Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Ride Along with The Pink Hat.

Its 7:44 pm

dedicated to Gary from my job. Thank you.
     Another ice cold night here in SE Michigan. While the snow has stopped,the slight warm-up we have had this week has left our roads and driveways a nightmare to travel on. I have never seen so many local roads completely torn by our winter. The main surface roads are bad enough but the side roads are just awful and dangerous as well.
  Now I know some of you may be asking "Why don't they just plug up the potholes"? Its a fair question but a very easy answer,its too cold! The patch won't work because its too cold and instead of being poured in and expanding to plug the hole,the asphalt would instead cool off very rapidly and just become a rock in the pothole. In fact depending on how it froze,it itself could become a hazard by sticking up and causing flat tires if cars ran over its surface. So we have to wait until the weather warms up in order for repairs to work. But the flip side (isn't there always a flip side) is while we wait,the roads are being eroded more and more each day.
  The traffic on the main roads is very heavy because no one really wants to drive on a torn up road that has huge craters or are just caked with thick ice. My sub's roads are okay but the ice is pretty thick. And because of the heavy snows nationwide,rock salt is extremely scarce. No one has any and when it does hit the stores,its gone the second its unloaded.
  But Tidy Cat should send me a years worth of cat litter as I have been sharing the fact that cat litter is most effective to help your car get traction if you don't have salt to lay down. I have told hundreds of folks about this and given directions to the three pet stores that within 2 miles of my job.

  We got our weather forecast,no more snow in the new week but the temp will be screaming south again to single digit lows. The weirdest thing is about this is despite this being a record setting winter for Michigan,that a third of the country at one time had snow on the ground.
   It was because of the nasty weather and even nastier roads that I wasn't able to complete my Suspended Day until today.

   Just a brief recap....in my informal support group on Facebook I decided to take the 20th of Feb and use it as a day of doing a random act of kindness for someone. I created a event in the group and 11 others signed up to join me. Based on the reactions,I think its much harder to do when its planned or when the shop you are going to do your act of kindness in doesn't support it. Some folks were ill during the weekend and I don't know what happened to the rest. I had hoped to include a brief story and a picture of everyone's act.
Instead its just me....but that is okay because people do have lives and life gets in the way. I mean it took me until today to finally get my butt in gear.
   I was going to do it on Sunday but my Cheryl said the Salvation Army was closed on Sundays. I worked on cleaning my house before I went to my job,it was getting a little dirty. But today was free and clear...after running some errands I came home and got ready. The iPad was charged up and I had the Pink Hat in the car. I admit,I was nervous...I was going to a store intending to approach someone,explain why and who I was doing it for and get a picture of the Hat in action. When you do this on impulse,you just DO,you have no time to think or plan. You help that person out and move on. Planning this was so much different. As noted above,I didn't even know if the Salvation Army would even allow me to take a picture. I just said a prayer and headed on out.

   I got to the store,took a deep breath and went in. I had no plan other then try not to come across as a weirdo. The store wasn't very busy and I browsed the books and music area. I tried to think of what to do and say as I stood there. I found a CD that was only 2 bucks(!!) and slowly made my way to the check out lane.
  It was then I saw a young mother with her two small children shopping. She had a young son and a daughter who were shopping in the grab bag area. The grab area is for kids and it contains small paper bags full of loose toys that they can't sell because they are too small. She had a basket of children's clothes and was waiting for her kids. I took a deep breath and walked over and introduced myself. I explained what I was doing and why I was doing it. She got tears in her eyes and said she had just gone through a divorce and money was very tight. Her kids came over with a grab bag and then the mother started unloaded her basket. I told cashier,who was ringing up my CD,to please include the young lady's items.
  I then asked the cashier if she wouldn't mind taking a picture of me with the Pink Hat. As she was starting to take the picture,the kids also got into the picture as the mother. That was unexpected and soon we had our picture. The young lady was Katie,her son was A.J. and her daughter was Izzy. They all said thank you again and then it was done. I walked out and got into the Rodger Young and headed home.

I don't know what March will bring as far as a volunteer event but I know The Pink Hat will be "out and about" more as the weather warms up.

 What else has been going on? Baseball season started today with squads playing their first games against college teams or within themselves. Maybe the sound of a ball hitting a bat will usher in spring a little more quickly.  I don't know that it will but one can hope.
   Still making my way through Dollar Tree Theater. I finished my latest "instant classic" called "Hyper Sonic".
Wow,where do I even begin with this mess? The script,the cheesy effects so bad even the SyFy Channel would be ashamed to show this on a Saturday night? The gaping plot holes? I posted on my FB about how bad a movie has to be if even Adam Baldwin can't save it. Adam is one of my favorite character actors and he elevates any project he is in with his acting. But even he was in the soup with this bomb. The plot has something do with a world wide air race. Antonio Sabato,Jr.,who once seemed to have a once promising career,plays a jet pilot whose mistake cost several lives in a race years before. Five years later he gets a chance to redeem himself despite the obstacles thrown in way by a shady promoter (Baldwin). The plot is leaky and the CGI looks straight from a Atari 2600 console.

This is the beauty of lucking into a bundle of films like this at the Dollar Tree. I can't imagine how pissed someone would get if they actually bought this mess at the full regular price. But with spending only a buck,its a cheesy enough movie to invite some friends over,pop up some popcorn and start cracking jokes.

 I read that actor Alec Baldwin (yes,he and Adam are related) is going to retire back into private life. Alec,who was accused of making anti-gay comments when he was being assaulted by an over aggressive stalkerazzi which cost him his new show on MSNBC (trust me Alec,you aren't losing anything there other then a paycheck). Continuing a theme from guest blogger Dax Shepard about the incredible loss of privacy and the sense of entitlement we as a society feel about knowing anything and everything about a well known person,I can see why Baldwin is feeling so bitter and defensive. In a column he wrote,he says that he has worked with many wonderful folks in Hollywood who are gay and has had no issues with them. I believe that..its a well known there is a heavy gay population working in Hollywood and if Alec had any real homophobic tendencies,do you think he would have had a long term career in that town? I just feel he was provoked and prodded...and if he did use a slur,it would be no different then anyone using a word or a term in the heat of the moment. Not defending it but put anyone in his shoes and see what happens. I doubt very many of us would stay cool and calm.
  Maybe he just needs to take that step out of the spotlight and into the shadows and raise his new family is peace and quiet.

 As I am close to ending this,I am talking with Don Neilson. Don and I have bonded over the fact we are still madly in love with our wives. Don's wife Amy helped me tremendously when Lori's cancer came despite fighting her own advanced breast cancer. Don posted some lovely pictures of Amy on his FB page and has graciously allowed me to share a picture with you. We both talk about about not wanting to forget our girls.
 Now I am doing my small part because I talk about Amy quite a bit...her courage helped us in the first days of our struggle and I mourn her very much. I will never forget Don reaching out to me last 6 May only two weeks before Lori left. He talked with me for three hours....what makes it so meaningful is the fact Amy died on the 6th May one year before. Its gestures like this,like all the kindness that I still receive today that inspires me to do my random acts of kindness because that is who Lori and I were and am. Amy and Don are the same kind of folks.


With tears in my eyes,I will end this for now.

If you are on Twitter,follow me @Jinzo_2400

Shout outs

Don - thank you for the picture.
Cheryl - Thank you for your friendship.
Amy Lange - Thank you for your compassion. Sometimes I think we don't that enough to each other.
Lex and Kelly - Sending warm healing thoughts your way.
Dom and Jerome - Old team all the way.
My political Inner Circle- Now this is getting to be fun but beware the Troll button!
Katie,AJ and Izzy - Thank you for helping me on my Pink Hat mission. I hope things get better.
Gary G. - Thank you for the idea!
Denise,Ivy and Joan - just because you are all wonderful.
Debbie Rochon - Motor City Nightmares? I think that is doable.

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Celebrity Orgy - by guest blogger Dax Shepard

Its 11:30 pm

   The year 2013 saw the word privacy take center stage as Edward Snowden blew the whistle on the various arms of the US intel community. The fact we spied not only on our enemies but also on our allies and own citizens raised a hue and cry nationwide about the invasion of our privacy.

 We shook our fists,watched media bubbleheads on Fox,CNN and a host of others talking about how Big Brother was creeping into our lives everywhere. Cell phones and tablets are now micro chipped and have GPS built within these devices that we slavish have to have. The phones could be bugged and our social media pages are monitered for key words and phases. We wonder how is this right,how dare anyone invade our lives like this!
   Then we go ahead and do the same thing by buying the latest gossip rag like People,The Enquirer,The Sun or visit any number of websites that feature celebrity news...or watch TMZ to see some very non talented hacks poke fun at some actor or singer's woes.

 By buying or watching these types of magazines or shows,we are ourselves have become the invaders,the stalkers,the spies. Because the celebrity media machine must be fed,companies and agencies send out incredibly aggressive and rude people to stalk these folks in the public eye. Now I already know what some of you are saying,that is part of the price of fame. Really? You buying the latest gadget or posting a tweet or Instagram are basically saying to the government that its cool that they can spy on you,maybe even have a drone follow you one day. And you are cool with this? Yeah,I didn't think so either.
  As many of you know,I worked in the music business for 12 years and I worked with a lot of well known acts. Got to know a few on a personal basis. The one thing that we as a staff at the clubs and music venues learned is that these folks are PEOPLE first,just like you and I.
  Their chosen profession is to entertain us..but it doesn't make their lives open season for harassment,stalking and baiting. How many times have you seen an encounter where so and so has been in a tussle with a dude with a camera. The person requests not to be bothered but still is invaded on. Now imagine that happening to you.

 You go out to work and have 8-10 folks are hiding in your bushes,going through your trash,standing in your way taking your picture? Pretty damn rude,isn't it? Now go a step further,these same folks are now doing that to your wife,husband and kids. Taking pictures and selling them to the highest bidder. They don't care that you request they not take any pictures,follow their school bus or stalk you while you try to live a somewhat normal life. Take the picture I posted here...its just some random picture that someone took of a family on vacation. Did they know it was taken? Do they know its on the internet? Would they be upset if they knew? Hey,what does it matter,right? It would if it was your loved ones or a relative's family.
    But as a society,we are feeding the machine,encouraging this invasion of someone's personal privacy when we buy a zine,visit a website or watch a slimy show like TMZ or Extra!.
  This isn't a "feel sorry for famous people" rant,its just one voice reminding you that we need to separate the job from the person doing it and to respect their personal space,just as we want our government to do with us.

   Dax Shepard is a working actor in Hollywood. He currently stars in the NBC show "Parenthood" and is married to actress Kristen Bell. They had a child in March of last year. Below is his blog about his experience in dealing with that birth and the invasion of their lives to a seriously jacked up level.
  When I read it,I did recall seeing Halle Berry in full mama bear mode lash out at stalkerazzis who were taking pictures of her kids going to school. She did not hold back her anger in addressing these folks.
  I sent Dax a message asking if I could run his blog as a guest blogger. He graciously said yes,only if I ran the entire blog. I had no problem doing just that.
  And so,please welcome my first celebrity guest blogger,Dax Shepard.

Dax Shepard Picture    

Celebrity Orgy

A few days ago my wife and I wrote tweets urging folks to boycott publications that buy photos of celebrities’ children without the consent of their parents (paparazzi generated pics). We got a myriad of responses, ranging from heartfelt solidarity to vitriolic rage. The overwhelming majority was very supportive, and for that we are very thankful. There were a few common threads that ran through the hateful responses, and I hope to address those here. First, however, I’d like to explain what lead us to tweet in the first place.
A few months ago we were invited to a gathering at the home of Jennifer Garner. The bulk of the attendees were actors and musicians. I was excited. We had finally been invited to a celebrity orgy. I had heard about these as a 15 year-old boy from Michigan, and now, 23 years later, I was at one. Jennifer addressed the crowd, but instead of discussing boundaries, safe-words and hygiene, she walked us through California Senate Bill 606, which made it illegal to photograph a child because of their parent’s employment in a manner that “seriously alarms, annoys, torment, or terrorizes” them
She and Halle Berry had worked tirelessly, and at their own expense, to get this bill passed. I think I speak for everyone there when I say we were all incredibly grateful for Jennifer and Halle’s momentous achievement.
The meeting had some of the key lawmakers who had drafted the bill, as well as law enforcement representatives who helped explain how to best enforce the law. Implicit in the bill are some obvious First Amendment issues. It does, at the end of the day, limit the rights of the “press” to “alarm, annoy, torment or terrorize” children in the pursuit of “news gathering.” I am starting to use a lot of quotes. This is my snarky way of hinting that I don’t believe entertainment paparazzi are actually “press” any more than a peeping tom using a “shoe-cam” at the local mall is “press.” Nor do I think photographing children being held by a famous parent can be considered “news gathering” by any definition. All that aside, I deeply value the freedom of the press and think it is an indispensable facet of a healthy democracy that should be protected fervently.
I left that night feeling like the implementation of this new law was going to be difficult. I hoped in my bones it would hold up in court, where it will eventually land and play out. I also left with the nagging feeling that this new law mirrored the “war on drugs” in one key way: it only really addressed the supply side of the equation, and not the demand. We Americans have proven time and time again that if we want something, through hell or high water, we will get it. So as long as people pay good money to buy magazines featuring famous people’s children, there will be men popping out of bushes and lurking around playgrounds to get those pics. Those are just the facts.
The consumer is the only one that can put an end to this. They are the only ones with real power.
This issue wasn’t even on our radar ten months ago. We didn’t have a baby yet, and like many couples without children, we thought of kids as gremlins who willfully dropped their food items on the floor to distract their parents from having adult conversations with us. Then we had our daughter, and every corny cliché became instantly relevant and true. It was immediate. A love like we’d never known. My heart ached when I looked at her, the way it did in eighth grade when I would listen to The Cure whilst writing letters to my girlfriend. My wife and I have both had wonderful lives filled with lots of highlights, and this dwarfed them all.
On day two of our hospital stay, within an hour of filling out her birth certificate, we got an email from our publicist saying a popular tabloid was going to run an announcement with the baby’s sex, full name, time of birth and weight. That was a bummer. We hadn’t yet shared that info with our extended family. We thought, rightly or wrongly, that it would be best at that point to announce it ourselves on Twitter to deny the tabloid the chance at an “exclusive.” I don’t know that it mattered one way or another, but I do know it was a sobering warning of more things to come. Since bringing her home ten months ago, there has been a car or two parked across the street from our house, waiting at all times for us to leave. We go to great lengths to keep her anonymous, and have been, for the most part, successful. They have photographed her at five of her eight doctor’s appointments, a bunch of times leaving our favorite restaurant, and during a few set visits to mom’s work. In all of those instances we were able to keep her covered with a blanket.
Last Saturday we went to our friend’s house in a tiny, nondescript neighborhood in The San Fernando Valley. We were there playing for three hours. I didn’t think we had been followed, but on Sunday morning my mother emailed me pictures of our daughter, clear as day, being carried and put into the car by me. This broke my heart in a way that’s not entirely reasonable. I had charged myself, as her dad, with protecting her. I personally believe, and I understand a lot of people differ on this point, that protecting her includes keeping her life private until the moment she decides otherwise. I think she is entitled to that. I think every minor is entitled to that. My wife and I, ever the approval-junkies, made a decision to get into show business and become public figures, but she has not. She hasn’t even decided if she prefers pureed carrots to peanut butter.
So we took to Twitter urging consumers to stop buying magazines that print unsolicited photos of minors. We recognize that the odds of this happening are exceedingly low. We are not naive. We have hope, though. We think that people who like looking at children in magazines must actually like children. We are betting on the chance that they like them enough to protect them from constantly being shadowed by strange men (not trying to be sexist- I’m sure there are plenty of strange women in the ‘razzi game). We pray that one of the classier weeklies, like People, will enact a no-kids policy, and that they will be rewarded by the consumer for doing so. And we hope that leads to others following suit. It would be miraculous if the situation changed and celebrities’ children got to be just children. And it would be even more miraculous if that change came from the will of the people and not legislation. I think this could be a good step in our ever evolving social consciousness. It could fold nicely into the same wave of change that wants to see gay people happily married, orcas freed, and pot smokers decriminalized. It would be a slightly better version of ourselves and our culture, and we are mildly optimistic.
Now, against the advice of my better half, I am going to address some of those Twitter detractors:
"You knew what you were getting into when you signed up to be famous." 
First of all, god how I wish there had been an actual “sign-up” sheet. That would have saved me the eight years of no work I endured. Secondly, yes, I do know what comes with the job, which is why I’m NOT asking you to boycott magazines with my photo in them. I’m only asking on behalf of my child who did not “sign up.”
"There are way more important things to boycott than your rich kid getting her picture taken."
I couldn’t agree more. This is very low on the list indeed. But, it is, nevertheless, on the list. We aren’t asking you to ignore a man on fire for this cause, but after you’ve helped extinguish him, there’s no reason you can’t whisper in his ear, “Hey, don’t buy Us Weekly. They display photos of children being stalked.”
"Celebrities call the paparazzi on their own kids and exploit them for personal exposure."
This may happen. I would have no way of knowing. It’s a vile notion, and I’m happy to say none of our actor friends do this. But if you really believe this happens, isn’t that all the more reason to boycott? Don’t you want to take that option away from those vomitus parents?
"Why don’t you just post your own pics so it will devalue the paparazzi’s?"
We don’t believe it works that way. A photo from us won’t satiate curiosity; it will simply introduce a new character into the soap opera. We think out-of-sight, out-of-mind is the best defense.
"Boo-hoo. Cry me a river. Why don’t you get a real job and stop whining."
Hmm. Well, I understand you resent what I do for a living. There is no arguing that there is very little lifting involved. However, there couldn’t be a more detestable racket than Bernie Madoff’s Ponzi scheme, and yet, I would never want to see his two year-old sons ambushed for his repugnance.
"Stop acting like you’re Brad and Angelina. No one cares about you or your kid."
Another strong point. This is very true. We don’t deal with anything close to what they deal with. If paps were cancer, they’d have small cell carcinoma and we’d have a suspicious looking mole that should probably come off just to be safe. Despite the different threat level, it’s still best to seek treatment.

Well that is it for this entry. I hope you enjoyed it and more importantly,give it some thought next time you decide to feed the beast that encourages such terrible privacy invasions. These folks are people,just like you and I are.

If you are on Twitter....follow me at @Jinzo_2400


Dom and Jerome - Awesome time today,thank you so much!
Barb - Again,thank you for the dinners.
Dax - Thank you for appearing on my blog.
Karen Nash- You are a kick ass cat mom and I mourn with you.
Kerri and Andy - Get well already!
Chris Alexander- You too! Loving Fangoria issue 317!
My tight little group of political debaters- A lot of good points on both sides.
Ivy and Denise V. - love you both.
and last but not least,with the weather warming up....Cebella's Pizza! Can't wait!

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Valentine's Day.

It's 9:44 pm

Tomorrow is Valentine's Day.  A day for lovers.

To those who have one, love them tightly.

To those who seek one, I wish you luck.

To whose who don't want one, that is sad to hear.

To those who have been blessed to have then lose our Valentine.....lean into the pain and endure. O
One day we will be united with our true loves.

For my brothers Gary,Mike and Don.

Friday, February 7, 2014

Have Cat,Will Love (Dog Edition)

Its 12:40 pm
    Its a clear bright cold day outside here in SE Michigan. Which is a rare thing,the sunshine,not the cold. We had another little storm to kick off the week...4 more inches of snow. And we are on tap for another 2 inches tomorrow. That will give us over 70 inches of the white so far this season! Pretty amazing stuff to say the least.

   Life is really twisty in so many ways. I wrote about giving blood my last entry and the idea behind the Pink Hat. I also touched very lightly on going out socially for the first time as well to my friend's Dominic's house to watch some wrestling and how he has a cute dog.
  So you can imagine my surprise when I got a call from my friend. He need to take Vinny (his dog) in to the vet urgently. He suffers from bladder stones and seizures and was having a very rough time. The problem was his car was in the shop and he was trying to get a ride to the Westland Humane Society's vet clinic. I said no problem...Vinny is Dom and Katie (his fiance)'s family,much like Paladin is mine. I could hear the worry is his voice and that put a little urgency in my step. I backed the Rodger Young out and headed to his home.
   I got there in good shape but had my doubts I would actually make to him as his apartment complex's driveway was a sheet of thick ice. But I made it in and went in. I was shocked to see how bad Vinny looked,from a happy talking pug to a sad sight of him trying to get comfortable,trying to follow Dom when he went into the kitchen...you could see he was in some pain. Pretty soon we scooped Vinny up and headed to the vet.
  Now I know (stop me if you have heard this before) money is tight for us all...and going to the vet is not a cheap date. I asked Dom what they say this might run...he just looked at me and said "I have no idea. I have an XX amount I have saved." He also told me they were talking potential surgery and he wouldn't have enough to cover that.
   Two years ago...I am unemployed,we are in our 2nd year of Lori's illness. I am trying very hard to find any job. What has been hard before is going to be extra hard now,employers were not falling over to hire and hiring someone with a serious illness in the family,well...you are in for a extreme tussle. Employers want you to be focused and dependable for the position they are hiring you for.
  I had applied at for a company and I got a call saying I had a interview. I went in to it with no expectations once I explained my position. I know many people who have told me that I should never mention Lori's cancer in any interview. I disagreed...because as an employer,I would feel lied to if I hired someone and afterwards they sprung this on me. Not that they had a serious illness,that we could handle TOGETHER,no,I would feel they weren't trustworthy and wonder what else that person was hiding. It would create instant distrust in my opinion.
  So I decided to be upfront about where we were at.
 The person I interviewed with was Dominic. Two years ago he took a chance on me and was crucial in getting my foot in the door at my current job. He helped me and my family when we needed it most. I don't forget kindness like that...which many of you who have stayed with me in this blog already know.
 So it was a no brainer to tell Dominic,that I had him covered at the vets. I mean,how could I not?

We got there in good time and Dominic and Vinny were checked in. Soon,they were called to the back...and I waited in the waiting room. I met Sammy,a beautiful long haired kitty who had a very doting owner,he was bringing Sammy in for a check-up.
  I met Joker,a rescued pit bull was pretty happy to meet me...until I put my hand out for him to sniff. Now whenever I meet a new dog,I always present a fist for them to smell. You never give a unknown dog a open hand because if they bite,you can really get hurt,they can sink in a bite better with a open hand then a closed fist,harder to get a mouth around a closed fist. I did that and Joker started growling,his owner was had a tight grip on his leash and was very sorry that his dog reacted that way.
  The owner and I started talking,he had Joker for little more then  a year. He was a rescue from Detroit and had been found chained to a tree with a severe case of mange. You could still see the effects of the mange on his lower legs. The Humane Society said they thought Joker had been used as a bait dog. He might have reacted to my fist as he thought he was going to be hit or abused. The young man had been working very hard with re-training Joker and despite what happened,I think Joker will be fine but will need a lot of work.
   While I meeting other pet parents,I notice the time was dragging...and from experience I can tell you,the longer you wait,the worse the news is.
   An hour and 10 minutes later,Dominic came out. It looked like Vinny was going to need surgery and he would be staying at the hospital. He explained that he was critical,he had to be treated right away. But of course that would require a deposit and it was far out his budget...but it had to happen,right? So it did and we left Vinny behind with the vet saying she would update Dom later.
  We trudged back to the car and headed back to Dom's house. I glanced over and saw him struggling with his emotions. I said it was okay,my car has sen so many tears in past 4 years...and so he did.
I stayed and kept him company until Katie got home. Then I headed to work.
 The staff worked very hard on Vinny as he quickly won many of hearts,he really is a cat pretending to be a pug. Yesterday Dominic called me..the good news was Vinny avoided surgery and could come home. The bad news was his car was still laid up in the shop. Not a problem,lets go get Vinny was the only thing I could say.
  I zipped over to Plymouth,picked Dom up. We had a little time to kill so he bought me lunch at Penn Station. Never had eaten there before but it was pretty darn good! We killed some time and then went to get Vinny.
  Wow! It was amazing to see how much better he was,he was just like he was last weekend. His bladder so so full but they put a catheter (deja vu) in Vinny and drained him,adjusted his diet (no more cheese!) and said they would be monitering his seizures. They said he could be adjusting to his present medicine and building a immunity to it,so he might have to get a new med. He will have to go back for a follow-up visit this Saturday but the doctor seemed hopeful. As we waited for Katie,Vinny was talking and grunting. A couple of staff members walked over and said "hello" to the new rock star.
  30 minutes later,I got to see the family reunited and headed home.

After I had left Dom's the first time,I went to work. I got there a little early...but I got a most welcome surprise,our co-worker and all around great guy,Justin was back. Justin was the young man who was called to serve in Afghanistan for 9 months on a front line post. Lori had given him a St. Christopher medal to keep him safe and sound. I prayed for two things last year....I prayed for both Lori's and Justin's lives. Seeing Justin really drove home that God does answer prayers. Maybe not in the order received but I am okay with that...he deserves to come home and have his family back. He should have never been there in the first place. But he did his duty to us all and did it proudly. He and I had a few minutes to talk,he asked about Lori and I told him. I asked how he was doing,he came back dinged up a bit. He mentioned some close calls and some of the missions he went on. I thought the coolest thing was his getting a direct call from a 1 star general! While the topic wasn't so fun,the idea of getting a direct call was unique!
   He ended up losing 30 pounds and he looked in great shape. He is back at our store and we are so very happy he is back!

Got a sad note today,my friend Michelle in North Dakota said her wonderful kitty,Smokey,had crossed the Rainbow Bridge this week. Kidney failure was the cause. Smokey was the queen of that house...she was a very good friend to Brad and Michelle and will sorely missed.

Well,that is all I have for today. Next entry will be by my guest blogger I promise!
Try and stay warm,hug your pets a little more today and be glad you have them to share your life with.

If you are on Twitter,follow me @Jinzo_2400

Shout outs

Brad- Spring training!
Susan Smiley - Spring training
Phil - Spring training!
Sydney- Congrats on starting your blog,keep writing. You have a lot to say.
Lisa Ann - Blonde or redhead,its your heart that makes you such a beautiful human being
Dom and Katie- Glad I was able to help. Call me anytime
Scorpion - Thanks for your razor sharp wit.
Sinatra- Phone call this weekend?
Jimmy - Hoping for a sold out show with Schenker.
Cezanne - just because
Elaine - Happy anniversary!
Foster and Valenti- Don't let Brandon off the hook!


Sunday, February 2, 2014

The Pink Hat

 Its 5:38 PM

      Sitting in the den...the day has been weird weather wise to say the least. Woke up to heavy snowfall and a sleepy orange and white cat curled in a tight ball. As I started getting my day in order,my friend Deb (aka Rhoda) called. As we talked the snow switched over to a light rain. Up to then,I hadn't heard anyone up and about with a snowblower.  But I then I heard one buzzing pretty close,I thought it was my neighbor Justin clearing his sidewalk but it was my other neighbor,Larry and he cleared half of mine.
  Taking that as a cue,I suited up and went to clear the driveway. We were supposed to get 2-3 inches of fresh snow...on top of the 31.1 inches we got in January, instead we got about 4 inches and it was the heavy snow that is a real bear to shovel. It had to be done so I got to it and about 45 minutes the job was done.
  So some of you may have seen the first pictures of my idea to honor and remember Lori. Before I start the story,please the blog entry about The Pink Hat's origin.

 When a loved one dies of a illness like cancer,there are so many things on your plate as a family member,spouse,friend,caretaker or all of the above. I touched upon seeing a video that I filmed of Lori a couple of entries back...I need to revisit the topic for a bit,I hope you won't mind.
  One of the issues that arises when you are losing a loved one is creating a lasting memory. There are many ways to do so,donate time in volunteering,massive amounts of cash to a favorite college or charity,creating a foundation in the person's name. Lot of ideas....but many that come after the fact. Because creating that memory is the last thing you think of when they are still alive. You are in the moment as far as being with them all the way to the end. Now some folks do in fact write journals or leave video journals but the vast,vast majority do not. In our case,we only focused on LIVING because we didn't want to lose a moment of time. This means I only have one video of Lori alive and talk during our last month as well as the one video that was shot during her last week with me.
  I bring this up because a friend is watching one of her friends die of colon cancer and she wants to have a lasting memory. She asked about videotaping and I shared our story. That it never occurred to me to just set up the camera and just talk. Asking a dying person to go on camera and leave a memory is not so easy. Its basically telling the person "You're dead but I want this for myself". It robs the person of peace of mind and in many cases,hope. So may have resigned themselves to their fate and are able to face a camera. I can tell you that Lori and I were not. Sitting here,holding on to her memory,I know now I wish I had more video footage but not at the cost of her peace of mind.
  Since I don't have a lot of videos of Lori and our lives together,I got inspired by a husband whose wife is also very ill with cancer. He went to various places and took pictures of himself wearing a pink tutu. He shared them with his wife and it brought her joy and laughter.
Now while I can't do that for Lori now...but with me taking my Pink Hat,I can show YOU some of the places we went to and the people that meant a lot to us. So this is the genesis behind the Pink Hat. A little goofy? Maybe. But from my heart? Positively!
  And with that....my first adventure with the Pink Hat came with my going to give blood at the American Red Cross. Its been a while since I have been able to donate but deep in the middle of winter when so many folks could use blood? Count me in....so I took my first picture of the Pink Hat and drove to the donation place.

Got checked in and went through the process of getting ready. I snapped this picture while waiting for a table to become open.
  Soon it was my turn and as I climbed onto the table,the nurse asked about the hat. I told her what I was doing and the reason behind it. I asked her if she wouldn't mind taking a picture or two and she was very happy to do it.

My eyes are closed because I was trying to squeeze the roller and trying to ignore the pain in the needle injection area on my arm. This donation stung a bit! Pretty soon I was done and so as I was being unhooked,I thanked the nurse and went to the cookies and juice table for the 15 minute recovery time.
  And that concluded my first activity on my Pink Hat Tour.

Took another big step yesterday as well. I went out to my first real social event since forever. Got invited to my friend Dom's house to watch a replay of the Royal Rumble. A group of guys all chip in snacks,drinks,plates,etc to table while watching the event. I have had a standing invite but other then going to the show three times,have avoided any real social activity.
  I think its still due to the tenderness of what has happened. I still get people asking about what happened and how am I coping. If being broke as hell is a sign of improving,then I guess I can say I'm doing well enough to venture out again.
   Had a fun time....the group and very friendly. Dom has a very sweet but chunky pug who acted more like a cat then dog. He took turns sleeping on everyone and he snores pretty loudly.
  We plan of reuniting for Wrestlemania in April and do it again.

Hopefully the weather will be much nicer then it is now. It was actually raining when we got to Dom's house but 5 hours later we walked out into a heavy sloppy snow. The weather is just creating havoc with our roads as huge potholes are developing on all the major road ways. But since its still snowing and cold,the county really can't fix them and the potholes get bigger every day.

 I finally did a smart thing and canceled my cable TV. I should have done it a long time ago. Truly there is nothing more depressing then the state of cable TV. Its just a barren wasteland of god awful "reality" shows and the movie channels playing the same shitty 20 year old movie. So I pulled the plug on it this week,felt pretty good too.
   Seems like Dollar Tree Theater is a big hit with some readers. Right now I am making my way through a DVD of Sherlock Holmes. A company has included the classic four Basil Rathbone films from the 30's and 40's along with the 39 episodes from a 1954 series that ran for only one year despite good reviews.

I am making my way through the TV series first. As noted,the series came out in 1954 and was a hit with both the public and reviewers. The show was in black and white and very low budget. To save costs,many actors were on the show playing different parts in different episodes. A couple of well known names did guest spots,most noted being Natalie Schafer (who played a murderess!) from "Gilligan's Island" and Michael Gough who played Alfred in the Batman films.

Ronald Howard played Sherlock Holmes. He was the son of famed actor Leslie Howard and had gotten into the acting game a little late. He was 36 when the show debuted. I like his cool portrayal as Holmes,he comes across as totally in control but does shows some chinks in his armor (The Case of the Christmas Pudding) when a convicted killer swears revenge.
   The chemistry among Holmes and his Dr. Watson was excellent. This was because Dr. Watson was

played by H. Marion Crawford,who really wanted to play Dr. Watson in a Holmes project. Early episodes had Watson being a bit of a buffoon but this quickly changed as he developed a habit for disarming the various murderers that Holmes uncovered. By a quick punch or a crack shot,Crawford's Watson held his own very well.
 Of course no Sherlock Holmes series or story can't be complete without the aid of  Scotland Yard's own dogged inspector Lestrade. Now this is where a lot of folks who do Sherlock Holmes mess up...even in the classic film series,they often portray Lestrade is a lesser light or as comedy relief. But Sir Arthur Conan Doyle didn't. He had Lestrade as a good cop but never quite understanding how Holmes just knew things so fast.
  This is the only weakness of this series,the Lestrade here is played as a bumbling bit of a fool who Holmes uses for his own self amusement.

Lestrade was portrayed by Scottish actor Archie Duncan. He did a nice job in a pretty thankless role.

What was interesting about this series was that it was filmed entirely in France. Sets were built to resemble London and 221B Baker Street. Several adventures were set in France and Belgium.
I picked this DVD up at Target during Christmas for 4.00,its very much worth the price.

An update on Don from my last entry. A outpouring of love and support rolled in to help Don and his 4 kids. A Good Samaritan paid his DTE bill,warm clothes and food were gathered and most importantly,he got a job. Because of the overwhelming support,they ended up far more items then they needed so they paid it forward in donating the extras to folks in need.

Last week I was just relaxing when Paladin decided to come curl up on my chest. He slept for a few minutes then started to go to town on cleaning his foot. He tugged,licked and tugged some more on his foot trying to get it perfectly clean. I managed to snap some pictures of him and so I thought I share this one on the way out.

Patrick Michael's photo.

He certainly is a ham....

Alrighty then....time to wrap this up.....I will be featuring a guest blogger in my next entry. Might even surprise you as to who it is. I read the blog and was so impressed that I asked if I could post it here. Its a interesting topic that I think is pretty near to any parent's heart.

As I am wrapping this up I see that Phillip Seymour Hoffman has died of a heroin overdose. He had been in rehab last year for his addiction but sadly couldn't break away from his urge to shoot up. He was a gifted actor who won a Oscar for "Capote". He was only 46 when he died.

Shout outs

Lon Lopez - Super Bowl and KFC! Good times!
Deb - The Sherlock Holmes review was for you!
Maren- Aren't you glad the game is almost here?
Barb- Thank you for the dinner.
Dax - Thank you and I hope you approve
Dom and Jerome - Thanks so much for Saturday,the Christmas gift was a blast!
Phil Johnson- Bet you never thought I was keeping tabs on your rise.
Christine - Trust me,pizza WILL happen soon!
Oakwood - Can you justify a 4,300.00 bill for a single kidney stone?