April, 2011 Archives

It’s Official: I Have Two Fans

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April 29th, 2011

I’ll forgive you if you assume that the life of an obscure blogger is all parties and champagne and hobnobbing with the beautiful jet-setters of the world. I’ll understand if that’s your perception of how I roll. I am sorry, however, to report that my daily interactions are far less glamorous. (Although parenthetically, I did […]

I’ll forgive you if you assume that the life of an obscure blogger is all parties and champagne and hobnobbing with the beautiful jet-setters of the world. I’ll understand if that’s your perception of how I roll. I am sorry, however, to report that my daily interactions are far less glamorous. (Although parenthetically, I did just turn down an all-expenses-paid trip to St. Maarten in the Caribbean. It was from a childhood pal and if it weren’t for my doctor’s orders, I’d be winging down there momentarily.)

Offers of free travel aside, I find myself not leading anything other than a mundane existence, until I ran into Steve. This was a few days ago and I was traipsing around Beaumont Hospital with a PR rep., taking photos of nurses for an upcoming Nursing Appreciation Week display. The staff there was so helpful to me during my extended stays that I jumped at the opportunity to give something back to their community.

As I was finishing up and leaving one part of the complex, a nurse came running up to us and asked, “are you the Spiritual Wanderer?” Now, look at this from my perspective; not having anyone ever ask me that, I was sure it was a joke perpetrated by someone I knew, perhaps hiding in the hallway.

“Uh, yeah,” I said with a questioning smile, “what’s going on?”

http://www.readthespirit.com/rodney-curtis/wp-content/uploads/sites/14/2013/03/wpid-rcSteveandI.jpgShe led me back into the infusion rooms and there she introduced me to a guy I’d never met before. Not for a minute thinking I wasn’t being put on, I engaged him in polite banter. It turns out Steve, the guy’s name, had recovered from the same disease I did, had gone through the Beaumont ward months after me and was told continually that he and I were a lot alike in our attitudes and the ways we faced down cancer. Apparently he checked me out online, picked up my book and enjoyed the read.

“It made me laugh and I love your writing, but it didn’t have anything about cancer in it,” he told me.

I explained that it was written a few years ago and that most certainly there’d be a book about my leukemia experiences, (isn’t that right publishers?). We shared some stories about our mutual recoveries; I told him how cool it was to be recognized and that he won the award for being the first to randomly do that. Then we parted. For the rest of the day I told everyone I knew about the cool encounter.

I realized though, that there was another amazing incident surrounding my first book. On my computer desktop, for almost two years now, there’s been a photo thumbnail of me and Jane. If ego gratification were a drug, Jane would have to be one of my dealers. She lives down in North Carolina near my in-laws and ordered my book right when it came out, (I owe a marketing debt to Bill and Judy, Marci’s parents). As the story goes, she received the book one afternoon and commenced reading. Some of the facts are fuzzy, but I’m told it was a real page-turner for her and she subsequently stayed up all night reading the thing.

http://www.readthespirit.com/rodney-curtis/wp-content/uploads/sites/14/2013/03/wpid-rcJaneandI.jpgThere are no adequate phrases to describe the mixture of pride and responsibility hearing such an honor. I couldn’t actually believe that something I typed up, mostly lying around the house in sweats, had resonated so much with a woman I’d never met down south.

I made sure when I visited my in-laws for their anniversary party, to seek out Jane and tell her how much her story meant to me.

So don’t worry. As much as it may sound wonderful cavorting with the fabulous people of the world and rubbing elbows with the glitterati, there’s nothing more amazing than hearing your work brightened, enlightened or even frightened a regular person, just like me.

Shut The Front Door

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April 20th, 2011

If ever there were TV programs that could be considered guilty pleasures for our whole family, they would be the ghost shows on the Syfy, Travel and Discovery Channels. Our two favorites are the Ghost Hunters and Ghost Hunters International franchise which anchor SyFy. The reality show format uses creepy camera work and is generally […]

If ever there were TV programs that could be considered guilty pleasures for our whole family, they would be the ghost shows on the Syfy, Travel and Discovery Channels. Our two favorites are the Ghost Hunters and Ghost Hunters International franchise which anchor SyFy.

The reality show format uses creepy camera work and is generally filmed in almost total darkness with night vision video. When the Ghost Hunters visit a locale, they’re briefed by the owners or managers of the place, then they set about debunking the ghostly activity. More often than not, they come across things they can’t explain. And thus, fun television is born. Whether it’s ghostly voices heard on tape or the ubiquitous doors that open or close on their own, there’s always something cool to watch, whether or not you believe in spooks.

We’ve gotten to know the hunter’s individual personalities. We love how Grant and Jason, the founders of TAPS — The Atlantic Paranormal Society — take a no-nonsense approach to spirits of the departed. It’s fun to watch Steve and Tango mess around with each other until they scare themselves silly. And in an unusual twist, my wife and I like to speculate on the personal goings-on of Amy and the recently departed — to another show — Kris.

We even love their newest investigator Maddie. She’s a real dog. Literally. They rescued her from a pound and trained her to sniff out ghosts. She visited Mackinac Island with them on a mid-winter investigation of Mission Point Resort, a place we’ve actually been to before. Their best piece of “evidence” was the front door of the place slamming shut all on its own. Pretty cool.

Don’t think we accept this stuff as real… all the time. Our tastes are very discerning too. We’ve dismissed as hokey, the silly Ghost Adventures guys who seem to taunt the spirits before getting completely freaked out and run away like sissies. Just as we’ve turned up our noses at the ridiculous shows where actors play the part of apparitions and fade in and out trying to illustrate a long-told tale of terror.

No, we want “cutting edge” science where electromagnetic detectors tell us that ghosts are nearby and voice recorders sometimes hear things that the normal human ear doesn’t at first.

Perhaps all of this fascination is due to our wanting hard evidence that life continues after death. This is a holy week for some major international religions, one of which celebrates a ghost coming back to life. So don’t knock our fun little diversion.

It’s also serious business as a market share report indicates visits to the show’s website are only slightly behind The Real Housewives series and well ahead of the O’Reilly Factor. I’m not saying they’ll eclipse stalwart denizens of the number one and number two cable web slots, Spongebob and Jersey Shore, but they do hold their own and are probably pulling in some good advertising dough for Syfy.

We are not alone. Particularly considering more than two million viewers watch the shows each week.

Ghost Hunters had its season finale last night. Ghost Hunters International premieres in July. Until then, I’ll have to content myself with watching Detroit Tigers games. I fully believe they have a ghost of a chance this season. And besides, one of the ghost team members is going under cover behind the plate.

http://www.readthespirit.com/rodney-curtis/wp-content/uploads/sites/14/2013/03/wpid-rcAlexAvila.jpg

A Better Letter

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April 16th, 2011

In my careers as both a photo boss and a college prof, I’ve had the pleasure of writing letters of recommendation for lots of different folks. Over the past year, a couple of the “LORs” I’ve tapped out have been better than the standard, run-of-the-mill letters. It makes me pleased as punch to get requests […]

In my careers as both a photo boss and a college prof, I’ve had the pleasure of writing letters of recommendation for lots of different folks. Over the past year, a couple of the “LORs” I’ve tapped out have been better than the standard, run-of-the-mill letters. It makes me pleased as punch to get requests from students I haven’t seen in more than a year. “Why not share them,” I thought to myself. So first up is Cameron Rudolph who upon receiving my note responded, “This is the best letter of rec. that I have ever read. I will send this to a potential employer even if they don’t ask for one. The bad thing is, this is written in such a way that makes (them) want to hire you, not me.”

http://www.readthespirit.com/rodney-curtis/wp-content/uploads/sites/14/2013/03/wpid-rcCameronLOR.jpg

Kristin Skaggs was in two of my classes. Part fashionista, part super student, I got it into my head that maybe she was working for some secretive organization designed to root out evil, set the bar high for other students, and look fabulous while doing so. She told the class once that she hasn’t worn the same outfit twice since middle school. Yeah, she’s a spy all right.

http://www.readthespirit.com/rodney-curtis/wp-content/uploads/sites/14/2013/03/wpid-rcKristinLOR.jpg

A Perfect Ending

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April 12th, 2011

There seems to be some sort of internal threshold that I’ve crossed. It feels as though I have passed a milestone in my recovery that has allowed me to feel next to normal. Not to pile on the metaphors, but it’s as though a switch were flipped and from here on out I’ll be gauging […]

There seems to be some sort of internal threshold that I’ve crossed. It feels as though I have passed a milestone in my recovery that has allowed me to feel next to normal. Not to pile on the metaphors, but it’s as though a switch were flipped and from here on out I’ll be gauging wellness by how I feel now, as opposed to when I was sickly.

Hopefully.

Hopefully now isn’t an aberration. Hopefully the Pacific Northwest didn’t hold a magical elixir of rain and beauty which combined to make me feel better. I don’t fancy moving out there for good, although they had amazing coffee drinks.

I almost feel antsy now. I want things to progress rapidly, both in my professional life as well as my health. Specifically, I want to stop taking all these pills, quit giving myself shots in the belly, cease taking nap after nap and yes, grow a heck of a lot more hair than I’ve already managed to push out my scalp. All those things will happen in due time. I shouldn’t be greedy now that I’ve accomplished — at least for now — my near normalcy goal.

And lest you think all is perfect, I’ll offer up this one tiny example of how I’m not exactly back to perfection.

My fingernails, mouth and eyes still are giving me fits. The doctors have me on pills for that too.

http://www.readthespirit.com/rodney-curtis/wp-content/uploads/sites/14/2013/03/wpid-rcRestroom.jpgWhen we were in the Portland airport waiting for the red eye to board, I took one last, quick potty stop. Walking into the abandoned bathroom, I quickly sought out a stall and did my business. If you’re a dude reading this, you understand that it’s not mandatory that you close your toilet stall if you’re just peeing. I heard a guy with dress shoes stomping in. He stopped right behind my stall, then strode back out.

“Hmm, that’s odd, oh well,” were my thoughts in that order.

I finished up, washed my hands, noted the lack of any urinals and exited the Women’s room.

Standing outside with her back to me, was the “guy” who’d invaded my session. At least I wouldn’t … oh God no … yes, I had to sit right behind her on the plane.

I think Marci was wondering why I was speaking so loudly about my vision being so blurry as we sat down.

In my life, normal and crazy abnormal have fought each other for years anyway.