Sunday, April 30, 2006

Quote Of The Evening

"Be nice to your wife,
if you got one."

Things I'm Liking Today:

1.) Los Angeles Times Festival of Books on C-SPAN. Just now there was a panel discussion which included Robert Scheer and Scott Ritter. Although they were invited, pro-war journalists did not show up. The highpoint was towards the end when Scott Ritter had a brief moment of "Don't you get it?" exasperation. "We are going to Iran. In 2006. We're already in the run-up. It'll be like this: Baghdad to Tehran to Damascus to Riyadh." End of story.
2.) "Ben Webster For Lovers" on Napster
3.) Teeccino, a coffee substitute, with just a tablespoon of coffee.
4.) Oh, yeah, what I'm really liking to day is that this is maybe a full week of no kidney stone pain.

Things I'm Not Liking Today:

1.) The City of Santa Monica. Is there any reason for issuing a parking ticket at 8:57 on a Sunday morning other than to generate money for the city?
2.) Most, if not all (with the exception of "From Here To Eternity") Frank Sinatra movies. That boozy, Rat Pack life has not aged well.
3.) I may be in the minority on this but I hate to see Steven Colbert doing his stand-up at the Washington press corp dinner. Sure, this year he zings Bush for Iraq, but next year he's sitting in the audience eating the best damn veal he's ever had in his life and laughing with the rest of the co-opted press when Bush does something akin to his sickening "Can't find the WMD in the Oval Office" video.

Monday, April 24, 2006

Blogger, Blog Thyself

Why the sudden interest in a dirty, antiquated and convoluted plumbing system?

It's a self-portrait, of sorts.

This weekend I drank more water than I have ever drunk in my life. Yesterday I tried visualization and this morning I again got a 5:00 a.m. wake-up call. (My stones are early risers.)An hour ago I got the possibly bright idea to put my neck massager over the afflicted area.

This afternoon I see The Specialist to tell him that the stones feel lower but that's about it.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Bad News/Better News

I've never had a doctor say "I'm sorry I don't have better news for you" to me until this morning. Yesterday's CAT-Scan indicated a good sized stone in the exact wrong place and it was necessary for me to see a specialist-immediately. It was possible that he would today go in (or, rather, "up") and remove the obstructing stone. It would involve general anesthesia as it would not be a pretty procedure.

After a small battery of tests the specialist could find nothing.

Maybe the stone moved, maybe there was a ghost in the CAT-Scan or maybe it was Susan's Reiki (look it up) but I left with the doctor saying he won't be doing anything, at least for now.

So now I'm home, watching a movie with Jack Carson (a personal favorite) in it. The cinematographer is James Wong Howe as it's "James Wong Howe Month" on TCM. I'm eating spaghetti, I'm drinking a tumbler of cranberry juice and listening to "Music For Films" by Brian Eno.

Sunday, April 16, 2006

No Pain

For some reason, the vicodin started working again. Even though I was pretty sure it was pointless, I took two at about nine fifteen and it started working within minutes. Lots of drama between six and nine, although I think I was out for part of that time. I'm in a semi-euphoric state.

But I know it won't last.

***Late Breaking (and probably wildly optimistic) News***I finally remembered that Susan, an ex-girlfriend and nurse, made a casual suggestion a few days ago that Advil might help in that the kidney stone is creating an inflammation and Advil is an anti-inflammatory. I took two tablets an hour ago (noon) and have been more pain-free than I ever was from the vicodin.

4:45 pm I've been pain-free for a record breaking four and a half hours.

No change.

Two more vicodin forty five minutes ago, I would really appreciate it if they would kick in. The pain is disorienting. I just forgot the name of my cat.

"Better living through chemsisty", my ass.


It's been just two hours since taking two vicodin. They worked for a while but now the pain is back to almost full throttle. Should I take more? But the good news is that its defintely much lower, maybe the end is near. Probably so, my teeth are chattering. I'm drinking as much water as I can stand. Stay tuned.

Friday, April 14, 2006

The Kidney Stone Gazette

In case you haven't heard, kidney stones hurt. So unless you want something that feels like a three hour Glenn Branca concert playing throughout your midsection, be sure to drink plenty of water each and every day and go easy on spinach, nuts, chocolate, tea, bran, almonds, peanuts, and strawberries.
7:40 am (Saturday): Call me optimistic or delusional but I think I feel the stone moving. Even under the effects of two vicodin, the pain seems to be lower than before and tearing through new territory. This will be the first Saturday in months that I haven't gone out to shoot photos and that's almost as bad as the pain itself (what am I saying?). This will also be the first Saturday in two years that I won't be tutoring as my student, who wishes to remain anonymous, is now taking a painting class. This is good news as he also has had to deal with an illness, and it indicates how much progress he is making. Everything I've learned about being free of self-pity I learned from him.

2:38 am (Sunday) Can you develop a tolerance for vicodin after going through half a bottle? Or does the pain just get worse (hard to imagine) as the stone travels further down? Or am I having a lapsed Catholic psychosomatically induced Easter Sunday experience (whatever that means)?

Monday, April 10, 2006

Please Start Feeling Sorry For Me

"A kidney stone attack has classic symptoms: the most agonizing pain in the lower back just below the ribs spreading around to the front of the abdomen and often extending into the groin area. The pain may come in waves as the stone tries to move through the tube between the kidney and the bladder. Often there is nausea, fever and chills, and vomiting. The abdomen or lower back may be painful to touch."

Couldn't have said it better myself.

Sunday, April 09, 2006

Rooster On Wilshire Blvd.

There's a wild rooster on Wilshire Blvd., next to the Los Altos Apartments, a few blocks east of Crenshaw. (For you out-of-towners, this is close to downtown but also adjacent to the old-money section of Hancock Park.) He was there yesterday and again at seven this morning. There's also an empty ten pound bag of chicken feed which tells me he's been there a while, if you're interested in a field trip.

Maybe I'll post another photo later but right now I have to deal with a kidney stone problem. It hit me as I was taking pictures in Koreatown, ten long blocks from my car. Very painful and the drive home was no fun either. But now I'm flying high on vicodin and eating a Twix candy bar. I'm listening to Gabrielle Faure but The Velvet Underground would be much more appropriate.

***Now that the vicodin wooziness has worn off I can tell you that The Los Altos Apartments are an example of Spanish Revival architecture. It was built in 1925. Bette Davis, Charlie Chaplin and William Randoplh Hearst lived there and its still a pretty swell looking place. 4121 Wilshire Blvd.***

Friday, April 07, 2006

Webster. Is. Mad.

I just explained to him that today's e-mail from Netflix told me I will not be receiving another DVD from them until Tuesday - a full seven days after mailing "The Sopranos" last Wednesday afternoon.

Sunday, April 02, 2006

At My Desk With Coffee (#7)

1.) I met this individual in East Hollywood on a Saturday morning. Having just gotten out of jail for "falling asleep on a bus", he asked for money to get back to Van Nuys; I went across the street and gave him food. As he tucked into his sausage and egg sandwich, he tried to explain the difference between being a Hollywood bum and a Van Nuys bum. He was very decidedly the latter. The next day we crossed paths on Hollywood Blvd. He's one mile west of where I left him with absolutely no memory of having met me.

2.) Altho at the moment I am listening to "Downpresser Man" by Peter Tosh, "Have Love Will Travel" is the name of the pretty great blues song on the Land Rover commercial. I learned this (indirectly) from an always amusing blog "Un Bel Niente (A Little Nothing)". (Someday I'm gonna learn the more sophisticated way of incorporating the link with the text.)

3.) Now its time to watch the very first episode of "The Sopranos" (with fettucine and walnut pesto). I've never seen it.

4.) "Remember that everyone you meet is afraid of something, loves something and has lost something." H. Jackson Brown, Jr.