Dreaming in Stereo

Apparently I do not have just one song running through my head in the mornings. For the third morning in a row, I was able to  identify two  songs  competing for CPU time during the period of sleepy wakefulness before rising.  One seems to be a dominant theme and the other a more subtle undertone, weaving in and out of the first. There may even have been a tertiary tune wandering around in there somewhere but I was never able to identify it.

This morning’s dominant tune was “Hello Lonely (Walk Away)” by Theory of a Deadman. The secondary tune was Landon Pegg’s “Can’t Let Go“. Once I was fully awake, the Theory of a Deadman was definitely the stronger presence and rattled around in my head until I got in the car and overwhelmed it with the crap they play on the radio.

You’ll have to click the link above to listen to Landon Pegg as he’s  a Sony BMG artist and they still don’t know how to use the internet. (And people wonder why Sony BMG is shedding market share online.)

Theory of a Deadman embedded below. Hope it wakes you softly in the morning.

Physician, Rate Thyself

Have you ever had an idea for an invention or a business or a website right before you find the exact thing you thought up? That happened to me just now.

I’m in the market for a new doctor and an orthopedist and a dentist and an optometrist and a dermatologist so I spent some time on my insurance provider’s website today looking for physicians that are in my provider network.

The problem is that, while you can find doctors that are near where you work or live and while you can find doctors that practice a given specialty, you can’t find out whether the doctor is any good or not.

This is why I’m in the market for a new doctor in the first place. I choose my current doctor based on proximity to my home and that’s pretty much the only criterion of mine that he meets.

Actually, I moved. He doesn’t even meet that criterion any more.

I did solicit referrals from my friends, btw. All I got were recommendations for various gynecologist. Very funny people, my friends.

Besides no longer being close to my home, my doctor also just doesn’t listen. I can enumerate symptoms but it doesn’t matter. He has me diagnosed within the first five syllables. I’ve visited the man twice in the last three months and he’s charged me $62 dollars in co-pay to refer me to an Orthopedist and to administer and prescribe both antibiotics and anti-allergens, just to cover his bases.

I have to pay for both those medicines, asshat, and I’d rather know what’s wrong with me than have you write it off as “allergies”. Last time I checked, most allergies didn’t involve people hacking up gobs of yellow phlegm for six weeks running.

He didn’t even recommend a particular Orthopedist. Just an Orthopedist. “Find one on your provider website”, he says. “That’s how I found you, jackass”, says I.

His diagnoses may or may not be correct but it’s fairly obvious the man is more interested in churning out patients than in getting them healthy. He’s anti-personable, averse to human contact, overly quick to diagnose and makes me wait an hour for the privilege.

And he has clammy hands. That creeps me out. Seriously.

He also takes off every Friday. Suddenly I realize why medical care is so expensive and why doctors are treating patients with a turnstile. Doctors have to earn a full salary working only four days a week. Nice work if you can get it.

The whole experience is so poor that I put off going to the doctor just because it’s such a useless ordeal. I just end up diagnosing myself over the internet and avoiding all the unpleasantness. The only reason I even go to the doctor is because I can’t prescribe my own antibiotics and I needed his referral for the Orthopedist to avoid being screwed by my insurance company. After all, he is my “primary care” physician.

Anyway, the point is that I came up with this idea for a website in which people could rate doctors and search for them by insurance provider. Kind of like an angieslist.com for physicians.

Then I find this. A Zagat Guide for doctors?

My work here is done.

Two, Two, Two Songs For The Price Of One

Another two-fer this morning as I awoke. The first song in my head isn’t a song in the traditional sense. It’s a theme. The theme from “The Venture Brother”, to be exact. This goes to show how utterly random is the song in my head as I haven’t watched that show in some weeks now. Once they put up new episodes over at adultswim.com, that will probably change.

The other song is a entitled “Home” by the band Intercept. Intercept has been one of my favorite Pandora finds and I have a whole channel dedicated to their music. There are four songs of theirs that I really enjoy and the one below is probably my second favorite. My favorite is the first song I ever heard from the band, a song called “Berlin”.  It reminds me of a particular person in my life and how we met. Lyrics below and the song can be played on the band’s website. You’ll have to skip a few songs in the embedded player.

When I think of Berlin, I see her as a person,
Quite a pretty picture,
Quiet, tiny, perfect, you know —
Smiling like Candlelight.

If I was a lucky man I would have seen her coming,
Would have had a better job, would have worked up just a little style by now…
Made my body beautiful…

Berlin…

All my friends say “you’re crazy, Chris,
You shouldn’t move straight for her,
You’ve built up your castles, and she’s building up her castles, too…”
And I know that I shouldn’t but I will ’til I win!

Berlin…
Berlin…

(Bridge)
(Refrain V1)
(End)


Sunday Book Run

St. Autustine's Confessions
St. Autustine's Confessions

After three months, I finally have a new book to read. Two, actually. I made a book run to Barnes & Noble this afternoon and picked up St. Augustine’s “Confessions” and J. Christopher Herold’s “The Age of Napoleon“.

“Confessions” is meant to be a prequel for me to “City of God”. I bought “City of God” some while ago but never really dove into it. I was advised to read “Confessions” before making the attempt. “City of God” was written in 413 A.D. and the language is a little archaic to say the least. I figure I can get a feel for Augustine’s style before digging into the thicker book.

The Age of Napoleon
The Age of Napoleon

“The Age of Napoleon” is a sequel of sorts to the book I just, finally, finished. I started Thomas Carlyle’s “The French Revolution” way back before Thanksgiving and have been painstakingly making my way through it two or three pages at a time.

The language isn’t as old as Augustine’s, obviously, but Carlyle really knew how to turn a parenthetical phrase! The guy was so flowery he could’ve single-handedly populated the field of poppies in “The Wizard of Oz”. I read the first page and almost took the book back because I knew it was going to be a hard slog, but I challenged myself to get through it.

The French Revolution, Thomas Carlyle
The French Revolution, Thomas Carlyle

I’m glad I did. After getting a feel for the style, I started to enjoy it and got into the flow. I also found the tone of the novel to be more sympathetic to Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette than I expected. You hear a phrase like “let them eat cake”, purportedly spoken by Antoinette, and you have little sympathy for either person.

While the novel does mention the widespread shortage of bread and grain, it never mentions the line and it was likely never spoken. Louis doesn’t come off as a hero of the affair but is certainly painted in the best light possible. Marie Antoinette is more sympathetic still and is portrayed as a strong and courageous woman. I certainly don’t feel that’s what I’ve been led to believe by popular history.

At any rate, the book portrays both as minor and incidental characters in the drama of the French Revolution, mainly culpable in their inability to understand the causes behind it than by any sin of their own.

More important players are those such as LafayetteMirabeau, Danton and Robespierre. I knew a little about Lafayette and knew enough to associate Robespierre with the Reign of Terror but that was about it. The book filled in a lot of holes and it was worth the read for that.

Had I to do it all again, I would have purchased a more updated history of the revolution than the one I chose.  A more recent book would have given me the same historical detail in a much more easy to consume fashion, I’m sure.

I wonder if the same will be the case with the Saint Augustine novels. Somehow, I think not.

A Song So Obscure…

…that even I didn’t know what it was. Turns out to be Copeland’s “Thanks to You”. I woke up singing this song in my head and had to search the lyrics on Google before I could figure out the name of the song and who sung it.

I also had bits and pieces of Rush’s “Working Man” running through my noggin. I’m beginning to detect a theme, what with “Blue Collar Man” from yesterday.

The Worst Movie You’ll Ever Love

‘Fireproof’ is still generating heat

Okay, maybe “love” is a strong word. I saw ‘Fireproof’ back in October and I’m hard pressed to think of a worse movie. The acting was atrocious, the story was thinly pieced together and it looked like it had been filmed with somebody’s camera phone.  It was really an amateur affair. Kirk Cameron was the best actor in the film, if that tells you anything.

But there was something about it. I have walked out of better movies without a second thought but stayed through the end of this one even though I thought I was going to lose a kidney to 48 ounces of Coke Zero by the time the credits rolled. My companion cried and sniffled through the last 15 to 20 minutes of the film (not me. I was a rock.) and, an hour-and-a-half later, we were still deep in conversation about the movie and about life, love and relationships in general.

It’s probably because it spoke to the reality of our lives much better than any Hollywood romance and was very relevant to the two of us.  The movie was free from any semblance of Hollywood glamour and the honesty was both refreshing and revealing.

Hollywood films may be more polished but they sell you a bill of goods that is false at it’s core. They tell you that falling in love with someone is easy and it happens the first time you lay eyes on someone. They tell you that true love is just “meant to be” and that one special relationship is always happily ever after.

In short, Hollywood is full of shit.

The strength of ‘Fireproof’ is that it completely overturns the Hollywood formula. There are no easy answers to life, love and the pursuit of happiness. There’s no love at first sight, no happily ever after and no ‘meant to be’.

‘Fireproof’ follows a marriage that is on its last legs due to disrespect, dishonor and selfishness. Unfortunately, it’s a story that’s all too real and, for me, one that hits close to home since my own marriage failed. The father of the husband challenges him to try ‘the love dare’ for 40 days instead of accepting that divorce is the only option that remains.

The ‘Love Dare’ used to turn the relationship around may be gimicky but it captures the concept of Christian love well. Love, according to ‘Fireproof’ (and the Bible) is not an emotion that makes you feel all gooey inside. It’s an action, one that must be repeated every day in order to remain in effect. It’s an act of patience, an act of kindness, an act of endurance, an act of forgiveness, an act of selflessness, an act of humility… It’s everything in 1st Corinthians 13 and none of the things Hollywood tells us it is.

In other words, it’s not easy. It’s hard. It may be the most difficult thing in the world to do well but maybe that is what makes it “the greatest of these”. Nothing that came easy ever had real value.

Anyway, if you get a chance, think about seeing the movie. I’m not saying you should see it. It is, after all, actively bad. Sitting through it is no easy thing, especially if you haven’t emptied your bladder in a goodly while.

But I’m happy I got to see it and I’m especially glad I got to share it with someone that made it very real and relevant to me, someone who has taught me how to love the way God intended, with patience, humility, grace, perseverance and endurance.

If you do watch it, watch it with someone you love. Maybe you’ll find you’re happy to have seen it too.

You could certainly find a worse way to spend Valentine’s Day, I’m sure.

Friday Minutia

Not much to talk about this evening. I just got in from the day. Work, gym, grocery store, home…pretty uneventful day.

I did get up to 1750 meters at the pool this evening, so that’s good news. That’s 35 laps for anyone that’s keeping count of such things. I hope to do 2000 tomorrow. I probably could’ve done it tonight but I was the only person left in the pool and my calves were threatening to cramp up during my only attempt at the butterfly thus far.

According to my scale, I’ve also converted about one-and-a-half pounds of fat into muscle. It’s not much, but it’s enough to keep at least one fitness metric moving in the right direction, and it’s enough to keep me motivated. Repeat that three more times and I will have met one of my goals.

I continue to find it difficult to consume enough protein to satisfy my nutrional log over at Gyminee.com. I am making a conscious effort every day to do so but, every time I manage to score enough protein, I bust the goal for carbs and fat. It’s maddening. I’ve upped my consumption of dairy to include 16 to 24 ounces of skim milk every day. I added two fried eggs to my breakfast routine. I’m even starting to add high protein smoothies from the gym. Still falling short.

Hell, I’m having a hard time consuming enough calories. The stupid tracker yells at me if I fall short of my calorie goals and I’m eating far more food per day than I have in years. Stoopid tracker. It gave me a “C” for nutrition this week. What does it know?

That’s pretty much it, folks. It’s a dull life, I know, but it’s all I have.  Thanks for stopping by and happy Friday the 13th!

Wikipedia Of The Night

Wikipedia, the Free Encyclopedia
Wikipedia, the Free Encyclopedia

Wikipedia is by far my favorite source of information. When I come across something I’m curious to know more about, I turn to Wikipedia. It’s a great way to educate yourself about any particular topic and you learn something new every day.

For example, did you know that the great Jewish teacher, Hillel the Elder, lays claim to the invention of the sandwich, some 1500 years before the Earl of Sandwich? (John Montagu, 4th Earl of Sandwich, according to the site.)

I did not know that.

I knew of Hillel only in passing reference, mainly because his famous quote in regards to the Golden Rule: “What is hateful to you, do not do to your fellow: this is the whole Law; the rest is the explanation; go and learn.” The quote was mentioned as part of the discussion surrounding “The Greatest Commandment” from Mark 12: 29-31, which can be summed up in two parts as love the Lord your God with all your heart, mind, soul and strength and, the Golden Rule, love your neighbor as yourself.

It’s funny because we’re not even studying Mark. We’re studying 1st John and were at the tail end of chapter 3. I guess it’s an appropriate discussion to have as Valentine’s Day approaches.

At any rate, it struck my curious nerve so I went digging on Wikipedia to learn more.

And now I’m thinking that the sandwiches we had for dinner should perhaps have been called hillel’s. Pretty sure mine had ham on it. It definitely had bacon on it. Would a ham and bacon hillel even be legal?

It’s probably better than John Montagu got credit for layering food stuffs between two slices of bread. The world just wouldn’t be the same without the BLT.