This Is It and I Am It and You Are It and So Is That and He Is It and She Is It and It Is It and That Is That
Flight of the Conchords
Where You Go I Go Too
Tha Carter III
New Amerykah Part One: 4th World War
Merriweather Post Pavilion
Autumn of the Seraphs
Two months ago, I was determined to start Parlando again. Immediately, of course, events conspired against me. (Yes, it was not my fault.) Anyway, I am back, I think; at any rate, Google is not making frowny-faces when you search for me anymore. On the other hand, my aphasia has revved up again. So, um, short posts.
Velma is gone for eight days, helping Elise run her table at Wiscon. (And having fun.) And Jane is off seeing a friend. I'm alone, sniff. Maybe I will have a seizure; that would be fun. Except I couldn't call an ambulance, because of the temporary muteness I go through. Adventure!
Although I could play my music -- my favorite thing to do, twelve hours a day -- really loud. I think I'll begin. (It's nice to live in a house.)
It's been nearly half a year since I last updated this journal. Since then, I've moved to Seattle with Velma into a lovely house in Wallingford, living with Jane Hawkins; I lived with Jane nearly thirty years ago in a house next door to this one, so it's old home week for me. Very nice, very comfy, and all three of us are happy.
Writing is still hard; harder than it looks. I have to ratchet it down to reach such simple thoughts now. But frustration is easy; I still have to live my life, including expressing myself. Post-stroke, I have learned a certain amount of calm. (Certain amount: three-fourths of a cup of placidity cut with a dash of impatience.) Also, I experienced two seizures a month ago, the first time in more than a year; that set me back a little. But I think I'm still improving.
My life is, mostly, coping. I'm writing it down here because what the hell. I really don't mind if you take me off your reading list. (Formerly I went into an incoherent rage.) Hey hey.
Breakfast made by Velma, leftover Chinese food (pepper steak with onions) and large coffee with a little bit of chocolate syrup:
Christine Collister, "Dirt in the Ground"
Fleet Foxes, "Tiger Mountain Peasant Song"
LL Cool J, "Six Minutes of Pleasure"
Merle Haggard, "Peach Picking Time Down in Georgia"
Sun Ra, "Bimini"
4:00 in the morning, awake, put on mp3s, first five:
Crystal Castles, "Courtship Dating"
Grandaddy, "Could This Be Love"
Flying Lotus, "Parisian Goldfish"
Peter Maxwell Davies, "A Spell for Green Corn"
Material, "Square Dance"
I got Audiogalaxy recently for my ipad. It's great; I can play mp3s from my computer through my ipad, and I've got more than 25,000 mp3s (a small fraction of my collection, but growing).
This morning I played:
"Le Chasse Gallery" by Malicorne
"Split" by Liliput
"Confession" by Django Reinhardt
"Private Life" by Grace Jones
"I'm Cramped" by the Cramps
"Medea Rising" by Shrimp Boat
"Capo" by the Hippy Boys
"A Coral Room" by Kate Bush
"Nova" by Nomo
"Pavan (Thoughts of a Septuagenarian)" by Esborn Svensson Trio
"The Sun Beats Down" by the High Llamas
"Nod Off" by Skeleton Key
"Rally" by Phoenix
"Potran Korean" by Varrtina
"Consolation Prize" by Jawbox
"Dusk Dawn" by John Coltrane
"Dropping Like Flies" by Firewater
"M'bizo" by Don Cherry
"Lolitapop Dollhouse" by Momus
"Piglet" by Arab Strap
"Mabrak" by the Abyssinians
"Seal Whales" by Meat Puppets
"The Party" by St Vincent
"Mother and Child Reunion" by Paul Simon
"Man and Boy" by Art Bears
"Frog's Legs and Dragon's Teeth" by Bellowhead
"Beyond the Sea" by the Incredible String Band
"Song with Orange" by Charles Mingus
I am reading the whole Paris Review interview section, entire, from the 1950s to the present, which they have generously put up online. Right now I am reading the interview with Dorothy Parker. I wasn't familiar with the name Perle Mesta, so I looked her up.
Quoting Wikipedia: "Mesta was known as the 'hostess with the mostest [sic]'."
I guess they were worried about their knowledge of the English language.
Posted on October 7th, 2010 by Scraps.
Two years ago yesterday, I fell to the ground with a stroke. My life was not the same. But I got used to it. You have to. Velma stayed with me. She didn't have to.
Velma and I went out on a first date ten years ago today. We were in love the first day; the first hour, probably. Ever since we have considered this our anniversary.
I like the anniversaries being on consecutive days, and the order of them. It's like, I get to have one day of grimness, and then my attitude gets changed the next day to Happy.
Happy anniversary, Velma.
...I guess the reasonable goal, looking back all these years later, should have been just to get through the match. But back then, my goals tended to be not all that reasonable. As ridiculous as it might seem to me now, my aim that night was to have the best barbed-wire match ever.
There was only one problem: I was terrified. This is a normal human response to the very abnormal prospect of being dropped head first, neck first, and, yes, even balls first on jagged metal barbs. How exactly does a gentle, caring man (me) transform himself into a willing participant in such a barbaric spectacle? I needed to find some kind of inspiration in a hurry.
I looked out the dressing room door and saw the Japanese preliminary wrestlers taking down the ropes, beginning the process of putting the barbed wire around the ring. The wire they used was the real stuff: cold and uncaring, capable of tearing flesh in a hurry. I knew I had about 30 minutes before the wiring process was completed—a half-hour to undergo a drastic mental transformation. I took out my battered Sony Walkman and, after great deliberation, bypassed the obvious hard-rock selections. Finding solitude in a far corner of the frigid backstage area, I saw a cloud of my own breath as I pressed the play button. "Snow can wait, I forgot my mittens/ Wipe my nose, get my new boots on."
Posted on September 7th, 2010 by Scraps.
[crossposted from Making Light]
I've meant to mention this here before: This is a diary written by a stroke-sufferer with aphasia, who is an academic linguist, and writes unedited, so he can track his progress. It's fascinating -- well, for me -- because he suffers from aphasia much the same way I do; but I think anyone who thinks about language would find it fascinating.
Two days ago: finished Baum's The Sea Fairies. It ended better than it began. The first half of it was Baum's patented punning travelogue, only duller than usual. I had to look up "codfish aristocrat", for instance, and while I appreciate the education, having to look up a simple pun detracts from my enjoyment. On the other hand, the curiously philosophical happy slave, Sacho, is the best boy character apart from Button Bright in Baum.
Now I'm reading Franklin P. Adams's Tobogganing Down Parnassus. I've never read any Adams, and I collect humorists.
I forgot something last month. (Sometimes I think every post by me should be started that way, with "month" being a variable.) I was seeing my doctor, only my regular doctor was on vacation, so I was seeing a substitute doctor. He was voluble, which was nice. When he was getting up to speed on my stroke, he whistled. "Jeez," he said, "your bleed was two by two by two a half inches. You should be dead." He looked at me. "I've seen some who had bleeds that big and survived, but not walking and talking. You are lucky."
I'm not used to being called lucky in regard to my stroke, but I guess I am.
I got myself an ipad about two weeks ago. I watched Patrick with his, and I guessed it would be good for my half-paralysis. After one day, I realized it was not good; it was superb. I now carry it with me everywhere, taking notes, look stuff up on wikipedia, and (especially) reading books.
People ask me, is it worth it? And it definitely is: for me. But I'm an one-handed person, and it's a godsend for me. In fact, I've taken to calling it "The Book", which Velma, at least, understands.
I've read, in the last few days, a complete book, my first since the stroke (I think; my memory is shot still): Right Ho, Jeeves. It's a reread -- in fact, it's my favorite Wodehouse, and I was astonished to find it's out of print [edit: I meant "out of copyright". duh] -- and so's my second read I've reading now, The Sea Fairies by L. Frank Baum.
I'm happy (as Velma implied before).
The 5th Dimension, "The Eleventh Song"
The Jam, "Thick as Thieves"
Crystal Stilts, "Alight of Night"
Antonio Carlos Jobim, "Samba de Una Nota"
Super Furry Animals, "Hometown Unicorn"
Misha Mengelberg Quartet, "Criss Cross"
Mel Torme, "Gloomy Sunday"
Henry Threadgill Very Very Circus, "Next"
Augustus Pablo, "Frozen Dub"
Clarence White, "Pretty Polly"
Brenda Lee, "Big Four Poster Bed"
Universal Congress Of, "Gold Tooth Girl"
Regina Spektor, "Summer in the City"
Tom T. Hall, "That Song Is Driving Me Crazy"
Gogol Bordello, "Wonderlust King"
Baden Powell, "Naquele Tempo"
Carla Bley, "Greasy Gravy"
The Nightingales, "The Bending End"
Silver Jews, "Inside the Golden Days of Missing You"
Slapp Happy, "Tutankhamun"
Heaven 17, "Soul Warfare"
Sleater-Kinney, "Don't Talk Like"
Michelle Shocked, "Contest Coming (Cripple Creek)"
Antibalas Afrobeat Orchestra, "Government Magic"
Posted on August 19th, 2010 by Scraps.
"Four years before the birth of William Beckford the younger he became one of the Sheriffs of London, and three years after his son's birth he was Lord Mayor. As Mayor he gave very sumptuous dinners that made epochs in the lives of feeding men. His son's famous "History of the Caliph Vathek" looks as if it had been planned for an Alderman's dream after a very heavy dinner at the Mansion House. There is devotion in it to the senses, emphasis on heavy dining. Vathek piqued himself on being the greatest eater alive; but when the Indian dined with him, though the tables were thirty times covered, there was still want of more food for the voracious guest. There is thirst: for at one part of the dream, when Vathek's mother, his wives, and some eunuchs "assiduously employed themselves in filling bowls of rock crystal, and emulously presented them to him, it frequently happened that his avidity exceeded their zeal, insomuch that he would prostrate himself upon the ground to lap up the water, of which he could never have enough." And the nightmare incidents of the Arabian tale all culminate in a most terrible heartburn. Could the conception of Vathek have first come to the son after a City dinner?"
--Henry Morley, introduction to Vathek
"Dying isn't so bad," said Roger Ebert today; "it's getting sick and dying that's the hard part." It’s true. Having a stroke has a host of bad effects (he said mildly), but curing the fear of dying is a surprising blessing. I realized, very soon after almost dying, that, for me, the memory was not there; there was no bright light, no flash of recall, nothing. There was a fall in my apartment in front of Velma, and then I woke up a week later, my memories wiped. The main memory of dying was no memory. That was immensely soothing; I told my friends, if they were worried about me, dying was easy. It took me a while to realize that it was not me dying that they were worried about. The pain of the living is what the living are worried about. Me potentially dying was sorrowful, even horrifying (because it would have happened at 44); but what about Velma, who lived through my dying in front of her? Of course my dying was (theoretically) easy. Living goes on; that’s the hard part.
I am slowly -- very slowly -- compiling a list of my favorite 999 albums from 1951 to the present, playing by the same rules as the 99 albums list (no best-of compilations, etc). I'm doing this a year at a time. This is the third shortlist, and my first post-stroke list: my 1979 top 137 (the first twenty to twenty-five will probably make the final list). This is my age fifteen list; subsequently, this is a long list.