Tag Archive for the wife

Photo Friday: The Wife

The Wife didn’t go to bed in time, so she became my vic—er, subject, for this week’s photo.


She’s getting used to me sticking the camera in her face

The lighting in our living room is very yellow, so I prefer tweaking a lot of the photos shot in there at night to black and white. I may have been able to fix it with the flash, but I still prefer playing with available light when I can. My single external flash allows only so much control. One of these days I’ll get a remote for it and be able to do a bit more.

To my surprise, the Wife is very happy with this shot, too. She normally hates photos of herself. I call that a win.

About Mike Oliveri

Mike Oliveri is a writer, martial artist, cigar aficionado, motorcyclist, and family man, but not necessarily in that order. He is currently hard at work on the werewolf noir series The Pack for Evileye Books.

Photo Friday: My Ladies

It’s been an insane week at work. Spare moments were spent wrestling with viruses and server headaches. As such, no camera time.

Friday, however, I had things mostly locked down and I took the family out for pizza (before returning yet again to work to follow up on a few things, and then spend a little more time at home logged in to a web server to wrap up—argh). While there, I snapped this photo of the Wife and Little Bird.

My Ladies

This is what makes it all worth while.

I first shot the photo with Instagram, the service which recently made the news thanks to a billion-dollar acquisition by Facebook. I’d been waiting for Instagram on Android for a while, and the Instagram version of this photo has a subtle filter applied.

I’m mixed on Instagram. For the social aspect, Instagram is far more active than picplz and Lightbox. From the first day I saw more activity on Instagram than any photo on the other services, despite all three of them having the ability to post photos to Twitter and Facebook.

Lightbox seems to have made improvements since I last used it a year ago, but I haven’t done more than play with it a little. picplz has better filter handling than Instagram in terms of seeing what a filter might do before the user clicks on it, though it has fewer filters available (the second half of picplz’s filters are the same as the first half, only with borders removed). That’s not a complaint, mind, as it cuts down on confusion and overuse.

I also don’t like that Instagram doesn’t post to Flickr. They seem to want photos to stay on Instagram and be shared from there, driving all traffic through their site. Yes, that’s how business works, but neither Lightbox nor picplz seem to have a problem with granting me ownership of my own photos. In fact, picplz even allows me to upload my photos directly to my Dropbox account.

So I’m torn. Instagram nails the social aspect, but it sucks having to repost photos to other services. Maybe Facebook will force some stupid changes on Instagram and make my decision for me.

In the meantime, people, lay off with the filters. Yes, some of the filters can make some photos look great. However, slapping a burned-out red filter over a shite photo of nothing doesn’t make it look old and kitschy, it makes it look like an even bigger pile of shite. There’s a reason the photography world has moved on.

I realize Instagram is trying to reproduce the old feel of the Polaroid instant cameras. This is why they have the square crop, too. Yet if you shot the same photo with an actual Polaroid instant camera, you’d say “Wow, this is garbage.” Why is it hip to post a digital reproduction of the same garbage to Twitter?

Stop it.

Candids are great. Shoot your food, shoot random objects on your desk, shoot nothing, knock yourself out. Part of the instant appeal is instant sharing. Just keep in mind, while not everything has to be art, not every candid needs a filter.

About Mike Oliveri

Mike Oliveri is a writer, martial artist, cigar aficionado, motorcyclist, and family man, but not necessarily in that order. He is currently hard at work on the werewolf noir series The Pack for Evileye Books.

Happy Deathday, Honey!

The Wife’s birthday is this Sunday, 10/10/10.

I think that means she’s going to get super powers.

Of course, it also occurs to me this could be a very bad thing, kind of like planets aligning, the sun going nova, or women getting the vote.* The birthday party could very well go something like this:

*Um, sure. Of course that was sarcasm.

About Mike Oliveri

Mike Oliveri is a writer, martial artist, cigar aficionado, motorcyclist, and family man, but not necessarily in that order. He is currently hard at work on the werewolf noir series The Pack for Evileye Books.

Photo Friday: Portraits of a Mom

I started with one Photo Friday idea, but it just didn’t pan out. The Wife was waiting for me to decide what I was going to do about it, when I noticed the way she was sitting and her expression. So I started snapping away and instead got a few portraits of her. I couldn’t really decide which one I liked best, so I said to hell with it and posted all three.

Reflective Mom

Reflective Mom

In this first one, I thought she looked like she was reflecting on the day, maybe remembering something that happened with the kids or my nonsense from this morning.

Tired Mom

Tired Mom

Then I asked her to just kill the smile for a second, and she looked tired, like she had just put the kids to bed and sat down for her first moment of peace, thinking “I really don’t want to put away the groceries now.” (Fortunately I’d already taken care of them. I rock like that.)

Thoughtful Mom

Thoughtful Mom

Finally, in this one she just looked lost in thought. I think if I absolutely had to pick a favorite, it would be this one, mostly because I feel like the light was a little more subtle.

I think the only thing I might have change next time is take a little more time to set up, maybe set up the tripod and make sure I can crank the ISO down as low as possible to eliminate more of the noise. I also need to take the time to start polishing my post-processing skills so I can work a little more on noise and sharpness then.

About Mike Oliveri

Mike Oliveri is a writer, martial artist, cigar aficionado, motorcyclist, and family man, but not necessarily in that order. He is currently hard at work on the werewolf noir series The Pack for Evileye Books.

Sometimes Too Creative

Troll Wang
Originally uploaded by MikeOliveri.

I came home from lunch to find the Squirt had been given a Thanksgiving-themed Troll doll at library day today. Two seconds later, I picked it up and went rummaging through the kitchen cabinets.

“What’re you doing?” the Wife asked. She had that exasperated tone that suggested she was also rolling her eyes at me.

“Nothing,” I promised.

She knew better. She’s only been through 15 years of these shenanigans. When I found what I needed and sat down beside her at the table, she put down her book and crossed her arms.

“What?” I asked.

“Get it over with.”

“I’m just sitting here! Why do you always have to assume I’m up to something? All I want to do is spend a few minutes with my lovely bride before I have to go back to work, and here you are making me the bad guy. Frankly, I’m offended that you could think that of me.”

Yeah. She didn’t buy it.

So I went ahead and slid the toothpick through the Troll’s legs and gave him a woody anyway.

About Mike Oliveri

Mike Oliveri is a writer, martial artist, cigar aficionado, motorcyclist, and family man, but not necessarily in that order. He is currently hard at work on the werewolf noir series The Pack for Evileye Books.

The Perils of Fatherhood

The Wife handed me a nice, big chunk of my ass again today.

Yes, again. I have a bad habit of forgetting what the rugrats should and shouldn’t be watching, and I have yet to live down a two-week streak of nightmares the Midget had when he was two. Nightmares caused by a viewing of the climax of Aliens. My thinking at the time was something like “It’s edited for TV, how bad can it be?” My defense was “But he said he wasn’t scared! He wanted to watch it!”

My first lesson in Fatherhood. Well, among the first.

See, the Wife and I had two very different upbringings. I was a kid when John Carpenter’s The Thing hit an old cable network called ONTV, and my old man recorded it. By the time I was a teenager, we had literally worn that tape out, as well as another with recordings of First Blood and Robocop. Conan the Barbarian? No problem. Aliens? I could quote it on command. By the time Predator came out, we just had to see it in the theater.

The Wife’s family, meanwhile, stuck to Disney flicks. The Wife was weaned on a steady diet of musicals, Shirley Temple, and The Wizard of Oz. The closest she came to any kind of violence was Doctor Who (when it still ran on PBS Channel 11 out of Chicago) and James Bond flicks. James Bond is nothing to sneeze at, but he doesn’t hold a candle to An American Werewolf in London.

As such we’re operating on two different gages of appropriateness. Hers is set to Metric, mine Imperial. Hers is well maintained, always oiled, and calibrated regularly. Mine’s rusting, jams, and has a tolerance of a yard, give or take a cubit.

And the moment the Midget started quoting Frylock from Aqua Teen Hunger Force, my gage got thrown out in the street. I was pretty good about referencing hers for a while, too, but somehow it made its sorry way back into the house. I felt bad and made it a sandwich rather than telling it to stay out there where it belonged. Then we shared a couple beers and reminisced about the good ol’ days.

Which leads me, at last, to the ass-whoopin’.

The Midget got on the subject of kidneys. The Wife explained their form and function, and of course the word “pee” entered the conversation.

“Some people have thorny bugs with big, sharp teeth living in their pee!” the Midget informed his mother.

Oh shit, thought I. I’m toast. Because yes, I knew exactly where this was coming from.

“Why do you say that?” the Wife asked, already shooting a glare in my direction.

“I saw it on TV! The guy was peeing in the river, and the bugs climbed up his pee and into his kidneys!”

“Yeah,” the Squirt chimed in. “And they said ‘I don’t want to see your ass!'”

Oh shit!

“And what exactly were they watching, Daddy?” She rose from the couch like the Kraken from the sea.

Metalocalypse!” the Midget supplied.

“What?” I asked, feigning innocence. “Haven’t you ever heard the stories about the parasites in the Amazon? Murderface was peeing in the river, and the parasites climbed into his kidneys! It’s a survival lesson!”

“Yeah, and he was naked!” the Midget said.

“Ix-nay on the Etalocalypse-may.” I shot a nudge into his ribs.

“And then their jaws melted off!” the Squirt added.

It was completely unrelated. See, these Amazon warriors blew some kind of hallucinogenic dust into the characters’ faces, and they started seeing some crazy-violent stuff, right? A continuation of the life lesson, to be sure. When you go into the Amazon, you best back some heat, Son! But the Wife took a step in my direction, so I bolted for the door.

Her nostrils flared. Furniture flew through the air. Fire rained down from the heavens. The children plead for her to spare Daddy’s life. But the little Roman emperor in her head said “Thumbs down, Byotch!”

Thus began the ass-handing.

Good thing they didn’t tell her about The Venture Brothers

About Mike Oliveri

Mike Oliveri is a writer, martial artist, cigar aficionado, motorcyclist, and family man, but not necessarily in that order. He is currently hard at work on the werewolf noir series The Pack for Evileye Books.

The Fine Line Between Reality and WTF!?

When I dream, I dream weird. There have been many times I woke up and spent a good minute reintroducing myself to reality or reassuring myself that the events of the dream didn’t really happen.

I had three of those this week. The first dealt with work, and the crux of it wasn’t hard to figure out. However, our student body was about ten times its actual number and our lobby and gym were replaced by a giant glass atrium complete with airport-style people movers (only they were about ten feet long). This in turn opened onto a theme-park sized campus area swarming with more students and staff members.

The second involved a horror convention and a spontaneous marriage to a fan from Eastern Europe. After the nuptials, I continued to crash with the friends I was rooming with for the con. I woke from that one and had to make sure my wife was still sleeping next to me.

The third was the doozy. My great uncle and I had my great aunt’s body on a hospital gurney, and we were wheeling her down a desert highway. I decided it would be a good opportunity for an internal anatomy lesson and talked my great uncle into letting me open her up. He hung back about ten yards while I tore her open with my fingers and poked around at her innards.

That’s when she woke up, smiled, and said “Hi, Michael.” We rushed her to an ER, and she’s smiling and happy the whole time. The nurses tell her they’re going to get her fixed up, and she says “Oh, that’s nice” in this special way she used to say it in reality. It’s about that time in the dream I realized she was a zombie, and I couldn’t figure out why nobody else realized she was a zombie, and that it would only be a matter of moments before she developed a hunger for human brains.

Then I woke up, and the only thing I could think of was my great uncle died first, and holy crap that meant he was a zombie, too, and maybe I need to call Zombie Squad or someone, and why in the hell is my wife just lying there asleep while the zombie apocalypse has begun? But the guy on the clock radio is telling me it will be sixty degrees and sunny with no chance of zombies, and oh, right, it’s 6:30 and time to get out of bed and get ready for work.

I told my wife about the zombie aunt dream. I said “So my great uncle and I are wheeling my aunt’s body down a desert highway.”

“And you’re singing Black Sabbath songs?” she interjected.

“No, but that would have been bad ass! Why do you say that?”

She shrugged. “Sounds like the way things go in your dreams.”

Perhaps my oddity is infectious. At that point I started to speculate exactly which song we’d be singing. “Paranoid” is a little too fast, and “Iron Man” not quite right. I started to settle on “Sabbath Bloody Sabbath” when my wife said “So what else happened in this dream?”

“Oh, right.” So I told her the rest.

“You need help.”

It’s simultaneously a benefit and a curse of getting more sleep. The weeks I stay up late and only average about six hours of sleep a night, this doesn’t happen. I push that over seven, closer to eight, and the strangeness begins. I know rapid eye movement is good for me physically, but I’m going to give up on dream analysis because I just don’t want to know.

In fact, I had a social studies teacher in high school who also taught psych. I told him about a strange dream I had involving frogs embedded in trees who opened their mouths to croak and instead unleashed swarms of locusts. He looked at me funny and said “I couldn’t even begin to guess.”

The real question is do I have these dreams because I write horror, or do I write horror because of these dreams? Would I be better off writing these dreams into my work, or would that just make my work even harder to sell? Should I be writing bizarro fiction instead?

There are times, too, where reality just doesn’t help. I stumbled downstairs after the work dream, still pondering the meaning of a conversation with a pair of students and a co-worker in the giant glass atrium. I sat down on the couch with the Squirt, who was watching Yo Gabba Gabba.

If you’ve never seen this show before, it does not, in any way, shape, or form, help one re-establish a grip on reality. As I watched, they finished up some freaky monster dance, and then they cut to this dude with wild hair and green glasses. He says “Hi, I’m Mark! I’m going to draw a truck.”

Holy crap, that’s Mark Mothersbaugh! I thought. That’s right, a member of Devo was about to draw a truck for me. He drew a flatbed truck, and decided it needed cargo. So he drew a giant frozen chicken in the back. Then he gave it a steering wheel and wheels, and it drove away. I blinked a few times, then played it back on the DVR. Mark Mothersbaugh. Chicken. Truck drives away.

My wife walked into the room.

“I am awake, right?” I asked her.

She gave me her trademark oh-great-he’s-lost-his-mind-again look and backed out of the room slowly.

More weirdness ensued on Yo Gabba Gabba. I asked the Squirt if he liked this show.

“Uh-uh,” he said.

“Does it suck?”

“Uh huh.”

I flipped on the guide on the DVR. “Want to watch Power Rangers instead?”

“Yeah! Pow Wangers!”

Not much better in some respects, but at least I didn’t feel like I was lost on a dream quest. Dudes in goofy outfits battling giant monsters explains itself; there’s no “what’s with the chicken?” factor.

I half wonder if the Wife put Yo Gabba Gabba on just to mess with my head.

About Mike Oliveri

Mike Oliveri is a writer, martial artist, cigar aficionado, motorcyclist, and family man, but not necessarily in that order. He is currently hard at work on the werewolf noir series The Pack for Evileye Books.

Gimme a Theme Song (or Three)

Driving home at 3am last night, it occurred to me that I need a theme song (which you’d already know if you follow my Twitter feed). In fact, everyone should have one. Something to at once provide a jolt of energy and convey mood to all those around us. Something without lyrics, that would explain itself in the beat, the pitch, and the tone. It worked for Peter Griffin, right?

It occurred to me, then, that we actually need three. Well, at least three, but I feel these three, if written correctly, can be adapted to just about any situation we might encounter. They are as follows:


Speaks for itself, yes? To follow the Squirt’s example, why walk when you can strut? Why stand when you can dance? I sure as hell am not going to do it without music, so why not have something blaring away as I stroll down the street? I heard Flogging Molly’s “Requiem for a Dying Song” on Sirius last night and it’s damn close; strip out the lyrics and place close attention during the chorus and you’ll feel it.

To be done right, it would need a variety of beats. Something while standing and waiting at the DMV. Something to soothe one in the security line at the airport. Something to make one’s way through a crowd to.

Something to drive to! Someone on the radio said no car should be driven without the theme to Pee-Wee’s Big Adventure blaring from the radio. Not bad, if perhaps a little over the top. Along the same line, consider the theme to The Simpsons.

You can’t tell me Danny Elfman wouldn’t be perfect to pen this one for us.


When that pinhead from the next cubicle steals the last donut from the break room, it’s time to cue up the Fight Music. It should also be good for everything from unbridled road rage to the controlled power of a sparring match, from pushing that last rep into the air or punching through that last lap. It gets the blood pumping and keeps it that way, fueling fight and flight alike. Pantera’s “Cowboys from Hell” works, but it’s way too obvious. Mötley Crüe’s “Kickstart My Heart” works in the gym, but it’s too cheery for life-and-death situations or when you just need to beat some poor bastard’s face in for pinching your girl’s arse.

It needs to be mean and offensive. It needs to shock the enemy. Thus I give you Metallica’s cover of Anti-Nowhere League’s “So What” (most certainly not safe for work).

“But wait, Mike!” you might be saying. “It has lyrics!”

To that I say “so what?” Rules were meant to be broken.



I was tempted to label this one fucking, but according to the Wife, that’s not an appropriate term for all bedroom entanglements. Thus this one is the trickiest of the three, as it has to cover those tender Barry White/Marvin Gaye moments and those times you go so fast and so hard you think your nut is going to blast her through the bedroom wall.

Want metal? I suggest Judas Priest’s “Turbo Lover”. It works. Even after you remember Rob Halford is gay halfway through the song (and the lovin’). Trust me. If you were thinking “Lick It Up”, I will queue up my Fight Music right now. Although John is probably going to recommend “Swallow That Load” (do I really need to warn you this link is not safe for work?), which I will allow just to see the hilarity that ensues.

Our conundrum here is lyrics. If the song is going to tell us what to do, then we may as well watch pr0n. “Pause it, honey! I’m not there yet!” Not quite my thing. Or hers. Not to mention if I asked her to try some of the things on the Internet, she’d have me castrated. The old ’70s Disco tracks are lame and cliche, so they’re out, and I don’t want to hear what I’m fairly certain came out of the automatic mode on a $50 synthesizer in the ’80s stuff, either. (Jesus, why do I even know this?)

So once again we have to recruit someone to pen us something that alternates from wild to wonderful to fit the varying cadences of carnal desire.

Ladies and gentlemen, I give you Les Claypool. Jam that bass for us, my brother.

There Is No Number Four

Crying music came to mind. You know, sad stuff.

Bah, I say. Leave that one for the chicks to figure out for themselves. They can recruit Barbra Streisand and Neil Diamond and pass around the tissue boxes at their Pampered Chef parties. If you’re a dude and something’s about to get you crying, cue up your Fight Music and knock that wuss crap down deep.

Or at least use it to conceal the way you’re blubbering like a little girl because you just watched Tommy’s father die at the baseball game in last season’s finale of Rescue Me. (Yeah, that’s right, cried! Don’t make me cue up my Fight Music again!)

In Conclusion

I have more time on my hands than I thought.

About Mike Oliveri

Mike Oliveri is a writer, martial artist, cigar aficionado, motorcyclist, and family man, but not necessarily in that order. He is currently hard at work on the werewolf noir series The Pack for Evileye Books.

Clive Owen's On First

Last night I finally got around to watching Shoot ‘Em Up, and I invited the wife to do the same.

“Hey hon,” I said. “Come watch Shoot ‘Em Up.”

“Which movie?” she asked. Like many people, I’ll refer to a high-octane action flick as a shoot-’em-up.

Shoot ‘Em Up,” I told her.

“Right, but which movie?”

You can easily see where this was going. About a half hour later, after the rugrats finished bathtime and she put them all to bed, she sat down in the living room.

“So what’s the movie called?” she asked.

Shoot ‘Em Up!” I replied.

I was tempted to say “Clive Owen’s On First.” She can dig Abbot & Costello, she’d have got it.

The movie itself is a lot of fun. Way, way over-the-top action and does a great job satiring the action genre. The one-liners alone are worth the price of admission. For example, Clive Owen shoves a carrot in a bad guy’s mouth and then hammers it through the back of the guy’s head and tells him “Eat your vegetables.” Classic! That’s right up there with Schwarzenegger’s “Let off some steam, Bennett!” in Commando, right after he uses a pipe to spear a guy onto a boiler.

At least the ridiculousness of Shoot ‘Em Up was intentional.

Owen munches carrots throughout the entire flick. I’m not quite sure whether it’s a reference to Bugs Bunny and the cartoony quality of the violence or if it’s a lampoon of Stallone’s matchstick in Cobra. Or both.

As a whole, though, I enjoyed Crank more. Jason Statham is a lot more intense than Clive Owen, and Crank was likewise very tongue-in-cheek with its action. If this is a sign of where action flicks are headed, keep ’em coming.

In other news, I just learned that Roy Scheider died. That’s a bummer. In addition to Jaws and The French Connection, I’ll always remember him in Blue Thunder. I loved that flick when I was a kid.

About Mike Oliveri

Mike Oliveri is a writer, martial artist, cigar aficionado, motorcyclist, and family man, but not necessarily in that order. He is currently hard at work on the werewolf noir series The Pack for Evileye Books.

"Click! Take a pic!"

The Canon EOS 450D (aka Digital Rebel XSi) has been formally announced, and it shall be mine. (Provided it doesn’t come with Rosie Perez’s voice.*)

I’ve been wanting a digital SLR for a long time. I’ve used an old 35mm camera in the past, and I really enjoyed it compared to using a point-and-shoot digital. Looking through the lens gives you better control of the shot, including the framing and focus. My 6-year-old Canon PowerShot G2 was top of the line in its day, but now with its stuck pixels and its focusing frustrations, it’s time for an upgrade. The nice thing is with the changing technology I can buy a much beefier DSLR for the same price I paid for the G2.

I’ve been watching Digital Photography Review for more information, and they didn’t disappoint: they’ve got a brief hands-on with the 450D and a summary of differences between it and its predecessor, the 400D/Digital Rebel XTi. It looks like Canon’s packing in some solid features, and that’s got me drooling all the more. I read somewhere that it doesn’t ship until April, but if I’ve been waiting over two years to get my hands on a DSLR, I guess I can wait two more months.


The question, then, is will the investment result in better pictures? I sure as hell hope so. If nothing else I’ll have a lot more fun taking pics. Of course, judging by what I saw out of my friend Richard’s Rebel and Speedlite, the softened flash alone is worth the price of admission. I’m sick to death of blown-out faces and subjects’ uncontrollable blinking in my pics.**

The first step to improvement will probably be jumping into the Digital Photography School forums. It looks like there’s a lot of great advice flying around in there, and it’s a lot faster (and cheaper) than trying to take a photography class at a local community college.*** DPS also has a great blog with some cool tips.

With photography more on my brain than ever, I’ve started thinking more about digital workflow. I’ll need some processing capability for RAW no doubt, which means some extra software for the GIMP on my Linux box. Of course, if I do make the Mac switch, that will change things significantly. It’s a little premature to be worried about the Lightroom vs. Aperture debate, so instead I turned my attentions to iPhoto on my MacBook and compared it to digiKam on Linux.

If there’s one app that I think I’d truly miss in Linux, it’s digiKam. Both it and iPhoto perform the same function: importing and organizing your pictures. They both allow easy sorting and importing, and they both support tagging. iPhoto’s presentation is a little bit cleaner, but feature-wise they’re more or less the same.

The key difference is in the back ends, and maybe some of the Mac folks can speak up here.

What I like about digiKam is it drops pics right into the filesystem. If I need to find my pictures in any other application or through a file browser, I know right where to find them because the albums are a mirror of the folder hierarchy. If I change the names of the picture files on import, that name is applied to the file name, replacing vague camera filenames like IMG98939.JPG. The added benefit here is if for any reason I lost the digiKam database with my tags and such in it, my files are untouched. If I have to access the drive remotely (via SSH/SCP, which I do often) or have to recover files with a drive enclosure or similar method, I have a good idea of what I’m looking at.

iPhoto, on the other hand, drops everything into a package of some kind. The files appear to be copied to the filesystem, but it looks like the titles are only part of the iPhoto Library package and database. I did figure out there are both Original and Modified folders inside the iPhoto Library package, and there are folders for year and then Event, but the image filenames are still IMG884737.JPG. Having an automatic backup if I edit a pic (an untouched original and the new, modified file) is not a bad idea, but does this not take up extra space?

How will this affect remote access? If I use SSH to access a Mac, or if I connect via SCP to copy a handful of pictures to a remote computer, am I going to be able to browse — via the shell or a SCP GUI like WinSCP — to my pictures and copy them? Am I going to have to upload pics to Flickr and fetch them from there? Or is there some other Apple sharing method that I may not be aware of?

And most importantly, if my darling rugrats shove my Mac off a table and shatter it, am I going to be able to access my pictures — and recover tags, titles, and other data — if I yank the hard drive and drop it into an enclosure?

Why does iPhoto do it this way? Inquiring minds want to know.

*For those of you who don’t have rugrats, Rosie Perez is the voice of Click the Camera on Go, Diego, Go! And she sings. It’s truly the work of the Devil.

**I have about a tenth as many pics of my wife as I should because she can’t keep her frickin’ eyes open. If I show you a good shot of my wife, chances are it was taken outside in broad daylight in the middle of summer. As a result she’s probably wearing sunglasses, too.

***I tried to take the photography class when I was in college, but the single section offered was always filled within about 6 nanoseconds of the start of registration.

About Mike Oliveri

Mike Oliveri is a writer, martial artist, cigar aficionado, motorcyclist, and family man, but not necessarily in that order. He is currently hard at work on the werewolf noir series The Pack for Evileye Books.

Rockin' Pneumonia

Until this week, I thought only old guys got pneumonia. They go to the hospital, get cut on a bit, then develop pneumonia while their frail, whithered bodies are trying to recover.

Then I got it myself at the buffet line.

I was supposed to eat at a steakhouse Saturday night, so I opted for a lunch of soup, salad and fish off the buffet at a restaurant not far from here. In trying to make a healthy choice, I ran afoul of some miserable bastard who not only couldn’t be bothered to keep his sick ass home, he had to go to a restaurant and put his germ-ridden hands all over someone else’s food.

“But Mike,” you might be thinking, “maybe they didn’t know they had it.”

Trust me, you know you’re sick when this gets a grip on you. The aches and chills started Monday morning, and by Monday night the thermometer hit 101.9 degrees (that’s Fahrenheit, of course) but I was so cold my teeth were chattering out the Morse code version of the short story I should have been working on.

Tuesday morning brought on 102.9 and I felt like I hadn’t had anything to drink for a week. I got out of bed and swore the Wife left a window open, so I threw a sweatshirt on over my t-shirt and crawled to the computer. Ten minutes later I ran shivering to bed and piled another blanket on top of the sheet, blanket, and comforter already there.

Like I said, you know you’re frickin’ sick, and if you have half a brain in your head you know you don’t go out and about when this stuff gets its hands on you, much less go around touching food someone else is going to eat. If there is any justice at all on this miserable planet, the guy who carried it to the restaurant coughed up a lung, choked on it, and died.

When I hit 103.6 I realized it probably wasn’t a good choice to catch up on the last five issues of Fall of Cthulhu. Talk about strange fever dreams…

That night? Diarrhea. Yeah. It really weirded me out, too, until I realized the greenish hue probably came from the knock-off NyQuil I’d been sucking down like maple syrup. I thought if I mixed in some cherry cough syrup I could at least be festively sick, but the Wife disagreed. She also refused to assist in any way, shape or form with my mad experiments and stashed away all the kids’ cough medicines.

I threw in the towel on Wednesday and went to the doctor. The local guy’s name is Dr. Stoecker, and I thought maybe it was a good omen that it’s pronounced “Stoker.” I filled out a half-inch thick stack of paperwork, then waited. And waited some more. Then I was escorted to a room where the nurse took my vitals and asked to wait for the doctor. So I waited.

And waited some more.

While I was waiting I got a phone call. This particular individual’s assigned ringtone is the bagpipe portion of “Amazing Grace” as played by the Dropkick Murphys. I honestly thought I was at my own funeral for the first ten seconds, and a minute later I was still giggling like an idiot when the doctor walked in. This is what I get for deciding it would be a good idea to hold off on the ibuprofen so the doctor could get an accurate picture of my symptoms. In a more lucid moment later that day, I realized this is like refusing a tourniquet for a severed arm so the doctor can find the arteries.


The doc prescribed some heavy-duty prescription cough syrup and set me up for some chest x-rays. I was rather disappointed to discover the cough syrup was clear. Later, during the x-rays, I refrained from making Bruce Banner jokes. The nurse wrangling the nuclear isotopes was rather hot, see, so I thought of two things:

  1. Any nerdy comic book references from a chubby dude sweating steadily and radiating his excessive fever heat to a distance of five feet will probably have come off as significantly less than clever.
  2. Hot young nurses aren’t within the comic book demographic, so the joke would have been lost on her and will probably have come off as significantly less than clever.

Lose-lose situations mean keep your mouth shut. While I’m sure it would have been a great story to tell had I ripped off my shirt and screamed “Hulk smash!” in the middle of the radiology department, I’m sure mace would not have contributed in any positive way to my pneumonia.

That night I looked at the side effects for my two new drugs. In the left hand, diarrhea. In the right, constipation. Safe! Then I read a later section in the pamphlet that came with the antibiotic, a section labeled PRECAUTIONS:

General: Quinolones may cause central nervous system (CNS) events, including: nervousness, agitation, insomnia, anxiety, nightmares, or paranoia.

And I have seven more doses to go.

This Christmas is going to rock!

I’ll give the antibiotic credit, though — it knocked the fever out yesterday. By that evening I was ready to eat again, and today I was back at work. Not that it did a lot of good; we had early dismissal today and the two-week winter break starts Monday. I guess I just have to wait at home for the nightmares and paranoia to kick in.

I asked the Wife if she noticed any anxiety or agitation in me yet.

“Oh, yeah,” she said. “It started about eleven years ago.”

About Mike Oliveri

Mike Oliveri is a writer, martial artist, cigar aficionado, motorcyclist, and family man, but not necessarily in that order. He is currently hard at work on the werewolf noir series The Pack for Evileye Books.