Think / Able - and Check out My Parkinson's Facebook Page

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Monday, August 26, 2019

48 Trips around the Sun: Cruising the summer of 2019 into the Torii Hunter Birthday

NOTE: For those who don't know... I name my birthdays after baseball players. I'm like that.

In 2002, the best part of the MLB All Star Game tie fiasco was Torii Hunter robbing Barry Bonds of a home run at the wall. As he's the best player to ever wear #48 and for his cool in that moment of everything that was wrong with baseball's midsummer spectacular (team's not allowing their players to go all out and players refusing to try since it was an "exhibition game"), this is my Torii Hunter Birthday.

I'm not saying we should play like Pete Rose on Ray Fosse, but c'mon (like Ke$ha says), try.

Whether you have Parkinson's or life is giving you the business, trying and having swagger goes a long way. Really.

"And all the fat-skinny people, and all the tall-short people
And all the nobody people, and all the somebody people
I never thought I'd need so many people."

NOTE: Past birthdays included the Jackie Robinson, Reggie Jackson, Pedro Martinez, Lee Smith, and Jack Morris Birthdays. Personally, I find it important to have a specific birthday since it makes getting older more fun than my depressive late 30s into middle age. After all, 50 is 2 years away.


So what does 48 feel like? It feels a lot like 47 transitioned to be. My UPDS Parkinson's number dropped from 20 to 15 (60s are the numbers where disability issues really kick in). My roughest number was 34 after the pneumonia days. Now, being social and trying to be more active sees me at a really good managed number for 8 years since symptoms and all but 3 since diagnosis. I still button buttons and move around well enough in comfy boots and flow well enough in conversation. It's not perfect, but it's a start. Yeah, there's dealing with riding with others driving panic (I don't feel it when I drive), but medicine for management is helping with that, too.

I'm currently blogging and moderating HERE, as well, which I'm jazzed about.

I'm going to Puerto Rico next month.

I'm officially married to Heather for 10 years as of August 15th (why we're going to PR).

Work is going well. I feel like I'm helping people and making a difference.

I'm reading more. I'm learning more. I'm listening more I'm enjoying life.

Yeah... I'm trying and having swag... I think.

Yes, PD sucks, but it's made me more empathetic and hopeful for helping to create a better world. I'm not getting out of this one, but life is for living. We all end up in the same place, so we might as well live life full on while we can, as well as we can. In the meantime, give 'em hell!

So yeah... right now, 48 feels pretty good even if I'm going through diagnosis for asthma (more on that when the official diagnosis comes in September ; Though the tests say it's there, the doc has to say exactly how much). Another medication, another "so it goes." Keep living well. It's the best revenge.

I hope your lives are going well. Thanks for reading. See below for music and how it relates to my summer - with photos!


So yeah... the summer of 2009 has been a crazy busy summer of doings that express what 48 feels like. Here's what's been going on since the last time I wrote for me as expressed in the soundtrack of 48.

1. Certain for Miles (Audiotree Session) by Cayetana

"When the world bears down on me, I laugh at its audacity."

2. Where is My Mind by Placebo

Something about being chased by fish while swimming in the Caribbean, which is where I'll be next month when my wife and I go to Puerto Rico for a long weekend to celebrate our 10th anniversary, which happened this month on August 15th.

3. Virgin by Manchester Orchestra

My friend Pete turned me on to them. This songs just builds and erupts. Love it! There's something that explodes with the lyrics about building "this house with our hands and our time and our blood... to fall downward and rust." It just seems atmospheric to all the world around the peripheral views.

4. End of Summer (Now I Know) by Front Bottoms

August rolls in, and I always find myself waiting for the end of the month to roll in. Since 1997, this has been school as a student, teacher, or adviser. As an adviser, it means that the volume of last minute enrollments subsides and I get back to having more time to make a difference for each appointment instead of "no classes left / limited class times left / next." Oh, and my birthday and the 1.5 hour massage I'm going for! Lomi Lomi!!

5. Let It Bleed by the Rolling Stones

This summer, I finished up the first draft of Becoming a Monster (my New Orleans witchcraft / zombie story) and then I abandoned it for the time being when I knew I wasn't going to have a solid story in the time I had left to get it ready for Pennhurst's Paracon event. Additionally, it got way too dark, and I didn't know how hard R rating I wanted. Anyway, at the end, there is a giant wake / jazz funeral for characters that culminates in a live jam of this song, which is just fantastic. No matter what happens with that book, I'll be keeping this.

 6. Mermaid's Avenue by the Klezmatics

My wife and I went to the Mermaid Parade on Coney Island. It was a lot of fun, even if it was hot, standing there watching the endless parade of people comfortable in their own skins, being themselves. Part seaside celebration, part arts, part politics, and part pride event, it was a complete expression of the joy that is America, which in these times is so necessary.

7. Tonight I'll Be Staying Here with You by Bob Dylan

If you haven't heard the Rolling Thunder live tracks by Bob Dylan (and you're into classic rock), you should check out the Martin Scorsese movie about this tour on Netflix... fantastic! Many of the songs, like this one, are completely re-imagined.

8. Friend Like Me by Will Smith

The new Aladdin movie was actually pretty good since Will Smith went back to being Will Smith again, even if he had to channel Robin Williams to do it.

9. OO POO PAH DOO by James and Troy Andrews from Treme Soundtrack

Summer and wild jazz... 2 good things... like going to the pool to keep cool. My wife and I got pool memberships and hung out in the pool with her family July 4th. Life is good.

10. Feel Like Funkin' It Up from Treme Soundtrack

More summer and jazz... try not to be happy. If you need help, I'll get my nephew Dylan to build Legos with you and take a break to catch butterflies.

11. God and Country by The Thermals

Desperate times call for angry lo-fi punk energy. This whole disc is just so good if lo-fi punk energy is your thing. Granted, it's not productive, but it sure is cathartic when every day is one more thing that seems so ridiculously absurd. November 3, 2020.

12. Old Man Blank by The Lemonheads

I saw Evan Dando still trying to be the Lemonheads in June. For being 50+ years old, he was still pretty good, even if the last 27 years since It's a Shame about Ray have been rough. This was his best new song - a cover of Bevis Frond. Seeing as I saw them at the Chameleon in Lancaster, they broke out with "Dawn Can't Decide" and its reference to "makin' out" "just to pass the time" in said town. Yeah, it felt like being 21-23 all over again. He had quite the band back then (my 7th time seeing him or the band, not including the London show that went on too late, so I had to catch the train back before they came on).

13. Miami 1981 by Neutral Bling Hotel

This is what you get when you mix Neutral Milk Hotel (who finally released their digital downloads of unreleased material) with Pitbull (who we saw in July, and yes, he was that entertaining). Mixing "Mr. Worldwide's" booty shaking "I Know You Want Me (Calle Ocho)" with Jeff Mangum's Anne Frank tribute "Holland 1945"... all that. "1,2,3,4,undo, dos, tres, quatro... 2,1,2,3,4."

14. Mic Check (Remixes) by Max Tannone

From the guy who brought us Jaydiohead (Jay Z mixed with Radiohead), here's classic punk bands mixed with hip hop rappers. All 10 songs jam, but my favorite is the 2nd song, which is the Ramones mixed with Black Star ("Definition of Blitzkreig").

15. Which leads us to Jaydiohead's "Dirt off Your Android"

16. The Clansman by Iron Maiden

I could have made a 20 song list based just on their songs. Maiden is my go to listen right now. They played this song live when I saw them. Incredible. I like the newer long songs as much as the glory years when I was in 8th grade. The last disc (Book of Souls) is my right now favorite stuff. As for this song, it's about Scottish clans, not the American Klan. "Freedom!!"

17. The Crush by Magnapop

The Bob Mould produced Hotboxing album still holds up as good, if not better than, most discs since it came out in 1994. This song is great.

18. Good Day by Greg Street with the Nappy Roots

Whether hiking to the top of the Pinnacle (on the Appalachian Trail in PA), exploring abandoned tunnels in western Maryland, doing the all you can eat chicken thing, chillin' with Dylan, going to Longwood Gardens for the fountain show, or trying to find another Rumble Rumble Bear slot machine to win big at the casino, it's always a good day if you want it to be ("Ain't nobody gotta die today..." "save that trouble for another day!")

19. Birthday Song by 2 Chainz with Kanye West

This is NSFW. You're warned.

20. Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt Parody by Tituss Burgess

If 2 Chainz and Kanye being serious in the last song needs a super camp version as a remedy, it's Tituss. Too funny. One of the best shows ever... easily.

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