Emergency.

After a weekend at the ballpark, my husband realized he wasn’t feeling well on Monday. He said he had a pain above his abdomen. He tried to sleep it off but the pain would not subside, so at 11:00 PM he woke me up and asked him to take him to Urgent Care.

We went to the nearby Urgent Care center where they told us to go to the Emergency Room, since they didn’t have any machines to look at what could be wrong. We went to the Emergency Room. Honestly, the facility was a bit of a mess with chairs and wheelchairs strewn about. It was very cold and they were handing out blankets for soon-to-be-patients to wrap up in to keep warm. The computers were down (apparently it’s a nightly thing), but after a bit we got him registered and the wait began.

We were called in fairly quickly where they asked a bunch of questions and decided to do an ultrasound. I wasn’t allowed up in the ultrasound area; soon my husband was sitting with me in the meat locker like waiting room.

It was at this point that the hospital apparently lost interest in us.

Four hours later we were still sitting in the waiting room. We had checked on the status of where we were in line. Messages arrived via text advising we’d be seen in a few hours. My husband started falling asleep in the waiting room chair. He was seemingly comfortably asleep when we jerked awake and said to me, “I feel better but not great, but if I can sleep here, I can sleep at home”.

We let the check-in desk know we were heading home and that was the end of that ordeal. Later in the day he awoke from a long nap and declared he was feeling fine. I had grabbed a couple of hours of sleep and was making my way through the workday. All is well that ends well.

I have to admit, the folks coming through the Emergency Room were somewhat interesting. A man came in a skateboard and was promptly brought in because he had “broken heart syndrome”. We had the feeling they’d seen him before. Another man moaned really, really loud constantly and he was whisked into the bowels of the hospital. My husband decided that if we go to the ER again he’s going to moan loudly to get attention.

I’m happy he’s feeling better.

A New Appreciation.

I know a lot of folks that avoid shopping at Walmart. We’re usually amongst their number. It was easy to avoid Walmart when we lived in Chicago; there’s not that many of the stores on the North Side. We were surrounded by these “Urban Target” stores on street corners, but other than a Walmart Neighborhood Market, it was quite the trek to get to one of the large stores.

Here in Tucson it’s a different story.

With our flat tire adventure on Saturday we found the Walmart in Casa Grande to be of considerable assistance with our tire repair dilemma. They squeezed us in between appointments and while the turnaround time was not quick, it was affordable, efficient, and a very friendly experience.

Technology-wise I’ve always been intrigued by Walmart. They were the first major department store chain to adopt UPC scanning in the 1980s. Before that they had stores hooked up to offices via satellite and employed electronic cash register systems long before the other discount department store chains did so. I know their systems have run on Linux for years (always a bonus, as far as I’m concerned) and after spending three hours in the Casa Grande Walmart yesterday, I appreciate the fact they use their technology equipment for as long as they can. Other stores toss out old systems and put in all new equipment on a too frequent basis; Walmart’s front end registers are a blend of technology from the late 1990s intermingled with pieces of equipment from today. It’s probably done for cost effective purposes, but I appreciate keeping technology out of the landfill as long as possible.

While my husband and I made our way around the very large Walmart, waiting for the tire to be repaired, I couldn’t help but notice how well the store was stocked, how clean the store was (too many stores we’ve been to are a mess), and most importantly, how friendly every team member we worked with or overheard engaging with each other or another customer, seemed to be. There was service with a smile everywhere.

I appreciate anyone that works. In my book there’s no job beneath me. If I were to lose my position as a software engineer and have difficulty finding another, I would not hesitate to fill the void with working the electronics department at Walmart or cleaning hotel rooms for that matter. A strong work ethic, coupled with a friendly demeanor is something to be admired.

And this is what I saw at Walmart yesterday.

Is the chain taking away from Mom and Pop stores in village centers? Probably. Should they pay more? Yes. But the folks I saw at Walmart had a smile on their face and I am appreciative of that fact.

Plus, getting a flat tire fixed for $15 is amazing to me.

Design.

As a college trained (but not graduated) Civil Engineer, I have a strong interest in highway design and the flow of transportation infrastructure in general. After living in a major American city for several years, I can say without a doubt that I do not miss driving the streets or expressways of Chicagoland.

Tucson has pretty much resisted the freewayification of the city, and alas has but two Interstates passing through: Interstate 10 (which runs coast to coast from Los Angeles to Jacksonville, Florida) and Interstate 19, which is rather short for a two-digit numbered Interstate route as it’s less than 100 miles long as it heads to the Mexican border at Nogales. There’s a suggestion of an expressway along what was going to be Interstate 210, but it’s short and I’ve never seen it crowded.

Both of the main Interstates can get rather busy at rush hour here in Tucson, but for the most part I find them well designed and marked for what they are. I-10 could probably use an upgrade by adding a lane in each direction to the east of the city, but for the most part, traffic moves reasonably well. I’ve always been a fan of ADOT’s traffic engineering practices and getting to know these things a little more intimately, being an Arizona resident and all, is part of my general Road Geek happiness.

Some folks like to complain about the absence of freeways and loops here in Tucson, and granted I’m probably lucky because I don’t commute to work every day, but I don’t find getting around the city to be that bad. Everything is 20 to 30 minutes away from home. North, South, East, West, it doesn’t matter. It’s a half hour drive.

That’s half the amount of time it took for us to get anywhere in Chicago.

I’ve always found ADOT’s signing practices to be among the best in the United States, and that trend continues as they constantly replace sun-bleached signs. The brown “Attractions” signs don’t stand much of a change in the longevity department after a few years in the Sonoran Desert sun.

Done.

My husband and I had our second shots of vaccination frivolity on Monday afternoon. Monday evening I went to bed at 7:00 PM and slept until 5:30 AM. Other than feeling tired and a slight sniffle for a couple of hours, I’ve been fine. He’s shown no symptoms.

The entire family will be fully vaccinated on May 19th. We will be going out for dinner in a restaurant with outdoor seating on that night. I am looking forward to the experience.

While I’m confident the microchips installed through the needle are running Linux, I have not experienced being able to see 5G signals, I haven’t lost my mind (any further), and my skin has not turned chartreuse. I’d probably continue to test high on any sort of spectrum tests, so I’m not concerned about that.

Just get vaccinated and do the right thing. Thank you.

House!

Found on Twitter. Tinka-tinka-tee.

I won’t go to into depth about “Wandavision”. I can tell you were watching it every week. I’ve enjoyed a good share of the kitsch. I know it’s set solidly in the Marvel Universe and I am familiar with most of the characters.

The show feels like it’s moving at a glacial pace, is mixing universes together, and is a little uneven to follow. Admittedly, I enjoyed the practical magic effects in the first few episodes. It was fun to find the nods to classic TV series. But as far as tying it all together, I have little in the way of a clue of what’s going on.

What I have noticed in the past couple of episodes is that neighbor Agnes lives in Darrin and Samantha’s house from “Bewitched”. Good ol’ 1164 Morning Glory Circle is still standing, has been updated a bit for contemporary times, and is still quite familiar to the class TV aficionado.

Now that is magic.

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WW84.

Photo courtesy of bookandfilmglobe.com

When it was announced that “WW84” or “Wonder Woman 1984” or “the second Wonder Woman” movie was going to be released in both theatres and on HBO Max on Christmas Day I was genuinely excited. Wonder Woman is my favorite superhero and while I haven’t kept up with her adventures in comic books at all in the 21st century, I’ve always been a fan of both the Lynda Carter and Cathy Lee Crosby adventures and I enjoyed the first Wonder Woman movie. I like Gal Gadot in the part. The costume is a bit more “Xena” than I’m used to, but I can deal.

I’m going to try very hard to not reveal any spoilers here, but consider yourself warned that I may refer to a couple of scenarios here and there that could be spoilerish. Plus, I’m going to give you my feelings on the film, and if you don’t want your upcoming viewing adventure impacted by my opinion, you’ve been warned.

Well…

One of the things that drives me crazy about the world today is the altering of history because folks don’t know what really happened. For example, when a person watches “Bewitched” through a streaming service or Me TV, they’re seeing the version someone edited down for 21st century commercial loads.

The theme music on the current viewings (or the official “archives”) of seasons three through five is completely wrong. Back in the mid 1990s Columbia Pictures took the theme music from the first season of “Bewitched” and matched it up with the animated opening from seasons three through five and called it history. It’s not. The first three color seasons of “Bewitched” (seasons 3 through 5) had a completely different arrangement of the familiar theme song. There were musical flourishes, vibrating vibraphones, and bings and bongs reminiscent of the vibe of the show. These were scrapped with the editing for DVD and streaming and someone just plopped season one’s intro music in place. It was easier. It didn’t require much effort.

So millennial.

On DJ and other music boards, I often read of millennials talking about the use of auto tune in the 1980s on the likes of music by Pet Shop Boys and The Human League. While I’m sure The Human League could have benefitted greatly with the use of auto-tune, the horrible, robotic, gentrification mechanism for music wasn’t invented until the late 1990s and didn’t come into widespread use until Cher’s “Believe”, which thrust this atrocity into the mainstream until no musical artist would be caught dead without the digital fakery this hideous invention affords us. I still consider auto tune to be one of the worst inventions in the history of mankind. Any “artist” that uses it is no “artist”, they’re a corporate sellout.

I’m digressing.

I guess my point is, I’m tired of people rewriting history based on loosely associated facts that have absolutely no merit being belched out on the Internet with some air of authority. I told my husband earlier today that one of the worst things about 2020 is that computers have become way too easy to use. You no longer need smarts to operate a computer. Send your social security number to an unknown author of an email and hope you get your millions. Idiots.

With all of this ranting going on, I will end this with two thoughts:

  1. “Bewitched” and “I Dream of Jeannie” were NEVER in the same league when it came to quality or ratings. “Bewitched” put ABC on the map and was in the Top 10 for years. “I Dream of Jeannie” never cracked the Top 30. It ranked somewhere around “The Mothers-In-Law” for NBC. Stop comparing the two series; they were never in the same league.
  2. The episodes of “Bewitched” you see today are nowhere near complete. They’ve had at least four minutes per episode yanked to make room for 21st century commercial needs. The versions you get on the DVD are the closest thing you’re going to get to complete, but they’re still not completely accurate and quite frankly, I’m sad the original versions are lost to history.

Racist?

I like it when people laugh. There’s so much angst in the world, especially over the past several years, and I truly believe “laughter is the best medicine”.

Some folks really take themselves seriously, especially on social media. Like many folks, I’ve done too much complaining on the social media outlets about mundane and trivial things, but I’ve been trying to curb this tendency over the past couple of months.

One thing I like to do is “hit and run” a topic with a witty chestnut as a comment or response to someone. I was recently told by a friend that I should have been a writer for “The Golden Girls” or something, because these little chestnuts are reminiscent of something Bea Arthur’s Dorothy or Estelle Geddy’s Sophia would say on the show. My tendency to hit a “block” when I’m speaking has helped me expand my vocabulary over the years; if I find I’m “blocked” in a stream of speech by a certain word, I can usually circumvent my pause by substituting a different word or using a more colorful adjective. This coping mechanism is very useful when also used on purpose.

An old high school friend on Facebook shared a post about the number of people complaining to the host or hostess of a restaurant because they had a party larger than four people and apparently due to COVID restriction, in New York State you can still eat in a restaurant but only in a party with a maximum of four people. The old friend went on to describe the hysterics of folks; apparently people are standing in the lobby of a Denny’s engaging in wild theatrics about being the parents of three kids and the collapsing of their very existence because they can’t sit together in a booth. Anyone with any sense would know there’s all sorts of guidelines and the like regarding public outings. I’m surprised they still have the opportunity to eat in a restaurant in New York State; here in Illinois there’s no indoor dining right now.

Anxious to bring levity to the post, I was about to write a witty one liner and move onto the next topic of conversation. Now, in my constant quest for perfection, the wording has to be just right. I can’t just write, “tell them to stay home and cook!”. Too hostile. “Tell them to hit a drive-thru” was a little funnier, but then I thought about amping it up to “Tell them get in the car and yell in the clown’s mouth”. This is even funnier but you have to be of a certain age and live in a certain part of the country to know what that even means. I then settled on going the “cook at home” route and typed in, “tell them to go home and boil up some Rice-A-Roni”.

Now, the specificity of this suggestion adds humor to the line, plus the words “Rice-A-Roni” carry a certain amount of humor in their sound. I was about to hit “submit” and move on when I realized this line in 2020 could be construed as very inappropriate.

The old high school friend is Asian. His mother is Korean. Mentioning for him to tell someone to go home and boil up some “Rice-A-Roni” could have been insulting to him and anyone involved.

I quickly hit delete and removed the post before hitting submit. I decided to go with “tell them to go fry up some ‘Hamburger Helper’”. It doesn’t quite have the same punch in my ears but hopefully it made someone smile.

I know it made me giggle a little bit. As my husband can attest, I often amuse myself.

Go For It.

Folks in the neighborhood have begun decorating for Christmas and surrounding holidays. Initially this struck me as odd, because honestly my head is still stuck in March when the whole pandemic kicked into high gear. I find it very weird when I hear Christmas Sale ads on television; it just doesn’t feel anywhere near the season to me.

Normally I’m all about enjoying Thanksgiving first and then decorating for the holidays. However, with the pandemic and all, and people desperately seeking joy wherever they can safely find it, I’m all about decorating any way you want to decorate. If you want to put up Memorial Day flags in November, go for it.

I’ve seen a lot of Christmas trees going up in front room windows all over the place. These far outnumber the number of outdoor decorations thus far. I’m certain this will change after this weekend.

Find the season to be merry. No judgement from me in this fun year of 2020.