Skiing For The First Time

Did you know at 33 years old, I have never once been skiing? For the last eight plus years I have lived less than fifteen minutes away from a ski area and still have never been. All of that changed recently for me.

My Nephew came up here to Juneau, and has been visiting me for the last few days. One of the things he really wanted to do while he is up here was go Skiing and he wanted me to go with him. My younger brother, who also lives in Juneau, was too on my case about going skiing during our nephew’s visit. They both told me I would have a lot of fun and that I just needed to give it a shot. Needless to day, I had my doubts.

Youseph-Tyler

A couple of days after my nephew arrived we headed out early to the Eaglecrest Ski Area where we met up with my brother who works there. The three of us got fitted for boots and skis and headed over to the beginner’s slope. As we were making our way up the snow covered hillside to the beginner’s ski lift my brother gave me some quick lessons. How to put the Skis on , how to “pizza” your skis so you can slow down and how to kick your heals how so you can turn. Once he felt like I got the gist of how it all worked, and I felt somewhat comfortable on my feet, the three of us slid over to the beginner’s ski lift and went up the hill.

Eaglecrest-rental

Now, here is where I wish I could tell you I took to skiing like a born natural. That I was able to glide down that hill with the best of them. I can’t tell you that. I fell as soon as we tried to get off the ski lift. Then I fell a bunch more times just trying to get down the hill. But, the truth here is that I had a smile on my face the whole time. It was a whole lot of fun.

Youseph-Eaglecreast

By the end, I was getting pretty decent at skiing. I was able to take the last three runs of the day without falling. I was pretty sore and stiff the next day, but it was totally worth it. I might just have to go skiing again sometime.

 

Summer Time and the Livings Easy

This has been one of the best summers I have ever experienced since moving to Juneau. It’s been filled with all kinds of out door activities like fishing and family visits doing the tourist thing.

cigar

Normally summers like this mean we can expect a hard, cold winter in Juneau. And as much as that kind of thing is looming over me, as summer turns to fall and then winter, I am trying to do everything possible to take advantage of these last few days of bliss we have here.

Hopefully there will be a few more bonfires, a few more BBQs and a few more cigars before it’s all over.

How Herbs Cleared My Sinusitis

I am not a medical doctor. What follows is my personal story dealing with sinusitis and what I have found that helps me. Please, always consult your doctor before trying anything I write about.

double dar nose

I am a sniffer. I have always sniffed because my nose has always been stuffed. When I think back to my earliest memories they are filled with me sniffing. It used to drive my mother crazy. I remember a time my brother was talking to one of my girlfriends and he asking her, ‘How can you stand his constant sniffing?’

I never looked into curing my sniffing because it was something that had plagued me all of my life. I didn’t know that there was any other way to handle it. If it was such a bother to everyone, how come my folks never took me to see a doctor about it? I felt like it was my fault, like a birth defect and not a medical issue. It really is a wonder that I ever had girlfriends or even got married.

A couple of years ago at my wife’s request, I went to see a doctor for my sniffing. I was quickly refereed to an allergist who did several allergy tests on me. All of which came back negative. The doctor ended up diagnosing me with chronic sinusitis and put me on a three month supply of a nasal steroid.

After a few days of snorting this steroid, I could breathe through my nose like a normal person! It was weird too! I have spent most of my life sniffing that now, with nothing blocking my air way, every breath I took required a fraction of the energy it used to. Breathing became effortless for the first time in my life. This changed everything.

After three months, I ran out of the steroid. A month after that I started sniffing again. Not a lot at first, but eventually I went back to sniffing all the time. I went back to my doctor who this time sent me to an ear, nose and throat doctor. I was told by this new doctor that what the allergist did the right thing by putting me on the steroid nasal spray. The only thing wrong was that the allergist should have told me I was going to require the steroid for the rest of my life.

I gave the ear, nose and throat doctor a dumb founded look. One that said you expect me to snort a steroid into my head for the rest of my life? The doctor could see the concern on my face and said, “I have the same thing you have and I have been taking this steroid for the last six years. It is perfectly safe.”

“Uh Huh.” I responded doubtfully. You would have too if you had seen this guy.

He wrote me a prescription for the nasal steroid and as he was doing so he said, “There is also surgery. We can go in there and clean out you sinuses. But I can’t promise you that it wont come back. Most patients relapse.”

That option did not sound good to me either. The doctor had no other options for me and didn’t think there was anyone else in town I could speak with about this. He actually seemed insulted that I would question his course of treatment. I left his office feeling disappointed and threw away the prescription before I even exited the building.

The next day, I called my mother to tell her what had happened. After she heard the story she asked me to give her some time to research some herb options. After a couple of days she called back and told me to start taking Echinacea and Goldenseal along with Sage. The Echinacea with Goldenseal is supposed to fight off the infection in my sinuses and the Sage is supposed to clear out my sinuses so that the Echinacea can do it’s job better.

So I gave it a shot. After a couple of days I could breath again! Just as good, if not better, as when I was on the nasal steroid. I was thrilled and I have been on these herbs ever since.

From what I have discovered it is possible that this herb combination could cure my sinusitis after a long while. I don’t know if I am going to be that lucky. For now I am just happy that I no longer sniff and I don’t have to take any steroids.

Fishing In Juneau

When the sun is shining, a light breeze is blowing and you couldn’t ask the weather to be any better, Juneau, Alaska is a pretty amazing place. It’s on day like this that my wife discovered a new hobby. She loves to fish. She, along with my brother Abe, who runs a fishing guide company called Hooked On Juneau, go fishing together.

Hannah-Salmon-Juneau

Last Sunday, Hannah got up and went out fishing with Abe’s tour group, caught her second king and first three pink salmon ever. The thought of this is a little crazy to some who live here. Hannah and I have been a part of Juneau for the last seven years and neither of us have been very inclined to the nature side of things. Most people you run into around here enjoy going for hikes up the mountains, going hunting or fishing. Others enjoy boating around or rock climbing. So as my wife has gone telling her friends that she got her second ever king salmon and showing them her proud photos on her phone she gets a lot of strange looks and comments. Things like “You have lived here for ever. How are you only just now catching salmon?”

The short answer is just that she has not gone fishing before. This is starting to look like a new chapter in our lives. Well, her life. Becoming a fisherwomen.

Juneau-Pano

The Story Behind, ‘The Hill’

Laptop Writer 1Last week, I posted a short story I wrote called, ‘The Hill‘. The story of a girl living with in an abusive home, who befriends a young man living in the apartment building across the street. I thought I would share my thinking process and how I finally got to putting words down to create this little love story.

I had three main inspirations that lead me to create this story. So, in the order in which they influenced me. Here they are.

In my early twenties, I had a two bedroom apartment with a roommate. Because of my job and band, I preformed with at the time, I was always coming and going from my apartment at all odd hours of the day and night. I recall, quite vividly, times that I or my roommate and I, stood outside our apartment and could hear the physical acts of violence taking place in the house across the street. It would be so loud you could hear yelling and objects breaking. I remember saying to my roommate, “I am glad they don’t have kids.”

It was such an oddity for me to have experienced such a thing that the image of that house across the street and all the, What Ifs, in my mind at the time really stuck with me.

Over the years, I played with the idea of what if they kids. What would that be like for them. From that, the story really started to take shape.

In trying to develop the characters, I would say the Sidney Poitier movie, ‘A Patch of Blue‘ was a big help. The age difference between Gordon Ralfe (Sidney Poitier) and Selina (Elizabeth Hartman), along with all the conversations that take place between the two characters as they get to know each other through out the film was a huge influence on me. It really helped me develop the characters of Jack and Jill. Even thought I saw this movie way earlier in my life, I only found myself turning back to it after I decided there was a story here for me to write.

Lastly, the nursery rhyme, ‘Jack and Jill’. This hit me early on when I started actually writing. These characters needed names and the story really needed something to tie the whole thing together. I started thinking about how I wanted the story to end. Something sweet that implied hope. Jack and Jill just popped in my head as I thought about it. How the characters “took the exit and followed the ramp up to the top of the hill, where he pulled in the the restaurant’s parking lot.” enforces the whole rhyme.

Jack and Jill went up the hill
To fetch a pail of water.

The first draft of the story and a bulk of the writing, I wrote in a web application called Write Box. Being able to change the background color to black and the text color to green really helps my Dyslexics eyes see what I am writing.

After the first draft was written, there were three subsequent drafts of edits and modifications, all done with Google Documents. Google Documents allowed me to share out the story to friends and people who’s opinions I trust when I am looking for feedback or advice.

That’s how I did it. I hope you enjoyed the story.

Transformers Review Issue 15: I, Robot-Master!

Youseph-Cover-15With Megaton on the loose trying to retake leadership of the Decepticons and a government plot to subdue the people amid rising fears of Transformers presents on earth comes issue 15, ‘I, Robot-Master!’

The cover of issue 15 is a comic book cover on a comic book cover. The comic is black with a white and blue Transformers logo at the top. The cover depicts another comic on the cover called ‘Robot Master’ with Megatron, Bumblebee, Soundwave and several other Transformers in the background. At the bottom is the Robot Master himself, Donny Finkleberg. On the left side of the comic reads in bold black lettering “THE MAN BEHIND THE MACHINES!”

Transformers-Issue-15-CoverIn this issue Megatron is scowering across the land looking for fuel. Eventually his body powers down in a Wyoming Coal mine like some great statue. His mind the only thing still functioning.

The Intelligence and Information Institute (I.I.I.) searches for a way to explain the Transformers tot he public that will be calming and prevent a wide spread panic. In a I.I.I.’s meeting to discuss options, G.B. Blackrock tries and fails to convince the governmental agency that the Autobots are earth’s friends and the Decepticons are everyone’s enemy. At the end of the agency’s meeting everyone is sent home to come up with an explainable cover story and not to return without some ideas.

Walter Barnett, a Triple I agent trying to come up with a cover story finds one while flipping through a copy of his son’s comic book, Robot-Master. Walter flies out to Marvel Comics’ head quarters to meet Robot Master’s Writer, Donny Finkleberg who has just lost his job. Walter takes Donny out to lunch where Walter discusses bringing Robot Master to life. Donny accepts the job offer.

Issue-15-TVOn TV the next day the whole country’s Television programs are interrupted by Donny Finkleberg dressed up like Robot Master. He states that all the Transformers are under his control. The Autobots who see this  are confused and ask G.B Blackrock for help understanding what is going on.

The following day a second broadcast shot at the Wyoming Coal mine uses a disable Megatron for Robot Master’s backdrop. This time the broadcast not only catches the attention of the Autobots but also the Decepticon, Soundwave. He goes out to find Megatron and refuel him. The Autobots know that Megatron could still pose a threat so they Transform and roll out. This is the first issue to have Optimus Prime actually utter the phrase “Transform and roll out”.

Issue-15-PrimeThe Autobots arrive at the Wyoming coal mine, but the human military reacts negativity to their presence. They don’t seem to understand the difference between Autobots and Decepticons. Soundwave, Laserbeak and Ravage arrive at the mine with fuel for Megatron. Once consumed he becomes active again. The four Decepticons start destroying everything around them and the Autobots are to damaged by the human military to help stop them. So, they retreat.

Megatron wants to kill the “Robot-Master” for claiming control over him during the TV broadcasts. But Donny Finkleberg convinces Megatron that continuing to tell the humans that the Autobots are as much of a threat to the them as the Decepticons on TV, the Autobots’ effort might continue to be stopped. Finkleberg’s life is spared for the time being.

No letters to Marvel in this issue.

ISSUE 15′s Ads

Brennan’s Texas Comic Book Wall

Comic-book-ikea-wal

Recently I was contacted by Brennan from Texas. He sent me a picture of his new comic book wall using the directions from my IKEA comic book hack. Brennan had the following story to share with us about this comics and his new comic book wall.

After most of my comics got destroyed in a flood about 6-7 years ago, I stopped collecting. But my parents found a box of stuff I stashed away in their garage and it turned out, most of my favorite issues and cover art were inside. Growing up, I was a bigger fan of the B-list Marvel heroes, guys like Dr. Strange, Moon Knight, Iron Fist, Black Panther and Black Knight. So naturally, I wanted a relatively inexpensive way to display them. After doing a little online research, I came across Youseph’s site and liked the results I saw.

There’s an IKEA near where my folks live in Dallas and I bought 16 frames for under $40.00, picked up some black card stock at the Hobby Lobby and some Command Picture Hanging Strips, so that there wouldn’t be any damage to my walls. I chose 16 of my favorite covers from the 40 or so books I had left in my long box and my girlfriend helped me hang them up in the office.

She loves them, I love them. The result was perfect. Now we’re thinking about hanging up 16 more in another part of the house! If it wasn’t for Youseph’s site, we’d have probably spent a lot more money. Thanks for the smart and effective tip!

If you have a comic book wall using the IKEA hack found here, please contact me. I would love to see how it turned out for you.