Aging and other inconveniences…

This week, I’ve had an appointment with my dermatologist and two physical therapy sessions. Next week I’m back at PT for two more rounds. The week after that it’s an appointment with my primary care doc. Three weeks from now it’s a follow-up with the dermatologist. Then, four weeks from now, I’ll turn 44. 

I’m not saying all those things are in any way related, but I can’t help but feel like there is, perhaps, a vague connection between the never-ending parade of doctor’s appointments and the increasing number of times I’ve been around the sun. None of these appointments are for critical care issues. Just a bevy of regular appointments, follow-ups, and treating some minor issues.

My inner historian can’t help but note that our caveman ancestors right up through our dark age predecessors had a life expectancy of about 35 years. From the Tudor era right through the dawn of the industrial age, expectancy creeped up to almost 40 years. Over the last 200 years, expectancy has raced upward into the low to middle 70s. So yeah, we’ve managed to eliminate or at least mostly control many of the common causes of early death – ranging from accidents to disease – but we’re still walking around in meat suits that evolved over millennia with the expectation to get no more than 35-40 years of service.

From that perspective, it’s not hard to understand why there are occasionally bits and bobs that aren’t working quite right or how waking up in the morning so often reveals a new and unexpected pain somewhere. Sitting here looking at 44, I’m well past my warrantee date and from here on out will apparently need increasingly skilled mechanics to keep the whole thing cobbled together and running tolerably well.

If anyone needs me, I’ll be over here reading reviews on hyperbaric chambers and researching gene therapy.

Four hundred eighty one…

As I was fiddling around with last night’s post, I did some tangentially related digging in the archive. I was somewhat absentmindedly thinking about the overall premise for Thursday night’s regular edition of What Annoys Jeff this Week and how out of character it would be to have simply one thing standing on its own. That, inevitably, sent me scurrying down my own internet rabbit hole.

I’ve always thought of WAJTH as a static item. A blast of three very short form topics showing up each and every Thursday nearly without fail. That it consistently shows up on Thursday is true enough, but for the rest, well, memory isn’t always the best guide to what actually happened in the past.

As it turns out, over the last 481 weeks – yes, that’s nine and one quarter years of being annoyed – WAJTW has apparently evolved. The first post, way back on September 1st, 2011 covered four topics. After that, for almost a year, posts swung between four and five topics. It wasn’t until August 2012 that I seem to have adopted the standard three topic format that has dominated Thursdays ever since. Maybe it took me that long to figure out how to condense the week into the three most annoying – or at least the three most easily set to print – things that happened.

I’ve been filling up pages of this blog for so long now, that it’s easy to forget that there really is an evolution of style over time. Looking back at some of those early editions of WAJTW, I like to think I’ve made some stylistic improvements in how I get my points across. Even if they are better written, I was a little impressed with how many of the topics from those first few weeks are still things that annoy the hell out of me on a regular basis. Some things, it turns out, really are eternal.


I like to pretend there is some kind of art or science to this whole blogging thing. I review the metrics, watch the traffic and hit counts, and imagine that I have some kind of idea what people might be interested in reading. At best it’s a 50-50 proposition most of the time. Fortunately, I’m mostly writing for the sake of writing and working out my chops, so the individual hits and misses aren’t really all that important. Lucky thing, too. If you tied much stock to whether you stats are up or down on any given day you’d drive yourself round the bend in no time.

Sundays are probably my slowest, least read day. I don’t know if that’s because I’m the only one who finds these archival posts even remotely interesting, or because everyone’s gone to church when I’m posting, or that you lazy jerks are still lying about in bed while I’m here slaving away at the keyboard. Not that it’s really important. I’ve been having a blast looking back at how the blog evolved over the last six years. The stuff I’m pulling in now from 2008 is far more personal/day-in-the-life than what I’m posting on a typical day in 2013. I like to think the writing has gotten better and the threads a little more coherent along the way. I know I’m more confident in my voice now that I was in the past, so even if practice doesn’t make perfect, it still makes for a better story.

I think everyone that lives part of their life online has some kind of performance fetish. We all want attention in one way or another. We’re all looking for the next “like” or comment or share at least on some level. For me, it’s the writing it all down that really feels important. I still find it fascinating to see what I thought was important the better part of a decade ago. Some of it holds up to the test of time and some of it just leaves me shaking my head and wondering what I was thinking.

Don’t forget to check out this morning’s archive posts from February 2008!

What Annoys Jeff this Week?

1. Priorities. I don’t know that I’ll ever get use to something that was a earth-shatteringly critical issue yesterday being completely irrelevant today. Look, I completely understand that focus changes and priorities shift, but maybe it would be ok to give a guy some advanced notice before he spends eight hours working on something that will never actually see the light of day. Hard to believe anyone ever accuses us of being inefficient.

2. The Boy Who Cried Wolf. Since December we’ve been listening to Dear Leader: Part III lead a veritable chorus of batshit crazy tirades about attacking both the US and South Korea. Sure, everyone on the planet, including the Dear Leader’s biggest boosters in China think he’s taking his unique brand of nuts way out past the edge of reasonable saber rattling, but no one seems to know quite how to deal with him at this point. I’m a simple man, really. When someone is standing on my front porch with a lit match and a gallon of gasoline talking a lot of smack about burning down my house, I don’t just stand there waiting for him to add one plus one. It’s one of those occasional times in life that calls for swift and decisive action, rather than another six months of handwringing and hoping we can just “hug it out.” It’s all a lot of talk right up to the point where it isn’t. For once I’d like my country not to be on the receiving end of a sucker punch to spur us out of complacency.

3. Evolution. As an apex predator, humans have evolved over millions of years right along to the various flora and fauna that inhabit the earth. Over that vast amount of time, you’d think our species would have evolved some kind of general ability to deal with pollen and other allergens in the air – beyond getting a clogged nose, watery eyes, and scratchy throat. I think it’s high time we expect more out of evolution… and for that matter we should expect a hell of a lot more from science in general – because the allergy medications it’s come up with pretty much suck.


It’s the 200th birthday of Charles Darwin which makes it about 150 years since he published On The Origin of Species. According to a poll published today only something like 39% of Americans believe in the kind of evolution outlined by our English friend. That’s 39%. Are you serious? It boggles the mind that 61% of those polled either disagree or don’t know what they believe. By the way, it’s a question about what you *believe* how can you possibly not know the answer?Where ever it was that this 61% of the American public was educated, they should demand a refund or at least a repeat of Intro to Biology, as they have been badly misserved by the educational system.

I weep for the future of the Republic.