Fun night at RBP, lots of goals and even Sigi admitted he’d do it differently next time. While I do believe in the Dave Clark (Sounder@Heart) promoted hash-tag “#trophiesnotfriendlies”, it was fun to watch a team like United play.
As you have probably noticed, I have been taking something of a hiatus for the last month or so. I just don’t have the energy to do this in the way I think it should be done. Having said that there will be occasional posts, but nothing regular. Thank you for your support, email, comments and so on, keep them coming. It’s so important.
Today is a non-chemo day to enjoy, a company BBQ for lunch, visit to the physiotherapist “So Toni, how did I do?” “Dave, you flunked every one of the [balence] tests”) and this evening I’m going to have fun with friends.
Again, thank you for all your support. It’s been very meaningful.
I think I’m an intelligent person who doesn’t suffer fools and while I can be rather cynical about life, I do love what I have today. I am clear there was a time when it was not this way. I lost that, and there were a number of reasons for that and I take responsibility for the decisions that led to myself finding myself in an abusive relationship.
Over the last few weeks I’ve had a lot of email from people, both people I know and strangers. A few were about my ex and the drama in her life, something I’m working to eliminate from mine. It shed some light on recent behaviors and caused me to have someone do some deeper investigations into her. Getting that report back was interesting, but this is not about those discoveries.
A number have been from mutual acquaintances, one was very blunt. It started on about “de-friending” her on Facebook and the reaction she got. “[another former friend] was right, she is a toxic person and I will never have reason to contact her again”
Another read “And the craziness continues – her lies and behavior are truly unbelievable to me – and the way she manipulates everyone and gets away with it!!! I can’t fathom how all that crap has not caught up to her!! Have your guard up. Way up. I really wish you the very best in your journey, you are a thoughtful guy and we send you our sincerest hopes for your happiness.”
The distance in time and space I have had from my ex since leaving has given me what I needed, perspective. She loved control, desired power and has a need to be wanted. She was the centre of my universe for a long time, and I worked hard to make sure her life was what she wanted. She is a very smart woman who had spent a lot of time studying at places like the Landmark Education (look it up, it’s usually referred to as a “white collar cult” and teaches some very intense stuff) as both a student and volunteer.
Before I continue, I want to make it clear that my ex did not ‘make’ me do anything. However, I truly believe she enjoyed watching me get away from what I loved and became more compliant to what she wanted. Read more…
It felt good to be back watching Sounders football live again, but before I go on about the Colorado game something slightly different.
Friday night saw Port Vale play in Everett. Vail are a side that plays in League-2 in the UK, level-4 in the football pyramid, they found sponsorship to have a four game North American tour. Vail is managed by Micky Adams, a defender I saw play quite a few times for Coventry City in the Premier League.
Not exactly a high profile tour like Manchester United, but it was an entertaining game Friday night at Goddard Stadium in Everett. Port Vail won 3-1 in their first pre-season game. The Everett Herald had a nice write up today.
Today was not the best game I’ve ever seen, but if anyone had expectations for the Rapids playing clean, flowing football then they have not been paying attention to how Colorado play the game. This Sounders team is doing what good teams do; they are finding ways to win against good sides. They are playing about the best football I’ve seen at Royal Brougham Park in the last three years.
In the last few weeks they have beaten the reigning MLS champions, the regular season league champions, made it to the last four in the cup, took the Timbers apart in their place and taken 16 of the last 18 points on offer. This is a side that is playing good, entertaining football with a lot of confidence. Oh yeah, they are playing Manchester United Wednesday and are just one point off the top of the league. Expectations are high for the Sounders, and they are delivering.
The ball moves rapidly through the midfield and out wide smoothly. Montero has scored four goals in the last week and is a threat every time he has the ball. Rosales, Alonso and Fernandez seem to be in the middle of everything. Fernandez was going past defenders for fun. He had an outstanding game against Colorado.
It’s a little worrying that the Sounders gave up three goals at home. The first was a defensive mistake (like both at Portland last weekend), the other two came when runners lost their markers in the box. All avoidable and Keller was rightfully angry with his defence on the third goal. The home team fell behind early, played some great football came back and made it interesting at the end by allowing it closer than it should have been. That part sounds a lot like last weeks game in Portland and it’s the sort of habit that ends good streaks.
After going 1-0 down in he second minute we did not have to wait long for the equalizer. A great finish gave Fernandez his fifth goal of the year after running past the right back and slotting the ball past the keeper. It was a really good finish. Levesque got another goal with a nice finish.
Montero had a low header at the far post and is playing the sort of football right now we all hoped to see from him at the start of the year. He is playing the way I think most of us hoped he would when he signed the designated player contract at the beginning of the year. It was a smart move by the Sounders and I think was done to ensure they get compensated when he moves to a bigger league. If he continues to play like this it’s going to be sooner rather than later.
The final goal went to Mauro Rosales, he looked absolutely ecstatic to have scored. This put Seattle up 4-2 with 20 minutes left to play. They made the last few minutes exciting after giving up a soft goal.
It was not a clean game, Colorado play a very physical style of football that is unattractive, but tends to be rather effective in this league. The referee did not help, he did not have a good game. At one point he was in danger of loosing control and was inconsistent in calling fouls.
It was good to watch football being played on proper grass. Not surprisingly after the rain this morning the field played very slowly. I get why we have carpet, but this is how the game is supposed to be played. The freshly laid grass is clearly not rooted well yet; a lot of players were loosing their footing. Even the referee fell on his arse at one point to a rather loud cheer.
Through bitter experience I know this won’t last forever. We’ll see a game or two that get away, but gosh this run is fun to watch. United Wednesday does not count for much, but should be a great celebration of the game with the whole stadium opened up.
Over the last couple of week’s I’ve taken the chance to catch up on my reading and one I read was about architecture (I likes it), I was thinking of those places that really made me stand and think. Yes it’s the beginning of another list of places that have really moved me at some time. I think lists can be fun.
I think my first stop would be on many peoples lists. It’s been a church for a number deities for almost two thousand years. The engineering (yes it comes back to the engineering) was so advanced, the understanding of weight distribution was so far beyond what the rest of the work knew that it would be 1500 years before anything as impressive was built in Europe.
For anyone who has not yet experienced the Pantheon no depiction of it will ever come close to doing it the justice. That is my disclosure. Alas, for a second best alternative, here are my reflections on the Pantheon in Rome.
We arrived in the Piazza della Rotonda slightly jetlagged on a beautiful autumn morning in Rome. The sun was already bright and the Piazza barely showing signs of activity, the crows of tourists were an hour or two away yet. A former traveling companion used to all this “Swiss sightseeing”, I prefer to think of it as “Jetlagged sightseeing” and being up this early is rarely voluntary.
In the piazza is a tall fountain topped by an obelisk standing tall above the fountain. To think that two millennia ago the romans marched to Egypt, with the authority possessed only by victors and took what they liked home.
The obelisk was ancient to the romans, and dates from some where around 1250BC. Today it is hard to understand an empire that reached it height two thousand years ago saw items as antiquities to be shared at home. The British, French, Germans and Dutch all did the same thing; filling their museums with wonders from around the parts of the world they considered theirs.
The Piazza della Rotonda is no different in this respect from dozens of other busy plazas across this quite wonderful city.
The fountain is nothing but a side show, for as you turn around to face the Pantheon and look at the eight symmetrical columns that mark the entrance. The detail in the stone work is astounding, they support a huge façade that reads “M·AGRIPPA·L·F·COS·TERTIVM·FECIT“, this translates to “‘Marcus Agrippa, son of Lucius, Consul for the third time, built this.” The original church was rebuilt twice, so we see the third building on this site.
The original was built by Marcus Agrippa in 27BC, this was destroyed by fire a little over 100 years later and was rebuilt by in 82AD. That building lasted less then thirty years before it too was consumed by fire again. The third building, the one that we see today was commissioned by Hadrian and finished in 126AD.
As you pass under the facade, through the columns you enter the church through giant bronze doors. Your immediate instinct as you step in is to look up at the roof, not just to see the stark contrast of the blue sky through the oculus, but to take in the shear scale of the building. The imagery offered by the oculus is clear, even to a heathen such as I. It symbolizes the entrance to heaven, the place where those who offered their faith here over the centuries believed they were going.
The rotunda itself is largely open, there are a few rows of pews facing the alter on the far wall as you walk in, but otherwise it is left open. The building is a working church and still holds regular catholic services. The interior walls are incredibly detailed; there is something in every corner of the rotunda. Some dates from the 1600, some goes back to the original builders.
When built the Pantheon was dedicated to all the Pagan gods of the Roman Empire. It became the first Roman temple to be converted to Christianity and that’s why it’s been so well preserved over the centuries. Personally I really don’t mind which church it represents, my thoughts on religion are clear and well documented.
So with my ME hat on it’s clear that well over two thousand years ago the Roman Empire understood science, engineering, architecture. Not only did they know this, but understood it in a way that would not be rediscovered for an agonizingly long time, maybe until the great cathedrals were built in the 14 and 1500’s.
I’d argue that even today we don’t see the depth to which the Romans understood and applied the beauty of engineering and architecture to their world. Rome is a city best seen on foot, it’s got so much to see, but is built somehow on a human scale. The Romans left behind indelible marks that today, two-thousand years later are still something to admire and behold.
I get a mail every day from Amazon with offers on local merchants. Typically it’s been pretty well targeted, cycle stores in Snohomish, book shops in Mill Creek, mens barber in Woodinville and so on. I’m guy, it’s guy stuff and I’ve used got a couple of what I thought were really good deals from it.
Then there was today’s…
“With the Women’s World Cup in full swing, it’s only natural to have Brazil on your mind.”
OK questionable, but it’s been an entertaining Women’s World Cup and the Brazil-USA game was a great game. But I don’t really have Brazil on my mind. It continued…
“And with today’s deal, you can have Brazil on your body, too: Get one Brazilian wax at Seattle Hill Nails & Spa in Everett for just $35 (a $70 value).”
Arghhhhhhhh… But wait, there is more…
“Grab this deal and give unwanted hair a red card.”
I passed on what may have been a great offer, but I think Amazons algorithms need a little more work. Having said that I enjoyed the link with how Amazon river running through Brazil… Nope, apparently it was just me…
Almost 16 months ago I walked away from a bad relationship, I’d had enough and left. I’ve taken more lessons and discoveries away from this than anything else in my life. To learn from what you do, good and bad, is so important. And I took a shit load of lessons away.
And as emotion filled as the last few years have been the last four weeks have changed my life in many, many ways. There was the obvious confrontation with my mortality, but there has been so much, much more than that. Things change and I’ve said it before, but I do have an incredible life and I am so lucky to be the person I am.
I say this that not as overstatement, but as the truth. My life is so full of great people.
The last four weeks have been pretty intense and I’ve not been the easiest person to be around at times. One of the things that has been wonderful for me is having a good therapist I can work with. By good I mean someone willing to push me to look deep down inside, partner with me through the hard moments rather than agreeing and telling me everything is going to be fine.
I’ve been seeing him for approaching a year and there have been some very, very powerful moments and there is no question he has made a huge difference in my life. I am a very, very different person to the one I was a year ago, and that’s good I needed to be. I’m stronger and feel I’ve learned from errors I made, errors I will never make again.
The therapy thing, as important as it is, is a hard thing for me to talk about. It’s something that is incredibly personal and very intense. I’ve learned a lot of skills that allow me to deal with what’s going on, from my health through to the cyberstalking and attacks.
I talk about this now because the last week was quite incredible. One of things we’ve been working hard on is for want of a better work finding my centre through meditation. I was rather skeptical, it’s a little new-age, with a little hypnotherapy. If you know me, you get it’s not exactly my comfort zone, but it has been quite incredible.
To call it a happy place is such an over simplification and does not do it justice. It’s a very restful place, but that peace is coupled with complete awareness of where I am. It’s difficult to describe, and that’s primarily down to my personal limitations with English.
It’s a place where the world is stark, broken down to simple, discrete items and nothing is hidden or missing. Naked is one word that I’ve used a couple of times in the post therapy debrief. When I’m there it feels really, really naked, and initially I found that very scary and that being afraid was holding me back. Getting to this place has been very challenging and pushed me hard to look in places most of us don’t like too.
There are a lot of emotions floating around me right now and spending a few minutes meditating and relaxing before going to sleep is every bit as effective as an Ambien, without the side effects.
There was a lot more to say on this, maybe I’ll share. I’m well along to road to being the person I know I can be.
I was in Safeway today grabbing some cat food for the guys, not sure I should have driven, but there we go… Sitting on the shelf next to the tinned stuff was this:-
Appetisers for cats… This is worse then the dog cologne, I know how the cats eat, there is no appreciation of fine dining or quality prep. They are fussier than dogs (bar set high there), but if it smells vaguely meaty or fishy they will have a go at it.
One of the things that did get done this week was some work around the house. I don’t know much about flooring, but I know people who do, and that’s what I need right now.
I’ve documented the state of the house when I moved back in, it was bad and one of the things I made note of was the black light glow in the living room carpet where the dog went to the bathroom. If dog crap under the crappy sofa gets ignored, you know dog pee was never cleared up.
I had the carpet cleaned, but that never really cleans the underlay and the root of the problem never gets taken care of. So this week I had the carpet taken up and the underlay replaced with clean stuff, in combination with the cleaned carpet the difference is immense.
Here is an example of what I found on the underlay, going by stench the stain is dried pee. Awesome, oh and this was one of 7 or 8 places found in the living room. And before the question is asked, it was not the cats as there was no corresponding black light stain on the carpet, these all come from before I had the carpet cleaned.
It’s been a long few days, health wise something of a setback with scans, tests, fluid being drained, more drugs and maybe more surgery.
Lets start with Thursday, that was simple and I had my scheduled MRI with no drama, all I had to do was lay there and listen to Pulp for 40 minutes, even I can do that. Thursday I never made it to work, I was in quite a lot of pain and no way can I work while on vicodin, that’s just not a good idea for anyone.
Friday was better and I made it to work for a few hours before bailing for the doctors’ appointments with the surgeon and oncologist. First stop was the ear/nose/throat surgeon that operated three weeks ago. We talked for a few minutes about the pain, headaches, balance problems, looking the MRI’s and his thoughts on what may be happening. Time for the white board again and lots of words I have to ask what they mean.
He then pulled out his instruments of torture, started off by looking to my ear. Went quiet and said lets do a quick hearing test. It was a bone induction test and the idea is to see how the nerves are, we know there is no conventional hearing on the right. It was 25-40dB down on where it was 10 days ago.
Apparently this indicated there is something wrong with the semi-circular canals and Cochlea. A few more questions and thoughts from the surgeon and it’s up a couple of floors for yet another scan.
The 30 minute appointment that started at one O’clock is now at 90 minutes, and it turns out we’d just started. I did not even have book with me.
To cut a long (I left at 6:30) story short, there was a lot of fluid in the inner ear, some of which was pressing on the brain and causing the headaches. Saturday morning I was back at UW and we drained 120ml of liquid out, my headache disappeared almost instantly and balance got significantly better.
We will have some more results back Monday and the rest on Tuesday. I’ve been given more antibiotics and new prescriptions for steroids, antihistamines and pseudoephedrine. And orders to spend much of the weekend laying on my left side.
Sunday morning I woke with a huge headache and visited the walk in clinic to get more fluid drained. This time far less than
With a wonderful mix of drugs running through me it’s makes for an interesting weekend. Still some bleeding, still can’t drive and while I have more energy, the steroids and pseudoephedrine may have something to do with that.
Long couple of days, not going to get easier with visits over the next couple of days. Big thank you to Min, Rob, Rob and Tracy for the help and rides over the last couple of days. We’ll BBQ soon.
It’s two weeks since I got cut open and just about four weeks since I found out this was more than an ear infection and it’s been an intense time.
For a start I’d forgotten how much going through this sucks, it truly does. I’ve done a few hours at work this week and that’s been good, even if just to prove I can do it to myself. As for the stuff I’d forgotten (or more accurately brain dumped for good reason)… For some “issues” there is an iPhone app for that (SitOrSquat, the title is pretty self explanatory), for others I’m looking towards good drugs (a lot of pain last weekend) to make life easier. Like everything else, this too shall pass.
Last week I was taken out too the Cameron Diaz movie Bad Teacher. Two things, first it was awful and second I actually felt pretty good after a couple of hours of crap comedy and popcorn. Not a bad evening, even if the movie was horrendous.
The holiday weekend did not go as well, I was out of things pretty badly for a day or two over the weekend. Again a lot of pain around the operation site, but mostly feeling crappy and taking some very strong antibiotics. During this down time I spent some time thinking about the perfect movie library for me to help me get through days like this.
So the question was given limited shelf/hard drive space, what are the dozen movies that would make up the core of a manly-man collection?
There should be big epic war movies, a gritty Western or two, the occasional invasion from outer space, perhaps an agreeable drama with lots of violence and there is certainly space for a black comedy on the list.
The ground rules are simple,
- There should be little romance and what there is should be tangential to the plot. Sex is fine.
- There should be a plot, and twists are perfectly acceptable but should not take away from the action
- If it’s historic, it should be mostly accurate. Yeah that’s subjective and of course the victor writes the history books.
- I get words like “epic” and “spectacular” are subjective, but this is my list.
- Great lines can only add to a movie.
So, to the top 12, a lot of thought went into this.
- Dr Strangelove – Peter Sellers and Stanley Kubrick were both geniuses, a label thrown around way too often, but in his case it was deserved. Then add Buck Turgison (George C. Scott) and the bomber pilot “King” Kong (Slim Pickens) riding the bomb down at the end with all sorts of homoerotic overtones. The blackest of black comedies and should be in every guys library.
- The Longest Day – The best war movie ever made, I’d argue it’s without parallel in the genre. A great cast gives a realistic, powerful telling of one of the greatest stories on the 20th century. Great direction and superior filmmaking give it the edge over
- A Bridge Too Far – Second best war movie ever made, accurately (for a war movie) tells the true story of Operation Market Garden, it’s failings, the people and the personal sacrifice. Like The Longest Day no Hollywood hyperbole was required as the story is unbelievable enough already.
- The Unforgiven – The best western in years and Clint Eastwood played it so well.
- Master and Commander – edges out Gladiator and 300 because none of the guys wear skirts, but I’d consider augments for both Ridley Scott’s best film and 300 because “Xerxes” is just fun to say and so many great quotes.
- True Grit – I remember watching this (the John Wayne version) with my grandfather. I recently re-watched it again and it stood the test of time very well. Great western and a great story.
- The Godfather – Certainly part I and II and you may as well add III for completeness. This was the ultimate mafia movie.
- Star Wars – It redefined the genre, I really don’t think I need to say anything else here.
- 2001 – A Space Odyssey – It takes a while to get there, and once you understand what is going on the end is rather satisfying. I wish I’d seen it on the big screen, the special affects still stand with what’s being produced today, and it’s over 40 years old.
- Bullit – Steve McQueen playing the cop who breaks the rules to get the man, a great car chase does only adds to the movie.
- Italian Job (the original) Michael Caine playing, well Michael Caine for the want of a better way to put it. The best car chase movie ever
- Goldfinger – Connery is the movie Bond, that’s just how it is. The girls, airplanes, great lines, mafia, gunfights, memorable characters by the busload, the big production finish and of course the Aston DB5. This was was a close run thing as latest version of Casino Royale may be a better movie, but this is the one that set the formula.
- Blade Runner – Dark but so atmospheric, great special effects and a wonderful story that gives sympathy to both sides.
- In Bruges – I was rather late to this party, but such a good story of failed redemption and friendship
- Shaun of the Dead – There are a lot of good zombie movies and this is my favorite with Simon Pegg and Nick Frost, unfortunately it’s only a reserve as there is that whole romance between Shaun and Liz.
- Logan’s Run – Michael York and Jenny Agutter eventually see the world for what it really is and bringing down the system. The book is also well worth the effort.
- Oceans 11 (the remake) the original is a fun movie, but seems primarily there to provide an excuse for the rat pack to go to Vegas for a month and have someone else pick up the bill. The remake is just a great heist movie with humour, great characters and a good back-story. O12 was a disappointment, but O13 went back to basics and pulled it off.
- Empire Strikes Back – The best of the six Star Wars movies. The Empire comes out on top, the characters grow and is kinda dark in places, but a little too much romance to make the top 12.
- Blues Brothers – Love this movie, I discovered it in my teens, there is the music, the comedy and of course the car chase.
- CE3K – I can watch this movie over and over again, Richard Dreyfuss is great and I once shared a flight with Bob Balaban (the interpreter) and I got to be an annoying fanboy.
- Great escape – OK, the true story was butchered by Hollywood, but Steve McQueen was so cool.
- Hot fuzz – So damn funny, the buddy-cop movie moved to rural England
- Star Trek (the reboot) – The franchise needed this and the tying in of Spock was very well done.
- Clerks – Kevin Smith gets a couple of mentions, but there is a reason behind that, his humour seems to match mine rather well.
- Kelly’s Heroes – Donald Sutherland as Oddball is almost typecasting, so entertaining
- Flight of the Phoenix – There really had to be a James Stewart film somewhere, and this was him at his at his heroic best
- The Maltese Falcon – watched this last year late one night with dad. As with Stewart, there had to be a Bogart movie on the list
- Animal House – John Belushi was good in The Blues Brothers and brilliant in this one.
- Zulu – Almost made the top 12, Michael Caine
- Dogma – Alanis Morisette as god, Chris Rock, Matt Damon and so on, a great comedy cast and wonderfully told by Kevin Smith
- Casino Royale – A very important Bond movie, it updated the series and brought it into the 21st century; with out this I think Bond may have died.
- Caddy Shack – Carl v’s the gopher, and the gopher wins
- Tropic Thunder – OK, the story is a little tenuous at best, but some of the best physical comedy I’ve seen for a while. Jack Black has some great moments.
- The Hangover – It was a long time since I laughed this hard at a movie (I think it was Jackass-2, which does not say good things about me). The blu-ray has even more photos from the weekend in Vegas.
- The Aristocrats – Not the Disney movie, this one is a documentary about a joke and is awesome.
- District 9 – There is not been much good, original Sci-fi around recently, this is one of the exceptions.
- Return of the Jedi – Really George you needed to stoop to Ewoks? Almost did not make the list.