Puprichor

Okay, this isn’t one of my weird word substitutions, it’s a brand new word that Merriam Webster is totally going to thank me for. We all know that petrichor is the smell of the world after a rainfall on a warm day, right? If not, learn yourself some education. My new word is puprichor. The feeling you get when you’re in a comfortable warm room on a cold winter weekend day, listening to the chilly winds buffet the house when you look over and see a dog curled up and sleeping in its warm bed, happy and content. The feelings of puprichor can be increased if the dog is a rescue, if the dog is old, if the dog is young, if the dog is middle-aged, if the dog is a dog.

In the midst of the holiday season, people occasionally find themselves prone to making wishes. If I had one wish for these holidays, it would be that everyone would get to experience puprichor at least once in their life. Assuming that I would get other wishes later, of course. Otherwise, that holiday wish is for money and a case of banana Moon Pies.

Puprichor, personified. I mean, dogrified.

Stupid Shit That Makes Me Cry

So since I’ve created the glossary, it seems my brain doesn’t want to play word substitution any more. Or maybe it’s gotten so good at it, I don’t notice now. I apologize insincerely if that has happened while talking to you. And no, that wasn’t a word placement.

I started thinking, “Maybe I should track something that happens a LOT and will probably keep happening.” I mean, the worst that could happen is that I decide to track that thing and suddenly I stop doing that thing. While I don’t think tracking each time I haven’t won the lottery will work the same way (I didn’t win in the last one, by the way), we’ll see for what else might change in my life after tracking, like

The Stupid Shit That Makes Me Cry.

I’ve talked about this before in a previous post, so go back and read that one to get caught up here. I’ll wait. No, I won’t. ADHD, remember? If you don’t get the gist of it, these are things that make me super stupid emotional for some reason. Usually a stupid reason.

Tonight’s Stupid Shit That Made Me Cry, Pearl Jam’s Unplugged performance of “Porch” in 1992.

I told you this was stupid shit.

In my random Youtube wandering, I stumbled into Pearl Jam’s Austin City Limits performance of “Just Breathe,” which led me down the rabbithole. Had to watch the whole episode, of course, and they ended it with “Porch,” which reminded me how much I love the song (hey, it’s been 31 years since release) at which point, I looked it up through the lyrics (since I rarely remember the actual names of Pearl Jam songs) and pulled it up on Spotify through my phone so I wouldn’t lose my place in Youtube on the TV.

Oh, I was also cleaning and conditioning the fretboard of one of my ukuleles because I’m getting back into playing and am in the process of re-stringing it to better play the songs I want to play.

So I listened to it on my tinny little iPhone speaker and had to at least pump it through the surround sound. So I looked up Pearl Jam Porch and the first hit was the Unplugged appearance. When Nirvana did Unplugged, they did Unplugged. When Pearl Jam did Unplugged, they did Pearl Jam. Check that. They did PEARL JAM. And holy shit did they push the rocking beyond the bounds of their little acoustic guitars. And who can forget the Sharpie coming out during the jam band section? Just a little reminder that Pearl Jam has always been willing to be political and that women have always been getting screwed over.

So, yeah. Tears. I don’t know if I’m going to make this its own section like the Moondoggie Dictionary, though the name “The Waterworks” just ran through my head so I might have to do that. Until then (come on, you know how I am), I’ll just tag appropriately.

Finally, a Translator!

Okay, maybe not so much a translator as a glossary. As I mentioned a few days (weeks? months?) ago, my brain has gotten more rigorous at coming up with new words for words I’m trying to access. The most recent was the name of the medical device that doctors install to regulate a patient’s heartbeat. You know – the tachometer.

I recently got my first Apple Watch in an attempt to offload some brain functions that might occasionally be… lacking. Most specifically note taking and an abundance of reminders. After years of fighting against it, I’ve now given in to having short conversations with Siri. Anyway, I got myself an Ultra (this is back in the Series 8 days, future travelers) due to its durability and gigantic size. The durability’s an obvious plus, since I have a tendency to not pay attention to how my arms are flapping about. The gigantic size is great to make it easier to use with my sausage fingers and to make the watch look more of a normal size with my big paws. The only issue is the included band (the velcro trail whatever band) doesn’t open enough to let the aforementioned big paw slip easily through.

So off to reddit I go to wander r/applewatch for a few hours. In addition to some watch band ideas, I walked away filled with amazement at how much people expect from a watch. One in particular was upset at how the watch was reading his HRV (Heart Rate Variability, something to do with your heart rate fluctuating and a low number is worse than a high number). It had been reading in low numbers (again, bad), but when he checked the HRV being given by the pacemaker installed in his body, his HRV was really a higher healthy number. That’s right, he’s comparing heart readings from a watch on his wrist to heart readings from a device inside his heart.

I had been discussing my new watch with the IT consultant/former boss who had come onsite that day, so I tracked him down to tell this tale. It was going well until I got to the word “pacemaker.” The best I could come up with was “tachometer.” He didn’t pick up on it because he was probably only halfway paying attention to me, but I pondered the proper terminology over the next couple of hours while I did other things. I couldn’t come up with anything better than “tachometer.”

I wasn’t too worried about it since I was doing other things, but did start panic breathing a little as I neared the end of the second hour. So I stopped everything and laser-focused on the problem at hand. Yes, I was sitting in front of a computer that would tell me the answer in seconds, but I was On A Mission. So I sat there staring at my desk for FIVE MINUTES before I finally thought of “pacemaker.” Interestingly, the recovered word was brittle for a little while. I’d think about how I would recount the ordeal to my wife and I’d remember the word started with a P, then have to gather myself to come up with the rest of the word.

While it has been suggested that I might have had “tachycardia” lodged in my brain, I’m pretty sure it was an even simpler comparison. Tachometers measure rpm, so why not bpm?

All of this to say that I now have a way on the site for us (the royal us) to keep track of these new words as well as any other things I come up with. Take a look at The New Moondoggie Dictionary, readily available in the header of the site. If I find a way to link to a specific word, I might use that in the future. I just spent two hours trying to put a copyright notice in my footer without destroying the site, so I’ve had it for programming today.

And then, he died…

Okay, so I’m still alive, but it’s just like me to drop a “hey guys, I might have early-onset Alzheimer’s” and then disappear for almost a month and a half. I was actually a little worried about my brainmeat there, because I saw my last post was August 28th and thought “I posted seven days ago? I thought it was a lot longer than that!”

My brainmeat has been a little iffy the more I pay attention to it. Kind of like when you notice something hurts a little, so you hyperfocus on the pain until it feels like you need surgery. Or a splint. Or something. My most recent word replacement was that holiday in March known throughout the world as Leprechaun Day. Granted, that’s not quite the same stretch as “fish museum,” but I’m rolling with it.

I’ve realized a few times lately at work that there are things I’ve done project-wise that I just have no memory of. We had an issue with on of the alarm zones and the keypads still had old maps next to them, not new maps representing our new alarm people. The shop guy comes to me about it and I’m trying to figure out why he’s bugging me. Oh, right. Because I was the one creating the new maps back in February. After some random searching along the lines of “If I were me, where would I put the file?” I found my last edit of the map which was a little lacking in information. It was enough to be left alone for a bit, so I used the time to start digging through my desk drawers to see if I had any sort of notes. I found a few printouts with modest amounts of info and figured this was what I was given.

A few minutes later, the head boss comes upstairs with his manila folder. “Here’s all of the things you sent me last time” he says, as he shows me the same printouts I was holding in my hand. Ah. So apparently I made these documents. Wondrous.

Similar thing occurred when I was reminded that I needed to set up the safety meeting for this quarter, since I’m the new head of the Safety Committee. The previous guy ran the last one, so this one is up to me. Previous guy wanted to sit with me to discuss what I had come up with as a topic for the meeting. Ummm… I was thinking the topic would be… safety?

I vaguely felt like I might have taken notes last time, so I looked around for those in the five or six half-used spirals I have around my desk. Here it is: “Have meetings on Wednesday. Next one: October,” Thank you, Past Brian. Now I totally know how to run this meeting.

Part of me was a little worried about these gaps in my memory. They kind of vaguely came into focus as I researched them, but they weren’t there before I did. Then I realized that a lot of that could just be not really caring about the job. I hear people talking about some of the things we do and rattling off product numbers and stuff, and I’m just amazed that anyone could have enough interest to learn any of it. So I think I’ve basically given my brain a free pass to delete whatever it wants in regards to the job. Lovely.

In the meantime, I’ve decided to try bowling. It turns out, I’m quite bad at it. Like get-a-strike-and-follow-with-four-gutter-balls bad. Little flashes where it seems like I know what I’m doing, followed by long stretches of “you know the object is to knock the pins down, right?” But today I played games 18, 19, & 20 with scores of 114, 81, and 79 respectively. In a way, I’m happy to just see a trend there. My average right now over those 20 game is a whopping 85. And that’s with three games over the 110 mark. Oof.

I’m being good-humored and patient about it, though. The only other time I ever bowled was in ’93 or ’94, and even then I only played a few games with friends. So I’m saying these 20 are my very first 20 at this point. One day I’ll learn how to be at least slightly consistent.

Then it’s all over for you bitches.

A Trip to the Fish Museum

Okay, let’s talk about the new and spectacular health issues I’m dealing with. Namely, my brain.

Alzheimer’s disease is something that primarily affects people over the age of 65. They’re still trying to figure out what causes it and what can stop it, but there are a few risk factors, including a history of head injuries, clinical depression, and high blood pressure. Well, at least my blood pressure is normal. While there’s a genetic marker (APOE) that points toward a risk factor, it seems to be more of a “greater likelihood than normal” marker rather than a “you have it and you’re screwed” marker.

It’s estimated that 5-10% of Alzheimer’s cases are of the Early Onset variety, with about 60% of those actually inherited genetically, and those cases are known as Early Onset Familial Alzheimer’s disease. The accepted age limit for Early Onset is “before 65,” though most are in their 50s or early 60s while some have been diagnosed as early as in their 30s. I know about this not only from Wikipedia, but also because my father was diagnosed at the age of 57. My father’s father was also diagnosed with it, though I don’t know how old he was at the time.

While there was always a worry in the back of my brain, I recently turned 51 and that worry has evolved into a frantic screaming voice in my head. You know how sometimes you’ll misplace your keys and you’ll think “Oops, must not have been paying attention?” My brain says “THIS IS IT! IT’S STARTING NOW! FUCKFUCKFUCKFUCKFUCK!”

It’s a slightly stressful way to live.

When my dad was diagnosed, there weren’t any ways to test for EOFAD or any type of Alzheimer’s, other than conversations with doctors and memory testing. You’d think that would help, but here’s the problem with that: how do you convince a doctor that having a memory function that’s better than the average population is still worse memory function than you used to have? My dad was very smart and had a sharp and thorough memory. He could tell something was going wrong, we could tell something was going wrong, the doctors could tell he was getting older. Because that’s what happens when you get older – you forget things. Too bad patients, that’s just how life works. It took us a few years before a doctor would finally diagnose him with Early Onset. Again, he was 57 at diagnosis after a few years of symptoms. I’m 51.

Fuck.

Recently, I was reading an article about genetic testing and the various flavors of Alzheimer’s. It stated that for regular Alzheimer’s, they still just had the one gene that would suggest a propensity for something like Alzheimer’s happening. Basically, about as helpful as asking a rando on the street about your future. For EOFAD though, they’ve identified three genes where if you have them, you will get EOFAD. Full stop. When I read that, I burst into tears. Right there, sitting at my desk at work, bursting into tears. Awkwaaaard.

My wife had to get some genetic testing done for a familial thing, so she recommended her doctor. I reached out to him, found out I needed a referral, reached out to my doc, got the referral, called the genetics lab, got asked infuriating questions that showed they had no idea what I wanted or why, waited for a call back, called them back and was asked all the same questions that showed whoever I talked to previously didn’t write anything down, then finally got an appointment: the first of December. Better than the “we’re scheduling into next summer” I was originally told, but still. It’s a long wait for a telehealth appointment to talk about my issues, then who knows what will happen from that point. I’ve seen in a couple of places that two of those three genetic markers are only tested for by people who are doing clinical trials. We’ll see what we get in December, I guess.

In the meantime, I’ve been noticing other things. I’ve been trying to avoid looking at all of those “early signs” articles, because like a lot of things, everyone has at least some of the things on the list. The difference is the degree to which those things interfere in your life. It’s like the people who say they’re OCD because sometimes they keep their desk tidy. You know the type. “I’m SO OCD! Every time I take a drink from a bottle, I just HAVE to take the lid off! SO OCD!” But true OCD gets in the way of just about everything you’re trying to do. That’s what makes it a disorder. I hear that with ADHD too. “Last night I just kept switching through the channels. I’m SO ADHD!” No, you’re not. You’re just bored. While there are good and sometimes great things granted to me with my ADHD, it gets in the way of my life a lot. A lot a lot.

Anyway, I know one of the things is issues with words and language. Sometimes not being able to come up with the word, which I think I’ve mentioned here before. You know the word is there, you can describe the word, feel the word, taste it in your mouth, but it just won’t come. Sometimes it’s coming up with different words that are anywhere from partially to completely nonsensical. I’ve noticed it in my writing (well, typing) in the past, but usually I don’t consciously see it happen and usually it’s a nonsense kind of substitution that someone will ask me about when they read it.

Last week, I had a different kind. We were watching “Moving Art” on Netflix. Well, semi-watching. It’s great background sounds. I had tuned in to what was on the screen, because the episode was in Tahiti and there were underwater segments with all kinds of bright. colorful fish. At one point, I thought about how I’d like to go stare at some of these in person for awhile. Not snorkel or scuba-dive. Hell no. Just watch them from the other side of a big glass wall. My specific thoughts: “I know there’s the place in Mystic, but that’s pretty far away. I wonder if there are any closer fish museums.”

The thought ended there, because it didn’t feel quite right. Not like you’re eating something and you bite down on a cilantro stem or piece of bone, but like you’ve been eating something that’s soft and you find a non-soft bit.

I rolled “fish museums” around in my head for a bit, knowing it wasn’t quite right but not why. Finally “aquarium” popped into my head and while I was relieved that I had puzzled out the proper word, I was also a little sad that the proper word was so boring. I guess I should take some solace in the realization that possibly the creative portion of my brain will be the last to go, or will at least put up a hell of a fight.

So here I am, back to typing on the internet again, just waiting to see if I start typing gibberish. If you see something odd, feel free to let me know. Well, not just yet, because I’m still in “hating web programming mode” and haven’t bothered to look at bringing the commenting system back online. But again, at this point I figure you know me, so you probably know other ways to reach me. How convenient. I’m trying to keep these short (and look how well I’m doing!), so I’ll talk about the actual forgetting stuff in the next post.

Astro’s Back… Tell a Friend

Okay, I’m back. I’ve been letting the blog percolate in my mind for awhile, trying to decide what direction to take it now.

  • I could go the daily life route, but I don’t really have a lot of different things going on in my life and that would get old quick.
  • Thanks to good ol’ depression, I’ve stopped almost all of my hobbies, so that cuts down on content quite a bit. Everyone out here seems to have some degree of depression, so there wouldn’t be much light I could shed on that.
  • According to my Middle-Aged CIS White Guy ID card, I’m apparently supposed to spend a large amount of time telling people how to live their lives, but I’ll save that for screaming at the neighborhood children from my porch. Just kidding – we don’t have a porch.
  • I could fill the space with helpful how-tos about things I know how to do, but I usually give people too much credit to think that anyone needs to hear me explain how to do something. Oh shit, they’re going to revoke my Middle-Aged CIS White Guy ID card, aren’t they?
  • I could somehow encapsulate all of those ideas into letting you follow along with a Great Life Journey.

I’ve decided to go with option… fuck, I used bullet points instead of numbers. That last one – I’m going with the last one.

Yeah, it seems like a cop-out of sorts, giving myself the freedom to write about anything, but I’m thinking more about the focus than anything. The old days of Moondoggie were mostly me talking to imaginary internet people about absolutely random shit. Once I was diagnosed with cancer, it all evolved into Cancer is My Bitch, where my cancer journey was the guiding focus. I toyed with other sites later, Lethological to track the difficulties I was having with chemobrain and From Couch to Coach to track my journey to becoming a CrossFit coach, but neither really hooked me enough to solidify what I was doing there. The ADD doesn’t help much either, since it’s easy to get distracted by the new shiny and forget about something for a few days. Or weeks. Okay, fine. Years.

I took everything offline for awhile during a recent job hunt, and now it’s two years later and I’ve realized I’ve missed writing. My return to my neglected sites coincides with the next big steps in a medical journey, so what better time to shift gears?

For the couple of people were CiMB readers or have somehow been old school Moondoggie followers in one form or another, it’s not a cancer thing. At least all of my doctors tell me that all of these symptoms I’ve been having lately aren’t cancer things, even though the only time I’ve had them in the past was the last time doctors were telling me I didn’t have cancer. Right up until, you know, I did.

While I do have new and spectacular health issues to concern myself with, this isn’t that post. Not yet. It’s still brewing. Part of me is waiting for it to be Official and part of me is just wanting the Big Dramatic Reveal like the fucking drama queen that part of me is. You know how I feel about those types of people, so you can imagine how much I dislike that little part of me.

Says the guy writing all of his problems on the internet to a group of strangers and acquaintances.

But that’s the trick to this blog. I’ve scrolled back through some of my old posts and it’s like I’m reading someone else’s writing. And while this author sometimes just won’t get to the fucking POINT, I still like the things he has to say and he still makes me laugh. Or smile. Or tear up.

We really need a new word for that, by the way. Just when writing, so you know if there are tears or if there are tears. And if you immediately read those as two different words, you’re mind kind of people. Have a seat.

Anyway, I’ve decided my primary audience is Future Me. I was going to say “from this point forward,” but let’s be honest, it always has been. I can’t get myself to sit down with a diary and write things out, but I have noooo problem with typing it on the Internet for everyone to see. Well, not everything, but you know. Present Me likes the way Past Me writes, even if Past Me is the asshole who keeps pushing all of his work and worries on to me. By the way, sorry about that, Future Me.

I need a new word for “anyway” too, because I was about to start this paragraph with it and realized that’s how I started the last paragraph and I heard my former English teachers screaming from their… homes? Graves? Hospital beds? I mean, I’m kind of old now, so who knows where they are.

Anyway, (hah) I finally got back to directing my browser at the ol’ site and felt I needed to do something to celebrate. I uploaded the new header graphic (if this is being read Years in the Future, it’s the one I made from my new Moondoggie logo) and if I’m on the site anyway, I might as well start typing a bunch of semi-random words that have been percolating in my head for the last few years. In about ten minutes, Pro Motocross kicks off in Budd’s Creek Maryland, so I’m going to wrap this up for now and who knows, maybe I’ll be back here four hours from then.

Or maybe four years. I’m kooky like that.

Post-posting edit. I just made the mistake of looking at the site on an iPhone and discovered my graphic does NOT scale one little bit. And the race is starting right now, so I’ll have this in the back of my mind for the next four hours. Fuuuuuuuckfuckfuckfuckfuck.

Still not great, two years later

Okay, here’s how weird my brain is. I guess July is the time of year when I decide to get back to blogging. Fuck, do they call it “blogging” anymore? Is writing things down even still a thing? Like writing with no real purpose other than entertaining strangers with the stupid shit in your head? Is that what TikTok is?

Anyway, I took the site down for a year or two so I wouldn’t have to think about keeping up with it and now I’m thinking about keeping up with it again. And holy crap, is there a lot of old stuff patched together around here.

Like I usually do when I decide to restart my web life (moondoggie.com is 25 years old this year), I read back through a couple of posts. The post before this will pretty much bring you up to speed on my life, because it seems like I’ve apparently been idling for the past couple of years and living within the confines of that post. I have a few more worries in my life, which I may get around to later, but for now, just a quick “I’m still alive and still messed up” for the one or two people who might randomly wonder what I’ve been up to and pull up the old website.

I’m not OK.

With that title and my medical history, I should probably start this post by saying that to my knowledge, I don’t have cancer again. Breathe easily for a little while at least. This is going in a different but not opposite direction. Tangential is the word the chemo brain wouldn’t let me think of, and at some point I might look it up and see if that’s really the right word.

In about a month, I’ll have my 14th rebirthday. For those of you not hip to the slang all the cool cancer kids use, on July 12, 2006, after receiving intense chemo that wiped out my immune system completely, I was given back the stem cells that were harvested from me at the start of the “You’re gonna need a stem cell transplant” phase of my cancer journey. It also marks the first moment I was truly cancer-free and, having yet to get cancer again, it’s kind of the first day of being cured.

So here I am, coming up on fourteen years… I was going to say “without cancer,” but that’s not exactly right. Yesterday, I would’ve said “without cancer” and I would’ve meant it. Today, I feel like I should start memorializing May 10, 2005: the last day I didn’t have cancer.

I’ve spent the last fourteen years okay with cancer. Well, maybe thirteen years, since I had the radiation and all that after the stem cell transplant. So I’ve spent the past thirteen years okay with cancer. It hasn’t been that big of a deal because it was over. I got the new stem cells, I got the radiation, I got the all clear, so I am done. I’m alive and not cancer-ridden, so it’s all over now and everything’s okay.

I’m not okay.

I don’t feel like I’ve really repressed anything, which I guess is kind of how repressing things work. Over the years, I’ve noticed an increase in stupid crying. Now some of you right now are thinking “crying isn’t stupid, it’s a valid expression of emotions!” I get that, and that’s not what I’m talking about. I’ll give you an example I’m almost positive I’ve used on here before at some point.

Back in the treatment days, I had a few bouts with pneumonia, some of them requiring hospitalization. During one such visit, I had had a rough couple of days. No one tells you how pneumonia can hurt and feel like a knife jabbing into your back.

I had a rough couple of days and rougher couple of nights, which had me awake when the Today Show was on. The movie “Invincible” was coming out that weekend, so they had Marky Mark and the guy who the movie was based on as their guests. That guy’s name is Vince. As soon as it clicked that they called it Invincible because his name is Vince, I started crying. And not like, sad little weepy sobs. Barb came in the room shortly after my realization and I was crying hard enough to concern her. “Oh my GOD! What’s happening?” she asked. With snot pouring from my nose, I manage to choke out between sobs “IT’S CALLED INVINCIBLE BECAUSE HIS NAME IS VINCE!”

That, my friends, was my first bout of stupid crying.

Usually, I’ve used stupid crying as an indicator of how tired I am. The more tired I am, the more likely I’m going to start crying because I’m watching a concert where the singer has gone quiet and the crowd is singing all of the chorus in unison. I suppose that if I were as smart as I think I am, that should have been a clue. Not the concert part, because how can you not get emotional over that, you monster? The “when I’m too tired” part. What happens when you get over-tired? Barriers start to come down.

Oh my god, I just realized that if I drank, I’d be one of the worst kinds of drunks to be around.

So I went along in my life just fine, using stupid crying as my barometer of when I need to try to sleep longer. I talked it all over with my therapist at the time and we convinced each that the stupid crying was related to accomplishments. Like the concert thing, thinking about some guy writing a song that meant something to him and then years later, hearing thousands of people repeat it back to say “it means something to us too!”

Yes, I’m stupid crying right now.

Where was I? Ah yes, I was done with cancer, I get overly emotionally proud of other people’s accomplishments when I’m tired and I’m completely and totally okay. I should probably talk about my brain right now. You see, medical science is still catching up with the personal experiences of cancer patients in a lot of ways. At least the last time I looked at things, it was. “Chemo brain” is one of those things. It’s becoming more accepted now and maybe a little more understood, but it’s oh so real.

Before cancer, my brain worked pretty well. I’m not dipping back in the smart well here, I just mean it functioned correctly for the most part. I had a major concussion back in ’97 or ’98 that really changed my moods around, but other than that, my brain was reliable. During and after chemo, my brain isn’t as reliable. I’m being reminded just how unreliable as I type this post, because two of the first things I noticed when it started happening were typing issues and word retrieval issues.

The typing issues take one of two forms. The first is just letters in the wrong order, the second is wrong words or sentences. In both instances, I know I’m typing the right thing, but I’m not. Like how I had to go back in this line and change “owrng” to “wrong” just then. My fingers know it was typed correctly, but it wasn’t. The second instance is the worst. When I was writing blog posts for CrossFit New Haven, I’d have Barb read them before I posted, because often she’d spot a section and ask me “What does this sentence mean: ‘When you’re doing the Olympic lifts, you firetruck your elbows quickly?'” This was all before autocorrect, mind you, so I knew it was supposed to be a different ducking word.

The word retrieval issue is what drives me crazy the most frequently. I can tell you I’m thinking of the word for that round thing in your car that you put your hands on to steer the car and has an airbag, and I could tell you lots of other things about it and still not come up with the word “steering wheel.”

My memory is shot as well. Many of you know me as a reservoir of trivia, and a lot of that is still in there, assuming I can retrieve it when needed. But most things that I’m not immediately using just fade away into the background. “Use it or lose it” has become a way of life. Depending on how long it’s been since I’ve seen you, I might not recognize you. Or will recognize you but have no access to your name. I’ve almost certainly forgotten a lot of the other details of your life that I once knew.

So here I’ve been thinking I’m okay, even while knowing that an important part of me isn’t. My brain is malfunctioning in several bothersome ways. If it weren’t malfunctioning, maybe I’d be able to see that I’m not okay.

My big revelation today was brought on by watching a documentary that I cautiously give my heartfelt recommendation. I watched “It Started as a Joke” today and it was wonderful throughout. However, his wife had cancer. Watching two people who seemed so nice and happy and great having to deal with this just broke me. fourteen years of repression, gone.

Throughout my cancer time, I never let myself get down to crying about myself or my situation, stupid crying usually seemingly about other things. I knew that if I started crying, there wasn’t a place to stop. It worked during treatment, but it looks like I’ve been doing that for these past fourteen years as well. Since I no longer seem to have a more immediate expiration date, maybe now it’s okay to spend a little time feeling sorry for the old me. Shed a few tears for the bits and pieces of me that cancer took away from me. Maybe now I can sit here and say the words as I type them:

I’m not okay.

Don’t Panic.

If you’re here from one of my other sites (Cancer is My Bitch, Lethological, From Couch to Coach), I’m currently trying to combine them all into one location, here on Moondoggie. You’re not going to be able to find all the old stuff for a little while (you know how I am), but eventually everything will be here.

I think I’ve managed to get the text part of my posts all here, but there may be a lot of broken graphics, images, and links. If you find something broken that you neeeeeeed, leave a comment here.

Game of Thrones vs. the DCEU

Okay, so I watched the Game of Thrones premiere, and it made me start thinking about how bad the DCEU has been. It’s easy to brush off a Marvel vs. DC comparison as a difference in editorial mindset or comic universe structure or fanboy grievances, but bringing in a nonrival comparison really highlights the problems.

I laughed a lot during tonight’s episode and only rarely was the laughter due to jokes, puns, or broad winks at the audience. There are only a couple of “zany” characters in Game of Thrones (at least relatively zany by the standard of the GoT universe) but their zaniness tends to be reserved and intermittent. Tyrion, Bronn and the Hound are the first three to come to mind. Their zaniness is just a small part of their character structure and only appears in brief moments, just a little more often than most characters. Unlike most zany characters, they have an off switch.

What the GoT writers (and the Marvel writers and the Firefly writers and the Sherlock writers and the Letterkenny writers and the Star Trek writers and the Star Wars writers and the Blossom writers and…) understand is that people as a whole are inherently funny. We don’t need to stand around pondering why chickens are crossing roads or debating Who is on first to be funny. Humans are funny even when they’re not trying to be funny. Think about the times you’ve been talking to someone and they say something completely seriously that is the most hilarious thing you’ve heard. It probably didn’t happen that long ago.

When we see non-joking humor, we start to believe in the characters more. We start to see ourselves in their shoes. We actually start to care about the characters. They start to become real because we instinctively know that real humans are funny and if that character on the screen is funny, they must be a real human like me.

This is why it’s so heartbreaking when one of these character gets killed off. Ned Stark getting the axe was like losing a member of the family. Walder Frey? That was just justice. If Superman died in a DCEU movie, it wouldn’t be that big of a hit. Oh that’s right, he did. But if you’re like me, the only emotion you felt about it was when you saw the reactions of others.

In comparison, think about how rough the ending of Avengers: Infinity War was. We didn’t need to think about how anyone on the screen felt about what was happening because it was happening to us. And it was happening to us because they got rid of some of the most human characters. Let’s face it, Groot is more human than Henry Cavill’s Superman could ever be. Yeah, Supes is an alien too, but looking like us should give him a leg up in the humanization department.

DC heroes have to bank on their history to get us to care. I care about DC characters because I have a long history with the characters before I walk into a theater. It’s easy for a writer to get lazy and rely on the pre-built care. Or even worse, intentionally try to destroy the pre-built care and goodwill just to be edgy.

All of this being said, at least they’ve turned a partial corner with Shazam. Someone around there realized that no matter what universe you’re in, taking a kid and turning them into the most powerful being on the planet (for those who only know the movies, one of Superman’s non-kryptonite weaknesses is magic) is going to result in funny things happening. Whether it’s the humor in the kid trying to figure out what he can do or taking some of what he can do and using it for entirely wrong reasons, you’ve got a lot of material to work with there.

So please, if by some strange twist of fate you’re writing the next big DC franchise tent pole movie and happen to stumble across this, please just watch good TV and movies and learn from them. Once you’ve done that, stand behind what you’ve done and fight anyone who tries to change it. Like literally fight them. Stab a marketing guy. Bludgeon a producer. Crane kick a director. Just be sure to get video if you do, ‘cause it’ll probably be funny.