What Annoys Jeff this Week?

1. Data mining. Every time I start thinking that data mining is becoming too invasive and privacy becoming too fragile, the interent reminds me that it’s still pretty far away from going Skynet and killing us all. You see, I know this because companies that specialize mining “big data” keep feeding me ads about how to find and finance the “perfect engagement ring.” I’ll admit to having a passing interest in gemstones, but I can’t claim a need or interest in actually buying them. I have neither the inclination or reason to do so… and I’ve never once searched the internet for one. The cloud might know our reading tastes and hold the secrets to our collective perversions in our search results, but in many ways it doesn’t feel like the interent knows me at all.

2. Domestic enemies. All newly hatched federal employees take an oath of office. The one I took isn’t too far different from the one taken by a typical Army officer or even the one sworn by members of Congress. Unless I missed an unprinted annex or codicil, though, my oath to support and defend the Constitution didn’t include an oath of poverty and it certainly wasn’t an oath of unpaid servitude. That there are near on 400,000 people who swore an oath to support and defend the Constitution against enemies foreign and domestic currently fulfilling their oath without pay is an embarrassment – made all the worse because each day they bring back more an more “unpaid help” in order to avoid inconveniencing anyone. Excuse me? It seems that if you’re going to have a shut down of something the whole point is to make it as inconvenient and painful as possible. And these twatwaffels are sure as blue hell “inconveniencing” the people they expect to pay out of their own pockets for the privilege of coming to work. I blame President Trump. I blame the leadership in both the House and the Senate. I blame every single member of Congress who uses this as an opportunity to grandstand. And I increasingly think I know who the “domestic” enemies are that our oath featured so prominently. 

3. Blood. Blood as a rule doesn’t bother me. I can see people bleeding and not flinch. The rivers could run thick with the stuff and I’m not sure I’d notice… but let me be strapped into a chair at the local doctor’s office and have someone start sucking vials of my own precious life-sustaining fluid from my veins and I’m apt to go all cross-eyed and pasty. I just feel like medical science should do us a favor and step beyond the age of leeches here.

What Doesn’t Annoy Jeff this Week?

What Annoys Jeff this Week is usually the place where I vent my spleen each week. Most of the time it’s easy enough to cull the “top three” things from the list and give them each a little paragraph of exposition. Some weeks, this one included, offer what I can only describe as an embarrassment of riches. In fact this week it would be easier to discuss the few things that have not annoyed me in some way.

1. The critters. Despite the bills for care, feeding, and entertainment, I can’t think of a time when I’ve ever begrudged one of my animals anything. Regardless of the stupidity going on “out there” beyond the four walls of the house, they’re consistent in their affection and pleasure at seeing me every afternoon. Even the cat. Walking through the door to be greeted by a wave of fur and slobber is the high water mark of each and every day.

2. Living rural. Every time I switch on the television I find myself faced with an endless amount of stupid things happening. For the most part that coverage is dedicated to the things happening in major cities here at home and around the globe. Now I’m tuned in to the local news outlets closely enough to know that there’s plenty of stupidity happening in Cecil County, too. Fortunately, my little corner of the place is remarkably serene. Now there may still be plenty of stupidity happening nearby, but we have the common decency to (mostly) keep in behind closed doors.

3. Blood. You don’t get to pick your family. What you end up with seems to be mostly be left up to the luck of the draw. Let me say that knowing that, I feel like I’ve been given a very fortunate hand to play. I’m looking forward to that rare opportunity of spending some quality time with them this weekend.

If there’s anything else you can think of this week, it’s safe to just go ahead and assume that it has annoyed me at some point.

Au naturel…

I said it eight years ago when then Senator Obama was running for president and I’ll say it again now while Senator Cruze is running: If you are the genetic offspring of a United States citizen you are the very definition of a “natural born citizen.” For better or worse, American citizenship is granted through the “right of the soil” and well as the “right of blood.” You’re a citizen because at least one of your parents were citizens or because you had the great good fortune to be born upon this happy land of ours.

It buggers the imagination that we are even entertaining this discussion. Again.

That is all.

The paranoia of a idle mind…

First the good news: The doc seems to think that with continued exercises and stretching, my shoulder should remain serviceable into the foreseeable future. Unless something changes, I’ve managed to escape the need for an MRI and potential surgery. It’s hard not to like that kind of report.

The next bit of his spiel was less ideal – apparently there were some “anomalous” results from my last round of blood work. The minute a sawbones breaks out the phrase “it’s probably nothing to be concerned about”, I start getting twitchy. Having blood drawn for a retest of the ol’ liver was not part of today’s original agenda… but given the last decade of being kept alive by chemistry, I don’t I shouldn’t be awfully surprised when it throws a few anomalies here and there.

While he was finalizing my chart for the day, the last thing he offered was to “throw in an HIV test” if I wanted one. Apparently that’s something they’re offering to everyone this month thanks to a new CDC recommendation. I’m assuming he didn’t offer based on my looking like an IV drug user or some kind of “deviated prevert.” Nonetheless, I figured while they have a needle stuck in my arm, why not offer up the second vial.

Up until now I’ve never so much as pondered the possibility of HIV. Let’s be honest here, I’m a middle age, overweight, wanna-be hermit who spends his free time reading, writing, and making sure the lawn is cut “just so.” I’m not sure how much sex the good doctor thinks I’m having, but apparently he thinks it’s a lot and that I’m probably doing it unprotected with complete strangers. I’m not sure if I should be proud or offended. At any rate, even though the results are a foregone conclusion, the damned test has been drifting around the back of my mind all day even though it would do as much good to sit here and worry about a satellite falling out of orbit and landing on me.

This is one of those times when living inside my head is an awfully troublesome place to be.

Mooning…

Time was I’d drag myself out of bed at all sorts of wild hours just for the possibility of seeing something cool in the night sky. Tonight’s blood moon would definitely qualify as one of those things. Until I started checking out the times of best viewing and doing the math on how much cloud cover there was probably going to be here on the east coast at 3:07 AM EDT. Getting up in the middle of the night to watch something live streaming on my iPad just doesn’t have the same effect. Some things are meant to be done live, preferably with a steaming cup of coffee and a touch of Irish to help pass the time. Since tonight’s show looks like it will be clouded out, I’m going to have to take a pass and satisfy my curiosity with seeing the stream after the fact. It’s a little disappointing that I’ll be missing nature’s big show, but since there will be three more chances in the next year and a half, I’ll roll the dice on seeing the next eclipse, or the one after that, or the one after that. Surely the weather can’t conspire to block out all four of the harbingers of the end of days, right?

Not indestructible…

I’ve been going to the doctor alot lately. Probably more often in the last two months than in the last five or ten years combined. It seems that, and alot of years of hard living and not are coming home to roost. What started off as a simple complaint of not sleeping and extreme thirst have become a diagnosis of Type 2 Diabetes. Not what I wanted to hear on Friday afternoon, but not hard to predict with my love of all things sweet and carb-y. My A1C wasn’t quite off the charts, but high enough to get a “wow” from Dr. Good News. My blood sugar came in north of 180 and I know it’s gone higher than that in the last month… I didn’t get a “wow” for that one.

So yeah, Dr. Killjoy sat me down for the come-to-Jesus talk about getting right with my diet and less than casual acquaintance with exercise (apparently walking from the truck to the office doesn’t count). I’m pretty sure he was trying to scare me straight with talk about insulin, but my pain avoidance instinct is strong enough to want to avoid the needle if at all possible. I guess we’ll burn that bridge when we get to it. For the time being, I have a stack of new meds and will be hoping for better living through chemistry.

Last night was the great cleaning of the pantry – out with carb-y noms like cereal, pasta, juices, pop tarts, my beloved gummy bears, and maybe worst of all, the Blue Moon that was chilling in the fridge. I’ve got a fridge now full of dairy, protein, and vegetables – most of which I have no idea how to actually cook. It’s really like looking into someone else’s kitchen. Of course that’s nothing compared to the looks I’ve been giving the exercise bike that now lives in the spare bedroom – because, let’s face it, even on pain of death, I’m not bloody likely to go walk around the neighborhood in the cold. Exercise that can be done while watching TV seemed like something I would at least be able to tolerate.

I’m uneasy with change as a matter of principle and the change being called for here is no small order. It’s basically undoing just about every habit I’ve developed over the last 15 years. Apparently I’m not indestructible after all. That’s a tough one to come to terms with. There’s a fair chance that everything about this process will annoy, anger, or otherwise make me want to beat myself unconscious with a celery stalk… and when it does, you’ll hear it here first.