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Showing posts from September, 2020

Meditation: Aad Guray Nameh

Blinking through intense pain involving my L4, L5 and S1 proves to be a challenge tonight. It fucking hurts. Bad. The oxy I took earlier turned out to be as potent as frikken Chiclets.  I turn towards meditation during these moments. Anything to get my mind off what hurts, and to refocus my energy. Does the pain go away? No. That's not the point of meditation. My mantra of choice is the Mangala Charn . It's considered potent, chanted to invoke the protective energy of the Creation. As more than a few people have pointed out, it " clears the clouds of doubt and opens us to guidance and protection".  My favorite rendition is by Snatam Kaur . There are several different translations out there. Aad Guray Nameh (I bow to the Primal Source of Creation) Jugaad Guray Nameh (I bow to Creation woven throughout time.) Sat Guray Nameh (I bow to the True Source of Creation, the true identity of self) Siri Guru Devay Nameh (I bow to Creation whose Great Glory will always be)

The fencing project continues

Today is the day we finish changing out old fence panels for new. It's been a long time coming and, being fair and all, it's only one and a half panels. Do you see that smiling construction guy over there? I need him and two of his buddies. I also can't afford him nor his buddies, ergo Better Half and I will entertain the neighborhood by floundering all over our yard and the neighbor's weedy flowerbeds. WEEDY , do you hear me?! Their crap has invaded our grass and all but taken over. Anyway, if you don't hear from me by Wednesday, I died in an epic battle against gravity. If you do hear from me, rest assured that I'm lamenting the chore of painting the damn fence. Before the weather is cold. Because I'm anal. We still haven't sealed the deck planks. Ugh. Update: Better Half didn't get any sleep last night or this morning. Fencing project put off for another day. I'm also exhausted so this works out nicely.

ARG: The Sun Vanished

  C reepy things aren't my cup of tea unless done very well. It has nothing to do with imagination and everything to do with logic. Get me to flush logic down the toilet and you'll be able to unsettle me. The modern era and social media allow for a new form of storytelling. Personally, I'm a fan of The Sun Vanished . (That's the Twitter account, by the way.) It's a deliciously uncomfortable alternate reality game (ARG*). Imagine my pleasant surprise to stumble upon a video made by Mike on his channel, That Chapter . Annnnd Blogger is being a bastard with embedded video. You know, it sort of defeats the purpose of talking about the damn video and ARG. That Chapter | Part One:  Exploring TheSunVanished | Disturbing Twitter Profile That Chapter | Part Two: Exploring TheSunVanished Part 2 | More Creepy Tweets "The Sun Vanished" tapers off with a post 30 April 2020 marking the two-year anniversary of "their" arrival. I highly recommend th

The Election That Could Break America

 I do my best to not politicize on The Gruffchick Journal, but this realization really gets my goat. I'll reserve my full opinion to allow you to form your own on this matter. In a column in the Atlantic, writer Barton Gellman says that Donald Trump's efforts to discredit mail-in voting is more about the end goal - to throw a potential close election into chaos and take advantage of an opaque election system to grab a second term regardless of what the votes say. He joins Katy Tur [MSNBC] to discuss. Aired on 09/24/2020.   The article itself can be found here: The Atlantic:  " This story appears in the November issue of The Atlantic ; we’ve published it early on our website because of its urgency. Subscribers to the print magazine can expect to receive the issue in mid-October."   The Election That Could Break America If the vote is close, Donald Trump could easily throw the election into chaos and subvert the result. Who will stop him? _______________ It doesn'

Too cold for walkies?

Hershey and I got up a bit late for "walkies". I think I inadvertently muted my phone last night - no alarm this morning.  We went through our morning ritual upstairs before heading down the stairs for water and a jacket. I opened the back door to a rush of cold air. The dog didn't know what to make of it. He didn't want to go outside at all. Instead, he turned his almond shaped eyes my direction. Please, let's just stay in? I checked the weather on my phone. 43°F with a good breeze. Hmm. He doesn't have a coat or jacket. Personally, I love crisp weather, though anything below freezing should be embraced from behind glass and with a steaming mug of coffee to warm up the hands. Do I go without him or drag him along? Better to stay at home. With coffee. And blog. What a life. It was 68°F downstairs - comfortable for Better Half and me. I knew my mother wouldn't be alright with that temp. It's best to "furnace block" her before she awakens. Heat

Hoards II

Our adventure continues. Hoards Part II. You're welcome to read Part I to understand why there is any need for a Part II, or a future Part III. I imagine we might even see a Part XVIII if we include the basement in this madness. Initially, the plan was to remove all the surplus fake wood printer stands, typewriter stands, broken printers, and other surplus garbage cluttering up the office. We'd avoid my mother getting upset over "memories" being moved. Then I realize that she would walk into a de-cluttered office and grow angry because she didn't see anything that was vanishing.  Nothing vanishes permanently unless it's broken, mind.  My mother sees Better Half struggling with an ancient printer. "Where are you going with that?" "It's broken," he grunts. "Are you sure," she challenges. Thus we enter the eternal loop with her thinking we tossed something useful. We haven't. And, hey, the day has just begun. "I want to

Bork bork nom nom onion

My dog is an idiot. Mind, he's nothing like my mother's idiot savant dog, but there are days when I start to wonder if Demon Dog is rubbing off on Hershey. And then Hershey dispels that thought by doing something utterly stupid. Today's stupidity involves an onion. A brief detour here: onions, like most bulbs in the Allium family, are toxic to dogs. Onions contain compounds called disulfides (N-propyl disulfide) and thiosulphates which can be toxic to dogs (an cats) if ingested. The ingestion of onions causes conditions called hemolytic anemia, Heinz body anemia, and methemoglobinemia which are all manifestation of damage to red blood cells. Consumption of as little as 15 to 30 g/kg in dogs has resulted in clinically important hematologic changes. Onion toxicities are consistently noted in animals that ingest more than 0.5% of their body weight in onions at one time. Consumption of as little as 5 g/kg of onions in cats or 15 to 30 g/kg in dogs has resulted in

Morning mist and not-walks

   It was a crisp 48° when I fed the dogs this morning. The mists hung heavy in the air. Beyond the rooftops, where the Ohio River snakes its way through the valley, it rose and churned in the light breeze. The sun remained shrouded for quite some time. No walking adventures for Hershey and me today. I couldn't drag myself out of bed before 7:30. Everyone and their brother walks their dogs after this time. Some are polite; Some growl and bluster. Their dogs aren't so bad, however.  

COMMENTARY: Simple Truth cranberry juice

  It's extremely rare to find a Simple Truth product that I don't like. Then I discovered their 100% cranberry (pasteurized | no sugar added!) juice. Saying it's tart is akin to... nothing. It's that damn bitter. I don't know of any good use for it, unless I bring it to the police so they can lob it at looters. Now that would be beyond brutality. Hey, if nothing else, the CIA can use it to interrogate terrorists. So what is Simple Truth cranberry juice?  According to Kroger's website, it's a beverage free from 101+ artificial preservatives and ingredients, kosher, pasteurized, and contains 70 calories per 8 oz fl.  The ingredients are simple, too. Filtered water, cranberry juice, cranberry juice concentrate.  I'm wondering if there's a fourth ingredient. If Death shat its pants and squeezed the slurry into a container, it would taste like the contents of this bottle. (Remember to refrigerate after opening.) Simple Truth's cranberry mix offerings

9/11. If we learn nothing else from this tragedy...

My memories of 9/11 have faded over time. Not the event itself. Rather, the aftermath seems fuzzy. Were I asked to explain it to someone that wasn't alive then (or too young to remember it), I suppose I would repeat myself: The miracle is not that we survived, but that we rose up with our heads held high, hand in hand. My generation is too young to understand the strong feelings of anger and solidarity following the attack on Pearl Harbor. We were blessed in that we never truly knew war, a peer group too young to comprehend Vietnam. On September 11, we each paused in our daily routine to watch, to listen, to mourn or to gnash our teeth. We were swept up in that moment, bound together across the country by a deluge of emotions. Our cohesion was a miracle. We were not separated by status or race, gender or orientation. - Bemused Muse 5 Sept 2008 That cohesion seems absent now. We are a nation divided. We were a nation divided back in 2001 as well. America was a

War of the Water Towers

★•☆•☆• REPRINT •☆•☆•★ ... or how Big Things with More Than Two Legs scare the shit out of Humanity's offspring. Aliens are assholes Water towers unsettled me as a child.  Perhaps it was because they were massive balls suspended on only a few thin legs?  They groaned when the wind was fierce, and creaked when temperatures suddenly snapped from one extreme to another.  Foreboding due to their mass and height, they stood like resolute sentries, sometimes silhouetted by the full moon when not obfuscated by grumbling storm clouds.  We didn't climb them. We didn't go near them. Instead, we sat in our beds on stormy nights, and we waited with all the fever of a child eager to catch Santa at his job... but what we waited for wasn't anticipation of presents.  Nay, we wanted verification of the Supreme Truth that all children in my tiny town knew: water towers were alien machines. Oh, you can laugh all you want.  It won't make much sense to people that haven&#

Something creeping in the fog

  H ershey and I ordinarily leave for our walk while the world's still dark. The silence lends an opportunity to meditate. But today I woke up late. The customary stillness was replaced by mechanical moans from garage doors, the rattling of chains under the school bus, and muffled voices.  Add to that a weirdly dense fog formed by the Ohio River and our topography. The water droplets suspended within this cloud soup would shift and swirl if batted at. Wisps rippled from Hershey's tail. It pressed in on us as we went. I could see my dog but little else around us. Trying to take a picture was pointless. No flash, dull fuzz. Flash, white wall. The damp seeped into clothing and blanketed the scents in the alley. Hershey gave up tracking rabbits and plodded along beside me for a change. Anyone that is familiar with my water tower adventure can vouch for my imagination getting the best of me. Logic would normally prevail now that I'm adult. Yet it's still healthy to slip a t

Going viral is never fun, II

    Now that I'm on the back end of this gastric virus, I find myself questioning how I even got the damn thing. I use PPE. I keep my distance. I avoid crowds. I sanitize my hands. My best guess is unwashed grapes. We shopped at Giant Eagle in PA and I snacked on them during the drive home. It's chilling (to me) to think that it could have easily been COVID. Lesson learned. Update: yeah, that back end of the virus? Nope. Fever back, and the waltz with the porcelain god commences.

Going viral is never fun

  I spent the evening in the ED. Joy. It's my fault, really. The meds I take for pain also slow down the digestive process. Hey, nothing a bottle of Magnesium citrate can't cure. O. M. G. I'll spare you all the details. Suffice to say, I will never do that again. I curled up with Better Half to take a nap, but woke up with a fever and chills, and feeling every bit as floaty as one would expect from calcium overload. Thinking it was all related, we drove into Steubenville. It wasn't related. Gastric nonsense aside, I have a viral infection. Not THE virus, although they all but gave me a Pap smear via my left nostril, "Just to be safe." I have to self-isolate until that test result comes back. Could be 24 hours from now, or 7 days. Hey, it's a holiday weekend. Stuff happens. I already have a game plan, if it is COVID-19. I'm going to grab every last dog bed and pillow, hollow out a nest in the office, and pretend to be a troll. Not a "trollhunter&q


My father, the old dragon, passed away with his hoarded lair filled to the brim and left to whoever was intrepid enough to raid it. Treasures could be found there; treasures too precious to part with: paperclips, the literature they staple to your prescription bag, three printers (two not working) five CPU towers going back as far as the 80s, office supplies to last a lifetime, batteries of all shapes and sizes, empty boxes, bags, and piles upon piles of paper all needing to be filed. Oh, and tools. Lots and lots of tools. It doesn't help that I tend to hold on to things for animistic or sentimental reasons. I fretted over throwing away a lock whose combination has long since been lost to the ages. It was Dad's lock and he thought it important. I really don't know what half the tools do . Engineering, sound engineering, low voltage wiring? Just something he bought because it was nifty? Bad luck for me, I do know what the other half does and thus my brain screams, "Don&