How I Went Deaf But Not Really

Wednesday, January 25, 2012 | 1 Comment(s)

the other day i woke up and i couldn't hear out of my left ear.  and it wasn't one of those "i feel like there might be something in my ear" problems.  it was one of those "im in a hearing aid commercial" hello Hello HELLO!!! kind of total blockages.  Thankfully i was unafraid.

I was unafraid because i remembered a story my father told me years ago about the time that he woke up and though he had gone deaf.  The best part of this story is not that he mistook an ear blockage as a permanent loss of hearing.  its not even that my dad is a doctor.  The best part of the story, for me, was that when he woke up, he couldn't hear anything partially because his "good" ear was still on his pillow.

At least thats how i remember it.  and now that i've written it down  on the internet, it essentially becomes truth.  niffy really.

I digress.  The moral of the story was supposed to be that i learned from my father, as fathers have passed knowledge down to their sons for hundreds of years, that if you ever wake up and think you might have gone deaf, you probably have a ton of wax in your ear. 

I hydrogen peroxided the problem.  cotton swab. cotton swab.  cotton swab.  pen cap?

eventually the pain in the ass of being partially deaf got the better of me and i went into the health center to get it taken care of.

"taken care of" i learned means a spray bottle of warm water with an attachment that shoots the stream to the back of your ear, flushing its contents into the awaiting receptacle.

it was gross.  what can i say.  oh, what i can say is that after i got my ear douched and somewhat violated, i could hear again.  magical.  if only my back pain had had such an easy fix.

After my cleaning the doctor came in and gave it a quick look.  He said it did look red an irritated.  He was obviously contemplating whether or not i might have an infection.

And i sat there in the pregnant silence.  I am a man un-prone to keeping my mouth shut, so it was quite a feat that i kept mum.

kept mum on what you say?

Well . . . the irritation could have been caused by my temporary meltdown when i shoved that toothpick up my ear to try and scrape the wax out.

He said i should monitor. the situation.

Will do.

How Facebook has changed the chose your own adventure story

Tuesday, January 17, 2012 | 0 Comment(s)

I am constantly surprised by the twists and turns in the lives of those whose paths have crossed mine.  I have lived on four continents now, and multiple locations in the US.  This is not a matter of bragging, but rather that i have crossed paths with a huge number of people along the way.  And if i were growing up 25 years ago, i would probably have a few pen pals and i could see what happened to my high school girlfriends during reunions (this actually wouldn't be the case for me, since most of my high school girlfriends didn't go to my high school (god bless youth group)).  But now we have  Facebook, Google+, MySpace, FriendsterAnd because of the complexity and thoroughness of online social media, i get to be a voyeur to the end of all of these people's journeys (not creepy at all right?).  While I may have exited their life, that no longer means that our connection terminates as well.  

I'm not one for questioning my decisions.   Ok, that's completely untrue.  I question my decisions almost non-stop.  UNTIL i make them.  And then, it's done.  over.  i deliberated.  probably stressed.  waited past a few deadlines.  more deliberation.  but then -- at some point you have to give yourself credit for making a thoughtful decision.  and i do.  and thank goodness.  

The internet can be torture for those of us who aren't like this.  Those of us who worry we may have erred.  Was she the one that got away?  Did i end my friendship with him too abruptly?  There can be endless questions that could be asked.  With Facebook, we can now make a somewhat information-based conjecture regarding how our decisions played out.  "oh, i'm much better looking than her new boy."  "Look at them living it up on their honeymoon . . . that shoulda been me."  You add a dash of toomuchtimeonyourhands, and you could get a pretty depressing situation up in their right quick.   

This isn't an argument regarding social media being evil.  it's more to the tune of me assuring you that the sex ed classes of the future will focus increasingly on privacy and moderation.  Privacy in terms of anything you put up on the internet is accessible to the whole wired world.  Privacy in terms of "if you let someone take a picture of you, that image can instantly be uploaded to the whole wired world." And moderation in terms of hours spent staring at screens.  Moderation in terms of how much access we make available to our friends and the public at large.  And these are not just lessons that we need to teach our children.  They are just as applicable to ourselves.  To myself.  This friggin blog probably makes available more information than one would deem appropriate for some job searches.  But i made these decisions intentionally, and likewise, i have left out chunks of my life that are either too private or inappropriate.  The trick is, no matter what you do or do not disclose, to do so intentionally.  

Many of our politicians continue to reinforce how easily the power of the internet can be weaponized (penis photos, ab flexing, page texting).  

But alas, thankfully, the internet's power can also be used to spread joy, laughter, genius. 

And so, to honor this, i present to you the conversation i had with my father, who is on vacation, via text.  the background you need to know is that the Sadie Sea is a boat that passes our house twice a day, and i moon them, and they honk.  Subsequently i met them.  Laughter was had.  And now, when they see people at the house, they always give a toot as they pass on by.  Ok, here we go.

Dad: Sadie Sea just tooted us.... Miss u...

Me: Did you moon!!!!

Dad: No. Mom would have killed me!  I tebowed...

Me:  Nice!!!!

Me:  Think about planking.

Dad: ??

Me: Look it up.  Image search.

*   *  email received *  *  
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Videochat Killed the Speakerphone Call

Thursday, January 5, 2012 | 1 Comment(s)

I haven't been in the writing mood lately.  Thankfully this happened and got me off my ass.

A few weeks ago was Hannukah.  My family has embraced this modern age and we have taken to Skype video chatting so that we can more intimately light candles together while physically apart.  Video chat is a significant improvement in many respects to our past ritual of singing the prayers over the phone.  Besides the obvious advantage of being able to see my parents and their menorah, i ALSO now get to hear them.

Because cell phones work on the whole "one person talks while one person listens, then switch" principle, they are not designed to both transmit and receive sound simultaneously.  Therefore, when we would sing to each other over speakerphone, inevitably, the speakers would eject fragments of my parents voice, dotted like morse code.  I can only imagine that my parents also received dots and dashes of my voice, though they never mentioned it.  In any case, video chat seems to be here to stay.

After the candles were lit, mol, grover, and i settled in for a chat with my parents.  My mother loves grover.  loves him.  This is not to say that my father doesn't, but my mom grew up with pets and i believe still harbors a secret desire to have a fuzzy companion of her own.  My dad has no problem in the slightest with that scenario, as long as he is deceased.  And so, my mom loves grover a lot.

She loves him so much, that inevitably at some point in the conversation she will announce, "Ok, let me see my grandpuppy!  Where is my grandpuppy at!?"  And, because i love her loving our dog, we lower the screen and show her grover, groggy and affable as always, curled up on the couch.

"Where is he?" my mom says.

She wants some eye contact.  Some face time.  Since grover really doesn't care how you arrange him, i pull him onto my lap and facing the camera.

Then . . . i see . . . a flash.

I realize that my mother is taking pictures of her computer screen in order to have more images of the dog.  Multiple photos.  Not only is she photographing the picture of the dog on her computer screen (i may literally blow her mind when i show her how easy taking a screenshot is), she then proceeds to show me the picture she took of grover on her computer screen to me by putting the screen of her digital camera up to her computer.  Now try to keep up with this:  I was being asked to evaluate the image of my dog on my lap on my mom's computer taken by a digital camera and then relayed back to me.  Pretty friggin meta.

I was laughing entirely to hard to comment on the photo itself.  i'm pretty sure the actual dog on my lap appeared more crisp and "lifelike," but i loved the enthusiasm.

I can only imagine whats going to happen when she meets the new puppy . . .

(to be continued!!!!!!!!!!!!  cliffhanger!!!!!)

will matt and mol be getting a new puppy?  is this just a ploy to get people re-engaged with the blog?  is this couple going to keep getting new puppies each year until they show up on Hoarders: Animal Edition?   The answers to there questions and more in the next installment!