Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Pharmaceutical Happiness

I finally went to a doctor today, after having a total of four anxiety attacks. He put me on Zoloft, which sounds like it could be an alien planet in a Kurt Vonnegut novel. Hopefully, this is the beginning of the end of this.

On top of that, I'm making an effort to relieve some stress in my life, mostly by throwing old eggs at my neighbors' cars and making crank calls to the Office of Homeland Security. I plan on starting a regular exercise regimen soon (The best laid plans of mice and men . . . but we'll see.) because exercise is supposed to be a good stress-reliever and because I need to lose weight, and sitting in front of a computer all day doesn't burn off the calories the way you might think. I just generally need to be a healthier person.

Baby steps. . .

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Magic Umbrella

I have a magic umbrella. It's big, it's black, and whenever I have it with me, it doesn't rain. My magic umbrella never gets wet.

I forgot to bring my magic umbrella with me to work today. Naturally, I got rained on when I went to lunch.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Less Anxiety

After my anxiety attack at last week's rehearsal, I arranged for someone else to take my part in the upcoming IWS chamber concert. But there was another hump to get over. Wednesday night was supposed to be my first full IWS board meeting as president.
I was very worried that my new position on the board was a big part of my anxiety attacks, and I wasn't sure if I could make it through the meeting. But I went anyway. On the way there (a 40-minute drive), I practiced some of the things I needed to say. That helped.
I arrived half an hour early, which unfortunately gave me thirty minutes to stew. But I didn't just stew; I walked. I thrice circled the church where the meeting was to take place, singing as I went along. That helped, too.
Long story short, I survived the meeting without an anxiety attack. I left feeling just superb!
And now this Sunday I get to actually listen to a live rendition of Mozart's Piano Concerto #20 instead of having to concentrate on my own musical part.

Friday, October 13, 2006

Anxiety Attack

On Wednesday night, shortly after posting that gibberish about Chasing Cars, I went to a rehearsal for an IWS chamber concert. As soon as I got there, I started feeling weird -- my insides started tensing up, I got a little light-headed, and I had to focus on something to keep from losing my balance. But I soldiered on.

As rehearsal continued, I was hit by waves of nausea, my body couldn't seem to control its temperature, and I generally felt really really bad. I must have gotten up three times just to go out in the lobby of the church and walk around, trying to regain my calm.

I mostly made it through rehearsal and then high-tailed it outta there. I didn't get much better on the drive home, so I drove myself to the ER.

Now, I hate hospitals. I'm glad they're there, in the way that I'm glad that colonoscopies are there. I'd rather not have to experience either. But just being in a hospital, whether I'm the sick on or not, makes me tense and anxious.

The ER was rather busy that night, so I waited around for nearly two hours -- not sure whether my exhaustion was just me being tired or was a symptom of something more sinister -- before I got to see a doctor.

The short of it is, my blood sugar was fine -- no diabetes. An EKG came out normal -- no arrhythmia. It was most likely an anxiety attack. It was similar to the one I had at the end of the last concert (see previous post), but not as intense in the beginning.

It was midnight before I left, and I took a sick day on Thursday to rest and recuperate and try to figure out where I could reduce some stress. As it turns out, the answer is EVERYWHERE. The problem, though, is that to eliminate a lot of the stress in some areas increases the stress level in the biggest area: finances.

But I have a plan, and hopefully this situation will be only temporary.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Snow Patrol -- Chasing Cars

I've heard Snow Patrol's "Chasing Cars" on the radio a few times now, and I really like the song. It's touching, poignant, and all that gooey stuff. But one thing always sticks in my craw when I hear this song -- and keep in mind that I'm a copy editor.

The refrain for this song starts like this:

If I lay here,
If I just lay here,
Will you lie with me and just forget the world?

The problem, of course, is the verb. "Lay" takes a direct object. The grammatical way to write this lyric is

If I lie here,
If I just lie here,
Will you lie with me and just forget the world?

Now, I can take a little rule-bending. I'm not the stickler that this post might make me out to be. But in this case, by not using the correct verb form, the lyric misses a whole double-meaning that could have given this song three times the depth. The double-meaning is, of course, that "lie" also means "to tell an untruth."

With "lie" meaning "to recline" (or to simply use the current lyrics), this refrain is a straightforward love song, and the question is nearly rhetorical. But if you read the "lie" to mean "to tell an untruth," the question asked in this lyric becomes, "Is it better to live in a beautiful lie or to live with the ugly truth?" -- the topic of many a Philip K. Dick short story.

I don't assume that the guys of Snow Patrol are grammatical idiots. I think the fact that they got the correct verb form in the third line but not the first two points to the idea that, for some reason, they deliberately avoided the double-meaning. But I can't for the life of me figure out why. The surrounding lyrics in the song are just as meaningful, of not moreso, with "lie" as with "lay."

Perhaps (and if so, this just ruins the song for me) they were going for a double-meaning with "lay" -- "to have sex with." If this were true, the refrain is actually a man begging a woman to be submissive:

If I lay (have sex) here, will you lie (just lie there and do

Or, and I just thought of this, perhaps I'm reading the wrong version of "lie." Maybe he's asking her to keep their affair a secret.

If I lay (have sex) here, will you lie (tell untruths) with me?

The only problem with these interpretations is the word "just." "If I just (have sex) here"?
Hmmm. Comments appreciated.

Monday, October 09, 2006

Williamsport Library Fire

I normally avoid listening to the news. It's always bad. Of course, some of it always reaches my ears. An accident here, a shooting there, a bank robbing granny. I guess I've become galvanized to a certain degree against bad news.

But tonight I heard something on the news that made me more mad, and madder, than any news story I've heard in weeks. Someone burned down the new library in Williamsport, Indiana. An autographed collection of James Whitcomb Riley books -- gone. The town's constitution -- gone. A 9/11 memorial display -- gone. Books, DVDs, CDs, computers, knowledge, learning, truth, lies, laughter, pain, humanity -- all gone.

I have a lot of books here. Maybe they could use them. I'll post a link if and when I find more information.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

A New Jeopardy Category

The Language Log (see my links) has been chock-a-block full of discussions about whether Neil Armstrong said "...one giant leap for man" or "...one giant leap for a man," complete with spectrographs and letters from Armstrong's biographer.

But squeezed in among these discussions was this little gem. These are the kind of fun little mistakes that I like to find. The short of it is this: a tanker truck with the contradictory message "NON PORTABLE WATER" on the side.

Obviously, they meant "potable." But it got me wondering. The word "potable" might have disappeared from our vocabulary if not for Jeopardy and its recurring category, Potent Potables. I wonder whether they have used Potent Portables as a category. Or even Portent Portables. (Or Potent Potatoes?)

OK! All right! I'll go to bed!

Monday, October 02, 2006

The Last Marathon Mile

I am one chapter away from finishing the copy edit of the current book from hell, but it is one long chapter -- 60 pages before the figures are dropped in. I can see the light at the end of the tunnel, but it's still a long long tunnel.

I'll feel a little weird when I finally finish, though. I started copy editing this book in late May. Finally pushing this off my plate will feel a bit like having a 50-pound tumor removed. It'll take a while before that "always-there-and-waiting" feeling fully goes away.

Of course, I'll have other books to work on. Microsoft has made sure of that.