October 2006

“The uncertainty is what holds the story together.” —Paul D. Miller, AKA DJ SPOOKY THAT SUBLIMINAL KID

Several months ago, I spontaneously chose a collection of music CDs from one of the world’s best public libraries. What I grabbed spanned across several racks/genres. I’m open to new sounds with my ABI–always searching and expanding, being receptive to something completely unexpected. Other things popped up, and I didn’t have a chance to listen to things repeatedly, like I pretty much need to for most things (with the exception of distinctive tunes I know well from before I went deaf–the ones I revel in naming without any hints/context*).

I have a tendency of knowing various things I like, when I see/hear/feel/experience them, but not having some label that allows me to explain what it is I like. (This is common, though not always with-respect-to-music; many people–including my much younger self–categorically exclude items from what they expose to themselves.)

I mix up what actually falls under one category with another and so on–particularly when it comes to music. It’s just how I am.

This tends to make it more likely that I stumble upon something, rather than find it because I’m actively searching for it. (Okay, I do that with books, art, movies, ….., too.)


the quick tip (or what generally works for me… something I do and didn’t realize I did so much until relatively recently–when I find myself counting out loud even more than just in my head–the “ONE, TWO, THREE __ UP!” I use to focus all my attention on getting up, down, out, and otherwise, so I’ve got rhythm and enough balance (grace?!) to keep my center of gravity within the forgiving zone that keeps me from crashing into unforgiving surfaces.) Compensations, adjustments… amazing, really!

By the way, I’m not a very good dancer. I’m not as self-conscious about it as I used to be–thanks largely to nephews who are happiest when I’m making a fool of myself, and therefore largely supportive of even sincere efforts to “dance well.” I must say that dancing’s more fun after becoming adjusted to an altered sense of space and movement ranges, than it was when I was an early adolescent. But, of course, there were many changes that were gradual, incremental. And for those I’m thankful. The difference between inhibiting a semi-particular state of existence and constantly changing. (Though I know we’re all constantly changing on some level…)

Ok, so just like music, art, poetry, and a lot of research out there:

it’s not always what is there that matters so much, but what it leaves for others to take from it, add to it, and that is up to each of us. When something’s new, it’s easy to see how a general guideline should come from it. (It’s what we know best at the moment, and the future presumably follows from, and is conditioned by, the assumptions of the present.) With some distance from the “Ah ha!” moments, more and more (overwhelming?) possibilities are there, if we’re receptive to considering them.

Those decisive moments, though–how many times do we decide, without realizing we’re “a decider?” And how many times do we think we’re at a defining moment, when it plays out that other factors are so much more important than a single thing we did?

* U2‘s “Mysterious Ways,” was the winning tune, most recently.


Bugger! I did it again: Started with a specific thought projectory in mind, and took several tangents that put me somewhere completely different than where I intended. (Not a terrible direction, or anything like that, but I’m sure it’s not particularly pleasureable reading for others — and it failed to capture the serendipitous tag: The book that the CD with the quote, was collected on an additional trip to the same library, but different section — in a familiar topical area within non-fiction, and it pretty much jumped out at me while I was just glancing at the shelves. So that was really cool because I picked up the music CD first, thinking it was a cool name at least worth checking out. And then, without having any idea there was anything else related (by artist) in another medium, that existed, I found the book/pamphlet. It’s always SO MUCH cooler to get a glimpse of the thoughts behind the creations, not for the sake of legitimacy, but for the sake of imagination, perspective, a view from within the workings of other minds. (And there’s resonance in there…..)
In any case, this thing of jumping around, after I start talking about one thing, it happens a lot more when I’m talking with people. Sometimes I’ll realize I’m doing it, and be able to get back, but other times, I’m fairly sure, I leave a path of confusion and contribute to fragmented thoughts others have as hazards of interacting with me. (My mind was always highly relational (isn’t everyone’s?!), but there’s so much more that’s invented to make up for the “blind spots,” left by the gaps in common-sensical auditory information that’s collected in the space between having brainstem-stimulated hearing vs. the hearing that had the benefit of associating with the cochlea and auditory nerves prior to being processed by my brain. And, of course, there’s more — Scott Adams (Dilbert creator and “crazy talk, there can only be one wally,” and other great funny phrases generator, who’s been entertaining this freeDaily Dilbert” subscriber since the early 1990s), healing neuro pathways… (pssst! I’ve experienced this phenomenon, though with different manifestations of effects, from seven+ brain surgeries, and probably even more from the tumors that remain–which I’m cool with; my expectations are reasonable (most of the time).  It’s just neat to notice that Scott pretty much relaxed, experimented, and the body kind of took over with the unobservable gig that it does so well.)  Check out more of his writing–it’s good stuff, not over-hyped, and way funnier and more coherent than what I’ve been offering recently.  (baby steps….   wait!  There was a “What about Bob?” post I had in mind for blogging about.  Which Bob was that?!

Ok, I’m relaxing… maybe it will come back to me.

My head is full of lots tonight. And I’m actually in a mood that would just let it flood out onto the screen. But I know I’m tired, and despite my rapid touch-typing, there’s no way I’m going to get a good story that leads up to the main point, or even get the key things that prompted me to open a composing window here. Apologies in advance.

The experiences have been so rich. Life’s always been about other people for me….. the things that have happened to me, that I couldn’t control, and some that I could, I easily interpret as vehicles/catalysts of interactions with so many more people than I otherwise would have associated. I did this before I even knew it was a “sociological perspective.” And even though I did not always realize at the times, all the social contracts I was endorsing, there are times like now…

Being Human.

my point, my point:

The effects of NF2, the tumors, the remainders of surgeries, the scars that aren’t visually perceptible even to someone cutting my hair… the loss of connections, having others in positions where they CAN depend on you, reliably, and feeling assured that more-times-than-not I’ll be fine meeting commitments. That social aspect is certainly what I miss most. I think it’s why a lot of my movements tend to be spontaneous–because every day (and sometimes every moment) is so contingent, in a very explicit in-my-face/head way. I’ve been here before–where I can even see myself resuming so much; even putting powerful, legitimate reservations on the side. I even get to where I fully throw everything into the pot.

Now that I’m writing this, I realize–contrary to more recent times–over the longer term, just going ahead and going out on limbs, and just checking into things, and exploring possibilities, minimizing the anticipatory fretting about inconveniencing folks, tossing insecurities to the wayside… well, it’s been effective.

But it still goes… life owes me nothing, and it never did. (I guess that’s the same as, “life is what we make it,” but I don’t like myself much when I feel like I’m making other people do something.)
I have found myself in nothing-to-lose positions many times. There’s freedom here, because expectations are lowered. But, in stark contrast to many who are familiar with me and have noticed I lack consistency, my expectations, internally, are continually responsive to what I *think* my body and mind can do. This has served me well, propelling me forward at times I had no right of doing many things I was still able to do. (Denying assumed effects of a physical reality opens up a pretty vast terrain to play interpretive games, and I’ve always enjoyed brain games.) Sometimes I even talk about pulling back some, to take care of myself, and all that, but if I do that and it doesn’t lead to the desired results… if things just get worse… and then maybe there’s a different shift that gets thrown in… and then I find myself doing more, feeling better, and just SNAP! A change towards a virtuous cycle (instead of the common vicious one that chronic disorders tend to induce) immediately prompts me to Go, Go, Go, while the going’s good enough.

Oh–but the point is supposed to be about being uncomfortable with the whole thing of not controlling the timing and duration of things like tumor growth, inflammation or pain, precisely because they affect others… and not because they, in themselves, are uncontrollable by me (to an indefinite extent).

I know, that pretty much applies to everyone.



running backs

“Our bodies have an amazing capacity for healing.”

Humor does wonders.  I guess this has been shown on multiple levels now, but just so you know, I’ve been asserting it for over thirty years.

How many of your friends over forty years-old are asked to present proof-of-age when ordering an alcoholic beverage in a public establishment?

I know, I told him he should feel flattered, too!

Fortune cookie reads, “An admirer is too shy to greet you.”

To which Przybysz responds, “I’m not sure why–I’m only really fierce when it comes to claiming video arcade game playing rights after I’ve paid my quarter.” And that scenario pretty much falls under the heading of “unjustifiable challenges to those around me, or to myself,” and should be judged accordingly.

Dreams of the future*:

I am an avid collegiate football fan. I know it’s a team sport. I had a dream materialize unexpectedly this weekend. I didn’t know it was time for it to happen, or even the specific context of what would happen, but after it did, I realized it had been foreshadowed many weeks ago.

I taped** the game because I was away with friends, and reluctant to insist we manage to catch it live. At some point in the game–while I knew the game was being played, but had no access to it or any idea how it was going, I found my new mobile communication device provides me way more access to information than I’ve ever had before (and never thought was possible to have without subscribing to a bunch of extra services and such).

What prompted me to check out links I thought would just go to subscription services for score updates or whatever, was this msg.:

“N d. Needs help now. Dad is having fits. Ha ha luv u mom”

To which I replied, and not for the first time–being the loyal, unwavering fan I am:

Have faith!!!

I told you this would be great for saving lives, handling crises, preventing heart attacks and needless worry when I can’t be in three places at once.
(Also, I know all about comebacks, and I accept that ‘return to Tradition’ sometimes includes inadvertently playing into a position where a comeback is imperative. I mean, how many times do you get to watch a game, after you know the outcome, and still get totally caught up in it, wondering how the ending will match various changes in dynamics and momentum?!)

I think we were down by a point, with a few minutes remaining when I did finally pull up box scores. No big whoop, right? What would be, would be, and I decided against staying abreast of developments at the risk of offending dinner companions who, unbelievably, are not super fans like myself.

I went to bed Saturday night with the impression that we had easily pulled out a win… and caught a highlight of what I assumed to be a rather routine touchdown play, in the morning. But that was all.

Then something compelled me to pop the tape in before retiring for the night.

I must say, though, watching the events unfold, as if they were happening in realtime, and then watching them again… while knowing what the outcome (score-wise) will be (but watching others engaging in them for the first time, and their mannerisms affirming something you sensed in BLINKS, the first watch (before having a sense of HOW it would all unfold***)), was one of the surrealist experiences I’ve had in my life.

And then I slept like a log. Until a buzz from the door woke me up.

But that’s technology that was also many, many years old before I finally realized how much it would benefit me****.

* that happened in the past…

** using one of the three new VHS tapes given to me by my parents a week ago to keep at-the-ready at my apartment, in the case of an emergency request.

*** when I do watch games live, it’s common for me to “call” things like interceptions, touchdowns, fumbles, and such, in a sort of, “wouldn’t this be a great time for one of those?” way, but that’s usually merely wishful thinking. How then to account for my watching something that I obviously can’t influence because it was taped more than thirty hours before viewing, and I have no idea whether/when any interceptions occurred, and I don’t feel compelled to call an interception before all plays except for two–and those plays being ones when interceptions actually occurred?! (This gels with times I get the itching to call for a twist of fortune happening, while I’m viewing a game in the presence of others, and refrain from verbalizing the thought for fear it will jinx it, but then can’t claim to have “called for it,” or seen it coming, because I didn’t verbalize it.)

**** Oh–that’s one for the books! CART is something I was an early adopter and promulgator-of-usage of. (Though I was certainly not an innovator; just a good friend of a true trailblazer!) That’s worth many more posts, but among the firsts of the weekend, was running into a CART provider (most excellent, at that), who had worked with me for another event, totally unrelated (save-for my association with both…) to the previous one. (the balloons/certerpieces and the cake/SNL skit script)

(and as you’ll see–instead of putting up nothing here, and allowing posts to start dying in drafts, I’m relenting to the mostly-a-post-though-partly references to things-that-deserve-inclusion in this post and others. Mainly because my biggest problem tends to be whittling what floods my head down into something that’s semi-coherent for others to read! But the wheels are warming up again, so obviously I want, and am, turning out all kinds again. Because, “we play both kinds–country and western.

Now to sustain it all!

of communication. Possibilities and potential.

The contrast… the rhythm and the melody.

And it could realistically be a lifesaver, too. At a cost that’s equivalent–if not less than that Lifeline pendant service. (Note to self to add links and elaborate when I have time.) And then there’s the hilarious story unto itself, when simply being around a certain much-loved member of my family reduces me to my most primitive technolgically-inclined self, when I most wish to impress upon her how accessible and convenient something is for her. (racing, done, movie, bar scene, high five, “would’ve been great YouTube video”)

I think I timed the transition well. I won’t name the specific product because whenever I recommend something, the manufacturers discontinue the product because it is so economical, reliable, and effective for me, specifically. Not that my first name is Elaine or anything like that. (Though I do know Elena the original Polish Princess. And I need to communicate with her and many others, so this is another leaf turning in my most recent leaf-turning binge!)

So things have a way of working out. Even though twists and alterations may need to enter at the last minutes or hours, depending on mode of transport.

Speaking of racing…

Spoken in hesitant-not-fully-sure-of-what-the-caller-was talking-about manner that impromptu, live, amateur relay persons are so great at affecting: “well I guess they won’t have any trouble releasing the rooms. There’s some kind of marathon or something in town….”

“Are you talking about The Chicago Marathon?!”

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