Friday, September 12, 2008

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Good stuff: Maria Bamford

Paula and I saw her open up the Out of Bounds Festival here in Austin. Awesome. I had seen her on the teevee before, but that doesn't really capture what a force she is in person. She owned the stage as well as any performer I've seen in any format -- creating and sustaining tension, providing release at just the right moment, etc. etc. And her current material is fucking hilarious. If you can see her, go.

On not telling people things sometimes

The cancer patient in recovery, I've quickly discovered, faces a recurring dilemma about subsequent check-ups and screenings. Do you let people know that you're going to get something looked at -- and spread the worry around -- or do you spare them the anxiety if and until there's something to report?

Just this Thursday, I went back to Dr. Baker (my urologist), a mere week and a half after my post-chemo assessment from him. I was feeling a bit of ache in my groin, and, though it was hard to place, it was close enough to my surviving right testicle that I figured, "Don't be stupid don't be stupid don't be stupid don't be stupid asshole just pick up the phone it's probably nothing but you have to go in to be sure don't be stupid you were just there right but go in anyway it's rare to have a recurrence in the second testicle especially after chemo yeah but it happens so don't be stupid asshole you have to go in."

So, yes. I set up an appointment for Thursday afternoon. This was about a week ago, so I had several intervening days in which to obsess about any momentary sensation beneath my waist.

Dr. Baker had the dubious privilege of feeling around my ballsack for the dozenth time. He said that the testicle itself felt fine, that (as I thought) it'd be incredibly unlikely for me to have a recurrent tumor so soon after completing chemo, that since the pain seemed to be in the back, it was almost certainly an inflammation of the epididymis from exercise. He said I was smart to come in, though, should always feel welcome, and should call him if the soreness lingers past a few weeks.

So here's the thing: I didn't tell anyone about this appointment beforehand. Not friends, not my girlfriend, not my family. I thought it would be emotionally wasteful to get anyone worked up over nothing, especially since I only needed to wait a week to confirm that it actually was nothing.

I think and I hope that's the right way to handle this sort of thing.

Friday, September 5, 2008

Good Stuff: Jack Kirby's Fourth World Omnibus

My friend Jeff from work has been letting me borrow these, a collection of Jack Kirby's bugfuck insane galaxy-spanning DC comics series from the early early '70s. They are full of the unflagging multiple-exclamation-point enthusiasm ("How's that for a chilling conclusion, dear readers!!!") that the funny papers used to have in more innocent times and thick as clay with borrowings from far out sci-fi, fantasy, and classic mythology. I don't think Jack Kirby ever did a drug in his life, but as I read these stories I picture him popping speed and slurping absinthe with Wagner on the hi-fi and a pile of William Blake, Robert Heinlein, Alduous Huxley, J.R.R. Tolkien, and Joseph Campbell by his side.

Anyhow, the comics are hilarious and badly dated and over-the-top and often quite brilliant. Present throughout is Kirby's palpable affection for the young kids with their crazy ideas and damn rock music, which, coming from a man who was 53 at the time, is oddly sweet and touching.

John "a PC" Hodgman has a nice review of the whole set here.

Good stuff: Swedish pop gals

You must admire a culture that gives the world August Strindberg and Ingmar Bergman with one hand and ABBA and Max Martin with the other. (You must. Says so in the manual.) In the spirit of the latter two, here are some of my favorite performers from one of my favorite genres: impeccable, off-beat girly pop.

Lykke Li



I testify from experience -- sticky awesome pop like this does serious damage to the chemo blues.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Good stuff: Toots & the Maytals doing Radiohead's "Let Down"

I like Toots; I like Radiohead. However, I would not have thought that these two flavors belonged in the same candy bar. (Indeed, when I heard about the album this comes from, I thought it sounded like the most inane and unnecessary cash-grab concept since the album that preceded it.)

Wrong. Here is Toots doing an awfully fine job on one of the better songs off OK Computer.

That voice! It's got authority, but such playful authority, if you know what I mean.

Bonus Toots:

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

So what's happening to me?

Eh! Not much.

And that's good, right?

We are keeping an eye on me. My next checkup is in early October, when we'll look at my lymph nodes again and make sure they're not misbehaving.

Meanwhile, I am back at work. Living life. Doing stuff. Making all the right moves. Later this month, I'll be attending a weekend retreat put on by Planet Cancer, a locally based support organization for young adults being treated for or recovering from cancer. I shall report back from that.

Thanks for asking!