Oh, Hai Knee

Despite all the various stuff I’ve been doing lately, I’ve managed to keep from gimping up my neck, shoulder, and back too much. But while being careful not to aggravate those areas, it seems I wasn’t paying enough attention to my right knee…Β  ‘cuz, oush. 😣 It’s been all sorts of fuckered up since yesterday evening. πŸ₯Ί Can’t even tell you what I did to it, other than just moving around a whole lot more than it’s used to, but whatever it was sure has pissed it off. πŸ˜’ Not really complaining though, because at least it’s not one of my traditional “oush points” getting worse, and also not complaining because I don’t really have any “labor-based plans” for the next couple of days, so with any luck it’ll chill the eff out and get better over the next 48 hours. πŸ€•πŸ€žπŸ»

And it’s funny that just as I’m musing about my gimpy knee, I was reminded that Hamvention is coming up again here soon. πŸ˜ƒ Not this coming weekend, but the next… I think. Now, busted knee or not, what were the odds that I’d have put a Hamvention trip on my to-do list this year? Pretty slim, honestly. 😏 I think the last time that I went was a couple years before they moved it from Hara Arena (just outside of Dayton) to the Greene County Fairgrounds in Xenia… so yeah, probably at least half-a-decade. (He said, dramatically… heh)

Now I’m wishing I could remember the first year that I went. πŸ€” Dad had been going for years before he talked me into it… I think I was just too young and couldn’t imagine what a “HAM radio flea market” could have to offer me. But that first trip was when I got my first (of eventually many) Commodore computer. 😊 A VIC-20 with cassette drive, tapes, and a bunch of cartridges. I was in junior high, so whatever year that would have been. After that, we continued going each year more often than not, until eventually I was even making trips on my own when Dad wasn’t quite feelin’ it that particular year. But with so many memories of it being there at Hara, with so little changingΒ from year to year, it’s just hard to force myself to make that first trip to the “new” location. 😐 I just imagine it’ll be missing half of the “feels” that make the trips what they were. πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈ Meh… not gonna rule it out, of course, but you know how that usually goes…Β πŸ˜›

I dunno… I really would like to take some sort of solo road trip this summer. And while Hamvention is always at least on that list of possibilities, I’ve started thinking a little more about researching some of the big ol’ retro arcades that are scattered around the midwest, and maybe finding one or two that seem worth the drive.Β  From what I remember reading about some of them, they generally just have a one-time cover charge to get in and then all the games are set to free play, no “pocket full of quarters” required. πŸ€“πŸ•ΉΒ Heh… but even now, I’m not sure if I’m actually considering it, or if I’m just talking out of my ass ‘cuz it sounds like fun but also kind of a PITA. πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈπŸ˜‹

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Why Do I Do These?

I think the sequence that I came up with was too long, because my laptop chokes and pukes every time I try to render this animation in 4k UHD resolution. And even at what should be a decent looking 1080p resolution, for some reason it still looks glitchy as shit. But if you wanna bounce around locations in Columbus, Ohio for over ten minutes… here ya go. (I’m probably done with this app for a while…)

Click the bottom right corner box for full screen and set to 1080 HD for best experience…

μ•ˆλ…•ν•˜μ„Έμš”

There was one other day where I allowed myself to do something a little frivolous. It was already something that was going to be a little bit outside of my comfort zone, but then we had to completely change our plans. 😳 The original plan was for me to go up to Columbus and pick up Cassi from work, so we could then head over to Arirang Market – which also has (or had) a restaurant in the back that serves authentic Korean food.

We went into the store and I asked the fella at the front if the restaurant was open yet, since it was only around 11am, and he said that the restaurant is no more. πŸ˜• It’s a shame, because they had a ton of variety, at good prices, and they had all sorts of good reviews on the various sites. But since we were there, in a Korean market full of authentic Korean foodstuffs, we decided that we could just buy the stuff that would allow us to make our lunch and dinner from scratch. πŸ™‚

In no particular order, we got kimchi, tofu soup starter, yam noodles, seaweed, soju, red pepper paste, rice, sesame oil and soy sauce, eggs, chicken and cabbage rice dumplings, rice cakes (for soup), and then a few misc snacks and a couple pairs of metal chopsticks. We were excited, because between the music, the travel and foodie videos on YouTube, the differentΒ TV shows, the picking up of the language here and there – I dunno, it just felt like we were taking our next step in the appreciation of the country and culture.

I made the soup meal on the first day, including the kimchi… and while the kimchi was pretty awful, the tofu soup, noodles, and rice cakes were tolerable. 😐 Not good, not bad… it just kinda was what it was, and that would be something that neither of us necessarily needs to try ever again. πŸ˜… On the next day we teamed up in the kitchen, with her making the fried rice from scratch, and me frying up the chicken dumplings in condensed broth. Now that meal was amazing. 🀀 Part of it was because I was super hungry, but no… it really was amazing. I ate until I was beyond poofed, and I still wanted to keep going.

Granted, that was probably the furthest from “authentic Korean” and towards “normal food” that we could have gone, but it still counted as Korean. 😏 And neither of us were that bad with the chopsticks, either. From both days there was enough left over that I was able to send a decent sample of it all back up with Cassi so her mom could give it a try. And she agreed with us when it came to the dumplings and rice, for sure. (I forgot to send the kimchi… which is probably a good thing for her.)

Gap

I know it’s been a good chunk of time since my last entry, but I’m not even gonna bother going back to catch up on what I’ve already written… because honestly not a whole hell of a lot has been different, so I don’t have that much to write about. We’ve had a couple decent snow storms, and a couple days where the temps were in the negativesΒ in the morning, so that’s managed to keep me at home just as much as my normal anxiety issues usually do. 😏

One out of the ordinary thing… I did take a trip to ‘Da Boat with Bri for two nights last week. 😊 We’ve talked about it for months, and have had it in the planning stages for the past several weeks – so we were relieved to have pulled it off, considering that both of us have any number of things that could have popped up to wreck the plan. 😳 Last time she was down there with me was years ago when Dezzy also came along, and they couldn’t even get onto the boat back then.

So of course that’s why we were really looking forward to this trip, since she could see and do everything along with me this time. We took a bunch of outfits and props and shit, just in case we decided to do baby belly photos, but it was too easy to just be lazy in the room or going up to the boat to have fun… so very few pics were actually taken, and that was absolutely fine with us. πŸ˜‹ Our luck would come and go, but it was good enough at times that I could actively see the gambling bug taking hold of her brain right before my very eyes. πŸ˜… Heh… it wasn’t really like that, but she did have a good time and played enough to where she developed favorite machines and everything.

This past week or so has been nice… not having any appointments, not forcing myself to worry about any responsibility stuff. 😐 Heh… that sounds bad. I just mean that I let myself take a break from all of the adulting for a while, although I’m picking back up where I left off here in a bit. (Catching up on the bills that have been stacking up in the mean time) Oh… I do have another “since our last episode” story that I almost forgot about. It’ll be coming up a bit later, if I manage to get through all the bills this evening…

But this trip… I dunno… the more that I think about my medical stuff, the more that I want to do stuff with my friends while I still can. πŸ€’ I have no reason to think that I won’t be able to do things for years to come – but just in case, ya know? Even Dad, a while back, reiterated that point to me a few times… that I need to stop worrying so much, and sometimes just do the fun thing while not worrying about anything else. πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈ

Short North Adventure

As is typical any time that I go out and do something fun, the first half of the day was spent dreading the idea… the waiting, the getting ready… but once it was in progress it was exactly the distraction that I needed for the evening. This “hang out” was even a little more significant than usual, since not only was it me, Jim, and Adam… but Brad came along this time, and so did Rick. I’ve been the missing component, but it’s been a long time since all four of us hung out together. It’s nice still having friendships today (even if the communications are a bit less) that were formed decades ago.

Brad’s currently living in a group home near Bremen, so I went and got him before I headed up to Columbus. Jim already has a long way to drive just to get to Columbus, and there was no sense in him going all that rest of the way to get his brother. He seems to be doing really good there, and that makes me so happy to see. Brad’s been through some shit, most of which is his business alone… but it was good to see him doing well, and the drive to and from was actually nice thanks to the conversation.

The main “spot” for the evening was a store called Big Fun in Columbus’ Short North. Adam had been there a time or two before, and he wanted us to see it – so that was where we met up. Man what a store. I don’t think there was a horizontal or vertical surface in that store that didn’t have some sort of kewl vintage toy, doll, or game on it – and that’s not even counting all of the different retro spaceships hanging from the ceiling. You could spend an entire day in that store, looking through the glass cases, digging through the tubs and drawers of vintage toys and goodies – and you’d still probably not have seen everything.

Transformers, GoBots, HeMan, SheRa, Thundercats, Voltron, Doctor Who, Star Wars, Star Trek, My Little Pony, Smurfs, MUSCLE, Care Bears, GI Joe, Batman, Superman, etc. Loose things, boxed things, NIB things, pieces for things, things with all their pieces… there’s just no way a few paragraphs or a few dozen pictures can even start to do that place justice. So yeah, Adam was definitely right… that place is truly amazing. (I’m even considering offloading a bunch of my own shit to that place, should they make the right offer. Better than eBay’ing one piece at a time…)

After that we walked up to the Short North Food Hall. What a bizarre place that ended up being. 😳 We knew it was a restaurant. Actually, it was several restaurants, all cooking out of the same kitchen… multiple burgers, dogs, philly steaks, fries, tots, pizza, nachos, subs, varieties of tacos. But when we walked in there was club music playing, and we could see that a huge bar occupied the center of the interior. Okay, great. But then in the seating areas all around the bar… children. And lots of ’em. Parents, drinking at the bar, while their children wandered around inside. 😧 Granted, most of the kids were with family that were just eating… but what the actual eff? Ohio law allows a big-ass bar to have probably two dozen children just hanging out, eating, wandering around, sometimes looking lost? πŸ€¦πŸ»β€β™‚οΈ

We all ordered different stuff. My tacos arrived in about 10 minutes. Adam’s burger and mac and cheese took 30 minutes. Jim’s burger and tacos… well, at least his burger… 45 minutes. And Rick and Brad’s food took nearly an hour. 😠 It was completely inexcusable. Oh, and they forgot Jim’s tacos, so he had to wait even longer for those. Adam finally gave the manager a piece of his mind, and she just replied about how many people were there, and how most people come here and chill before they plan to eat.” 😐 So, see, we were doing it wrong. πŸ™„ Thinking we could order food and receive it in a timely manner – or at least at similar times for our party of five. Heh… Adam was livid, and plans to contact a higher up tomorrow… I think he felt sort of bad, since that’s the joint he originally chose.

But it was all fine… “adventure” as I said, a couple times on our way back to our cars. The toy store was amazing, walking around the Short North or campus is always interesting, and despite the clusterfuck with the food – it was all really good. We had to hustle back to Adam’s car, since his meter had run out a half hour before we even got out of the “food hall” but luckily no ticket. So we parted ways, I got Brad back home, and got my happy ass back home as quickly as possible. The whole evening probably passed my brain’s tolerance point by about an hour, so I was ready to be home when we had only just gotten to my car to leave. 😬 But I’m home… home is good… mmm… home.

Amish Country

So, the very next day after all of that dumb shit happened around my doctor appointment, that was the day that we had already set aside for going up to the “Amish Country” up in NE Ohio. 😐 The entire evening before, I was still livid – so I already knew what my plan was… stay up all damn light, do as much research and “planning” regarding my WC stuff as possible, and then as soon as the sun came up (as long as Genesee woke up early)Β we could be on our way. πŸ™‚ And that’s actually pretty much how it went, thankfully.

I’m not sure how I did it… all of it… but the trip was a success, we had a good time, I kept my mind fairly free of the previous day’s drama, and I also didn’t feel myself falling asleep until we were about a half-hour from home. πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈ Despite it being off-season, and rather gray and plain up there, we still made it a “full sized” trip – leaving home around 8a and getting back somewhere around 7p. 😧 And I even made myself to stay awake for several more hours, which allowed me to force my sleep schedule back on a “normal” track. Honestly though, I give all of the credit for anything “good” like that from the day to Genesee. (Actually, she gets the credit for that for the entire duration of her trip here. 😏)

I drove, so we did the official Batina path and itinerary – as if we were traveling with Aunt Carol. πŸ™‚ I’m not gonna spell check any of this… but we started by going up through Charm, then to the Guggisberg Cheese place – where I got some gummy bears and meat sticks, over to Miller’s Bakery – where we stocked up on cheese crowns, followed by a short drive to Hershberger’s farm store – where there were unfortunately no flowers or critters, but I did get some Amish sweet pickles, and then it was off to Berlin for a stop at an antique/craft mall and thrift store, along with the mandatory stop at Heini’s Cheese – where we taste tested all sorts of weird cheese and fudge, and I left with some co-jack and green onion varieties… 😳 and then the last stop was at Wendell August… the place where they create every type of carved and stamped metal “thing” that you could imagine. 😊

Dinner was also at the traditional Aunt Carol place… a huge pretty-much-Amish-style restaurant / buffet – where we both poofed ourselves on potatoes, noodles, stuffing, shredded chicken, rolls, misc salad goodness, etc. 😁 It was too cold to sit out on their long wrap-around porch to un-poof a bit before hitting the road again, and we were starting to lose the light anyway – so we decided to just keep moving. (We took 77 south to 70, and even stopped off at Gabriel’s in Zanesville… and I’ve got no idea how I summoned the energy for that.) Then we took 22 to Lancaster from Zanesville, basically cutting a south-western path that saved us quite a few miles compared to taking the freeway over to Millersport and down. πŸ€”

It wasn’t an ideal trip on paper… off season, cold, no sleep, having already been busy all week… but it ended up being perfect. ☺ Got all the goodies that we wanted, kept myself distracted from anything that might have made me angry, had quite a few flashback memories from different trips with Aunt Carol and my grandparents, and the “goody” from the trip lasted through the evening, even after I was home and Gen was off to her next stop. πŸ™‚

Phil Collins: Not Dead Yet

Last night was concert night in Columbus, seeing Phil Collins with my friends Jim and Adam at Nationwide Arena. 😊 I was already nervous the day before, thinking of the handful of things that could make my day difficult, and despite doing my best to screw it up from the start – waking up at 4am and not being able to fall back to sleep – everything ended up alright and the show was great.

For anyone that’s a fan, it’s common knowledge that Phil is pretty gimped up from a failed back surgery and a “fucked foot” as he put it, so I really wasn’t sure what to expect. 😳 But despite remaining seated for almost all of the performance, he seemed to get along reasonably well with a cane, so it didn’t feel as… um… I guess I was just worried that it would feel a little “Wheel the old man out and make him sing.” but that wasn’t the case at all.Β πŸŽ€πŸ‘΄Β It was a relatively long show too, playing his stuff and some Genesis songs, and he seemed to be enjoying it all. (And another “bucket list” concert checked off for me.)

Since he’s unable to play the drums, his son Nic filled in for him.Β πŸ₯πŸ˜Ž The kid is pretty amazing… he’s 17 now, he was 16 when the tour started in the UK, which means he was probably learning and perfecting all of his dad’s songs by the time he was 14 years old… knowing that he’d eventually be going on a huge tour like this. 😯 (Oh, and he plays piano too πŸ™„) It was all the way back in May of 1992 that I saw GenesisΒ in The Shoe at OSUΒ (26 years ago… holy shitballs)Β but I never thought that I’d get to see him perform his own songs solo, since he swore quite a while ago that he’d never tour again.

Jim’s an awesome friend, surprising me and Adam both by getting us all tickets.Β πŸ˜ƒΒ (Five years ago this month we were in Kansas thanks to him as well) And like I told him, I have enough “concerns” about myself that I wouldn’t have even thought about buying a ticket for myself if he hadn’t. The neck and shoulder pain, the thyroid stuff, the random back stuff, the anxiety that comes in times and ways of its own choosing… I don’t think I would have trusted myself to be able to go – but when a friend makes not going not an option, you just put your head down and keep moving forward.

Oh, there were moments that I still wasn’t sure… even up until the point that I was standing in line, waiting to get in…Β πŸ˜³πŸ˜¬πŸ‘«πŸ‘¬πŸ‘«πŸ‘­πŸ‘«πŸ‘«πŸ‘¬πŸ‘«πŸ‘­Β … but I’m absolutely glad that I went.

I’ve been a mess since getting home last night around midnight though.Β πŸ˜• The “post-concert buzz” ended up keeping me awake until about 5am, and man did I hurt. 😣😒 It’s mostly better now, but between the cold, the sitting, the standing, the singing, the recording of video, the crowds, the traffic… as usual, my body and brain eventually weren’t having any of that nonsense, and they let me know as soon as the show ended. 😟 I think Jim and Adam could see it in me once the lights came up, so we all sat for a bit and let the crowd clear. After we left the arena they walked along at my pace until we parted ways at the parking garage. Luckily Jim gets me though, so he knows that all of that “beat-up old man” stuff doesn’t mean that I wouldn’t do it all over again.Β πŸ™‚