Life Experiences & Observations

Sit Down, Buckle Up, Hang On, and Enjoy My Blog Ride

Category: Life Observations

Almost 3 Months with No Taste or Smell

On January 23rd of 2021 I was diagnosed with Covid-19. Before I continue I want to say my heart goes out to all the families who lost a friend or relative because of Covid-19. I am lucky to say that I survived with very mild symptoms. About a week after testing positive I lost my sense of taste and smell. While my wife and two kids also had Covid they never lost their senses like I did.

At first, losing my sense of taste and smell was a mild annoyance. I found a whole new understanding of the idea of eating solely to survive. But as the days and weeks started to accumulate eating with no taste became rather depressing. As I watched my family eat and savor food I was yearning inside to get back to life where eating was pleasurable. At times, I would make something or get ready to order something and and forget until it was in front of me that I wasn’t going to enjoy it. One example was ordering a glass of wine at a restaurant when my wife and I went out to dinner for our anniversary. I ordered the wine varietal the matched what I knew I liked best and looked forward to trying it. Then when it came, I went to smell the nose of the wine and nothing. I thought I was going to be able to enjoy it and then remembered that I would not be able to. I did drink it but we kind of laughed when we realized that choosing the cheapest wine on the menu would have been the most logical approach considering my condition. We have had other laughs at home about my smell challenges. Like no longer minding when my daughter makes tuna fish for dinner. Prior to my nose issues, the smell of tuna caused me to feel that slight taste of virtual vomit in the depths of my throat. But now, no problem whatsoever.

So here I type this on April 17th and I am still grappling with my loss of taste and smell. Every time I think it is starting to return I realize it really is not. I can sort of smell things if I get my nose really close and sniff deeply. I’m like a cocaine addict trying with all my might to sniff up the food aromas. I’ve come to the point where imagining taste and smell is the closest I get to actually tasting and smelling. When I eat chocolate I imagine what I know it smells like. When I drink a beer I imagine what it tastes like. My enjoyment while eating exclusively comes from tongue sensations. Sweet, sour, spicy, savory, etc. It’s these things that are almost heightened since my taste buds work but my olfactory nerve does not. And its not just this. Without getting too graphic I can feel there is something wrong with my nose. It feels permanently inflamed like somebody is continually blowing a hair dryer up my nostrils. It’s like a hot, barren, wide open desert inside there.

I don’t mean to complain as I know many people have been severely impacted by Covid from extreme sickness to death. But I excessively yearn for my taste and smell to return. I continue to do smell therapy and yes that’s a thing. I regularly smell foods at very close range and imagine what they smell like. From my research I have learned that this is supposed to accelerate the process of olfactory nerve repair. It’s like training your brain and nose to meet up again. To be those old friends reuniting and kindling once again that relationship. Sometimes I think it is working and other times I think its a lost cause. At times I kind of wish I had a weight problem as this would have been a wonderfully effective, medically induced solution. Instead I just do my best to enjoy what I can. Like the crunch of a chip or the melting feeling of ice cream on my tongue. Or the salty taste (well not actually taste) of an olive. I can tell when something is salty even though I guess technically I am not tasting the salt. It’s my tongue recognizing the saltiness.

So here I am, ticking the days off my calendar as I do my best to patiently wait for my taste and smell to return. Until then, I will just continue eating to survive.


Social Media is a Gift

I know what you must be thinking after reading my title. What the hell is wrong with this dude. I think he needs some serious psychiatric help. Hell… Twitter is a virtual cesspool, Facebook a Fake News manifesto, and Instagram is a political megaphone blaring louder than ACDC’s Thunderstruck.

Well here is my take. You are looking at the soil that is nurshing the poisonous weeds, and I am looking at the tall oak trees that provide oxygen to our world. When you get right down to it, perspective is everything.

So here is where the gift comes in. Follow along. How much do you know about your great grandmother? Do you know her name? Do you know where she spent most of her life? Do you know what she did on most days? Do you know where she liked to go on vacation? What about how she celebrated her 40th birthday. What about how she celebrated her 25th wedding anniversary? Did you know she once got a letter from Betty Crocker saying her recipe was going to be in published in their next cookbook? Yes, I just made that last one up to prove a point. I would guess that you know almost none of these items. If you are lucky, you may know one or two of them. I would love to have all these details about my great grandmother, but I unfortunately don’t.

Well guess what?!? If you embrace the gift of social media, and use it for what I believe is its intended purpose, your great grandchildren will have all these details and more about you. And that is the gift of social media. It can serve to document your personal history for your great grandchildren, and even their great grandchildren. Social media is a perma scrapbook, persistent in the cloud, for as long as you would like it to remain there. It can even play like a movie of your life if you decide to post vlogs on a platform like YouTube. Sure there are two sides to every coin and there are plenty of bad things about social media. And yes there are risks to putting everything out there for many to see. But that is smelly, negative dog piss, that I won’t talk about here.

This is your opportunity to utilize Social Media as the gift it can be. Something much more important, special, and wholesome than people portray it to be. It’s the infinite gift you can give to your future relatives.  The next time you are doing your daily scrolling through Facebook, with verbal needles being thrown in your eyes, and your blood starting to bubble by reading about your political enemies… keep things in perspective. Social Media can be a Gift or a Shit Bomb. It’s up to you decide which you wish it to be.

How Has It Been This Long

too longI see the date of my last blog post and can’t believe it. While this is not my only blog, this is the one where I can write whatever I want with no theme chaining me down to the screen.  But hey, I got a pretty good excuse. I chased down my dream and I have been living it out for the last two years. Sure it hasn’t been all warm blankets and teddy bears, but it sure ain’t the cubicle hell of corporate America. For many that safety is more comfortable but for me it was time to move on. Risk finally outweighed comfort and I took my shot.

I guess technically many cubicles have disappeared with Covid-19 and a large part of America now working from home. I won’t even get started with the all the pain that is happening in the world. Let’s just say I know it is out there, and definitely important, but the last thing we need is one more opinion splattered onto the internet walls. There is already a mess, way too large, of virtual graffiti.

I’m not going to type long but I just wanted to get this long lost rabbit out of it’s deep dark hat.  Hopefully I won’t just say more to come but there actually WILL be more to come. Does a blog post even exist if it is never read? Frankly, I just don’t give a damn. Here it is!


Sabbatical Countdown

I am lucky enough to work for a company that gives their employees a month off paid every 5 years. Upcoming next month is my 4th sabbatical which means I have been with my company 20 years. I have some cool plans ahead but for now I am just in countdown mode. Like a space shuttle’s engines charging for launch I can’t help but be extremely excited about the upcoming lift off.

Since I currently work a 3 by 12 night shift and have a few vacation days this month, the number of work days remaining before for sabbatical is dwindling (in a good way) quickly. Just 12 work days, or I should say work nights, until sabbatical. Once it gets even closer, I will post a blog with a list of items I hope to embark on to make my time off exciting. That will help ensure I get a least a few of them done.

Variance is a Gut Punch

seven duece offMy passion is poker, a game in which the best player doesn’t always win.  There is a certain percentage of luck so in the short run any crappy player can win and any very good player can lose.  In the long run, however, the good players win and the bad players lose.  That doesn’t change the fact that every session is a boxing match and in some matches the variance is going to give you a gut punch and knock you out cold.

While mentally I understand variance, there is still some mental and emotional pain that always seems to follow a train wreck session in which you drive perfectly on the rails but still end up with a demolition. Last night was one of those nights.  70% favorite, lose.  80% favorite, lose. Long term favorite, win.  In the short run, it still hurts.

That’s poker folks!

A New Found Respect for Video Editors

video editingI am starting to dive deeper into video editing.  Up to this point, for my YouTube channel, I have only been editing using the iMovie App on my phone.  This evening I decided I wade into the deep end of the video editing pool.  I wanted more features and capabilities than iMovie had to offer and downloaded a free version of VideoPad.  I decided to try it because I read that it was easy to use but also had a multitude of robust features.

Boy was I surprised when I realized not only the number of advanced features but how difficult it was to learn and work through using them.  I felt like Edward Scissorhands trying to eat pasta.  Some of the simple features I could quickly learn and implement but when it came to putting an entire edited video together it was far from easy.

This whole editing business got me thinking.  What must it be like editing a professional full length feature film?  How do so many  movies make it to the big screen? Those video editors must have to live, sleep, eat, and dream about video editing.  I bow to their black-belt skills.  As for me, I just want to get comfortable using a simple yet highly functional editing program for my rudimentary YouTube videos.  Hopefully I will one day become as comfortable with the simple desktop editing software as I have become with the iMovie App.  Until then, maybe I should just stick to blogging.  Although it certainly took some time getting used to WordPress.  I guess in life the learning never stops.

Call Me Old Fashioned But I Love the Newspaper!

It az republicsaddens me when I take a peak down my street in the wee hours of the morning and see only one newspaper. It’s The one on my driveway I pickup after a grueling 12 hour night shift.  It lays there like a drunk single old man in your almost empty local dive bar.  While that newspaper is very lonely, I will always be willing to rescue it from its depressed drunken stupor.

I find it harder to explain to people what I love about the newspaper.  In today’s day and age of free flowing real time electronic information, it no longer makes sense to most Americans.  But to me, its a nostalgic tradition like Apple Pie and Fireworks on the Fourth of July.

Reading the newspaper with a light breakfast and a cup of coffee for me is a sensory tingling experience. Maybe I am exaggerating a bit but I really like the smell of a freshly printed newspaper.  It’s like a flowery nose of a new world Cabernet.  Or the smell of a wet creosote bush after a desert monsoon shower.

Even if I only read one or two articles it always seems worth it to me to pay for this old beat up car feel.  It’s a classic Corvette with plenty of miles still left on the grungy old engine.  Just like the newspaper, it makes your hands dirty but still feels nostalgic.

I gotta end it here as I didn’t get a chance yet to read one article today.  I was too busy on YouTube!  🙂

Vlog Kicks Blog!

kickMy last post was quite awhile ago and it was all about transforming thoughts into actions.  That was the salt and the curse words were the pepper.  One of those actions I wanted to take was to start more actively working on my YouTube channel (if you go there don’t laugh too hard).  I have done that but it accidentally kicked my blog to the curb.  Luckily, I a have circled back to scrape it up off of the pavement.

If you have stayed a follower here I greatly appreciate you sticking with me.  Don’t give up on me just yet.  I have hit these dry spells before and always seem to find a way to overcome them.  I am one step closer to being where I want to be in my dream life.  Thanks for continuing to enjoy the ride with me.  Until next time, stop thinking and start doing.  Consume less content and create your own content instead.

Get Shit Done!

000-goWhat are you doing here just sitting reading my blog? Go Do Shit!! What shit you ask? Whatever you have been wanting to do everyday of your life but were afraid to. Or if you want to be more practical, then everything you have been procrastinating about that you know you need to do. Now, for the last time… Stop reading and start doing!!

Big Media Bully and The Suspension of My Periscope Account

0000-stop-bullyingI am still shocked and perturbed about what happen to me on Thursday evening. While I don’t scope often, I have been an avid user of Periscope to watch many other individuals stream content. So on Thursday afternoon, I decided to scope the comparison between my dog and and a cub. Essentially a bear but that bear happened to coincide with a particular baseball team that was playing on my TV while I was scoping. I really wasn’t trying to distribute a Fox Production without their permission. I was trying to be cutesy.

As it turns out, a big media company like Fox is looking to demolish a big bad conglomerate wolf like myself trying to huff and puff and blow down the rules in massive proportions. That is how I felt after essentially reading a cease and desist note that Periscope sent me after suspended my account for 4 hours and stating I was violating Fox’s intellectual property rights. Did I break the rules… well that’s certainly up for debate. What did happen is 26 viewers… yes 26, saw a blurry ballgame on my TV as I went back and forth between showing the TV and showing my Dog. My Dog was much more interesting which caused me to follow my dog rather than continuing to follow the TV. Even the viewers agreed my dog was more interesting. You may need to work on that content Fox! The broadcast ended after a few minutes of filming my dog outside playing.

If I had to estimate, I would say that no more than couple minutes of the broadcast was showing on my TV with a blurry and barely view-able baseball game on. In fact, I would challenge anybody to view the video and regurgitate to me exactly what happened on 3 separate plays in the game. Good luck with that!! Even if you could still see the video content you certainly wouldn’t be able to tell me what happened in the game. This situation is essentially the equivalent of me driving 1 mile over the speed limit in the middle of the night with no cars on the road. Can you imagine if a cop pulled me over and suspended my license for this offense. It would be so ridiculous it would be funny. At what point does intent come into the conversation? Shouldn’t we at least examine if the scenario was egregious? Apparently NOT!! I had no intent to infringe on anybodies intellectual property. Once again, the content shown was almost indecipherable and lasted for no more than about 60 seconds. If you want to know why the world hates lawyers, this is a great example. Yes there are good reasons to have these rules but they don’t exist to stop 26 viewers from seeing one minute of ballgame on a TV that was really just side content to displaying my dog to the world. This is the La Brea Tar Pits of absurdity.

I could understand a warning email but to suspend my account and threaten to close it down forever? C’mon Fox. C’mon Periscope. This paranoid, alarmist behavior, may one day cause you to lose the most important deliverer of your profits…. viewers like myself. Watch Out!! Netflix is chasing your tail!!

I feel better now that I got this off my chest. Do they allow inmates to write blogs from prison? If not, this may be the bitter end my friend. Damn… did I just infringe on Jim Morrison’s intellectual property rights?