Friday, June 30, 2006

Podcast Sitcom About Williamsburg

And it's got really good production values and writing:

The Burg: the hipster world capital where trust fund kids pretend to be starving artists, starving artists pretend to be able to live completely off of credit cards, and everybody pretends not to notice.

If I were 20 years younger, this is how I'd be living. (H/T to jenisfamous)

It's funnier than that "Sunny in Philadelphia" thing, which we tolerated for five minutes the other night, and which looked like some network executive's idea of how hipsters live.

Friday, June 23, 2006

You Wanna Piece of Me?

The PET scan was "inconclusive," so the next step is a biopsy. But not the "stick a needle in you and take some cells and you go to work" biopsy. This is a surgical procedure where you check into the hospital, put on the little green paper hat and get wheeled into the operating room. And they take a half-inch piece of your lung.

I'm supposed to meet with the doctor on Monday.

"Odds are against it being cancer," he said over the phone, "but I can't look you in the eye and say it's definitely not."

The biopsy will probably be in a couple of weeks, just in time for my birthday. I can't think of a better present than "benign," with maybe "we caught it at a very early and curable stage" as the first runner-up.

Friday, June 16, 2006

The Tests

The PET scan is the slowest scan I’ve ever had; except for possibly the closed MRI I had last summer. It felt as if I were moving one inch every ten minutes. However, it was impossible to ascertain if this is absolutely correct, since I wasn’t wearing my watch at the time, and wouldn’t have been able to look at it if I had been wearing it, my hands being up over my head the whole time. So like the MRI, I couldn’t scratch my nose during the whole thing.

And that was just for the scan part. Before the scan part, you sit in this little room and they give you this drip of radioactive solution, and they give you about an hour for the solution to course through your body while you watch TV. I had brought some magazines in from the waiting room but was told not to read them; it makes the tracer solution go to the muscles in your eyes. So I watched “The Today Show” and the first half-hour of “Ellen.”

And before that, it took two people fifteen minutes to find a vein to put the line of solution, first a young tech, and then she called for a doctor. The doctor actually did a better job than the tech.

“We’re really putting you through hell, aren’t we?” she asked, in mildly Chinese-accented English.

“Yeah! I’ve had one test after another and they don’t know what I’ve got. Do you ever do PET scans when you don’t suspect cancer?”

“For nodules in the lungs? Sometimes we do a PET scan when we can’t tell what it is.”

“God forbid I should have to get chemo, it takes so long to put a line in my arm.”

“You’re jumping too many steps ahead! Even if it does turn out to be cancer, this is the best way to find it: Very early stage, by accident with no symptoms.”

“Yeah. Lucky me.”

And before that, I had been awake since 4:30 in the morning, but at least I had a chance to eat before I had to fast from 5:00 onwards.

I pulled a fast one at the Apple Store on the way back, not like me at all. I went in and told the concierge my iPod was ready to be picked up.

“Did somebody call you?”


After about twenty minutes, during which I was breathing back an anxiety attack of my husband’s cancer is back, I’m going to have cancer all over my body, I’m going to get fired for coming back to work later than the 12:00 I said I’d be back by, they assigned me to a Genius who then spent the next ten minutes looking for my iPod. He returned with it and a sticker that read, “Testing.”

“Ma’am, are you sure somebody called you and told you this was ready?”

“Uh, no. But I left it here two days ago!”

“Testing the battery can take up to three days, because we have to let it play for a maximum of 14 hours. Now, I’m going to give you a new iPod because you’re under warranty, but I want you to go to this site and read the directions for troubleshooting the battery.”

Chastened, I replied, “Okay. I looked at that page the other day and I followed all the directions. That’s why I brought it in to you.”

It’s a new unit and doesn’t have anybody else’s cooties on it, and I’ve been ripping my CD collection at a bit rate that’s compact, yet listenable by iPod. I still have many CD’s left to rip, so that’s another reason I have to be all right.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Bye, Pod

Today I've been going un-shopping: Taking objects out of my home and putting them back into stores. So far:

1. I sent the ear buds back to the audiologist. Turns out I'm allergic to the undyed ones, too. She's going to get a refund from the company.

2. Returned a bra I bought yesterday to Macy's. Don't ask.

3. Brought my new iPod to the Apple Store on 58th Street.

This last is after a week of troubleshooting, trying to figure out why I was getting about five hours' worth of use out of each battery charge instead of the promised "up to 14." Well, five is a number that's included in "up to 14."

The Apple Stores have a Genius Bar to which you resort after you've driven yourself and everyone you know nuts trying to fix whatever it is yourself. I put in a reservation when I went over at lunchtime. Yeah, you have to put in a reservation. Sounds swanky. "Dear, we have a reservation for 5:30 at the Genius Bar."

I returned after work, to explain to a cheerful young man with an earring through his lip that I had no videos on there, no photos, no special settings, only hundreds of little compressed music files.

"Well, sometimes people return their iPods and we find out that all they need to do is erase them."

"Yep. Did that on Saturday."

Since my iPod is still under warranty--and since this model's only been out for a few months, nobody needed to see my receipt to know that it was still under warranty--the Apple Store is going to give it a 14-hour test. They'll load their special Apple Store songs onto it and play it continually until it runs out. If it runs out after appreciably fewer than 14 hours, I get a new iPod. I haven't totally bonded with the current one yet, so this is fine with me.

Meanwhile, I'll continue to rip my CD's into iTunes, weaving intricate playlists in anticipation of the return of my (or somebody's) iPod, like an expectant mother knitting a layette. And tomorrow, I will continue to go forth returning things.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006


A few weeks ago when I went to get my hair cut, I brought a picture from a magazine of a shaggy, piecy bob.

Then I realized that every three years, I bring my hairstylist a picture from a magazine of a shaggy, piecy bob. And then I spend the next three years growing it out again, because after a few weeks, I start to look like this.

Thursday, June 08, 2006

Classic FM

It's now known as "Classic Rock," but in the late '60s-early '70s it was known as "FM." You would usually find out about it through one of the "cool" kids in school when he would say, "You're still listening to AM? That's babysh*t. FM's where it's at."

I first discovered the other band on my parents' radio in the summer of 1970, and alternated between WNEW-FM and WABC-AM for the next four years, until popular music began to split into a million fragments. By then, FM had devolved from a "free-form" media--if it ever was--to a vehicle for getting kids to buy an album for the whopping price of $4.00 instead of a 45 for $.75.

If you grew up in the New York area in the '70s, here's some of the stuff you would have heard Scott Muni, Alison Steele and their colleagues playing...or at least what's on my iPod so far:

All Right Now - Free
Apple Scruffs - George Harrison
Barabajagal - Donovan With Jeff Beck
Beautiful People - Melanie
Bell Bottom Blues - Eric Clapton
Burn Down The Mission - Elton John
Court of the Crimson King - King Crimson
Crown of Creation - Jefferson Airplane
Dear Mister Fantasy -- Traffic
Empty Pages - Traffic
Find The Cost Of Freedom - Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young
For Yasgur’s Farm - Mountain
Freedom Rider - Traffic
Fresh Air - Quicksilver Messenger Service
Gimme Shelter - Rolling Stones
Glad - Traffic
God Bless The Child - Blood, Sweat & Tears
How Have You Been? - John Sebastian
I’m A Man - Chicago
Jingo - Santana
Lather - Jefferson Airplane
Livin’ Lovin’ Maid - Led Zeppelin
Maggie May - Rod Stewart
Maybe I’m Amazed - Paul McCartney
Memo From Turner - Mick Jagger
Nantucket Sleighride - Mountain
Nature’s Way - Spirit
Ohio - Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young
Punky’s Dilemma - Paul Simon
Questions - Moody Blues
Questions 67 and 68 - Chicago
Sixty Years On - Elton John
Soft Parade - Doors
Soul Sacrifice - Santana
Spill The Wine - Eric Burdon & War
Stage Fright - The Band
Sympathy For The Devil - Rolling Stones
The Cage - Elton John
The King Must Die - Elton John
The Shape I’m In - The Band
Them Changes - Santana With Buddy Miles
Time Has Come Today -- Chambers Brothers
To Susan on the West Coast Waiting - Donovan
Up On Cripple Creek - The Band
Whole Lotta Love - Led Zeppelin
Wind - Circus Maximus
Wooden Ships - Jefferson Airplane
You Can’t Always Get What You Want - Rolling Stones

...And of course, the unabridged:

Layla - Derek and the Dominos
Suite: Judy Blue Eyes - Crosby, Stills & Nash

BTW, a friend of mine recently pointed out that "FM" has another connotation, especially applied to high-heeled shoes. And if you were listening to FM radio in those days, you were probably sharing a bottle of Boone's Farm Strawberry Hill or Yago Sangria, and thinking about how to get that, too.

Friday, June 02, 2006

Out of the Picture

Apartment Therapy's Eight Week Home Cure is in its eighth week. Back in the beginning, I'd kicked things off in our house by switching the position of the big poster in the living room and the big poster in the bedroom, above. I then got the brainstorm of redoing the bedroom to match the poster, with campy, mid-century modern furniture and bright tropical colors.

As the weeks went by, though, I found that the poster and I were going in different directions. A suggestion from another Apartment Therapy regular got me thinking about Modern Rustic, and suddenly I was in love.

I felt guilty, of course. I went out of my way to avoid being unfaithful to the poster. I would be at Bed Bath and Beyond and say, "Oh, look at that great Nautica quilt!....uh, I mean, look at the Elvis lamp!" But there was no hiding the truth.

This morning, I told my husband. He said, "If that's the way you want it, it's your decision."

So I'll put the poster on Craig's. But the original idea got the creative juices flowing. The black and white photos and abstract expressionist paintings still look cool, and we have a backlog of great artwork to be framed, mounted, etc.

Next is to paint, panel and plaster that tobacco-stained wall. Yecch!

Thursday, June 01, 2006

Adventures In IKEA

Hunter-Gatherer Mel took the day off work yesterday to take the bus out to IKEA on a fact-finding tour of kitchen cabinets. I'd been told by someone in the know that weekday mornings were the best times to get assistance in the Kitchen Planning Department.

The Kitchen Planning Department, however, turned out to be one harried cashier standing in the middle of the cabinet samples, ringing up cabinets that people had already selected. I realized I needed more information before I was ready to make a choice. I did, however, get the name of a contractor from a fellow customer.

"Uh, well, actually more of a handyman. But he's really good."

Cabinet intentions fulfilled, I explored the rest of the store. IKEA in Elizabeth, NJ has two floors, with the upper floor devoted to furniture in model rooms. My favorites were the cubes of 250, 400 and 650 square feet, designed to show you how an entire apartment of furniture could fit into each of the spaces. This is only possible in an ideal world where all plumbing, windows and electric outlets are exactly where you need them to be; perhaps if you're building a studio over your garage and have sunk so much money into that enterprise that you can only afford to furnish it at IKEA.

The Swedish meatballs are still available in the store's restaurant, but are no longer free. They were reasonable at $4.75 though, and it was relaxing watching the planes take off across the highway at Newark Airport while having my lunch. I'm surprised there isn't an IKEA cookbook with the recipe, since there seems to be IKEA freakin' everything for a jar of lingonberry jam?

The lower level of the Elizabeth store is devoted to countless shelves of smaller, more portable merchandise: Dishes, bedding, bath stuff. After a while, I started feeling like I was stuck in this early video game I used to play where you would get this prompt saying, "You are in a maze of twisty little passages, all different." And as on previous shopping expeditions, I knew it was time to call it a day when I started getting a sense of deja vu, which I think is the name of one of the IKEA bookcases.

When I got home and re-measured the kitchen, it turned out to be a very good thing that I hadn't made my cabinet purchases that day: One of the measurements had been way off and would have resulted in a very costly mistake. So I'll have to call that contractor/handyman. And besides, I need to research cabinet handles more thoroughly: Do I want the Ingmar Bergman or the Gunnar Knudsen? More on this as it develops.

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