Saturday, October 31, 2009

Being The Best Me I Can Be

It's amazing how swift my mood can change, and how the darkness seems to sweep over me. Call it momentary depression, call it being childish, but it is what it is. Just thinking about the past couple of years, I don't think up until now I ever really experienced such extreme emotions before on such a constant basis. It's weird to think that it is probably my brain playing tricks on me. Just thinking that my brain could be responsible for so many things is such a frustrating matter. I can't tell if the feelings I have are genuine, or exacerbated versions of what I would have been able to easily shrug off otherwise. What's genuine anymore?

That stuff makes it real hard to relate to and interact with almost everyone. Am I angry with so and so for a good reason or am I being unreasonable? Is this person unbelievably irritating or is it just me? Do I even really like this person or am I just looking to find more voices to drown out my own? I've always had trouble with people anyway, but now I find myself in an even stranger spot. It's harder to deal with people these days, and this is a time when I need them the most. I can say this though, I am trying my best. In some instances I think I am doing okay, but probably in most instances I come off looking crazy, mean, gross, weird, or like a complete asshole. Can't expect most people to understand how my personality and thought-process works these days, but was it that easy to understand before?

On a night like tonight, I think I just get overwhelmed with being me and all that entails. Tomorrow maybe I'll be awesome and rock at being Damon, but tonight I am not equipped to handle being me. I think I'll go jump off some metaphorical cliff or something. Maybe I can build wings on the way down.

Friday, October 30, 2009

The Last of the Troubadours

What is "The Last of the Troubadours"? A series of mixtapes that I've made over the years of country music. Country? Really? Well, okay, so this whole thing started after one of those drama filled events that knocked me for a loop. I was all sad and mopey and next thing I know I had the urge to listen to country music. Probably because I was in fact born a human cliche. Oh yea. Cliche is my middle name too. Isn't that sooooo cliche? Okay. Enough of that.

Anyway, when I thought about the "country music" I was listening to I realized that it wasn't what you'd hear if you turned your radio dial to a country station. I'm not even sure if all of it would be considered country at all, but they were country to me. That's what matters. I'm the important one here.

Well, that's how the first volume I made came about. I didn't really plan on making one more, let alone three. Each one different from the last, they each capture a tone and moment in time for me. Feel free to ask me about them sometime and I might make you a copy. Here are some of the songs featured on the albums...

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

I Said Hello Dolly! Well Hello Dolly!

I saw I got a comment on one of my posts yesterday... and it was from someone I didn't even know! I enjoy that. I am tickled blue (pink is for girls). So if she reads this, I'd like to say hi to Sarah, a.k.a. "The Pitter Patter Boutique".

For anyone else who is coming around and hasn't made a comment yet, make a comment and introduce yourself! Then maybe I will say hi to you too! Maybe...

Employment vs. Enjoyment: The Insanity Stops Here

Holy hell, I actually have options. I'm in the thick of it, having already started one job, and now I hear from another one. Maybe it was intuition or something, but earlier I had a feeling this might happen. Not in this exact way though. Here's what I thought might happen - I figured that I would get the low paying job first, and then struggle with whether to take that job or wait for the one that'll pay me more money...

Here's what actually happened though. I had to screw someone over. That's what happened. But self-preservation though, right? That's the number one law of living things, kill or be killed. Screw someone over before you end up screwed yourself. I got the high paying job with the offer for a place to stay rent free. Sounds awesome, right? Well, the guy who was handing all this to me, an old college acquaintance, he tells me he is leaving the country to teach in the Middle East. I can take over his job teaching ESL downtown he says. He tells me I can stay in his house so I don't have to commute. It's easy money and I'd get the job no problem he says. It's a few hours work for big money. Well, of course I am gonna say yes. I need money, and I need to move away from the family home...

So slowly the weird vibes start to add up. He tells me if they ask, I worked for some imaginary ESL school. He tells me never to say anything about where he is going to anyone, ever. He tells the people at this job that he has a family emergency. He doesn't tell his family where he is going. This school takes no attendance and gives no tests or grades. The house? Not a great neighborhood to say the least. I would also apparently have to deal with a grandfather who may or may not come by at any time. I could go on and on about all the weird crap, but one thing really got to me. First day of work I ask if I need to fill out a W-2 form for taxes. They tell me no, just my social, thats all, no W-2... Okay, what in the HELL? Yea. Seriously.

So I figured I had to just roll with it, weird vibes and all. That's what I did the first day, I rolled with it. Even though the first class had a whopping ONE student and the second class had a record attendance of ONE student, I rolled with it. I had no other prospects. The last job I interviewed for I hadn't heard from for three weeks. Plus this one pays more. Then IT HAPPENED. I got a call, during my first day of work, in the middle of the first class... It's Blockbuster (three weeks late!). They want me, they want me at a location closer than expected, and they wanna make me a shift leader when I finish training. It's not as much money, but, hello!, less bad vibes and more W-2 forms! So I freak out. I have no clue what to do because I am just overwhelmed with the recent occurrences. My mind just explodes. Pop! After some talking it out with family though, I make the obvious decision. Less money, but less shady dealings. No moving away from home yet, but no worries about the neighborhood or random strange grandpa appearances.

Well, I told Mr. College Acquaintance I was out and he flipped. I suspected that would happen and I accept it as a burned bridge, a tally in the loss column. I had to do what I had to do. Oh well. All I know is I feel much calmer about my new situation with Blockbuster than I did with weirdo-vibes central over there. I'll still be at home here in Pomona but I totally made the right decision.

You know what? I got lots of well-wishes and good lucks from people about work today, and I think your combined efforts really came through for me. Thanks to any and everyone who helped me out with your positivity. It worked! Big hugs and Hershey's chocolate kisses to all of you who contributed! I appreciate mucho. Proof that you can make a difference... Shaman Power!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

It's Not So Bad

As I wake up this morning and reflect on yesterday's events (the whole establishing that I'm going to be working thing) I am just slightly calmer about the matter. Just slightly. I'm still super wary and pessimistic about it, but now I am also giving in. I'm giving in to the whole situation. Knowing that I will allow myself to quit at any time, despite any burned bridges it may cause, it is seeming less like a bad idea and more like an experiment. Well, at least that us what I am trying to tell myself.

The "allowing myself to quit" and "burning bridges" stuff is fairly new to me. I've always been more concerned with my actions effects on other people rather than on me. I've made selfish decisions before, but I don't think I've ever actually made a concious effort to do so. These days, with the introduction of the Sclerosis of Multiple proportions, I've begun to realize that I am gonna have to start being more selfish. I have to look out for myself and my own interests. I don't have the luxury to worry about anyone else, not right now. Not when it's hard enough just trying to take care if myself.

All I know is that after about a month or so, things should look a lot clearer. There's nothing like actually being in the middle of insanity to prove that it isn't so bad. I know this very well. I've been living as an insane person for quite a while, and as far as I can tell, I'm not so bad.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Out of the Ordinary

So let's start this off MS Style! I just finished my 13th shot of Avonex just now. 13 is a good number, right?! Super lucky? I might be mistaken, but 13 is the number of people who weren't murdered, didn't lose everything, and never ever ever had bad luck... ever.

Moving on. So I have three big things I'd like to discuss. Three events that happened that were very much out of the ordinary. Ordinary for me is never finding fun, a job, or friends. The fact that I get to talk about all three of these things in this post is actually pretty huge for me, so gimmie that hug or pat on the back (or butt), 'cause I totally deserve it.

So here goes:

FUN! So the other night I went to a get-together for old co-workers from my last job. Whaaaaat?! Yea, I never go to those things. I always avoided hanging out with work people outside work. They are WORK people, not OUTSIDE people. Well, now we aren't co-workers, and they thought to invite me, so I went! Sooo glad I did too. After the bankruptcy and liquidation over a year ago, I hadn't seen most of these people and it was pretty fun to see some of them. The restaurant was super loud and crowded, so I actually couldn't hear much except what went on at my end of the table, but that's okay 'cause I had a great time chatting with the people I could hear, especially Brian & Heather. So yea, fun times. Expensive meal though. Jeebus. Some places really know how to stick it to ya.

JOB! Okay, so this is a strange one. My friend is leaving the area for a long while and offered me the opportunity to take over his spot in some ESL school (The Wilshire Language School) downtown. I know, I don't live downtown. I guess I'm gonna be staying at his place too. Yea, weird. I hate staying at a house that isn't mine (it has stranger-house smell and stranger furniture!), but I guess I have to if I'm gonna be able to take the job... The job? Well, it seems fairly easy. Have people read, read aloud, answer questions, whatever. I asked my friend and he said they don't give grades. They don't seem to care about attendance either. The whole thing sounds a bit odd to me, which makes me nervous. When I was mid-freak-out and looking to talk it out with someone, Anna told me I should just do it. If I decide it's bad news bears I should just leave. So I guess I'm just gonna jump in and hope the water is fine.

FRIENDS! Here was the coolest thing I got to do in the past week. I got to see Dana! She was passing through LAX switching planes on her way to see Jackie. So I got my lazy self out of bed, hopped on the Metrolink train, arrived at L.A. Union Station, hopped on a shuttle and got to LAX. When I got there I waited and when the time came I excitedly watched as people emerged. Anticipation built... until she called and told me I was totally at the wrong gate. Damon is as cool as always! So we met up halfway and I was a total awkward nerd-geek. I gave her what I hope was a cool mini present that may also have been offensive (a tiny therapist that you drop in water and it grows), and we walked over to the area she needed to be at for her next flight. We talked, we talked, and we talked (yay!). Then I almost convinced myself to tag along on her trip. Then she took my picture and we took a picture together (thanks to an old dude who TOTALLY disappeared afterwards... Thanks ghost dude!). Then it was time for her to go. I was sad to see her go. The moment seemed to pass so fast. I probably seemed like an ginormous weirdo or whatever, but I thought she was super neato. If I get the chance, I'd definitely visit her and spend more than an hour with my MS Buddy. Then again, an hour with me might have been enough...

So, that was lots to go over and I am tired and can't think of a clever way to end this. Also, you readers may have fallen asleep trying to read this super long post.

Your welcome insomniacs!

Sunday, October 18, 2009


This week is going to be very interesting. I am in for some major highs and probably some major lows too. I expect that I am going to be ALL over the place mood-wise. I think though, that if everything goes right I will be a happy camper. But if things don't go exactly as I want, I am gonna be super bummed or extra pissed-off. Just thinking about it all right now makes me kinda freaked. Well, maybe I'll be able to talk about it all by next week. We'll see...

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Flashback Episode...

So I was going through some of my old posts and it made me think of this piece, which I wrote and put up somewhere else. If you've already read this, read it again. Is it really that hard?

Adventures in Babysitting... strike that, Adventures in Avonex

Wednesday, August 5, 2009 at 4:49pm

So today was the day I started my treatments with Avonex, the non-cure drug that may or may not alter the progression of my MS. I watched the infomercial, I mean instructional video explaining what's wrong with me. How I'm supposed to help myself deal with this burden. Good God, it was so condescending! Maybe I shouldn't have gotten an education and then I wouldn't mind being talked to like a child. You felt alone? I feel alone too, Ann Marie! Hey, do you want to go halfsies on a Snuggie?

I don't know why they make patients watch this video anyway, considering we live in the age of information. Easily accessed information. I did all the research I wanted, learned what I felt I needed to know, and the rest I could care less about. That could explain the feelings of hostility. The hatred toward the video. Then again, it could just be my degree in film and the video's lack of production values. These people are so wooden. Please take some of that MS research money and hire Meryl Streep or Daniel Day-Lewis. Sure, it may lose some authenticity, but maybe after watching for five minutes I won't want to drill a hole in my head.

So after praising the Lord that the infomercial had come to an end, the RN came to talk to me about everything I learned in those 20 or so minutes. In detail. FOR AN HOUR AND A HALF. Seeing as I am generally a respectful person, in public at least, I nodded and kept so many thoughts to myself - Why are you repeating everything in the video? Can you keep your silly personal anecdotes to yourself? What do I have to do for you to give me the Avonex and let me go home? I know this stuff is probably very helpful for people who never bothered to look into their own disorder, but when it was "just a possibility" that I had Multiple Sclerosis I wanted to know all about it. I did the reading. I talked to people. Any questions I had, I looked for answers. At this point, when you've made the decision to start injecting yourself, shouldn't you know most of this already? Especially the whole "What is MS?" question. I didn't need to go over that for 45 minutes.

So finally I get to the meat of this whole session, the actual injection. I'm not going to lie, the thought of sticking myself with a needle gave me quite a bit of anxiety. I've got no problem with the medical professionals poking at me with needles. They know what they're doing (at least most of them do). I'm an immature, snarky goofball who has no business playing with needles. Serious business! That's what I scheduled my appointment for - to learn how to stab myself... safely. I take my box of Avonex and the nurse talks me through all the steps to keep things sterile and safe. Now that's something I appreciate. Step by step she guides me through what will now be my weekly ritual. Washing hands, setting up a little area, the joy of sitting around with my pants off... Great times!

Then, like John Travolta over Uma Thurman in Pulp Fiction, it was the moment of truth. Needle in hand, I took care of business. It was actually very easy for me, and it's such a relief for me to know I won't have any problem doing this on my own. Proud of myself, I soon put my pants back on (awww...), grabbed my stuff, and left on my new journey as an Avonex user. Did I encounter any side effects? Mostly nausea and a minor headache. It was only a quarter dosage though, since I am easing my way into the routine. Ask me later and I might feel different, but for now I'm not regretting this new step in my MS adventure.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Gender Issues (And How Girls Have Cooties)

Damon, "do you ever feel gypped because you're a dude with MS...and its like kinda like ...a chick disease...?"

You know, I never really thought about it. It's not something I pay attention to. Maybe I am shortsighted or maybe too self involved to consider other people, but it doesn't seem to be a big issue to me. Of course I notice it, I'm not oblivious on the matter, but I'm not sitting around in the He-Man Woman Haters Clubhouse discussing gender issues and how girls have cooties.

Maybe it's because I am not all super involved. I tried signing up for a class on learning about my MS and all that stuff, but I was too late for registration and the course was canceled anyway due to lack of participants (whoops!). I imagine though that I would feel super awkward showing up and seeing a group of people who are probably not in their 20s and probably almost all women. Now, I don't mind sitting around and getting a good look at all the ladies, but this is probably not a Miss America panel or even a Cougar-MILF convention. I know I am working on guesses, assumptions, and all that but I just get the feeling I'm gonna end up in a room full of people not too much like myself. How am I supposed to relate to people when I am in the minority? Hi, I'm a twenty-something guy with Multiple Sclerosis. Anyone else? Yea, I'm not in the majority on this one...

Maybe the problem lies with the youth. Maybe we quarter-agers all feel like we are too cool for school and don't do things like classes or meetings. I'm probably guilty of that one, thinking "stuff like this is stupid, useless, boring or whatever". So because we are all trying not to be nerds or we are freshmen afraid of being surrounded by upperclassmen we don't bother to get into those situations and thereby make our group the minority by default.

But back to the gender thing. It is kinda sucky to be a guy with MS. It's not a macho thing or whatever, it just feels like there isn't enough to relate to. Every once and a while I do a little blog searching to read about other people living with the same crap as me, and see how their lives are coming along. I have read a couple and pretty much they are all females. Now I am not saying I've read every blog, or even a bunch. I haven't specifically looked for guy stuff either. All I am saying is that from what I can tell so far, there's not a ton of MS-dude-blogs out there.  There's not really much of a voice out there for the guys, and what voice is there is small and hard to hear.

So am I volunteering to be that voice? Well, not really. I'm not the most eloquent or insightful. I just end up bitching about stuff most of the time. Then again, isn't that how blogs are supposted to work anyway? We all know the Internet is for 3 things - Bitching about stuff, funny cat pictures and porn. So it's not like it's that hard to be a blogging sensation. I'm pretty good at complaining. If I end up being part of the collective male voice for Multiple Sclerosis because of it, well I think it's probably a good thing. Maybe then the next guy who is looking for some male point-of-view might find my blog and not feel like too much of a minority.

On a side note: I had to write this twice because of some computer technical difficulties. That crap sucks. I'm surprised I even bothered to try again. Stupid technology.

Side note #2: Thanks to Jackie for the idea to write this entry. It was either I talk about this or her butthole and I think she is much better at writing about assholes. I am also pretty sure she will write very soon that I am a total asshole. Count on it.

Time Passes Slowly... (My Mix!)

I made this mixtape when I thought I should do one with a cool theme. I was listening to stuff on my iPod and I noticed a couple with months in their names and next thing I know I was off and running. I really like the cover I made too. I gotta thank google image search for giving me the pieces, I just put them together. Well, check the back cover for a track list, download them on your own, put it together, and listen! It's good for you!!!

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Fashion = Hotness

Is Multiple Sclerosis being mean to me? For the last week or two, since the weather started cooling down, certain parts of my body have been very tender and sensitive. My legs and feet more specifically. They feel cold lots, and when touched by cold stuff, it hurts like all hell. Well there goes my bobsled career! Will I ever be able to slide down a hill on a big block of ice again? My dreams of being a bartender in an igloo bar are dead to me... Well, none of those things were ever really on my radar, but I'd like to think they could have been.

All I know is I am hoping all this is the weather or something, like a seasonal annoyance or whatever. I'd rather it be an annoyance than some sort of progression towards more nastiness. The cold thing isn't the only bothersome bit that has come up these past few days. I've also been a bit wobbly, especially in my right leg. My right foot feels like it's slightly on fire too. No, I checked and I am sure it's not actually on fire. Just because I like to wear shoes dipped in kerosene... It keeps them fresh! I learned it on the Oh-My-GOD-My-Clothes-Are-On-Fire! Channel.

On another, less bitchy note. Things for me are on a minor upswing. I have things coming down the pipeline that might lead to more interesting days. They are only possibilities, but I am keeping an eye on them and hoping something works out. Preferably one that is best for me, one with the least amount of stress and the most amount of benefits. But until anything actually happens, I am not counting on a damn thing and I am going to try and stay as vague and hypothetical as possible. Nothing is set in stone, and until that happens I am going to do what I do best - overthink, overworry, fret, fuss, and freak-out. Aren't I great? Well, I'm just going to root for myself and I hope you root for me too!

Friday, October 2, 2009

It looks like I'm having a seizure!

So the last two days or so I have been miserable and felt like crap. I was down like crazy and sad as all hell. Now today I am pretty happy, pleasant, and in an overall good mood. Yea, I think it's a sign that I should probably be medicated or something, but then again, if I was I wouldn't be enjoying this momentary happiness. I'd be all zombiefied I'm sure. I think maybe I'll stick with just being a crazy person. For now at least.

Okay people, do it with me now! Let's do the happy dance!

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Betty Jo

I was off at school. It was my third year of college. I was living in an apartment in Newport Beach. Well, it was BARELY Newport Beach. Just on the border. I could see no beach. What I could see was school, which needed to be nearby because I was going to be walking. I was in my own world, away from my family and away from their goings-on.

What was happening back at home wasn't great. My grandmother's health was in a nose dive. She'd been diagnosed with cancer, and from that point things just seemed to move faster and faster. I was around when I could be, but I wasn't really there. Her time in the hospital. The move to one of those homes where there are nurses to take care of her. Her move back to her old home where my aunt lives now. I think I was there probably once for each of those.

One night I was at my apartment getting ready to go shopping for a birthday gift for my sister. My friend Brian was coming by and we were gonna go to a local record store (since apparently I have no idea how to shop for a girl). Before he arrived, I got a call from my mom telling me that she had died. It was awful to hear and all I could think of was how I had planned to go see her soon but I didn't. It was too late. I had missed my chance. My grandmother had died and that night I went out shopping at a record store. That just didn't seem right. Brian asked me if anything was wrong, but I didn't say anything about what happened (but he found out a couple years later and had one of those "ooohhh" moments).

I missed out though. I missed out on quite a bit, I'm sure. I missed the sorrow. I missed so much of the hard work and worry my mom had. I overlooked the depression my mom went through afterwards as well. What I really missed though was the time with my grandmother. She wasn't very lucid towards the end, but shouldn't I have been there just a little more anyway? I missed out, I'm sure.

I think what actually bothers me though is that it happened when it did. Our time-lines just didn't match up. I would love to talk to her so much if she was here today. I'm not only talking about important stuff, but silly stuff too. She dug the TV show Buffy the Vampire Slayer and I came to that party long after it was over. "OMG, grandma, how crazy was that episode with no dialog?! Or that one where she sacrificed herself???" Okay, yea, silly.

Really though, I'd like to talk to her about my MS. My grandfather, who I never even met, lived with MS and it'd be interesting to hear anything she had to say on all of that, good or bad. That's the one question I'd wanna ask if I could. That or I'd ask for her to help me out with her afterlife-vision. She could tell me what I need to do to become crazy successful and happy. Oh, and if she knows where the heck my collection of buttons/pins I had as a kid went. I wanna find those!

Grandma, I love you. :)