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05/31/16: This was an strange Memorial Day. We went to my parent's house to spend the day with family. We started by getting a little take-out, some Chinese food from a place they had never ordered from before. Food was not too bad, but not real good, either. It seemed bland to me, which was a shame because I got the combo chow mein and there was a lot of meat in it, some nice big chunks of chicken, pork, and shrimp. I thought it just needed some spices.
     Afterwards, we hauled out the Scrabble board and sat around the table to play. My family loves Scrabble, but I usually don't play because there are enough other people who seem to enjoy it more than I do. This time, though, I did play, and I couldn't believe my luck when I discovered that when my turn came, I was able to put down "minister" as my first word, using all seven of my tiles and one letter off of Stephie's first word. That gave me such a huge lead that I basically cruised to victory, even though my brother commented (rightly so) that I didn't really have any major words the rest of the game.
     After the game, Stephie and I went home and planned to watch a little TV. We were sitting on the couch when I began to notice my breathing. That may sound odd, but if you think about it, how often do you really notice your breathing? After a while, I seemed that it was becoming a little hard to breathe, like someone was sitting on my chest. I tried to take a few deep breaths, hoping the feeling would pass, but when it didn't, I told Stephie about it and we decided to go to the emergency room. I didn't feel that I couldn't breathe, but I thought that if it got worse, I would rather it happen where I could have someone take a look at me.
     Stephie dropped me off at the ER entrance and went to park the car, which is the opposite of what usually happened when we went there. I used to joke that I took Stephie to the ER so many times that we had our own parking spot. After waiting for a little bit, we got in to see the doctor. After checking my blood work, EKG, and the other vital signs they recorded, he determined that he didn't know what was wrong. His best guess was that it was an allergic reaction to something. We assumed that it was the Chinese food, since that was the only thing new I had eaten all day.
     I started to feel better after he gave me some medicine, and they let me go after another EKG showed my heart was fine. The doctor told me that they used to automatically admit anyone who had symptoms like mine, but the new procedure was to do two EKGs a few hours apart, and as long as they were both normal, they felt it was safe to send the patient home. That meant I didn't have to spend the night, but it did mean that I had to wait a couple of hours for the second EKG to show I was okay, even though I was feeling fine by that point.
     It was well after two A.M. before we got home. We immediately threw out the leftovers that we had brought home. Better safe than sorry.

05/22/16: Back when I was working, I would usually take the same train home. Over that time, I struck up a casual friendship with a guy who lives a couple of blocks from me. We'd talk about whatever to kill time on the ride home. One day, we looked out the window at a stop a couple before ours and saw a bar there, and the bar had a Hamm's sign in the window. It was one of the newer, plastic signs, not one of the cool neon ones, and it was flickering like there was a short in it or the bulb needed to be changed. I wondered out loud if the bar really still had Hamm's on tap, and suggested that the sign was blinking as code to beckon us in. We laughed about it and I suggested that one day, we were going to get off the train and walk in there, and there would be two drafts sitting on the bar, waiting for us. We would then have to call one of our wives to come pick us up. We would occasionally laugh about that when the train stopped at that stop. Then I was laid off, and now they took the Hamm's sign out of the window after the bar changed its name, so that'll probably never happen.
     I only mention this because I went next door to the Tamale Hut to get some beer to drink while attending this month's Reading Series night, and I bought some Hamm's as a goof. Turns out, it was pretty good. I had a couple during the event, and now I'm having another at home. I typically drink something a little more full-flavored, but for something light and refreshing, Hamm's was not bad.

05/20/16: We watch a lot of TV. New stuff, old stuff, old movies I'd DVR'd. And I'm always looking up what we are watching on IMDB to find out who plays a certain character and where we'd seen that actor/actress before. It's particularly bad with the BBC stuff that PBS shows, because it seems that we'd have seen a particular actor on nine or ten other shows that were imported to our shores.
     But today we were watching the season finale of NCIS, and when they showed the little girl on the episode who might be Tony's daughter, Stephie pointed to the screen and said, "That looks like Edie from Grandfathered." I checked IMDB on my phone and sure enough, the same little actress played both roles. I think it's interesting that I can watch one of the old black-and-white films that are cluttering up our DVR and recognize some actor who has hundreds of movie credits across decades of work, but what are the odds that Stephie would correctly identify a two-year old (actually a pair of twins) who has only two IMDB credits?

05/08/16: So I guess the rumors are true that Axl Rose will be filling in for Brian Johnson on the remaining dates of the current AC/DC tour. If I had tickets to an upcoming show, I'd be selling them. But after seeing a clip on YouTube, I realized that it was my dislike for Axl that made me object to this pairing. The clip I saw had him sitting in a chair, since apparently he recently broke his foot, and that didn't seem to exciting, at least not after having seen Brian Johnson work the entire stage when we saw them a few weeks ago. But I have to say that Axl was more believable on Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap than Brian Johnson was. They did that song when we saw them, and Johnson just seemed like too nice a guy to be offering to do such nasty things.

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