news & updates personal

Update on Dad

My dad’s been in and out of the hospital since last week (around 11/22). The issue (according to my mother): a gallstone had lodged in his bile duct and began backing up bile. My dad already takes a lot of painkillers for his feet; the nerves of his feet and legs were damaged over 20 years ago due to a lack of blood flow (and a wrong diagnosis from a doctor, but that’s a whole other story). So the pain, he thought at first, was indigestion, as he was dealing with nausea and vomiting. But it got worse and eventually he had to go to the hospital, where the discovered and subsequently removed said gallstone. Just one, it seems, plus a “lot of gunk,” which refers to inflammation from infection. See, the bile had backed up so much that it was seeping back into his liver. That’s not good. There was so much that they had to install a drain to get it out. Doing so caused his gallbladder to spasm as it returned to its normal shape, which my dad was not a fan of.

Since then, he’s had some issues with his blood pressure and some fluid collecting in his lungs and around his heart. It sounds mostly like his body just working to get itself right after the gallbladder draining. The fluid’s been drained and his BP has returned to normal. He also had a water leak in his hospital room, an errant fire alarm, and a woman in a nearby room whose fall protection alarm kept going off. Plus having to wait to even get into the hospital due to the rampant RSV infections around the country. The American healthcare system in action.

He’s doing better since and my mom believes he’ll be able to go home today (haven’t heard from her yet). My understanding is that he’ll have to keep wearing the gallbladder drain (which, I think, it’s kind of like a smaller ostomy bag for his gallbladder–a gallostomy bag, we’ll say) until his gallbladder is healed enough for them to remove it. Dad is vehemently against surgery, and I don’t blame him, he’s been through some big ones. But it’s either that or a constant concern that his gallbladder will back up and become infected again.

My dad is 80 years old, my mom 75. They’ve been married for 56 years. Back then, you got married in your late teens/early 20s. During that half a century they’ve experienced all the ups and downs and trials and tribulations. And that’s not even mentioning me and my two brothers compounding those trials x10. Eventually everyone and everything dies. It’s the only constant in the universe. It’s inevitable, and yet completely unique each time. My dad’s told me numerous times that he’s at peace with dying. He knows it’s coming. But in moments like this I realize that there’s a difference between being at peace with the concept of dying, and actually dying, which I think, no matter what, is going to be scary. But it’s not a contrast; it’s a complement. The peace and the fear. There’s something kind of depressing about not being afraid to die, you know? Life is so weird and miraculous, and then you’re just going to leave it at some point. Why wouldn’t you have some trepidation about that?

In all honesty it’s a miracle that my dad’s been alive as long as he has. Or rather, it’s a miracle of medicine and doctors and surgery. It’s no miracle of God. If anything, God had his grubby paws out, waiting to snatch him up over 20 years ago. Or when he had throat cancer about a decade later. Science is the thing that keeps him around. I’m more thankful for science than I am for some deity in the sky.

Anyway, that’s an update on that. Dad’s doing alright, mom’s hanging in there. Still waiting to hear on if he’ll be released from the hospital today. It sounds likely.

news & updates personal

Josh Writes a Blog (Again)



A … are you starting a blog again?

Yeah, I am.

Don’t you have a newsletter already?

I do.

So … what’s this for?

Well, I was thinking about it, you know —

Oh no.

— and I thought — what do you mean, “Oh no”?

I just don’t like to see you thinking about stuff, is all.

What is that supposed to mean?

Well, you start to think about something, and then that thing turns into two things, and then those two things turn into four things, and —

I’m just thinking about —

It’s exponential, you know.

Right, right. I get it.

This is all about Twitter, isn’t it?

… Sort of.

Alright, explain.

I signed up for Twitter back in 2008 and have more or less enjoyed the hell out of it until about 2015. Or whenever Trump started being more of an issue on it. Really, I could say that it was when news and politics became a thing in general on that site, but it really stopped being a fun site during the Trump presidency. My interest in it has waxed and waned since then.

I’ve written some type of blog since forever. 1998? But when Twitter took over, instead of blogging, I tweeted. If I didn’t start auto-deleting my tweets a few years ago, I’m sure I’d have around 30,000 tweets by now. That’s a lot. Most of it dumb jokes that were topical and wouldn’t make sense now.

Anyway, Elon Musk bought Twitter and that guy is a real dumb piece of shit, so I’ve been thinking about leaving Twitter for good. It’s hard because I like writing and I like the microblogging that Twitter offers. But I’ve also noticed over the years that I’ve become less introspective and honest in my writing, which I miss. So I thought I would start up a blog again, to keep that going.

How’s that sound?

Eh, it’s fine I guess. You’re talking to yourself, though, so you’re already worried that you won’t ever update and nobody will ever read it and everybody hates you forever.

Damn, you really know me, me.

So what about the newsletter?

It’s still going to happen. I might copy blogs from here into it though, spruce them up for the newsletter crowd. I don’t know if that’s a good idea or a bad idea, but who cares.


Blogs for the blog crowd, newsletters for the newsletter crowd.

Alright. Well, good luck.

Thanks, me.

news & updates personal

2017 state of things

Hello hello hello.

2017 has been a shit year for the world. Thankfully we have Facebooks and Twitters and Tumblrs and all sorts of social media that you can reference regarding that particular breakdown of our country’s fundamental governing. This is my blog, so of course I will talk about myself.

For me 2017 has been more mediocre and lacking in ambition than anything else. There have been some high points: I was in a play, the first legitimate paying gig in like three years. It was a lean cut of Shakespeare’sĀ Troilus & Cressida, done at Lone Fir Cemetery here in Portland, by Portland Actors Ensemble. We had a great cast and an equally great run, and I am thoroughly proud of the production and the people within it. It, for a brief moment, sparked a renewed passion to act again, though to be honest that spark has since dwindled, for reasons I’ll talk about later.

I have a new job, working as a Legal Secretary for the Oregon Department of Justice. My first state job. I started in September and still have a couple of months left on my trial period. To be honest I took a positional hit for this job–I was a Legal Assistant at my old job, though jobwise it was much more on par with being a paralegal[1. If you’re confused about the hierarchy of these titles, you know how a rectangle is sometimes a square but a square is never a rectangle? Yeah, it’s that kind of confusing.]. Either way, definitely a higher position than secretary. I’m hoping that this is the beginning of an upward climb through the state system, either through the DOJ or somewhere else in the state. I appreciate the job security, the benefits, and the ability to get my student loans forgiven.

Also, the Dept of Justice’s online intranet site is called DOJO, which is fun.

In February I wrote some really great songs as part of FAWM, which I hope to throw onto a website this year.

In November I finished NaNoWriMo for the second time in the 15 years I’ve attempted. The book is calledĀ Leap Year One and I hope to get it ready for a first draft by March or April or something like that.

So I have a lot to be happy about. And yet so many other things are nagging at me.

news & updates personal

the state of things

I gave up my blog for nearly a year so I could write a bunch of monologues. As with most of my ventures these days, it ended with a sense of ambivalence. I wrote some good stuff, I wrote some bad stuff. I pretended song lyrics were monologues during FAWM. I wrote part of a NaNoWriMo novel in first person, pretending those were monologues. I delved a bit into my own battles with depression, a thing I keep meaning to write about but end up not doing because, of course, I don’t think it’s worthy of your time. (Then again, this is my blog, and if you’re reading it then you obviously have devoted time to it.) It’s funny; in my teens and part way into my 20s I spent a lot of time being open and introspective about my own life. I’d write tons of material on Diaryland and LiveJournal–completely open for people to read (which got me in trouble a couple of times). I did it so much that I realized I was being repetitious and I guess I decided I didn’t like that. Not for me, per se, but for you, the reader, whomever you may be. My repetitions were usually negative in nature and being repetitious about how I’m bad at dating or how I suck because I don’t want to go out ever ground me down like a weathered rock on a riverbed. Polished, but dull, lacking edges. Same as all the other rocks.

So later on I just gave up writing things. I decided to be introspective in my own head. Folks, that’s not the best idea. Ideas in your head roll around forever, they get stuck there, trapped in your consciousness until you let them out. And I’ve always been a man who needed an outlet, especially for my creativity, which tends to diffuse sadness or depression vis a vis working distraction. Taking my problems and internalizing them to the extent that I have been has only pulled me down, in ways I didn’t know I could be pulled. I’m still climbing out of that pit. Writing monologues was an excuse to be creative every day, to try and inhabit another person’s mind for at least an hour or two a day. Truth is, some days I forgot and had to make up for them later. Other days I didn’t want to get out of bed. And then around June my job got so busy that I didn’t really have the energy to devote to writing monologues, so I stopped prematurely. Not bothered by that one bit. I wrote 267 monologues! That’s nothing to sneeze at. (Sneeze at? Did I just make that up?)

Point is: I think my goal for this blog now is to continue being introspective, to be honest with myself, and to write about my life in a way that, I hope, is accessible to everyone who cares to read it. Because I always want an audience, but I think the audience wants to see me be honest with them, and not hide. On the other hand: I hate when I talk about what this blog is about. Who fucking cares. It’s a goddamn blog. It could be about my favorite hot dogs, who gives a shit? Just write you big dummy.