07 March 2006

No Weed For My Back, Man!
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Fig. 1 - Our Great Uncle,
Knackered MacVertebrae:
Aigh, me fookin' baack! Think
I'll just sit me'se'f doon an' read fer a wee.


Ouch. Not just ouch - fuckin' ouch. I had an MRI done on my lower spine because it's been bitching at me for quite some time now, and lo and behold I have a bulged disc between my L5-S1 vertebrae. So they says to me they says, "Hey - we got this stuff we can shoot in there that'll make the pain in your spine go away. I'ts kinda like weed for your back, man!" So I said, "Groovy!" But then I decided to get a second opinion and the other doc said, "Don't put weed in your back, man! You're old and it'll dissolve your chi! Bussides, just because you got a bulged disc, man, doesn't mean that's the source of the pain, ya dig? What you need is for me and my crew of saddhus to put you in a full nelson and torque you until you scream 'Nirvana'!" So I said, "Far out! Sign me up!"

I know you have had lower back problems, and our Dad had 'em. And probably everybody else in our family had bad backs stretching back to the day when our first Scottish ancestor, Brannoch McForeskin or whatever his name was, broke his ass on a rock when he landed in the Hebrides. (Okay - I know it wasn't Brannoch McForeskin. That was actually my friend Jim McForeskin's ancestor. It was Gunnar Olafsen, son of Olaf the Black of Norway, and more specifically, William Gunn who was Gunnar's son. Oh yeah, and whoever that Pictish woman was that Gunnar "married". Great thing about Scottish ancestry: tall tree, but not too many branches.) Even your wife Marie has had a really serious back problem. Hey, do you think she caught it from you, man? Trippy! Anyway, I wonder whether the whole spinal thing is a genetic issue, or whether it's a neurotic issue, or whether it's a karma resonating down through the ages and jamming itself right up my bum. I may never know. And even knowing might not make it stop.

Fig. 2 - Our Great Grand Cousin,
Aiken MacEverybone:
Aigh, me fookin' baack! Mebbe
if I scratch me arse on this menhir,
it wi' prrovide soom rrelief!

So I'm thinkin' that this is probably a good time to reflect on the first thing that introduced me to the dharma, which was something in the book The Art of Happiness by the Dalai Lama. It was the notion that pain was something that comes with the territory if you have a nervous system, but suffering was an emotional choice that you make about your pain. That idea right there was the bell that woke me up to the Four Noble Truths, even though it wasn't being presented as part of them at the time.

The bad thing about pain is that it freakin' makes you tired, man! Tired! Even when I make an emotional choice about it other than freaking out, I still get tired. Cheebus H. Rice, it's a lot of work to hurt all the time. But just like The Big D said, pain can also draw you closer to others who suffer. When I'm in pain, more and more often I find myself thinking about kids who have had their L5 shot right the hell off in Afghanistan or Iraq or wherever. And it's not that it makes me think, wow, I don't have it so bad. It's that it makes me understand life on the whole as something other than just what's happening inside my head and my body right now. Just moving my pain into that greater context goes a very long way to reducing it. So yeah, more empathy, no weed. Bring on the wrestling saddhus.

Meet Tami Fairweather!

The Fairweather family reunion, c. 1952.

I used to work with Tami at AtomFilms during the dot com boom. We were both intoxicated with the belief that yes, you really could make millions of $$ by playing short films on the InterWeb for free. And we also believed that we would one day cash in all our stock options for solid gold rocket cars and fistfuls of really expensive candy. Man were we way off. So at the "It All Went In The Shitter" party that we had at the end of Atom's heyday, I explained to Tami that no matter how good a person's intentions might be, former co-workers simply never get together when they said they would, they eventually lose contact completely, and this would probably be the last she ever saw of me. Six years later, I still sign all my correspondence to her with "Goodbye Forever".

What do they call you back home? Stormy, Tamilicious, Ms. Forkwrangler, Stormfront.

What do you...uh...do? Lately I've been keeping slightly under the radar, only exposing myself to the peeps that mean something special to me. (I'm honored! -Ed.) And those that I won't see ever again, like Thaddeus. (Whoah! Excellent burn! -Ed.) I think this is due to the fact that career-wise I have to be really nice and social all the time, so my off time is more of a muted color palette. However, I'm a helluva lot of fun and very loyal to the important people.

What would you like to know about Greg? Do you have any baggage (good or bad) from being raised in the mysterious Gunn family? (Oh sweet Jesus, don't even crack the seal on that one! -Ed.) Also, is the current Thaddeus your favorite? As a witness to all past versions of Thaddeus, if you could bring one of them back, which one would it be? (Please not the one with the hair. -Ed.)

What would you like Greg to know about you? I'm really excited that The Electric Company is out on DVD.

Isn't it ossum on a hot summer night when you put your arm underneath your pillow and it's still all cold under there, like some kinda "coldness magic"? It's not only ossum on a hot summer night, it's ossum year-round. I'm not a fan of the way-to-fuzzy (whether t-shirt of flannel) sheets that serve like roller-skate brakes on various body parts as you toss n turn through the night. (Flannel chafing is the #1 cause of death among Canadians. -Ed.)

Meet Your Sister-In-Law Teresa!

Small but mighty! This woman can kick your ass before you
even stand up.

What do they call me at home? (Honey let me answer this one. I call her a lot of stuff that 't'ain't even English. Nor is it Togalog or Basayan or Illacano. It's all loving, mind you. But other than that it just ain't. -Ed.)

What do I do? I get paid to break stuff. Honestly! (She's a software breaker...uhh...tester. -Ed.)

What I would like to Greg to know about me - Don't slap my face - just a friendly warning. (Even if he's challenging you to a duel? -Ed.)

Isn't it ossum... - Just as long as the temp doesn't drop down below myaccepted temp range so that I don't have to wear my scowl insurance to bed. (Since she spent most of her life in California and Hawaii, Teresa can withstand a wide range of temperatures, like from 68F to 71F. -Ed.)

Meet Mark Keeney!

That's not the "mahalo" sign he's making.
It's ASL for "I've broken both my legs and
my ass is freezing".

Fresh from the monkey farm: Keeney's offspring Alex (L) and
Griffing (R).

Keeney works over there (he said, indicating the other side of the floor over by where I could hit Tyler Hill with a stick, were my arm mighty enough to blast it through four walls of concrete). What he does over there I have no idea, other than it partially involves asking me to write stuff, and partially involves a small flask of tequila that disappears bit by bit every day. Oh yeah, and he does stuff with math that makes my head whirl so I try not to look. You can't tell in the picture, but he's like 6-foot-a hundred. If the Space Needle were a hoop, he could still dunk.

OTHER VERY IMPORTANT NOTE ABOUT KEENEY: Were it not for the fact that he once said "you oughtta have a blog" (after which I asked him "what the hell is a blog"), this blog would not exist. He is Keeney the Kreator.

What do they call you back home? Keeney…if you called me by first I wouldn’t know to turn around.

What do you...uh...do? By weekday I propagate more grey hairs in my mane by performing in a reality show sans the cameras. At night and weekends I construct elaborate railways on the island of Sodor, investigate the subtle differences between a Pteranodon and Pterdactyl, construct forts out of pillows, crank up the Gorillaz and do the funky chicken (er Tofu-Chicken), plant the seeds of passion for Husky basketball, and sit back and watch my two monkeys grow before my very eyes. (It's true. He's a monkey farmer. But not real monkeys - the hairless kind that humans give birth to. -Ed.)

What would you like to know about Greg? What accent do you have? Coffee or Tea? Ale or Lager? Dairy or Soy? Do you have a sports franchise obsession like your brother? If so, what team/sport? (Only if the sport is tuba, and only if the team is the London Philharmonic. -Ed.) If you had to pick one type of cuisine to eat for the rest of your life, what would that be? (Ooh! Ooh! Ooh! I know this one! It's peanut butter, banana and mayonnaise sandwiches! It's like a heart attack between to slices of bread! But what a way to go! -Ed.)

What would you like Greg to know about you? I once saw Jethro Tull perform at Ephesus, Turkey. (Not really a fan at all, but how often do you get to see an aging 70’s rocker jam on a flute on one leg like a flamingo at the supposed birthplace of Mary?) The real bummer was James Brown was supposed to perform but at that time couldn’t leave the USA on account of a little PCP, outrunning cops, and socking his then wife.

Isn't it ossum on a hot summer night when you put your arm underneath your pillow and it's still all cold under there, like some kinda "coldness magic"? When have we had a hot summer night? (He has a point. We are in Seattle, after all. -Ed.)

Cheers, and give my best to Marie.


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I really thought I was the only human being to have ever eaten a peanut butter, banana and mayo sandwich. I thought it was the ultimate "fat trick" never to be revealed.