be frightening, and the temptation is often to resist it. But change almost always provides opportunities - to learn new things, to rethink tired processes, and to improve the way we work." - Klaus Schwab