May 29, 2011

Keeping Your Eyeball on the Ball

So next Friday I go for the second cataract surgery and if the left eye is any indication of how good my vision will be when they're done after they take the patch off I'll be able to look right through the back of your head.

The difference is astonishing in the eye they've done already; just in general brightness. At work we have these large spools of wire and that wire is transformed into staples that keep the booklets we make together. Out of my new eye the wire on the spool is a bright, sparkling silver. But if I close my left eye and look at it with the eye they haven't done yet it is a dirty, musty gold. And before the operation my right eye was the good one!

It's incredible what you settle for.

It's also amazing how they worked it. I am a guy who has never in his entire life had any surgery of any kind ever done. I've never even had a broken bone that needed setting or anything. I'm also of a weak constitution when it comes to pictures of bloody, squiggly innards. When my wife watches a show where they're doing a real-time surgery or something I depart for the kitchen or elsewhere. I can't watch. I can't even watch when they show operations on animals to save their cute, furry little lives.

So imagine my first surgery. "Oh hai Bob. We're going to give you your very first surgical experience and we're going to CUT OPEN YOUR EYE.


I thought about all the things you'd expect. Knives coming at me. What if I blink? I like blinking. I usually blink when people come close to my eyes. That kind of thing.

But, as you'd expect (I wouldn't because I'm an idiot), my procedure wasn't the very first eye surgery in the world and they've pretty much got this stuff figured out by now. I remember some good drugs going in and the Indian guy numbing the eye, and a nice girl putting a soft strap over my forehead and then some sing-songy person saying "we're going to tilt you back now" and I'm so loopy I'm all "ok. Do whatever you want. Chop off my nose? That's a good idea, I'll just wait here."

There were shapes and dark colors and I imagine that was the start of the operation and the next thing I know I'm sitting in a chair with a patch over my eye and my hand in a bag of Famous Amos Chocolate Chips.

They let me get my head back. I get dressed. Wife takes me home.

The patch is removed next morning. I am completely floored at how good I can see through it. All I can say is - astonishing.

The very worst part of the whole thing is walking around for two weeks with one great eye and one eye that's still all Farco Barnes. It's okay to drive, I focus ahead and the brain shuts off the right eye like "I don't need your shit" but at work it's a bit disconcerting. I have to go up close, arm's length, far away, back to close and so far I haven't come back home once without a raging headache.

I'm making the most of it though. My first day back to work, three days after the operation, I looked at my guys and said "Jesus, you people are ugly." So I got some points there.

Can't wait for Friday, and can't wait for a week from today when the second patch comes off. I've got to do eye drops for a month - three different kinds every six hours, ten minutes apart. Yeah... geez. It's a pain. But the whole thing is worth it. I've worn glasses since I was in 2nd Grade. I'm 57. I didn't even know what I looked like without glasses because whenever I looked in the mirror without them - I couldn't see me!

It's going to be a short transition period. Then I'll probably get some Preparation H to tighten up the saggy bags under my eyes. It's a model's trick. Got to be runway ready y'know...

May 27, 2011


These are the people who will put Sarah Palin in the White House.

May 03, 2011

Little Nothings

Yesterday I was taking the MINI in for it's yearly check-up at the doctor's office and shelling out $600 worth of tune-up shtick and so forth. It's just a "drive in when you feel like it we'll be done in a couple hours" set-up so I always go to the bookstore a little ways down the road to browse, read and have some coffee while I wait.

Of course all this does is reinforce the fact that I find it difficult to read fiction for pleasure any more. I don't get the same enjoyment from it that I used to. It doesn't have anything to do with editing Thrice because when I'm reading submissions people send that's for a whole other reason and I am actively looking for things. I'm talking about the feeling I got when I discovered Bruno Shulz or quite accidentally fell upon the genius of Flann O'Brien (aka Brian O'Nolan). It's not happening for me any more.

It's not because there aren't great things going on out there, even great old things I probably haven't discovered yet. The problem is I can't help but look at everything with a critical eye now. Again that's not because of the Thrice gig. It's more because I've grown more and more vicious regarding my own stuff and I find it carrying on to everything I read.

I mean it's not wholly unusual. Many's the time I would be reading, even in my yoot, something like, say, Arthur Conan Doyle. And I'd be happily wallowing in the atmosphere of the Great Detective's world only to come upon YET ANOTHER example of Doyle's stilted, ridiculous, unreal, affected, and amateurish dialog and throw the book across the room in disgust. So this isn't a new phenomenon.

It's just I find the feeling enhanced as of late.

Like I said, it's not just me-to-others. Mostly it's me-to-myself. I'll open up work I did just yesterday and I don't like the sentence structure or I see that this would have been better said with 40% less verbiage, or that whole paragraph has all the signs of being overworked, or this vignette has no business anywhere in the work at all. And I delete with relish. I think - and this is no exaggeration - I must write 40,000 words for every 2,000 I keep. And that's a conservative estimate.

So I either obviously suck at this or I'm hyper-anal. I guess it depends which day you catch me.

Back at the bookstore - I picked up two "literary" magazines. You know, the well-funded kind nobody in real life actually reads. And I'm going through them and I keep shaking my head. No no no. Oh God don't say it that way. Are you trying to be Victor Hugo? And so forth.

I finished my coffee and decided to head back to the car, convinced I could easily contribute something to either one of these two booklets in the future since what they're accepting is just so much shit.

And then I get home and go through my pile of things never submitted anywhere, only to find I don't like anything in it and no matter what I sent it would need a major overhaul before I'd feel good about presenting it. And there I am, convinced I could do better than these shmucks one minute and certain I don't have anything worthwhile to send the next.

Welcome to my world.

Well that's my lament today. In thirty minutes I've got to go off to my real job. 40 hours in three days begins in 3... 2... 1.

It's okay though. It was pointed out to me that, though my schedule is intense and all-consuming for 72 hours, I only actually work twelve days a month. That's a sustaining thought anyway.

Oh and, may I be permitted a "blast from the past" from an old blog post of mine? Why yes. Yes I may...


Sorry, couldn't resist. I just got done telling someone how I dislike celebrating revenge and now I go and republish this photo set. Just kill me now...