Monday, December 29, 2008

no sleep till brooklyn

My mother had set the table for Christmas a week in advance, so the plates required a little dusting just before the big day:

We had an international motley crew over for dinner with enough booze to put Santa and all his reindeer out through to New Year’s. And while other countries celebrate the day after Christmas as ‘Boxing Day’, where the tradition is to give gifts to the less fortunate; here there’s ‘Black Friday: Part II’, where the tradition is to spend even more money on pointless crap just for yourself and just because it’s cheaper right after an (inevitably) unsatisfactory 25th. They even make the sick consumer orgy sound like a thrilling movie sequel.

I’ve divided my stay here between the age old Florida pastime of schadenwetterfreude: watching the weather channel and gloating over how terrible the weather is ‘up North’ and hanging with the local fauna (this guy from the 9th hole):

Yesterday I began my clinical trial after a brief consultation with my new doctor outside his trailer:

I’ll expand and expound about why I trust a guy in a trailer more than America’s officially sanctioned cancer industry death camps in future posts – all the invective and diatribe you’ve been waiting for in a neat little series of tirades that have been brewing and festering since my arrival – but suffice it to say that I’m pissed and watching a marathon of ‘House’ reruns on channel ‘USA’ right now is not helping. They just gave chemo to a girl with leprosy for no reason.

My Mom and I went to the beautiful beaches of Gasparilla Island today: where the Bushes spend their post-Christmas holiday. We didn’t see any and so had a wonderful time:

I’m headed back to New York later today and Sherm is going to pick me up at the airport, so the taxi won't cost more than my flight. Happy New Year!

Saturday, December 20, 2008

orange blossom special

Had a lovely time in our nation’s capital and its beltway environs. The American Visionary Art Museum in Baltimore was particularly inspirational:

But the real highlight was Wilco last Sunday at the Opera House – that’s right, second row center! Almost too close:

The Opera has recently filed for bankruptcy like everyone else over here, so they’re branching out a bit. I’m thinking of booking it for next year’s mikeFEST™. The show blew me away and more than made up for that Icelandic nonsense in Prague.

I got to Florida on Tuesday and was met by my uncle, aunt and cousin who I hadn’t seen for quite awhile. We played cards and ate a lot. It was fun. My mother, Bob and I have been nosing around some of America’s greatest discount warehouse stores, hunting for last minute bargains and shrimp platters.

I’m off to Orlando in a couple of minutes to see Zoe’ and her Mom. Healthwise, looks like the neuropathy is here to stay in varying degrees of numbness. I’ll set up the Wii Fit thingy when I get back and start my electronic yoga routine as well as daily trips to the state-of-the-art fitness center, pool, hot tub and sauna.

Pretty much everyone in Florida has cancer, so I fit right in. My post-Christmas plans are still up in the air, but I’m planning on going to the inauguration, even though the post-election euphoria is showing some wear and tear:

and then to Buenos Aires in January for a couple of weeks. Thanks again for all your comments and support. Miss you all, merry Christmas!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

five capitals

Sorry for the delays. Wow. It’s been awhile since Shay and I finally caught that sunset back in Denver:

Mark picked me up at the airport in Austin and we went out to the ‘ham jam’ – a monthly jam session of around a hundred young musicians in this really nice older gentleman’s beautiful mansion. Every room, terrace and closet had people playing fantastic music in it. Great food and drink to boot. Very cool:

We went to see live (music) shows every night, often racing from one to the next, except the night I made Mark and a friend watch Slacker, the main reason I’d wanted to visit Austin since college. They hated it. And no wonder. Austin hasn’t changed that much, so it plays more like a documentary there.

We even got up to Mt. Bonnell to pay homage to Christine at her behest:

And drove down to Houston on Thursday to see his friends play at a dinner theater. It was worth both the five hour car trip and the speeding ticket.

Up early and off to Baltimore on Friday, Sherman met us at Jon and Annette’s house. And on Saturday, we went down to Richmond to see my childhood friend, Kevin, and his new wife, Peggy. We were a bit late, so Kevin had started without us and didn’t quite make it through dinner:

After a delicious all-you-can-eat brunch, they dropped me off at Miguel’s on Sunday, whence we went to dinner karaoke in Arlington (a little risky, but no one was stabbed). On Monday morning, Miguel and I went to the Czech Embassy, where my application was promptly rejected as being ‘out of their jurisdiction’: as my ‘trvalĂ˝ pobyt’ is in New York, I’d have to apply there. I didn’t argue. Feeling defeated, we spent the day giving inspirational historic speeches at the Smithsonian:

Miguel drove me back up to Baltimore Tuesday evening and Taffy took Jon and me out to lunch yesterday with her beautiful eleven-month old baby, Greyson:

In addition to our senior yearbook, Taffy brought along some old high hair photos and two letters I’d written her my freshman year of college: replete with eclectic time-capsuled period memorabilia. There was even a poem!

I’d spent Tuesday either on or over the toilet with some sort of dysentery/stomach virus. And my (cancerous?) lymph nodes have been swollen and slightly painful, but both conditions have almost completely subsided in the last two days.

I should probably be making more of an effort to look into clinical trials, but I’ve become increasingly suspicious of the motives of the drugs industry, direct or indirect sponsor of all of them. I’m feeling very ‘if ain’t broke don’t fix it’ right now and am enjoying my relatively cancer-free vacation.

Hats off to ‘Aunt Lil’, Zoe’’s Mom, whose latest CT came back tumor free! Great news!

We’re having a birthday party here for and at Jon’s on Saturday, so if you’re in the Baltimore/DC area, let me know – it should start around 3PM EST. See you there!

Monday, December 1, 2008

things to do in denver

Shay took me on a tour through the windowless ventilation ducts of the Hyatt to see the sunset:

Back at the house, drinking with the cat:

we got ready for the big day:

and went over to Ann’s parents':

for a fantastic Thanksgiving dinner with all the trimmings:

before hitting the Czech bar for karaoke:

and enjoying the first snow of the year:

in a city already really looking forward to Christmas:

I had an amazing time here and am off to Texas, of all places, in a couple of hours for my first visit to a ‘red’ state. Feeling pretty well. Hope you all had a great Thanksgiving. More from Austin.