Wednesday, December 04, 2002

Just another gray hump day in snowy Rockford world. Actions of the flesh: slept in late, missed morning workout; taught elementary school gym class; worked on new song with Goat bridge; went to library and read Rolling Stone, Newsweek and Utne Reader; checked out 10 CDs and 3 DVDs; took car to gas station and through car wash; came back home after dark and wrote e-mails; currently blogging. Plans for evening: nurse a couple Bergoff winterfest hazelnut ales, write lyrics for new song (theme: longing and nature imagery); creative write an hour; read before bedtime (Stories by T.C. Boyle).

Last night, for the first night in a long time, I did not sleep well. I could feel the movement of liquids through my belly. I pressed fingers to abdomen and was amused by the feel and sound of digestion. I recalled earlier when I questioned the young filmmaker how my pulse raced. I even put my finger to my neck and guessed it must have been over 110 beats per minute. The old journalist impulses came out. Press conferences stressed me out because I was among colleagues, nay, competitors in my market. Not only did I not want to look like an idiot, but I wanted to ask insightful questions that made the competitor's questions seem idiotic. Journalists are vain, vacuous and insular. And very competitive. I was no exception. When I checked the competitor's story, I looked for information they included from questions I asked. I always shined in the gallery because I put so much pressure on myself to inquire well. But it always made me nervous.

I think all that excess misplaced adrenaline that had me checking my carotid artery in the Maddox Theatre also had me putting finger to belly in stomach gurgle game after midnight. Add the stress that nearly every time I have stomach problems, each shift is similar to the sensations I had when my heart palpitated uncontrollably, and I instinctively ask, is this the big one? Such are the concerns of one who has had heart surgery and, before then, dealt with the effects of a congenital condition. Reason says my heart problem was solved by surgery. And so it was. But reason be damned when I feel that shift in my upper belly after midnight.

The winterfest ale is very nutty, a bit pretentious. My palate craves flavor when I drink beer, so I don't mind a pretentious beer. Assault my senses. I'm a product of the video game generation. I can take it. Read the latest Entertainment Weekly at the YMCA yesterday and an article chronicled the history of video games. Pong was developed in 1971, but not marketed in any form until 1972. My life parallels the pixel playground era. I spent hours memorizing patterns for Pac Man in the early 80s. I ate a few of the 5,000 point keys. I could spend 45 minutes on one quarter. After that it was mastery of Karate Champ. Then Frogger. Then, during a brief stint of ownership of a Nintendo game system, I mastered Mike Tyson's Punchout. This was, what? 1989. I haven't been into video games much since. The end of my interest in video games was around the time I stopped collecting comic books. Video games symbolize sexual frustration, acne and isolation to me. In short, adolescence. The only time I play video games now is when I visit the Larson's. Brother-in-law John's got one of those Nintendo Game Cubes.

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