Friday, February 27, 2009

A Good Read

Over the years I have had an on and off relationship with reading. I have always enjoyed a classic novel and grew up reading comic books like they were going out of style. I suppose what distanced me from the enjoyment was my brief stint in college. Forced readings and incredibly lengthy textbooks managed to suck all the enjoyment out of it. For a long time I couldn't think about starting a novel without getting a headache. The 28 pages of a Green Lantern monthly was about all I could handle.

I was recently directed to a great book by Christopher Moore. My friend had just finished reading it and was so excited about it being the best book he had ever read, shoved it at me and begged me to read it. The book was entitled Lamb (The Gospel According To Biff, Christ's Childhood Pal). It sat on my desk for a couple of days before I ventured in and once I did I couldn't put it down. It was amazingly funny and sarcastically intelligent at the same time. I finished it in a couple of days and realized I had rediscovered my love for reading.

The book tries to explain the gap in the recorded history of the life of Christ. Why wouldn't it be possible that Jesus had many adventures prior to beginning his ministry? Of course Jesus is joined on his travels by Biff, a stonecutter's son who aspires to be the village idiot. Through humor Moore tackles some incredibly tough issues and manages to make you smile through some of the hardest parts of the story. I think even the deeply religious could enjoy the read if they could accept the book for what it is, a work of fiction. Not meant to blaspheme or rewrite the accepted gospel.

After finishing Lamb I had to find more Moore. The second novel I blazed through was A Dirty Job. A story that finds a man suddenly faced with the reality that he has become the grim reaper. Or at least one of them. I think I enjoyed this one even more than Lamb. I quickly decided that I needed the rest of his collection and have began to buy and read them one at a time. I'm currently on Fluke, one of Moore's best sellers, and am engrossed as always. I even got a membership to Books A Million to aid in my quest. That's really an understated book store that deserves more credit. I think this is the part of the blog where Levar Burton pops up and thanks me for the book review. See you next time.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Come On Down

I spent much of my lazy summer days growing up watching the Price Is Right and dreaming of winning a blender or maybe a new car. Bob Barker became sort of a hero to me and when asked to name 5 goals for the future at some point in high school my number 1 goal was to win a showcase full of fabulous prizes. Many laughed and many more wanted to, but felt bad for me instead. Needless to say, I've grown up a bit since then and my priorities have certainly changed.

When Bob Barker announced he was retiring from the show a little piece of my inner child died. I didn't have the money to make a trip to California so I wasn't going to achieve that goal. I was saddened by the news but happy to hear that the show would continue with a new host. But who could ever replace Bob? As you know, Drew Carey eventually replaced Bob as the host of the best TV show on at 11AM. I had been a fan so I was eager to see how he did.

It didn't really start off so great. I was taken aback by the way that they kept the show exactly the same but just put Drew in Bob's spot. His awkward way of trying to be Bob even went as far as the speech at the end of every show about having your pets spayed and neutered. For a time I thought all was lost but I've been impressed by the way that Drew has made the show his own. He shed the dress shirt and tie for a more casual and comfortable look. He jokes with the contestants and the announcer and all in all makes it a much more enjoyable thing to watch.

Seldom, do new hosts capture the essence of what the show once was. Family Feud has went through several hosts but none compare to the original. I think its evident that somethings not working when you go through so many hosts in just a few short years. Somehow Millionaire has survived without Regis yet I don't know how. Meredith Viera can read questions but just isn't as funny or as energetic as the perpetually wired Mr. Philbin. Could America accept Jeopardy without Alex Trebek? They had enough problems dealing with the fact that he shaved his mustache. Wheel of Fortune without Vanna White? Maybe, but Sajack would have to leave at the same time.

I suppose it all comes down to familiarity. We like the comfort of knowing that a familiar face will be smiling at us if we should happen to turn on the TV. We like knowing that our hero quarterback won't leave for the Jets and we'll be stuck with the new guy. But that's a different blog all together. In a time of constant uncertainty I'm glad I still have something to smile about at 11AM.

My Take On The Oscars

Mickey Rourke probably got robbed. The Dark Knight definitely got robbed. Wall-E got everything it deserved except for the song that lost to the goliath that was slumdog millionaire. I don't know how much more praise that can be thrown on that movie. I guess I should probably see it before thinking the whole Oscars were rigged.

Monday, February 23, 2009

My Trip To The Andrology Lab (Part 2)

Wanting to be a responsible husband, I finally agreed to visit the andrology lab. Bright and early this morning I ventured downtown. I hate, no... loathe parking downtown for any reason. It's not like work when I can just pull up to the front door of the hospital. There's parking garages, pay lots, and parallel parking. I'm pretty sure I passed that part of my drivers test because he wasn't paying attention. Needless to say, I panicked when I couldn't find a good parking space and opted to park in the first garage I saw which was a good 15 minute walk from the lab I was headed to. At least the car was parked. I would be OK.

After making the trek to the lab, passing homeless and business types, Jews and Gentiles along the way I was pretty much out of breath. I realized I was pretty much jogging the whole way out of fear that one of those business types might try to get me to donate to charity. So, red faced and out of breath I went in. When I entered the small office on the seventh floor a petite elderly grandmotherly woman greeted me and had me fill out some paperwork. She looked more like a librarian than someone who dealt in sperm collection. I probably looked like an out of shape fat guy with emphysema but looks can be deceiving. I don't have emphysema.

During my wait I realized that the radio was playing a mixture of gospel and country music. Neither one my favorite but more tolerable than 50 cent I suppose. A song came on singing about "No one knows what goes on behind closed doors." It made me smile and think the subliminal messages are meant to calm me down. The other 4 or 5 men sitting in the waiting quarters were all peculiarly staring straight at the floor. I suppose eye contact would make them feel like everyone knew what they were about to do. I couldn't help but find the humor in it. I even tried to strike up a conversation and was met with awkward silence. I think one person laughed when I got called to the back and said to the crowd, "Wish Me Luck!"

I won't trouble you with the details of the next part of the story.

On my way home I kept thinking about what the librarian said to me on the way out the door. After taking the jar with no gloves on she said, "Looks good - long pause - have a nice day." It shook me a little.

The results came quicker than I could have imagined and essentially an IUI, or intrauterine insemination, seems to be our next step. At least the doctors are agreeing with each other. With time, luck, and money we'll get there. I know we will. My amazing wife has been through so much. Through high hopes and horrible disappointments, tests and procedures. We have endured. She is stronger than I ever knew and will make a great mother someday soon.

Why I tell you this now I do not know. I suppose full disclosure is my way of accepting the past and looking forward to the future. We will keep you updated, I promise. That is, if you're interested. If not, there's always YouTube. I'm sure you can go watch a monkey sniff his finger and fall out of a tree a few more times. Wish us luck and thanks for the support.

My Trip To The Andrology Lab (Part 1)

Before I can really get into the topic of this blog I feel like some amount of back story is needed. As some of you may already know, my wife Devin and I have been trying to have a baby for some time now. Almost from the day we got back from our honeymoon. I never expected it to be a difficult road. However, the past 2 years have taught me that not everything is as easy as it seems.

We struggled with not knowing the problems as incompetent doctors suggested this or that and of course questioned why we wanted to have children so soon. After a heart breaking near pregnancy that resulted in an ectopic fiasco it strengthened our resolve to achieve our goal. However, doctors felt a little less than optimistic. We were told a variety of things that all led up to them saying that we were pretty much out of luck.

After a couple of months passed, and more expensive and pointless procedures were ordered, we decided to part ways with the doctors that had been helping us and prayed for a new beginning with a new doctor. Lo and behold, there was hope. We were finally told what was wrong. Devin has PCOS, or poly-cystic ovarian syndrome which reduces our chances of conceiving. While it sucks, at least we know what we're dealing with. As they used to say in the cartoons of my youth, "Knowing is half the battle"

A few months of fertility hormones have certainly made things interesting at our household. I remind myself often that it's a means to an end. Before moving further the doctor recommended that I be a responsible husband and have my part of the equation evaluated. Thus finishes back story.

Part 2 to post in minutes.

A New Promise Of Blogging

I realize that I have not blogged in quite some time. At least not on as regular a basis as I once did. For those interested, I promise, there will be new posts to read at least weekly and hopefully more like daily.