Category Archives: My own little world

‘Twas the wave of death

I live in my own little world

Our next creating writing assignment is based on this COVID-19 infection graphic:

COVID-19 infection graphic

In that last scenario, it could be very high.

Picture this:

Your mailbox, 2020.

Sneezer is the postal carrier.

Sneezer is not wearing a mask.

House person sees postal vehicle pull up.

House person gets up to go get mail.

While house person is traveling from bedroom to front door, house person cannot see that:

Sneezer sneezes all over your mailbox and mail.

House person gets to mailbox as sneezer is driving off.

House person waves to sneezer.

Sneezer waves back.

Six days later house person feels sick with COVID-19 symptoms.

Olivia the black & white catHouse person is confused because house person has been in self-isolation since March 14 doing nothing but watching dystopian and apocalyptic movies, drinking margaritas, and playing with the cat.

House person calls doctor.

Doctor says, “It’s probably the flu.”

House person tells doctor, “You gave me a flu shot a couple of months ago.”

Doctor says, “Oh, right.”

After thinking for 3.14 seconds, doctor asks, “Can you come in tomorrow?”

House person replies, “Yep. Not doing anything in self-isolation except watching romantic movies, keeping hydrated, and playing with the dog.”

House person sees doctor the next day.

Doctor asks, “We have two COVID-19 tests, the Pi test and the Fibonacci test.

House person asks, “How much do they cost?”

Doctor responsds, “Your co-pay is $3.14 for the Pi test and $1.61 for the Fibonacci test.”

House person asks, which is faster and provides a more accurate result?”

Doctor replies, “They both are very accurate. The Pi test gives results in 3.14159265358979323846264338327950288419716939937510 minutes.  With the Fibonacci test, we’ll have results in just 1.618 minutes.”

House person says, “The Fibonacci test certainly sounds less complicated. Are you sure it’s accurate?

Doctor says, “Oh, yes. Fibonacci is everywhere.”

House person says, “Okay, let’s do the Fibonacci.”

Doctor administers the Fibonacci COVID-19 test.

Test is positive.

House person tells medical personnel that house person has no idea how house person got infected because house person has been in self-isolation since March 14.

Doctor admits house person to hospital.

Margaritas at On The Border in El Cajon, CaliforniaHouse person is sad and depressed because hospital has no margaritas and no cats.

One week later house person is put on a ventilator to help with breathing.

Two weeks on ventilator and house person dies.

Doctor is sad and depressed.

One year later and still no one has been able to determine how house person contracted COVID-19.

Remember when sneezer waved to house person?

‘Twas the wave of death.

THE END

With apologies to dystopian writers everywhere, especially Stephen King.

What’s your preferred?

I live in my own little world

I had to go to the dermatologist yesterday to have a skin lesion removed. Here’s my conversation with the doc:

Doctor: Good morning, Russel. You want to have that lesion removed today?

Russel: Yes.

Doctor: Okay. I’m going to deaden it. 3….. 2…… 1

Russel: Fuck! That hurt like hell!

Doctor: Cool.

Russel: (Passes out from pain.)

Doctor: (Administers smelling salts.)

Believe me!Russel: (Waking up.) Where’s Little Queen Olivia?

Doctor: I thought you were gay.

Russel: She’s my cat. She takes care of me when I’m in pain.

Doctor: Are you still in pain?

Russel: Hmmmm. As a matter of fact, no.

Doctor: I’m going to remove the lesion now. Just lie there and think of Little Queen Olivia rubbing her butt in your face.

Russel: You’ve met the Little Queen?

Doctor: I also have a female cat. Name’s Freakie Cat.

Russel: They’re probably cousins.

Doctor: Okay. The lesion’s removed. I think you’re bleeding but I’ve never seen lime green blood before.

Russel: Seems to have gotten that color right after I turned 18.

Doctor: Cool.

Russel: It’s been typed as M+. Seems to have a high alcohol content which causes problems when the police stop me. It’s not common but apparently makes people feel really good, better than O+.

Doctor: Cool. I’m going to bandage it now and send you on your way. If it gets painful later on, take some pain medication. Do you have Acetaminophen?

Russel: Yes, but it’s not my preferred pain killer.

Doctor: What’s your preferred?

Russel: Margaritas.

Doctor: Cool. Those will do.

Creative writing

I live in my own little world

My self-isolation creative writing lesson for today.

I was watching “The End Of All Things” when suddenly my smart TV went blank, followed by a bunch of static, and then a ghostly apparition appeared:

Ghostly apparition (very slowly): Hello, Russel. This is God.

Russel: Hello, God! How’s it going, dude?

God: I am not a dude. I’m a dudette.

Russel: A-ha! (not the group). I always suspected you were ever since my term paper in junior English class in high school.

God: Yes. I read that paper. Very good thesis and very good supporting research.

Russel: So what do I owe this pleasure today, God?

God: I want you to give up margaritas.

Russel: Ha! What’s in it for me?

God: I know you care about people and you have been tracking the novel coronavirus that I lovingly sent the world, yes?

Russel: Yep. I knew it was you! So, again, why should I give up margaritas?

God: If you give up margaritas, I’ll call an end to the COVID-19 pandemic and return everything to normal.

Russel: What about the thousands of people who have died?

God: They are collateral damage. Nothing can be done about them.

Russel: But if your son, Jesus, can come back to life, why not other people?

God: Because they are not my children.

Russel: A-ha! (again, not the group). I knew it! I knew it the first time I saw children dying from cancer.

Another 48 margaritas and I should be good to go

I live in my own little world

My boredom exhibited in my previous post was due to an injured thumb on my right hand which prevented me from doing much of anything except sitting here with an ice pack on it and watching television.

I hate it when I can’t multi-task.Euphorbia tirucalli 'fire sticks'

I would like to say that a long cactus spine poked me under the nail and then I got Euphorbia ‘Sticks of Fire’ sap in it which caused it to swell up like a baseball. That didn’t happen.

Little Queen OliviaI would like to say that Little Queen Olivia mangled my thumb, giving me a good case of Cat Scratch Fever. That didn’t happen either.

What really happened is that, after 65 years 1 month and 11 days on this Earth, I still bite my fingernails. I sometimes (sometimes?) bite them so short that they start bleeding. Occasionally they get infected. That’s what happened. Doesn’t sound near as cool as the two previous scenarios….

This was not the first time I’ve gone through this, but it definitely was the worst. I have found throughout life that the best way for me to prevent this is to keep busy—work, gardening, playing with Little Queen Olivia, typing, playing the piano…. anything that keeps my hands out of my mouth….

Maybe I could wear a mask all the time!

The only reason I went to Urgent Care on Sunday was because the pain at the tip of my thumb was expanding into my whole thumb, my palm, the outside of my hand, and into two other fingers. I could not move my hand without severe pain.

I took an aspirin at 11:30 p.m. on Sunday. Thirty minutes later I was in worse pain. I took 2000 mg of acetaminophen. Thirty minutes later, worse still, so I took 800 mg of ibuprofen. Thirty minutes after that the pain had subsided enough that I was able to get in a catnap. Tells me a lot about aspirin, acetaminophen, and ibuprofen….

Normally, I would have gone to the 24/7 Urgent Care 1.9 miles down the road, but in these dystopian COVID-19 times we are living in, it’s not open 24/7. Neither are the other two within 10 miles of me. Additionally, Urgent Care doctors are not on premises right now because they all are needed at the hospitals. The first two Urgent Care’s told me to go to the hospital, which also has an Urgent Care, and which is where I eventually found myself.

When I finally saw a doctor at the hospital’s Urgent Care facility, he gave me a prescription for antibiotics, a prescription-strength Motrin, and a really cool reusable ice pack. He told me it would get worse before it got better and told me to come back in 24-48 hours if it didn’t get better. He also told me that for this kind of pain, ibuprofen only.

It got better, and it’s getting better. This, however, might be the event that convinces me to quit biting my fingernails.

Another 48 margaritas and I should be good to go again!

And no, I did not put a picture of my thumb on Facebook.

After reading about this nasty occurrence, I thought I should leave you with some beautiful pink flowers for your Wednesday.

Cactus flowers

May I have a minute of your time?

I live in my own little world

SOME people are like…
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I’m bored
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I’m bored
I’m bored
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I’m bored
I’m bored
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I’m bored
I’m bored
I’m bored
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I’m bored
I’m bored
I’m bored
I’m bored
I’m bored
I’m bored

THE END

Self-isolation side effects

I live in my own little world

I am going crazy from this self-isolation.

I just had a talk with the microwave and toaster oven, and we agreed that things are getting bad, verging on dystopian bad, which could be why the television keeps recommending dystopian movies for me to watch.

I didn’t say anything to the washing machine because of her knack of putting a spin on everything.

The refrigerator seemed a little cold and distant. Not unlike him. That’s just the way he is.

Hoover said, “Suck it up, baby, suck it up!”

The toilet was looking a little flushed and didn’t want to talk about anything.

The doorknobs were at their annual convention and unanimously passed a resolution telling me to “Get a grip!”

The iron calmed me down some, saying that everything will be fine since no situation is too pressing.

The fan joined in with an optimistic view that everything would soon blow over.

I went to the living room to admire the beautiful sunrise when the front door decided to interject, saying that I was unhinged.

The curtains chimed in, telling me to pull myself together.

I went out to my gardens to talk with my plants. Almost every one simply told me not to be a prick.

Ah well, at least I have my mid-morning margaritas. I sure hope they don’t start talking to me.

Ferocactus cylindraceus in Anza-Borrego Desert, Southern California

You can call me ART

Euphorbia milliiEuphorbia millii saving rain drops for another day

The first computer I bought back in 1979 came with VisiCalc. I was like a
6-year-old kid in a candy store. I had been creating spreadsheets all my life using accounting ruled paper from the office supply stores. To be able to do it on a computer and use my typing skills was like eating a Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup.

Throughout the years, I bought every new spreadsheet program that hit
the market, but my favorites were Lotus 1-2-3, SuperCalc, Quattro Pro, Framework, Lotus Symphony, and Microsoft Excel, and out of those Excel has been running my life since around 1993. My current Excel workbook has 30 spreadsheets in it, down from a high of 53 a year ago. I re-organize my life (“life” being defined as “spreadsheets which run my life”) every December.

Here are a few of my most used spreadsheets:

  1. Calendar—This is the spreadsheet that runs my daily life. Anything that
    I need/want to accomplish each day goes in this spreadsheet. This also
    is where I remind myself that I need to brush my teeth; eat breakfast, lunch, and supper…. You can call me ART.
  2. Abbey Road by The BeatlesRock Music—This is where I list all the digital files in my rock music collection, the time of each file, and when I last listened to each file. Currently there are 4,261 files totaling 1,594 hours, 26 minutes, and 29 seconds. If I listen to this collection for an average of 10 hours a day, which I do, it takes me 159 days, 26 hours, and 39 seconds to listen to everything. You can call me ART.
  3. 2019 Honda InsightCars—This is where I track maintenance and daily mileage on our two cars. You can call me ART.
  4. Blog Visits—Yes, I track which blogs I visit each day. My goal is to visit at least 20 blogs each and every day. With 1,677 links to blogs, it can take me 84 days to visit all of them. You can call me ART.
  5. Movies—Here I track movies and TV programs that I have watched.
    It lists the name of the movie or program, when it came out, where I watched it, and when I watched it. Currently watching “Jericho” on Netflix, Season 1, Episode 15. You can all me ART.
  6. Weather—I started tracking the weather when I was 11 and living with my wise old grandmother in Kingsville, Texas, deep in the south of the state. Kingsville’s weather included hail storms, thunderstorms, tropical depressions, hurricanes, tornadoes, droughts, and even snow once a decade. I was at the TV every day for the 6:00 and 10:00 weather to note the temperature, weather, and barometric pressure. You can call me ART.
  7. Olivia—I track Little Queen Olivia’s weight and vet visits. Her last visit to the vet on 12/6 showed her at 8.6 pounds. She was two years old on November 21, so she’s just a little queen. You can call me ART.
  8. Desert Island—My list of music that will have with me if ever there is a chance that I could be lost on a desert island. Currently there are 1,507 songs on it. Albums not allowed. Only individual songs. You can call me ART.
  9. Bad List—This is a list of people and companies that don’t get Christmas cards. Currently has 102 people/companies on the list. I’m a very easy-going Southern boy, so I give people and companies three strikes before calling them out. This list started with my high school girlfriend’s Baptist minister father. I asked her to marry me and her dad said no. Apple has been on the list since 1983, Uber since 2017. You can call me ART.
  10. Explore—A list of places to go, things to do, but only within driving distance since I quit flying around 2003 because of the airlines’ response to the Detroit Shoe Bomber. When flying required me to get up 10 hours before flight time, get to the airport 6 hours early, stand in line for hours waiting for the privilege to be searched and have someone “touch my junk,” and, perhaps, even get to undress for several people, I just decided that I could drive anywhere I wanted to go in the time required to get on an airplane. You can call me ART.

Why ART? It’s an acronym for Anal Retentive Tracking.

Much safer reading than the old manual way

Snow day in the Cuyamaca Mountains, San Diego County, 11/30/2019Snow Day in the Cuyamaca Mountains,
East San Diego County, 11/30/2019

When I was young, I used to carry around with me a copy of the Guinness Book of World Records. That was what I read when I had to wait, usually in some sort of line, like at the grocery store or post office. It was my emergency reading material.

The Golden Ratio by Mario LivioDare I say that I still do that?

My current emergency reading material is
The Golden Ratio: The Story of Phi, The World’s Most Astonishing Number, written by
Mario Livio (b. 1945) and published in 2002.

(Interestingly, as with my own book, it has an ISBN on the back cover and one on the copyright page. They are supposed to be the same. They are not. Ooopsy. Someone goofed.)

It has to do with my book Nature’s Geometry: Succulents and my 1-hour presentation on the same topic.

I’m 99% certain that I’m on the Speaker’s Circuit for cactus & succulent clubs now, but, as my wise old grandmother said in 1966: Don’t count your chickens before they’ve hatched.

(Yes, we had a farm/ranch, and yes, I was counting the number of eggs so I would know how many chickens I would have….)

Two cactus & succulent clubs in the Los Angeles area have me tentatively scheduled for February 9 and February 13.

I did a presentation in June 2019 for the Palomar Cactus & Succulent Society in Escondido, California, a club to which I belong. However, that presentation is now six months old, so I’m updating it using material from my book which was published in October 2019 and with information garnered from my current emergency reading list.

Dare I say that I also read while sitting in stop & go traffic? It’s a skill I learned in 1977-1983 while actually working in an office 8 to 5 (something I rarely have done) and sitting in rush hour traffic in Houston, Texas. I drive with my left hand and hold my reading material at dashboard level with my right hand. The key to doing this successfully, though—with successfully being defined as “without having an accident”—is to only read when the car is at a complete stop. I don’t do it if the car is moving irregardless (one of my favorite non-words) of how slowly that movement might be.

My 2019 Honda Insight has “Brake Hold,” which is the Honda’s way of saying, Here, Russel. We’ve made it easier for you to read while you drive.

2019 Honda Insight

Brake Hold in the 2019 Honda Insight

Brake Hold only takes effect if the car is completely motionless, and it won’t release unless I press on the gas pedal. Much safer reading than the old manual way.

When I went to Julian, California, on November 30, 2019, to play in the snow, I do believe the whole city of San Diego (population 1.3 million) had gotten there before me. There is a high-traffic intersection coming out of the mountains and into downtown Julian. Traffic often backs up for 20 or 30 cars, and it can take 10-15 minutes to go one-tenth of a mile. Traffic on snow day was backed up 1.2 miles, and it took me 1 hour and 34 minutes to go that 1.2 miles. I got a lot of stop & go reading done!

Snow day in the Cuyamaca Mountains, San Diego County, 11/30/2019

I guess I’ll find out whether it really likes me

I live in my own little world

Long-time friends and followers know of my infatuation with plants and mathematics, especially the Fibonacci sequence of numbers.

One of the numbers is 13.

0, 1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 21, 34, 55, 89….

The Fibonacci sequence is expressed throughout nature in many ways: golden angle, divergent angle, golden spiral, golden triangle, Fibonacci triangle, and more….

So when I saw this Echinopsis atacamensis ssp. pasacana with 13 ribs….

Trichocereus atacamensis ssp. pasacana

….offered for sale by Gnosis Nursery of Ramona CA, well, I thought it would look good in my gardens with all my other Fibonacci plants.

I planted it yesterday.

I like it, and I think it likes me.

This plant is native to Argentina and Bolivia, and grows at elevations of 6,500 feet to 13,100 feet above sea level on steep slopes. It does not like high humidity, extreme heat, or lasting frost. The mean maximum temperature in its native habitat is about 85°F, and it only gets about 6 inches of rain each year.

I’m at 682 feet high, and we do get extreme heat out here, many consecutive days of 100+°F with a maximum (so far, in 2½ years) of 118°F.  Since January 1, 2019, I have had 46.75 inches of rain.

Consequently, I planted it on the side of the house that gets bright light and shade rather than in full sun. 

I guess I’ll find out whether it really likes me.