#borngeek

I just bought my newest toy. I was #borngeek. This you must keep in mind. I like to think of my dad rolling through life, and lately, my thoughts have been turning to Dad (Giuseppe in the old country, Joe here.)

I remember the light in his eyes as he recounted the days of Pong and such. I built model cars and planes with him. As stated, #borngeek, so I convinced him to get a model of NCC-1701D. For those who were not #borngeek, it was a model of the starship Enterprise.

My newest toy is a wireless charger. Gone are the days of tremor+micro USB (as of the time of this post, one-sided)=damage to the cable/ input on my phone. I go through micro USB at the rate of 2 a year. I counsel any and all facing the issue to pick one up. It does something to me, when I hear that little ‘pop’ when I drop my phone on the gadget. I guess the future is here. Or something…

  -A.D.

This one really resonates

Resonance.

Its all that’s been on my mind of late, if you’ll forgive the unique juxtaposition of words. I have a dearth of ideas running through this diseased head of mine…but I’ll sit on those, more for my sake than yours. Thing is, i know about social protocol, I know to mind my Ps and Qs. Problem is, irrespective of this knowledge, I have little regard for the seemingly inane. My very limited understanding of the human body has lead me to believe that when something makes you happy, irrespective of the what, well that’s quite simply your nerves reacting to stimulus. If you’ll indulge me…

When that song you LOVE comes on the radio, when you smile to yourself from some quip Jon Stewart or Stephen Colbert put our on the airwaves, I can only imagine that it is a literal change of state which make your nerves begin to activate. And so, it’s all about the frequency at which your millions of nerve fibers are resonating.  My likely academically incorrect theory is that this resonates through your big, beautiful brain, seeking out some fatty, gooey fold which carries the same frequency,  maybe a memory of some person,  some place,  or some thing which you came across. My theory is that the things stored deeeeeeeep in your brain are simply a series of resonating nerves whose frequency has been stored in your  cool-ass brain. Why is odor the strongest sense tied to memory? Im running with the thought its all about how things resonate with you. If it’s just the right frequency, maybe your thoughts turn to a parent. When I hear the opening riff to “My  Sharona” I think of my big sister,  Rachel.  With less immediacy I think of Winona Ryder, Ethan Hawke, and Ben Stiller. This memory is stored way down. Thus, so long as I flex that memory, i begin to recall everything which my mind associated along with it.

The deepest memories are recalled immediately (family). The rest just follows.

Or something.

-A.D.

How I respond to criticism

And im left with this arguably obscure url in wakingseconds.com.

My frugality has a rough time with any and all waste. This leaves me thinking about the whole 20$ I spent with a few clicks on the WordPress website, and how I it waste by definition.  People seem to enjoy the stuff I post here. My experience leads me to believe that it does some good–as with many, and definitely for me (I suppose then that it is my blog.) I decided to throw a url and see if it was available. It was, and so, I started writing about my socks, as i was facing a challenge. My Mother indoctrinated my manner of thinking, and she is sure to agree (I think?), when faced with a challenge, it’s just another opportunity.  I figured out the socks thing. The elation I experience when I roll one sock into the other brings me such joy (I just signed a lifetime contract to fold socks for life–and that makes so very satisfied.  Standing to pee is but a question of time.  For the last 7 years, I have been willing to do anything and everything to fight my overall disease. I thought I would have to deal with problems sequentially (also why as far as disease with no known cure, MS is kind of neat.  Look, I suppose when you’re in the box, you are free to comment on it. I like the fact that I have a once monthly meeting with an incredibly well educated man with an unparalleled level of patience in my neurologist,  Dr. Lapierre. I’ve known his name my entire life (dad was dx in 1985, I was born in 1983.) Since my dx date, I’ve met with or been treated by something like 45 specialists in 2 countries and 45 provinces.  When I meet someone who is well educated and has time to sit with me and help me solve a puzzle,  well, my perception of events is backed by confidence to push forward, to carry on, to solve the f****** puzzle.

Though others may be taken somewhat aback by thos statement,  it rings true for me.

I figured out the socks.  I will stand again to pee. I had a childish reaction to a piece of criticism, and briefly thought “screw this”, but dans-le-fonds, I write for ME. It is something which I was never unable to do. You cannot even imagine how good it is for me! And though I’m hardly a! man of faith, I feel that everyone who has read my “drivel” will likely appreciate the continuation of my blog.  I just need to establish a difference between what is private and what can be shared. Malissa knows how bad I am at drawing that line. She really must love me ( and I’ve her!)

MS walk in May, but the fundraising starts now. Donate, if you’re able to!

https://secure3.convio.net/mssoc/2014mswalk/dashboard.html#gift-add

What’s real

What’s real to you? My reality is up and down this blog. Its very title is a reflection of my reality… 

I am beginning to truly believe that what is real in your mind is real to you. This qualification has come only recently (Calgary, circa 2003, I do believe)-the old line was incomplete, I gather. I have been spouting “what is real in your mind is real“for a solid decade. It was likely a thought I had listening to Rage Against The Machine, and, again, it was often used as a conversation starter. 

There are few people who are uncomfortable talking about their everyday. Whether it’s work, whether it’s play, whether it’s some melange of minutia and monotony… Most are comfortable discussing something such as this… 

What I am just now starting to see (and this is a statement I have heard my entire existence–everything is subjective. I didn’t really understand what the heck that meant–when I throw something like that. I like to guage the reaction of the person who whom I am speaking. If there isn’t a some semblance of understanding. I quickly follow it up with a (subjective) explanation of what it is I am trying to convey. 

I very much enjoy discussing various people’s respective realities. It is the only true way to retain such a maddeningly difficult concept such as objectivity. And this has become my everyday. Straight up, it’s hard not to be jaded. I’ve been through some stuff. 

I’ll end there–my cousin just rolled in! Think about what’s real to you. 

I have been using PCs since i was a child (age 6). I remember my heart in my throat the first time I plugged:

 

C:\> format C: /u/q/s

 

into my old 80286 with (wait for it) 8,192 bytes of RAM. This is a very old measure of memory, and very small. When it comes to PCs, all you need to know is that all the numbers are based on 1/8ths. This is because, as my Father always told me: “There are 8bits in a byte”. It wasn just dumb luck that I landed in a job whose products were like nomenclature (part-numbered) with a similar sizing based on that same 1/8th multipliere. I guess that’s why I got it right away (after my colleague told me to “bring your Tube Fittings catalogue home, read section A, and then come see me if you have questions.” Remember: never a lesson unlearned. So, tout simplement, I went home that very night with my silly catalogue (I’ve always been a keener–I could make some dramatic claim that I was a precocious child, but this, I do not believe to be true. It all boils down to the people, places, and things in my development, right? So start with the family. They are permanent. It doesn’t matter where I am, I will still count on them to feed me strength to keep on fightng this unwinnable and thus pointless war. So I suppose I found that reason!

Each and every one of my family members provide direction. Whether it is intentional (probably not) or somehow created by my big, beautiful, ugly, damaged, creative, diseased brain ( thanks KW!)

I truly believe that we are all just direct products of our interpretation of the people, places, and things around us. I’ve been using: “we are all products of our environment, for years, mostly as a good way to pick girls up. Love me, hate me, it won’t change my belief. I’m many things, or I have been many things, but I do my best to be genuine and honest. This one has sparked some fun conversations! Disengenuine I am not…

 

Moving along, it is in fact my perception of… everything, to be perfectly honest, is different (always has been). It is quite simply my perception of events around me. There are not, insofar as I am aware, who want to be sick. So, since I was handed this bag full of MS, I am over-freaking-joyed that I have MS. I failed Bio 104 because I’m a bad student (that whole problem with authority thing), but when you have the same people, places, and things which I have, you might be lucky, like me, and be given the right direction. Charting your own course is a piece of cake.

 

There’s no mystery for me. I am well versed in Catholicism, one of the first books I read was “The Picture Bible”. I still maintain to this very day that, perceived as a work of fiction. It has lessons which, despite the fact that I now consider myself fully atheist.

 

“a person who disbelieves or lacks belief in the existence of God or gods”. Yup, that’s me alright. I complain about my MS a lot–it kinda comes with the turf. But can you fault me if those people, places, and things which gave me such wonderful insight didn’t really have a chapter called “How Not to Become Jaded if You Develop MS”. Honestly, I am friggin’ ruined. When people tell me they’re in pain, I just snicker quietly to myself as memories oif retching over the toilet from chemo, every single needle I’ve ever had, having open-brain surgery, venoplasty, and every fall (I have an artful way of falling. I weigh nothing and my legs are still able to bear weight, if not otherwise disabed (and just for shits and giggles, I am experiencing moderate edema in my legs, making them difficult to manoeuvre–heavy and tricky to hang on to. I am told by Dr. Giacomini confirmed my suspicion that this is a common problem for people who are in wheelchairs.) I know a soluttion to the poblem. Maybe another post. This one is about the people, places, and things, my perception of them, and the coolway in which it allows me to see things.

 

I likely would have enjoyed many successes in the life I was living. Instead, I enjoy all the stuff that most find tedious. And that is because I have no choice but to invent new ways of doing them. I find it amusing and rewarding every time I solve another puzzle. And this is because of the people, places, and things, particularly in my childhood, which have shaped my perception so that I’m able to deal. Most of the time, it’s just more an external manifestation of the oeople, places, and things to which I have been exposed.

I think they did alright.

-A.D.

People, Places, and Things

Non-Standard

This Blog post began upon true contemplation of a question asked to me by my personal and professional mentor. The question was thus put to me: “Are you where God wants you to be?” This was at 17:45 on 15-November, 2013. It is only now, at 13:21 on the following day, a full 20 hours later, that I am ready to hit “Send”.  My friend, Derek, always told me: “Good things take time.” 1,600-odd words, 5 coffees (the last of which I’m currently sipping at gently) and 2 teas later I have arrived at my conclusion. My typical reaction when people begin a discourse about god is almost autonomous–my eyes begin to roll as I take a deep breath whose long exhale is paired with a sigh that stretches its length and I…immediately…begin..to…digress. This man deserves more than that. His experiences as a refugee from Zimbabwe are tied inexplicably to my illness (though it makes sense to us.) It has allowed him to truly understand a definition of things like isolation and abandonment, and the brilliant thing about this more-worldly-than-me individual is that he is from somewhere different. He is from a different continent. His skin colour is different. His manner of thought and the way in which he conducts business is different (there is a former employee of Parker who once told him: “anything you don’t know, we can teach you, but what you already know, we cannot.” The uncanny way he holds my head up and pulls my eyelids open so that I can see is different, albeit well suited to me, given my oft disdainful air for authority. Adroitly, the way in which Parker chose to deal with him is somewhat different. Fasten in y’all (hey, I’m just another poser Alberta boy by way of Calgary) and follow me through this incredibly introspective post, if you will. Tears, many due to sadness, more due to the overwhelming joy and satisfaction which begins to rise in me each time I draw some kind of seemingly enlightened conclusion (e.g.: “I Hate it When I Badtrip”) may follow. SFW, I will still call this 14A, as it may have an undesired effect on some. So Reader discretion advised.

Hi Bernard,

The attached image is what Quentin has and likely always will refer to it as “Power Saving Mode”. This is something which occurs daily. At noon. Probably at 2:00 PM also. 4:00 PM for posterity.

I perfected this art in my high school days (1995-2000). I was a silly, angry teenager who had a lack of respect for the way some individual projected their authority. If I even went to class, there was a high likelihood that I was not really paying attention. It worked for me. This manner of thinking came about because I’ve always been exceptional (full credit to both my Father (who embraced my love of all things tech) and my Mother (who more or less did everything else, from the very first story I wrote to my continued improvement in any and all academics.  She has always been there to steer me the right way. This spilled into my professional life; too, in the way I am so easily able to conduct myself properly when I am in a group of non-peers. And the thing that she has perfected is how to best frame things for me, and then allowing me to accomplish them myself (kinda feel like a stompy child (♥ you, Jo!) as I wrote that now.) But my experiences say I was sort of on the right-ish track; within the first month of the second grade, my instructor handed me the final exam for that year. I scored a 90% (notwithstanding, I am an October baby and I was right around the cut-off date—the effect of this was that I went from being the biggest, fastest, and strongest kid on the playground to being the smallest, weakest, and slowest. Malcolm Gladwell muses over exactly that in his book “Outliers”. I still remember my first day of grade 3, and being forced to catch up because I was previously occupied with grade 2. My schoolmate, Catherine, attempted to teach me cursive.  I got my first pair of glasses that same year. Thus, skipping a grade+glasses+honour roll student (until grade 9)=geek. It’s ok, I OWN my geekdom. The cherry on top? I was the only boy—I grew up with 3 sisters (2 older, one younger), an infirmed father (though unbeknownst to me in my youth, and truly until I fell victim to a disease by the very same name, though that is where virtually any similarities in our respective illness ends—and a mother who was forced to do it all.

 I’m not going to sugarcoat it: my MS has left me weathered. It has at the same time, regardless, taught me so much; you really can only truly get it if you suffer from it (sorry? You’d rather not know.). I have come to a few conclusions in this wizened, jaded state in which I exist:

The pathogenesis of my MS is different than that of my Father’s.

My disease progression is different than that of my Father’s.

My familial and financial situation is different than that of my Father’s.

My professional life is different than that of my Father’s.

My relative job security is different than that of my Father’s.

I’m starting to get the feeling that I am unique!

Fittingly the answer to that question must therefore be no, I am not where God wants me to be. Upon full contemplation, if he is in fact creator of all things, he made me unique. He made me different. I’ve always known this. Mom has always embraced this. Listening to everyone all the time is wearisome to a level incomprehensible to most (you can rest assured people always know either what is best for me or for best for my MS—when all the things I really need are things such as a hot meal, or someone to spend some time with me). I read Chicken Little at a young age (another testament to my Mother—she fostered both a will and a desire to read as well as write—and as it is with all things in under her tutelage, I ran with it…like the wind.) But such intangibles are so easily overlooked, though—and the real bit*h of it all is how impossible it is to elucidate others, in part because I vociferously refuse to walk around under a storm cloud. A further testament to my Mother—this Blog exists in large part because of her (though separate from the Catalyst, she is the metaphorical god-darned pit crew, keeping my fuel tank full, my Car clean and rightly oriented, even taking the lead when necessary and allowing me to drift behind her (sorry about all the #Nascar jargon, but it, like all things, is enjoyable in the right company.))

Those differences between my Father and I are inarguable, as inarguable as decisions based on emotion. I know this because I live it every day. For the rest of my time on this wonderful, hazard-ridden, beautiful, gorgeous, ugly nasty Earth (thanks KW!)

I feel a storm cloud beginning to form. Darn you, Mr. Patel. This is something you enjoy doing to me: you ask a question to which I already know the answer, and watch me bounce around like a rubber ball. Because you command my respect, and there is no lesson which goes unlearned, I owe you as much as to be pensive and really think about your interrogative, and eventually I figure out that you expect and want more  from me—because you know me, sir. You got a slate which was half blank in me. I’d say we did alright.

-Andrew

It

I have been poked–keep in mind this is not a Facebook activity. For me, nothing beyond photos and videos of the family, my blog, the occasional (arguably) comedic status update, and keeping in touch with people I used to know. This is something, as it is with many others, which I enjoy. I believe that if you are going to think of a person as a friend there is the smallest, easiest, and most pleasant task that you must undertake—you must communicate with them.) It is not unusual for me to throw a quick hello to my friend, Angela (Angie) in Verona, my friend Luisa in Sao Paulo (now a vascular surgeon, if you can believe that!!) So keeping people in my life is very important to me. Why did you ever become friends?

On point, I have been poked. I have been prodded. I have turned my body into my own “Lake Springfield.” (no three eyed fish yet, thankfully).. I have been through 3 years of monthly chemotherapy, 2 surgeries (venoplasty in Costa Rica and an extremely invasive neurosurgery which took 12 hours over 2 days to perform and which I am just coming out of recovery from…), but still—it’s still there, jammed right where you think—that stick up my ass. While traditionally keep in touch with people that I have known, I suppose, upon further reflection that I equally loathe having to interact with those are not already stored under familiar/recognizable/safe to me. From birth I have maintained this nonsensical flat out refusal (I am really stretching back here) to interact socially (and professionally. And academically. And athletically. And romantically.) I will give you an example: my elder cousin was once a Camp Leader at Beavers. I still remember the extreme discomfort I felt the entire time I was away. The intent was likely to encourage me to begin thinking that “Scouts meet new friends, learn cooperation and teamwork and develop self-confidence”. It may accomplish that for some . I was never good at relaxing and letting my guard down. Entrenched I remained until two things occurred to which, contrary to what I thought, I had a positive reaction—my MS and the torrent of writing that was then unleashed. My MS because it forced me to stop being the twitchy, caffeine-addled, nicotine addict (I’m a smoker. I have been since I was 14.) Workaholic loner who wasn’t so great in  the aforementioned areas of my life.

Socially, I needed a proper lubricant for anything in this realm that I have ever achieved.

I prefer beer, but Goose will always. Glenfiddich would suffice in its stead.  That’s kind of what I should stick to.-  Rye turns me into a serious asshole, tequila and I got into a fight when I was 14 (it won) and have not made up.  I’m not a real drinker—so I stick to what I know wonderfully advertised overpriced branding and all.  Left to my own devices pre-MS, I  simply chose to fly below the radar as much as possible

Academically because I just didn’t want to play. I was an honour-roll student in my elementary school days, then grade 9 happened. I began smoking Pot, having the odd drink, smoking cigarettes, and being an insufferable human being known as a teenager. I preferred not going to class over going. As a result of this, my grades suffered. I nonetheless I obtained my (IBMY) High school Diploma. My application to the ridiculous institution of Cégep was met with a letter of refusal. By the Department of Computer Science (Captain Hindsight strikes anew!). My high-school History Professor always maintained that the only thing you need to walk out of High School with are the abilities to read and write. But High School in Quebec does not teach you to write properly. I guess that is what Cégep is for, but can’t Grade 12 get us there more quickly? The inanity of it made me want to pursue my education elsewhere.

Athletically because I’m just not so inclined. I was never a spectacular team player—my Father had to literally throw me onto the basketball court when I was 10. I did alright, but meh. Same with soccer and baseball, These things failed to captivate me. I began to grow more allured by screwing around than

Professionally is the least problematic of that list for me, but again, I stick to what I know. Parker scooped me up and essentially sponsored me. Parker has always been somewhat patriarchal to me. We continue to enjoy a symbiotic relationship to this very day.

Romantically because of that same stick shoved in that same place I mentioned earlier.

Despite the copious amounts of medication I have either been prescribed or elected to take OTC, that cursed stick there remains. I guess I will just have to learn to live with it. I’m learning each and every day how to live with my MS. I suppose a stick up my ass is no problem in comparion.

-A.D.