Monday, November 21, 2011
The following is intentionally melodramatic and not meant to be taken entirely seriously.
Surgery has been rescheduled for December 14th; and so I have returned to Limbo in my mind, but while I was at the hospital someone came in and trashed the place. They didn’t even bother taking the valuables like my lucky Captain Kirk dollar bill or my limited edition Hillary Clinton plate; they just made a huge mess. I made a point of leaving limbo nice and orderly when I left for the hospital, and I come back to chaos. Oh yeah, they did take a bunch of video tapes from the eighties that I never got a chance to watch. Wonder what was on ‘em.
My expectations have been murdered, and one thing’s for sure, someone’s responsible.
I could look no further than the nice basket of food sent to me by the hospital (photo above) with the card reading “Sorry for the delay,” to suspect that some otherworldly force was at work here, but there was more … on the very same day I received care packages from two of the most enchanting talents in the history of talent, Jane Monheit and Tianna Hall. Some may consider this a cluster of coincidences, but I know it’s a sign from the very Universe itself. Because everything happens for a reason, except for *really* bad stuff, because then I’d think the Universe was a jerk, and then life wouldn’t be so fun.
So, until the surgery actually happens, we’re going to figure out what the Universe was trying to tell me…. together! Karmic boomerang, infinity gauntlet, the smoking man, the ghost of Thanksgiving past, the cancellation of “Joan of Arcadia,” or some guy in a SHIT HAPPENS tee shirt shopping at Wal-Mart, we will get to the bottom of this.
Until then I leave you with my hero/friend Tianna Hall singing the title track to this blog entry, which can also be found on her new album “Never Let Me Go.”
Thursday, November 17, 2011
The surgery that I was supposed to have today didn’t happen.
Maybe it’s because I listed my religious preference to the hospital clerk as Jedi, maybe it’s because improbability dances with me in the shadows, or maybe, just maybe, it’s “just because”. Scratch that last one, I’ve seen and experienced too much to believe in “just because.”
What bothers me is that, in a very odd way, I feel I let so many people down. All the love and positive energy from people I received to face this day and the coach never let me off the bench.
We went to the hospital and I was admitted, given a fashionable paper gown and sock like things (which I’m still wearing). They took some of my blood; fitted me with some blood-clot preventing, inflatable calf leggings (which I brought home), hooked me up to the IV and sent my wife in to wait with me for the moment that I had , after weeks of anxiety, finally prepared myself for. I was ready for this. I wasn’t afraid.
Then the medical team came in. The doctor said that he had bad news. The robotic equipment that was to be used in my procedure was, for the first time, malfunctioning, and the surgery could not be performed today. I was stunned; I had read that these machines malfunction less than 1% of the time. More than that, I was crestfallen. My dark passenger would continue life inside me for a while longer.
For their part, the staff of the hospital was extremely apologetic, even giving us gift cards for the cafeteria since I’d been on a liquid diet for the last 48 hours preparing for the surgery, and was famished.
Later I learned that the equipment had malfunctioned during the prostatectomy that was taking place before mine, and that my urologist had to finish it up old school, which is much messier and less reliable.
So I guess, I’m sort of lucky.
But damn it, I had this! I was in charge of my feelings in a stressful situation for one of the first times in my life and I didn’t get a chance to win the day. All because a highly improbable malfunction happened *minutes* before I was going to be put under. That’s not bad luck, that’s a challenge from the Universe. I’ll get back to you as soon as I figure out what that challenge is.
The next try at surgery will be mid-December.
So the question that I pose to you dear reader is:
Do I save the narrative of this story by not posting for a few weeks until after the surgery *really* takes place (perhaps with the entry title “Let’s Kill Cancer!”); or do you still love me enough to let me carry on as is?
Tuesday, November 15, 2011
Today’s entry will be filled with a few random observations, and finally a video by the artist that my wife half-jokingly calls my “other lover.”
Some Interesting “Philosophical” Quips :
“Pain Don’t Hurt” from Roadhouse. Only Patrick Swayze and his intense, very nearly believable earnestness could pull off this line. Pain, by definition, does NOTHING but hurt. But by golly, I stole this as a catch phrase, and never let it go. Tomorrow, I may modify the line to “Could you please give me something that makes pain don’t hurt?” File this along with “I ain’t got time to bleed,” by Jesse Ventura from Predator. You can tell someone’s a badass when they make you believe a sentence that contradicts itself in six words or less. Nobody puts Baby in the corner? Really? Where is she sitting? In the corner! She may have even decided to sit in the corner. Who do you think you are, Patrick Swayze? Okay, I admit may be overreacting here. When I’m wrong, I say I’m wrong. By the way, sometimes people will put Baby in the corner because of the mess she makes with strained peas, but everyone loves the bowl of spaghetti on the head trick.
“That’s the trouble with self-improvement, honey, I know when it’s time to quit,” from David Lee Roth’s “A Little Luck”. Say what you will about Diamond Dave, but when he puts his mind to it he can be one clever son of a gun, and I’ll be darned if he’s not right. Keeping your imperfections perfect requires a little good old fashioned laziness. One doesn’t want to become someone other than their true self, that’s like messing with a fixed point in time.
Don’t do that by the way.
“Do or do not, there is no try,” says Yoda to Luke and everyone just ate it up. Now, I love me some Yoda but my Jedi Master, Liz Carr, would never say something so ridiculous. How are you supposed to “do” if you don’t try? We’re not all naturals at pulling aircraft out of swamps with our minds, Grover. Yeah, that’s right. I went there.
Speaking of Sesame Street’s Grover, if you have a kid, or even if you don’t, purchase a copy of “The Monster at the End of this Book” by Jon Stone and Michael Smolin. It’s insanely clever.
Just mixed up my magic intestine cleaning fluid (with Lemon Flavor Packet!), which I will drink tomorrow after a “liquid breakfast”, followed by a full day of liquid meals. Fortunately, my wife will be home and can talk with my Jedi Master (Hi, Liz!), during our weekly confab, when I am otherwise “occupied”.
I’m wearing my “Macho Forever” shirt today, in honor of what would have been Randy Savage’s 59th birthday, and I’ll be wearing my Pop My Culture Podcast Tee on my way home from surgery, in honor of it being such a great show. With all these great tee-shirts I could be a model on “Project Runaway”.
Once again, I’d like to thank you all so much for the positive energy and support you’ve shown me and my family during this challenge, and believe me I’m absorbing it all, and will use it to recover quickly and finish off this cancer, and maybe, just maybe, with all this love inside me, I might make a positive difference in the world.
Thank to Jenni Cole (@LilFerret on the Twitter) for picking this entries title, well the first part of it anyway. I added the drugs part.
And speaking of things that make me light headed and happy...
Ladies and Gentlemen, Mr. John Barrowman…
Monday, November 14, 2011
For the first time, perhaps ever, I wasn’t afraid. It didn’t feel like a temporary moment of euphoria, it felt like all the fear in my body, mind and soul fell into a pocket universe, and then fell into a volcano. This odd moment of clarity shouldn’t go without comment.
I should probably point out that in the last ten years, my life has improved significantly. I am with the life partner that I am supposed to be with; I have a beautiful son who changed me forever. I have the support and friendship of so many people that like me more than I could ever like myself. I still try to figure out how I warrant so much positive energy from these angels and warriors in my life, and I should probably stop trying to figure it out and just appreciate it, and more importantly, reciprocate it.
I should also point out that some of the following material is of a very serious nature and almost all of it is information I’ve never disclosed. So I’ll try to lighten things up for tomorrows entry.
But before I met my wife, changing my universe forever, fear and I were very close.
I was born afraid. I was afraid to fail, I was afraid to succeed. I was afraid to be myself and I was afraid to conform. I was afraid of demons, professional bowlers, and taking a shower in gym class. I was afraid that Jesus hated me and that Godzilla really might just be a guy in a rubber suit. I was afraid my stuffed animals might explode in the washing machine and I was afraid that Playboy would make me go blind.
My single greatest source of fear, however, has always been myself. How I react to things, how I make other people feel, how I was unable to get my shit together enough to be a productive member of society, how I let people down, how I was so obsessive compulsive, how I wanted it all but didn’t want to work for it. Fearing myself made me a Grade A loser.
I like to think that I’ve always been, more or less, a person of good intentions, but the way I reacted to fear led me down dark paths and convinced me to do bad things; but that kind of fear comes from one place: not being honest with yourself about who you really are.
Being true to yourself is not always easy and the more you lie to yourself the further you get away from your true center, and the harder it is to get back home. When you lie to yourself it becomes necessary to lie to others. Sometimes those lies are merely tall tales made up to impress someone that you don’t believe really could respect you as you are. Some of those lies are made to cover your tracks for something you’ve done that will hurt others. Further down the line, you lie just so you don’t get caught at something you’d probably keep doing if you could get away with it. That’s when you’ve lost your way. I’m sure most of us have been there. Of course, all of those lies come in with built in excuses. Heaven knows I had excuses lined up for everything rotten I’ve ever done.
So, how did I get to that place, a place that sent me so far down into the pits of despair that I tried to take my life twenty years ago? Fear of being myself, or more specifically, fear of allowing others to see me as I am.
How many people do you know that are in “committed” relationships that are actively pursuing extracurricular dalliances, when they can get away with it? My guess is that you know quite a few. I worked at a bar for thirteen years and saw both men and women (though mostly men) try to pick up someone for a cheap thrill, a distraction from the norm, a little adventure to keep life interesting.
I used to be that guy. I’m not proud of that. Why did I act that way? Because I was lying to myself about who I really was, by putting myself in life that I always knew wasn’t the right choice for me, but provided security, stability,and held the fear of being alone at bay. Well, since I was lying to myself, I had to lie to others, people that didn’t deserve to be lied to. Good people who believed in me because I allowed them to see only the good side of me, which actually existed, but was tainted by this scret darkness. So in the end, I was destroying myself and taking decent people with me and the hell of it was that I knew it. I tried so many things to “cure” myself. I drank excessively, I gambled hoping luck could buy happiness, I took out bad loans to pay the bills. I was such a basket case.
One of my good qualities is also one of my most troublesome ones. I know when I’m taking the wrong path. I was hurting people and I knew it, and I honestly believed there was only way I could stop hurting other people. It was an easy choice. I hated myself. It was time to go. So I took a couple bottles of sleeping pills and tried to die. It wasn’t a cry for help. In fact, the concept of suicide filled me peace.
The man who I was living with at the time, and the man I named my son after, got me to a hospital in time and saved my life. When I came to in the hospital my first words to him were “Boy, I really can’t do anything right.”
I tried my best after recovering to help heal the wounds I caused, but it was still, I knew deep down inside, all a lie. I tried my best to become a good man who did good things, but the truth wasn’t going to change. So I started to unravel again.
Then ten years ago, I met the girl of my dreams, and the truth was that I knew I was going to spend the rest of my life with her. Suddenly, there was no further need to lie to myself or anyone else. It wasn’t always smooth at first, and there are occasional twists in the road, but it’s the right road and we are so blessed to have such beautiful travelers with us along the way. A good portion of those companions on this journey are reading this blog right now, and I will do everything in my power to make you proud to know me.
So on Thursday, when the robot goes in and gets my cancer riddled prostate, I won’t be afraid because I now know I’m a better version of me, maybe on my way to being the BEST version of me.
I am all but certain I owe an enormous amount of this new sense of peace to my Jedi Master, Liz Carr, who helped me realize to embrace the perfection of my true self’s imperfection. I still need work, I get frustrated and distracted so easily. I am sometimes petty and selfish. Maybe now, that the fear is gone, even those less noble qualities will diminish.
Thanks for letting me vent.
I love you guys.
Saturday, November 12, 2011
But no one wants to read that crap.
My support group has been beyond amazing.
Friday night, my long time close personal friend, and the best man at my wedding, Daniel Floyd, broadcast his 80's Night Live radio show and dedicated the whole program to me. Dan played nothing but music that I like, which is a pretty dangerous format if you want to keep your audience, but that’s the kind of friend he is. Also my Huckleberry, Annie performed “Moon River” for me, Dan also played John Barrowman and myself singing that classic number. I got a little weepy. I won’t lie.
Here's one of my new Jazz Trinity Trio Jane Monheit with my fave version of the song.
Buy all of Jane's Music ... I'm going to! Maybe even twice!
The other two Trinity members are Tianna Hall and Brigitte Zarie in case you're interested. Buy all of their stuff too.
I also got a much appreciated blast of positive energy from the folks at Pop My Culture Podcast with Cole Stratton and Vanessa Ragland. Episode 52 with special guest, the beautiful and talented Meredith Salenger.
Speaking of Cole and Vanessa, here's a photo of the shirt I'll be wearing when I leave the hospital on Friday or Saturday.
Now, let's talk about Murray Gold for a moment. I think the current restraining order has expired.
David just loves his compositions. “Rose’s Theme” and “I Am the Doctor” freeze him in his tracks. As far as I can tell, Boo doesn't care about "Doctor Who" one way or another, unless there’s a stirring theme in the background. The opening theme sends the Boo Monster into a frenzy, but I'll bet he sees the time/space vortex more frequently than we neurotypical normals do.
I also listen to A LOT of Murray’s music when I write. I’m sure my thanks are a drop in the bucket, but here they are.
I also owe him three pies. Hurm.
Speaking of the Boo Monster, that dude is finicky, like MORRIS THE CAT finicky. I keep putting various dishes in front of him and he pushes them away. One day after 5 attempts I got it right. David's fish fingers and custard are tortilla chips and catsup.
Speaking of levity. Wendy Liebman's new Showtime Special "Taller on TV" is just the right thing to watch when you're in the mood I've been in lately. There's nothing outlandish, overtly political, mean-spirited or preachy here. Just well timed, well read, clever jokes being delivered by a pro who is not only funny, but beautiful too.
Until next time, please love one another....
Thursday, November 10, 2011
11/11/11 Is Here!
Quick note: This is the symbol I use when paraphrasing the Doctor.
This entry will feature the truth and elaborate falsehoods. Fear not, it’ll be simple to discern which is which.
Six days from surgery. 1+1+1+1+1+1 = 6!
I remember the last 11/11/11 rather vividly. The Great Blue Norther they called it. Radio host and paranormal investigator Daniel Floyd and I were testing some Sontaran weather weaponry meant to freeze out the rather elementally challenged Rutans, great shape-shifters, rotten body temperature control, and we decided to park our TARDIS in Kansas City and kind of made a mess of things. Record highs in the day, record lows at night. So, all you centurians in Missouri, my apologies.
Speaking of Dan, tonight (Friday) he's doing a special version of 80's Night Live from 10 p.m. to 12 a. m. eastern standard time, dedicated to some nerd named Father Wizard or something. I'll be in the chatroom during the show. The chat Password: Krushradio
The 11/11/11 before that, I was mid-wife for the birth of future Confederate General Benjamin McCulloch. Yankee or no, I was the only one around that knew something about birthing a baby! I only recently realized the significance of that event, as I am currently working on, under the genius guidance of Tina Prause, The Civil War Today application for Arts and Entertainment Television Networks, we’re included in the The Wired App Guide . Buy both. I'll pay you back when I create a dematerialization ray.
On 11/11/1611 My time machine, Helen Mirren and I went to go see the opening performance of some play called "The Tempest". It was okay, but it could have used a few song and dance numbers. Helen seemed mesmerized, as if she had some sort of plan.
I recently decided that I don't hate the phone anymore. Mostly thanks to Liz Carr, my Jedi Master, who is one of the greatest people the Universe has ever connected me with. (That's true!) Also talking to my son's namesake David, my dear friend Lilianavonk, my new pal Marilu Henner,one of my favorite musical artists EVER Natalie Nicole Gilbert, my brilliant boss Tina, and my little brother Tim. I've become a phone guy!
Also as an aside I love Michael Gardner and Sandra Bernhard ! LOVE. THEM.
Also, a thank you to all those who served this country so nobly for so long. This days is yours, and you have my undying respect and appreciation.
The following is the unembellished truth :
I'd like to take this moment to thank the girl of my dreams, the center of my universe, the being that all my reality revolves around, and the person who has lifted me to higher heights than I'd ever thought possible. Not only has she given me the gift of my precious Boo Monster, but she gives me strength and encouragment even when I'm in spazzy, anxiety, and yes, even jerky mode. She is an academic phenom, a true genius,her beauty is unmatched, and she sings like an angel.
Pamela, my wife, my life didn't really begin until we met,and even though I'm not there yet, if I ever become the person I truly wish to be, it will be because of you.
When I come out of surgery on Thursday and see your face I will know that everything will always be all right. No. Everything will be amazing!
I love you.
* * * * * * * * * * * * *
Tomorrow is Saturday, and Saturday is a good day to talk about Murray Gold, a man I've relentlessly stalked dressed as David Bowie from the Ashes to Ashes video, but more importantly, Mr. Gold composed much of the music that I listen to when writing my blog.
So we'll do that tomorrow, and I've got a couple more things to talk about as well.
Until then little David Bowie for you !
Love one another !
In 7 Days, a preternatural entity crawls out of a well and steals my prostate, and all because I watched what I thought was a rare VHS copy of Godzilla Raids Again. Foiled by my great love for Japanese pop culture.
Speaking of which, let's all enjoy the theme from one of my all time favorite anime series' "Scrapped Princess", Little Wing as performed by JAM Project and Masami Okui.
I also strongly suggest checking out the Utawarerumono and Solty Rei collections, both of which actually made me weepy.
I think it’s somewhat appropriate the Regis and my prostate are riding off into the sunset together. Maybe, they’ll become sheep herders and live happily ever after. I actually named one of my cars Regis. It’s funny how the Universe works.
I bought a couple of feature length Rifftrax to watch on my iPad during recovery from my surgery, when I will be equipped unseemly tubes and bags and stitches and ... but I digress...
I'd like to take this moment to thank the folks at Rifftrax, Cinematic Titanic, and Mystery Science Theater 3000, for filling my life with mirth, and an inability to stop riffing on everything I see or hear. My wife really wishes I would stop riffing "Homeland" and "The Good Wife", but she loves you too.
Over on the Rifftrax side, I'd like to send a special shout out to Erik and Sarah (Barnes and Todd forever!), who have to put up with my endlessly stupid questions via e-mail. Erik, did no-sell my boxers or briefs question, but you know, I'm sure he was swamped for autographed 8X10 glossies, as he is a damn good looking man.
At the end of this post enjoy the Bill Corbett composition Love Theme From Jaws featuring the vocal talents of Kevin Murphy, the less Welsh Tom Jones; and the beautiful and talented food blogger, singer, dancer and mommy Virginia Corbett.
This lovely song is available at the Rifftrax site and on iTunes along with many other snappy numbers both musically and comedically satisying, much like you'd imagine sex with a clown playing Stravinsky on the cello, but less messy.
I have to thank you all for you tremendous support during this time.
Now I get semi-serious and it might get a little icky.
A dear friend of mine assured me I'd be"as good as new" after the surgery. She was right! I'll be incontinent and unable to procreate just like the day I was born!
It's all about the coming and going.
When removing the prostate they have to reattach my bladder to my urethra, so it might be awhile before I can control my going, but I'm assured I'll be back to "I'm a big kid now!" from in a bout a month.
As for my..er, uh.. coming ... well, let's just say my days as a genetic jackhammer are over. In fact, it will, as I understand, require a series of pulleys, winches, vaccuum tubes, blue pills, blue borings, fob watches, jelly babies and helium for me to "perform" for quite a while.
This saddens me.
I'm also concerned about how my son will handle having an unclimbable, Daddy for a few weeks. He also won't be able to tell me what he wants because, as he is non-verbal, he needs to pull/drag me to what he wants.
This saddens me, too.
But you know what?
It's just another regeneration episode, right? I'll be out of it for a period of time, adjusting to a new body, and then soon I'll be back to squashing Daleks, confounding Cybermen, and travelling through time and space with my scrying ball, my magic wand, my sonic screwdriver,my beautiful wife,the Boo Monster and YOU!
I love you guys !
Wednesday, November 9, 2011
After surgery, I’m in for a few weeks of being more or less laid up, so I need some spiritually uplifting music to stave off the madness. I figure I’d try to put together three perfect playlists. One playlist would feature of all female vocalists, one of all boys, and one of my favorite all-time songs. The only problem with this concept is that I’ve been trying to construct these lists for an eon (or two) and have come close, but just as I soon as I think I’ve got it, I get kind of tired of one or two of the songs, and then I swap. Lather, rinse, repeat.
Today, we’ll start with six artists with multiple songs sure to make “The Ladies” play list. Two of these women are friends, and one of those is like a sister to me. Two have been my social media buddies for a long time, and one a recent supportive contact. The sixth doesn’t know me from Grover Cleveland.
Dawn Langstroth (Top Left)
Her album "Highwire" is pretty much a perfect pop album. I've bought it two and half times! The songs sure to make the playlist.
Elevator Music: I cannot begin to tell you how much I love this song. Sometimes that symphony of early romance just sounds like muzak after a while. Fortunately, ten years into my marriage, the orchestra still swells and sweeps me away.
A Case Of You : Joni Mitchell has written two of my favorite all time songs and this is one of them. ( In fact it appears twice on this list alone.) Joni just had her 68th birthday. "I could drink a case of you, and still be me on my feet." Awesome!
No Prize : I'm a sucker for a song with a shuffly jazzy feel and Dawn could sing the angels down for a closer listen. Love it.
Enough for Two, Where Were You? , Stranded, and You Don't Want Me will almost all certainly make the cut as well. I'd put the whole album on there but that'd be overkill.
I actually dreamt Dawn had a new album out and half remember the title cut "Newly Blue" but I forgot it too quickly. I might still write a song with that title though,and give it to her.
Natalie Nicole Gilbert (Top Right)
Natalie's music strikes a chord in me that I can't quite explain, except that it fills me with inspiration and happiness.
Cut On Your CD off the album Skeletal : It's one of those fun breezy songs you can imagine being sung by a campfire with a guitar and a singer. It's also one of the few songs of NNG's I can actually sing, even if it makes me feel impossibly old when I change the lyrics to "Cut on Your LP."
Breathing Hope off of Summary : This song reminds me of my son David, in fact I quoted it when my blog was all about the Boo Monster, a "beautiful contradiction" if there ever was one. A gorgeous song, with lyrics that make my soul stir. As long as I remember to forget it was written about a vampire of the sparkly variety.
Santa Monica: Simply one of the most beautiful songs I have ever heard, reminding me the importance of every moment, every sight, sound, smell and touch.
Also certain to be on the final playlist: Sweet Australia and Danger Surrounding off of Summary and New Moon, Blue Sun respectively.
Natalie's in the midst of an exciting new project :
Check it out here!
NNG's other site!
Jane Monheit (Upper Center)
Jane Monheit has the mutant ability to reimagine my favorite songs and make them new again… except I know all the lyrics. . On her CD Surrender, with her song styling at the helm, she transported Moon River from Branson, Missouri to Heaven and Pure Imagination from a Chocolate Factory to Paradise Island, and her reworking of Stevie Wonder’s Overjoyed is a thing of an entirely new kind of wonder.
On The Lovers, the Dreamers and Me, Jane revitalizes one of my favorite Bacharach/David numbers with This Girl’s In Love with You, and performs the best Rainbow Connection since a banjo playing felt amphibian warbled it in the theaters. On a side note, I dueted that song with a Kermit puppet for YEARS when I was a karaoke host. Give me your number and I’ll do Kermit for you. His voice, I mean.
My wife and I sang If, the classic Bread song, at our wedding as a duet. Had we had heard Jane's version (along with Kenny Barron) off of the Come Dream with Me CD, who knows what we would have done with it. Mesmerizing.
Also on the list Jane's version of Over The Rainbow from her brilliant Taking a Chance on Love CD and A Case of You (along with Richard Bona) on Come Dream With Me.
I must see her perform live before I die !
Jen Chapin (Bottom Left)
Jen's father is one of my top five artists of all time but she's a star all her own. The List features seven minutes of bliss in I Could Fall (in Love With You) and Jen's performance with the Rosetta Trio of a little ditty called Starman that I love because it reminds me of the 11th Doctor.
Sandra Bernhard (The Other Center)
As the Light in the Darkness, and my Gemini-Genesee Sister, naturally I put her entire Whatever It Takes album in heavy list rotation, along with her rocking Lita Ford/Pink mash-up from her I Love Being Me, Dont you? CD. Sandy's currently on tour. Go see her. I. Love. Her.
Jennie Walker (The Blonde)
FINALLY ! Jennie's debut redebuted. The whole CD is gem with, lush strings, stirring piano and Jennie's goddess like vocals.
The haunting Simon, along with the fabulous Your Father Your Mother, the nifty Black Hat and I Wanna Show the World (and she does!) are on the list.
So there you have it. Maybe in a couple weeks I'll tell you how my search for the perfect playlists is panning out.
Oh yeah, and I'll update on that whole cancer thing too.