The renewed push.

My family is horrible at communication, and it’s something I’ve half-ass tried to fix a few times. It’s just so ingrained that I can’t avoid it at times. We don’t share our emotions, and we typically wait until it’s the last minute to deal with things. That added up to being really bad at handling loss. I didn’t know what I was feeling, let alone what I needed to get better, and I certainly didn’t know how to convey any of it to my loved ones. The worst part is that I thought I had it figured out.

I did a lot better with Ma’s death than I did Gram’s. I attribute that to the shock of hearing of her condition and within the next 10 hours making the final decision to let her die. You go into emotional desolation and recovery so quickly because you need to ensure your thought process is sound.

I’ve been a lot better at noticing when I slip into bouts of depression, and I’ve been reaching out to people for company when I need to snap out of it. I’ve lost days (and nights) to being a husk, but it’s substantially fewer than I’ve had over the previous two years.

Unfortunately, the last few weeks have been pretty rough on me. Dorena’s grandmother, Libby, went into the hospital for a few days, and at the same time her Great Uncle Garry was admitted to the hospital after a terrifying hallucination.

He woke up in the middle of the night, and thought there were robbers in the home. He called the police because he was certain there was a woman standing over his bed aiming an AK-47 at him. Very scary stuff. His life is tragic in its own right, and his way of battling his depression was heavy alcohol usage. While in the hospital, he was diagnosed with cirrhosis of the liver, and I’m pretty sure it led to dementia. His mental faculties have diminished significantly the last eight months, first with general aloofness, and now this especially ominous episode.

On top of that, the one sibling my father-in-law had any sort of normal relationship with died early last week. I love her parents, and to see them so hurt by the loss was really bad. They were out of touch for a while before he passed, so I got a glimpse at what it would have been like if I didn’t reconcile with Ma before it was too late. The remorse is palpable. Body language, facial expressions, vocal tone… It’s more than loss; it’s acute, compounded dejection.

For all the faults in our relationship, I’m glad Ma and I had a chance to connect again, and not finish in discontent. That trepidation of regret was drilled home in full effect at a wake for my Great Uncle Jack last night.

Both sides of my family are quite large when you start getting into generations of cousins. After Gram moved to Florida with Aunt Joette and Garry, I really lost contact with all of Gram’s surviving siblings and their kids. Ma became our liaison with the rest of the family, and she was in close contact with her cousin Gary, who maintained the relationships we didn’t. Together they painted the full familial picture, and it still felt like we were associated.

The biggest bond I had with Ma was music, and I still listen to the artists and songs she introduced me to. There’s a few songs that have come up over the last six months that have really hit me hard because we loved singing them together, but I’ve never missed her more than I did last night.

There was a massive hole in my being as I was a fly on the wall watching my second and third cousins commiserate. It was that sock to the gut telling me that I couldn’t call her and tell her I was there on her behalf. It’s that deep sorrow that she was supposed to move back up here last fall so we could have more time together. It always seems like the biggest fits of melancholy revolve around selfish desires. It’s tedious.

I guess the swirling thoughts in my head boil down to my yearn to stay positive and maintain relationships. I don’t want to wind up missing out on time with loved ones because I was too lazy to try.

John A. Miller TROY – John A. Miller, 84, of Troy entered into eternal life on Friday January 23, 2015 at the Albany Stratton V.A. Medical Center surrounded by his loving family. Born in Cohoes he was the son of the late George and Kathryn Murphy Miller and the beloved husband of the late Janice Shea Miller. Mr. Miller was a graduate of Catholic Central High School. He was a Korean War Veteran serving proudley with the U.S. Army. Upon returning home he accepted a position with Allegany Steel in Watervliet where he was employed as a Millwrite until retirment. Jack was the head usher and a long time parishoner of St. Jude the Apostle Church in Wynantskill. He was an avid NY Yankees fan, and also enjoyed gardening, hunting and most of all spending time with his family and friends especially his morning coffee group at McDonald’s. In addition to his late wife Janice he was pre deceased by his son Scott (Yogi) Miller, daughter Lisa Miller, his siblings Thomas and Marilyn Miller, Joanne Hedges and his niece Joanne Hedges Frank. He is survived by one son James Dubiel, his brother Richard Miller and sister in law Kim Miller, his nieces and nephews , Dickie, David, Cindy, Charles and Kenneth Miller, Carolyn Oleyourryk, Donna Clement, Linda Luciano, Joette Hedges, Kevin Hedges, Gary and James Fernet, also survived by many grand nieces, and nephews and his beloved friend Bonesie the cat. Funeral services will be held on Friday at 8:45 am from the Wm. Leahy Funeral Home, 336 3rd St., Troy, to St. Jude the Apostle Church where at 9:30 am a Mass of Christian burial will be celebrated. Interment will follow in St. Jean’s Cemetery. Family and friends are invited and may call on Thursday, January 29, 2015 from 5-7pm at the funeral home. Jacks family wishes to thank Dr. Mede and Dr. Pasquelle along with the staff of the ICU, Palliative Care and Oncology units of the VA Hospital and also to the many wonderful neighbors that surrounded Jack for their friendship throughout the years. In lieu of flowers donations in Jack’s memory may be made to the Albany Stratton VA Medical Center Hospice Unit, 113 Holland Ave. (135), Albany, NY 12208. – See more at: http://www.legacy.com/obituaries/troyrecord/obituary.aspx?n=john-a-miller&pid=173989576&fhid=3913#sthash.egqJChVQ.dpuf

Mythbusters has run its course.

I used to love Mythbusters, but the allure wore off. I wanted to give this season a chance, because they decided to trim the fat and bring the focus back to what I enjoyed about the show early on. I liked seeing the methodology they worked through to devise their testing scenarios. I loved it when you could see the frustration of an initial design not working out, then the flow of ideas to a viable solution.

simpsons-mythbusters

The show delivered on the promise of what I wanted. They only worked on two “myths” and there was plenty of building and brainstorming showcased. I was entertained by the updated graphic overlays, and the show looked absolutely gorgeous,  which Adam detailed in the most recent episode of Still UntitledThe show looked great, and the content was back to the basics of what made me fall in love with it more than a decade ago, but I got so bored I nearly abandoned the episode before completion. So what happened?

A lot has changed over the last decade in how I seek out and view content. When I only had cable television, my choices for smarter entertainment were substantially limited. Now, I follow about fifteen channels on YouTube that sate my desire for knowledge, and they don’t dumb down the subject for mass consumption.

I understand the confines of broadcast television, and fitting content between commercial breaks, and how it’s all driven by statistics on viewership and advertising. I get it, I just don’t want to tolerate it any longer.

Compare the average amount of science content in an episode of Mythbusters and just some random episode — heh, get it?  — of Veritasium.

I wanted to give the MB reboot a shot, I did, and I decided it wasn’t for me. I can’t go back to network television’s model of science. I guess I just don’t need superfluous destruction after a bunch of words to keep me entertained any more.

Hell, the Tested YouTube channel produces so much interesting content that I’ve been spoiled. We’ll get an entire video of nothing but Adam building something, or some cool insight into the decisions made by Jamie when he decides to build something. We don’t get bogged down with contrived skits introducing content, we just get content.

It’s dense and concise, and we don’t get previews and recaps every six and a half minutes either. Why would I bother with Mythbusters, when there’s such a viable alternative being produced?

Finished up my Start Icons!

I’ve previously blogged about my progress with icons for my start menu, and I’m happy to report that I’ve wrapped them up now!

Custom Olby Tiles for Windows 8.1

 

I’m really in love with how this came together. I’m a little torn on the folder icons in the common destinations column, but they work decently enough. I toyed with icons on the tiles, but they didn’t feel right.

What’s weird now is that I kind of like the icons. HRM. Maybe I’m not done after all.

Olby Tiles

Here’s the finished up miscellaneous shit column icons:

asdf
From top left, to bottom right: CMDer, Font Expert, Internet Explorer, IIS Manager, MediaMonkey, HexChat, Beyond Compare, Navicat Premium, Image Import dialog

Motivation and the lack thereof.

My great buddy Jerry just posted a “confessional” about losing his motivation and how he was defeating himself.

I chronicled my weight loss progress a while back, and I’ve mostly been stagnant since then. I haven’t cracked the 270 plateau, and it’s because of a few different things:

  1. I’ve always loved “summer food” — hot dogs, burgers, fries, onion rings — and I am consuming this shit food in my old habit of eating more than I should. Where one or two dogs would be more than enough, I’m going for three or four. I need to corral this.
  2. Along with eating too much summer food, I’ve gotten away from my grilled chicken, and white fish meals. Those were doing wonders for my progress.
  3. My working out has slowed a little. With the increase of my stamina, I’ve shortened my treadmill workouts to half an hour. I’m covering the same amount of virtual ground, in less time. I do this mix of walking on various inclines and jogging three days a week, and intersperse dumbbell workouts on my arms/shoulders on the off days.

    I need to experiment with more cardiovascular exercise. I think the big hang up is that I’m still fat, and my shins are really taking a beating from the impact of my fat ass jogging on them. The day off in between doing the jogs really helps with my recovery. What a conundrum.

I’ve been too comfortable with the progress I have made, and I haven’t really striven for more. Like Jerry, I’ve sunk into the rut of not controlling my food intake. I just figure, “whatever, it’s not that bad, and I’ve already done worse today,” and it spirals out of control.

I need to focus more than ever, because I’ll be going to a lot of baseball games soon. The ease of the junk food there, and sitting around for three hours a night are really going to put a damper on my plans.

Being a fat guy for as long as I’ve been one, I completely understand how easy it is to just be complacent. It’s extremely difficult countering a life time of stomach-muscle-memory. “Fuck it, we’ll start over tomorrow,” I say as I grab a box of Triscuits to munch on. “We’ll just jog a little longer later,” as I eat half of the box…

Yeah, I do the crazy Venom thing, were I call myself “we” in my head. No idea why, maybe it’s because of Venom. It’s time to zero in on my behavior and get back to work.

If you cook something, it will probably be hot, as will the vessel in which you cooked it.

One of the things Dorena and I like the most about TGI Friday’s is the selection of food prepared with Jack Daniel’s BBQ sauce. When we came across this heat and serve product, we figured we’d pick it up and give it a go on a lazy night.

Expectations were pretty low, as we knew it was obviously not going to turn out as well as if we slow cooked it ourselves, but it hit the spot enough that we’d pick it up again for another lazy evening. This one chick on Walmart’s site doesn’t agree, though.

I normally get tony romas pulled pork because it’s a dollar cheaper but this time wanted to try chicken and I only saw Jack Daniels pulled chicken so decided to get that. Big mistake, the bbq sauce is not as tasty and the meat is not as flavorful as Tony romas. I’ll stick with tony romas pulled pork, hopefully they have the chicken one so I can try that as well since I prefer chicken over pork as in health reasons but prefer pork over chicken as in taste.

The reason I made this post was for the package. In the heating instructions, they provide truly insightful advice.

scan0001

Oh, really? Good lookin’ out, JD. Good lookin’ out.