Friday, June 30, 2006

Friday Shorts

I'm posting this be email, at work I can't access blogger, our "surf Nazis" have blocked the site.  They have also blocked comments – I can't read comments or comment from work.  I know I have comments out there to respond to, but they'll have to wait.

Had a terrible night last night.  Lately I'm not sleeping well, vivid dreams are affecting my sleep.  Most of the dreams are quite uncomfortable.  Last night it was a dream of a rocket launch.  I was at our local airport watching a major rocket launch.  The rocket lifted off, but lifted slowly, and looked like it just didn't have power to make it into space.  It got up a ways, and started to lose velocity.  I'm saying out loud "Oh, this isn't good."  It flew straight for a while, then flew right into the ground and made a huge explosion.   It crashed in a direction that indicated it might have been close to my home, so I tried to get to my vehicle.  But the vehicle was on the airfield, and with the planes taking off and landing I could not get to my vehicle.  Very disturbing.  And yes, the significance of this dream is not lost on me.  A symbol such as a rocket that can't quite make it up, tries hard, and ends up crashing and burning.  Everyone else is coming and going, soaring and landing, and I'm stuck in the grass.  It was a panic type of feeling.  While the crash and burn has not actually happened to me, my meds have taken away enough desire that the rocket wouldn't have even made it to the launch pad.   That's probably the reason for the stuck vehicle.  Oh well, it could be worse – I think – or could it?

My 22 year old bipolar son Kyle got a job!  Great company, a major telecom everyone has heard of.  Good money, full benefits after 30 days, they know about his arrests and everything.  He'll be in the call center – call center work is difficult and draining emotionally and physically.  He's done it before and really didn't like it.  But we have had a discussion that after 30 days he's eligible for full insurance coverage and he needs to get hooked up with a Pdoc IMMEDIATELY once this comes about.  This will begin his meds that will possibly allow him to keep this job through the manic periods that have caused him to walk away from his previous jobs.   So let's hope it works…

A few posts ago I hinted at thoughts of suicide.  Let me set the record straight, as I have family members and kids that read this from time to time, and I don't want them worried.  I also don't want to minimize the process either.

The notion of suicide ideation is common.  In other words, you have thoughts and ideas pertaining to suicide.  Ideation is one thing, implementation is something entirely different.   Ideation is absolutely nothing you can control, and it's actually a good gauge for frame of mind and mental health.  If the thoughts come, you know to watch carefully.  I let my wife know, and I try to stay on top of it.  Recently, I have had days where I've been tortured with racing thoughts, anxiety, irritation, nervous tics and an over-abundance of nervous energy.  Combine this with a lack of sleep so your physical energy level is down.   The ideation was absolutely there.  Then Sage's comment about hospitalization, and I'm thinking how tired I was, how tortured my mind had been recently, and the thought of  being someplace where there were no worries, no responsibility, and where there was relief from my tortured mind was strangely attractive.   But I'm not going anywhere, you can count on it.

How about Rush Limbaugh being nabbed for another prescription drug violation?  Carrying a prescription of Viagra written for someone else.  He's given an ultimatum, and can't abide by the court's orders.  I mean, how hard could it be?  (Rimshot!)

Everyone have a great weekend, and for those in the USA have a great Independence Day!

Thursday, June 29, 2006

Musical Shows This Summer

Music is my art of choice. I'm not a musician, not for many years anyway. But music is to me what visual art is to some, or performance art is to others. It's that sensory stimulus that keeps me grounded, that invokes strong emotions, and in general makes life enjoyable.

This summer has been a banner year for musical acts in our remote area, carved out of cornfields in the US heartland. So far this summer I have seen 3 acts that rank in my top 10. A few weeks ago it was Junior Brown. Very twangy country, but this boy could cook on the guitar. He had a custom double-necked guitar he dubbed "Big Red". One neck for regular playing, the other for slide. He was an incredible axe-man.

Next was Bela Fleck and the Flecktones. Such talented musicians, probably the best in the world at their respective instruments. The music is pretty much indescribable, it doesn't fit in any genre. Bluegrass to jazz to classical. Just make it a point to see them if they hit your area.

Tonight it was Dave Alvin. Another musician most have never heard of, but probably America's greatest songwriter, and a very fine musician. He came out of Southern California in the late seventies / early eighties in a band called The Blasters. This band fueled the rock-a-billy craze of the eighties. Then to a punk band called "X". One of the first true punk bands in the states. Since then he has written songs that have been recorded by many HUGE stars. He is a true professional, and put on a show that cooked. The wife and I danced and had a great time. It's a shame that someone of this musical stature and talent is playing dive bars like he played tonight. But the crowd was large, and they gave him a hell of a reception. His band played their hearts out. In the midst of crap like REO Speedwagon and BTO reunion tours, to find an act of this quality for $15 a ticket is like finding treasure.

Camping Trip

The camping trip was great. Very relaxing. Many cigars smoked, a few beers consumed, much chilling ensued.

A PB on fish I was actually trying to catch:

I've caught bigger fish, but on accident, such as snagging them when fishing for other fish, or shooting them with bow and arrow. I don't bowfish much anymore, preferring to pursue the rod and reel approach.

We were in a park that was on the path of the Lewis and Clark voyage, and they had many related exhibits. Here's a son, his girlfriend, and our 2 daughters on a replica Lewis and Clark keelboat:

I could post pictures all day, but it was a great trip, albeit short. The hardest part was coming back home. Then the stress just floods back...

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

The Battle

You hear about the incredibly high suicide rate among those suffering from bipolar disorder, and you have a hard time comprehending it. Then at some point you realize that you are too tired fighting with this damn disorder and any kind of relief would be a huge welcome.

Don't worry, I'm not particularly suicidal. I don't have time for it...

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Why Should This Surprise Me

Pentagon Document Classifies Homosexuality as Mental Disorder

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

WASHINGTON — A Pentagon document classifies homosexuality as a mental disorder, decades after mental health experts abandoned that position.

The document outlines retirement or other discharge policies for service members with physical disabilities, and in a section on defects lists homosexuality alongside mental retardation and personality disorders.

Critics said the reference underscores the Pentagon's failing policies on gays, and adds to a culture that has created uncertainty and insecurity around the treatment of homosexual service members, leading to anti-gay harassment.

Pentagon spokesman Lt. Col. Jeremy M. Martin said the policy document is under review.

The Pentagon has a "don't ask, don't tell" policy that prohibits the military from inquiring about the sex lives of service members but requires discharges of those who openly acknowledge being gay.

The Center for the Study of Sexual Minorities in the Military, at the University of California at Santa Barbara, uncovered the document and pointed to it as further proof that the military deserves failing grades for its treatment of gays.

Nathaniel Frank, senior research fellow at the center, said, "The policy reflects the department's continued misunderstanding of homosexuality and makes it more difficult for gays and lesbians to access mental health services."

The document, called a Defense Department Instruction, was condemned by medical professionals, members of Congress and other experts, including the American Psychiatric Association.

"It is disappointing that certain Department of Defense instructions include homosexuality as a 'mental disorder' more than 30 years after the mental health community recognized that such a classification was a mistake," said Rep. Marty Meehan, D-Mass.

Congress members noted that other Pentagon regulations dealing with mental health do not include homosexuality on any lists of psychological disorders. And in a letter to Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld on Monday, nine lawmakers asked for a full review of all documents and policies to ensure they reflect that same standard.

"Based on scientific and medical evidence the APA declassified homosexuality as a mental disorder in 1973 — a position shared by all other major health and mental health organizations based on their own review of the science," James H. Scully Jr., head of the psychiatric association, said in a letter to the Defense Department's top doctor earlier this month.

There were 726 military members discharged under the "don't ask, don't tell" policy during the budget year that ended last Sept. 30. That marked the first year since 2001 that the total had increased. The number of discharges had declined each year since it peaked at 1,227 in 2001, and had fallen to 653 in 2004.

Monday, June 19, 2006

SO Fired Up!

Later this week we take our first (and maybe only) camping trip this summer. This is something the family does together, although this year the boys (18, 22, & 23) are not joining us. Or so they say, one or two usually end up joining us for at least one night.

This is the time of year I can absolutely, totally, relax. No worries, no responsibility, just enjoying nature and the family.

On these vacations, we don't do a lot. I fish, which means watching a carp pole, and the kids play, hike, fish, and eat a lot of cookies and smores. I'm so thankful my wife enjoys this also, our enthusiasm fuels the girl's excitement.

How often do you see a young girl so contented, while spending time with the family?

My boys love to fish, and also love to camp. But unfortunately, they are going too many different directions. But even if they join us for a few hours it's worth it - to us and them. Here's my oldest, tall, blonde, college graduated, and enjoying life:

And my youngest boy, tall, dark, high school graduated, and in a hurry to break camp to get home for a date.

And for those of you wondering about our fish, yes, we catch carp and we love it. If you're from Europe or Asia, no further explanation is necessary, and we release them all. If you're from the states and are shaking your head and rolling your eyes, well, you just have to experience it.

We'll post some current pictures when we get back. With a little luck, Kyle will join us also and we'll have pictures of him.

Sunday, June 11, 2006

The Week In Review

Hey all - don't forget to visit my bipolar blog at Thanks to all who have read my blog over there and left comments. It's a different format, but it does help me out to know there are people reading that.

Just finished up a particularly difficult week. Mania was sky-high, and it was scary. We're talking full-blown mania, not that hypomania stuff I usually get that I try to pretend is mania. This was BAD. I had a job interview for a job I REALLY want, and didn't do as well as I had hoped. Then I got turned down for a car loan mainly because we had a dental bill that had been reported that we didn't know had been turned over. We thought we were OK with the payments we were making. I was all set to buy one of those boxy little Scions. A ton of room, and 34 mpg. I'm getting like 14 mpg now.

But a high point, the wife and I saw Bela Fleck And The Flecktones tonight in an outside concert. This was one of the best shows I've ever seen. The best musicians you've never heard of. Bela Fleck on banjo, Victor Wooten on bass, a guy named Futureman on percussion, and the horn player's name escapes me. The combination of banjo, saxophone, bass, and electronic percussion is so absurd it's wonderful. Their styles ranged from bebop to fusion jazz to bluegrass. The bass player, Victor Wooten, is probably the best bass player in the world today. He approaches the late Jaco Pastorious as a virtuoso. Bela Fleck on banjo had sounds and styles ranging from twangy bluegrass to an electric banjo that sounded like a rock guitar. And the guy can PLAY. Incredible. If they ever hit your town, they are a MUST SEE.

I won't be updating this blog as often, my bipolar blog gets most of my attention these days. And with the week just finished I haven't been around to the blogs as regularly as I'd like. Sorry to all my friends, I promise to get around more often.