Saturday, September 27, 2014

on lazing on a Saturday afternoon

Every single time I have ever been in an emergency room, there has been at least one person making weird noises. One time, it was an old woman's constant whining ("I just want a glass of water" for 30 minutes, then "I just want someone to take away this glass of water," then "I just want to get out of her," then "I just want to go up to my room"). Today, it was someone making random moaning and whirring sounds.

The nurse was nice. The first doctor was nice. The attending physician in charge came in and told me (pardon the language), " You look like shit." He also kept calling me "boss"... but was nice in spite of these quirks

There were procedural issues. They started testing me for the worst-case scenarios first. The primary contender for the "what is ailing Mike, 9/27" award was scary enough: the frightening (yet still a great possible band name) Testicular Torsion. They told me if they caught this early enough, they could probably save the testicle. This was...encouraging. It was even more interesting (?) when they told me if we were lucky (?), then it would be a kidney issue.

These words...I don't think they mean what you think they mean.

The pain was...painful. It rated a pretty high interger on the 1 to 10 qualitative least until the hospital drugs kicked in. Then, after various random  prodding exercises, getting wheeled through the hospital whilst lying on my back, a surprisingly dignified genital ultrasound, and a torso CT scan, the doc came in and told me I didn't have a kidney stone...I had been growing a boulder.

So here I am...dosed up on legal oxycodone, watching Futurama. Thank goodness for my wonderful wife for hauling me around and not getting sick of my whining, and for my wonderful daughter for kissing my hand when not chasing imaginary balloons around the waiting room.

Just think that all I planned on doing was eating a bagel while heading to the farmer's market.

In some ways, that would've been better.

Friday, September 26, 2014

on musical integrity

Someone I know on the evil social network posted an article about how to turn a good song into a hit song. One of the suggestions was to pick an intriguing name; it suggested that one word names were particularly hip right now. The rest of the suggestions were equally numbing.

Now I am fully aware that art is always a negotiation with the audience. The article, though, moved beyond suggesting negotiation and into the realm of pandering. It was disturbing, and it made me glad I am a "never will be famous" musician. How does one take something loved and turn it into a selection of PR decisions? Particularly when there is such a miniscule chance of a payoff? Could anything get more disheartening?

There are benefits of being an underground musician, even one so far underground I sometimes feel like a mole man.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

on being an adult (sob)

My daughter goes to day care three days a week, and I have her the other two weekdays.  We generally have a lot of fun.  We play with her Hot Wheels, we paint, we break out the Lego.  I try to get her out of the house at least once, and she particularly loves the Simpson Garden Park (she will tell me "after we look at flowers, we get a milkshake. Yep, she's got me trained). Unfortunately, most of our day trips tend to be going to the grocery store, as it seems we never have enough stuff.  That's okay, though, because she seems to really like going there as well.  I just like spending time with her, and I'm pretty sure she likes spending time with me.

Fridays, she's in day care, and I'm home.  It's a work day for me, the only day I can use to keep up with my online classes.  I go to campus the other two days this semester.  Every so often, though, my classes do all their work via the internet, and I have a day where I don't have to go in.  Today's one such day.  My kid is at day care, and I'm here.

Here, however, is the conundrum.  I've got two classes of grading to do.  However, I grade in my study...which is the same room where I keep all my musical stuff. I've got this grading to do, but I keep looking over at my guitar leaning on the futon...and I'm having to fight the desire to play guitar and write songs all day.

Growing up and being responsible sucks...particularly when one still has the heart of a kid.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

on black blood of the earth

No pleasure, no rapture, no exquisite sin greater than coffee
--Azrael (paraphrased)

I love coffee.  I love the way it smells.  I love the way you can sense the terroir in each batch. I love the way it tastes.  I love the way it feels when the coffee buzz is just at that perfect point.

I am serious about my coffee.  I buy my beans from a local coffeehouse which roasts its own.  I buy them whole bean, of course.  I grind them myself in a Hario burr hand-crank grinder. I brew in a French Press.  I have a wonderful thermos to keep it perfect for ages.

I love the process.  Preheating the thermos, grinding the beans, stirring the mixture before they steep, slowly pressing down on the plunger...all of this relaxes me.  I'm not normally one for sentimental thoughts and acts, but I do enjoy the ritual of coffee at a level only matched by the ritual of a good cigar or a good martini.

I love my coffee black.  I understand intellectually that some people prefer with cream, sugar, or both...or even whiskey or Irish cream...but I just can't bring myself to accept such things.  If their coffee isn't good enough on its own, they should just get a different variety.  That they don't is confounding.

Let's not even talk of instants or those one cup brewers.

If there's one thing I don't love, it's that my body doesn't do as well with caffeine as I would like.  I cannot drink coffee every day.  If I have one micron more than the French Press can provide, I am destined for the shakes and a crash.  I know this, so I force myself to exercise control...but still, I don't really wanna.

This semester, I don't teach until 10, so I can enjoy the coffee rather than relying on it as I would for an 8am class.  However, this does mean that my coffee runs out about 45 minutes into the class.  When my coffee runs out, it always makes me a little sad.  Knowing that I physically shouldn't have more coffee anyway doesn't help.  And now I have to hide that minor depression so that it doesn't affect my teaching. I cannot, in other words, take it out on the students.

Coffee.  She's a harsh mistress.