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    March 31, 2018

    Certain Things In My Life Are Now Declassified…

    Sorry for the long delay in writing…

    My life has entered a new chapter; my father died on February 20th.

    My Dad with Me.

    Things are certainly different, and for the next six months at least, I will be handling his vast empire; which means my diving weekends are shot.

    Tony Soprano?
    People often mistook my Dad for Tony Soprano.

    About five years ago, he was diagnosed with ALS (Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis) – the same disease that killed Lou Gehrig, Mao Zedong, David Niven and more recently Stephen Hawking.

    The cause is not known, but I personally think it was from him falling off a ladder several years ago or some asshole who sneezed in his face at an airport.

    It is my educated guess, and the reasoning is out of the scope of this post.

    With ALS, the person’s body slowly shuts down, eventually losing all mobility of the body.

    The victim is nothing but a fully functioning mind and a set of blinking eyes.

    There is also some very tragic psychological issues that go along with suffering the loss of all bodily movement.

    The doctors told him that he could get a feeding tube and breathing respirator and stay alive practically indefinitely, like Stephen Hawking did.

    But who the fuck wants to live like that?

    They gave him three years to live.

    His one dying wish, that I could accomplish, was to go to the grand opening of the John Wayne Birthplace & Museum, in Winterset, Iowa in May of 2015.

    Yes, he was a life-long John Wayne fan – except for the Duke’s stance on the Vietnam war.

    He often complained to me that I didn’t give him any grandchildren.

    I told him, “It’s hard for me to even get a date, but John Wayne had kids into his 50′s, so I still have hope.”

    “Yeah, but the problem is, you’re not John Wayne,” he said.

    Group Photo
    My sister Kate (Secret Agent K), my father and me at the John Wayne Museum – 2015.

    Here’s the posts of our trip, if you missed it:

    Classified Mission To Monument Valley

    Classified Mission To Iowa – Part 1

    Classified Mission To Iowa – Part 2

    Winterset Rodeo And The Opening Of The John Wayne Museum

    The End Of My Trip And Other Odds And Ends

    Since the trip, he continued to slowly decline.

    He got harder and harder to understand when he would speak, but he never bothered to learn to use his Tobii, which would have given him a computerized voice.

    He stopped driving two years ago.

    About eight months ago, he started to need help getting up out of bed and up out of his chair.

    Late last year, he could barely eat and needed assistance in other daily functions.

    In January, we hired a part-time care giver.

    He did have a CPAP, that helped him breathe when he slept.

    He told me, “The only time I’m happy is when I’m sleeping.”

    I was lucky enough to have said a lot of things to him that I would not normally have said to him if he would have died unexpectedly.

    His mind was all there, and was still able to text me as coherent as he ever could communicate with me, or anyone else.

    Five days after his 50th wedding anniversary, we were texting about job prospects in other cities for people who can’t find work in the Los Angeles job market.

    I suggested Reno.

    This is our last correspondence with each other…

    Our last correspondence.

    He slept for 21 hours after he sent that text, which was very unusual.

    He rang his siren to get help to get up and collapsed within the hour.

    The paramedics were called, but he had registered as “Do Not Resuscitate.”

    His last wish was granted.

    Immediately before he died, he was still able to slightly walk and could still talk; or as my Dad put it, “Talk like Frankenstein.”

    He died at home, around his vast empire of stuff that he had acquired over the last 70 years, but without experiencing a lot of the things that I wish he could have.

    And so another chapter of my life ends and a new chapter begins.

    Stay tuned.

    February 18, 2018

    Back In The Water – I Hope This Is A Trend

    It was Paris Hilton’s birthday yesterday; she is a fellow SCUBA diver, so Happy Birthday Paris Hilton, and congratulations on your engagement and not hooking up with me!

    Yeah, she is not one of my six readers, but it’s the thought that counts.

    There has been a lot of crap going on in my life, however, most of it is still classified.

    On those notes, I looked at the swell map in the morning, and with no other obligations I decided to go diving; conditions looked spectacular.

    I made it down to Terranea Resort and met Ben, the self-described “Gay, Mormon, Atheist” who was taking six newbies from Pacific Wilderness off of the Point.

    Even though they were new, all were very competent.

    One asked me, “What makes this an advanced dive?”

    I answered, “Twenty years ago, this would just be a dive; the standards for open water divers are lower now, so if you go off the rocks on a beach, they consider it an advanced dive now.”

    He was relieved by my answer.

    Entry was easy as pie!
    The water was flat… entry was extremely easy.

    Vis was great near the surface!
    Vis was great near the surface!

    A diver off of the Point.

    Everyone made it out with no problems; we swam out to the drop point.

    Ben went over the buddy assignments, gave instructions on how to get to the cove, and said, “If you get separated from the group, you are on your own.”

    We descended.

    Logged SCUBA Dive #508

    SoCal Buddy Diving With Ben and six other “new” divers… Mak, Nick and others…

    The Point off of Terranea Resort, Rancho Palos Verdes, CA

    In With: 3000 psi
    Out With: 750 psi
    Max depth: 60 feet
    Waves: Flat.
    Visibility: 15-20 feet but silty deeper, better shallower
    Water Temperature: 57 degrees at depth
    Air Temperature: 73 degrees
    Total Bottom Time: 42 minutes

    Vis sort of declined going down.

    It took me a while to equalize and I quickly lost the group.

    I never found the statue and memorials of the pinnacle, but continued my dive alone.

    A diver in the kelp.
    A diver in the kelp.

    A reef.

    Cool purple plant.
    Cool purple plant.

    A fish kicks back.

    The Teton reef.
    The Teton reef.

    I give the OK sign.

    Vegetation off of Terranea Resort.

    Interesting under-reef.
    Interesting under-reef.

    I followed my compass headings and ended up…

    I was right on target!

    Everyone made an easy exit.

    We were missing one diver.

    Someone said, “Oh, that’s Mak, he’ll be OK.”

    Sure enough, he was.

    The cove from above.
    The cove from above.

    Ben mentors new Terranea Resort Divers
    Ben mentors new Terranea Resort Divers.

    We had light debriefing with the King of Beers while we told the newbies about the great times we’ve had at this place for almost 20 years.

    More diving soon!

    Stay safe!

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