Tuesday, August 21, 2007

from The Thin Red Line : Dizzy, so dizzy my head is spinning

This is the original post as published at TRL. The book review portion of the post has been re-titled. Friday....must mean jambalaya

One of my new meds seems to have a bad side effect of
making me very dizzy. I first took the two new meds around lunch time yesterday, then just before I was ready to leave to work my 3--9pm shift I had about five minutes of feeling extremely dizzy and nauseous. It passed, thankfully, and I went on to work, and had a routine shift. Around 8:30pm I took my final break and went outside, sat down on a bench and smoked a cigarette. When I got up to go back in side it hit again and I could only barely manage to waive my wallet at the security thingie and stagger in to a chair. It again passed after a few minutes. Today I worked 8a--3:30p and just as I was fixing to leave I had another terrible dizzy spell, though I managed to get to the car and after a few minutes it passed and I was able to drive home okay. Ron thinks it is the statin that is causing the side effect so I will not take that one and see if the problem recurs. Guess we will have to call the doctor on Monday.

Ron teased me that the only reason I picked up The Naked Soldier was in hopes there would be pictures of naked soldiers inside, which is as good a theory as any. (Honestly I don't know why I decided to read it.) Tony Sloane was a lower class 18 year old from rural England who decided on a whim to join the French Foreign Legion. This book is a memoir of his 5 years of service in that famous army. To be honest, I found his story appalling. The early chapters relate the intense abuse that new recruits to the Legion are systematically subjected to, while the later chapters relate how the recruits become "cold blooded killers" who routinely subject not only new recruits but also the general population of various African countries to unimaginably horrific treatment. Unless you are interested in reading about lawless, reckless and unspeakably cruel young men, this one is NOT recommended.

I was shelving in the 910's this afternoon and came across a post-Katrina travel guide for New Orleans (first one I've seen) and picked up. I was mostly interested in finding out what things are still there and still recommended. It was somewhat disappointing in that as of the November 2006 publication date so much was still up in the air. I was very pleased to learn that The Fairmont Hotel (the subject of Arthur Hailey's novel Hotel, site of my high school senior luncheon and where Joel and I stayed on a visit some years back) is being repaired and will re-open. (Previously Ron and I had heard that there were no plans to re-open so this was good news.) They also say that The Camelia Grill is expected to re-open, though as of the press date it had not.

Reading about New Orleans, the restaurants and the food put in the mood to make jambalaya for dinner. I have chopped onions and celery, sliced smoked sausage, peeled a pound of frozen shrimp and boiled the shrimp shells to make a broth. Now I just have to put it together. This is not exactly on my diet, but I have been pretty good about South Beaching it for the past week or so and my blood sugar has been in the low 100's every morning so I feel entitled to indulge. Bon Appetit!

from The Thin Red Line :Tokyo Cancelled Practically Perfect Hep-Cats

Note this is the original post from TRL. A post with the title remains on TRL with more personal informaiton edited out.

Sunset falls as ferry crosses Eliot Bay
undated photograph by Joel Farmer

Today's pic is for Ron, who admired the ferry pic I previously posted. Yesterday I finally saw dr. shrink, who sez I am not depressed and who prescribed Xanax for my anxiety, which my huzband greatly approves of. Meanwhile, my tooth ache is back, though thankfully off again/on again rather than constant. Unfortunately, no relief will be forthcoming until my root canal on the 25th (the dental office flatly refused to refill my pain pill and I am reminded again that we live in a society that prefers to punish people for hurting rather than ease their pain). Sigh.

I confess that today's books have all three been on my couch in varying stages of being read for a couple of weeks now and were not in my mind connected until Blog Rush advised that I could improve my click through rate with catchier headlines. My apologies to anyone who clicked through expecting a sensational story about a local government summarily executing exceptional jazz singers.

Compared to Chaucer's Cantebury Tales, Tokyo Cancelled is a novel about delayed travelers entertaining each other by telling stories. A flight to Tokyo is diverted by weather and lands unexpectedly in an un-named city (presumably Delhi, India) where they find that an economic conference and the protests it has drawn have created a shortage of hotel rooms. Eventually all but thirteen of the planes passengers are dispatched to various accommodations when the remainder are told there are no more rooms to be had and settle in for a night in an airport lounge and begin telling each other stories to pass the time. The group of travelers proves to be from all over the world and each tells a very different story. The framework of this novel allows the author, Rana Dasgupta, to explore an unusually diverse range of ideas and settings, which he masterfully does, while never losing the believability of the 'stuck at the airport' framework. A thanks to Cromley whose review first brought this one to my attention. Recommended.

I have never been a big fan of "self-help". While I firmly believe that each and every one of us must solve his own problems (if for no other reason than that nobody else is going to do it for you), I have rarely been a fan or a consumer of the mega industry of self-proclaimed experts with a sure fire scheme for resolving some problem or another
they are convinced I have. Neither apparently has Jennifer Niesslein, whose Practically Perfect gently skewers a wide range of self-help gurus and movements. It reminded me a bit of Aunt Erma's Cope Book, though in a very conversational tone that is evocative of a diary or journal rather than Bombeck's laugh out loud wit. The book did not persuade me to try Real Simple or any of the other self help philosophies mentioned, but I am confident Niesslein never intended it to. Recommended.

Hep-Cats, Narcs, and Pipe Dreams passed under my check-in scanner a couple of Sundays ago and caught my eye. I brought it home and read the introduction, which has a very "Drug War" tone and left me feeling the book would be more of the usual propaganda and set it aside, unread. Ron then picked it up and read it and liked it very much. He said that contrary to the impression I got from the introduction, this very readable history of prohibition in America clearly shows the lunacy and un-intended consequences that have flowed from our tragically flawed drug policies. He liked it very much and it is now back on my 'to read' pile. Jury still out on this one.

Post Moved From Thin Red Line

Mount Rainer seen from Seattle's Magnuson Park
Undated photo by Joel Farmer

I have been thrilled to see that this blog has been attracting a few new readers, and it occurs to me that in many posts I have addressed myself mainly to a handful of very old friends who know all the backstory. What follows is for everyone else.

From June 1997 until his death on June 24, 2005 Joel Farmer was my partner in life. When we met I was new in town and working at hot ISP called Sprynet where I seemed to get a promotion and a raise every other month and Joel was working in gas station. My star continued to rise for awhile at Earthlink while Joel moved on to increasingly responsible positions in the rag trade, first at Eddie Bauer and then at London Fog.

A couple of weeks after 9/11, I got laid off by Earthlink, the mega-ginormous and very tone deaf ISP that merged with Mindspring, which had acquired Sprynet from AOL, which had acquired it when it bought Compu$erve, which had been my own very first online experience way back in the mid-late 80's. (And the dear friends I mentioned are people from those long ago days.) At any rate I had at one point or another been on the payroll of every one of those big companies, had a huge stack of outdated business cards (before they axed me I had gotten my Earthlink business cards printed up with the job title Numbers And Letters Guru; it was a wild time in Seattle those daze) and had received packages and bonuses and incentives during each and every one of those changes of ownership (it was a great time in Seattle in those daze) so with me laid off and flush and Joel soon after on disability from London Fog we were able to spend the last years of his life traveling extensively.

We went to Hawaii, numerous trips to El Lay and N'awlins (I am a native of New Orleans), plus countless car trips all over the Northwest, particularly to the Oregon Coast and Boise, where Joel had lived for many years and to Mt. Rainier. And to damn near everyplace else. And wherever we went Joel took lots and lots of pics. Joel proved to be an excellent photographer and became extremely adept with Photoshop. In the birthday photo above, the crown on his head was Photoshopped in later. When you know this, you can tell but it is very well done and fooled many.

I am seriously considering making a second blog dedicated exclusively to Joel's photos, but I am painfully aware of just how much Photoshop and Blogger timer it would require so I am not jumping into it with both feet. In the meantime I am sharing a few of Joel's best photographs each day. Please regard all images on this site as (c) 2007 Alan Jobe.

Since Joel's death, I have a new life partner, Ron, whom I often refer to in passing. I also have a dear, dear friend from those old, old days on Compu$erve who is named Ron. In determining which I am referring to it is helpful to know that my friend Ron has a blog, Joyzeeboy, and my huzband Ron does not blog. So that's who these people are that I keep talking about and who's photos I keep posting.

And now, back to our regular books report.

A barn in Pierce, County Washington
Undated photo by Joel Farmer