Fun search engine phrase of the day…

29 09 2009

These are the terms people used to find your blog:

if you dont eat right for a week
and keep taking pain killers can your baby die?

Dear Person Who Typed This Into a Search Engine:

Hello.  Welcome to my blog.  I’m not sure how this particular search led you here, however, as I do not possess a medical degree, nor do I have any special knowledge concerning the subjects of eating right, pain killers, or babies.  However, your question (which clearly is an important and personal matter for you, being as you went to the trouble to type it into the search bar of Google, Yahoo, or perhaps Ask.com) intrigued me.  So I went looking for answers.  And, as I do with all problems that stump me, I went looking for those answers on some dude’s t-shirt.  Here is what some dude’s t-shirt told me:

duh_tshirt-p235129105826167815q6wh_400

So…there you have it.  Straight from some dude’s t-shirt.  Not eating + week straight of pain killers = Probably a dead baby.

Oh, t-shirts!  Is there any problem your clever catch phrases can’t solve?





Smokers outside the hospital doors (Part 2…)

20 09 2009

Sunday

Here’s the deal with hospitals: They are easily the least restful places on earth.  You’d assume that a place that’s sole purpose is to make people healthy would put a big emphasis on making sure those people are resting well.  But between the twenty-four hour noise going on outside your room and beds that feel like they are made out of plywood, sleep isn’t an easy commodity to come by.  Another problem: The nurses are just dying to take your vitals.  Morning, noon, and night, every hour on the hour, you are guaranteed to hear:

“Hey, Tim, can I just take your vitals real quick?”

It’s 5:45 in the morning.

“No, I’m dead, go away,” I mumble to Hot Young Nurse, who’s hotness and youngness are completely uninteresting to me because of my current lack of sleep.

Hot Young Nurse somehow sees through my “I’m dead” ruse, and takes her precious vitals anyway.  Thermometer in the mouth, blood pressure clamp, the dorky white clip thing they put on your finger for some reason.  Then, sit up and take deep breaths while they listen with the stethoscope for…something.  I don’t know…maybe U2 is doing a concert in my lungs?  Anyway, it must be something good, because they seem to love listening.

“Okay, everything looks good,” HYN tells me.  Yep, just like it did sixty minutes ago.  And will again sixty minutes from now.

I get a little more sleep before I receive a somewhat surprising visit from New Oncologist.  I like New Oncologist, because he’s pretty straightforward, and also because he isn’t a pessimistic creep like Old Oncologist.  However, New Oncologist does have this annoying habits of asking me personal questions about myself in an obvious attempt to form some sort of bond, and then completely tuning out when I answer.  Like now:

“What is that on your screen?” New Oncologist is asking about the desktop background on my laptop.  It’s a cool piece of artwork: A giant sphere consisting of every hole card combination you can be dealt in hold ’em.  I start to explain to him that I downloaded off the internet because I thought it looked cool, but he’s already reading something off his clipboard and not listening.  “Oh, yeah, sure, the internet,” New Oncologist nods and reads.  Just to amuse myself, I think I might just start inserting random things into our conversations to see if he notices:

“So, are you working on any plays now, Tim?”

“Yeah, I’m in a show in St. Paul.”

“Oh, yeah, St. Paul, sure.”

“It’s nice and convenient, because that’s where all my hoe’s operate, so I can pick up my cut when I’m there for rehearsals.”

“Oh, yeah, sure, hoe’s…that’s great.”

New Oncologist starts with a quick apology over the disaster this whole biopsy thing has turned into.  I shrug him off, as blaming doctors for any health problems I have seems counterintuitive.  He then gets into the meat of his visit: “Well, the results of the biopsy are back, and I’m afraid it is positive for melanoma.”  Disappointing, but expected.  And then comes the moment that epitomizes why I love New Oncologist.  It’s at this juncture Old Oncologist would have stared at me, waiting for me to…I don’t know what.  Cry?  Shake my fist at God?  Beg him to tell me he’s joking?  And then he’d ask if I have any questions, and when I inevitably shrug and say “Not really,” he would stare some more, and the whole situation would become more awkward than an escaped fart on a first date.  New Oncologist, however, makes his announcement, casually shrugs as if to say, “So, whatever, that’s what that is,” and then says, “So, here’s our options at this point…”

These “options” are less than exciting, and to my great disappointment not a single one of them involves me banging an asian girl, which I maintain would be the cure for cancer if there actually was a God.  Instead, most of them involve the usual combination of hospitals, drugs, and studies.  Except for one option, and this is the one that is quickly becoming the most appealing to me: Doing nothing.  Now, if you’d have asked me a year ago if  “doing nothing” was ever something I would consider doing if I had cancer, I would have said “fuck no.”  But I’m finally reaching the point where maybe I’ve had one too many needles shoved into my chest, one too many sleepless nights at the hospital, one too many attractive nurses helping me into a hospital gown…

New Oncologist leaves to go do whatever it is oncologists do all day while they are busy not curing cancer.  A different nurse, this one not at all young or hot, and in fact kind of big and scary, tells me the plan is to let me go home today.  So they are going to remove the chest tube?

“No,” she tells me, “you’re going home with it in.”  Um…is that a good idea?  “Well, we’ll prescribe you some pain killers to take with you.”

Sweet?  I weigh the relative pros and cons to going home with a plastic tube sticking out of myself, but getting some sweet pain killing drugs.  I finally rule in favor of  “sweet drugs” and make preparations to head home.  My mom, Aunt B, and Aunt B’s Hippie Boyfriend come and pick me up, and I am allowed to leave after a brief discharge process that takes a mere two and a half hours.

Sitting outside the front doors of the hospital, waiting for my mom to pull the car up, I see a group of a half dozen or so smokers taking desperate drags of their cigarettes.  They are all in hospital gowns; most of them look deathly pale and gaunt, like this is the first time they’ve been outside in years.  The obvious irony of sick people poisoning themselves right outside the building where they are trying to be cured bubbles into my mind for but a moment…but immediately bursts and is replaced by a much more lucent thought.  These people are ill, probably are stuck in this place for far longer stretches than I ever am, and spend a good portion of their day in some combination of pain, fear, or discomfort.  Right now they are outside on a beautiful day, enjoying the simple pleasure of smoking.  Isn’t the physical damage of this activity balanced out by the emotional benefit?  Are we crushing the last shards of our sanity in this place as we try to cure our bodies?

Hell if I know.  And now my mom’s pulling up in the car, so I shove these thoughts away and replace them with the pleasant knowledge of a comfortable bed, vicodin high, and minimum forty-eight hours away from this place that is my immediate future.





Smokers outside the hospital doors (Part 1…)

15 09 2009

The saddest thing that I’d ever seen
Were smokers outside the hospital doors

–Editors (“Smokers Outside the Hospital Doors”)

Friday

“Are you nervous?”

This question is posed to me by a plump, very friendly looking nurse.  I shake my head.  I’m not nervous.  At least, I wasn’t nervous.  But now this nurse, who presumably has been involved with a lung biopsy far more often than my zero times, is asking me if I’m nervous in a way that subtly indicates to me that, yes, I should be nervous.

“It doesn’t hurt,” Friendly Nurse informs me.  “You’ll just feel a little pressure.”

I just go ahead and assume she doesn’t mean emotional pressure.

“Also, you’ll hear a small ‘click’ when the doctor takes the sample.”

Did not need that information.  I don’t need to know the exact moment a chunk of my lung is being torn away.

I’ve been laying on the exam table for almost twenty minutes now, waiting for the doctor to begin a lung biopsy procedure that I am undergoing to confirm that my cancer is, in fact, cancer, because that seems like an important piece of information that a person would probably want to be 100% clear on, which is why the doctors rushed me right through and made sure I had this biopsy a mere twelve months after my initial diagnosis.  The doctor performing the procedure is taking his sweet ass time getting to me.  Apparently he is examining my chest scans to find a good “sample.”  Friendly Nurse and I discover that we both went to Winona State for college while making small talk, and we pass the time with an awkward chat about the pleasant beauty of that small town; it being awkward, of course, because I am shirtless, laying in a prone position, and my super manly physique is obviously making her sexually aroused.  Or bored.  I have trouble telling those two apart.

Finally, the doctor, a rather dour looking fellow of indeterminate age, decides he’s ready to give this thing a go.  “Okay,” Dr. Sourpuss addresses me, “I was just taking my time, trying to find a suitable sample.  I was looking at the cysts on your lungs…”

Okay…

“…and there are many, many cysts,” the dour doctor informs me, dourly.

I inwardly curse Dr. Sourpuss for going out of his way to remind me that not only do I have cancer, but apparently I have a huge surplus of cancer.  Then I remind myself that this is how hospitals operate: the nurses are there to comfort, care, and baby you…the doctors are there to fix you.  And they aren’t particularly concerned with being nice while they do.

Dr. Sourpuss goes through the risks of this procedure, the same speech I heard from New Oncologist when we decided to do this.  One of the risks includes something called pneumothorax…which sounds awesomely like a particularly deadly breed of prehistoric beast…but is just a condition caused when a biopsy collapses the patients lung.  I’m told this only happens in one of ten cases.

As always happens when I am quoted numbers, I immediately put things into poker terms: 1 in 10.  I’m 90% NOT to have a collapsed lung.  So…I have pocket aces, and pneumothorax is holding 7-2.  Well, I’m insta-shipping my money in with those odds in poker, so I’m feeling pretty good about this…

“So…” Dr. Sourpuss is talking while he pulls out a needle that looks like it should be a joke prop in a movie about someone who is scared of needles.  I’m not, but…holy shit that’s a big needle.  “This won’t hurt a bit,”  Dr. Sourpuss informs me.

Approximately 45 seconds later, I feel something that vaguely feels like someone driving a knife into my chest.  I’ve never had a knife driven into my chest, so I can’t vouch for the accuracy of that statement…but let’s just say if you imagined what you thought having a knife driven into you would feel like, that’s about what I was feeling.

Dr. Sourpuss sees my grimace and says, “That’s just me going into your lung.”

Right.  Except you said it wouldn’t hurt, and now it’s hurting, so maybe something is going wrong, and maybe we should rethink this a bit?  I try to calmly explain all this to him in those very words, but I’m in too much pain and it comes out as something like, “Ghaaarrrrrffffuuuu…”

I hear the “snap” the nurse warned me about.  The doctor pulls out the needle, and though I am in agony, I realize it’s over and it’s all sunshine and puppy dog kisses from here.

“Oops,” says Dr. Sourpuss, “that didn’t work.”

Apparently that sample was too small, and Dr. Sourpuss needs to try again…from the other side.  After giving me a few minutes to writhe in agony, the nurses help me flip over onto my stomach.  The second time hurts only 95% as much as the first time.

After the biopsy is done, they give me a chest x-ray and inform me that…CONGRATULATIONS! I am one of the lucky 10% who won themselves a collapsed lung.  Apparently I run as bad medically as I do in poker.  Another doctor, who I can’t picture in my memory because I was in too much pain to focus, tells me to go home and come back for another x-ray tomorrow, because the pneumothorax would probably heal itself overnight.

Probably?

Faceless doctor nods and smiles.  “Yeah…probably.”

Saturday

“Do you currently have medical insurance?” Front Desk Receptionist Lady asks me.  This is the second time in two days I’ve gone through this particular series of questions.  You’d think they’d…I don’t  know…write this stuff down somewhere.

“No,” I reply.

“Are you currently employed?”

Jesus Christ.  I sigh.  “No.”  I also haven’t gotten laid in nearly six months…I wonder if FDRL would like to ask me about that as well, as long as we are in the “All About Tim’s Pathetic Life” category of the Q&A session.

FDRL slaps a plastic hospital bracelet on me and sends me on my way to radiology, where after a short wait I am met with yet another new doctor, this one an impossibly friendly young fellow.  I don’t know if he was a pediatrician in training or a former kindergarten teacher, but he discussed my situation with me using phrases like “Everything’s going to be cool” and “You’re going to be okay, guy.”

Guy?

Dr. Nicely-Nicely informs me that my pneumothorax is not getting any better, and he thinks our best move would be to insert a chest tube that will suck the air out of my chest cavity.  He goes over the benefits of this route, but concludes by saying, “But, you know, it’s up to you, guy.”

It’s up to me?  I mean, I consider myself a reasonably intelligent adult, but I feel wildly unequipped for the task of deciding whether or not this very kind gentleman I just met should shove a tube in me.  I’m not even sure what to base this decision on.  So I do what I always do when I am unsure about a decision…I flip a mental coin in my head.  The mental coin comes up tails.

“Hey, all right,” I say.  “Let’s get a tube up in me.”

*****

Laying on yet another exam table, yet another nurse is asking me, “Are you nervous?”

Aw, shit.

“Well, I am now,” I mumble to myself.

Dr. Nicely-Nicely enters and immediately starts being nice.  “Okay, guy, we’re going to go real slow on this.”  He explains to me the basic procedure that, once you get past all the medical jargon, basically boiled down to this:

Putting in Chest Tube Procedure:

Step 1: Drill hole in chest
Step 2: Put tube in chest hole
Step 3: Lunch break

Dr. Nicely-Nicely steps over to the exam table, pulls out yet another obnoxiously sized needle, looks down at me and says, “Don’t worry guy, this won’t hurt a bit.”

Aw, shit.

Saturday (Later)

It did hurt a bit, but my reward was a high dose of some sort of pain killing drug injected straight into my IV.  I knew it was the good stuff, because despite the fact that I was condemned to spending the night in the hospital, I was feeling pretty warm, happy, and sexy.  My mom was nice enough to bring me my laptop, and I settled in for a night of watching crappy movies and floating on a drug-induced joy cloud.

Except…

A disturbing trend developed as the night wore on.   Every time I went to the bathroom to pee…I couldn’t.  Like, I needed to pee, but when I went to go, nothing would come out.  I started panicking.  After my surgery last year I had this same problem, and they put a catheter in me, and between me and you, I’d rather just die.  I vowed I’d take a life before I let them do that to me again…however as the night got later, I realized the problem couldn’t be ignored, and I would have to tell someone.

That lucky someone happened to be my nurse at the time.  And because I run as bad socially as I do medically and at poker, my nurse at the time happened to be an extremely attractive girl who looked to be a few years younger than me.  The next time she comes into my room to check up to me, I tell her I have a problem.

“I don’t know exactly how to put this,” I said, “but, uh…I can’t pee.”

The look in this young girls eyes as I say this phrase was one I’ve grown all too accustomed to seeing in my adult life.  It was the look of someone who has decided with absolute certainty that there is 100% no way they will ever have sex with you, ever.  Having established that, I decide I might as well go for broke: “I really don’t want a tube shoved in my penis, if you don’t mind, but I just thought I should report this problem.  Do you think it might be from the pain killers?”

“I…don’t…think so.”  My heart swells with genuine pity for this girl.  I don’t envy anyone who has to be my nurse, because I’m mostly ridiculous and when I get sick I tend to barf on the walls rather than into a receptacle.  Nevertheless, the kind nurse fetchs the little machine (I didn’t get its name) that they use to measure how much urine is actually in your bladder.  Apparently, it wasn’t really much.  “Just keep drinking water and trying to go,” Hot Young Nurse tells me.  “You should be fine.”

I should be fine.

It is now going on 4 am.  I can’t sleep because I’ve been sleeping on and off all day, and also I am addicted to sleeping aids and I have none with me.  All the good TV is done for the day, and the hospitals internet connection doesn’t seem to work well for streaming videos off the internet.  Facebook is empty of people to talk to, probably because everyone is in bed.  I’m bored, lonely, and I have to pee.

“Hospitals suuuuuck,” I whisper into the darkness around me.  I take its silence as agreement.





You lie…

12 09 2009

A friend of mine posted this video on her Facebook recently.  It’s of President Obama’s recent speech regarding his health care plan, with Joe Wilson interrupting him with “You lie” at one point.  It’s a pretty awesome video for those of you who, like me, are really hoping our government moves closer to the British form, where they just scream over the top of each other for six hours, and somehow make a law.  It’s pretty awesome, and a damn sight more interesting than CSPAN.

But that’s not what I’m here to write about.  What I’m here to write about is something that has been brewing in my brain area for a while now and seeing this video has brought out.  The health care debate is a big deal in this country right now.  My friend’s post of this video prompted FORTY REPLIES at last count.  Forty fucking replies.  I only got half way through reading them, and during that time I masturbated three times.  Not because people debating the intricate nuances of our capitalistic insurance system on a social networking site that also contains quizzes entitled “Which ‘Sex and the City’ character are you?” gets me turned on, but because I was so bored and confused by the halfway point that fwapping myself to orgasm was the only way to make myself feel better.

Here’s what I don’t understand folks: How can ANYONE except possibly the nerdiest Harvard economics professor have strong opinions about this health care debate?  IT’S TOO FUCKING CONFUSING!  Yet people debate it like it’s something fundamentally obvious like not molesting children or gay marriage.  Quick message to you folks: It’s not.  Behold:

STANDARD LIBERAL/DEMOCRAT POSITION ON HEALTH CARE DEBATE:

People shouldn’t die just because that can’t afford health insurance, nor should they go bankrupt or be financially ruined because of an unexpected medical expense.

I 100% agree.  I also think children shouldn’t die of cancer, husbands shouldn’t abuse their wives, and that hooker should have told me she had gonorrhea before she charged me a bill for that BJ.  But, those things do happen.  We live in a world of realities, and saying people shouldn’t die because they can’t afford medical expenses doesn’t help solve the problem of HOW WE DISTRIBUTE MEDICAL TREATMENT.

STANDARD CONSERVATIVE/REPUBLICAN POSITION ON HEALTH CARE DEBATE:

The government shouldn’t be put in charge of something as important as health care…they’re idiots and can’t do anything right.  We should let the free market decide where medical treatment goes.

Yeah, it does seem insane to put the government in charge of something as important as health care.  I mean, it’s one thing to have the government completely in control of trivial thinks like protecting our borders, enforcing the laws of the land, and establishing the rights and liberties we all live by.  But now you want them to get involved in setting my dislocated shoulder?  Fuck you government, and you’re trying to make society a better, more cooperative place to live ways. /sarcasm  Look fellas, the government is already three feet up your asshole, and have their pointer finger buried in just about every part of the plum pie that is our lives already…there is no logical reason why health care is just “automatically” supposed to be an exception.  Moaning about how government is the cause, not solution, to our problems doesn’t help solve the problem of HOW WE DISTRIBUTE MEDICAL TREATMENT.

You know what I think?  I think most of you getting your assholes clenched about this issue probably don’t know the first damn thing about this country’s health care system, Obama’s plan, or how any of this shit will affect anything.  Do you know what I base that on?  The fact that I am a reasonably well educated, intelligent, and attentive adult, and I don’t know THE FIRST DAMN THING ABOUT HOW ANY OF THIS SHIT WILL AFFECT ANYTHING!  And yes, I acknowledge that many people know more than me.  But many people know far less…yet it seems everyone but me is SCREAMING AT THE TOP OF THEIR LUNGS ABOUT HOW THIS IS SO OBVIOUS AND IT SHOULD BE THE WAY THEY SAY.  And it pisses me off.  Because you people that have no idea what you are talking about…and you people know damn well who you are…are only spazzing because you are liberal/conservative and this is how a liberal/conservative should feel about this issue and your way is clearly the right way.  And I know many of you are reading this, shaking your head, clucking your tongue at me, and saying, “Oh, no Tim.  I got this whole super-complicated, infinite variabled, distribution of limited medical resources equation completely figured out, and I know for a fact everyone who disagrees with me is completely in the wrong.”

And to that I say, in the immortal words of Joe Wilson, “You lie.”





Wii (Un)Fit…

16 08 2009

A couple of months ago, I decided to actively start trying to gain weight.  There were both aesthetic and practical reasons for this.  On the aesthetic side, being a bone thin male is somewhat equivalent, I think, to being a heavyset woman.  Men are expected to have a certain amount of “girth”…whether it be in the form of muscle or fat, and being able to fit yourself through a coat hanger isn’t a huge turn-on for women.  And for practical purposes, anytime I have to undergo any sort of treatment, I usually end up dropping a half dozen or more pounds, so I figure it would behoove me to bulk up while I’m feeling relatively healthy.

Now, mind you, I had no delusions about what I was doing.  I will never, ever, ever be that dude bursting out of his t-shirt with muscles, glistening in the summer sun like some sort of…uh…I can’t really think of a way to finish this sentence that wouldn’t sound 100% gay.  You know what I mean.  But if I could just get to a point where my hoodies didn’t hang off me like a lawn tarp…even if the extra weight were FAT, I’d be good with it.

Enter: Wii Fit, on loan from my generous sister and brother-in-law, who found it difficult to keep up with a regular fitness program with two drooling, peeing, screaming, eating, and more peeing toddler boys underfoot.  (Incidentally, its for this very reason I don’t give the girls I sleep with my real name.  That’s right ladies…if you ever slept with a pale, gawky guy named Lance Von Dudemeister the Third…I TRICKED YOU!) Wii Fit, for those of you unaware, is a peripheral for the gaming system that essentially acts as a glorified work-out video, albeit a ridiculously sophisticated one that not only measures your ability to perform the different exercises, but tracks your progress as far as weight gained/lost and how often you show up to work out.

I set the Wii Fit up in my basement, took my first body test, and the creepy animated Wii Board gave me the bad news: My “Wii Fit Age” (calcualated based on a combination of your weight and ability at certain tests) was 45…a full 15 years older than my actual age.  This was to be expected…I’m out of shape, that’s the whole point of this, right?  I set as my goal to gain 10 lbs two months from that day, selected the female trainer (who I thought would be less intimdating than the extremely masculine, though obviously gay, male trainer), and set to work.

The first excercise I did: Deep Breathing, under the yoga excercises.  The excercise literally asks you to stand there and breath.  That’s it.  I got a 94, and a rank of “Yoga Master.”  Sweet!  I’m an expert at this already!

My creepy, pale, dead-eyed virtual trainer.  Yeah, I'd probably still bone her...

My creepy, pale, dead-eyed virtual trainer. Yeah, I'd probably still bone her...

One week later, alternating strength training days and conditioning days, with daily yoga, and I take my second body test.   I am 4 lbs heavier, and my Wii Fit age is down to…26?!?!  Holy shit, I cut almost two decades off myself in a week!  Delusions of working myself into Hugh Jackman type shape within the month start flashing through my mind.  I am motivated!

And then things start going wrong.

I miss one of my daily workouts.  Creepy Wii Board cartoon greets me with an extremely passive aggressive, “What, too busy to work out yesterday, Timmy?” at the start of the next days workout.  Well, excuse me, Cartoon Wii Board, but fuck you!  Maybe I was!  Maybe my mom died yesterday, and I had to bury her fucking remains.  Or maybe I decided to sit on the couch eating Cool Ranch Doritos and watching “Battlestar Galactica” all day.  What the fuck is it to you?

The Wii Board also has a disgusting habit of trying to make me feel guilty about my other family members.  My mom, my sister, and Nikki W. made accounts on my Wii, just to try it out, but never use them.  Now I am constantly peppered by Wii Balance Board about their whereabouts…questions about whether or not they “look healthy” to me.  What is this, fucking communist Russia?  Am I a spy for the Wii Fit Gestapo?  Go bother them about why they aren’t working out, I just want to do some freakin’ boxing!

No, I don't know where my sister is, or why she never calls anymore.  Jesus, was this thing programed by my mom?

No, I don't know where my sister is, or why she never calls anymore. Jesus, was this thing programed by my mom?

The other problem: After my freak first week weight gain, my results start to be not so impressive, including LOSING weight several weeks.  I decide to cut out the conditioning (I am a fan of long walks during the summer, and figure between that and performing I am getting enough conditioning) and just concentrate on strength training.  Planks everyday.  Push-ups and side plank…10 of them kill my soul, but I can finish.  Lunges.  Jackknives.  I even just start walking to random people on the street and picking them up off the ground, just for fun.  I get a few angry looks, but no restraining orders.  I also start eating like a death row inmate.  Hamburgers, donuts, ice cream…I eat when I’m hungry, I eat when I’m full, I eat when I’m bored…I eat until I think I can’t eat anymore.

I’m still not gaining weight.

It feels like I’m the only human on the face of the planet trying to gain weight…and failing at it.

Wii Fit's extremely accurate and scientific charting of my freakish inability to upgrade my girly-man arms.  At least I'm...consistent?

Wii Fit's extremely accurate and scientific charting of my freakish inability to upgrade my girly-man arms. At least I'm...consistent?

In three days my deadline for the goal I set for myself arrives.  I am 7 lbs short.  Unless I manage to get myself pregnant in the next 48 hours, it looks like I’m not going to make it.  If I don’t make it, it might shatter my fragile self ego, sending me into a shame spiral, and causing me to revert back to my old ways of non-exercise and non-lifting random strangers off the ground.  I’ll become depressed.  I’ll start drinking…erm…more.  My low self-esteem will lead me to start selling my body on the streets, not so much for the money, but just so I can feel like someone, anyone, loves me in some way, even peripherally…even if it’s the kind of love that ends with me limping the next day, a ten dollar bill adhered with nothing but perspiration to my ass.  Eventually, I’ll die…old, alone, drug-addicted…and ever so slightly underweight.

I never had these kind of problems with Mario Kart.

For the time being, I will just continue enduring the manipulative insults of Wii Fit Board, the creepy, dead-eyed encouragement of my animated trainer, and the soul crushing disappointment of my weekly body tests.  Remember to keep breathing as you exercise, or you may raise your blood pressure.  Count with me now…one…two…one…two…





Fringe Festival Wrap-Up…

12 08 2009

I had a big ol’ long post planned where I would recap all the shows I saw in the Fringe Festival this year, and do some commentary on how my show, “Danny Is Going To Die” went.  But I’m feeling particularly unmotivated as of late, and don’t really feel like writing all that.  So I’ll just summarize by saying: Saw a bunch of shows…more than I had in previous years, but still fewer than I wanted to…some of them were amazing, some of them were crazy, and some of them put Nikki W. to sleep.  Our show went, I think, very well…some people though it was amazing, some people thought it was crazy…I don’t think anyone fell asleep.  For fun, let’s look at some of the citizen reviews we got on our website:

First, some not so good reviews–

Amateurish.
by re gurgitate Follow this reviewer
Rating 2 kitties
Some of the audience laughed, I didn’t. I didn’t believe the situation, the actors, or the sub-sitcom dialog. Better luck next time.

Ouch.  Definitely our worst review.  I won’t bother weakly protesting that criticism from a guy who calls himself “re gurgitate” on a website is difficult to take too seriously, or the fact that if Mr. Gurgitate were to be honest, he would have wrote, “Most of the audience laughed A LOT, but I didn’t.”  Whatever.  I still have to say of all the people who reviewed our play, this is the opinion I’m most interested in, as I always think criticism, no matter how hard to hear, is more constructive and interesting than praise.  However, with the name “re gurgitate” I’m guessing he (she?) wants to stay anonymous.  Too bad.

A bit stereotypical…
by Richard Sacagawa Follow this reviewer
Rating 3 kitties
This show was okay…the best part was the acting, but the show wasn’t written very well. The characters were a bit stereotypical and the humor was 7th grade-ish; cheap genitalia and curse word jokes. However, it was fast paced and full of great performances!

Another not so great review, although people in the cast tried to helpfully point out to me that it isn’t a bad review at all, just a so-so one.  This forced me to point out the fact that, yes, it is an okay review…UNLESS YOU’RE THE WRITER!  Then it’s not so good.

I already used this joke in a Facebook status update, but for those of you who read my blog but do not use Facebook, I will repeat it here because I think it’s a pretty good one:  Anyone else notice that the name Richard Sacagawa can be shortened to “Dick Sac.”  The fact that someone named Dick Sac is criticizing my script for cheap genitalia humor is, so far anyway, the only evidence of the existence of God I have encountered in my life.

How about some good reviews?

My must see…
by Michael Sheeks Follow this reviewer
Rating 5 kitties
I thought this was an exceptionally well written comedy, particularly for this ensemble. I also enjoyed the fact that it didn’t try to be more than it could be within the context of the fringe, but there were a few moments that suggested this playwright could shift gears and turn it into a longer piece that had a less episodic structure and more levels. Nice work. I will definitely be watching for work by these folks after the fringe.

Sweet!  Thank you, Michael Sheeks, whoever you are.  I particularly like that he enjoyed “…that it didn’t try to be more than it could be within the context of the fringe…”  This is a very important point that is possibly missed by Mr’s Gurgitate and Sac, who maybe expect all their Fringe shows to be deep, moving pieces about the difficulties of being a lesbian or the angst caused by the meaningless of existence.  It’s a fun, cartoony show with some cheap laughs.  And that’s okay.

Finally, the best review we got:

Danny Is Going to Die
by David Bratt Follow this reviewer
Rating 4 kitties
Very funny writing; some very strong comic acting (especially Tim Gage, Kim Hostrawser, and Andy Waldron); appropriately breakneck pacing.

David Bratt, for those who don’t know, was the chair of the theater department at Winona State University, so it’s safe to bet he knows a thing or two about theater…probably a thing or two more than re gurgiatate or Dick Sac.  He was also notoriously difficult to please, as anyone who was ever involved in one the productions he directed at WSU knows, so if he says there was some funny writing and strong comic acting, I’m inclined to believe him.  Thank you, DB!

Final analysis: It was a bunch of hard work, really fun, Nikki W. and I didn’t murder each other, though it was touch and go some days…and I can’t wait to do it again.

I’ve added the script for “Danny Is Going To Die” to the Non-blog related writing section of this page.  Give it a read, either if you didn’t get a chance to see the show, or did see the show and are one of those nerds like me who like to see how things develop from written script to actual performance.

(Note: The script I have posted is the FINAL PERFORMANCE VERSION, not the original script I wrote.  Due to time constraints, we were forced to make substatial cuts…this is the script as it was performed.)





2009 Minnesota Fringe Festival Preview…

30 07 2009

One of the most important days of the theater calendar is now upon us.  The Minnesota Fringe Festival opens today, which means a week and a half of glorious theater binging, and glorious stumbling around the streets of Minneapolis in a drunken stupor.

I’ll be using my blog over the next week to put down some thoughts about the shows I see, and also keep up some thoughts on the progress of my show, “Danny Is Going To Die.”  For now, let me just give you a quick peak at the shows I plan on seeing, and if you want to be as cool as I am, you should plan on seeing as well.

“Danny Is Going To Die”— The Playwrights’ Center

Okay.  So I’m starting off with an easy plug for my own show.  Sue me.  All ego-driven, self-interest aside, a whole shit load of very talented people have put a ton of hours into this show.  With eight cast members and a full time costume, prop, and stage manager, I’m going to go out on a limb and say this might be one of the most ambitious shows of the Fringe.  Chances are, you know someone involved in this show.  Please support their work!

Martha Wigmore, Tim Gage, and April Gage perform in "Danny"

Martha Wigmore, Tim Gage, and April Gage perform in "Danny"

“Slow Jobs: Servicing America for $12 an hour”U of M Rarig Center Arena

The creators of this show, Curt Lund and Laura Bidgood, are basically legends of the Fringe Festival.  They’ve brought their unique brand of humorous story telling to the stage for several years and have developed quite a following.  Plus, I need to see this show because I would love to find out where, for only $12 an hour, I can get a–wait, hold…the name of the show is SLOW Jobs…Slow Jobs.  Not– Okay, never mind.  Well, see it anyway.

“Boobs”— Gremlin Theatre

Creators Molly Dimba and Kari Kelly put on a show of improv and sketches centering around everyone’s favorite body part.  I will be seeing this, of course, to support my former high school classmate Molly Dimba, because I believe it is important for artists to support other artists in the community to strength the web of…BLAH HA HA…nah, I’m joking, obviously, I’ll be seeing this because I’m a dude and it’s a play about BOOBS!  Boobs!  Holy crap, I hope they talk about motorboating!

“Best Little Crackhouse in Philly” (Or…Crackwhore: The Musical!)– Southern Theater

Finally!  A musical about crackwhores!  Plus it features the talents of one Madison Olimb, who is a singing/dancing/acting triple threat supreme!  Little known fact, though: Crackwhores actually prefer to be addressed by the more politically correct term, “Emotional Enhancement Substance Physical Pleasure Artists.”  At least, that’s what your mom told me last night.

“A Dream Play”— Southern Theater

“A Dream Play” is the product of Amanda Sterling, who has done some amazing work at the Fringe over the years.  I’ll be seeing this show because I know it will be well acted, well directed, and of very high quality.  I won’t be seeing it just because I’m harboring a borderline-creepy acting crush on Stephanie Kulbeik.  Because I’m not.  Not in the least.  Oh, Stephanie Kulbeik, why won’t you run away with me?