Wednesday, July 06, 2016

Time Travel

I try not to dwell on the past. But I do find periodically scanning my past and refreshing my memory to be a useful taste of perspective. Creating my presentation for the stroke conference certainly offered that. This blog has become an essential piece of my collective memory. The Internet Archive's Wayback Machine is a fun way to revisit snapshots of websites I used to visit or helped create. I just found this article I wrote in 1997, just as the original Star Wars trilogy was being re-released in theaters. It's an interesting artifact of my personal history. It's not about reliving the past or thinking about what I'd change (I've never been a fan of killing baby Hitler) but rather recalling the path that led me here. In that archaeological spirit, I decided to download my Facebook Archive and troll for entries around the time of my diagnosis, surgery, stroke, and rehab (starting about six years ago today). I'd periodically considered "live Tweeting" a day at the rehab but never found the right time (I was a little busy), so these glimpses are about as close as I can get.

Unfortunately, Facebook didn't include who was doing the posting, so my posts are co-mingled with others posting to my wall. I've removed links to blog posts, since they're archived already, and added some explanatory context [in brackets]:

Sunday, July 4, 2010 at 4:46pm EDT

For no particular reason [though probably because we periodically have the nerve to lock it, and the savages we live with then attempt to break it down], our bedroom door frame completely separated from the wall. And, on this Independence Day, 2010, I did what any red-blooded American man would do -- I squirted some wood glue in there, hammered in a few more random nails, and called it "fixed".
Monday, July 5, 2010 at 9:28am EDT
One of our fish, Peter Pan, jumped out of the tank last night. Now that I think about, it's pretty ironic. Not enough Pixie Dust.[Too soon?]
Sunday, July 18, 2010 at 7:18am EDT
Aside from being a vague Hitchcockian homage, Foul Play does not hold up well.

Monday, July 19, 2010 at 10:57pm EDT
Just watched our first Blu-Ray: 9. Not the musical. Pretty amazing, and not just visually. We are all post-apocalyptic rag dolls.
Wednesday, July 21, 2010 at 7:38pm EDT
[During a tornado warning] We're all huddled in the basement. Just in case. Good thing I have a flashlight app. [sent from my first smart device, a 3rd Generation iPod Touch.]

Saturday, July 31, 2010 at 4:38pm EDT
Just had a very nice tea party with my boys. To think it's actually cool enough to enjoy tea.

Sunday, July 25, 2010 at 10:37am EDT
I'm happy to report that Fletch holds up much better than Foul Play. Still can never live up to what it represents, but it holds up. [I think Jamie and I were having a bit of a retro Chevy Chase film festival. Caddy Shack may have ultimately won.]
Sunday, August 1, 2010 at 7:04am EDT
I unapologetically love having instant coffee once in awhile.
Friday, August 6, 2010 at 7:10am EDT
Just saw a hummingbird right outside the window. Good way to start the day.
Wednesday, August 11, 2010 at 11:17am EDT

Ken Shapiro added a new photo. [We'd gone to New Jersey to visit my family, and I was struck by this hot vending machine at the Bronx Zoo (especially that it kept Kosher hours).]

Tuesday, August 24, 2010 at 10:58pm EDT
Scott Pilgrim vs. the World was awesome. [I think that was the first time I saw it.]
Saturday, September 4, 2010 at 7:45pm EDT
I'm sorry, but I really enjoyed The Love Guru. It's the exact same type of humor that made Austin Powers successful, so I don't know why people thought it was so awful.

Saturday, September 11, 2010 at 5:59am EDT
I was briefly caught in a "Funny or Die" loop but managed to break free.

Saturday, September 11, 2010 at 8:30pm EDT
Don't know how many of you will understand or care, but I just got multitasking and homescreen wallpaper working on my [jailbroken] 8Gb iTouch. In your face, Mr. Jobs!

Sunday, September 12, 2010 at 7:32am EDT
I wonder if the creators of The Brady Bunch Movie knew their film would, over time, come to satirize not only the '60s but the '90s as well. But it does. Which makes it that much more fun to watch. Especially on the TV Guide Channel.
Wednesday, September 22, 2010 at 8:22am EDT
I'm particularly in love with my kids this week.
Friday, September 24, 2010 at 5:44pm EDT

Ken Shapiro was with Madeline Pardue Williams and 4 others at Sebago Brewing Company.[I think this was the last of my week of Happy Hours, before heading to Boston for surgery.]

Sunday, September 26, 2010 at 3:54am EDT
I am collecting the most amazing array of teenage dance movies for us to watch during recovery. How's that for something to look forward to?? Sending you guys the best of vibes! [I'm guessing this was from our friend Elizabeth, who shares my penchant for cheesy popumentaries and other cinematic confections.]

Sunday, September 26, 2010 at 3:34pm EDT
[On the way to Boston for surgery...] There truly is something about a train that's magic. Especially a WiFi-enabled train. And when the seat in front of you is occupied by a little girl reading a Smurfs comic book aloud, in French.

Sunday, September 26, 2010 at 6:13pm EDT

[Hotel check-in for what was expected to be the night before surgery, later rescheduled and to become a second home for Jamie and my parents.]
Ken Shapiro with Jamie Andrews at Holiday Inn Express Hotel & Suites, Boston, Cambridge.

Do you think Holiday Inn would prefer I not call this variety of their fine hotel chain "HIX"?

[Then the very meaningful well wishes started pouring in, expecting my surgery was the following day.]

Sunday, September 26, 2010 at 11:36am EDT
Kick some ass tomorrow.

Sunday, September 26, 2010 at 1:19pm EDT
You are amazing!! I'll be thinking and praying for you tomorrow. Good Luck!

Sunday, September 26, 2010 at 2:54pm EDT
Just wanted you to know that you can add me to the thousands of well-wishes you're getting today. Don't have any clue how any work is gonna get done tomorrow! But...who TF cares! :):) God bless, Buddy.

Sunday, September 26, 2010 at 7:09pm EDT
hey ken, sorry that i missed you on of luck tomorrow. i'll be thinking of you.
Sunday, September 26, 2010 at 8:44pm EDT
So I'm looking forward to sharing a Brown at Sea Dog again soon... Good luck tomorrow!

Monday, September 27, 2010 at 10:58pm EDT
Hey! We are thinking about you!
Monday, September 27, 2010 at 9:37pm EDT
[Because I was not having my head cut open Monday, I happily posted this link, just as worth sharing now as then...]
Monday, September 27, 2010 at 8:37am EDT
Thinking happy thoughts. Love you with all my heart!
Tuesday, September 28, 2010 at 10:35pm EDT
Ken we're thinking about you . You and your sweet family are in our hearts.
Tuesday, September 28, 2010 at 10:14pm EDT
Love you, Ken! Huge positive thoughts and prayers heading your way for tomorrow.
Tuesday, September 28, 2010 at 7:34pm EDT
I'm sending positive thoughts your way.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010 at 9:14pm EDT
[First post-surgery report. Hard to read now, because it was relatively positive...] From Jamie Andrews: Ken's doing well. He's answering questions, moving his body. Very groggy. And he's going to have a shiner tomorrow, because of where they had to do the incision. So, here's a cautiously optimistic YAY!

Sunday, October 3, 2010 at 11:36am EDT
Where I was when I was thinking of you...[I believe this was the start of an an incredible project my friend Katherine undertook to get college friends to send her pictures and stories she could collect for me. That book is still one of my most cherished possessions and a reminder that Social Karma is real (i.e. If I'd made such caring friends, I'd done something right with my life.]

Tuesday, October 5, 2010 at 2:24am EDT
[I believe this is Dan...]Where I was when I was thinking of you 6:20 PM PDT, Today. My Mom and Stepfather are in town for a few days and wanted to go to Mt Rainier. The meadows around Paradise were utterly spectacular reds greens and yellows, but low clouds hid the mountain entirely from us. On the way down the road back to Seattle, suddenly the overcast skies vanished and we had this view from the side of the road. When you first visited Seattle, our trip to Rainier went the same way. The mountain hid itself from us until we were far enough away to appreciate it. I thought of you.
Tuesday, October 5, 2010 at 11:22am EDT
[Chuck...] I was in Maine visiting my parents when I heard about your health--it was just a few days before your surgery. I thought of you when I saw this sign posted at the store down the road . (You didn't steal those geese, did you?)

Wednesday, October 6, 2010 at 5:13pm EDT
[Julie...]This is a puddle near my house which comes and goes, according to the rain. But whenever it's there, my son jumps in it. Sometimes we put on his boots and go outside in the rain specifically so he can jump in this puddle. People walking by smile. It rained this morning and my son jumped in the puddle on his way to nursery, but by the afternoon when I walked by again, the sun had come out. You can see that it's shining behind me as I snapped the photo, and that the puddle is shrinking. I was thinking about different kinds of permanence. An hour or two after I took this photo, I was visiting a friend of mine who is dying of cancer. He was unconscious and won't wake up again, but I held his hand and we visitors made jokes and I felt he could hear us through his laboured breathing. Afterwards, I went for a walk under the autumn trees in the sunshine and the clear air. And on my way home, the puddle had disappeared. Tonight, it's raining again. We'll put on boots tomorrow. Thinking about you, Ken. Thanks for the reminder to notice the puddles. Julie xx
Sunday, October 10, 2010 at 7:22am EDT
[I think Jamie had returned briefly to Maine to see the boys, for the first time since my surgery.]

Hi, Kinnif [one of Jamie's many nicknames for me]! I miss you horribly! Do you miss me horribly? [an old, call-response joke, from when Jamie and I first started dating. I often traveled to New York for work; and when we talked on the phone each night, that's what she'd ask me. My standard reply was and is, "It's the only way I know how."] I woke to being sandwiched by Wyatt and Gus. We said good morning to you while we lay in bed. It's starting to get cold in the mornings. I am so looking forward to you being here to keep us warm. Yogurt, yogurt, yogurt. [another inside joke from early dating. Neither one of us was brave enough to say we loved each other, so our code word was, "yogurt" Don't ask me why. I suppose they're both the product of active cultures.]

Wednesday, October 13, 2010 at 8:32pm EDT

 I was inspired by your 70's pic here to shave my beard and gain large chops like you, Ken. I thought the look was great on you. Even the polyester looked great on you. [Not sure who this was from, but it references my attempt to emphasize my sideburns for friends' 70s-themed wedding in August 2010. Probably still our best family photo, back when Wyatt often went pants optional without a moment's notice.]

Thursday, October 14, 2010 at 4:17pm EDT
Hi Ken, I am so happy to hear that you will be heading to Maine tomorrow. We all love you so much and know with all of your friends and your wonderful Jamie and the boys, you will continue to recover. We hope we can make the trip to Maine soon but please know you are in our hearts at all times. [I'm guessing this was my sister or brother.]

Saturday, October 16, 2010 at 9:05pm EDT
I accidentally turned on Jersey Shore [all checked in at the rehab and connected to their WiFi, I was free to start sharing minutia again].

Tuesday, October 26, 2010 at 7:24pm EDT
It was great to see you today. Phones ringing, range of motion activities, therapists, doctors and nurses visiting. Holy rush hour, Batman. You are totally yourself in the center of all that activity. [I'm guessing this was a work friend who dropped by the rehab in the afternoon.]
Tuesday, October 26, 2010 at 11:45pm EDT
seeing all the ladies write on your wall about visits reminds me of how you were the cootie-catcher in 4th grade. such an opportunist, Shapiro. xo. [not sure what childhood friend that was (or, possibly Elizabeth, who has an Auditory Eidetic Memory and will use it to recall vague anecdotes you've told her once. Technically, it was 3rd Grade, and my title was Kissing Bug Helper (it was my job to round up the boys so the girls could kiss them). And, yes, that probably did mark the beginning of my place as, "just one of the girls" and a life philosophy of, "If you can't beat 'um, join 'um".]
Sunday, October 31, 2010 at 2:38pm EDT
I'm very excited for the boys' visit. [Halloween might have been their first visit.]
Sunday, October 31, 2010 at 10:43pm EDT
You are the rockin'est Super Hero I know . I know lots, ya know. It was GREAT seeing you. Your humor astounds me . By the way, Gus really knows how to trick or treat! He got twice as much as the others! Good thing his Wyatt is such an excellent sport. It was a great day.[references my Halloween costume.]

Friday, November 5, 2010 at 9:12pm EDT
One of the nurses sounds just like Looney Tunes' Red Riding Hood - "Hey, Grandma!!"
Monday, November 1, 2010 at 8:20pm EDT
dude! I'm TOTALLY going to copy your superman underpants idea.
Monday, November 1, 2010 at 10:33am EDT
Kathie Lee and Hoda are getting real about body odor. Just in time, too. [I was watching a lot of morning and reality TV.]
Monday, November 1, 2010 at 8:48am EDT
I think you should just wear the superman outfit all week. ;o)

Monday, November 8, 2010 at 6:24pm EST
I'm putting this out there for Chrisanna, my Occupational Therapist: Today I learned how to hit myself in the balls, lefty. Thanks, Chris.
Holmes on Homes gives me faith that TV can do good.
My old roommate snored, even when he wasn't asleep. My new roommate moans a bit. Hopefully, he isn't in pain. Also,hopefully, he doesn't really enjoy being in the hospital.

Thursday, November 11, 2010 at 6:36am EST

Just because I left the TV on all night, I'm watching an inexplicable infomercial mash-up of The Six-week Body Makeover and home energy efficiency tips. I'm not quite sure what channel it's on. Probably HGTV.

Friday, November 12, 2010 at 7:57am EST
Scott Pilgrim Vs. the World is now out on DVD. SO IF YOU'RE LOOKING FOR a genre- defying movie that's funny, has well-choreographed fight scenes, and has a heart, be sure to pick it up.

Friday, November 12, 2010 at 1:24pm EST
Somewhat sadly, my moaning roommate, Ernie, has left the building. He's moved on to a nursing home. So begins the era of Roland (my new roomy). No defining features for him yet. [turned out he talked a lot and liked to tell me how his wife knew he was having a stroke because he'd been quiet for a few minutes.]

Tuesday, November 16, 2010 at 3:29pm EST
For the first time since I've been here, I was flipping channels and came across wrestling. Hopefully, wherever he is, Ernie was watching. I can't seem to hold on to a roommate - Roland is going home tomorrow. [Ernie's son had put a note on his TV that said, "Ernie likes to watch wrestling," but I don't remember him ever doing so.]

Friday, November 19, 2010 at 5:21pm EST
[From Jamie...]Hello, Lovey. Wyatt just invented the swooshclap, which is what it sounds like. One makes a swooshing motion from up over the head, swooshes down, comes back up, and claps. There is some fairly complicated wrist action that I can't seem to imitate. Wyatt was showing it to Gus and Gus said, "that is SO cool Wyatt, very, very cool". Which in Gus speak sounded like, "dat is so coo Wyatt, wery, wery, coo".

Monday, November 29, 2010 at 8:13pm EST

It was shower day. Hooray! I was able to wash my low knees all by myself. But I still need help with my hiney. I was forced to post that, by the way. Jamie and Chrisanna insisted. Yes, I said it at the time. But I didn't think it was worth repeating.
Tuesday, November 30, 2010 at 7:32am EST
My roommate got a VCR over the weekend and put on The Shining this morning. What a way to start the day -- freaked out! Why should today be different from any other? [Jason was my last roommate, though I've been glad to see him a few times recently. He seems to be doing well, at an independent living facility.]

Friday, December 3, 2010 at 9:26pm EST
Boston cream pie is neither cream nor pie -- discuss.

Sunday, December 5, 2010 at 4:11pm EST
Ken Shapiro with Jamie Andrews at Massachusetts General Hospital. [Back to Boston for my cranioplasty.]
Can't say I'm thrilled to be here. I think I'd recognize it by the smell. Jamie says it makes her sick. Ironically understandable.

Sunday, December 5, 2010 at 8:56am EST
I haven't heard from nearly enough people who've now seen Scott Pilgrim vs. The World.
Friday, December 10, 2010 at 1:42pm EST
Ken Shapiro with Jamie Andrews at New England Rehab.
Strange to say it, but it's good to be back at the rehab. It's not home but it's a step in the right direction.

Saturday, December 11, 2010 at 4:35pm EST
I learned today that on January 1, 2011, Discovery Health will become The Oprah Winfrey Network. Does that mean no more I Didn't Know I Was Pregnant? I hope so. I expect better from Oprah.
Tuesday, December 14, 2010 at 6:32pm EST
How cool is this?: Today I received a package from The Hollywood, California. It was a Scott Pilgrim poster, autographed by Edgar Wright and Anna Kendrick -- director and co-star,respectively, of the film -- along with a nice note saying how they enjoy the blog. Aside from my near constant shilling for the movie, the connection is that Anna's from Maine and her mother works at Unum. [I'm still unsure how they found me.]
Tuesday, December 21, 2010 at 7:53am EST
I'm bothered by Massage Envy(the strip mall chain of massage parlors). Is it supposed to be a play on words? If so, I don't get it. Who are the marketing geniuses who came up with this one? Please explain why this was a good name for the business. [I'd now like to start a campaign to change the name to "Massage in a Bottle"].

Tuesday, December 21, 2010 at 8:52am EST
If Santa's cook books are made by elves, shouldn't he lose weight -- what with the small portions?
Tuesday, December 21, 2010 at 1:58pm EST
Ken Shapiro at Home.
Home for good! Even made my own Spaghettios for lunch. Tastes like freedom.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010 at 11:41am EST
Sharing the family cold. It's good to be home.
Saturday, December 25, 2010 at 4:07pm EST
I was looking at People Magazine's year-end wrap-up, with Sandra Bullock on the cover ("Woman of the Year"). How exactly did my wife miss out on that honor?
Wednesday, December 29, 2010 at 9:23am EST
Once again, Road House has proven itself to be a useful parenting guide: 

  • Pull your hair back before removing a patron from the establishment
  • "Be nice."
  • Slide guitar is cool.
  • Keep a few extra sets of spare tires in your trunk.

Hope you've enjoyed this trip down Memory Lane. They say your social networking history never disappears and may come back to haunt you. I, for one, am glad.