Thursday, May 25, 2006

Yes! Yes!

Do you know what it's like to try to tell people about a cartoon that you saw as a child and never ever have them know what you are talking about? Indeed, to have them look at you as if you are spouting barely comprehensible and almost completely content-devoid sentences of purely syntactical language? To look into their faces and read in them consternation at being able to find nothing grammatically wrong with sentences that ne'ertheless have somehow ceased to *mean*? Well, I don't know who LJ user OrmondSacker is in the not net-world, but I have my suspicions. In any case, he or she has unwittingly led me to the name of a cartoon long buried. I was first aroused by the comment about the revived corpse of Sherlock Holmes taken into the future in the DiC feature "Sherlock Holmes in the 22nd Century." I knew this was what I had been searching for for sooooo many years. Then, I saw that it aired in 1999, and I was crushed. How could the beloved memory I had of the revived corpse of Sherlock Holmes deducing that Moriarty had hidden the transceiver in plain sight--THE EIFFEL TOWER!?!--have anything to do with this Scottish latecomer? Well, it couldn't. However, over the course of the Wikipedia article, they, too, noted that this had been done before, but instead of the hyper-detailed reminiscences of Jonathan Tanner--said hyper-detailed reminiscences being stripped of any possible context in which to situate it such as air-dates, time of day, channel, cartoon studio, etc. (except perhaps for the insertion into the memory-nexus of a weirdly zomboid cowboy with bionic implants and a distinctive gun that I tried to describe to Szteve and Adam on at least two drunken occasions and a giant, brawling, horse companion)--instead of these, they had actual information! Lo! It has finally been revealed to me. Behold the face of BraveStarr!!! You have no idea how many different fragments of memory were finally made whole, here. No, it is more significant than any oblique reference to the reconstruction of potsherds could ever convey. It is like brushing away the intervening years with a fine-bristled brush and revealing the original sacred topography of the temple of memory intact beneath the overwhelming detritus of years.

Friday, May 12, 2006


First of all, let me say an emphatic "Yes" to this:


Second of all, I don't know anything about my MRI results, yet. I can say that doing the MRI was the most torturous experience of my life. I would have sworn up and down that there was nothing wrong with my shoulder joints going into that goddamned machine, but now I can tell you that that is absolutely not the case.

If you want details, I can probably provide them.

Let me say again. Yes!

Friday, May 05, 2006

Cystic Changes in My Bones

I went in for my rheumatology appointment today. She said that in 20% of cases, the rheumatoid factor is not present in the blood, even though the patient has rheumatoid arthritis. 7% of people with psoriasis have psoriatic rheumatoid arthritis. The good news is that it affects fewer joints than reg'lar. The bad news is that it is still arthritis. The doctor wants me to schedule an MRI and some more bloodwork. The MRI because there is no test to confirm the diagnosis, but an MRI will show whether there is any erosive bone loss. My right hand was described as "osteoporitic." The bloodwork will determine whether I am HIV+, and if I am not, the doctor would feel better about giving me immuno-suppressants. First, though, we must see if I need these last.

I hope not.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Coachella Sun in the Unforgiving Valley

Lo! I am returned among you.

Coachella was painful and amazing. In that order. Here is a breakdown.

Day 1.

I picked up Tom and Pat, and we got on the road around 1:30 on Friday. We arrived at this condo all of us had rented in Palm Desert at around 4. Pat and I commenced to drinking the emergency beer I brought with me in case there was no beer when I got there. Everyone else (except Mia) went grocery shopping. They took my car to somewhere in Mexico, because they were gone until like 7:45. When they got back, Sherwin made some pasta. We ate and began playing seven card stud. This went on until stupidly late in the morning. The good part is that I more than doubled my five dollar buy-in, finishing up seven dollars. I went to sleep on a little nest of couch cushions, thermarest, and a sleeping bag at 3:45. People that had dropped out of the game earlier in the evening began getting up at 7:30, which, because I was in the living room, meant that that was how and when I began

Day 2.

People ate breakfast and continuously talked about how we should totally, like, leave soon, from 8:15 until 11:30. My mission was to see The Like opening at the outdoor theater at 1:00. Traffic prevented this. I didn’t actually set foot in the festival until after 2:00. I caught The Walkmen at 2:30, which was a no-brainer as far as choices went, because the other people playing were absolutely not on my radar. It was a really good set. I got little shivers because the stage-presence of the lead singer (he played a stage show, looking into the sun, in the desert, in 96 degree heat, in a suit) led me to some insights into the way certain lyrics ought to be interpreted. They played the only Walkmen song I included on my mix, thus justifying its presence. That song = We’ve Been Had. Then, I stayed at the main stage and caught The Duke Spirit. That was pretty good. The sound quality was better than during The Walkmen’s set, and the lead singer was really interesting. Their bass player had sprained his strumming elbow on the tour and played the whole set in a sling. I stayed put and checked out Common and Kanye, and was more or less glad that I did, even though it meant skipping out on CYHSY. At this point, 6:35, I was completely exhausted and still had five and half hours of music to watch. I went to the last half of TV on the Radio’s set, but watched it sitting down. Which basically meant that I saw people’s asses for twenty minutes. The twenty minute break between that set and Ladytron was relaxing. The sun was down by the time they came on, and I was almost delirious the whole time they were performing. They were probably the best out-of-nowhere (for me) surprise after one act on Sunday. They were so high energy that I actually went against the grain of my heart and skipped Cat Power. Some of you might say me nay, others might say aye, but the fact is, Ladytron was such high energy and I was so tired that I didn’t want to stay and watch them since I still had to watch three hours of music after that, and it would have meant such an anti-climax. Plus, after the fabulous set by Ladytron [Begin digressive interpolation: While leaning on the soundbooth, fascinated by the great electronica being pounded out in minimalist monotone on stage, a couple who were visibly on E squeezed up next to me and began to make out. The woman began to rub her ass on me. I moved a couple of feet away. She extended her ass in an Inspector Gadget impersonation and commenced to rubbin’, y’all. This process was repeated twice before I managed to get out of reach of her ass and she turned her rubbing gesture into a wild, rave-tent maneuver that began a series of gyrations that did not stop for the next half-hour. End digressive interpolation.] I didn’t want to risk the very real possibility that Chan Marshall might deconstruct on stage and make me cry. So, I slid on over to see the Eagles of Death Metal. I pushed rapidly up to about the center of the crowd and eventually regretted it because Damien “Jr. Gong” Marley had gone over time and the ripple effect made EoDM more than a half-hour late getting to the stage, and I had no way of getting out to get back to Cat Power or of sitting down. I was forced to wait, shifting back and forth from foot to foot with my legs, knees, ankles, and lower back burning and aching. Then EoDM came out, and I did the same thing while dancing. It was a home-coming for them (Homme is from Palm Springs (Paaaaaalm Sprriiiiings!)) and the crowd was extremely enthusiastic. They played the only song of theirs that I put on my mix, but they mostly played stuff off of Death By Sexy, which I don’t have. Still, it was incredibly entertaining, and probably the fourth best act I caught. They had two drum kits going, and the female drummer’s kit had a fan hidden in it that continuously blew her hair straight out and back from her head like she was drumming in a wind tunnel. She was amazingly sexy. They switched kits, they threw and broke sticks, they stood up and drummed, they did everything you could want out of a drummer duo, really. I stayed to watch Atmosphere because, quite frankly, I don’t give a damn about Depeche Mode. Atmosphere’s whole set was great. High energy, entertaining. It started out amazing and then actually went a little down from that level when he brought his band out to play while he rapped. It was still good. At one point, he actually stopped all the music and brought some lights up because someone had collapsed in the crowd. [Begin digressive interpolation: There were eleven hospitalizations and fifteen arrests on Day 1 of the festival. End digressive interpolation.] I then stayed to watch She Wants Revenge—which was the plan—instead of trying to squeeze in to see Daft Punk or The Rakes. I thought their set was really uninspired, but I honestly don’t even know what I was expecting. Everybody met up at the tesla coil, and team Tan ‘n’ Black trekked through vast wildernesses where the blowing dust of the desert had coated everything and made the parking lots look like an elephant graveyard filled with strange ghosts inscribed with various benedictions drawn in their layers of grime by wanderers to and from the festival. A fog had moved in, making everything surreal. Or maybe that was exhaustion plus dehydration plus extreme joint pain. In any case, we got back to the condo pretty quickly and munched on some grindage while everybody wound down. We all got to bed at 3:45 or 4:00, with Team Black ‘n’ Tan agreeing that, since missing the only act I wanted to see for the first six hours of Sunday was unconscionable and because Sterling needed to be at the non-existent will-call window by eleven (I’ll let him tell that one), we would leave at 9:30 the next morning, which meant that everybody needed to be awake by 7:45. This is, more or less, what happened, bringing us up to

Day 3.

The combined effects on my digestive system of two days in a row with less than eight full hours of sleep—two whole days in which my total amount of sleep did not indeed exceed seven and a half hours—notwithstanding, team Black ‘n’ Tan was launched upon the venture at t-plus sixteen minutes. I was in time to catch The Octopus Project, which was a band I had looked up for the trip and listened around in. I actually liked their live performance quite a bit, and I was surprised because it just hadn’t sounded like something that could be reproduced live. I began Day 3 in serious pain and decided that there would be infinitely more sitting and sleeping than there had been the day before. This is why I watched Octopus Project from the bleachers. The bleachers are important. Sterling and I stuck around on the bleachers while Pat went closer in to see The Giant Drag. I slid over to make more room on the bench. When pat came back, twenty minutes later, as I slid back the other way. As I did this, I felt my shorts catch on the bench and an incredible stabbing pain shot through my leg. I realized I had just gotten a splinter. I said, “Ow. I think I just got a splinter.” I thought, well, I should get that out later. Then it started hurting really badly. I thought about the shape of where it hurt and thought, this is a rather large splinter. I reached into my pant legs and tried to grab at it with my fingers, but I couldn’t, as it was just at the juncture of my hamstring and right glut, stuck parallel to the muscle and under the skin. As my fingers fumbled around down there, the pain got more and more intense (ask Sterling if he has any memory of my verbal process as I did this, because I can’t remember) and I realized I needed to have this looked at right away. This is how I ended up limping an eighth of a mile to the first aid tent, how I ended up having to repeat that I had a splinter in the back of my thigh like sixteen times before shouting “There is a splinter in my ass!” at the idiot at the table at the front of the tent. To which she replied that I should have a seat. To which I replied “I can’t sit down because THERE IS A SPLINTER IN MY ASS!” She started to giggle and jumped up to get a med tech. I had to repeat myself a few times. He had me lean on a chair and bend over. I pulled up my shorts to show him the splinter. He whistled and ran and got another med tech. The two of them disinfected me and pulled the splinter out. They both laughed in amazement. The supervising director walked over and laughed out loud and said, “What a pain in the ass.” Then the medtechs stopped laughing as blood welled out of the puncture. They shoved some anti-biotics around it and told me how lucky I had been that it went in parallel to the muscle instead of into it. I filled out a medical form. They warned me of the really horrible things that could happen with this wound, and I hobbled back over to show Pat and Sterling the thing they pulled out of me. It was officially 2.5 centimeters long—that is to say a full inch—and between an eighth of an inch and a quarter of an inch at its widest. We walked over to see the Dears, and it was so mellow and good and relaxing that I fell asleep and didn’t wake up until James Blunt was starting. Halfway through that, Sterling and I walked over to see The Magic Numbers. They blew me away. They were the best thing I could have imagined at that moment. Then, I saw Minus the Bear. They were blah. They grew on me, but the sound was all screwed up compared to the Magic Numbers clean mixing on the main stage, and it was just a come-down. Anybody would have been, though, to be honest. I then went over and bought some advil and waited for Tom to see Sleater-Kinney. Very high energy. They had some technical difficulties with the drum kit, but they were really professional and kept things movin’ and groovin’. I had expected to like them, but not as much as I did. I opted for the Yeah Yeah Yeahs after them over the Digable Planets. This was partly because I had such good stage position already (not very many people were at Sleater-Kinney when they started, because they were up against Bloc Party in the outdoor theater and Paul Oakenfold in the dance tent) and partly because I didn’t want to get mellowed out after the energy Sleater-Kinney threw at me. I then just sat around for a half-hour before meeting Sterling and Tom for dinner [Begin digressive interpolation: Water in the desert was two dollars a bottle. Any kind of food was seven dollars a unit. On Saturday, I took one bite of a burrito that was so awful I immediately spiked into the ground like Steve’s Juevos Carnitas. I didn’t eat out of fear for the rest of that day. Sunday, I was basically eating and drinking Gatorade constantly because I had had so little sleep that I was converting food and electrolytes directly into the will-power I needed to stay alive and keep moving. End digressive interpolation.]. We all went to see the Go! Team. All ten people in our group. And for good reason. I said as we were leaving to see Tool that the Go! Team really showed me something eye-opening about what live performances could be. I told Sterling that if they had had a live horn section, I would have put them directly into the Rock n Roll Hall of Fame on the Strength of one album and one performance. I then finished the thing out with Tool. They were amazing, but not as good as The Go! Team. The visuals were a little disappointing, too, though it was good to see all the old videos again. New AV stuff was mainly fractal masturbation and kaleidoscope stuff. It took an hour and half to get to the car and two hours to get back to the Condo. Sterling left for Studio City at four in the morning. I went to sleep in the sure knowledge that our car was leaving at seven thirty, which meant that I had to get up at 6:30 in order to shower and do my part of the cleaning. We got everybody up and on the rode by seven forty. Everyone in Team Black n Tan was home by the time Team Two was even eating breakfast. I ate cereal and waited for McKenzie to get back from subbing for Tom. Then, I slept for an hour. Then I went to class. Then, I got home and ate dinner. Then I went and did an hour of limits on about eleven hours of sleep since Friday morning at 9:30. I came home, ate a sandwich, drank some 16-year-old Lagavulin and went to sleep. I woke up eleven hours later without having dreamt at all.

The whole experience is essentially indescribable.