Slow Day

My Brain Hurts

I’ve been having strange dreams lately. Last night I had a dream that I wasn’t even in — I wasn’t even the narrator or anything. Someone finally did kill the robot, though… The night before, I had a dream that no one in my unit wanted to share a shelter-half with me, so I went through the whole area poking holes in other people’s mosquito netting and such and generally being mean-spirited to get even. The odd part about this is that I’m not in the military, and I’m generally a pretty nice guy – not one to poke holes in someone else’s tent. And if no one wanted to share a shelter-half with me I really wouldn’t have a problem with it anyway. Most likely I’d just mock up a hammock or something.

It bothers me when I have inexplicable or violent dreams.

I’ve been thinking of otters a lot lately, too.

Good Weekend

We had a good weekend. Saturday Dagmar and I went to Sioux Falls to visit my niece on her birthday. (My brother’s family only lives 25 miles from Sioux City, but they went to a fancy hotel in Sioux Falls so the kids could play in the water park the hotel had in the lobby.) That was fun! If I get time later I’ll post a photo or two… Small children all hopped-up on sugar in a swimming pool – what could be more fun than that? Too bad there weren’t any otters there…

Saturday night we stopped in Sioux Center to munch on a steak with some ALR friends of ours. That was fun, too. They served beer there. I always like that.

Sunday I finished up a web site I designed for the Northwest Iowa chapter of the American Legion Riders. You can peek at it HERE if you want. I enjoy doing stuff like that, but I’m always glad when the majority of the brain-sweat is done and I can sit back and relax for a few minutes. I’m really happy I got involved in the ALR. Couldn’t ask for better people to be around.

The only fly in the ointment was hearing the Packers were on the short end of a 38-10 score against the Jets. That makes me sad.

Long Time, No Smoke

The original reason I started this blog almost a year and a half ago was to give me something to do between twitches as I quit smoking. (You can read the first bloodshot and grouchy posts I wrote HERE — the earliest posts are at the bottom.) I’m very proud and a little surprised that I’ve been nicotine-free for so long, but I’m constantly surprised at how often the addiction makes itself known.

“Vy do you roll your window down when you chew gum?” asked my beloved Viennese bride the other day as we drove to Sioux Falls. “Every time you pop gum in your mouth you roll the vindow down a few inches.”

“Well,” I answered, “I roll the window down to let the smoke out, of course…”

I keep gum in my “cigarette” pocket. I’m done with smoking, but I still reach for my cigarettes about once every twenty minutes… (For those of you who know me in person, you know I also keep my digital camera in my cigarette pocket. I’ve taken almost 20,000 photos since I’ve quit smoking…)

I read the other day in a magazine that nicotine actually alters some chemical receptors in your brain so your brain can accept the nicotine. With some people that happens the first time nicotine is in their bloodstream, other times it’s the second or third time (which is why some people will try smoking once or twice and never mess with it again while others are addicted from the very get-go). But it’s a physical change that occurs in your brain. Once it happens, you can’t un-do it — you’re always, forever addicted to nicotine. That actually made me feel better… I’m not an addict, I’m just brain-damaged is all.

Generally, not smoking doesn’t bother me a bit any more. Until I drink coffee or beer – then I get all wistful and twitchy again… The only time I’m in any real danger of smoking is when I’m in a bar drinking beer (which doesn’t happen all that often any more, now that I’m not in a band), and I’ve learned how to cope with that for the most part. But every now and then I’ll find myself leaning over an ashtray, breathing it all in…

If the doctor came up to me today and told me I had some rare tropical disease and I only had a month to live, I’d probably go out and buy some cigarettes. But I’ve still got some forty or fifty years ahead of me, and I’ve already gained the weight, so I may as well stay quit. I am truly happier this way. I can go to a movie if I want now without worrying about smoking. I can go to family events and enjoy myself instead of standing outside in the snow, smoking a cigarette, peeking through the window to see my family having fun. I can go to restaurants. I don’t feel ill much any more. It’s all good. It’s all good.

The State of the UN

I just saw on a news site that the United States ambassador to the United Nations, John Bolton, is going to step down. In case you forgot, Mr. Bolton is the angry man with the moustache that U.S. President G. Walker Bush chose to speak for us all at the United Nations a year or two ago. Normally, this position must be ratified by congress, but Mr. Bush knew Mr. Bolton wouldn’t get the votes needed to assume the position legally, so Mr. Bush waited until congress was in recess (didn’t have to wait long – this congress has spent more time on vacation than any other in history) and made a “Recess Appointment,” a legal technicality generally reserved for time of emergency, and threw Mr. Bolton into the limelight.

Well, Mr. Bolton has been doing his job there for a year or two, and to my knowledge hasn’t actually punched anyone yet, but his recess appointment is up — it’s time to go in front of congress and get officially voted into the office. I guess he’s not too optimistic about his chances; he’s not even going to try. He’s just quitting. The only atypical aspect of this is that a Bush appointee seems to be quitting BEFORE being arrested, and he doesn’t seem to be blaming anyone else for his own shortcomings.

This is good for both the U.S. and the U.N. Mr. Bolton was not very good at working with others. I’m hoping now that with a democratically controlled congress we can put someone with good people skills in place to represent us to the world.

NOW I’m hungry!

Holy buckets! Check this out… A 1-1/4 pound (cooked) burger for seven bucks! (Click HERE for details.) A buddy of mine in VROC kept saying last summer that we should take the time to ride from the Missouri to the Mississippi simply to eat a Gunderburger. Now I’m more apt to agree with him… Though Gunder is all the way across the state, it might just be worth the trip! (There’s an entire website devoted to the Gunderburger HERE.)

There’s a place in Nebraska just 25 or 30 miles west of Sioux City that has huge hamburgers like that… If you’re ever in the neighborhood, stop by Bob’s in Martinsburg. You won’t be disappointed. I’ve been to Bob’s several times over the past few years. It’s a hole in the wall, but the burgers are great!

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