A Jim of All Trades

Posts Tagged ‘blogging

Ode to Sheba

with 3 comments

Sheba was my dad and stepmother’s dog. She was very smart, well trained and behaved, and a lot of fun to have around. She lived to the ripe old age of 14, but unfortunately, due to some serious health problems, had to be put down recently. It’s okay, it was time.


This is actually a somewhat recent photo that I “stole” from my stepsister’s facebook. Though I know I’ve taken pictures of Sheba, my personal pictures are really unorganized and poorly named and I couldn’t find any that I took of her. If I do come up with other pictures I might add them to this post later.

I never had a dog growing up as a kid, and though Sheba definitely wasn’t “my dog” she is the closest to having a dog of my own that I’ve ever had. (and that’s okay… I’m more of a cat guy) Still, Sheba was a great dog and I loved her about as much as one can reasonably love a pet.

(I took this one, the day before she was put to sleep)

She will be missed!



Written by Jim

October 26, 2013 at 5:06 pm

Posted in Blogging / Writing

Tagged with , , , ,

The Magician Optometrist

leave a comment »

I had a very entertaining eye exam the other day. My normal eye doctor, who I thought I would be seeing and who I like very much, had not come in that day and an older gentleman was filling in for her. I wasn’t excited to hear this when I arrived for the exam. I had never been examined by the substitute doctor before, but I had seen him in the office before and had not been impressed. He is old. I would honestly guess somewhere close to 80 years old. He also seems somewhat slow. Not that he is unintelligent, but he just moves at a slow pace and when speaking comes across as being not altogether there. I am not the discriminatory type and am not proud for passing judgment based on a simple observation, but I did so none the less and was not excited when I was called in for the exam.

The exam didn’t exactly start out smoothly, though I can’t say it started badly either. I tried to tell him about how my eyes had been performing and a change that I thought might have happened, but he didn’t really pay attention to me. He explained what he would be doing, found my file and chart, and spent some time reviewing my information and rehashing some information about my eyes that I had just been telling him.

He did turn out to be a very kind and friendly person though, and I warmed up to him a bit as he started running some tests. It was difficult to be pessimistic with him being so nice and polite. The fun really started when he truly began giving me an eye test.

If you’ve ever had an eye exam before, you’re probably familiar with the routine. The patient sits in a chair, an instrument – a phoropter – is placed in front of their eyes, and the eye doctor will make adjustments while asking a series of questions to examine their eyes and determine the needed prescription. Any eye exam I’ve had has always followed the same routine, and for the most part all doctors have asked their questions in the same manner. They will say something to the effect of, this is number one [with a specific setting set on the phoropter] and this is number two [with a change to the phoropter]. Which is better, one or two? I will provide my answer, the doctor will make an adjustment, then ask again, which is better, one or two? The exam carries on like this, rather monotonously, until the prescription is determined. It is rather boring, but it’s what I have come to accept as normal for eye exams.

This older doctor went about it slightly differently though. Instead of simply asking, which is better, one or two? He did the exam more as a performance.

As he set the phoropter he said, “ah this is fuzzy, isn’t it Jim, but watch what happens when I do THIS,” and he sort of waved his hand in front of my eyes, which were still behind the phoropter so all I could see was his waving hand, and he quickly made an adjustment. My vision cleared up considerably and he said, “it’s better, isn’t it?” I confirmed, and he went to it again.

“Ahh, but watch what happens when I do THIS!” There was another wave of the hand in my field of view, another quick change to the phoropter, and my vision became blurrier. “Things got worse, Jim, didn’t they?” I confirmed, and he made his next change.

The whole exam was like this. Instead of just asking which lens or setting was better, he predicted the outcomes as he made changes, then asked me to confirm. He was very dramatic about it. He never made a change to a setting without flapping his hand in front of my eyes and wiggling his fingers a little bit. It seemed as if he expected his ability to predict how my vision would change and the effects of the phoropter would impress me. It also seemed rather similar to a magician performing his act. This is just an ordinary empty top hat, but watch what happens when I do THIS! [flick of the hand] There’s a RABBIT INSIDE!!!

At first I was troubled by his behavior. I was worried that if he was just answering the questions before asking them I wouldn’t be able to give feedback. I also thought maybe he was a little crazy. But as he went on I found it funnier and funnier. He seemed to exaggerate his delivery as time passed. There were more waves of his hand, more excitement in his voice, and the questions became more open ended to include my feedback as he fine-tuned. I began to smile and quite literally had to bite down on my tongue to keep from laughing till the end of the exam.

At one point he abruptly made a change and said, “oh no, it seems as if you have double vision!” And sure enough, the singular eye chart I had been looking at had become duplicated. He began rolling a control on the phoropter and asked me to tell him when things were better. I remember having to do this during eye exams in the past, but not executed the same way.

When we were done he informed me that my left eye hadn’t changed but my right eye would require a bit more correction. As he ushered me to the door he stopped, did a little dance – stepping forward and back while swinging his arms at his sides – and said, “so we’ll just PUNCH that right eye up a bit,” and he thrust his fist into the air as he said the word “punch,” then he continued, “and you’ll be able to see like a HAWK!”

After initially being reluctant to have him check my eyes I thoroughly enjoyed the experience. I’m also sure not all patients enjoy his tactics. While children and the light at heart probably get a kick out of it, I can image more serious folk being put off. Since he is older and only works part time as a substitute for other doctors I would hope people don’t give him a hard time. Despite the theatrics, he did seem more than competent. I also doubt I will see him again. No matter, I’m glad I had his special brand of eye test and the experience will give me something to laugh to myself about whenever I have my next one.

I don’t think eye exams will ever be the same for me.

Written by Jim

December 10, 2011 at 9:52 am

Gaining Weight

with one comment

My favorite hobby is working out, specifically weight lifting.  I’ve been lifting religiously for the past eight years and did off and on previously as a teenager and as I entered my 20’s.  Aside from the actual exercise I really enjoy planning out new routines, setting goals, and tracking my progress as I work to achieve them.  This type of thing is fun for me.

Considering how long I’ve been doing this, I’m not very big or strong.  I’m fit, healthy, and stronger than the average Joe off the street who doesn’t do any physical exercise, but for a “weight lifter” I’m pretty weak.  I have no aspirations of being a body builder or competitive lifter, and there are a number of reasons for my lack of size, but all in all I should be bigger than I am now.  I have trouble gaining weight.  So, two months ago I decided to revamp my diet, commit to a long term (well, six months) lifting program, and purposefully try to put on some weight.

The first month went well enough, but despite adding a lot more protein and calories I only managed to gain one pound.  This last month I decided to kick it up another notch and began taking a mass gainer.

I only took a half serving on workout days with milk, so the facts would be half of the right hand portion of the label, and I was able to stretch it out for almost a full month. Weighing myself last weekend, I added another four pounds, bringing the grand total to five.  Truth be told, I had stuffed myself at a pre-Thanksgiving dinner shortly before weighing myself, and I think my weight has dropped a pound or two since, so we’ll say the grand total is four.

So the weight gainer is pretty potent stuff.  It only costs $20 for a tub of it, too.  I don’t know of a more economical way to add that many calories and protein to a diet for four weeks.  That said, I don’t think I’m going to continue taking it, or at least not during the next month.  I can tell some small differences in my body physically, but my stomach is rounding out a little bit, and I want to gain muscle, not fat.  My strength has gone up and I have noticed small differences elsewhere that lead me to believe that, yes, I am gaining muscle, so I’d guess weight gained is probably an even split between muscle and fat.  The plan for next month is to lean out the diet a bit, while still taking in a lot of protein and calories, and if I don’t “improve” much I can always add the weight gainer.  Plus, it’s the holidays… there’s going to be a lot of [unhealthy] food around and multiple family meals.  I should have plenty of opportunity to gain weight.

So, yeah, that’s that.  I’ve got four months to go in the workout I’m doing and even if I don’t share about this often I’ll at least post the final results.  I’d also like to close with saying, I realize there are a lot of worse things in the world than not being able to gain weight.  When I talk about this people tend to roll their eyes, clearly conveying their pity for me. Oh, you pooooor thing.  Yeah yeah, I know.

Written by Jim

November 23, 2011 at 9:05 pm

every day is craigslist day

leave a comment »

Last night I made $60 selling stuff on craigslist – an antique refrigerator and a fan.  I like craigslist.  I think it’s a good venue for selling and buying stuff if you’re reasonable about expectations, and I find it strangely addicting to search through the for sale ads and see what kinds of deals and different stuff is out there.  If I had more money and more room I could see it turning into a problem for me.

I mostly just use it for selling stuff though and usually have pretty good luck, both things I sold last night didn’t last more than 2 or 3 days and I got my asking prices.  I try to be reasonable with my expectations, stay away from the, erm, questionable areas, ignore the weirdos, and it works out well enough for me.

The fridge that I sold was in our basement when we moved in (5 years ago!) and I originally thought I’d do something with it.  Of course I never did and it just sat in a corner taking up space all these years.  It doesn’t work.  Well, it runs, but it doesn’t pump cold air.  The guy that bought it seemed really cool.  He said he was going to use it as decoration, make a cabinet out of it, try to fix it up, or something.  While we were loading it we talked about tattoos, injuries we had, and other random stuff.  Good times.

He already had a nice big picnic table on the back of his truck when he arrived at my place to get the fridge.  I complimented him on it.  “yep,” he said, “i just picked this up.”  I jokingly asked, was it craigslist day?  He slyly replied, “every day is craigslist day.”

Ha, yeah!

Written by Jim

May 26, 2011 at 7:41 pm

Posted in Blogging / Writing

Tagged with , ,