One of my best days evar.

Well, wow!

This weekend was so jam packed full of awesome that I don’t’ even know if I can do it justice in a bunch of words on a blizzog.  I will, however, try…because I’m just so giddy at how badass it ends.

FRI we helped celebrate part I of Maureen’s bday.  Kendra and she went to the ladies-only spa north of town (I’ll let Kendra tell that story, since it’s equally awesome).  I went swimming and then got ingredients together, racing around town with no shirt on because it was so hot. 

Eventually we all converged and Kendra and I cooked her a fabulous dinner of salmon, asparagus, sweet potatoes, and a salad where every ingredient except the dressing came from our garden.  Champagne and chocolate cake followed (I ended up picking Sweet Desserts in Fremont, thanks Sibyl!).   We concluded the evening by watching a few episodes of True Blood.

SAT we staked out the locale for Maureen’s more proper birthday party on TUE (yup, that’s tomorrow, if you haven’t been told about it it’s because Maureen doesn’t do internet that much, lemme know if you’re interested in coming and I’ll send details!!) and again cruised around in the topless Jeep, oft times without shirts and/or pants.

bruise!I went for a bike ride, and while out on the ride a friend called about the boat (yeah I already mentioned this whole part).  So, to cut this story short, we went boating/swimming in the lake and a had a fantastic time… well until Kendra decided to wrestle with the boat trying to climb back into it.  Here’s a pic of her bruise.  Yeah!

We got home, showered, and raced out to Med Fest in record time.  Kendra danced with some of her students, kicking the requisite amount of ass +1.  Med Fest for me is always a funny experience, as there’s a whole pile of D&D peeps strolling about, and dancing that ranges from “God Awful” to “Oh that’s interesting”.  Since the event is more of a family-based “everyone gets a turn” I don’t think it’s fair to critique most of it, but that doesn’t mean it’s interesting to watch.

After grabbing dinner in a sports pub in West Seattle (eesh, YOU try accompanying Kendra and Maureen to a sports bar in West Seattle on a SAT night!) we went home and sacked out pretty early after watching an episode of Weeds (more on that separately)

Ah Sunday! We got up early…. EARLY and got our act together and off to Med Fest again.  This time it was for Adderstone’s performance. I watched the event organizers (truly an inaccurate term if there ever was one) struggle to get it together and get the show going.  Really, after doing the same event for TWENTY TWO YEARS you’d think some things would start to smooth out.  But perhaps it’s for the best, as the whole thing kind of feels like a school recital, which makes the mood lighter. Anyhow, the girls busted it out fiercely and then we kicked about for a bit taking pictures before heading home.

A quick nap and then it was time.  Time for LOS LOBOS at the Zoo!  I’ve waxed before about how much I love that band, and I won’t go over it all again here. We packed a few beers into a Nalgene bottle and zipped off.  We got a great spot on the lawn, drank some more in the beer garden, and the show started. 

Totally kicked ass.  The band was in a weird mood, screwing around with each other and inserting breakdowns and solos and segues into their set only two songs in (where guitarist Cesar Rosas said “Yeah, we wrote out a setlist but, uh, threw it out the window”)  My fave was a surprise version of “Papa Was a Rolling Stone” that went right into “I Can't Understand”. 

At one point David Hidalgo said to the crowd “I just became a grandpa and I see that baby dancing over there, I hope you’re using sunscreen.”

Another highlight was David forgot some lyrics to “Kiko” and Cesar stepped right in with a handclap breakdown and then hijacked the band into another tune ("Don't Worry Baby").  The whole show Cesar (Kendra’s fave Lobosian) was sipping from a wine glass (yes this is important to the story).

The show ended with the band pulling a gazillion people up on stage for a final song.  You couldn’t even see the band anymore, and they couldn’t see each other, but they played out an awesome jam and a killer finale. Here's the set list.

We hit the bathrooms and then started filing out.  By then the major part of the crowd was gone and we took the opportunity to sneak back into the Zoo and try and find the Snow Leopard exhibit.  We figured the kittens that had recently been born weren’t actually out and about but figured we’d give it a go anyhow.  Well we eventually found the habitat.  During the hot day I don’t think Snow Leopard does much at all. But now, at dusk, just the two of us came strolling up.

At first there was nothing, we couldn’t see anything.  Then there was a blur and we looked and the Snow Leopard came bounding down the hill and racing around in front of us!  Back and forth, back and forth, sometimes prancing over some of the rocks.  She (I’m assuming it’s a she) jumped up into a tree TWICE and hung upside down, leaping out of it to land right in front of us, doing a little show.  At one point she came nose to nose with Kendra on the other side of the glass and just stood there looking right at her, totally relaxed.  To try and describe what the creature looked like is really beyond what I can write.  The HUGEST paws I’ve ever seen, and the longest tail.  The Snow Leopard really isn’t all that big of a cat really, but is long and has a big head.  They eyes in particular are so amazingly deep and intense. 

We could barely contain ourselves as this show went on for several minutes.  Finally, the Snow Leopard walked over to a large rock and plopped down, the show was over.

(oh but the day was NOT over)

We left the Snow Leopard, thinking “Wow what an amazing day.” As we were trying to find out way out we ended up on the other side of a fenced off area with some activity going on.  Upon further investigation it turned out to be the backstage area for the concert.  Yup, LOS LOBOS were hanging out with peeps!  We spotted a way to walk through some bushes into their encampment and we took it.  There we were, surrounded by fans, family and the band.  So we went up to all of them and introduced ourselves and hung out.  Yeah, that’s right, WE MET LOS LOBOS!! (Note my gratuitous and adolescent use of exclamation marks to display my enthusiasm) 

Here’s a few things to know about Los Lobos: 1: they’re all not tall.  David, the tallest, is barely my height.  So watching Louie Perez give Kendra a hug and looking like a younger nephew was pretty surreal.  2: They’re the nicest, most humble people around.  They thanked us immensely for coming to the show, and TWO of them separately remarked that “you two are obviously very much in love.” The second time it was said I almost peed my pants. And 3: Cesar was totally drunk!  All that wine must’ve done the trick.  When we finally made our way to him Kendra excitedly held out her hand said it’s a pleasure to meet him and he stood up and gave her the biggest hug and said something like “I love you too honey.” And then picked up his wine glass and kind of stumbled away. 

And you might ask “Well Michael, did you play it cool and perhaps even network for your own project or did you bumble all your words and act like a fanboy goofball?”  GOOFBALL, all the way.  I could barely string together a cogent sentence to any of them and all I could was just stare at them. Luckily they’re nice enough to not think I was a stalker. 

So, we managed to shake hands with all of them and then we split.  The whole walk back to the Jeep we just kept saying “omgsnowleopardomgloslobos…”

Needing a nightcap we stopped at Thompsons on the way home, which we haven’t been to in ages.  We chatted with CT and caught the end of his first set.  We’ve used Thompsons as a spiritual recharging station for some time now and being back after a long absence we can see why we have and why we should be going more often, even on a SUN night.

We finally got home and climbed into bed: 10:45pm!!! 

I think it may have been the best day I’ve ever had.

Annnnnnnnd... GO

So a whole slew of realizations hit me the other day when for various reasons I said "enough is enough!" and dragged my sorry ass out for a bike ride.

Just a normal one, certainly not of any great speed or strength, but it had been so long since I'd been doing regular exercise that something had escaped my attention.  All this hullabaloo I've been processing or the past few months: job, band, some peeps, etc. had become this giant clog in my spirit (my analogy to Kendra involved bowels, but I'll try and keep it out of the potty for this post).  I think I normally can deal with that stuff quickly and efficiently because I'm usually doing stuff physically, which helps a lot.  Well, realizing I wanna drop 10lbs and also have an existential monkey on my back got me out on the bike. 

Getting my body going again and working up a good sweat, getting my heart rate up, let me do the spiritual heimlich on myself and vacate that giant bolus of blah (ooh, that's pretty good!).  The change in my attitude was remarkable and fast.  After my shower I suddenly had energy, and ideas, and a much better perspective on things.  It was quite a magical moment, hopefully half as magical as when I finally drop said 10lbs. :-)

So, went swimming yesterday, another bike ride today.  Been eating very well, including a ridiculous bounty from our garden.  Just a little discipline to keep from letting the Summer heat make me lethargic and I should in great shape in all manners of the term.  Hoo-ha!

And as if I needed a reward, whilst on a bike ride a friend called me up and said (I'm paraphrasing) "BOAT!"  So I got home, got Kendra, and we zipped out to meet them, tooled around the lake, I jumped in and swam about, and now we're home doing a quick-change before heading to West Seattle to see some bellydance.  Considering I started my morning in Golden Gardens I'd say I did a great tour of the city today!

A note from my future self?

So I've got this grampa, he's my idol.  He must be... hrm... 85 or 86 about now (eesh, seems like his 80th was just yesterday).  His mom, my great grandma, lived until 100 and was sharp as a tack and still living alone when she passed.

My grampa and I, we're built somewhat similarly (oddly I think it's where I get my luscious booty despite this being the "oh so very anglo" part of my genetics) and he's got a whip smart mind and a wonderful cross-section of old-time common sense crossed with a very progressive attitude...especially for someone raised in the mid-20th century.

Anyhow, he kicks it in Florida now, has a girlfriend, and lives each day to the fullest.  The last time we talked he said "We have a saying down here Mikey," (yeah, he calls me "Mikey"), "Don't buy green bananas."  He said this when I asked about an upcoming trip to which he was putting off figuring out details until the last minute. 

Well we talked yesterday, and he was mentioning this problem he's had recently.  He developed a wicked case of carpal tunnel that has made his right hand almost useless.  He thinks he did this working on one of his projects, this one wiring up a long, tall lamp for his girlfriend.  Apparently stuffing the wire up into the lamp was hard on his hands.  He also had a very painful back ailment creep up, he thinks some settling in his spine put some pressure on his spinal cord, giving him horrible back pain and making him relatively immobile.

Pretty awful, right?  Well here's my favorite part of the story.  The doctor recommended surgery as an option for both ailments and my grampa said he'd think about it.  He was lying in bed and just too frustrated that he was in pain and not out there doing things he wanted to do.  So he said: "Well I got up out of bed and decided I was gonna cut my grass."

(note: Floridians do NOT cut their own grass)

"I got out to the garage and had a hard time getting going because of bending over to start the mower.  Then I couldn't pull the cord with my bad hand so I hand to make a little tool so I could awkwardly do it with my left hand." This is a guy who learned how to self-hypnotize to alleviate his chronic migraines btw, "I cut my grass and the next day I felt like a million bucks again.  No pain at all.  I don't know if I'm too stubborn to listen to dumb advice or too stupid to listen to good advice, but there you go."

I asked him how we doing now, a few days later.  "Oh great, I'm gonna go golfing for the first time in a month and then I'm gonna go drink some beer with my buddies."

By this point I was crying from laughing so hard.  The best part was how I could easily project myself into his thought process. That line about stubborn vs. stupid is so prolific I practically want to get it tattooed on my body. 

So, I suppose if that's what I'm evolving towards I don't have any complaints with that at all.  Fuck green bananas.

Did you think I went to rehab?

I was going to jokingly title this something along the lines of having a sex-change, but turns out I know more people who have had gender assignment than I know people who have gone to rehab, so I went with the detox joke.

Well, it's been a while, and most of the minutae eludes me at the moment, so let me deal in broad strokes.

I've mostly sidelined the band activity for now.  In reality (and to really skip over a LOT of detail), the band is an energy draw I can't really justify sustaining, so I'm in the process of evaluating its fate.  With a second album 90% in the can it's a hard decision to figure out, and I asked the band to contribute some ideas and opinions on this matter that I'm still waiting for.

Fortunately, there's plenty to do in the meantime.  Our garden is kicking some major ass, and I find it very peaceful to concentrate on.  I water and do some weeding and light maintenance, and every day I walk out and it's bigger and crazier than before.  Last night we harvested some sweet snow peas (my guess is 2 lbs worth) and we've been stuffing ourselves sick on them. Aside from some snail deterrent the whole thing is going like gangbusters.

I'm in the process of re-jiggering my studio to prep for a new idea I have to do live sound-to-picture work in a fun collaborative way.  More on that as it arises.

I got a haircut.  Here's before:
me before haircut
Holy cow what a curly out of control hippy hairdo!  It was getting pretty nuts. 

And here's after:

Note the bed-head.  I got up at 7am and set up shop in the cafe to get some work done. 

I've otherwise been driving Kendra around to and fro, cooking her breakfast, and keeping up on all my media likes (True Blood, the Colbert Report, various noirs), and starting the "OMG I gotta get a job!" phase of my job search.

Mostly the last two weeks have been about taking some much needed quality time, and mostly with the woman, to relax and enjoy things a bit.  We've been pushing hard lately, and a few people on each of our teams has flamed out in various ways, so it's been a good time to ground and center before starting another push up the hill.

We had some people over the other night, specifically people who make us feel good to be around, and had a great time around the fire in our yard.  It was a great Solstice activity and helped tremendously.

We also went to Central Cinema to see Priscilla, Queen of the Desert and had a great time eating some good food, drinking beer, and watching draq queens rock it.  The other day we camped in a coffeeshop and got work done while sitting on a couch with our legs entangled.  Even yesterday, when Kendra fucked up her eye and we had to go to the eye doctor (a bad contact lens experience), we then spent the rest of the day napping and relaxing.  So, truly, we've been recharging the batteries and enjoying some quality time.  I don't know if people will ever realize how non-stop it is at our house, and actually how little time Kendra and I actually have to hang out.  Part of our plan moving forward is to figure out how to work smarter instead of harder.  We shoulder too much crap most times and end up carrying our team-mates when we should be getting support from them.  Hopefully we'll make this work better for everyone from now on.

I think I almost know enough to write a book about when hobby/amateur projects go professional and what that does to people psychologically.  Especially when it involves the arts and especially when it's late-20 and 30-somethings.  It's really quite amazing to behold how some people get butted up against the "end of their youth" (I don't know if I agree with that concept btw) and psych-out in some amazing way.

I couldn't help but notice someone who I used to work with on a project who had a freakout of this nature and vanished for a year or so, only to return married with a child.... when there was no indication of either last time I saw them.

I also had a run-in with someone at a party recently whom I thought we were still on great terms, just wrapped up in our own things.  They greeted me enthusiastically and then blew me off, I would almost use the word "snub".  They're also going through a "make it or break it" time in their artistic career.

I don't know if it's good or bad that I seem to be wired for end-of-life persistence with regard to creating, but for now at the very least it makes for interesting people watching.

Well now that I've got a snazzy haircut there's far fewer reasons to avoid the pool.  Ugh.

world of whoah

Well, quite an eventful last several days of good, bad, ugly, and sublime.

on THR, I played Rock Band for the first time. As a music-related person I find myself perplexed by the whole thing.  I definitely think it can change the way people deal with music in their lives, and mostly in a good way.  And, as a more interactive form of karaoke I think it's also good.  But it's not like those skills transfer to real music.  The buttons aren't strings, and those songs are already written.  I wonder if a whole new level of musician will develop who "tours" doing Rock Band songs in cities all over the world.  But, pondering aside, it's a great way to get drunk and have fun with people.

I kept it pretty chill on FRI, mostly to get ready for the Fog People show on SAT.

So, the Fog People show on SAT...
(warning, this is a long one)

I guess first off I'll apologize to anyone who came to see us.  Yeah we were supposed to play for an hour but due to circumstances beyond our control we got somewhere between 20-30min (six of our twelve songs basically).  I can speak for everyone else when I say we appreciate your support and next time we ask you to shell out your hard-earned money to come see us I guarantee it'll be a full show.

As a rule I don't normally do "roadhouse" shows.  Those are shows where you show up with your gear, put it in a pile, wait til your name is called and rush to set it up to play for 30-45min and then get the hell off.  Roadhouse shows often don't even have dressing rooms and the like.  There's a place for them, I remember in 1989 opening for Enuff-Z-Nuff at Sundance on LI... an awesome memory but nothing I want to repeat.

Anyhow, we're big fans of Sepiachord and wanted to help out with his benefit show so we took the gig.  I like the Jewelbox as a performance space, and it DOES have a curtain, dressing room, and decent lights. We were in great spirits all the way up until the moment before we started playing.

Since I have all this experience putting on and running shows, I often have to check my mouth when it comes to running stuff.  And, being one of the bands, I indulged myself on not thinkng at all about the show itself and just on our own performance.  But apparently everything in the world ran late, and we didn't know a thing about it until the sound guy mentions right before we start that we've (we being us: the Fog People) got to have all our crap outta the place by 2am.  Not having a watch, I didn't realize exactly what that meant, we were having this conversation on stage mind you, breaking another cardnial rule of mine for doing shows (the audience should never have to watch you set up your gear).  I protect the girls in this context and set it up so they can wait backstage.  When you get as dressed up as they do it seems pretty lame to have them come out carrying cords and amps and sound-checking.

Anyhow, we start our set, about as loose as we've ever been.  The sound? Oh pretty awful.  Not really anyone's fault, but it becomes apparent really quickly that we're gonna have a hard time hearing our cues.  But, troopers that we are we push through it.  Playing live, you can get away with things a lot more easily.  I don't think anyone in the place knew the mistakes we made, and the two Hands of Kali dancing with us covered up when we'd muck up the timing of songs they had choreagraphed to very specific counts.  I had to do some on-the-fly lyric changes to "Human Fly" to bridge a gap here and there, but mostly we just started tearing through our set.  After all the last-minute stress and awful sound and errors we were all starting to relax and rock out... and then...

"Last song guys."

That was the sound guy, over the PA to the whole venue.  Now I was looking down at the foot of the stage and off to the side, where a stage manager or someone might have been giving us that cue.  But no, it was the staff over the PA.  I looked down at our set list and almost didn't believe him.  Huh? What are you talking about we're only six songs into the set!  But, at this point it seemed fine to cut our losses and do a strong song and leave.  So, that's what we did. Ironically it was great.

Off the stage and back in the dressing room it's absolute chaos.  Pieces of other bands are there, assorted support people are there, and my band is coming up to me wanting answers I don't have.  I finally get the guys working on getting gear torn down and change out of my suit and into my pre-show clothes to haul some crap.  By this time the sound guy is backstage barking at us to get our gear out of the venue so he can close and go home.  

(note to readers, this is the point of the story where I had had enough of this)

So I tell him to clam it and that we're working as fast as we can.  Now this guy didn't take a shining to me earlier in the night, when I stepped up to speak for the band about our sound needs he tossed off a "oh, so you're in charge?" with extra snark.  So, he had been just itchin' to hear me mouth off so he could give me a face-full of it.

Well, I get everything from "you don't know what you're doing it's your second show." to "you spent all your time putting on fancy outfits" (which, tho mostly true there wasn't anything else to do) to getting personally blamed for the other bands running long.  Well we lock horns for a few exchanges and then go about our respective business.  I rejoin the guys who are busting ass breaking down gear.  Our audience, the ones who came to see us, are out in the house talking with the girls about what the fuck is going on.  The previous band, a great band called Bakelite 78 you should check out actually, are consoling us at our shortened set time.  All in all I'm stewing in my own juices but I'm trying to get out of there where I can decompress in peace and quiet.

So there I am finding myself on stage with our drummer.  I'm waiting for word of the cars to arrive so I can haul the giant bass amp out.  The drummer is trying to talk me down.  He's eternally chill and just loves to drum, so his "whatever" attitude is refreshing.  I take my deep breath at his calming words and let out a sigh when the sound guy comes back.  He's got two arm-fulls of glasses from tables he's helping to bus and we get into it again.  This time it's about experience some more.  So we go back and forth about what we've each done (in retrospect I don't see how this was helpful but I did trump him on the experience tip).  He's pretty unhappy with my answer to he comes up on stage and shoves me with his chest.  

No I am not kidding.  His arms being full he simply bumps me with is whole body.  Now, this entire time my beef wasn't with this guy, tho I didin't appreciate his own frustrated rock star attitude. So, knowing a fight is not going to help anybody, I tear him a new one, ending with a comment to go back to bussing his glasses and let us do our own job.  Well he leaves, but comes back with three guys. Because you know, my mouth-ninja skills are so awesome it takes three guys to take 'em down.

Well fortunately they didn't want to get into a fight either.  So his "get this guy out of my club" orders are slowly translated to "can you gather up all your stuff and leave now?".  I do my dummy checks and stage everything at the door and then step out into the alley to keep the peace.  At this point the cool night air is good for calming me down.

The cars arrive and loading out commences.  There's still a bunch of stuff in the place and the sound guy has to ask me to come back in to help load it out, which I found pretty awesome.  We get our stuff out and mostly take off in separate directions to try and make sense of it all.

They say in most jobs and situations, and especially here in Seattle, that you never make waves.  Everything is about eating humble shit and taking it with a smile so as not to ruffle anyone's feathers.  While I believe in a generous helping of respect, I just do not subscribe to that axiom.  I've got my own interests and people to protect and that is coming to come before sucking the boot of a twitchy sound guy, dealing with a sub-par organization, or anything else.  We don't spend all this time writing songs and rehearsing, getting a style team to donate their time working with our talent, convincing a dance troupe to work with us for free (as well as hair people, lighting designers, and other musicians) and pulling every favor in our books to put together the best show we can so someone can screw it up by not owning up to their part of the bargain.  The answer is I'm NOT going to just suck that up and deal.  We've got an audience with expectations that they've paid money for.  And we've got a responsibility to them and ourselves to hit a certain quality level.  Especially when it's assumed we'll do our own promo and drag out our core audience to contribute to the cause. I'm hard on myself, and I'm hard on my band, and that's because we need to deliver.  And when they do their homework I'll bust the ass of anyone who screws it up by not doing their work.

my sprained ankleAnd that was SAT.
(oh, that pic of my ankle is from a sprain I gave myself after Rock Band night, it didn't seem bad at the time but as you can tell it's pretty bruised. I did our show AND the following days with it)

We got a couple hours of sleep and then took off for Sasquatch.  I had been looking forward to this for a long time.  There's a lot of changes going on in our worlds right now and Sasquatch was the reward for it all.  So we jetted off and set up a tent, packed up all our day gear and went into the festival.  We spent the day lazily drinking and hanging out checking out bands.  I'd never been to the Gorge or any of the festivals in this city so I was kind of prepared for the worst in a "oh crap it's Burners being themselves" kind of way.  Instead I was taken back in time to the first Lollapalooza, where all the freaks just hung out and had a good time.  It was totally awesome.  

I don't remember the names of the smaller bands I checked out, but camped my ass on the grass to catch TV on the Radio, who were absolutely fantastic.  At one point Kyp said "If someone travelled back in time and told me I would share a stage with Jane's Addiction I'd say... whoah that's cool." and Tunde replied, "Yeah, cool."

After them, NIN came out. The sun was setting, and set during their performance.  Angry Trent was in a good mood and they really rocked out.  As a four piece now (which  I can't believe) they really sounded amazing.  The venue, at and just after sunset is pretty frickin' spectacular.

Then came Jane's Addiction.  One of my all-time fave bands.  I was a little leery of their return, and was also getting tired so the idea of leaving after they got started was TOTALLY on the table.  But, they proceeded to kick the shit out of the place.  Perry was in absolute classic front-person mode, and one of his many rants went something like this: "We love you! Seeing all of you beatiful people out there, my dick gets hard, my heart swells. I want you all to fuck each other tonight."

That theme continued.  His last rant was something like "You don't have to stop at midnight.  Sneak into each others' tents.  Take out each others cocks.  Compare them.  It's okay, some are bigger than others.  It's a big secret that you don't have to fuck a woman deep to make her cum.  Really, you just need to fuck her right.  I knew a midget who used to fuck women with his fist.  So that's something you might wanna try if you're a midget.  Size doesn't matter...unless you're OCEAN SIZE." (yup, that was his intro to Ocean Size, my fave Jane's song of all time, and their first set closer)

The day was so long and mind-blowing in every way that when we got back to the tent and it was pointed out that 24 hours ago I was getting the verbal crap kicked outta me by the sound guy at my own band's show I could only laugh.  

Well, that was a travel home and sleep all day thing.  We got home at 11am, passed out until 8pm, got up and had dinner and watched Let the Right One In which was totally awesome except the sound sucked something fierce.  Fine for subtitles but all the sound design was lost.  The movie was absolutely amazing, and I'd recommend seeing before the inevitable english language remakes comes out in 2010. (Supposedly called "let me in" because the original title has too many words)

Well it's today!  I'm piecing it all together and starting a whole new pattern of living.  We've got at least a full week off from band stuff and I'm itching to get back in the swimming pool.  The garden is coming along nicely

ah Spring....

Or is it Summer? No today it's Winter again.  Eeesh.

The stuff we planted in our new garden is already sprouting.  Cold frames are the shiznit. I don't know what it all is yet, but the next few days should see some serious growth.  

Kendra got home from her trip and it was more or less my job to reacclimate her to a world where hormones other than estrogen reside.  We got some food, took a killer nap, took the bus downtown and saw Star Trek, and caught a cab home to have a nightcap (make that several) and debrief each other on our goings on. 

It's always eerie to me how our projects parallel each other most of the time.  We both have vacancies in each of ours and we jibber-jabbered about how to best proceed dealing with that. 

We had to take the bus downtown because our dying radiator died.  I was on my way home from band practice and WHOOMP a loud noise!  I got home and popped the hood and the radiator itself had cracked right open.  Eep!  Forunately, we had several days earlier ordered a new one.  

So, this morning we got up and the first thing I did was take the radiator-sized box on our steps and get my toolbag.  I had to be downtown at 12:30 and at 11:15 I decided to try and get the new radiator installed.  Well believe it or not I actually succeeded, and now the Jeep is a fully functioning monster beast again.  

Oh, so Star Trek: It was fun.  Sometimes a little heavy-handed and sometimes buckling under the weight of its own cliche, but still fun.  The score actually bothered me quite a bit.  way too much, like, all the time.  I think the McCoy dude was my fave.

I took my mechanical victory and tried to double-down on the loaned lawn mower we have.  Still not much luck.  I suspect some gunk got in the engine, and it may not have enough suction in the fuel tank to power the beast, so I'll try filling it up again and see if it goes.  I GOTTA get the front mowed.

I spent my bachelor weekend mostly recording my departing singer's vox, which was by and large successful.  

We've got our last show with her coming up this SAT, an event for which I still need to find some suitable clothes for.  I went and measured the stage today and have no idea on the best way to configure us all.  But I've developed a strangely punk-rock attitude about the whole thing.  I'm just gonna go and rock out for about 45 min.  and am not letting much else really bug me about it.

The cats, who have done nothing but sleep since Kendra left, celebrated her return by barfing all over the place.  We woke up to piles and piles of cat barf in every shape, size, and state of matter (well, I guess not gaseous, but definitely solid and liquid).  I mean sheesh.

Since we last spoke...

Whew, well what with Facebook being the hip new thing, I've been spending less time dilligently updating.  As a result, there's too much for me to remember so how about short little bits of updateliness?
  • Kendra is out of town as of this morning until MON.  I'm already lonely and bored.  By MON I'll be keeping my urine in milk containers and speaking in tongues.
  • We started the garden! Tilled and planted. Just in time for yet another cold snap.  WTF?
  • We ordered a new radiator for the Jeep, it's the only thing not working 100% at this point so I"m going to replace all my myself.
  • Recently helped CZN shoot a video.  I loved not being an important player in the whole thing.  I just showed up and did what I was told.  Liberating in a weird way.
  • Struck Kefee at ToJ, painted their floor twice.
  • Fog People have a show coming up: 5/23 at the Jewelbox.  Our last before one of my vocalists moves back to TX. As a result I'm spending a lot of time between now and then also trying to squeeze in some final vox recording.  At least it should help speed up the record getting finished. And, if it wasn't obvious, we'll be looking for a new singer.
  • We kicked off our Summer party season with an impromptu firepit hang.  Used up nearly all the wood oddly enough.

Weekend epic win.

I don't recall the origin of the phrase "celebrate the victories because they are few" (Bartlett's peeps feel free to school me on this one), but this was simply a wonderful weekend and I'm letting my glee from it carry me into the week.

We went and caught Annex's show, Love's Tangled Web.  After a thrashing review appeared in the Weekly (and, to be honest, a pretty lame crappy review, if that makes sense) it only strengthened my resolve to check it out.  And you know what? It was very close to what I thought it would be: a silly, fun, gay hootenanny.  I actually enjoyed being able to go see a show that wasn't trying to change the world or bring the plight of some tragedy to light (which is also why I never find myself at the Film Forum...I even had free passes that expired because there never was anything I wanted to see).

Anyhow, we got to check out the new burrito place (in the old KFC) before retiring for the evening.

We helped out Gude/Laurance shoot some video for an upcoming Spin the Bottle performance.  I helped summon extra ladies for the "lady filled fun fest" that ensued, which included filming ear-porn, a first for me!

I got some studio work done and then off to dinner with some delightful friends we've been trying to schedule for months.  An awesome evening!! Fantastic food, good conversation, we even played a game (Kendra won).  It was actually very reassuring to hear similar tales of projects in motion and goals to achieve from people we like and respect... and actually in contrast it made our own plans and business models seem quite mature and healthy.  Who knew?

We ended the night popping into ToST to catch the last residency show of Deepsleep Narcotics Company... and wow have they got some kickass new songs.  But with all the food and booze (including the best flan I've ever had) we had to go to sleep.

A looooooooong sleep-filled night, a slow start to the day mapping out a garden and playing with the cats, running some laundry.  Then off to Fog People rehearsal, our first in a month.  Fortunately, it was heaps fun AND we got a lot of work done getting ready for our second show on MAY 23rd. (SAT, mark your calendars) At the Jewelbox.  More info on this to come.

Afterwards, Kendra and I grabbed a nightcap at the Twilight Exit.  It was karaoke night... ugh.  I don't mind it in general, but the problem with the new Twilight Exit is that the walls are very flat and firm, so it ALWAYS sounds loud in the place, even when there's only two people in there.  So there was nowhere to sit where the ear-drum-crushing renditions of bad songs wasn't driving a knife through my head.  But, we had two drinks and then came home and had another deep deep sleep.  

Simple and fun.... hot damn.

Stone Thrower (or Passer at least)

Last night I was alone in the house for the evening and I went to bed early with all things pointing towards normalness.  Barely got through an episode of American Dad! (which I like better than other animated shows these days) and conked out.

Sometime around 4am I woke up with a distinct feeling of pain.  The pain seemed to be in my lower left side.  It quickly grew to UN-FUCKING-BELIEVABLE proportions and I was writhing around trying to do anything to make it hurt less.  

Now, don't get me wrong, I've got a pretty high pain threshold, and I'm reasonably in tune with my body and all that.  But lemme tell ya this was so bad I grabbed the laptop and started Googling: "intense abdominal pain" and "emergency care clinic, seattle"

Well, my "still somewhat asleep" brain began some self-diagnosing.  I moved around (looking pretty pathetic: hunched over and whatnot) and went to the bathroom, figuring it might be gastro-intestinal related.  It didn't FEEL like that kind of pain, it certainly was way more intense and whatnot, and to keep this part of the story short, basic tests seemed to point towards something else.

I figured it might be a muscle injury or hernia, but moving muscles in that area didn't seem to make it more or less sensitive. Really NOTHING made it less sensitive.

Plus, the pain seemed to come from inside the muscle wall, and my biological memory seemed to indicate the only real organ that might be there was a kidney.  "Oh great," I thought, "All alone in the house, no insurance, and Renal Failure."

I flopped around like a fish for the better part of an hour, doing pregnant-lady breathing tricks and occasionally trying to read some more webmd and wikipedia.  I kept trying to set some guidelines for when to bail out and seek professional help.  Since it would require gretting dressed, driving, AND trying to talk to people in my state, I was very against it.  Barring trauma of some kind, it seems to me immediate-need cases are much more subtle in their immediacy (sounds weird, but a broken toe hurts more than a stroke)

kidney stonesAnyhow, I finally said, "I need to do something about this fucking pain or I'm going to hurl myself out the window".  So I prepared my treatment: Okee I hurt like fuck so a Vicodin is in the mix for sure.  Even if it ends up being liver failure (which would make Vicodin not-so-good an idea) at least I'll have a smile on my face.  Anti-inflamatory drugs are nearly always awesome, and since the pain kind of reminds me of a sinus infection from years ago I'll take a bunch of those.  If it's kidney related some kind of flushing of it out is always good, plus if it's GI water is STILL a good bet.  So, I gobbled that all down, chugged water like crazy through a sippy cup, and went back to writhing around.

Shortly before 6am, either the problem went away or the medicine kicked in, and I found myself shallow breathing in a prone state.  I had stropped flopping around and was able to lay there.  The only noticeable symptoms after that were intense hot/cold changes, and sometimes both at the same time.

The next day my whole torso was sore from all the abdominal contractions my muscles were doing, and tho the area is still tender, the pain is gone.  My normal bathroom processes still seemed normal, so my diagnosis turned towards kidney stones

Well, I'm not gonna tell you I'm so totally awesome (hopefully you've figured that out for yourself), since I could easily be wrong still.  But here's what I learned:

The diagram shows where pain would be, which is EXACTLY where the pain was.  Other symptoms:
  • extreme pain in your back or side that will not go away
  • blood in your urine
  • fever and chills
  • vomiting
  • urine that smells bad or looks cloudy
  • a burning feeling when you urinate
Now I didn't have any blood, and I thought I only felt nauseous because of the pain, but sheesh "fever and chills"?  Okee, lets take this forward and see where it goes.  How do you TREAT kidney stones?

"Increased hydration...Similarly, drugs may be reasonably effective orally in an outpatient setting for less severe discomfort where nonsteroidal anti-inflammatories or opioids such as codeine or hydrocodone can be prescribed"

BOO-YA!  Call me DR. HAYES from now on, yo.

Today I'm mostly back to feeling fine, just a little weak and woozy.  Plenty of fluids.  I suppose if I'm wrong at some point I'm going to pass gass and blow the house apart... or if I'm right I may just get re-introduced to mr. stone at the exit area of my urinary system... and engagement I'm NOT looking forward to.  But given how much water I've moved in the last 24 hours... I think I'm just going to enjoy my small victory and milk it a little bit longer.

One-two-three punch of fun.

Well, on WED night I attended DARK AVENUE, and got suitably tipsy (drunk).  By the time FRI rolled around and I found myself having completed several major items on my list, I knew it was time to cut loose.  

So, J9's bday party was first up, and I came rolling in with more flowers than should be legal.  A bouquet for the guest of honor, two for the wife, and the rest distributed to every awesome lady I saw until I ran out.  (note to self: buy more flowers).

Well, what you DON'T know is that before that I had drinks with some other peeps, and since I don't want to put back on this weight that's been going away I mostly stayed away from the fried food platters.  As a result, Empty-Stomach-Michael was on his SECOND watering hole of the night (oh but don't worry, I flasked it between the two...)

Long story short, we went out to several places and they quickly blurred together.  Tho no animals were harmed in the making of this story, it did make for a slow start on SAT.

Meanwhile the whole time I've been doing a deep clean of my studio, which ended up taking three days. Eesh.

SAT we attended a double-lesbian birthday backyard bbq.  Oh hell yes.

Lemme tell you somethin' about lesbian parties: they're ironic versions of sausage fests.  We had everything: shots of tequila, lots of yelling, and yes even a fist-fight that broke out (no kidding, actually during an ARM WRESTLING activity).  I, personally, LOVED IT.  To be honest, it reminded me of home, and I gave everyone props for just being so dang real about it all.  Fortunately, ultimately being women, they stopped long before stupid non-ironic men would go to truly awful places, so it ended up being a blast.  And, I ate three hot dogs cooked over an open fire.  Boo ya.

Today I completed cleaning the studio, drawing a nice line in the sand where my focus can snow shift to other projects.  And there are several, including a bunch of household ones I want to hit whilst I'm still unemployed (right, gotta get on that) AND the greenery is surging. 

I just found out about True Blood.  How the heck did an Alan Ball-helmed vampire series get by me?