Since we last met, I’ve had dental surgery. So…here’s how that went.
I was nervous going in–more than I’m proud of, in fact. It was less the dental surgery itself than it was the anesthesia. I read years ago that Peter Faulk (TV’s Columbo) went into a coma and then died following being put under for dental surgery. And I know there are very small odds for that kind of thing to happen. But every time it doesn’t, those odds go up, and I guess I was feeling lucky. (Spoiler alert: I’m not in a coma.)
Dad drove me to the appointment, because I was going to need a ride home. We sat and talked about nothing for a bit in the waiting room, then I was taken back for the surgery. They asked me some preliminary questions, confirmed I had a ride home, etc. I asked a few questions, all of which were answered with the totally committal, “it’s different for everybody” bullshit… Then they put an oxygen mask on me and left me sitting with a blood-pressure reader on me for probably 15-20 minutes. Eventually they wheeled in an IV that was going to be putting me to sleep. And I watched my pulse and blood pressure go up a little.
When the doctor came in, he seemed to be in a weirdly good mood. Told him I was nervous and he said, “we get a lot of that.” Then he explained about the IV and prepared me for when I’d feel “a little pinch” at it going in. Then it went in. I said, “I apologize in advance for anything I say when I wake up… I mean, I think I’m a good person, but who knows?” And the doctor said, “We get a lot of that, too.” Then they put a thing in my mouth that was designed to keep it open while he was working… And then I woke up.
Okay. They say that you wake up without knowing you were asleep. That’s bullshit. I had no concept of how LONG I’d been out and no memory of anything that happened or anything like that…but I KNEW I’d been out and I knew the surgery was done. They led me to a comfortable chair for recovery and brought my dad back. My memory of that is in and out. I know they were talking to him about the prescriptions I was going to need and told him I did well and they used less anesthetic than anticipated, so we’d be getting some money back. At one point, I remember pointing to the poster on the wall behind my dad and saying, “Is that the Beatles?” He said yes, and I said I saw four of them and two of him… And that’s when I realized I was stoned off my ass.
I have limited experience with drugs. We’ve all made mistakes and smoked or swallowed something handed to us by a friend…but I don’t regularly partake in anything these days. I haven’t even been drunk in five years come May 27. So this was an interesting experience. And I’ve got to say it’s one I could get used to. (So I’m not taking the narcotic pain-killer they recommended.) Colors looked brighter. It was raining, but it felt sunny to me. They gave me an ice-pack to put on my face, and I’m pretty sure it was what Jesus must feel like. Drugs are neat. Don’t do them.
Went back to Dad’s condo, where he could keep an eye on me for a bit. As the drugs wore off and some pain settled in, I got pissy and so forth. Eventually, I was feeling normal enough to go home, so Dad took me home and I’ve been there recovering ever since.
It hasn’t been too bad. I can feel a ***little*** bit of swelling in my gums. But I haven’t had any significant visual swelling and not a ton of pain. My jaw is a little stiff and I’ll get an occasional shot of pain if something touches the wounds. Also, it on and off feels like I’ve got a mild sore throat… But all of that’s normal. The swelling is slowly going down and I’m getting used to the missing teeth. I had four molars removed on the left side (two wisdom teeth, two not). It’ll take a bit to get used to, but I don’t need any partial plates or anything like that. Just time to heal and soft foods to eat for a little while.
It’s been a long journey since my first dental appointment in 2011. Here’s what the damage was like then:
That’s a mess. My grill was so banged up, it looked like I just hit a deer. There’s still more to do, but here’s where we are now in 2018… The red marks are extractions, fillings, and so far one root canal:
As I’ve stated elsewhere, I hope the extractions from Thursday (that whole field of red Xs) will help with the migraines I’ve been having lately. We’ll see…but so far I’m already feeling the benefits within my mouth. I’ve been in pain for 10-15 years since the wisdom teeth came in. With them out, there’s a lot less CONSTANT pain. I think the reason it seems like I’m healing so well is that when you’ve been in pain for 15 years and the source goes away, the pain of the surgery wounds healing is really no big deal. If nothing else (sorry this is gross), today marked the first time in I-don’t-know-how-long that I’ve brushed my teeth and didn’t spit out blood. So that’s kind of a good feeling. As is the fact that my left cheek is actually healing up now instead of being constantly accidentally bitten and slashed by broken, jagged teeth. There’s been a swollen section to that cheek for YEARS that is receding this week!
I’ll be going in to see my regular dentist in about a month to make sure everything’s healing okay and to presumably do more work on my remaining issues. But the worst part is over for now. So yay!
I’ll let everybody know when I’ve eaten my first post-surgery steak. All this soup and mac and cheese and stuff like that is getting boring.
Well…no better way to start the new year than by writing the same kind of post I always write…so let’s get a Simpsons quote in the title and do the random thing.
Happy new year. I didn’t do anything at all on New Year’s Eve/Day. I don’t really care for it. It’s just an arbitrary passing of the clock that exists mostly for tax purposes and nothing makes January 1 any more unique than September 7th or whatever. No need for the hubbub.
I did go to Vintage Vinyl on New Year’s Eve during the day with my brother…but that didn’t really have anything to do with the holiday. I hadn’t been in Vintage in a while and enjoyed the trip. I ended up buying a hoodie and the Motorhead cover-album that came out in 2017 (which would have been ineligible for the top ten, as all of it was previously available elsewhere except for their baffling cover of Bowie’s “Heroes.”)
I’ve been spending a lot of time playing around with my Nintendo Switch. So far I’ve got Mario Odyssey, WWE 2K18, and Shovel Knight. I like all three a lot. I spent most of today playing the WWE game. I’ll have you know my create-a-character Adorable Dingus McGee is climbing the ranks and is already the NXT champion. Meanwhile, newcomer “America’s Sweetheart” CHAD is making a name for himself in the heavyweight division. It’s a lot of fun. Mario, of course, is breathtaking. And Shovel Knight is exactly what you’d expect a game called Shovel Knight to be like. It’s nice to be back into gaming.
I have a dental surgery scheduled for January 11th. I know it’ll be the best thing for me, but I’m (understandably) nervous about it. I’ve only been sedated twice in my life. One I barely remember, but I remember being VERY out of it and confused. The other I remember waking up and not thinking I’d been under, then Mom decided it was a perfect time to go to K-Mart and do some shopping with me pushing the cart. (A+ parenting, there.) So I don’t know what it’ll be like, really…and I’m nervous about the pain/recovery and the probability of facial swelling. But hopefully it’ll be the answer to my migraine problem. (They’ve still been occurring semi-regularly.)
If I didn’t have the surgery scheduled, I might take a couple of days off just for vacation time. I’ve been exhausted lately. And I could use the time to work on stuff. But I’m planning to be out of the office for at least the 11th and 12th with an ice pack on my face. So that’s probably about as close as I’m getting to a vacation.
I’m hoping to go see Rufus Wainwright in February. But I don’t know anyone who likes him other than me… He’ll be playing with the St. Louis Symphony and it sounds like something I’m going to love. I think I’m just going to buy two tickets and then try to talk someone into it after the fact. But I’m going to wait until after the surgery to do it (at the very least). If nothing else, I’d feel kinda guilty buying concert tickets knowing that I’m about to have an insanely expensive dental procedure done. If I wait until after that money’s spent, I’ll probably be better able to convince myself that I’ve been through a lot and I deserve it. 🙂
After the teeth are out and the headaches are gone (assuming that happens), I need to get back to being active at doing things. I’ve been lazy lately. Friendships, church attendance, and even musical practice has been very much on the backburner for the majority of 2017. As much as I don’t care that it’s 2018 now, it would be nice to have something resembling a social life again by this time next year.
Also in 2018, I’ll be putting out the “It Could Be Worse” record. I need to do a photo session before I can put it out though…which I imagine won’t happen until Spring. It’s colder than a witch’s tit out there right now. (Side note: I’ve never been sure what makes witches tits so cold, but I like the expression.) I think “outdoor” shots will be necessary for this record, so I’m thinking it’ll be after the thaw. The vocal tracks are all recorded and I’m deep into mixing. It’s not done-done yet, but it’s close. More to come.
I think that’s all I’ve got. Happy blah-blah. I’m sure I’ll blog about all of my dental fears and such later.
Current Listening: Assorted Talking Heads and also some Elton John.
I meant to write some other stuff before I posted this, but it’s pretty much the only thing I talked about on this week’s episode of Empty Checking, so I decided to go ahead and post it now. If you listened to the podcast, this is a rehash, but this one’s for the folks who can’t/won’t listen to it, but still want to know what I liked this year. Plus, it just wouldn’t feel right not to post the Top 10 on the blog after all these years! This year, I had a lot to choose from… Here’s a photo of the complete collection of the new-releases I bought in 2017.
The top ten are in there somewhere…but so are a lot of runners up and a couple that I didn’t like as much. I’m going to try to keep this as concise as possible. But as you can imagine… Ahem…
Let’s get into it! These are the 10 I liked best this year from 10 to 1 (album cover images lovingly stolen from Amazon):
10. Guided by Voices – “How Do You Spell Heaven?”
GBV released two albums this year. For front-man Robert Pollard, they were respectively albums number 100 and 101 in his career (studio albums 24 and 25 for Guided by Voices). I’m nowhere near familiar with his complete discography. I’m probably only about 10-15 albums into the GBV discography, in fact. But I like what I have a lot and this album is a welcome addition to the pile. Of the two albums GBV put out this year, I liked this one a little more. The other album (album #100 – “August by Cake”) is great too, and I considered doing a “tie” entry for this slot, but I do like this one just enough to make it an entry unto itself. The two albums combined create a good snapshot of the Guided by Voices feel, but if I were going to recommend just one of the two to someone who’s unfamiliar with them, it would be “How Do You Spell Heaven?” Great album.
9. Old 97s – “Graveyard Whistling”
I’ve been an Old 97s fan since I found out there was an “alt-country” genre. (It means “rock,” but the singer listens to Johnny Cash.) I’ve had the pleasure of seeing the band live on several occasions. They’re fun, they’re sloppy, and their songs are catchy as hell. That’s a winning combo. “Graveyard Whistling” embodies all of that fun and chaos. And Brandi Carlile shows up to sing on a song (“Good with God”), which is neat. The video for said song (which does not feature Brandi, but does feature Jenna Fischer and Fred Armisen) is a good laugh mixed with a great song, and I recommend Googling it. The whole album feels like it might fall apart at any time in the best way, and it’s probably the album I’ve liked best from the band since 2004’s “Drag it Up.” I keep singing songs from it 10 months after buying it…so here it is on the list!
8. Craig Finn – “We All Want the Same Things”
This was one of the albums I really fell in love with this year, and it happened early on. It’s got some fun, up-tempo stuff that will have you tapping your toes. Finn could lean back and relax in his solo career, but instead he brings in the same life and energy he brings to his performances with The Hold Steady. But just beyond the surface of that, there are also some real sleepy ballads that are deeply gripping–it’s the same energy…it’s just intensely whispered, rather than yelled. The song “God in Chicago” is a song about falling in love with the sister of a dead friend while completing what was to be the friend’s final drug deal in Chicago. It gets dark…but there’s a lot of beauty in that darkness too. I’ve returned to this one a lot this year.
7. Jason Isbell – The Nashville Sound
I’m a little surprised not to have this one somewhere in the top three. But it has been a truly stellar year that puts what might otherwise be #1 records in the #7 slot! “The Nashville Sound” has some instant-classics on it. The first time I heard “If We Were Vampires” (a touching love song–no, really) I almost got teary-eyed. Isbell can’t write a bad album. That said, my favorite remains “Southeastern,” but this one looks pretty good sitting on the shelf next to it. There are some songs on this one (“Anxiety,” “White Man’s World,” and the aforementioned) that have already become part of my personal life soundtrack, and there was no doubt…from the second I put the money on the counter at the record store, I knew it was in the top ten.
6. Living Colour – “Shade”
Yes. The “Cult of Personality” guys. But they’re SO MUCH more than that, and shame on you for not knowing it. (Although you’re in good company. The band themselves poke fun at themselves for being known for just the one song on this album.) I like Living Colour a lot. I go long periods between listens, but they also go long periods without putting out new stuff. After 33 years of being a band, “Shade” is their sixth album. So one can be forgiven for not being aware they’re still doing stuff… But now that you know, you can’t be forgiven if you don’t pick this one up. It’s got the infectious groove they’re known for. It’s got the crazy guitar riffs they’re envied for. It’s got the lyrics they’re respected for.
The songs on this album are (in places) racially and politically charged in ways most people don’t have the guts to attempt, and the anger and energy will work its way into your blood from moment one. With songs about everything from the execution of Mike Brown on the streets of Ferguson to covers of songs by Robert Johnson (“Preachin’ Blues”), Notorious BIG (“Who Shot Ya’?”), and Marvin Gaye (“Inner City Blues”). This album is all over the place, fun, crazy, emotional, and just fantastic. Buy it. If I were to recommend buying only one album off this whole list–for cultural significance alone–this would be the one. (Which I know is weird since it’s at #6 instead of #1.)
5. U2 – “Songs of Experience”
Well they’ve done it again. U2 has made an album that is quintessentially U2, but is also a complete reinvention of the sound and feel of the band. Again. I don’t know how they keep doing that. But they did. The songs are instantly singable–you’ll be singing along on the second chorus of most of them. The lyrics are moving. In the same way Living Colour’s album made me want to fight, this album addresses the same issues and makes me want to talk. Somewhere between the two, there are probably some answers.
4. Ray Davies – “Americana”
I don’t know what it is with British guys writing better songs about the American experience than Americans do…but here we go with it again. We may never get Ray and Dave Davies back on the stage to give us the Kinks reunion we’ve all been hoping for…but what we’re getting instead is stellar. On “Americana” Ray works with the Jayhawks and provides a story of an Englishman fleeing his parents living room and finding peace in the American plains. Or California. Somewhere. Stylistically, the album is aptly named. The songs are earthy and folky, lending themselves to the story Ray wants to tell. And those stories are a joy to listen to.
3. Aimee Mann – “Mental Illness”
This is probably no surprise to anyone who knows my taste. Aimee Mann’s albums have consistently been finding my top ten list since 2008 (or possibly earlier–I can’t remember if “The Forgotten Arm” did or not, but it should have if it didn’t). “Mental Illness” might be some of her best work, so putting it on this list is a no-brainer. It’s beautiful music about dysfunction. The lead single “Goose Snow Cone” almost made me cry the first time I heard it. The whole album is full of beautiful, acoustic-driven, lushly-stringed, elegantly layered vocal parts that warm you up while giving you chills all at once. As I keep saying about Aimee Mann, she writes songs that make feeling screwed up feel a lot less lonely. And I love her for that.
2. Manchester Orchestra – “A Black Mile to the Surface”
Wow, what a listen. Manchester Orchestra found the top of my list with their album “Cope” a few years back. Although I eventually retconned that after discovering Against Me’s “Transgender Dysphoria Blues,” but I digress… I was new to Manchester Orchestra at the time of “Cope,” and was blown away. They then released “Hope” which was exactly the same song list, but stripped down to acoustic, softer, prettier versions. I loved the first one but thought the second was an interesting experiment that ultimately felt like a cop-out to me–I didn’t even count it as an official album. I wasn’t sure what to expect out of a new album as a result. I knew they could be heavy. I knew they could be delicately melodic. What I didn’t know was that they could do both at the exact same time, taking the sum of their last two projects and releasing something wholly new.
Perhaps the best compliment I can pay this album is that in the days where everybody else is writing singles, Manchester Orchestra’s “A Black Mile to the Surface” is an ALBUM. It sucks you in deep and you won’t want to leave the world they’ve built. It’s a world I look forward to exploring for YEARS to come.
1. Ryan Adams – “Prisoner”
I don’t think I ever had a question in my mind about this one. It came out on February 17 and I think I’ve listened to it at least twice a month every month ever since. From the first moment I played it, it felt like an old friend. It’s great Americana/Rock music. Songs about heartbreak and loss–who doesn’t love that?–and a tone that would have felt at home in the 70s, yet still manages to feel fresh today. From the first moment I heard it to every draft of “possible top ten candidates,” this has been the first one to come to mind. I don’t have much else to say. This is very simply a great rock record that doesn’t pretend to be anything else. So it’s #1.
This is an enormous list. I’m pretty much JUST going to list them–with very few words following… This is in no particular order–it is also not all of the other 34 albums I bought this year; just a few I wanted to mention.
Guided By Voices – “August By Cake” – Probably should’ve been #11; see above.
Gord Downie – “Introduce Yerself” – Bought too late to be eligible…but as the years go by, there’s a good chance this will feel like a glaring omission. It’s fantastic.
Mastodon – “Emperor of Sand” – Liked it a lot, but not quite enough…when it’s three weeks after I’ve bought it and I find out it was a concept album, but I had no idea, it’s just not a top 10 album. Good, solid metal though.
Jade Jackson – “Gilded” – I LOVE this record, but had to make cuts somewhere.
Foo Fighters – “Concrete and Gold” – Again…this one’s EXCELLENT and it was a tough call, but I only had 10 slots!
Flogging Molly – “Life is Good” – Aaaaaaaagh! Why can’t they ALL be top 10s?
Sharon Jones and the DAP Kings – “Soul of a Woman” – This is going to be a sentimental listen for a long time to come. Great songs on this one.
Japandroids – “Near to the Wild Heart of Life” – Tons of fun–almost made the list.
War on Drugs – “A Deeper Understanding” – Spacey and wonderful.
Roger Waters – “Is This the Life We Really Want?” – BROKE MY HEART not to put this one in the top 10. As far as I’m concerned, THIS is the final Pink Floyd record. Sorry David…
Alice Cooper – “Paranormal” – Really solid late-era Alice.
Wesley Stace – “Wesley Stace’s John Wesley Harding” – Pretentious, folky, and wonderful.
Now that THAT’s out of the way… Here’s one last look at just the top 10:
Thanks for reading! And if I don’t see you before then, have a Merry Christmas!
Frank Zappa – “Apostrophe” and “Overnite Sensation”
I’ve been meaning to write more but I’ve been busy with other projects and concerns. Sorry about that. I’ll try to get a couple/few posts on the blog before my inevitable end-of-the-year “top ten albums” list. Before all else, I just want to note that I love coming to this page in the holiday season and seeing the neat falling snow that lives on the page for a little while. I forget about it every year, and then when I see it I immediately get happy and feel a sense of peace about things.
Here’s a dumb fucking survey I pulled off a website:
Would you go back in time?
Sure. But hopefully only to observe. I wouldn’t want to change anything, including the bad stuff, because then I’d probably dissolve in a weird, Back to the Future way and another me would take my place and that guy would probably suck.
Would you jump the president?
Woah…this got intense fast. I’d assault him with my words, but not my fists. I don’t want to go to jail…but I would like to make him cry. In front of his kids, if possible.
Would you assasinate someone?
That isn’t how you spell “assassinate” so I’m going to say no. In fact, no to both questions. I wouldn’t want to assassinate anyone, and I don’t think I’ve got the ass to “assasinate” anybody.
Would you assasinate me for these stupid questions?
Again, that’s not how you spell “assassinate.” But yes. With my words. In front of your kids.
Would you scare little kids senseless?
Yours and Trump’s, maybe. Guess that depends on how they feel watching their respective parent cry because of my words.
Would you buy a whole store? Which one?
I don’t think I’d want the responsibility…but my brother and I have daydreamed about opening our own record store in the past, and that idea comes back to mind occasionally.
Would you lick your own toe?
Would and have.
Would you own a food store?
No. Way too much work.
Would you dominate the world?
You are ALL OVER THE PLACE. I guess if my record store and grocery stores failed, sure…the next logical step is world domination.
Would you murder Justin Bieber? If not, why?
What the fuck? No. I have a basic opposition to murder as a concept. Why would you even ask somebody that?
Would you tie your friend up so he/she would stop critizing you?
Now you’ve misspelled “criticizing.” And you’re starting to scare the shit out of me with your ultra-violent questions. Yes, I would.
Would you stalk your favorite celebrity? Who?
Define “stalk.” I’d see a celebrity I admire walking down the street and maybe follow them into a store hoping to say hello. I would not follow them to their home. And if they had their family or something with them, I’d probably not even go into the store.
Would you model everyone to be just like you?
I don’t think I understand this question. Does this mean would I want everyone to be just like me? Because no. Oh, God…there are 55 questions in this and it’s going so badly.
Would you sing with Adam Lambert?
In a heartbeat. He’s a great singer. He’d sing circles around me, though.
Would you make a useless product and be a billionaire?
That’s the dream.
Would you go out of states? Possibly the whole world?
What? I’d travel abroad, sure…are you asking if I’d go into space? I mean…probably not, unless we had a viable settlement on a planet with a breathable atmosphere…but that’s some sci-fi shit there…
Would you kill someone close?
Who ARE you? No. Not…not on purpose.
Would you hunt vampires, or become one of them?
I guess I’d rather hunt them than be one.
Would you kill off the goverment?
Now you’ve misspelled “government.” And no. The government HAS to exist if nothing else than for the business of running the government and keeping the illusion of peace. I’d revamp some things, sure…but eliminate it? No. (And why “kill” it? Are you a serial murderer and this is how you’re telling us?)
Would you help the ocean?
Help it do what? What are the ocean’s goals? What is its five-year plan? Does it have backers?
Would you make Spongebob a girl?
Did someone want him to be? Does SpongeBob want to be? What?
Would you rule the world?
Well, I mean, if I’m already dominating it, I may as well rule it…
Would you put all your favorite celebrities in your house and never let them go?
That sounds illegal and crazy. You have problems.
Would you have magical power?
I am unsure what word or pluralization(s) you’ve omitted. So yes.
Would you kiss your favorite celebrity? Who?
I’m struggling with who my “favorite celebrity” is…but if they were consenting, sure. I’d kiss ’em right in the face. (In this scenario, their lips go AROUND my lips.)
Would you redo Twilight?
I think we said all we needed to say with Twilight in its present form.
Would you kidnap Robert Pattinson?
Jesus, no…why would I want to kidnap ANYONE? I might say hello to him in a bar, is all.
How about Taylor Lautner?
Still no. Was he the werewolf one? He seemed nice.
Would you touch Pattinson’s Hair?
Sure, I guess, if it were on the table. But how would that go? “Excuse me, are you Robert Pattinson?” “I am! TOUCH MY FUCKING HAIR!”
Would you live out your deepest fantasy?
I believe the wish to live out our fantasies is why we have them, so sure I’d probably try. But it’d get replaced by a new fantasy and I’d be in an endless loop of that. Living the dream eventually ends in never really finding happiness because you’re always chasing something else. The chase is better than the catch.
Would you go out with ALL of the boys in your school?
Would you ride a Unicorn?
I would ride the shit out of that fucking thing.
How about eat one?
I would eat the shit out of that fucking thing.
Would you be president?
No. I’m already the dominator and ruler of the world. Seems a step down.
Would you hunt down the guy who is destroying the ocean?
Is someone doing that? Even if so, I’ve got a day job and it kinda limits my time.
Would you a different race?
You’re missing at least one very significant word and I have no way to answer this as a result. So…maybe?
Would you be a animal? Which one?
I don’t think so…I like having thoughts and stuff.
Would you run fast as a snail?
Is that an achievement? I might already do that.
Would you eat your own arm off?
I’d need a damn good reason, that’s for sure.
Would you do this and that?
I think I hate you.
Would you get a new mom?
Depends on what kind of resale value I’d get on the old one, I guess.
A new dad?
No to this one. I’m keeping my dad.
Would you quit your job?
What are the circumstances? I presently don’t want to. Do I win a flobbity-gillion dollars and don’t need to work? Do my bosses do something I find reprehensible (which is unlikely–they’re good people)? Do I finally find love and move to a different state? Do I like clinically NEED to follow Pearl Jam around and I just don’t have the PTO? I’m doing pretty good there and I like it, so I’m going to need to know more…
Would you help save the environment?
I’m not really presently actively wounding it…so I guess so.
Would you eat little kids? What about the annoying ones?
Would you eat 500 dollars?
Before I’d eat a kid, sure!
Would you build a house?
I mean…I’d probably need that $500 back for some materials…
Would you learn a foreign language?
Would you live your life without electricity?
If I HAD to, I’d try to find a way. But I wouldn’t opt to if electricity remained readily available to me.
Would you fix my grammer?
Grammar. And I have been this whole time.
Would you tell all your friends you’re a geek?
My friends have met me.
What about a nerd?
I’m not a nerd. I’m a geek. Nerds are more academically inclined while geeks are just obsessive about their hobbies.
Would you join a nudist colony?
Probably not. I don’t mind people seeing the ol’ dingus, but I don’t like taking my shirt off in public.
Would you steal something?
Have done. Didn’t feel great. Haven’t again.
Would you kiss a stranger?
Only my favorite celebrity.
Well. That was weird. Hope you had fun with it. I didn’t.
Current Listening: The new U2 album. It’s fucking great.
I don’t have a lot to say these days that I’m not saying on the podcast… But let’s say some of it anyway. I think the fact that the podcast is up and running forces this blog to be a little more personal and/or serious, just so I’m not repeating myself. But we’ll see what happens. Anyway, I normally don’t like to do two random posts back to back, but it’s been weeks between, so…the first one’s long and serious…
(I promise there are paragraph breaks in this entry. They’re hard to see on some devices though. Here’s one now.)
Like everybody, I’ve been shocked at the list of names coming out of the Hollywood sexual assault accusations. I’ve also been shocked at the amount of vehemence online toward situations on which we don’t have all of the details. I guess I shouldn’t be. I’ve had strong reactions to several of the names, too. But I do wish that as a people we sought to *prove* innocence or guilt rather than just believing it one way or the other. I remember seeing one post on Kevin Spacey that read, “has enough been done to bring him to justice?” And my first thought was, “To bring someone to justice…don’t there need to be charges filed?”
On the podcast, I went into detail about my anger and disappointment in hearing about Harvey Weinstein. I felt able to do that because he’d as much as admitted at least some of it. I feel the same about Cosby. I feel the same about Louie CK. Admissions of guilt/wrongdoing go a long way when there’s otherwise a lack of evidence.
It’s hard to prove something from decades ago. Sometimes it’s hard to prove something even just from a few DAYS ago. Lack of proof, of course, doesn’t mean nothing happened…but when you hear someone accusing George Takei of sexual assault 40 years ago and George Takei denying it…who do you believe? And why? I don’t know either guy…what dog do I have in the fight, man? I just like Star Trek.
It’s a sad time in Hollywood, made sadder by the fact that for probably every ten or twenty legitimate claims, there’s going to be somebody who isn’t telling the truth, too. As sickening as it is to think about, false accusations do happen. (Just ask Craig Charles, who plays Lister on Red Dwarf. Or Brian Banks from the Atlanta Falcons. Or several others that aren’t hard to find with a vague Google search. Even Pete Townshend has a mark on his record that’s basically bullshit.)
I’m deeply troubled by the accusations coming out. I’m deeply troubled that many of the victims are and historically have been disregarded out of hand just because we like the celebrity in question. But I’m also deeply concerned about the potential for false accusation to be believed out of hand, too. We should demand justice, absolutely. We should also demand evidence, corroboration, admission, or at least some damn good details before we ruin someone’s life. But we’ve become a society where the whole of our thoughts fit into 140 characters on twitter…so much so that we angrily complained when they increased the limit to 280. We yell, we don’t ask.
Nevertheless, the good news is that some very bad people are being caught very literally with their pants down. And I’m for that.
Told you the first one was long. The rest are shorter. I’m still dealing with dental work. Went to my regular dentist last week to look into some pain I’ve been having in a front tooth and he didn’t find anything worth fixing. So that was a waste of insurance money…but at least it was good news, I guess. Bad news is the oral surgeon is going to cost an arm and a leg. I’m trying to get it pushed back to January so my deductible will reset before I go in. So far, the two times I’ve tried calling they’ve already been closed for the day and talking to an answering service is roughly the same as standing on my front porch and shouting the message… So here’s hoping to get someone on the phone next week…
The migraines have lessened following the first tooth extraction. But they’re not gone. I was having them weekly. Now it’s been a couple/few weeks and I just finally had one on Friday night. But that was a night at the end of a very long, very stressful week that ended with me missing lunch on Friday then going to a wedding reception with a DJ who used non-stop strobing lights. So there was a lot going on there. And even then, the impact was less than it had been with previous migraines. So I choose to view that as progress.
Why can you only find chicken like the kind you get at wedding receptions at wedding receptions? It’s delicious. Yet I have no idea how they do it, where to get it, or what the hell. All I want is tasty chicken.
Thanksgiving is soon. It’s been weird the last couple of years. Over the past several decades, my brother and I (and as the years passed, the rest of his family) have gone to see my mother’s side of the family for a big dinner in Cape Girardeau, MO. The last couple of years (including this one) there have been cancelations of the event and we’ve had to figure out other things to do. This year it makes a lot of sense to cancel as one of the people who’s been at the heart of putting it together for my whole lifetime is facing down some serious medical issues. Last year it was also canceled for reasons that are a little less clear to me, but I’m sure are solid to somebody. Left scrambling, last year I went over to Dave and Valerie’s place and we had dinner. This year, with a bit more time to scramble, we’re doing the same, but Dad and Susan are coming over too, so it’ll feel a little bigger. It’s weird seeing a lifelong tradition starting to fall away. But I’m looking forward to a good day this year. It’s my favorite holiday.
Christmas is just around the corner too, huh? I normally make the first draft of my Christmas list on Halloween–a tradition I think I got from South Park several years ago. I’m behind this year. I’ve bought a lot of the stuff I wanted already, so it might be a lighter list. But that’s actually cool with me. In the past several years at Christmas I’ve actually had more fun going over to Susan’s and eating the food and watching the kids open stuff. Which is really how that should be. But, wow…it feels like I just stopped thinking about Christmas from last year!
It dawns on me now that moving the oral surgery to January is probably a good idea because of all of the holiday eating, too, huh?
I haven’t done a damn bit of work on my next album since I last mentioned it. Just been a mix of lazy and worried about my health. Just need to do it. 2018 will be here before I know it, and I’d really like to put out the record in the Spring. It’s going to be a good one. I’m very happy with the music. I just need to put words on it. And then get some photos taken, if I plan on it having any kind of cover…
Oh! I went to a Halloween party, by the way! A friend threw a party and I knew a couple of people who were going, so I went. I spent a lot of the night sitting by a fire he built in his backyard. Which was actually kind of funny, because at one point everyone else had wandered back inside the house except for me…so to the casual, late-arriving observer it might’ve looked like I got bored of the party and wandered off to start a fire in the backyard. (I wouldn’t put it past me. I once got bored at a party and took a bottle of wine into the bathroom, ran a bath, and got in for a bit. Using their towels was probably a little violating…but it went from being a bad party to “remember that time when Derek took a bath at our party?”) Anyway… It was a fun party and I met some nice people. So that’s good.
In other news, I’ll be playing bass with the Feldman Group again on the Saturday after Thanksgiving (Nov 25). I’ll try to post details when it’s a little closer…watch my Facebook page. It’s a place near my house, but I don’t remember the name. It’s almost useless that I’m writing this…
I think that’s it. Hope it was something.
A lot of Leonard Cohen, lately. The 1-year anniversary of his death was last week and I got to thinking about him.
Also a lot of Rollins Band. Because my tastes are inconsistent.
Haven’t posted in a bit. Let’s do the random thing.
Had a tooth pulled. Went pretty good. It took him all of 15 seconds to pull it–I was stunned at how fast it was once it got going. Haven’t had a lot of pain. A little bit now and then, but nothing like the pain I’ve felt in the past. Mostly just random twinges that are gone as quick as they come. I’m going to be calling this week to schedule an appointment with an oral surgeon to remove FOUR at once on the opposite side from the one that was pulled last week. They’ll knock me out for that. A little nervous, but think I’ll get through it okay. Probably take longer to heal from that round and I’m sure it’ll have pain with it. They’ve got to dig at least one wisdom tooth out from under the gums this time. The works so-far hasn’t helped my migraines yet–I got one on Friday night. Hadn’t had one for two weeks prior to that though, so I think maybe the tooth-pull had something to do with triggering it. I’m okay with that, as long as they go away eventually. More on all that as it happens.
Podcast is going pretty good. Go check it out. Uploads every Thursday that I’m not in some way sick.
Saw the Descendents and The Get Up Kids a couple weeks ago. I talked about it in detail on the podcast, so I won’t repeat myself too much…but it was a great show and made me really happy. If you get the chance to see either band, take it. I’ve been particularly buzzing on The Get Up Kids ever since the show.
Been watching a lot of Star Trek, particularly working my way through Deep Space 9. Good show. Wasn’t that familiar with it–it didn’t get re-run at times that I ever really caught it and I missed it in the first run, save for a handful of episodes. Knew enough to know I liked it, but hadn’t seen probably 85-90% of the episodes. It’s been a great journey watching it. On to Voyager next (which I did see most of in reruns). Star Trek is the perfect escape from and commentary on the times in which we live, and I’m so glad we have it.
Going to go see Nick Lowe with my favorite luchador surf band (yes there’s more than one, but the others are rip-offs) Los Straightjackets next week. Should be a fun, surfy good time.
So Harvey Weinstein’s a piece of shit, huh?
I think I also need to see an eye doctor after all the tooth-stuff is done. I haven’t been to one in several years and with the migraines screwing up my vision, it’s probably a good idea to go in and make sure nothing’s wrong there, either causing it in the first place or residual. I’m sure I need new glasses regardless.
A friend invited me to a Halloween party I plan to attend. It’s a couple of weeks away and he asked me, “Are small, plastic spiders a problem?” (He knows I’m terrified of spiders.) I said, “It depends on how small and how plastic they look, I guess.” And he said, “Ehh…I’ll just take the spiders down.” Folks…THAT is a good friend! 🙂 (He was also kind enough to ask me if I’m okay being around alcohol because he knows I’m sober…but it’s the spider thing that really meant a lot to me.)
For the record, I’m fine being around alcohol. Invite me to your bullshit you jerks.
I’ve got a whole bunch of other stuff I want to talk about, but most of it will go on the podcast…so I think I’m done for the night.
Current Listening: Godspeed You Black Emperor – “Luciferian Towers”
This might end up being kind of a downer of a post, but that seems to be the majority of what I post these days anyway, doesn’t it?
I’ve got some health stuff going on. Over the past year or so I’ve written occasionally about having what I think have been nocturnal seizures. Haven’t had one of those (that I’m aware of) since January, but I have been having frequent migraines. Migraines that impair my vision and send streaks across my sight for 15-30 minutes every time they happen…and that’s usually how they announce themselves. No other major warnings other than “I don’t feel quite right…” then my vision goes funny, I pop a couple Excedrin, and I wait it out. It’s been happening about weekly. My last one was on Wednesday, with light sensitivity following on Thursday.
Before anyone tells me to go to the doctor, believe me I’m planning on it. Back in January when I went in to an Urgent Care they did a scan of my brain and it came back clean. No masses or tumors or anything like that. So it’s nothing like that, and the $200 I spent to find that out was worth it. (Even though they *told* me it was going to be $100, then billed me three months later for a second deductible for the MRI visit…but whatever. Medicine’s a scam.) I’m not too worried about finding out I’ve got something serious, because I already know what it is…it’s my teeth.
I’ve got bad teeth. I have for years. It’s mostly because when my wisdom teeth came in, I didn’t treat them (ouch) so all four (ouch) came in (ouch) with no medication and three (ouch) of them impacted. The one that didn’t impact has (ouch) since broken. So…if it was JUST those four teeth, it’d be a lot, but the lack of treatment at the time has taken its toll on the surrounding teeth as well. So I’ve got a bunch of decayed, fractured molars and such. Sometimes they hurt. Sometimes they don’t.
I noticed as far back as ten years ago that sometimes when there’s extra pressure in my mouth (swelling and what-have-you) they’ll make me dizzy or even a little disoriented. But it passes and I move on. And I’ve noticed in the past two years that each nocturnal seizure of which I’m aware (3) have been preceded by oral issues. And I’ve noticed that I’ve had more frequent pain on the right side at the broken wisdom tooth before each migraine in the last month…I really think the last one was caused by me simply “chewing wrong.” I am certain the teeth are causing the migraines. And I think they even caused the seizures. I’ve read up on migraines. They can cause seizures. I think that what’s happened to me is that I’ve been asleep, a migraine has come on, and my brain didn’t know how to process it since I was asleep, so it gave me a seizure, instead of just wonky vision and a subsequent dull thud behind my forehead.
So…why haven’t I gotten it fixed. It’s not fear. It’s not even money (although it’s a **little** money). And I’ve gone in to the dentist a few times. In fact roughly this time last year, we were taking about doing some of the needed extractions and I left it with a “let me call you to schedule it later” and I just plain didn’t. Because of the time investment. Because I’m going to have to miss some work. Because I’m going to have to take time between surgeries to heal and learn how to eat with missing teeth. Because I’m going to have to figure out if partial plates or whatever need to go in and what kind of time investment THAT’S going to take. And because…believe it or not…up until now, it’s been BEARABLE. It hasn’t been comfortable, but it’s been a nuisance from time to time that I’ve been able to largely ignore. But now the headaches are making me nervous to drive. So I’ve got to get this taken care of…and I’ve been trying and failing to do so.
I like my dentist. He’s an old family friend and a good dentist. Which is why I delayed at least one week before calling… I’d gotten sick just after the funeral I posted about in my last post (with a running nose, cough, and 101.2-degree fever) and I didn’t want to cough all over him. The cough persisted for longer than expected and I’ve actually still got it a little, but I can mostly stifle it. So I waited that out. Then I called…and he was on vacation. Then I planned to call yesterday and realized I’d waited too long and his business hours were over. Then I called today and found that he closes at noon on Saturdays and I was calling in the afternoon because I sleep late on Saturdays. And now he’s closed Sunday and Monday, per his regular hours. None of this is his fault…it’s just been bad timing. But man…when it rains, y’know?
I’m going to get something on the calendar on Tuesday. And I’m going to go in and tell him which tooth has been the worst offender and he’s going to pull it. And I hope that stops the migraines at least for a while. Then I’ll go back to get other teeth pulled, but I know for some of them he’s going to bring in an oral surgeon because he doesn’t think he can get a couple of them himself. I think I’ll ask to be knocked out for those. I’m not scared of the dentist…but that sounds scary.
And I’m hoping that at that point I start to feel better. And I don’t just mean the headaches. And I don’t just mean the seizures. I mean that from the moment my first wisdom tooth came in in 2006 (possibly earlier–can’t recall)…I haven’t felt good. I’ve been in pain for at least 11 years. I haven’t ever said it that way, and probably no one realizes it…but I genuinely can’t remember the last time I went a week without flinching at a tooth pain or feeling lightheaded or feeling disoriented or feeling grumpy because of oral pressure or feeling nervous because I don’t know when the next tooth problem is going to happen. 11 years of that. For some reason it took me that long to choose to feel better.