Battling the Migraine

How it starts out with me, I get blind spots.  Like early today I was writing a beer review and was having problems seeing what I had just typed.  It gave me a sudden sinking feeling, and I wondered, Is this a migraine coming on?

I struggled with typing for a few more minutes, and then realized, yes, I’m having lots of problems seeing the words on the screen.

This is THE WARNING.  When I get THE WARNING it means I have about 50 to 75 minutes before THE PAIN.

The moment I get this warning I drop everything and go take medicine.  Fortunately I’ve found the generic OTC migraine pills work just fine, and the Wal-Mart generic Equate Headache Relief (which is the equivalent of Excedrin® Migraine) is dirt cheap.  They consist of Acetaminophen, Aspirin, and Caffeine.  If I don’t have those pills, I found taking a Tylenol combined with Advil and some coffee will work the same.

They take about 50 minutes to take effect.  So if I get those pills in me immediately, they will head off the migraine pain, and all I have to deal with are the other symptoms (sleepiness, reduced mental abilities, and nausea).

So, do you get migraines?  How do you deal with them?

The Great eBay Way

My younger daughter’s computer died earlier this week.  I finally tracked the problem down to the drive controller, which is on the motherboard.

There’s no way I’m buying a new motherboard.  Not for that computer.  So I went on eBay and bought a IBM NetVista with Pentium 4 – 1.6ghz yadda yadda yadda for a whole $20.  That’s cheaper than a hard drive, even with shipping.  And it’s nearly twice the computer as her old one.

Twenty bucks.  Wow.  Computers really are a commodity.

R.I.P. Diamond Kitty

My ex-wife sent an email yesterday.  The 17 year old tuxedo cat, named Diamond for the diamond-shaped white patch on her chest — who as a kitten my older daughter and I rescued from a life of eating cockroaches in a woodpile — she passed away this week. 

This hit my kids hard, especially my younger daughter, who grew up with that cat.  Diamond was older than her — she knew her as the eternal kitten.

When my ex and I split up and she moved back to California, she moved in with one of her brothers.  Diamond fell in love with that brother and it became his cat.  So when my ex moved out to a place of her own, the cat stayed with the brother.

Recently that brother passed away, and Diamond returned to my ex.  She says, though, the cat’s heart was broken.  Diamond had been a spry kitten for 17 years and then suddenly, everything gave out at once.

The passing of this cat brought back to mind the passing of the brother.  Which is why my younger daughter took it especially hard.  It really hit her that she would never see her uncle again.

A Clarification

Yesterday I stated:  Young scientists think they are the equivalent of rock stars.

Just in case anyone thought I was putting them down, I’m not.  Actually I think scientists deserve rock star status more than rock stars do.  Way more.  But occasionally you’ll run into one who also thinks he is a game show host.  That’s just funny.  Especially if they pull it off.

Notes To Self…

Some things I learned last weekend:

  • Never take yourself seriously when a lot of people are looking at you.  Also, you get bonus points for egging on the people sitting next to you on the stage.
  • You will always be struck with a hundred hilarious things to say the moment the audience is gone.
  • In the publishing business, it really is about who you know.
  • Editors are sick and tired.
  • Young scientists think they are the equivalent of rock stars.  Or game show hosts.
  • It is possible for a live human being to totally resemble a bobble head doll.
  • For some reason I love the word “squeegee.”
  • A Grammar Nazi is much less likely to get published, and writers who obsess over eliminating all traces of passive voice are viewed by publishers as amateurs.
  • Male writers have penises, and female writers have vaginas.

Me, On Stage, Panicking

If you’re in the Dallas area this coming weekend, come watch me stutter and turn red in front of a lot of people.  I’m one of the writers featured at this year’s FenCon, a Sci-Fi & Fantasy convention.

Check out all the fun stuff I’ll be doing in front of an audience:

Friday 4:00 PM, “Short Stories Got No Reason…”
I and three other writers will be giving opinions, no doubt stated as fact, about whether or not short stories are still a viable medium.

Friday 5:00 PM, “Podcasts”
How to put together podcasts for fun, profit, promotion, and self-humiliation.  Interesting that I’m on this panel.  I guess the fact that I’ve kludged together a couple Podcasts makes me an expert at it.

Saturday 10:00 AM, “Roswell – 60 Years of UFOs”
I have never seen a UFO, but then again, I bet no one else on the panel has either.

Saturday 7:00 PM, “Futuretech Feasibility”
Could Warp Drive be invented? Anti-gravity? Twiddle38 (Bill, aka “Aaaaaaaaaaa Puffiboomboom”) and I will be two of the guys giving the bird’s eye low-down on this bit of crystal ball gazing.

Sunday 11:00 AM “Autographs”
Yes, you read that right.  You can come get my autograph.  Are you excited or what?

Sunday 1:00 PM, “Face-Off: The Difference Between Male and Female Writers”
This is going to be fun.  Two guy writers, two gal writers, a big vat of pudding, and NERF weapons.

So come on down!  After dark you’ll no doubt see me wandering around drunk off my ass.

All The Required Paperwork

“Aaaaaaaaaaa?” the hard faced, white-haired lady
said.  “It says ‘Aaaaaaaaaaa.'”

“Yes ma’am,” he said.

“Your name is ‘Aaaaaaaaaaa?'”

“It’s pronounced ‘Bill.'”

“Bill?”  She
stared at him in outrage.  “How do
you get ‘Bill’ out of eleven A’s?”

“It’s a foreign spelling.”

“Well, that’s just ridiculous!”

“It’s on my birth certificate.”  He proffered his wrinkled document.

“I’m not issuing a driver’s license to

“Bill,” he corrected.

“I don’t care how you pronounce it!”  Her eyes scanned further down the
paperwork.  “And what’s this?  Your last name is ‘Puffiboomboom?'”


“Puffy … boom

“Well, it’s, um—“

“What, do you pronounce it, ‘Smith?'”

“Actually, it’s pronounced, ‘Ledbetter.'”

Her wrinkles flushed crimson. 
“How do you get ‘Ledbetter’ from ‘Puffiboomboom?'”  She held up her wiry hand.  “Don’t tell me.  Foreign spelling.”


“How stupid do you think I am?” she said.  “This has to be a prank!”

“No, ma’am.”

“I’m not buying this, not at all!”

“I have all the paperwork filled out—“

“Aaaaaaaaaaa Puffiboomboom is not getting a driver’s
license.  Not from me.”

“Ma’am, I didn’t choose this name.  It’s something I’ve had to live with all my

“Well, it’s time to choose something else!”

“I can’t.”

“Why not?  If
your name is ‘Bill Ledbetter’ then why don’t you just spell it that way?”

“Can we do that?”

“Well,” she said, “let’s see.”  She typed angrily at her keyboard for long
minutes, and then a machine whirred.  She
grabbed a stamp, smacked it down on his paperwork like a judge banging a gavel,
and then slid the whole pile at him. 
“There, Aaaaaaaaaaa Puffiboomboom, it’s done.”

He stared at his brand new driver’s license.  The picture was typically horrible, but the
name was spelled “Bill Ledbetter.”

“Thank you,” he said to her.

She huffed, then looking past him at the long line, shouted,

Bill gathered the papers and his new license and walked
quickly outside to where his friends waited. 
He showed them the license, pointing at the birth date.  Magically, he was now over 21 years old.

“Dude!” yelled one of his ecstatic friends.  “Let’s go buy beer!”