Sunday, July 31, 2005

I'm in love with my car

I am sorry to be delinquent in writing a recap for the performance episode for "Rock Star"- things have been a bit crazy at home and to be honest, this week's show was... really boring. However, we did see the return of Dave Navaro- I didn't point it out, but Monday's episode was completely 100% Navaro free! Having him back on the show gives me the same feeling that I get when I see the wart of the bottom of my foot- it's really disgusting, I know it will go away eventually but in the meantime it really makes me sick to look at... so, I'm going to try to make sure I give a quote from Dave for every performance. Just in case you missed all that he brings to the Rock table.

Brook Burke appears & does her usual "Are you ready to rock/the games is on/competition is heating up/a performance away from elimination!!". The crowd goes wild- gee, do you think that free drinks are given to the audience? She introduces the INXS guys in their power banquet off to the side, with Dave Navaro- he raises his arm and does that stupid devil finger horns gesture (new drinking game- take a shot whenever he does this with his hand- guaranteed to waste you by the end of the show). Horrible sight- his totally hair free pits! This looks just plain wrong on a man. And Dave, you are not Man enough to try to pull this off.

Jordis- "Gimme Some Lovin"-
With the exception of her irritating "Alright! Are you ready to sing along with me.." thing she does w/the audience, she does really quite well with this song. I still say that a woman will not win this show, but she's definitely one of the better singers... Does less thrashing about, no doubt having learned from the "Stagecraft" bitch session.
Stupid Dave comment- "You dropped a line in the beginning... but WHO CARES?" throws hands in air & the pits appear again.

Suzy- "Superstitious"
She walks out, screams, "Let's get funky!!!", then proceeds to do the opposite. Sorry, Suzy, but I was reminded of when I was in Columbus, Ohio, years ago and heard an all-white "Blues band" at a bar.. so seriously not funky. She keeps popping out her eyes in a bad way when she gets to the word "Superstitious" in the song. Please stop acting out on the songs....
Stupid Dave comment- "You look hot!"

Jessica- "Because the night"
She walks onto stage in a bustier made from a large bird, perhaps a turkey. She sings OK, but does this weird yodeling inflection during parts of the song. Pretty dull, made me realize how embedded the Patti Smith version is in my head- anyone else singing it sounds like a bad karaoke night.
Stupid Dave comment- "I took you way more seriously when you stood still."

IMPORTANT NOTE! Tonight, we have the first appearance of the word "Pitchy", which is a staple of American Idol.

Mig- "Lola"
He rearranges the song to try to be way funky- when K watched with me the other night, he totally cringed at the guys wa-wa pedal playing- and K knows his Wa. I finally realize who Mig looks like- one of the Monkees (pop group) especially wearing a silly military style jacket over a bare chest. When he says, "I got down on my knees" he does fall right to his knees, and there is a quite spontaneous screeee!!! from the girls. You go, Mig.
Stupid Dave comment- "I don't know where to start man, I have so many things to say to you..." which really means, I hate you. It's the same sort of stalling thing Paula Abdul says on AI when she hates one of the girls and can't really say that. C'mon guys, just whip 'em out already.
One of the INXS dudes says, "I'd like you to show more abandon... like if you had a half a bottle of vodka..." Oh really? Where'd the other half go?

Brandon- "Tempted"
Very bad, he looks way uncomfortable. maybe because he's finally wearing shoes? Can't quite hit the notes. Does the dumb "How're you doin'" kind of lounge singer thing.
Stupid Dave comment- "You're a guy who can look awesome in a white belt"

Ty- "Everybody hurts"
And we do. At least, I do. I HATE this song. Brooke tells us this is Ty's attempt to prove he's "the whole package".
I don't want to think about Ty's package. He shouldn't sit with his shirt unbuttoned, bad abs. The crowd does the swaying back & forth hand thing, a la "Purple Rain"
Stupid Dave comment- "I think I just saw someone who wants to be a member of INXS!"

Heather- "If it makes you happy"
Let's face it, like her or not, Sheryl Crow is a very good singer. Heather is not. The Butterfly girl goes down in flames; finally, we recognize substance over style wins. She blames it on being sick.
Stupid Dave comment- "I've got to be honest, honey- I'm used to feeling this Atlanta heat from you, and I just didn't feel it tonight".

J!D!- "We are the champions"
Yes, it's just as bad as we hoped for... before he begins, Brooke chirps, "Game on!". Game over right from the start- he sings waaaay low, K asks, Is this the Sisters of Mercy version? He misses most of the notes, does a weird hand circling bow when he sings "my friends", gives up and lets the audience sing one line, and simply mouths, "of the world". J!D! jumps off stage at the end and hugs some girl, bounces back up and very emotionally tells us how moved he is because it's he sister he hasn't seen in years- dude, you lived in your car- could you not have driven over some time?
Stupid Dave Comment- "While J!D!s givin' the love, huge props to the house band!"
J!D! say in response to the song choice not being humble (We are the Champions after being told he's cocky), he snivels, I chose it because we all are the champions! while gesturing to the other contestants. They shoot him withering looks. They are not buying it. BTW, while he train-wrecked w/the song, the editors had fun showing us reaction shots of the other contestants.... schadenfreude, anyone?

Deanna- "Give a little bit"
This woman bores the shit out of me. I got nothing.
Stupid Dave comment- "I think you have something really special"... sheesh, even he's bored.

Daphna- "Rock the Casbah"
She destroys this song. Also wears a long white floaty dress, black leather gloves and once again, gi-normous earrings. So painful to watch- even the band hates her- they are sounding like shit, and you know I'm totally on their side.
Stupid Dave comment- "Here's the good news- you look awesome!"

Tara- "Suffragette City"
She sings... alright. Again, I just can't bring myself to disassociate this song from Mr. Bowie. She's wearing an odd combo of pantsuit and bra, ends song with an awkward hip-thrust pose, should not have done the part of the song "Wham Bam thank you ma'am!". Sounds wrong from a woman.
Stupid Dave comment-"Thanks, sweetheart... Suffragette City is a song full of energy and angst, attitude- your performance was a little cute for me..."

Marty- "Lithium"
Marty does a pretty okay job with this- Brooke points out the sacredness of Nirvana's music to Dave Navaro. Can someone tell me what his connection to them was? I imagine him as following them around wanting to be hanging with the cool guys... he survived, Nirvana did not. I am reminded of Salieri at the end of Amadeus, when he is taken away to the madhouse, screaming about the triumph of mediocrity. Dave, thou art Salieri.
Stupid Dave comment- "Great performance!"
Stupid Marty comment- "I did it for you!"

Will do results show as soon as I can...

"That's not a knife! ...This is a knife!" Sheila, I am running out of Australian slang... soon I'll be reduced to quoting "Men at Work" songs.


Thursday, July 28, 2005

Memories of ...Meat??

First off, a big hand to the ladies of SJI for taking my sorry ass out tonight. It was a rum-filled evening and now I'm feeling a bit girl-drink drunk. Paper umbrellas for everyone!

For some reason, dinner reminded me of going to New Orleans back in 1995. The Mule and I had spent a whole week totally OD-ing on meat filled that, meat filled this, and the meat filled other thing. The last morning we were there, we ordered pancakes and waffles for a change. Without missing a step, our waitress immediately wanted to know, "what kind of meat y'all want with that". Not IF, mind you. Could this be a reason I haven't been back to New Orleans since?

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

With a name like Constantine

.. you know it's going to suck!

Things we learned by watching "Constantine" (the Keanu Reeves feature film, not the American Idol contestant):

- Angels can say the "F" word and not get fired by Our Lord the father.
- Cats are good.
- There's a "Sword of Destiny" that gives one the power to rule over all others + Heaven and Hell, I suppose... This is not to be confused with the One Ring to Rule them All, or the "Green Sword of Destiny".
- Once you have the Sword of Destiny, you are able to get hit by a car and hurt the car, not yourself. Also, you'll have the magical ability to knock over cows without touching them- they simply fall down when you approach.
- Entering Hell is easy! All you need is a cat, and a roasting pan full of water (this is how Keanu did it- Rachel Weisz had a slight variation on this, will explain). Sit in a chair, step into the water-filled roasting pan, fully clothed, and yes, you can wear your shoes in Hell! Hold the kitty firmly on your knees, facing you, and stare into deep into its eyes. Pretty soon, you'll look up and be right there in Hell.
- To enter Hell (if you're a regular Jane or Joe, not Constantine) you need to have a bathtub full of water. Get in the bath, again fully clothed, and let someone hold you down in the water until you begin to struggle and drown. Pretty soon, you'll look up and be right there in Hell.
- It's best to go to an Exorcism with a keyring full of various religious talismans, as you never really know what the demon might respond to.
- Demons will leave the person they are possessing if you yell at them loudly enough, and will get trapped in a mirror if you hold it right above the possess-ee. Toss the mirror out the window, and voila! No more pesky demon.
- Usually suicides go right to Hell, no questions asked. But sometimes God will just toss you back on Earth, and this can make you really cranky.
- People in the world of Constantine dress mighty like people in the Matrix dressed. They also seem to have the same weather patterns- lots of rain.
- Much like the Egyptian spirits in "The Mummy", demons can appear in the form of massive swarms of bugs. They don't so much kill you as annoy you so that you get distracted enough to run into oncoming traffic. But this can be okay, because you know what happens when bugs and oncoming windshields collide- splat!
- Seems that land crabs like to hang with the demon insect gang and jump into the swarm too.
- There's always an under worldly bar/nightclub when demons & assorted freaky people with glowing eyeballs hang out and act decadent.
- Constantine, who has the ability to slay demons, can't get anything nicer to ride around in than a taxi cab. However, being able to always have a taxi there when you need one is definitely a special power.
- Yep, what we thought all along- Gavin Rossdale is half-demon.
I give up... I didn't learn much, if you couldn't tell. Um, I did also learn that Keanu Reeves can have a sedative effect on me!
xox S.

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

It's only love and that is all

Having a Bryan Ferry moment, don't mind me. Since I have about three or four weeks until the leg goes guh-bye, I've taken up the internet dating thing. Because why not? Do I not deserve to be loved/stongly liked just like everybody else does? Do I not want some 20-40 year old male attention every now and then? Somehow I thought the internet personal ads would be easier. I could very plainly state my condition and get a chance to show off my great big juicy chess-club brain by being clever. Ha-ha, joke's on me. I was 'chatting' with a fellow the other night. He's a filmmaker, 38, single, his personal was very normal. We were getting along well, emailing to and fro about movies, pretty mild stuff. Then he gave me his phone number and told me to call. Impressed by his forwardness (and thriftiness; it was after 10pm) I did. We continued talking like, "I'm bored" "yeah me too" etc. He then asked if I had any pictures of myself to email him. I went through the files and found a full body pic, but it was from 1993. Immediately he began grilling me, "Is this recent? Do you exercise? What do you do for exercise? Are you in shape? Because I'm very much about being in shape." That should have been a tip-off but duh, I'm new to this in-ter-net dating. So then he offered to send me some pictures of himself. They came through the email and there he was. Headless and stark naked. And, erm, happy to see someone. I was pretty flustered but I still have my manners so I tried to get off the phone and on the other end it sounded like he was much more into the call then I thought. The last thing I heard as I hung up was 'uhhhhhhhh!'.

Anyone need some pictures of a naked dude, let me know. Maybe you can Photoshop some nice shorts on him.

The first cut is the deepest

(Wait a second... Isn't this really the second elimination? What about the horrible spectacle of Bindi Girl who slaughtered "Knockin' on Heaven's Door"? The one who made an embarrassingly long noise; sort of a groaning 'uhhhh.....' as she sank to the floor. Dave Navaro remarked, "That was sexy for about the first few seconds, then... I don't know." Thanks for that little window into your mind, Dave). Did that not happen? A figment of my feverish mind?

It's a new day in the Rock Mansion~ the contestants are feeling their feelings about the first elimination, and we are there.

They are once again around the banquet table, toasting. There could be a drinking game here where you simply take a drink every time they toast or are seen drinking- let's drink along with the wannabe rock stars! You'd be loaded before the first commercial break.

Let us have a moment of silence, for Neil is the first sacrifice on the altar of INXS. From the way the contestants are carrying on, you'd think they took him out and shot him instead of politely telling him "I'm sorry, but you're just not right for our band, INXS". Now that he is out, Neil is suddenly elevated to sainthood, and apparently he was the glue that held all of them together. Brandon sadly reminisces about how Neil was him roommate, and Ty, raising the bar for theatrics, sobs and proclaims that "His energy not being in this house is going to be huge". Jessica matches him for tears; she was in the bottom three and interviews how she felt it was her "last chance" to prove herself, and she was "fighting for her life". K responds to Jessica's hysterics with his preferred take, "I felt like it was my last chance to blow Dave Navaro!". If we all remember, Jessica's ass did save her from elimination (perhaps I should not use the words "ass" and "elimination" in the same sentence, although K did tell me that most musicians' insults contain some sort of scatological reference. We also watched the "Remaking Vince Neil" special on VH1 this weekend, and K's special name for the show was "Polishing the Turd").

Back to our table scene...Most of the rockers are crying. Except of course, for J! D! Fortune!, who has most definitely been cast as the villain of the show. They are editing the hell out of the footage to let us see how scheming, manipulative and dishonest he is. I'd say they are setting us up to see him get the boot this week, but I think they will take the usual tactic and keep him around because of how hilarious his delusional plotting and poor reimaginings of every song he tries to sing are proving to be. Also, Brandon notes at one point that J! D! seems to have a bit of a drinking problem, and he becomes even worse at communicating with everyone once he's had a few.

So, J! D! turns the conversation to his favorite topic, Himself. He seriously wants to know if everyone's okay with him after his alienating declaration of how superior his knowledge of the INXS catalogue is... he bounced on his daddy's knee, earnestly reciting, "It's the one thing... you are my thing...". Everyone gives him the hairy eyeball and again register their irritation at his attitude. Several contestants interview that they are on to the fact that he's just "playing to win", and Marty proclaims, "The game is on". The game of Rock?

We are treated to a Very Special Moment with Mig, who is shown on the phone with (I assume from his wedding band) his wife. This is obviously meant to be an intimate conversation, but Mig is carefully posed on a balcony chaise lounge, flanked by torches and candles, and we can see the shimmering lights of the City of Angles far in the distance, as if Stardom itself is beckoning, just out of reach... K moans, please let a car bomb drive into the house and just end this all... he's starting to get really dark at this point with his commentary- thing is, K has quite a bit of experience as a musician himself touring with different bands for many years, and now works with musicians in his current job. He has a very definite point of view on how they think, act, and treat other musicians. Here's a sampling of K's special rant on the "challenges" that they should really be handed.

He launches into his tirade~ " Give them some real rock challenges... make them live for a month in the house with no food... Ramen noodles, nothing but Ramen noodles. That's what being in a band is all about. That, and pushing the van when it breaks down. See who can push the van farthest. Try carrying a bass amp up a flight of stairs. Drop a bass amp on your foot. Try being left behind at the gas station. Chasing the bus down the freeway. Get strip searched going through London..."

This week's Rock Clinic is Stagecraft! This "clinic" amounts to the group sitting around with 2 members of INXS, and reviewing their own performances from the last 2 weeks on video. The INXS guys offer comments and criticism, but the f'd up thing is that the contestants start commenting on each other's styles of working the stage... this seems wrong since they are supposed to be learning from INXS, not saying shit to antagonize each other.

Brandon is criticized for.. leaning forward? J! D! jumps in and declares, I see you as very tall! And when you lean forward, I can't see that! Brandon looks like he wants to throttle J! D!, which he already did want to do after the stupid incident exhaustively covered already about J! D!'s vast knowledge of INXS music. BTW, I noticed something really funny- you can totally tell that all the footage is shot out of sequence because Brandon's beard keeps appearing and disappearing. His hair grows and shrinks too! Maybe he's like that Chrissy doll we used to have where you push the button in her navel & can lengthen & shorten her hair at whim?

Ty is again reminded on how theatrical his performance is, and how it seems really calculated. INXS shares how Michael was always a spontaneous performer, and how they in fact never rehearsed so they could just follow how they felt when playing and be fresh every time. Ty snots, "Point very clearly made last week". He then swishes his train and adjusts his tiara, vows to go in another direction this week.

Jessica is criticized for her posturing, and there's something said about how they'd like to point her in a different direction... K finds this highly amusing, as they could be pointing her is a few very lewd directions.

Hands down best commentary on Daphna's stage style- she of the crouching, squatting walk across the stage in giant, shiny leather pants. INXS asks her, where did that walk come from? She sparkles, "I don't know! It just comes naturally." Obviously she thinks they approve; she's shot down in flames as they tell her, "You look like Graucho Marx". K shouts out, "You look like you're trying to take a shit and walk at the same time!". Which, he correctly notes, is a special talent all on its own.

INXS asks J!D! if anyone ever told him he seems cocky... K asks back to INXS, "Did anyone ever tell you you have a little round clown nose?". My giggling fit makes me unable to hear the rest of this segment before commercial time breaks the tension.

Song choices! J! D! is obviously loaded again, clutching a glass- he is shown tiptoeing into the room with the assignment board festooned with sheet music, and bumps into the rest of the wandering rockers lurking outside the door. They glare at him and he tries to turn the ugly mob to his side by whining about how he'd noticed the songs in there for a full hour and didn't go in to peek. I don't think they buy it.

Songs start getting passed around. Ty chooses "Everybody Hurts", the gayest REM song ever (and that's saying a lot). I'm sure this will really show them how NOT THEATRICAL he can be. He declares, "It's time to step up his game". Can you hear Keith Richards wanting to step up his game as he shoots heroin into his eyeballs? I thought not.

Brandon chooses "Tempted", and we get to spend time with him in the rehearsal with my favorite guys, the House Band. The keyboard player points out that he's missing all of the melody, and asks if he could please be less nasal. Brandon whines, "I can't really do that, sing melodically. It's just really hard for me..." K says, "That's what the lead singer is supposed to do... sing a melody...". Seems pretty obvious but not for Brandon.

Jordis (who earlier has a really funny moment alone with J! D! out on the patio... she first wants to sing "We are the Champions", and J! D! really really peeing-in-his-pants wants this song. He does a whole transparent manipulative "I have to try to hard to be where you already are, and I really need this song.." I.e. You are so amazing and please let me have this chance, oh Battlefield Earth girl. She shrugs and says, "Whatever, no problem" and picks another song. He keep following he around and asking, Are you mad? Do you want the song back? She keeps giving him the brush off, like get out of my face you little weasel.) picks "Gimme Some Loving" and we see her singing it very well with the Band. I note how she doesn't suck, and K points out, yes, but remember John Belushi was able to sing this pretty well, too.

J! D! is shown first outside and in his room singing "We are the Champions", and you can see the major train wreck potential. We are left with him trying to convince the House Band to rearrange the music to be a "Trip Hop" version of the song... They try, but it totally doesn't work. The Band leader says, "This is just not serving the song at all" and asks J! D! if he could just try it straight. J!D! looks like he's going to cry, and yup, it gets worse. Again, we can see that Freddy Mercury really was pretty special to hit all those notes and make the song not suck. The show ends with House Band leader laughing off camera, telling us how incredibly awful it was... I'm breathless to see the next show!

G'day and Crocodile Dundee to everyone,

Sunday, July 24, 2005


This picture is where I may have been the happiest in my life - Maui, Hawaii in the year 2000. Check it out, I have two legs unaffected by cancer, possibly for the last time.
During this trip, I was the guest of the Mule family. Mrs. Mule was a 24-carat gold BITCH who insisted on controlling every single situation she was involved in. Once when the two year-old nephew was playing with a toy I had given him as a gift, she SNATCHED it out of his little hands and shoved one of her gifts into them instead. Anyhoo, it was her birthday during the Hawaii trip and she felt like this meant that she was in charge of everything that was going on. Going on a bike trip? Run it by Mrs. Mule first. Going to the beach with the kids? Better see what Mrs. Mule felt like doing. After a while (a day) it got really tiring. So her daughter came up with just telling her 'mahalo' when Mrs. Mule would go into one of her tirades, except instead of meaning 'thank you', as it does in Hawaiian, we all agreed that we really meant 'fuck you' when dealing with her tantrums. So now when doctors are pissing me off with waiting and their shitty attitudes, I'm thinking 'mahalo'!

Saturday, July 23, 2005

Sometimes you kick, sometimes you get kicked

Here I am in our very sleepy apartment- usually I am the one in bed early while K stays up way late.
However, he was up all night (morning?) doing a freelance sound job on Good Morning America and didn't really get any sleep; he managed to stay awake long enough to watch the "elimination" episode of Rock Tard oops I mean Rock Star. We were wondering... If INXS choses a new lead singer, what will they do next season? Or will the network people find bands that have had other people die/leave the band/enter rehab and use the same concept?

Today's extra credit question- what would be the best band to embrace this crass concept? I had a few thoughts for candidates- Van Halen (find the new diamond dave!), and The Doors (since they already gave into that lame "The doors of the 20th century" thing with Ian Astbury, what's stopping them? As Bob Dylan said, when you got nothin', you got nothin' to lose).

Tonight's episode was 2 minutes of decision crammed into a 30 minute show. Here's how the eliminations happen: we the people, in order to form a more perfect union, establish justice & insure domestic tranquility (had a schoolhouse rock slip there) can get on our phones, text messaging, or computers after the performance episode and vote for the people we like best... then empty headed Brooke Burke comes out and tells us who the three biggest losers are (in no particular order, she assures us). Then, the mediocre three get on stage with Brooke and get to each perform " to save their lives for one more week!". Brooke keeps telling us that the competition is really heating up and getting intense. INXS are remaining really nice and encouraging, and Dave Navaro never says anything bad either- they are doing a great job of hiding the tension. Every song the three are asked to sing is a cover of an INXS song. I recognized all 3 of tonight's songs but I think they're going to have trouble if they keep doing this every week- they band didn't have that many hits.

Before she tells us which three are the worst, the band gives special comments to some people who they thought improved greatly since last week, or did especially good performances. No mention of personal style at all! I feel like I did the wrong homework assignment. I apologize deeply for not focusing on the talent when the previous show told us how important the "look" was. It will not happen again.

So, the three are: Tara, who sang Paranoid; Neil, who sang Summer of 69, and Jessica, who sang Purple Haze.

Neil goes up first and is asked to sing "Suicide Blond" (again with the suicide!). I hate this song, so really any version of it would have sounded bad to me... he isn't really awful, just doesn't sing very well. However, he does have the right look- good shag hair-do, skinny swivel hipped bod, cute enough face for the girls to swoon over. He works the stage okay- better than some of the others, like Mig, who simply fell over on the stage at the end of his song (I forgot to mention that, but there were so many other things going on that I needed to work out).

Next is Tara, who is asked to sing "Mystify". She does much better than the previous night; out of the lower three she has the strongest voice. We (correctly) assume she is safe.

Last, Jessica is asked to sing " Don't Change". Before she sings, DN notes how "Purple Haze" didn't really suit her- the understatement of the week. She looks like she escaped her sorority house for the night. She starts off super weak, but does manage to finish poorly.

What we agreed the choice really came down to was this- whose ass do we want to look at for another week? The winner was... Jessica! Buh bye, Neil, no more reality TV for you!

Neil politely thanked the INXS group for the opportunity to perform for them & held himself together; DN gave a smarmy little "You're a total star, dude, and I can't wait to see what you do next!!!". The rest of the group gave Neil a big group hug, and some girl or two made hysteric-face w/major tears to the cameras... they are all very self conscious about the fact they are on TV, when they announced the loser they showed Ty's reaction and I swear I could read his lips saying "Oh no way you're kidding!".

This was a shortie b/c I am too tired to type- I left out all the BS about the manufactured tension in the house where everyone ganged up on J! D! Fortune!, the dude who was living in his car. He made some ass-kissing comment the previous night after he sang about how the other people were working really hard on learning the INXS repertoire, when he already knew all the songs because he loves them. JD, what's that brown stuff on your nose? I predict this guy is going to have a giant meltdown at some point- he's way too keyed up all the time. He's our house ticking time bomb.

Off to bed and a weekend of activity- Monday is a new show! The cycle begins again!

Fosters, Australian for beer, g'day

Friday, July 22, 2005


Since doctors are no help with the questions I have about my upcoming operation, I just called Krishna Thompson to ask about prosthetic limbs and rehab. He also has a prosthetic leg but instead of cancer, he lost his leg to a shark attack(!!!) It was all I could do not to keep asking about the shark. "How big was it? What kind of shark was it? Did you fight him?" But he did say that his doctor told him that according to the tooth size and bite on his leg, he should have died on the beach. Aside from getting my vicarious thrill from someone else's shark encounter, Krishna was a lot of help. He told me that you get fitted for the new leg about two months after the operation and that the surgeon will smooth out the femur bone to lessen the pain you'd experience by putting pressure on it. Rehab is going to be a lot of work but it had him up and walking on his new leg within two weeks. So the rest of my year is going to be tough but do-able. Plus I get lots and lots of sweet sweet painkillers to help me along the way. Mmm, Vicodin!

Their fancy pants I snatch 'cause I've had it

I'm not an addict, fiending for static
I see their tape recorder and I grab it
No you can't have it back, silly rabbit.

(Rockstar:INXS recap by S)

I finally made it through the "Style Challenge" performance episode- thanks to the DVR which taped it while I was not aware it was on... busy little machine, giving me the twinkly red eye of mischief! First, I will lay out my credentials for evaluating the particular show (I'm kind of ignoring the actual performances to instead focus on the style choices of the contestants, since the otherwise pointless Monday show was supposed to be about that terrifying "style clinic"- let's see what the kids learned!). So yes, I am highly qualified to critique "style" being that I am an actual designer of clothing and have a good eye for what works and what doesn't- I'm so used to knowing what I like and also being around people who have good style of their own, I had a hard time understanding why this was such a challenge for these people. I forget that some people are genuinely confused about clothes, accessories, and what is flattering or not...

Okay, let's all remember that once you're a famous rock star, you generally have a STYLIST do that shit for you.
I will make a blanket statement that all of the contestants seemed to be dressed in "rocker" outfits for a dress-up party (So what are you going to go as? Dude, I'm going as a rocker!). Nary a shred of originality was displayed- there were several trends that kept appearing over and over, like studded leather cuff bracelets, long dangly chains galore, big silver studded black leather belts, jeans (duh), anything in leather. BTW, INXS was wearing a veritable rainbow of leather jackets! Looks like North Beach Leather had a dead stock sale... Dave N was again without a shirt, but had a ginormous beige fur collar attached to... something. The fur extended to his shoulders so we couldn't really see what was under it (god, I hope something was under it!). So, you can now picture the scene- on with the show...

Brooke Burke appears and reads her cue cards with rockin' enthusiasm... she is wearing a white wifebeater with a black bra to show us her deep understanding of the rock style. There's a boring little summary of what happened on Monday, and I already went over it... show the table of vegetables, again. I will now summarize the style choices- there are no winners here, so I give no ratings system. I will note song choices, but I ignored the performing a bit so I could write notes on the clothing... there are some horrible highlights I need to share. Sometimes when we share, it lets out the negative feelings, and the anger and sadness no longer have power over you and your interactions with others. I learned that in therapy. Onwards and downwards!

Bonus question- who makes up these song selections? Mr. Shuffle McRandom? Brian Adams and Black Sabbath do not exist in the same universe.

Marty- "What I Like About You"
Marty's outfit consists of a distressed black leather jacket, gray teeshirt, gray low trousers, and a red necktie, just hanging around his neck. Maybe he was trying to go for an ascot? He left very little impression on me; there was some bad dancing, hunch-walking around the stage, and much hand-hovering in the crotch area. Stop that, guys! I've cracked the code- when DN and INXS say to the performers, "You really work the stage" they mean "Your dancing sucks!". Or, if "energy" is mentioned, same thing. You're a total spazz.

Daphna- "I hate myself for Loving you"
Daphna, Axl wants his bandanna back! Daphna's style seems to consist of the challenge, "How much crap can i put on my head?". Yes, Daphna never met an accessory she didn't like. Feather earrings, aforementioned Bandanna, earrings aplenty, a big fake black rose stuck in one ear, ugh. There's a beige crochet camisole w/the requisite black bra (black bras totally rock!). Then, there are the pants. Huge, shiny, wide, low black leather bell bottom pants... a great visual of why you need to be heroin sick thin to be properly rocking the leather pant thing- they are unforgiving on any hip size above average, and Daphna is sporting might wide hips. She's business class, alright (needs the bigger seat! Hee...). The light shines off them and these big shiny poorly fitting pants are looking too low and then she squats. On the stage. Over and over.

Ty- "Somebody Told Me"
Ty, Ty, didn't anyone ever tell you that cropped pants are not ROCK? Barneys Coop in Chelsea yes, but not rock. Ty is proudly showing us his waxed chest and man nipples, festooned with silver jewelry & dog tags. There are 4 long chains hanging down from his pant waist, they swing about and I worry about him putting out someone's eye. His mohawk is sharply separated into 4 distinct points. He pouts when the guys don't rave over his performance... DN actually snarks "You have alot of theatre experience, don't you?" (translate- you're a total trouser pilot, aren't you?). I forgot to mention that in the first episode, TY says he loves Vernon Reid- do you think maybe he was prompted to say this b/c they couldn't think of any other African American people in rock bands?

Susie- "Roxanne"
God, put this girl out of her misery and get her off the show! She's a disaster- it doesn't help that the song arrangements are really awful, they can't sing the full song b/c of time, but her edit consists of her screaming the chorus over and over- "Roxanne! You don't have to put on the red light! Roxanne! You don't have to put on the red light! Put on the red light! Put on the red light!... sigh. She's sporting huge earrings and is wearing a denim mini over a plum colored dress. I have the word "Boring" underlined 5 times on my notepad.

Mig- "Walk this way"
Stripey shirt, all unbuttoned to show his waxed chest (does anyone just have a hairy chest anymore?), a festive choker 'round his neck, combed forward hair is an improvement but his skull is still disturbingly light-bulb like, dangerously low jeans with careful slashes on his man thighs, and a skinny chain mail tie around his neck. That's right, one of those necklaces shaped like a long skinny tie. They tried to create some suspense on monday b/c "Walk this way" had so many words (quote from Mig, "There are alot of words in this song!"). As K noted, Steve Tyler could get through it while totally smacked out, which is what you do in a band- you rehearse things to death so you can go out and play while you're totally high, drunk, or both! We're all learning here.

Neil "The summer of '69"
Neil has a pretty face and nice hair, but cannot sing for shit. Worse, he comes out with a guitar and plays maybe 2 riffs, then just uses it as a prop for the rest of the time. I get it- it's his accessory choice! Otherwise, he's a vision in denim- a sleeveless denim vest unbuttoned (again with the chest wax!) and giant patchwork studded bell bottom jeans. They show DN answering his phone, and he yells, "Dude! Lenny Kravitz wants his giant patchwork studded bell bottom jeans back!". If only that was true...

Heather- "It's only rock 'n roll"
Peachy chiffon & satin kimono thing a la Stevie Nicks gets tossed off immediately- she is wearing a green camisole with a brocade waist cinch corset, low rise jeans, and that damn studded black belt. Nothing much interesting here, but I'd like to point out the line in the song "Suicide right on the stage"... shouldn't they avoid songs that mention suicide?

Jay D- "One hand in my pocket"
A black button down shirt with only the collar button done (like a fly-away shirt!), dangerously low jeans, and we can clearly see that Jay D has a really big, long, obvious TIE (bet you thought I was going to say something else). Again with the tie swinging free over the waxed chest! Have these men hit puberty? Okay, I have to mention this- in the song, there's a line that goes "... I've got one hand in my pocket, and the other one is making a peace sign"- and yes, he makes a "putting hand in pocket" gesture, and indeed raises his other hand with a peace sign. Jay D, go gas up that car you were living in.

Tara- "Paranoid"
AAAArrrgghh!!! This was soooo painful to watch. Knee high leather boots, red leather fingerless gloves, teased to all hell red & black hair, studs and chains, and a very very tight denim mini dress that buttoned up the front but was unbuttoned UP TO HER CROTCH!! And she kept doing this sprawled leg squatting bump & grind, there was danger of us getting major snatch-cam. I was waiting for someone to poke a rolled dollar up there. Funny moment- she gets up in front of one house band guitarist and does this "I'm so sexy dip & sway & pretend kiss" and he does not react at all, just looks mildly forward playing "Paranoid" and you know he's all " Do not react! Do not make eye contact! Maybe she'll go away if I just ignore her...". Oh yes- she makes a "crazy" face with the song lyric "think I'll lose my mind".

Deanna- "The one I love"
Black leather pants, halter corset thingy, lots of crimped blond hair, she keeps going yyyyeeeeeaaahh and UUUuuurrrrr.... I hit the fast forward, I'm sorry.

Jordis- Some Stupid Hoobastank song
Jordis has dreadlocks (she's a white girl) and they are so large, I can't see her neck or shoulders... very "Battlefield Earth". Huge black bell bottom pants, unflattering sleeveless sheer top, elbow length fingerless gloves. Oh, Jordis? Little Steven wants his head scarf back.

Jessica- "Purple Haze"
Black triangle halter bikini top, extremely low rise jeans (I am so sick of typing that), that goddamn studded belt again, and a oddly prim hairdo (a little pulled back ponytail hold back the top of her hear, neatly teased & combed back). She keeps grabbing her crotch and inner thigh area. Did I mention how people keep doing this squatting creeping "prowling" kind of walk around the stage? It's really bad.

Brandon- "Sweet Home Alabama"
He's got a guitar and seems to be playing it too- wearing ripped jeans and and an olive drab shirt, barefoot. Very bad hair center-parted and a big bushy beard has sprouted, he's looking more Allman Brothers than INXS. But, on the positive side, he did take the raccoon tail off his fly.

I need to sleep now but will check to see who gets ousted on the next show, waiting patiently for me on the DVR. Can we just rename the show "Brandon is the new lead singer of INXS"?

Thursday, July 21, 2005

Future job?

There's an open casting call this weekend in CA for the 'Pirates of the Caribbean' sequel:
Pirates: Extreme characters and hideously unattractive types, ages 18-50. Odd body shapes or very lean to extremely skinny. Missing teeth, wandering eyes and serial killer looks with real long hair & beards. Wigs & makeup are not what we’re looking for. We also need little people, very large sumo wrestler types, extremely tall or extremely short people, albinos, amputees. Any size or shape that is NOT average is best. All ethnicities. Mostly men, very few women.

It's a whole new job world for me! If only I were a very lean albino amputee...

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Murderball and March of the Penguins

Both are awesome. One’s about quad rugby, one’s about penguins. “Murderball” features super-tough sports guys who just happen to be in wheelchairs, Mark Zupan, lots and lots of cursing, a glimpse of quad sex, quad-on-quad violence and one really mean (but really funny) prank. “March” features thousands of Emperor penguins waddling, swimming, balancing eggs on their feet, cute baby chicks, frozen dead baby chicks and lots and lots of ice. Both theaters featured excellent air conditioning and cold beverages. And best of all, no one lost a leg, which I’ve seen in four movies over the past year (Million Dollar Baby, Revenge of the Sith, Kill Bill 1, and Sin City). What more could I ask for?

“Murderball” also reminded me that once I get the new leg (I keep calling it the fake leg, bad me) I’ll be eligible for the Paralympics. Must find sport to be good at, maybe archery.


Meet my future husband. Mrs. Megan Ken....

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Special Guest

Sitting in the critic's chair today is my sister S (and her fiancée K) on the TV show 'Rockstar: INXS'. Enjoy!

Let us descend together to the circle of Hell where "Rock Star" lurks. I was highly disappointed to see that one of my favorite blogs, TVgasm, was not going to delight us with humorous recaps of this program, thus sparing me the indignity of actually watching it or polluting our DVR with the series. However, thanks to years of unspeakable abuse, my stomach is stronger than steel, and I willingly snatch up the gauntlet!

Sorry to jump into this approximately 3 shows into the series, but we only caught this premier episode and didn't realize there were 2 more shows last week. My mind is protecting me from recalling most of the first show- but I'll give some preliminary thoughts on why this isn't working.

My recollection of INXS- fine, I was a fan 20 years ago. I bought their records, and actually saw them in concert at Jones Beach Theatre (back when it was only the Jones Beach theatre, now the Tommy Hilfiger at Jones Beach Theatre. Oh really- is he there all the time? He has his own reality show... are they all somehow linked in evil, like the Bilderburg group?). I remember being pressed up against the stage, surrounded by screaming female fans, and almost having my skirt yanked off by the force of people leaping and carrying on around me. Michael Hutchence had the requisite sinewy form, disheveled hair, and leather pants of a proper rock front man, and he did indeed have that "thing" that the men don't know, but the little girls understand. He didn't play an instrument, only sang and writhed, and had enough presence to carry it off and drive the ladies wild.

In the first episode, we met the remaining members of INXS. This show has the same problem as "The Rebel Billionaire" did a few months back- the hosts are simply too nice to be doing this. They lack the requisite straightforwardness needed to tell the contestants that they suck. Imagine if you can "American Idol" judged only by Paula Abdul- it wouldn't work. They seem genuinely eager to find a new lead singer, and have the annoying habit of smiling sheepishly at the camera. Predictably, the subject of Michael Hutchence's is glossed over- it almost seems as though he just wandered off and did something else instead of ending up dangling from his hotel doorknob. So far, the harshest thing they can say about any performer is "I'm just not feeling it"... I need some bile spewing in my reality TV!

Then, there is the almost unspeakable horror that is Dave Navarro (must note- K's subtitle for this program is "Who wants to blow Dave Navarro? It is truly a joy to be witnessing this show with an actual musician- his POV is invaluable). I believe that a true rock dude should be loud, sweaty, unafraid to get dirty and possibly laughable in his posturing, and mostly concerned with PLAYING MUSIC. Dave Navarro looks as though he spends most of his time keeping up with weekly facials and waxing appointments. His hair is a suspicious coal black that does not occur in nature, and his sideburns and facial hair are so carefully shaped that one imagines the stylist has stencils. The only musicians that can get away with such a high degree of grooming and attention to clothing are David Bowie and Prince, but they are both so insanely talented that they can do whatever they want and still have their music be the thing you'd remember most. All I can remember about Dave Navarro is his incredibly stupid eyebrows. Also, he has a giant lollipop head on a little body, which I find disturbing.

Another huge complaint- where's our audition show? We have been cheated! How dare they pick these people and not show us the rejects? They searched "around the world" ( you know, the world that consists of Australia and the USA) and picked these people. So unfair.

So, the contestants. So far, none are really standing out too me except Ty, an African American with a careful mohawk who is almost impossibly gay- in last night's show (which focused on"Personal Style"- but more on that later) he unsurprisingly admits how much he loooooves clothes and shopping, and says how "dope" the clothes are... one gets the feeling that he actually said something like "fabulous" and was prompted by the show producers to take it down a notch. Then there is Mig, who has an oddly shaped face and head, which is accented with exceedingly bad hair choices (slicked back, ala Planet of the Apes wigs). There's the dude who lived in his car, who grossed us all out with his full-on crotch grab and fluttering hand gesture in his first performance. There is Heather, who had loudly red hair. There's some girl (Dana?) who always seems to have some odd shiny goo covering her nose and mouth. I am irritated by the inclusion of women in this show in general- obviously, they will not make it, and were only included for the obvious tensions that will inevitably arise between men & women living together. Especially "musicians". There is Brandon (?), who seems like the shoo-in to win. He is tall, hairy, good-looking enough, and is shown partying hard from day one. He also might be Australian. My mind is a blank on the rest. All contestants fake loud enthusiasm when they first see and hear INXS and DN jamming in the house... that whirring noise you hear in the distance is Michael H. spinning madly in his grave.

The house- a big "rock mansion", where they all live together, seemingly supplied with an endless flow of alcohol- they got that right, I guess. There's a pool, which is stupid since everyone knows a real rock person won't wake up until late and won't be up for fun 'n sun as they nurse their hangovers. The "rockers" constantly (and self consciously I might add) burst out singing at random moment to remind us how full of music they are. The daily assignments appear on a bulletin board somewhere in the house- rooms also fill with objects of interest that seem to surprise everyone (lots of "Hey guys! Come look at this!")- isn't there a doorbell, don't they see people coming and going? The most mysterious thing about the house is the dining table- the contestants are often seen toasting each other around the table, which always is seen covered with a big pile of vegetables(?!??!!). I doubt that Keith Richards would approve.

So, onto last night's episode. There's first a helpful recap to show us what's been going on so far- the first elimination (which is too painful to go into, suffice to say the white chick with the bindi who made a horrific noise while sprawled on the floor got the boot), and other 2 shows which had more, uh, performances. K's comments on the clips of performances consist of mutterings such as "this proves that rock as an art form is dead", "bite the bag", and "lower than whale shit". I love K so much!! During interviews, one "rocker" uses the expression "game face"... again, I don't think Keith would say "game face". Note- a definite nip slip at 9:35! We rewound the DVR several times to verify this.

One of the dudes enters a room and does the whole "Hey guys! Come here and look!"... the room is full of Gibson guitars! I asked K if he thought any of them could play- he correctly notes that in order to play the guitar, you should first tune it.. He also points out how disappointed they must be to get shiny new Gibsons, instead of older models that might be worth something. Oh well, they can always unload them on e-bay when they lose. Oddly enough, they don't get any amps with the guitars, so they can't even hear themselves play. There's some kind of awkward sing-along and I have again forgotten what the song was, but rest assured it was painful whatever it was. Is it worth reminding everyone the lead singer they are all trying to replace didn't even play an instrument? Help!

So, this week's focus on personal style- we are shown an interview w/Dave Navarro helpfully explaining how each rocker (I can't keep putting in the ironic quotes "" but I think you can fill them in on your own by now) needs to do a certain amount of "peacocking" (!!!). The contestants burst collectively into a room where DN is draped upon an armchair, clad in a white feather boa and white flared pants. My eyes! He says that although he knows the outfit is ridiculous, there is an almost identical one of his in the Rock 'n Roll hall of fame (with the placard, "World's Stupidest Outfit").He notes the challenge of style and introduces a famous stylist who I've never heard of. There are props all over the room, clothing, accessories and shoes, and they are tasked with dressing themselves. The people begin to choose outfits. Our hands-down favorite is the dude who simply hangs a long raccoon tail over his crotch (so he can lure a small furry animal). Already noted is Ty's exhortation of "dope"... I just threw up a little in my mouth, but I'll try to finish.

The week's song choices appear. Here's where we were treated to the only truly likeable people in this whole painful spectacle- the House Band! I love these guys- they somehow managed to keep straight faces as the contestants tried to direct them with how they wanted the song choices to sound- one guy did a lot of air-drum arm gestures and kept calling out "and then BOMP BOMP PISH!! Alright? BOMP!". The band remains deadpan and individually interview how skeptical they are of the contestant's abilities- especially one sorry chick who chooses to sing "Paranoid". Can't wait for this. Another lady is stuck with "Losing my Religion" and keeps pompously informing the band, "I'm just not feeling it".. one band guy tactfully points out that it's just a very pretty song and she really doesn't need to do much but sing it straightforward, but on she presses on doing the overwrought vocal gymnastics of the insecure and self-conscious. Again the band guy's faces are blank, but you can sense the barely restrained eye rolls and sighs. Go, house band!!! Keep it real!

I'll leave this episode w/a few of my favorite quotes from the show- much suspense for the next round of performances!!!

"Suzie's style needs to catch up with her."

"If I don't rock this week, I'm screwed."

"The correct chess piece to move right now is a rock piece."

Cheers & shrimps on the barbie!

Monday, July 18, 2005

A sisyphean task

Back from Dr. K's. What a delightful time. The last time I talked to K-Man on the phone, he all but said the knee replacement plan was off the table. Now when I saw him, he mentioned all three options again (knee replacement, backwards foot, amputation) as if two of those are realistic at this point! I finally cut him off and said, 'look I've pretty much decided on amputation so I don't even want to talk about the other two ideas right now.' I think he was surprised that I was able to say that without bursting into tears. Then I tried to ask him questions about the operation and it was like pulling teeth. Karl (who was with me) and I sounded like we were dealing with a hostile witness in court - 'so it is my understanding that I'll be in the hospital for five days after the amputation, correct?' 'Yes.' 'And I'll be going home then?' 'Yes.' 'And six weeks to two months later I'd be fitted for a prosthetic leg, right?' 'Yes' 'And at that point I'd be going into rehab?' 'Yes'. Jeez! Spit it out man! I'll be glad to have this done just so I never have to deal with him again.

Oh and icing on the cake? When I had my skirt hiked up and he was checking to see where the tumor on my leg ended, he asked if my three inch infusion scar was from lipo.

Sunday, July 17, 2005

Harry Potter and the Raised Expectations

As I predicted, yesterday was all about buying the new Harry Potter book. I couched it for the rest of the day and managed to finish all 652 pages around 7:30. Whew. It was a good book. Quite a few of the older characters are back like Remus, Percy, and even Fleur Delacour pops up. But there a lot of interesting changes in the Potter universe, like about the Ministry of Magic and about the Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher (something of a shock). There's a lot more romance between Harry and his friends (about time too, they are teenagers after all). We also learn much more about how Tom Riddle became Volde- er, He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named and why he can't be killed. Finally it all leads up to a real lulu of a cliffhanger. Yes there is a death and it's a jaw-dropper. Unfortunately, the end leaves you hanging for one hell of a follow-up in the next book. Write faster, J.K.!
Myself and a member of Slytherin:

Friday, July 15, 2005

HP versus the Mermaid

What I won't be doing tomorrow: going out to the Siren Fest at Coney Island. I used to really like going out to Coney for the Mermaid Parade. Coming out of the subway and smelling hot dogs, sea water, and dirty bathrooms all at once. Getting raging drunk on cheap beer in the hot sun, watching the freak parade of mer-maids, men, children, and dogs. Cheering on the bad bands, oohing at the classic cars, getting sunburned. Then after the parade you run into the not-so-clean beach water up to your knees and let the waves lap at your shorts. Afterwards means drinks at Ruby's and Cheez fries at Nathans for a booze mop. Then you take a spin on the Eldorado bumper cars with the blaring recording urging you to 'bump, bump, bump your ass off' in a think Nu Yawk drone. And before you leave you have to take at least one ride on the Cyclone. The clueless line up for the front seats while those in-the-know head for the last car, knowing the back seat gives you the most violent ride. It's a better idea to ride drunk because you're more relaxed and remain relatively uninjured, except for some whopping bruises. But now that I'm older, none of this seems as fun. Maybe it's the thought of being stuck with twenty-year old versions of myself and friends acting like it's the first time they ever drank during the daytime. Maybe it's the doorless bathrooms without any toilet paper. Maybe I can't drink like I used to. Whatever. If anyone needs me tomorrow, I'll be sprawled out on the couch reading the latest Harry Potter.

Here's a mermaid:

Thursday, July 14, 2005

By special request

For you (you know who you are):

Mon temps perdu

A couple of years ago I was walking on the northeast side of Thompson's Square Park with some friends when I noticed people across 7th street pointing and laughing. Following their fingers, I laid unfortunate eyes on a very angry man. Jumping up and down. Shouting unintelligibly. Stark naked. In broad daylight. And he wasn't exactly in position of a fabulous physique either. He then climbed up on the trunk of a car and continued jumping up and down, waving his fists. Everything bouncing [shudder]. Finally he landed wrong and tumbled ass-over-teakettle to the ground. His act was getting really old, so eventually we moved on and left him romping all over the car like it was a trampoline.

The next night I was walking around the same neighborhood and happened to see the same car. All over the dirty trunk were hand prints, foot prints and best of all, one perfectly formed ass-print. Sometimes I like to wonder what the owner of the car thought when they got back to their parking place.

Happy Bastille Day.
Here's some monkeys.

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Not Lemmy!

Via PopBitch:
Lemmy collapses after gig

Lemmy, a man who once survived a two-week amphetamine bender on just two fruit pies and some yoghurt, was hospitalised last week for dehydration and exhaustion.

It was after a gig at Fury Fest in France. Despite 130 degree heat onstage, Lemmy insisted on doing the final two encores. Drummer Mikkey says, "We managed to get through Ace Of Spades, so I said 'come on Lemm, let's just skip the last one, Overkill'. But he said, "No Mikkey, we're doing 'Overkill' but maybe we can just play it a little slower... "

Lemmy's manager has been trying to get him to start a more healthy lifestyle so the European tour can continue. Lemmy has compromised... he's agreed to start adding ice cubes to his Jack Daniels.

Sucks to be me

After the angiogram results came in, Dr. Kenan wanted me to have another MRI. It was supposed to be thirty minutes. Of course, it took an hour and a half. My sister tells me it’s the rule of three – any amount of time they give you should multiply by three to get the real time. This time I was injected with contrast dye to make the tumor stand out more. I waited a week and I heard from Dr. Kenan this afternoon (July 13, 2005) and he told me that the results were not good. The main nerve in my leg is completely enmeshed in the tumor. He wouldn’t be able to take it out without causing massive nerve damage and removing a great amount of leg muscle, so I would be left with a dead useless leg. I’m meeting with Dr. Kenan on Monday July 18th but I think it’s only to make final arrangements about the above the knee amputation of my right leg. It’s been a really long year and a half since I first learned about the sarcoma and unfortunately I’m right back to the original diagnosis. It's frustrating but I feel like I'm more mentally prepared to face what lies ahead than if I just had the amputation done two weeks after they found the sarcoma. Plus this way, I'm sure I've tried all possible alternatives and I won't be always wondering if there was something more I could have done to save my leg.

Sorry to be such a downer. Here's something happy, dammit. HAPPY!!!

Backwards foot plan

When I got back in the states Dr. Blum sent me to an Orthopedic Oncologist who would be the one actually doing the amputation. Dr. Kenan looked at my films and a small forest’s worth of paperwork and bluntly stated that I had three options. I could have an amputation and he recommended a full from-the-hip amputation just to be safe, or one of two replacement surgeries. One would cut off my leg above the knee and raise my ankle and foot. Then it would be flipped around and my ankle would become my new knee with my foot attached on backwards. Get a mental image of that if you will. I wouldn’t have believed that anyone would actually have it done until he pulled out some thick medical tome and found a picture of the final product. Very 'Island of Doctor Moreau'. Finally, he said they could maybe cut out the end of my femur and my knee, replace them with titanium parts, cut out what muscle is involved and do a double bypass on the artery and vein. The downside of that procedure is that there will most likely be some nerve damage involved but at this point I think I’d be willing to put up with some nerve damage in order to keep my leg. I’m also willing to put up with Dr. Kenan’s terse bedside manner in order to keep my leg.

Dr. Kenan then sent me to yet another doctor, Dr. Maldonado, a very nice vascular surgeon, who recommended an angiogram (I love how they recommend these treatments as if there’s really anything voluntary about them). So I said sure, why not and had me a good ol’ fashioned angiogram. An angiogram is when they puncture your leg’s artery to flood your leg with contrast dye. Then they use a portable x-ray machine to check out the results. I got to be awake for that and got to feel the sensation of my own warm blood pouring over my legs when they cut into my artery. Luckily I was on a medical version of a housebreaking wee-wee pad. I also had the sensation of having my naked pelvis eyeballed by a room full of junior doctors. If you haven’t figured it out by now, I had long lost any shred of dignity a long time ago. Cancer does that to a person.

Bad news in Rotterdam

I hadn’t seen the doctor since the operation and when I asked about him he was always busy or out of town (he’s the only guy in the world that does this procedure). I thought nothing of it and just thought about being cured. Finally on the day before I left Rotterdam for home, he said he’d meet me in his office. There he pulled the rug out from under me. He said when he cut open my leg and got a good look at what he was dealing with, he wanted to amputate. The main nerve was completely encased by the tumor and cutting it would mean having a useless dead leg. He was able to remove 80% of the tumor but the rest was still in there wrapped around my knee. There was nothing further he could do for me, sorry, and thanks for coming in, have a safe trip home. I waited until we were back in the familyhaus to break down crying. This time going home there was no fun to be had in the veelchair.

Tuesday, July 12, 2005


I love dogs, really I do. But Gods! 100 proof nightmare fuel.

Back to Rotterdam

When I was in the airport going back I had to use a wheelchair because I was barely out of the hospital and still not steady on my feet. I was alternately ignored or treated like furniture by passers-by. At one point I had to go to the bathroom in the airport so I wheeled off towards the ladies’ lounge and the handicapped room. When I got there the door was locked and the person inside wasn’t answering. Well she picked the wrong cripple to piss off that day. I found the bathroom attendant and pointed out sadly that I couldn’t use the bathroom because the one handicapped room was locked. The frau banged on the door and when the idiot woman opened the door, she got in her face and shrieked, “NO! (pointing at me) VEELCHAIR!” I had to look sad and try to keep from laughing my handicapable ass off.

Three months later I went back to Dr. Eggermont and the Netherlands for a resection of the tumor. There were a few differences on this trip. This time instead of just anesthesia I was given an epidural as well which is given to pregnant women in labor so they won’t feel anything from the waist down. I sat on the gurney leaning forward while Hans or Dieter put a needle into my spine. Dirk or Lars stood in front of me and gently cradled my head in his arms, not to be tender but so I wouldn’t flinch when the needle went in. I was also given white fishnet panties to wear for some reason. This time when I woke up afterwards I was sore and stoned and relieved and freaked out that the epidural was still firmly stuck in my back. The food was bland as the last time with one piece of bread and two slices of meat and a tablespoon of peanut butter posing as dinner. One of the nursing aides there took quite a liking to me when he found out I was an American. “I love America! And I love George Bush. More votes for George Bush,” he liked to tell me. Once he brought me a glass of juice and announced triumphantly, ‘It comes from apples!’ (this was after I asked for water). Another aide had some difficulties with English, which caused this exchange: she noted that I was on a catheter and asked if it was working. Not soaked in pee, I agreed. She started to ask if I had done something else and I cut ahead and asked, ‘bowel movement?’ because in the hospital they love to hear all about everything that goes into or comes out of your body. “No,” she insisted. I couldn’t imagine what else it could be and sat there dumbly. Finally she pointed at her own rump and asked, “You make of the ass?”

Monday, July 11, 2005

dem bones

From Craigslist today, typos from the original:

i have a free skeleton that i need to get out of my apartment. it is missing a left fibia, two metatarsel bones, and two ribs are dangling. i stole the skeleton from my high school eight years ago, and we’ve had plenty of good times since - like the dancing on the roof, seeing “the hours” together (how we cried!), and, on some lonely nights, a bit of cuddling (thats what broke the fibia).

but my girlfriend just moved in and he freaks her out. his name is milan kundera. first one to pick up gets it.

p.s. no weirdos that want to do weirdo things to milan. he’s a gentle skeleton.

Yep, no weirdos need apply. I am kind of tempted but he is missing a fibia so what good can he be to me?

Klaus redux

I almost forgot my favorite part of "Aguirre": Klaus is alone on the raft except for a huge tribe of squirrel monkeys. He stalks around the raft going over his insane plans for the future ("I will marry my daughter..") and the monkeys can't get out of his way fast enough. Some bail off the raft completely and head for shore (didn't know the little buggers could swim) but one is too slow and Klaus grabs it and brings it up to his face. He contemplates it for a moment, talks to it, and then with disgust THROWS the monkey off to the side. If there was any doubt in your mind, life IS hard on the little creatures.

The wrath of Klaus

Last night’s entertainment was “Aguirre the Wrath of God”, a Werner Herzog flick from 1971. It’s about a subgroup of Pizarro’s mutinying (they are on a raft most of the time) during his explorations in South America. It’s also about the cruelty of nature and nature of cruelty, both of the jungle and of the men’s relations with each other. But more than anything, this is a movie about Klaus Kinski. Lurching around the set, bugging his eyes out, attacking the extras, you can’t watch anyone else while he’s around. And this is Klaus at seven, moderately restrained. To see Klaus at, oh, say fifteen watch Herzog’s “My Best Fiend” a documentary about his long and difficult relationship with Kinski. At one (only one??) point during the filming of “Aguirre,” Klaus attacked an extra with a real sword, which would have killed or seriously injured him had he not been wearing a helmet. It also contains scenes from Kinski’s “God Tour” that shows off-screen Klaus and on-screen Klaus are equal parts intense and insane. Makes me feel calm and collected by comparison.

Greetings from Manpad

(part the four)

My mother and I flew over to Rotterdam in May. People have a misconception about the Netherlands that everyone speaks English. Not true. They all take English classes but not everybody bothers to use it. Plus all the signs are only in Dutch, which is a goofy language. For example, brood rooster is not a chicken, it’s a toaster. Dinsdag is a day of the week, the regional paper is called Spits and a flop is a snack. You wash with zeep, smoke wiet in coffeehouses and if you’re caught with wiet on the street it is your own domme pech (bad luck). The first night we were there we went out for pizza and they put out the ketchup and mayo. Bicycles are everywhere and nobody bothers with locks. The taxis are all Mercedes Benzes. Dog crap is also everywhere and since the Mastiff is the pit bull of the Dutch, it’s some mighty hearty dog crap. No laws about sküuping püuph I guess. I saw a car called the Megane and walked down a street named Manpad. And none of this is funny to the Dutch when you point it out (no pirate jokes there either).

On Monday I gave blood and urine “examples” and had an MRI. Almost as boring as the MRI was the Euro-Pop they were piping into my headphones. On Wednesday I had the isolated limb profusion. This involved isolating the circulation of my leg and pumping two massive doses of chemo directly through the blood vessels going throughout my tumor. The two kinds of chemo used are too toxic for the whole body to handle and if it circulated through my body it would kill me. Instead, it made my leg turn purple and my veins burn. I also felt like I had the flu for about a month. After the anesthesia wore off I was a puking incoherent stoned crying puking mess. Did I mention the puking? Not my finest moment, and in a bed with pre-bloodstained sheets. Let’s hear it for socialized medicine and all the Percoset you can eat!


(Part the third)

At this time, I had another MRI, another CAT scan and a PET scan. They are all similar where you are put on an uncomfortable flat board and fed into a hole going through a big noisy machine. MRIs are the noisiest, they sound like a washing machine filled with jackhammers. CAT and PET scans are quiet but are boring and claustrophobic. When you have a CAT scan you have to drink this horrible ‘shake’, which is invariably ‘banana’ ‘flavored’. It’s either to irradiate your insides or cause you to throw up, I forget which. When they gave me the PET scan to make extra sure that I wouldn’t move or see them laughing at me, the technician actually taped my head to the board. They also have music piped into headphones to mask some of the machines’ noise. On this visit, they played ‘Spirit in the Sky’ where they sing about where you go when you die, which was really thoughtful of some programmer.

Dr. Hu, who coincidentally plays tennis with Dr. Coit, thought I should consult with a fourth doctor, Dr. Blum (not to be confused with Doctor Bloom). Being the head of Oncology at Beth Israel he knew a lot of doctors and their specialties. One that he knew was a Dr. Alexander Marie Eggermont of the Netherlands. He does a process called an isolated limb perfusion to sarcomas of the arms or legs and after checking all my tests and a library’s-worth of paperwork, told me I would be an ideal candidate for the procedure.

Sunday, July 10, 2005

Orchids, waterfalls, and free coffee

(part 2)

Dr. Bloom put me in touch with a nice radiologist named Dr. Hu (pronounced ‘who’) just to prove his position (“Not that will do any good but…”). Hu didn’t think there was much he could do for me but did a radiology staging anyway. That’s where they put you into the radiation machine and take exact measurements of where you need to be scanned. They then put your leg onto a plaster-y pillow to make a mold of how your leg needs to be held. Finally you’re tattooed, something I didn’t know until he was injecting four black dye dots into my leg with a syringe. I also learned the importance of wearing butt-covering underwear when they took a Polaroid of me lying on the table from my feet-up and pointing up at my crotch, Pretty, and it’s on the front of my radiology file, to boot. Just how I’d like to be remembered.

After seeing Dr. Hu, someone told me that if you have cancer you should go to Sloan-Kettering, the Rolls Royce of cancer centers. Costs about the same, too. Dr. Coit was another Surgical Oncologist and came up with much the same conclusion; amputation was my only option, except he was a lot nicer about breaking the news to me. He also did another biopsy, a chunk the size of a pencil eraser this time while being surrounded by young doctors taking notes. After he told me about the results of the biopsy (sarcoma) I never heard from him again except from his billing office. I have to say though, if you either have the money or Sloan-Kettering takes your insurance it’s worth going to if, for no other reason, to check out the super-nice outpatient waiting room. It's all about the waterfalls, orchids and free coffee.

The Story of my Leg

In 2001, I was diagnosed with what appeared to be a blood clot behind my right knee. I was briefly hospitalized and started taking Coumadin. In 2003 I had a recurrence. At this time, my leg started curving inward. My doctor reassured me it was just swelling from the blood clot. On January 15th 2004 I saw a vascular surgeon to have a Doppler scan of the clot. Instead, the technicians scanned the inner part of my right knee and freaked out. Instead of being edema, I appeared to have a tumor the size of a grapefruit wrapped around my knee. They told me to go to my regular doctor’s office and wait there. When I arrived Dr. Hirschman told me to see his associate Dr. Bloom, a surgical oncologist who shared an office with him. Dr. Bloom introduced himself my sticking a thick needle into my leg with no anesthesia and I tried to ignore the pain by fixating on his blood-caked fingernails. I was sent out for a CAT scan and an MRI and told to come back next week.

On my next visit Dr. Bloom told me that the results came back as a low-grade firbosarcoma, a stage 2B (there are only four stages). Sarcomas are very rare and do not respond to chemotherapy or radiation and most often have to be surgically removed rather drastically with very wide margins. He then cut to the chase and flat out recommended amputation of 75% of my right leg. I tried hard not to puke, or pass out or puke and pass out. My cousin who was with me asked me if I was okay. The doctor snapped, ‘Of course she’s not okay, I just told her I need to amputate her leg!’ Oh and by the way, I had two weeks to make up my mind about the surgery, which he claimed he had performed hundreds of times. Through my tears I asked him that if I get a prosthetic limb do I also get an eye patch and a parrot? Silence from Dr. Bloom. Not a fan of pirate jokes I guess.

Greetings from a couch in New York City.

Hi online blog community folk (and anyone else I've let on about this). Welcome to the bloggity-blog, a public writing board about my cancerous right leg and whatever else junk pops into my mind, and posting the occasional picture. Fun abounds!