Friday, October 28, 2022

Amazing Distracted Headstrong Dreamer

Sweet Vertigo by Cyril Rolando - Aquasixio
Sweet Vertigo by Cyril Rolando-Aquasixio

October is ADHD awareness month. 
I thought I should say something.

My atypical neurology ain’t so much like others with ADHD; except when it is.

Most of what you’ll find is about a neurodevelopmental disorder of childhood. It’s not the same beast if you still have it after 15 or 18; except when it is.  

I could claim old age when I forget your name or what the heck I was talking about, but I’ve been doing that for decades.

That glazed expression I get could be Rejection Sensitive Dysphoria or PTSD caused by RSD. 

My Executive brain functions could be slipping some gears. 

Dang-ed hypothalamus or some member of my Temporal Lobe is not communicating right to prefrontal 'the decider lobe'. 

“Over, Say again? Over?”      

ADHD brains have low levels of dopamine and/or norepinephrine and/or serotonin; called neurotransmitters. The same brain chemicals that drive the neurotypical brain often puts us out of sync. Acting in ways that are not optimal, let’s call it.    

The ADHD brain processes time differently than a neurotypical brain. Some lose track of time all the time. We tend to live in-the-moment. For me those dreams and goals that motivationals tell us are so important are a dream for me. Without time and memories connected right, what they call ideation of goals and steps to achieve rarely happen. Except when they do. What I do have are intentions that motivationals consider weak tea. Of course they don’t have a lifetime of living in-the-moment, problem solving on the fly. Not like we do anyway

Goals can also be written out too, before they are forgotten about.      

Social disconnect, not seeing the clues, cues and signals others take for granted.

Do you like me? Do you love me? Am I a part of your life? Am I that weird guy? 

The fault is probably mine. The thing I didn’t say or think to say or do or feel. It probably, maybe occurred to me later, after the time had passed. It didn't during the umpteen times I played the interaction in my head in advance. 

The cacophony of sensory input that is being with people distracts me.

It isn’t attention deficit, to the contrary it’s poor filters that let everything through. Too much, too fast to parse what should be important.

Except for times of hyper-focus, when everything else fades away.

Not hyperactive, not me, not unless I have the stimulant meds and coffee at the same time.

So not ADHD, ADD  

I’m an

Amazing Distracted Dreamer 

and headstrong too

I have read this at an open mic fast and hard like you might do slam; a touch milder i suppose. 

Wednesday, February 27, 2019

Dental Dystopia

The people that usually get to hear my bitching and moaning are out of the PST zone this week so you my lovely social media friends get to slog through it with me.
I have decided that this writing style is called data dump.  A kind of DIY. You get to mix and match the paragraphs yourself to maximize the entertainment value.
I'll try to interject some of my trademark dry wit, but with the recent rains even that got damp.

Really feeling the po'folk vibe this week. This part of the saga started over a year ago. I had gone to Oildale Dental for years. They took MediCal and DentiCal. When another tooth needed root canal and crown they stalled me. They put me and my missing tooth off for months. DentiCal had just expanded what they cover which should have made it easier. It didn't so they never bothered to submit my tooth repair to Sacramento. I complained until the staff gave me a list of other providers that they recommend and circled the one they recommend the most.  That is where it all started to go wrong me thinks.

I won't give the name of the place right now while I'm still going there. Have to see how it all works out. I may feel the need to warn others and will update this accordingly.

The first procedure was a couple weeks after my first visit on March 9 of 2018. It took 6 weeks to get that one. The young Dr whose name is no where in the office started to drill out the roots of #10 & #11. Front tooth top [my left] and the one left of that. #11 the lefter of the two didn't want to be drilled so he put some kind of dental 'liquid Wrench' down in it with a syringe. A week later he said it was unrootcanalable. I know from my many previous dental misadventures that a periodontist could have done the root canal but a cheap office like that one doesn't send work out. Not to mention the 4 to 8 weeks DentiCal approval takes and the yearly cap on those benefits. I said "Go ahead, pull it".

The upper dental plate I had been using for 4 years was now 1 tooth short leaving a 2 tooth gap in my smile. This was about the time tooth #6 the upper right canine broke off. I blame diabetes or maybe the other medications I take to save my life. Don't know if it's factually true but it's a working theory. At any rate the upper plate now moves around so much I have to use dental super glue to keep it in place. After the new crowns are approved and installed they will add a tooth to the upper. They lied and said the plate was not covered and I'd have $200 out of pocket for the upgrade.
Last time I posted about this on facebook a guy I know complained about what it costs him for his competently done in a timely manner and where they don't cheap out by using budget Novocain dental work. Really dude? I paid into Social Security for 40 years so I'd get looked after if I ever got disabled. Hundreds a month under the poverty level to live on is not looking after me. Other programs like Medicaid (medi/denti/cal) are all I can afford. $200 for a fixed dental plate literally means nothing but rice and beans for another month. Oh my, you can only afford 8 weekend holidays out of town this year. Cry me a river.

Months pass and I don't hear from them. I call and the office manager assured me that she'd submit my x-rays for approval again. In September I get the call to come in for that front crown. Yay. It takes 1 visit plus one for the install. Feels kind of big in my mouth but I'm not trusting this guy to file it down enough without breaking it. The new upper plate will stop that slight touch where lower tooth hits it. "Yeah, feels good doc". He admonished me to always wear the dental plate when eating so it doesn't get stressed.

Come January 2019 approval for root canal of #6 is in. Young doctor and his even younger assistant are doing what young guys do. Showing off. The assistant did the x-rays holding the little photosensitive panel in his hand during the flash of x-rays. At least a dozen x-rays. I asked him if this wasn't risky for him. "Not at all" he told me and pointed to a Gov't flyer that said 604 exposures a year were just fine. I did some math in my head but kept my tongue. A co worker of his over heard the exchange and gasped. That should ripple through the office.

That was on a Thursday. The next day #6 hurt even more than it did after the budget Novocain first wore off. Upper dental plate no longer fits due to swelling. Saturday was pretty much lost to pain. My little KitchenAid mini chopper did chewing for me as it did a couple of years ago.

I went back early on Monday. The assistant talked to me first. Not much English is spoken in that office so he does a little pre-interview. Then tells the doctor what I said so when he comes in we are kind of on the same page. The doctor speaks English, just not often enough that he is overly confident. He gives me the jazz about how this might happen. You have to let doctors, even dentists, feel like they figure things out for you. This time I just said "It's infected, just, just, give me some antibiotics". He asked about pain and I said ibuprofen was taking the edge off. Something stronger might have had more entertainment value or let-me-sleep value but I let him decide. Throw him a bone cuz I still need him to finish this project.

• I had been limping because the arthritis in my left hip has gone rogue and attacks me on the regular.
• Valentine's day was the next week, I hadn't asked a woman out in forever so I kind of did. That rarely went well when I had some practice so of course; no go. Later at home things went a little sideways. Was the universe rebelling because I was trying to expand my part of it. I'm not all that dialed in on magical thinking, but maybe I should be*.  It might have been one of the other comedians earlier that night, who while telling a story back stage about Nazis yelled an incantation, "Hit 'em in the ACL, Hit 'em in the ACL!". Later as I sat down to a late dinner my right knee kind of snapped. Such a shock of pain. WTF? Felt like a blow to my Anterior Cruciate Ligament. Hopping around looking for my cane.
• 2nd Saturday in a row all about pain.
• 2nd Monday in a row with a doctor. This time it's an urgent care doctor telling me it's just a sprain. He said my old neoprene knee brace will just do fine. He gave me some smelly topical analgesic because he doesn't believe in ibuprofen. (Sigh) doctors.
• Between the knee brace, walking with a cane, and shock of pain every time I stand up the left hip is attacking me even more and the right one is not happy.
The following Saturday was relatively pain free. I am used to a certain amount of pain but extra pain that sharp stabs every so often is exhausting. You can't help but to get all pissy and grouchy on days like that, people stop talking to you like you have control over what feeling like shit does to you.
I went to a store in my part of town that was having a sale. They were giving out free hamburgers. As I got home and was finishing my free burger the front tooth crown #10 fell off.
• 3rd Monday in a row with a doctor.

I called the dentist's office again. They said to come in at 1:30 so I could be first after they got back from lunch.

My gal pal, let's call her Gina, is in Paris with friends staying in a historic apartment like you see in the movies. We are texting each other through WhatsApp while I am waiting in the waiting room. She, of course, has a more horrendous story of dental misadventure that happened just days before. WhatsApp's speech to text is the best but kept wanting her to be speaking in British english. Here is the gist of what she WhatsApp-ed to me:

Everybody is so civil here and not like anything we can relate to [back in the states].

One of my molars shattered. So I go see this guy a few doors down operating out of a similar flat to the one where I'm staying. He's turned one of the rooms into a waiting room. Another room has a dental chair and an assistant. Office/flat is very common in Paris. It's sort of under the table but in a very fancy way. No paperwork. The guy knew my name only because I told him.

He is an older man, mature, seems very professional. He throws me in this chair.

He works ferociously fast then tells me he thinks he can probably save the tooth but it will need a root canal. His English is very broken. I tell him if it can't be saved I don't want to pay to have him just work on it. He's rushing like crazy. Tells me "got to do the root canal" then he'll put in some temporary cement in. Next week I can come back for permanent cement, that way I can go to the States and get a crown. So I say "ok great what's the cost" and he says "well, €150 cash today for the root canal and the temporary cement.

[This is where it gets interesting]
I say ok. Then he said open your mouth and he starts doing the friggin root canal.

No warning. No numbing whatsoever. No topical numbing. No injection. He just told me to not talk and keep my mouth open. It made me wonder; perhaps it doesn't really hurt to get a root canal because I don't think he would neglect to give me anesthesia. So I thought to myself; ok go for it. He is working so fast and then says "if you feel some extreme pain just raise your hand". He's going down four different routes because this molar has four roots. Of course there were couple times when he hit the nerves. They each hurt to different degrees but overall no big deal.

So he does a frigging four root root canal without any anesthesia whatsoever.

He slaps the cement in and then "You're done". He didn't suction out or clean out my mouth or give me anything to rinse my mouth out so I've got pieces of cement in my mouth. I had to take a sip of water and spit it out on the street.

First a young woman took me to the just for x-rays room and took a shot of where #10 was not. She even ducked behind the door way to snap so she wouldn't get a dose of X-rays. Again I talked to the assistant first then my young dentist doctor. He tried to tell me that he said to always cut my food with a knife. WTF? I have had 6 or 8 crowns in the past. If the doctor knows what he/she is doing they work like natural teeth. I told him what he did say. "Always wear the dental plate when eating and no crunchy food". He didn't seem to know what crunchy is. Skating over the fact that with #10 missing from the plate and me not being able to wear the thing for several days meant that crown #11 went unsupported. I didn't get a chance the mention my mini chopper doing the grunt work of chewing by making everything into slaw.

I said "How is a burger so tough that it broke the crown off?" He shrugged then showed me the x-ray where the broken off post is placed deep into the root of #10. Then we look at the crown, where it broke off. A single thin wire to handle the stress of thousands of bites. A more durable post to anchor the crown to, takes more time and materials I have to assume.  "What can be done to fix this doctor?"

A few moments later a roundish 30s-ish Latina with hypnotic green eyes comes in to give me the scoop. She informs me that adding 2 teeth to my upper dental plate is a covered benefit (Hmm it didn't used to be). She is speaking haltingly in a thick accent and only giving me flashes of eye contact. Could be a cultural thing but I'm doubtful. Then she says the plan is for me to come in the next day early so they can make impressions of my mouth. I tell her: "Okay but I thought we had been waiting (a year) for the crown on #6 so the plate will be snug the right way." She doesn't really respond to that just tells me that when the updated plate come it they will extract the root of #10. That way the plate will some how help it heal faster?
I think I should be expecting the bum's rush after they do that.

The following Friday 10 minutes before they closed for the weekend I get a call that the altered dental plate is ready. I get 10 to 15 calls a week and maybe 1 is actually a call I need to take. My phone's ringer is never on. At 5:14 pm I see that I had a call. I left a message that I got their call and would like to schedule the install/extraction "please call me at . . .".
Monday comes and I tend to other things in the morning assuming they would call me. At 11 I call them. The phone answering person thought it was weird that I would have an extraction the same day. Appointment set for Tuesday at noon.
At first it took 6 weeks to get an appointment. At least 4 weeks to get an appointment after DentiCal approved each procedure. The the last 4 appointments were next day or same day. I wonder if the doctor whose name is on the door even works there any more.

Tuesday arrives. I didn't get much sleep and learn why I don't do arm's length selfies. No jowls, more than double chins.  Yikes, what's with those whiskers? Am I even human?

I did wash the blood off my teeth when I got home.

I am led to the dentist's chair by a new assistant. I make a point of looking at young Doctor's name tag.  Carlos (something I can't spell) DDS. He puts the modified upper plate in; it is a bit tight but has promise. This time he uses novocaine that lasts longer that 15 minutes.  There is nothing above the gum line. I figure that he will have to do the thing where he drills a hole then screws into it so he can leverage the root out.  So of course he tries 5 different approaches first.  Drill-in-pull doesn't get all of it so then he chips away at it with needle nose pliers for a while.
Finally the plate goes in and fits really well. He grinds on it here and there a little. Tells me I'm done.
I am told to keep the plate in to stop the bleeding and so it will heal faster.

A decent outcome despite too much pain and having to wait and come back and back.

For the first procedures DentiCal sent me duplicates of the approvals. I have not gotten anything since before the crown on #10. Will the crown for #6 ever be approved? What about fillings for front teeth #9, #8, & #7?  It would be nice if they all were the same length. I had asked them about it when the crown went in. They acted like they had never heard of such a thing. I'll give approval of #6 a month then back to Oildale Dental I guess, I know they do fillings.

* One thing I haven't mentioned has to do with if I should feel superstition about the dentist's office itself. Does the place have bad juju? My mother took me to that same office when I was 9. At that time it was inhabited by a diet doctor. He molested me during an anal exam. WFT? Why would a diet doctor need to probe around in my juvenile butthole with the lights off?
After this last set of experiences; I don't know what to think.

Thursday, August 23, 2018

Brine Time

Something new at Open Mic tonight.
After the first year of doing the 5 minuters, getting consistent laughs, but never being asked to make people laugh at a real show, I said 'fuck it. I'd still write new material along the way but whatever topics or style struck me as amusing at the moment is what I did week to week. I didn't have any ambitions of fame or fortune, I just like making people laugh. They laughed at most if the twice a week mics I showed up to, so that was good enough.

I also went for the mental challenge of getting on stage and a bit of socialization. By 2014 atypical neurological (ADHD and whatever else) comorbidities had me in a perpetual brain fog. Most of the years since 2003 really. It worked. The stimulation kept me going as I fit pieces into other parts the comorbid puzzle. It's slow work. I was very close to dead when the pulmonologists finally got the BiPAP sleep apnea figured out at the end of 2014. More REM and less oxygen depravation changed my world. Even so, new rounds of sick and dizzy filled most weeks. Stop some medication, feel better, then start a different one and feel like crap. Same with supplement. Same with diet.

The last year or so there have been more good days than bad. As mental functions return I am better able to study/research/sus out what is just so damned different about how my brain works. A big step was letting go of memorized bits on stage. "Sugar" as a vehicle keeps the premises on track since short term memory is spotty at best. He is about the loving and caring which provides stable surface to bounce extreme juxtapositions off of. Makes it more like handball. Comic routines; more vaudeville than stand-up-ville.

That last 6 months have brought the most dramatic changes. I've discovered long term gut problems and what I hope are solutions. Turns out that a network of neural tissue, filled with important neurotransmitters is in your gut. That mass of neural tissue doesn't do any thinking, per se, but is a major support system for the bigger neural mass in your skull.

This is good and bad. Days are still good and bad. Some cognitive abilities are near the scary levels like when I was young. ADHD is more active than it's been in years. Which means that sensory input is like a cacophony that I used to be able to parse better. I see many sides of whatever peaks my hyper focus. Reasoning happens in about 2 tablespoons worth of that neural tissue in your head. The rest is autonomic functions and intuition, the part that kept humans alive for a million years before language and reasoning was a thing. Before the turn of the century and the years of brain fog, I relied on intuition much more than reason. Getting back to it is wonderful.

As happens some times, yesterday I was struck with a bolt of inspiration. Where "Sugar" is all sweetness and harmony, a reflection of my own base personality and personal philosophy, "Brine" is the salty overstimulated stream-of-consciousness that sees too many sides of everything most of my waking hours.

Tonight "Brine" did my 5 minutes. Loud and intense. His first premise was the lack of nuance in the hard political and social topics that inhabit social media. Lately I've been looking at comedians like Doug Stanhope and Lenny Bruce. Thinking about the philosophy of absurdism. The hour before going on, Sam Kinison's scream and catch phrases kept replaying in my head. A dozen different things Brine could say have been racing through my head the last 24 hours, so of course the most outrageous ones are what came out. Poorly executed, but you know, one of the other comedians got it and some of the audience had a bit of a stunned grin like when you realize absurd is what makes up reality. Might as well enjoy the ride.
In the big barn of a place with 30 foot ceilings where we do the Wednesday mics it is hard to warm the audience up a lot of the time. After I got off the skillful host bounced a relevant story off the outrageous things I said, I mean Brine said, and the audience was very warmed up for 30 - 45 or more  minutes.

In the interest of "fuck it" I'm doing what amuses me, I think Brine will get more of my stage time. The challenge will be to tune the loud and intense part and go for softer topics to explode binary thinking with nuance. The gray shades of everything that make life absurd and compelling. Laughs are the whole point of the exercise, so more of those.
The return of brain fog notwithstanding.

Sunday, June 24, 2018

That 4th of July at Pirate's Cove in the 80s

So there was this time one summer 25 or 30 years ago when it seemed like the whole state was on fire.  Big plume of smoke in the western sky that you could see from Taft to Gilroy.  This makes me feel old; the official state page about big fires only goes back to 1999.  I think it was the 4th of July of one of those years.  1987-92.

We were young, fire and smoke was just one point of interest in our day on the road.  Michelle was younger than me 23-24 and had one of those egg shaped Honda cars that got 30 mpg or better.  She was more game for adventure than her twin sister Kimberly who I also had some interesting times with.  The whole family were characters.  Miss them.  Out past Blackwell's Corner and Cholame and on to 101.  Paso then back down to SLO with the smoke cloud in sight the whole time.  There it was; Pirate's Cove the nude beach just down the road from Aviva.
More pictures of Pirate's Cove here

I was/am a hippy. We got naked a lot in the 70s. Delonegha Hot Springs in the canyon was a favorite place to shinny dip.  Before the Sheriff blew them up.

Once we got to Pirate's Cove I tried to repress my anticipation. If you know what I mean. Uninteresting tidbit about me: I am the worst at seducing women, always have been. Lots of reasons we don't need to go into here.  To say that Michelle and Kimberly were hot; curly dark hair and eyes, would be an understatement.  I still can't say which was sexier to be with, personality wise.  "Make a good dog break his chain" is a saying that comes to mind.  A shared adventure with naked time, things should become things was my plan.

Steep climb down a cliff face to reach the beach. Stories I've heard about Michelle after that time are legend. At that time however, she was a modest young woman.  Just removed her top. I, of course, went full monty.  I was 30ish at the time and seemed to be the youngest person there except for Michelle.  This was a few years into being massage therapist. I had seen hundreds of naked people. A prude about my client's modesty I had only seen one foot, back or body part at a time though.  This was full on naked middle aged and older people frolicking in the waves.

Even though she was not used to being topless around strangers Michelle proceed to meet and interview the people around us.  That thing some pretty women do since they have never experienced rejection.  Go up to people anywhere with an easy eye contact and start talking.  I'm a little better at it now but in those days I had to put so much attention on non threatening gaze that I would forget what I was going to say.  With clients I present a whole person non threatening person vibe.  No energy output; me just being me. Different from strangers in the street.  I digress.

At one point we heard some guys above us on the cliff face.  Young men come to gawk. At that time you could tell the Mexicans from Mexico because of the colorful polyester shirts they wore.  Different from the styles of the day everyone else wore.  Kind of lame thing for them to gawk but understandable.  Otherwise macho dudes giggling and pointing was kind of endearing.  I still had to do the protective male thing of standing shoulders back glaring at them for a minute.  They weren't looking at me so it didn't have much effect. After a while they moved on.

Emboldened by our time at the beach we didn't bother dressing before ascending back up to her car.  She was so tickled by getting away with 'doing something wicked' that we drove back sans-clothing.  This means that we didn't stop at the monument a mile or so from where James Dean bit the dust. About the time we got to Blackwell's Corner the 'has never seen the sun before' skin on her breasts was a bright red. We pulled off the road away from the store. There is nothing else around for miles. She just covered up saying something about her German skin recovering quickly from sunburn.  I had to step out of the car to re-pant myself.

By the time we got back to my house hours and hours of being turned on was wearing on my nerves. Geez, I liked her so much.  This was the first time all day that we weren't in a public place.  One more thing to try.  I was a big fan of Leo Buscaglia. The love doctor.  It was probably a misuse of his work but I talked about his take on love. I played bit of one of his tapes. Similar to the video.

I could tell she was coming around. I moved in close to massage her feet.  Talking about love as a state of being not just about a person you focus on.  Or similar psychobabble. She was enthusiastic and agreeing and adding to the conversation.

"Oh I have to get back. My mom and everybody and MY BOYFRIEND are having fireworks and  . . . ." She starts to get up; gather her things.

In my head; "MOTHER FUCK! THE GODDAMNED MY BOYFRIEND THING! Since when does she have a boyfriend? A few years from now there will be a thing called the friend zone to describe this. MOTHER FUCK!"

What I did say was "Well hey just ah yeah can't leave mom waiting" disappointment and confusion in my eyes.
Then she says: "You wouldn't have some of that sun burn cream you could put on me?"

End scene. Fade to black.

Haven't gotten any response back from this post.  Maybe some explanation.

One thing I didn't know about myself at the time or this foray was that I have Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder - predominantly Inattentive Type.  This means my brain functions differently especially in executive function and working memory.  When it comes to certain social situations I have no way to react or be proactive. The mental mechanisms just aren't there.  This video covers some of it.

Saturday, February 10, 2018

Passage to the virtual stacks

One day about 30 years ago my sister Stacey and I had an adventure.
It’s been a long time and I don’t remember many details. I think it was late spring or early summer. We were traveling from Bakersfield to Los Angeles in my 1966 Volvo 122 Amazon Estate Wagon. Looked kind of like the VW squareback but a foot longer; engine in front.

“Historians speak of the area around Gorman, California (just south of the crest of the Tejon Pass), as "one of the oldest continuously used roadside rest stops in California." This is because pre-Columbian indigenous Californians would have stopped there when it was the Tataviam village of Kulshra'jek, a trading crossroads for hundreds [possibly thousands] of years.”

We were on Interstate 5, the section just south of the Tejon Pass and Magic Mountain. For as long as I can remember it has been 8 lanes of cars and big trucks moving fast 24/7 (fire and ice notwithstanding). 
The car started to overheat. It threw a belt.
That bigger gear is made
of pressed wood
The thing about the pre-solid state Volvos was that they were made to be worked on and made to withstand wannabe mechanics like myself. 
One example; in the workings of a car engine is what is called the crankshaft. The thing the pistons push on that make things go round and round. At one end it turns the transmission which turns the drive shaft which turns the wheels. At the front end on my Volvo's crankshaft was a big gear maybe 6” across. It turned a smaller gear that was essential to making the engine run (camshaft). It all has to be in perfect sync. One day I heard this loud knocking from under the hood. Turned out that the big gear was made out of pressed wood with a metal center. It had completely stripped out and the car still drove. The valves didn't shatter as far as I know. 
This time it was more simple. Except that while we did make it as far as the Lyons Ave - Newhall exit, at the time the only place to get the replacement belt was miles east of the freeway. A couple of gas stations near the freeway still had repair bays but no belts that would fit. The Volvo wasn’t going to make it any farther. So with some vague directions we walked east toward the parts store, getting lost, and meeting a few local characters. Mostly it was the heat that oppressed us. We walked past where the sidewalk ends to a highway of sorts with a few old storefronts. They had the belt and we made it back to the Volvo. Installing it was quick but the sun took it out of us. Whatever our original mission was I think we let it go and just went back home. 

For a decade I worked standing a massage table. Two more decades were spent sitting at a computer screen then behind the wheel 8 or 10 hours a day. That must be what busted my ass.
Now as a disabled, I mean retired, person my days are filled with dreams of hiring a housekeeper “When I win the Lottery” and a list of other things. I have projects to fill my time. Besides stand up comedy and writing blog posts I listen to audio books. Paper books don’t do it for me and the selection of audiobooks at the Kern county library is quite limited.

A few months ago I saw an article about the Los Angeles Library’s vast online library that includes quite a few audiobooks and many other resources. As a resident of California I can get an LA library card and access to all of their online goodness. The catch is that you have to apply for the card in person. At least a 2 hour car trip each way. sigh
Among my array of medical conditions. The one that limits me the most has defied a definition from doctors. If I sit longer than an hour or two during the same day a pain develops right on those bones you sit on. For a while they called it Ischial Bursitis. The latest doctor says arthritis. Same treatment for both: ineffective.  But what the hell it's only pain, right?

Fast forward to February 5th 2018. Stacey and I try to have an outing or adventure of some kind couple of times a year. She lives about 100 miles north, outside Fresno. The last one involving travel was in June of 2015? I got a gig doing my comedy Hypnosis show for a high school’s lock-in graduation party. The school was in the countryside near where she lives so she got enlisted as my assistant. What with me feeling better lately it was time to test the limits of my sitting. She suggested we take a day trip down south to get an LA library card. 
Kinda like this

As it turns out there are LA city and LA county library systems. The northernmost LA County library is right off I5 at Castaic squirrelled away behind a shopping center. Just a few miles south, not too far off the 210, in Sylmar is the northernmost LA city library. We set out before noon to hit both in her brother-in-law’s late model muscle car a Dodge Charger. 

We talked up a storm all day as we tend to do. I had printed out the library card application forms before we left town so when we got to the county library it was simple enough to hand the librarian the forms and our IDs. The city library was in a more urban-like setting the librarian, an old hippy gal, also made the process easy and painless. The one in Sylmar has interesting architecture. 

Business out of the way it was time for lunch. If you know me well at all you know I detest chain restaurants. Few survive having more than 2 locations before the food loses its soul. By the time they are extended beyond their home city the taste of the food is, at best, a weak imitation, at worst, concocted in a lab and manufactured off site, untouched by human hands. The people working in such establishments have never met or worked a shift with the owner. They can try but they can never genuinely care that specifically you showed up for a meal. Not to mention that profits leave the community. 

Cecily Willis’ watercolor tribute
Just so happens that we were in the vicinity of the oldest cafe in the state. The Saugus Cafe opened in 1886. It is supposedly in the same location which appears to have been updated as late at the 1950s. 
This local access video is so charming in a kitchy way. 

I had the Saugus Burger special and Stacey ordered the steak sandwich with au jus on the side. That was some good eat’in. 

Then a little surprise. Stacey and her husband Mike have business in the southland fairly often and have their own favorite non-chain restaurant in Newhall. Vincenzo’s Pizza Newhall started to become a chain but sold off the satellites years ago. This is the real deal pizza. As we got back into the Charger Stacey got out her phone and ordered a 20” to be picked up. Power of suggestion I suppose; as the call connected I could smell fresh handmade pizza. We found the place in a stripmall on Lyons Ave. not far from the I5 on ramp that would take us home. The big restaurant was empty midday on a Monday. The owner Steve was there and is clearly one of those ‘a force of nature’ people. He was just boiling over with genuine enthusiasm for his pizza. Before we said a word he was telling us that he likes the pizza even better a few hours later when the chewiness of the crust is at its best. We told him that it won’t be eaten till Fresno, 3 hours away. He thought that was awesome. The enormous pizza box was able to sit flat on the floor of the trunk. That pizza was for Mike so I will have to wait for another outing to see if the crust is "all that". Stacey assured me that it was. 

Summary: Mission accomplished on the library cards. I logged into the LA city library and have a Kevin Hearne book checked out. I suppose it’s technically illegal but I have software that catches audio just before it gets to the speakers and lets you save it as an mp3. That way I’m not rushed and can listen through whatever device. I don’t plan on sharing the files so the intent of the copyright is maintained, mostly. 

No more undeveloped (past the end of the sidewalk) land in the Newhall, Saugus, Valencia part of the world. 

It ended up being around 5 hours of sitting. I use a special seat cushion that lets most of my weight rest on the muscles around, not on, the troublesome spots. That is how I’ve gotten it up to 3 hours on some days. It all might have worked better if I would have brought the special cushion into the Saugus Cafe. That got painful. The the last hour of the ride home was a pain in the ass. I spent most of the next day on my side while the whole area of my posterior kind of throbbed. I'm posting this 5 days later and the area is still tender, fuck! But I didn’t die. 

Getting through that hurdle I am planning the next challenge. Not quite as far away though. For a couple of years the guys I do comedy with have talked about how much fun they have at a place called Barmageddon. One Yelp review starts with "This place is dope". How can I resist that kind of magniloquent rodomontade? It’s only 65 miles away and hopefully I can stand while I'm there for the Open Mic and other activities. If I have to spend most of the next day laying on my side, so what?