Archive for the ‘Opinions and Observations’ Category

As a creative person, I will often get struck with ideas or projects and even solutions to existing work-blocks without notice. (this is a good thing lol) If I can’t preserve the thoughts at the time there is a good probability I might lose them forever. So I try to get to the computer, writing pad, recorder quickly.

Invariably, I find myself in a creative mood with a great thought…….. ready to capture what will be my greatest work…….. only to have to wait for the computer to do a software download and update. Then comes the mandatory restart and my idea is totally gone. I go to record in my home studio and face load times, cables not connected for this project, something decides not to work for no reason other than it knows I am in a hurry and other events that would be funny in other situations. I can’t find a pen and the pencil point breaks and the notebook is downstairs.

When I get a cup of tea and a block of time to get things done I like to power up my computer or studio and start working. I don’t want to wait for the updates. I am on a mission.

I feel the same way about other areas. If I need to vacuum the floor, I don’t want to empty the container first. When I am ready to paint, I don’t want to stop and clean all the brushes first.

It might seem to others that I waste a lot of time on preventive maintenance and cataloging, but I know the frustration of losing something that could be wonderful.

I am a Before person. How do you look at the day?

In February of last year I had bi-lateral carpel tunnel surgery. I wrote about this in an earlier article. The surgeon slices a wide muscle apart to make room for everything else in your hand that slides underneath. The muscle bands grow back together when you heal.

Some people thought I was crazy for doing both at the same time. I was working and had insurance and could have strung out the surgeries over the majority of a year. I had a couple thoughts on the process. If I strung it out I would not be able to play guitar, keyboards or drums for a long time. I know from past experience it takes a while to get your ‘chops’ back when you have not played your instrument for a while. I also knew I would need up build up strength and flexibility after surgery.

I also did not want to have one ‘bad’ hand while my right hand was healing. I would be unable to do a lot of daily stuff anyway, so I might as well do them at the same time.

I have lived with a number of left-handed people all my life. I often tried to mimic them by trying to use my left hand for simple tasks. It also gave me a different perspective on a lot of seemingly unrelated things. After allowing my hands to heal and stitches removed I thought this would be a good opportunity to ‘train’ both hands during physical therapy exercises. So I treated both hands the same. I did the exercises but I also used both hands as evenly as possible to get dressed, eat, and stay alive while my hands were healing and getting stronger.

So as a little challenge, try using your non-dominant hand for everything you can for one week.

Brush your teeth. Write a letter. Comb your hair. Carry a full cup of tea or coffee. Tie your shoes. As much as possible. I really got much better with my left hand during recovery. I did not try to imitate my right hand movements; that just gave me a headache. Rather I looked at my left hand and back at the task and let my hand decide how to move. Give it a try.

Maybe everyone is like this but when a creative idea comes to me I can’t help but get distracted by thinking about related inventions or projects. I go from one tangent to another so fast that I can lose track of the original idea. I start off with a great theme for a song or a life-lived revelation – or maybe an invention or tool I have not seen before – or maybe the topic to a post on my blog, only to see it become a mist and impossible to grab again!

When using extreme examples you can see the danger in any system. I played the game chess much more when I was younger but I still like to think ahead to as many moves in the game as I can. The combinations can get staggering for each move in advance you try to predict. But you also have to predict your opponent’s moves as well. That is the only way to win the game. You cannot win by chance or luck. You cannot “hide” your pieces or position. You cannot out last your opponent to win.

I try to do the same thing at work or in life. If you look at ‘what happens next‘ BEFORE you make your move your chances of making a good move increase dramatically. But what if you get a creative idea and start analyzing tangents and looking into minor side-projects or paths? What if everything you do has to be checked first by looking steps ahead in the game?

Some chess players would almost get paralyzed by the astronomical possibilities in the mid-game and not be able to make a move. I am sure this is why they invented timed chess rules! Anyway, you can see the player freeze as each possibility opens up a dozen others. While looking ahead is a great skill to have, applying this system to everything is a black hole that will freeze you in your tracks.

All roads have detours. Every species has variations. Each process tried and tested. No failure moves forward. One size does not fill all.

I love tangents. I dream of possibilities. Remembering all is impossible for me so I make a point to appreciate each idea as it is revealed, embellished and sometimes lost. It is all good. Take the detour; sometimes the sign posts are misleading.

Today is a Nothing Day. I’m gonna do nothing.

To be honest I do not have a bucket list though there are things that I expected to be able to do before I died. One of those items I really have not achieved, but I did get to take a first step.

Last year I was approved and certified for medical marijuana in the state of Ohio. There are only a small handful of dispensaries open in the state……. they are still way behind schedule. (this reminds me of a saying attributed to Mark Twain that I heard as a young adult. It is reported that he was asked what he would do if he knew the end of the world was coming. He quickly stated that he would move to Ohio. When asked why, he said that everything happens 20 years later there).

True still today, we are usually behind the rest of the country if not the world. So even though I had to drive hundreds of miles out of my way, for the first time in my life I purchased marijuana legally in Ohio. I figured by the time I was 30 years old politicians and citizens alike would wake up and remove the lies surrounding marijuana use and it would be legal for all.

I am not sure when or if this will happen, but I am not willing to take the risk in waiting. So I took the first step until recreational use is a reality. The experience was a bit bizarre, but I will get into that in a later post. Right now it is time for me to take my medicine.

Can building “the beautiful wall” protect us from hurricanes crossing our borders?

Will the wall be high enough to stop tornadoes?

Is it long enough to stop the floods or forest fires?

Should it be smart enough to keep in the rain and prevent droughts?

Fake News = Fake Emergency.

Sure enough, as the years passed the allergies and reactions changed. Some triggers no longer caused days of panicked suffocation brought on by these asthma attacks. A number of the allergens would start to cause breathing problems but I learned if I could remove myself from the environment or place myself in a calming mental state and focus on breathing properly I could stop the attacks from getting worse.

Eventually I reached a point where the severe attacks were rare. I could manage to do most of the things I needed to do and new friends had no idea that I suffered from bronchial asthma. As these things shifted I started to have sneezing fits in the place of attacks. I would walk into a room or go outside and breathe in the cold/hot air and start sneezing out of control. It was not unusual to sneeze 30 – 40 times in a row. Sneezing five times in rapid succession is exhausting. By the time I hit 30 I was helpless. My body temperature would raise dramatically and I would break out in a heavy sweat. Now, even those symptoms are gone.

Nowadays there is politics in everything. There was back when I was born, too. Politicians decided to make possession and use of marijuana a crime similar to use of narcotics and psychotropic based drugs. This allowed US law enforcement agencies to arrest and imprison ‘specific groups of radicals and dissidents’ who were known to use marijuana. In my pursuit of life, liberty and health, I was made a criminal by my own government for using something in my own home that I could grow in my back yard! Marijuana has been used throughout human history and there is no evidence based reason for a Schedule 1 classified drug. This year the WHO (World Health Organization) suggested rescheduling use of marijuana to delete its schedule 1 classification. https://www.icci.science/data/files/ECDDcannabisoutcome.pdf

My state of Ohio passed a medical marijuana law a couple years ago. You are required to be approved for a number of medical conditions by select certified doctors in the state. Once approved you will be issued a medical marijuana card that can be used in Ohio. I applied for the card and easily qualified for intractable pain. Late last year the first dispensary opened in Ohio. There are no dispensaries anywhere near me and the program is way behind schedule.

As a young adult I thought marijuana would be legalized very soon. I kept thinking this as I saw friends, family, classmates, teachers and every class of people destroyed by alcohol, sleeping pills, tobacco, sugar, salt and a million other things that seemed far more dangerous and showed little or no benefits. Years went on and no change in political attitudes, though there was a clear change in social views. I would just like to be able to use marijuana as a medication and no longer be a criminal by the time I die.

Then I would like to see the thousands of people with criminal records for non-violent use be freed and their records expunged. If it is not asking too much, I would like my country’s politicians to be governed by facts, science and compromise for the common good. I may not live to see that one.

The End of the Road

This is a continued story and will make more sense if you start with the first post: https://midimike.com/2019/01/25/a-long-road-with-an-end-in-sight/.

The next post can be found here: https://midimike.com/2019/02/01/the-long-road-behind-continued/

I would never see these new friends again. I was a kid to them and although I had smoked marijuana for a long time, I had never gotten stoned. (I recall hearing a debate people were having years ago and someone mentioned that doctors should not prescribe pain killers for chronic pain because people would become addicted. The counter was that people did not feel the euphoric effects; it barely countered the constant state of pain. That is probably a crude analogy, but I knew others would laugh or be silly or energetic after smoking. I just felt ‘normal’ or calm).

Where young boys I knew wanted to get crazy drunk or party in other ways, I had the carry-over from my experience with medications and did not want to feel jelloed out, drunk or not in control.

For the first time I actually got ‘hi’. From that moment on I would feel the effects of smoking pot. I now understood why some of my good friends would smoke. There seemed to be additional benefits for me. Win – Win.

Symptoms slowly change as we get older. Early on I had forced myself into paying attention to my allergies. I watched what I ate and drank… What materials I was near… Where there any pets around?… Avoid dramatic changes in temperature, dust, exertion, perfumes, hairspray………………… carpet or drapes in my bedroom. Clean. Dust-free. That alone made me an unusual kid LOL. Eventually I could control the most basic triggers. I reduced the number of attacks and hospital visits. It also reduced the number of places I could go and feel comfortable. I could rarely visit with friends or relatives at their place and tried to avoid events or invitations if one of the many sources of my allergies could be present. Thinking just now, this might be an early influence that pushes me toward being introverted and wanting the life of a hermit. I thought it was 40 years of dealing with the general public in a sales/customer service role. Who knew?

The road has changed and the path is clearer. Now, where do we go next?

To be continued once more.

One night I was struggling with the towel over my head breathing in the incense-like vapors. My older brother David walked by and mentioned that it smelled a lot like marijuana. I was not familiar with his reference at the time. So when I was feeling better he filled me in on what pot was and that it was illegal but lots of people thought it was fun to do.

A few years later I was walking around in the city parks on a hot summer day (as I have a tendency to do). I met friends hanging out on the hill side and stopped to talk. One pulled out a joint and asked me if I wanted some. No personal experience here, but I knew more than years ago so I said sure. Almost immediately I felt comfortable and not scared or worried. After smoking I did not feel ‘buzzed’ or ‘stoned’ or ‘hi’. In fact, I felt almost nothing. Almost.

For almost a year I smoked marijuana and never did get the affects people talked about. At this point you are probably asking, ‘well, then why did you continue to smoke the stuff?’. I am not a doctor and even if I was US laws prevent doctors from testing pot. But when I smoked I felt relaxed. It reduced the panic I felt not only during an asthma attack but also doing things that were known to trigger them. During an attack I quickly calmed down after smoking it and I could lose my concentration on trying to breathe and focus on other things that did not make me panic. I stopped taking the other medications and tests.

After about a year I walked around a small pond at another local park and like a number of other people and animals….. I started walking in the shallow pool to cool down and enjoy the day. As I mentioned, there were a number of people and animals in the water at the time the police drove by, but only four people were pulled out and threatened with being “taken in”. Looking back I should not have been surprised that each of us ‘criminals’ were young and had long hair.

After the police men finally let us go (while others were still walking in the waters) I naturally started chatting with the others. They asked me if I wanted to hang out with them. I did not drive yet so I joined them on a beautiful day. They drove around and one of them mentioned wanting to get stoned. They were older than I was (college kids, I think) and they took really good care of me and checked to make sure I was OK. We stopped by one of their friends houses and bought some hash. I was not familiar with this but basically the same stuff only concentrated. We drove to their house, put on some music and then they got out the pipe.

That was when things really changed. The road got a little bit shorter that day, but the story continues.

In the 1960’s as a preteen I started to develop allergic reactions. At first it was not obvious but when I was tested, (I don’t know if they still do it the same way, but when things got really bad I went to a hospital for an allergy test. They take samples of allergens (30 or so?) and place each one on a separate ‘pin” on a bed of nails. OK, I could not see it but that is the result. Each pin stabs you in the back with a sample. If that area gets red or irritated, they look up the corresponding pin and tell you what you are allergic to and what to avoid, etc.) they could not see an area on my back that was not welted up. The doctors and nurses jokingly said I was allergic to everything. So the road starts.

In my early teen years the allergies continued and reactions got worse. I started having breathing difficulties and was diagnosed with bronchial asthma (among other things – another story). If unfamiliar, from a child’s point of view it is like having an elephant sit on your chest while you are trying to breathe. Your air pipes literally swell up from the reaction to irritants and allergens. Restrictions in your throat cause a wheezing sound that can be terrible to witness. You can’t run, play, climb or laugh. They only make things worse. After an hour or so of this you start to get scared and that is when things explode. The fear causes panic so you can’t breathe. Oh, wait a minute; you already couldn’t breathe! The child is just not strong enough to lift the elephant off their chest. As it progressed I would be gasping for more than a day and would eventually pass out from exhaustion. Sometimes I would wake up doing much better. Some times not.

From what I have been told, the difficulty is not getting air IN to you lungs when having and asthma attack; It is that your lungs are full and you can’t empty them to get a fresh breath of air. So you get enough oxygen to keep you in a state of panic.

The medications at the time included prescriptions, injections and inhalants. I was given something that sounds like “phenobarbital”?? It made me feel like jello stretched in both directions. I admit it may have reduced the number of attacks but as a preventive medicine taken daily I could not take it any more. I felt like a zombie all the time and I hated not being in control of my own body. The other remedy was inhalants.

I am not sure if the inhalers you see today were available back then or if it was very expensive but they did have a product that I remember being called Asthmador? Not sure and not worth fact checking, lol. It was like incense that you would burn and drape a towel over your head so you could breathe in all of the smoke. I am not sure if it helped much at all, but when things got really bad I would use it. Things got bad more often. Molds, mildew, dust, pollen, animals, certain foods and more were everywhere and I was not really sure what to avoid. Middle of the night hospital runs to the emergency room were common. Missing school and activities became routine. I kept walking down this really long road and found out a lot about what was to come as I traveled.

To be continued.

MSK 3
MSK 1
MSK 2

See Part 1 by clicking here: https://midimike.com/2019/02/01/the-long-road-behind-continued/