Rain, Rain…Is Here Today.

The month of August brought us rain just about every day of the month.  I believe there were only about three or four days where we didn’t receive a nice thunderstorm.  Some days, we were greeted with multiple storms throughout the day.  For the last couple weeks however, it has been somewhat dry here in Venice, FL.  I’ve always loved the sound of a thunderstorm…as long as it wasn’t of the destructive nature.  The sound of thunder, the crashing of waves, the sound of rain against the roof.  Hmm, all of these have “water” at their core.  Life giving water.

The last few weeks have also opened my eyes to recognize the lessons I’ve known for years…that I must constantly keep at the forefront of all that I attempt.  Everything in the universe demands the payment of balance.  Sometimes it’s difficult for me to keep that truth in my mind and my actions.  Living life in the extremities will only bring you strife and disappointment.  Moderation.

— Bill

Not Home Yet…

NOTE:  This post has a creation date of 2019-08-12.  I’m tired right now…but I tried my best to complete it (for now).  This post is to be the beginning of trying to share the overwhelming amount of loneliness I’m trying to conquer.


Heather and I splurged a little today and went to Cracker Barrel for lunch (brunch). I believe we arrived just as most of the early “church diners” were heading out. It was nice spending some time with my wife…somewhere besides the interior of this condo.

As we finished our food and are sitting in the car, Heather asked if I was in a hurry to get home. Sat and thought about for a few seconds and told her, no.

“What do you have in mind?”, I asked.

She suggested a short drive down to Manasota Beach. There is a covered pavilion and usable restrooms.

Of course, we have nothing in our vehicle that resembles a beach bag and supplies. We had one beach chair and one of fabric folding chair. We made it work. Overcast skies and a steady breeze made our time at the beach much more enjoyable. Yeah, the humidity is a little rough…feels like there is glue in the wind…but even “I” found it tolerable.

We are convinced that today was rednecks, white socks, and blue ribbon beer day at the beach. Maybe it’s my scruffy beard (growing it out due to a medication side-effect) that attracts the chain smokers, trash mouths, and cheap beer drinking white trash beachcombers. I’m serious here…with the beer belly, salt & pepper hair, and old Labrador Retriever ghost white beard that says, “…that fella reminds me of my cousin Bubba up in Plant City. He’s safe to plant @$$ next to…pop the top on a cold one, and light up a smoke.”

AHHHHH!!!!!!! Wrong.

Carcinogens set aside, we really had a good time listening to the waves and the tranquility they always offer.

On our way back home, we decided to spend just a “little” more money for our “Date Day” (…usually Date Night…but shoving as much money in to savings has kinda left us getting creative on a very tight budget…) and find a locally owned pizza shop. Amore’s on US-41 was the choice. The owner, Ray, was tonight’s waiter (...he gave his waitress the night off so she could get her three children ready for first day of school tomorrow). As I’ve discovered…very few people in this area (Venice, FL) are actually native Floridians. Ray for example moved here from Detroit. He’s been operating his pizza business for eighteen years he told us.

I’ve known for a long time, I am “in this world, but I’m not of it”.

Let’s step back to the beach for a minute. As I closed my eyes, and just listened…a sense of being “out of place” came over me. I can’t say it was a negative or positive experience. I just felt a strange feeling where the waves, the voices, and my senses were telling me…”you’re not home yet”.

Yes, there’s always the distance from where I was uprooted that can provoke similar emotions…but this was a little different.  Sometimes I’m not sure where I am.  I wake up and it takes me a while to figure out where I am.  Given how long we’ve been down here…you would think I would have acclimated myself to our new home and all the great things around us to take advantage off at any time.  Being here has taken a case of separation induced stress with the subsequent loneliness that transpires and amplified it about 100 times.  Loneliness is real…and it hurts in so many ways.

— Bill

Puff Puff…Toot Toot

I didn’t stay at a Holiday Inn Express last night. I’m not a doctor, or a chemist, or hold a degree in any of the sciences. In fact, nothing about my education would qualify me as an “expert” in any field of study in regards to my essay presented heretofore. I write this piece from the position of a man who has spent an inordinate number of years with lung issues. From this point view, I believe that I’m expertly qualified to offer testimony as to the limitations and disruption disease of the lungs places upon such souls.

Recent headlines have been highlighting the heartbreaking effects from a product, introduced and grossly successfully, marketed as a “safe alternative to smoking cigarettes.”

Vape, Vaping, Vaporizer…Electronic Cigarette.

No matter the label, the device serves the same purpose. Combine a few “natural flavors” with a “commonly used sweetener” as our base liquid. Then we “optionally” throw in some nicotine, or CBD oil, maybe THC oil, or any number of substances waiting in line for its fifteen minutes of fame.

No matter your excuse…your use of these products places you amongst some of the most gullible creatures alive and a marketing agency’s dream come true.

The operation of these devices is pretty straightforward. You take our chemical cocktail from above…shove it in the e-cigs tank (some have material to hold the mixture like a sponge does…some apparently don’t…irrelevant)…and then we hit the power switch. Almost instantly, our sweet little cocktail is “vaporized” and inhaled by millions of loyal customers.

Let us leave all of word-jargon, crafty marketing, and chemistry behind for a minute and speak of a world I know a little about. Let’s discuss that humongous white cloud whose proportions are simply phenomenal and bares a seemingly “sub-e-cig culture” competition. I’ve heard of other such size competitions involving the male genitalia. Maybe we’ll discuss that one in a later post.

As it happens, our loyal customers take the word of their “guy” down at the local vape shop as the gospel. Words like peer-reviewed scientific studies, exothermic reactions, and the like have no place in our customer’s vocabulary. Well, that’s not entirely true. You see, some of our white cloud generators have “edumakated” themselves and are now glorified chemists capable of tossing around fancy words that would make a master meth cook cower in shame.

The perfect set of human lungs can hold appropriately 4 liters of air. Mine currently provide a capacity around 1.4 liters. The average citizen could be expected to be walking around with a capacity anywhere from ~2.5 – 4.0 liters.

Our “Vapr” hits the power switch and holds on as this ride begins…driving our e-cig device closer and closer to critical mass meltdown (also know as device exploding in Vapr’s face)…on the edge of converting the heater coil to crumbling pieces of waste metal…or worse…blowing up an innocent lithium battery. All the while, Vap’r has been holding onto the imminent gargantuan storm cloud of sweetness in their lungs. The switch is off. Vap’r opens up the trap previously used as a containment system creating a cloud floating below NOAA’s weather radar systems. Smooth like…

Now let’s think about all of that vaporized goop Vapr was storing before the storm cloud. Did Vapr expel every molecule of the cloud? Did Vapr just let the cloud roll out like Cool Daddy Gag & Wheeze or did Vapr blow it out forcefully…a deep forceful breath out. Yeah, you already know the answer.

What happens to those vapor molecules sitting way down inside Vapr’s lungs? If the cocktail had been heated a little more…turning it into a gas…it would pass on through the alveoli and into the bloodstream pretty much instantly. As it wasn’t in a gaseous state, we have a heavier molecule sitting in those sacs. Another question to ponder, gas or vapor, as the vaporized product still lingering in the lungs begins to cool down, does it return to a liquid state? Additionally, when our liquid cocktail was nuked into a vapor…what exactly did Vapr’ inhale? What does the vaporized cocktail’s molecular structure look like after succumbing to the heat of the e-cig device’s nuclear core? Folks, I’ve seen some scary $h/7 from “controlled” chemistry experiments gone wrong. I’ve seen a purple cloud (…haze…) that would make Jimi Hendrix drool with envy. What I’m saying, your guy down at the vape shop has no idea what the hell he is selling and simply put…there are no “safer products” with the exception of one.

Our lungs are designed to perform one simple job…breathe air in…then exhale the waste. Kinda like plants and trees…just in reverse. (Yes…I’m taking jabs at the dirt people.)

I You’ve read this far, still curious how I might be an expert in the field of lung disease and the relationship with vaping? The lung condition currently reducing my days here on Earth is one of the same vaping creates: Bronchiolitis Obliterans Syndrome (BOS). If you’d like to learn more…Google search the term “popcorn lung”. I think you’ll find it quite enlightening.

I’d like to close by sharing some details of a real peer-reviewed scientific study I recently read. A group of participants who had never smoked or used any e-cig product were recruited as subjects for the study. Each subject was instructed to inhale a consecutive number of hits (one after the other) from their assigned & identical vaping device loaded only with ONLY the “liquid sugar” base. Upon completion of this inhalation exercise, participants began exhibiting various degrees of COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease) symptoms. The effects did reverse as the inhaled product left their systems. Are you curious about what would happen if they used a “street mixture”?

There’s a headline floating about concerning a young man experiencing traumatic effects upon first use. Am I the only one seeing correlations here?

— Bill

If I Only Had A Brain…

Between old age and the exotic chemical cocktail I consume multiple times a day…it wouldn’t be improper to expect some strange side-effects. For example, No Michael Jackson references required…you hear that Frizzo?

I’ve asked several other people about their experience with this phenomenon. The responses seem to adhere to what I would describe as common themed with a majority agreement. The typical responses have been, “Yeah, that’s happened to me before.” or, “It’s perfectly normal; just part of growing older.”

Maybe it is normal. Maybe it’s not. There could be other explainations I have to consider. The one conclusion I can make and share…this experience is damn disturbing and I show it no love.

Have you faced a scenario similar to this one? Any idea what as to the underlying reasons that lead me (and others) to experience this feeling?

— Bill