Friday, February 24, 2006


NOTE: If you're looking for my "plugged ears" post, scroll further down the page.

After leaving the following as a comment on a friend's blog, I've decided to post it here for all to enjoy!

Wonderful and exciting, Metrogerms fill me with great pride. Oh yes, I get 'em all the time! That's why it's a foregone conclusion that my recent 4 (yes, FOUR) bouts with colds and flus in as many months are not due to an immuno-compromising disease, nor are they the result of some hidden germ warfare project being conducted in the Washington DC area. No, my problems are coming from a far more fetid, insidious source - the DC Metro system.

I've turned into quite the Howard Hughes since traveling underground on a daily basis to get to and from work. It's a horrible, nasty place below the earth. The depths are best left to the worms and Satan, not to newlywed commuters like me.

If this keeps up, I'll be wearing plastic bags on my hands by 2007.

Thursday, February 23, 2006


Just a short note about people I can't stand on the Metro (which also happens to apply any place where there is an escalator). It seems that about 50% of people (almost always female), can't seem to figure out how to step onto a moving escalator platform. It's the darndest thing.

I watched a twenty-something girl, without any apparent physical limitations or obvious disabilities, walk up to the escalator with the crowd of 1000 other rushing riders, and completely stop at the base of the moving stairs to gauge how she should line her footstep up with the moving steps. She nearly caused a pileup. The strange thing is, this happens all the time.

I simply can't understand why someone needs to stop walking in order to step onto an escalator platform. The steps don't move that fast. And why is it always women who do this? I'd like to know a psychological answer to these things. It's become a little pastime of mine, every day as I ride the subway, to see if the person in front of me will develop an instant fear of moving steps. It happens about half the time.

Maybe I'm just Superman, but I don't even have to look at the ground when I'm stepping onto or off of an escalator. It's simple - you just keep walking. Magically, your feet will land surely every time. Folks who can't manage this need to ride the elevator when it gets crowded, because they will end up either hurting themselves or someone else. Amazing. To quote Seinfeld, "I mean hey... who are these people?!!"

UPDATE: Holy crap! "Escalaphobia" is a real thing!

Friday, February 17, 2006

Bob Costas Must Perish

Yes, I know Mr. Costas isn’t in charge of the programming over at NBC. However, since I need an object towards which I can vent my frustrations, and seeing how Bob is so idiotic that he warrants a good bashing, I’ll stick with blaming him. NBC is suffering from horrible Olympics ratings – and I can understand why. Their coverage is abysmal.

Like most American Gen-X’ers (oh, how I loathe my generation’s classification but ironically will rush to defend it against copy-cat attempts to label younger folks with titles such as, Generation Y, Z, etc.), I have been sucked in by the newest sport in the Winter Olympics – The Snowboard Cross. I think the Washington Post described it best by saying it resembles a “real life video game.” People fall, get hurt, speed down snowy hills and push one another. Truly a sport for the times.

So during this competitive feast of adrenaline, just before the semi-finals, NBC programmers thought it would be a nifty idea to switch gears and show another winter sport – Men’s Single Figure Skating. Yep, just as millions of young, heterosexual men all around the country were gathered around their television sets ready to see the finale of Olympics’ newest sport, they were all treated to a helping of gay men scampering around the ice wearing sequins (I had to have that term defined for me - basically, fruity sparkling things normally found on girls prom dresses), skimpy tunics, blouses and tights as they thrust their hips to showtunes. Man, talk about NBC not knowing their audience. I almost threw up.

For 30 minutes, I had to have my sexuality assaulted by young men skipping and “doing the splits” as my wife smiled with glee at the rich, disturbing irony with which America had just been presented. I had already used up my Tivo’s buffer on all of the multitudes of commercials shown during the games, so I was forced to wait through live TV and announcers saying, “wow, he’s really good… I’ve never seen a man do THAT…” Wrong.

When it finally ended, I had to watch Bob Costas talk about how wonderful everything was and how the US men’s figure skating team never seems to match the ability of the Russian team. Does he need the difference between American and European males spelled out to him? What an idiot. I was beside myself with loathing. So that, my friends, is why Bob Costas must perish.

Sunday, February 12, 2006

Feeling Better and Now... SNOW!

Well, after nearly a week of having my ears plugged up (which literally almost drove me to the edge) and seeing numerous doctors... I have been cured by the modern miracle of antibiotics! Amoxicillin-Augmentin to be exact (the same stuff they use against the flesh-eating bacteria). So now, this fine and snowy Sunday, I can equalize the pressure in my ears... although still with a degree of difficulty. Things are good.

My wife is back from Quebec, where she learned how to make crepes. So now I'm full of Canadian syrup and a half dozen crepes while she's out in the living room watching episode after episode of "24," to which she's addicted.

Church was canceled this morning due to snow, our car is buried under a foot of the stuff, and there is nothing to do. Oh well, I suppose I can leave you with a few pictures.

Our Buried Car

The Street


Thursday, February 09, 2006

My Night in the ER

Those of you finding this page by searching "plugged ears," check out my second bout here and here. Also, I've had good luck this year with round 2 using Afrin (sparingly), an antibiotic (Septra) and any decongestant containing pseudoephedrine. You may also want to try Mucinex, which contains guaifenesin.

For the past several days, I've been suffering from a very minor cold. Nothing big... a few sneezes, plugged nose, etc. But right when it seemed to be going away, low and behold my ears start to plug up.

Now having plugged ears during a cold is something I've dealth with before, and I am usually able to unplug them without a problem. Not this time. It seems that there has been fluid building behind my eardrums which has been gradually increasing in pressure over the last few days. Last night at about 11pm, I was close to insanity from the pressure and pain. I had lost my ability to unplug my ears, and things just kept getting worse.

I know that there isn't much doctor's can do unless the ear is infected. In my case, they say it's just fluid and that I'll have to deal with it over the next few days. They prescribed me Pseudovert (a decongestant) and Vicodin (a narcotic pain-killer). Yeah, so that helps with the pain... but what about my hearing loss?

My ears are now so clogged with fluid that they feel as if someone has their fingers stuck into the sides of my head. And if that wasn't annoying enough, my hearing has probably decreased about 50% - and since its more clogged in my left ear, thd hearing on that side is worse. So... the varying levels of volume are playing annoying tricks with my brain. A sound to my left sounds like it's coming from my right because my hearing is better in that ear (less clogged). And on top of that, my balance is all screwy too.

So with all of these things happening at once, and with me being totally OCD about my ears and hearing... I feel driven to the brink of insanity. It literally makes me want to scream at the top of my lungs. That, or light myself on fire. It's THAT annoying.

Hopefully, I can convince the ENT doctor I'll be visiting tomorrow to perforate my eardrum and relieve the pressure. However, from what I'm told they only do this if the problem hasn't resolved itself in 3 weeks. THREE WEEKS OF THIS?!!! I'll die first.

Here are some fun pictures from the hospital at 1am.

Sunday, February 05, 2006

Stupidbowl Sunday

As much as I try to pretend, I just can't seem to actually like football. Call me un-American, a nerd or whatever you want, but the truth is I just don't care. I guess it really hit home when my sister sent me a text message congratulating on the Redskins (my hometown team) making it into the playoffs. Apparently while the rest of the city was in redskins fever, I had no idea.

However, I have fortunately been blessed with the ability to BS my way through almost any situation, so for all of the people who asked me who I thought was gonna win the game, my answer of "It's a horrible matchup, your guess is as good as mine" was a classic conversation turn-around which put the question back in your court (hey, a sports metaphor, how 'bout that) so that you would end up telling me who was playing without letting myself look like less of a man for not knowing. Cool, huh?

But my lack of football affection aside, I do believe in making a big event of the American Superbowl tradition. Suddenly, I find myself attached to a particular team for no reason and start cheering for them like the rest of the lug-heads. I eagerly await the lineup of $3 million commercials, the junk food and the comradery that such an event brings with it. I am a believer in the bonding abilities of the American male - and nothing does this better than the Superbowl.

Let's go Lakers! Oh wait...

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Subway Serenade


I was tired when I woke up this morning. I didn't want to get out of bed, yet I somehow managed to drag myself into the shower and get ready for another day at work. Breakfast was ok, just some cold cereal (out of Cookie Crisp so I had to settle for Fruit Loops). My wife and I made our lunches as we mentally prepared for work.

Usually, I look forward to my train ride since its a great place to read. However, today that enthusiasm was gone because I'm still waiting for my new batch of books to arrive from Amazon. So, I was a bit miffed that I would be spending another morning on the train playing Solitaire on my PDA.

I didn't especially hurry until I got to the the Metro station. Once within view of the platform, I could see that a train was just about ready to shut its doors (don't ask how, I just know these things). So, deciding it was better to rush rather than wait another 5 minutes in the cold, I bolted down the escalator and made for the car. Note this as my first mistake of the day (impatience will get you every time) because there, in my train, was the gentleman would would serenade me (and his other fellow passengers) for the next 20 minutes.

I only saw his back, as the train was a bit more crowded than usual. But what my eyes couldn't tell me, my ears could. This guy was crazy. An old-fashioned looney-tune with a side of nutjob. A real winner. He sang some repetitive tune only familiar to he and his other 12 personalities. I'm guessing it was probably religious in nature because I heard the word "sin" every so often (although you never heard this one in Sunday School, trust me). But what made it perfect was the fact that he sang it at the top of his lungs.

My mp3 player couldn't play loud enough to cover up his hoarse rendition of "You're a sinner!" or whatever else it was he belted. All I know is that I was miserable. I had nothing to read but my own church magazine. However, hearing his accompaniment took any desire to read religious material out of my heart. I couldn't even concentrate enough to play solitaire. It sucked.

So, next time you find yourself in a similar situation being assualted through auditory terrorism, ask yourself whether it was worth it when you ran to catch your train. Or if instead, next time you'll do what I plan on doing when I'm feeling lethargic - just stay home.