Monthly Archives: December 2014

Pain is endurable (unless you suffer severe gastrointestinal issues, then forget about it)

It’s incredibly interesting to me (okay, maybe not incredibly interesting, but definitely interesting nonetheless) the varying degrees of pain we feel as humans and how sometimes we overcome it and other times, we simply feel like this is it, there’s no possible way our body can withstand any further pain so we might as well just give up and give in. And then the pain finally subsides and you realize it was never really as excruciating as you made it out to be in the first place. Like, for instance, when a horrible, mind-wrenching stomach pain comes on out of nowhere and you feel as if someone is twisting a serrated knife deep into your gut and won’t stop until all your insides are shredded, and then it turns out it was just a bad case of indigestion and gas pains. Er, something like that. I blame all the Mexican food I ate today.

When I was fourteen, I broke my elbow pretty terribly. It’s the only thing I’ve ever broken and (knock-on-wood) will hopefully be the only thing I ever break in my entire life. I once wrote about my experience quite sarcastically (as usual) in a writing class my freshman year of college (and maybe I will share it with you sometime, but that’s for another day, let’s stay on track, shall we?) and though I tried to add as much wit and humor as I could to it, it didn’t change the (bitter) fact that breaking my elbow was the worst pain I’ve ever had to endure up to this point in my life- physically, that is, not emotionally, if we were talking emotions I’d be here all day crying about all the pre- and post-teenage angst and depression I’ve endured the last 10+ years of my life. So, thankfully, we’re not talking about that kind of pain, because I don’t think there’d be enough room on a page or enough energy in my fingers to type it all out. Anyway.

I know I already posted this picture once before, but it's probably the only surviving photo I have of the RoboJulie 3000 robot arm.

I know I already posted this picture once before, but it’s probably the only surviving photo I have of the RoboJulie 3000 robot arm.

As I was saying, breaking my arm was the worst physical pain I’ve ever had to live through in my short 25 years of existence on this planet, and near the end of my 5-month stint trying to fix myself and willing my arm to just heal already, damnit, I wasn’t sure I was going to make it. Sure, by then the physical pain had worn off and the emotional pain was starting to take its toll, but even from the beginning I wasn’t sure I was going to make it, that my body would simply decide the pain was too much and say fuck it. Which it very well could have, I guess I just happened to be stronger than I thought at the time.

It just makes me wonder how our bodies can withstand the things they can withstand, and also why they don’t withstand certain other things. It makes me wonder how the whole “mind over matter” thing actually works, how your brain could possibly trick your body into thinking it feels no pain at all, or how, reversely, you can exaggerate the pain more so in your mind than it actually is in reality. I know there is an actual science behind it, one involving nerve endings and brain waves and messages sent to the epicenter that is your mind (and back), but I’m not smart enough to get into any of that, or even want to anyway. So instead I’ll just ponder and make up my own reasons and not share them with you because if you don’t mind, I think whatever was tying up my insides has finally decided to move its way down and make an appearance. Which just leads me to link you here. You’re welcome.

Leave a comment

Filed under Entertainment, Humor

I want to be as good a writer as my former self

I have not written anything decent in a long time.

Aside from this blog (which I don’t update nearly as much as I say I’m going to or know I should) and the few scattered poems I’ve scribbled down on scraps of paper here and there recently, I haven’t actually sat down and given anything my all in quite some time. And I know I have no one to blame but myself. I could sit here and make a million and one excuses as to why I’m not putting writing at the top of my list of priorities; I work too much, I’m too tired when I get home, I just want to relax and do nothing and there isn’t much time for anything else, the list could go on, but none of them would be good enough to warrant neglecting the thing that is supposed to be the thing I want someone to pay me to do one day. Which leads me to think, if it isn’t important enough to carve time out of my day for, maybe it isn’t what I really want to do…

Oh my god, I take that back. I could never actually mean that. That was a terrible prank I just played on myself.

But for real, how do you motivate yourself to do the thing you love to do when you don’t feel like doing anything at all? I have been asking myself this question for years.

In my younger days (I swear, I’m an old person already who goes to bed by 10 p.m. every night, even on the weekends; I can only imagine what it will be like when I’m actually old, and probably going to bed by 7, which makes me sympathize with old people who do that because, shit, I never realized it before but that will probably be me. But that’s a story for another time so, moving on), I could get into patterns of writing, where I would work really hard on projects for weeks, sometimes months at a time, churning out semi-awesome work in a (somewhat) timely manner and feeling pretty damn good about myself. I look back on that writing, those works of genius, with pride and jealousy. I want to be that good again, but I’m not sure how.

Part of the problem (warning: I’m about to make an excuse) is that all of that fabulous creative writing I was doing was happening while I was in college, either working part-time or not working at all. Now, as someone who works roughly 50 hours a week (with children no less, who, despite how much I love them, can be quite taxing at times) my brain is fried and my body is ready for bed by the time I get home, and all I really want to do is lay on the couch and zone out for a few minutes before I have to do it all over again.

Maybe my problem isn’t lack of time, because there are 24 usable hours in every day (and I could probably spend less time at the beach on the weekends and get shit done), but I can’t seem to find the creativity and zest for writing I once had. Whenever I sit down and do actually try and write something, either mediocrity comes to the surface or nothing comes at all.

Okay, so writer’s block. That must be it.

I do feel okay blaming this all on a prolonged stint of writer’s block.

But then how do you overcome writer’s block? Shit, I’m back to square one.

1 Comment

Filed under Entertainment, Humor, Opinion

7 things to do and see in New Orleans (according to me, which makes it true)

So naturally I did not write while I was in New Orleans, but hey, I was busy having a blast so who has time for things like blogging when they’re having fun? I absolutely loved the city, and had a great time sightseeing with my favorite person. Although I won’t be back anytime soon, I would definitely love to go back again in my lifetime just to spend a little more time in such a cool place. Among all the greatness, here are a few things we did that I highly recommend to anyone visiting this historic (albeit falling down around you) city.

St. Louis Cemetery No. 1. Never did figure out why all the graves were above ground.

St. Louis Cemetery No. 1. Never did figure out why all the graves were above ground.

Check out the cemeteries. The notable ones are the St. Louis Cemeteries, of which there are several, but of which I’m sure people really only go to No. 1 (we went to No. 2 as well and it was deserted, clearly no one cares). We went on our own and just wandered the plots (which were surprisingly unorganized), and whenever we’d happen upon a tour group, we just sort of hung out near the back and caught whatever history lesson the guide was giving. It might be cheating, not paying for a tour, but I recommend it. Spend your money elsewhere, and just jump in on a group whenever you come upon them, they won’t even notice (and are probably used to it anyway).

Eat a lot of good food. Jambalaya, gumbo, etouffee, po’ boys, the list of delicious food is endless. I highly recommend Jacques-Imo’s and Joey K’s.

Ride the streetcar. Talk about a time warp. That thing looks like it’s from the 50s, and probably is. It’s loud and usually crowded but it’s a fun way to travel around the city besides walking. It also feels like a piece of history, so you kind of have to, at least once.

My future home (the crappy one in the middle).

My future home (the crappy one in the middle).

Walk the French Quarter. This is obvious but worth naming anyway. Known mostly for its quaint, old homes and drunken adventures on Bourbon Street, there’s much more to do in this bustling neighborhood than just that. Wander the streets during the day and take in the scenery. You’ll encounter the traditional Nawlins architecture the city is known for, as well as one-of-a-kind shops and restaurants. If you follow the streets down to the river, you can also take in a great view of the Mississippi and the city together. At night, as well as during the day, you’ll find an array of street performers and craft fairs to delight everyone’s tastes. And of course, with the city’s lax open container laws, you can get drunk and wander the streets with your beverages. Perfect for toting a 64 ounce fishbowl. Man, I miss that thing.

Book an airboat/swamp tour. If you’re at all interested in seeing how most people live and thrive, take a ride through the swamps. The airboats are a loud, but fun way to get out on the water and learn about “swamp people culture.” We booked with  Jean Lafitte Tours and were not disappointed. I was hoping to see alligators, but since it’s winter, they were hibernating. Our guide did let us hold a baby gator he brought along, though, so I was satisfied.

Drive through the 9th Ward. It’s definitely still rundown, but it is the best way to get a glimpse of what happened to the city during Katrina. Although it’s certainly eerie seeing the abandoned houses with the rescue codes still spray painted on the outsides, almost as if it just happened days ago. Don’t expect to feel happy traveling through, but I do recommend it to anyone passionate about the area’s history, as well as anyone interested in gaining an understanding of what the people there endured.

I wouldn't have minded owning slaves here. Just kidding. I'm from the North.

I wouldn’t have minded owning slaves here. Just kidding. I’m from the North.

Visit Oak Alley Plantation. While it is an hour’s drive outside of NOLA, this plantation is definitely worth the trip out. With beautiful grounds and main house, and absolutely stunning oak trees lining the entrance, you’ll feel like you just stepped back into pre-Civil War times (although sans slavery, that would just be weird now). There are also several other plantations nearby, so if you need more of a plantation fix, there are many others to tour as well.

With all this New Orleans talk, I miss it already. I’m going to go cry into a pillow now and long for the days when I could aimlessly walk the streets of the French Quarter with my fishbowl, without a care in the world. Excuse me.

4 Comments

Filed under Advice, Entertainment, Opinion, Travel