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Archive for February, 2011

I receive an acupuncture treatment every two weeks from my friend and now-new mom Jen. Since I can’t really do stairs anymore, and because her Redwood City treatment center facility called Casa de Gallina has quite a large number of them, she brings her box of needles to me. Who says that house calls are a thing of the past?

For the dual purpose of education and entertainment, I present to you a few photos from my latest acupuncture session with Jen.

Jen makes it her mission each time to make sure that I stay warm, hence the plethora of blankets covering my frame. I heard somewhere that rubbing chili peppers on your feet works well too.

The needles in my ears and the one above my nose were placed there by Jen but the Disney Princess tattoo on my neck was all the doing of Emma and Fehmeen.

Since I'm a music snob who prefers not to listen to the typical new age hippie music that is typically associated with this kind of therapy during my session, Jen allows me to choose my own tunage. This week it was the Zac Brown Band.

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And the Oscar Goes to …

Considering I’ve seen seven of the ten films up for the Best Picture Oscar tonight, one of the following two things must be true:  Either the Academy is selecting movies that are more in the mainstream — it wasn’t all that long ago that I hadn’t even heard of half the films that were nominated, much less seen them — or that I have way way way way way too much time on my hands to see all these movies.

While I am absolutely certain that Natalie Portman and Colin Firth are stone-cold locks to win Best Actress and Best Actor statuettes, the category I’m most looking to seeing who wins is for Best Documentary.  The award typically goes to a predictably worthy endeavor about suffering but this year I hope the Oscar gets awarded to the film about art.

Even though I have no idea what other documentaries are running against it, Exit Through the Gift Shop is my hands down choice to win the golden paperweight this year.  Granted, I just saw it for the first time not even twenty-four hours ago, it’s not like I’m a newbie to the street art scene.  You can ask any of my former students (from around 2003-2008) about the OBEY sticker on the front wall near the ceiling of my classroom for verification if you don’t believe me.

Anyway, I can’t definitively tell if the movie is a hoax or not.  While I’m about 90% certain that it is an epic put-on, it wouldn’t surprise me one bit to learn that Mr Brainwash is a legitimate artist.  Click here to figure out who the heck that is and what the movie is all about.

But the main reason I’m pulling for it to win is to see if Banksy shows up to accept the Oscar.  Who will he be wearing and which party will he be attending?

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Idol Chatter

My intention going into to Season 10 of American Idol was to catch an episode or two just to see what it would be like without Simon at the judges table and then move on to some other program deserving the attention of my eyeballs.  This past season was very forgettable — who the heck won*, anyway — so my brand loyalty was at an all-time low heading into the premiere with the auditions a few weeks back.

But a funny thing happened as I tried to have someone change the channel for me (recall that I am a quadriplegic and am unable to do it on my own):  I really liked what I was seeing for several reasons.

The producers did a good job limiting the number of crappy auditions they showed on tv.  Granted, I drank the William Hung flavored Kool-Aid way back when but that was an example of catching flatulence in a bottle.  Subsequent efforts to repeat that phenomenon have been dominating recent seasons without any success, so personally, I’m pretty happy that they focused more on folks with actual talent.

And speaking of talent, most of these people who made it so far this year have some serious skills as musicians.  I find that I prefer to watch someone perform who has either played with a band or on-stage behind a guitar or as part of a theatrical production as opposed to someone who has only ever sung a tune as the lyrics scroll by on a monitor in some bowling alley lounge.

As far as the absence of Simon Cowell as a judge goes, I assumed that I would be missing his criticisms and harsh commentary but I don’t.  So far, the kinder gentler panel of Season 10 has been entertaining mainly because of Steven Tyler.  It cracks me up when he sings along with the contestants during their performances.  JLo has been more insightful than I imagined she would be and even Randy has toned-down the “Dawg” act to the occasional “Arf Arf” every once in awhile (comparatively speaking of course).

Now that they’ve narrowed the field to the top twenty-four, I am looking forward to seeing what happens performance-wise in the weeks to come.  The singing so far has been pretty darned good — especially that dude from Santa Cruz, the guy that played the upright bass while singing during Hollywood Week, and the woman who reminds me a lot of Rachel from Glee.

However it turns out, the Fox network can count on my ass being in front of the flatscreen week in week out.  Emma’s too, as long as it’s on before her bedtime.  But if one of the Real Housewives is on, that show gets priority, of course, AI goes straight to the DVR.  Happy wife, happy life, you know the drill.

In case you are interested, here is an excellent piece on the top twenty-four contestants.  It breaks each one down very succinctly and in some cases hilariously.

*And for the record, I knew that Lee DeWyze won last year but still …

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Stop the Presses & Hold the Phone

If you ever considered attending a meeting of the Thursday Afternoon Movie Club, tomorrow would be the day to do it.  Here are several compelling reasons why you should:

Seeing a movie in the theater on a weekday afternoon is an awful lot like playing hooky on real life for a couple hours.  The crowds are minimal at best, save for the hordes of blue haired senior citizens clamoring to catch that new Justin Beiber flick.

You will have the opportunity to meet my new movie partner slash caregiver Juliano.  A nicer guy you’d be hard pressed to find anywhere.

We will be seeing the new Liam Neeson thriller Unknown in Redwood City at 11:40.  If you are looking for a little escapist fun for a couple hours while playing hooky, then please join us.

But the biggest and bestest reason to attend the show on the morrow is to hang out with the lovely and affable Fehmeen.  This courageous lady is willing to step out of her romantic comedy comfort zone for the good of the TAM Club and I hope that you will be able to, too.

Cya 2moro @ 11:40 in RWC.

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Change of Heart

Initially this post was supposed to chronicle all the gory details of Emma’s first experience with throwing up two Friday nights ago.  I was going to describe how absolutely terrible I felt just laying there in bed unable to move, much less actually being there to provide a modicum of comfort to my barfing bambina.  Fehmeen told me the next day of her own feelings of helplessness as she sat right next to the Bug while she tossed her cookies into the toilet.

And then I had a change of heart.

Why sensationalize an event in words when the pictures I have would do a much better job of capturing the essence of our beautiful Emma.

Scroll down please to look at the photos.

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Now did you really think that I would actually post pictures of my daughter puking on my blog?   Fehmeen and Maheen would have my head.

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Weekend Update

For your reading and commenting pleasure, a condensed and boiled down version of my thoughts and activities of the weekend so far.

A sampling of the songs played from my Spotify library during the time it took to type this:  You Give Love a Bad Name – Bon Jovi, she – elvis Costello, east bound and down – jerry reed, pressure drop – toots and the maytals, wheel in the sky – journey, The heart of the matter – india.arie, you make my pants want to get up and dance – dr hook, just the guy to do it – toby keith, summer in the city – regina spektor, lucky – jason mraz.

Sunday marks the completion of exactly three weeks since I last ate food the old fashioned way:  Orally.  You would think that I miss it but I don’t.  The six or seven spoonfuls of mush that I was barely choking down at mealtime took way too long to shovel into my pie hole that it was not worth continuing the practice for everyone involved.  Considering that I get 2100 calories from the six Boosts that they pour in the tube, one could argue that I am getting all that I need.  And I agree.  Have you seen my gut lately?  Maybe it’s time for Boost Zero!!

I think this question every year but this time I need to know so I am “verbalizing” it here in print.  I know that the Chinese New Year’s parade took place in San Francisco last night, but I’ve been hearing about Chinese New Year for about the past two weeks.  Exactly how long does Chinese New Years last?  It seems to go on as long as the NHL and NBA playoffs combined.

Because the wife was living it up in LA yesterday, I decided to lose myself in cinema.  Here is my quadruple feature from Saturday: Enchanted, Machete, some horrible zombie movie, and Unstoppable.  Machete had some serious star power attached to it like Robert De Niro, Steven Seagal, and Lindsay Lohan and it featured the most creative use of someone’s intestines ever captured on film.  A must see for fans of the grindhouse movie genre.

Thursday Afternoon Movie Club is back on with my new caregiver Juliano.  We will be seeing the new Liam Neeson film Unknown.  Check the top of my blog midweek for the time.  You know you want to see it.

There is no feeling quite as emasculating as purchasing a Justin Beiber cd from a store.  Compounding that with my inability to explain to the clerk that it was a last minute gift for my wife’s birthday and you can begin to feel my pain.  Seriously.

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For Fehmeen with Love

At our first dance together (as chaperones),

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You swept me off my feet,

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Who knew where we would go together,

NYE in Disneyland

Steamy and Donna's wedding in Tahoe

The Metropolitan Museum of Art in NYC

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Or how much we enjoyed trying on hats in gift shops,

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Along the way, we picked up The Bug to share the good times,

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And life has never looked so good.

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Happy Birthday, Babe!!  I love you too too.

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Calling All Nerds

Do you remember that old story about John Henry?  You know, the one where he uses his own body and muscles to compete against a steam-powered machine only to be victorious and collapse and die from exhaustion?

Oh yeah, that one.

Well, I had this relatively grandiose plan to use that piece of American folklore as an analogy for man versus machine until I checked Wikipedia.  I had failed to realize that that particular story is “usually seen as an archetypal illustration of the futility of fighting the technological progress that was evident in the 19th century upset of traditional physical labor roles.”  Once I read that, combined with the fact that he keels over at the end, my innocuous little idea of using the man versus machine analogy as my literary device du jour just seemed to be missing the point of what I wanted to make in the first place.

All I wanted to say is this:  If you want to see a computer named Watson compete against a pair of humans, then be sure to watch Jeopardy tonight at 7 pm.  This is the third (and final) day of their showdown and it is must see tv for nerds everywhere.

I have posted a link here so you can get your geek on about all things Watson.

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If Ever I Need Someone

If ever I need someone to make me smile and laugh at any moment, even when that moment happens to be at such critical times like in the middle of a transfer from one seat to another or when I have a mouthful of mashed potatoes or when you tell me about Emma’s and your latest public outing, I smile at and laugh with you, Fehmeen.

If ever I need someone to remind me about what it is to be beautiful, from the day that we met in the teacher’s lounge (by the copy machine) to the way you looked in your Minnesota sweatshirt on our first weekend trip as a couple to Monterey (and we made fun of those Red Hat ladies) to how stunning you were at each of our three weddings and how you’ve looked each and every day since then, I gaze longingly at you, Fehmeen.

If ever I need someone to guide me to safety when I’m lost at sea, I look for you, Fehmeen, and your shining beacon of hope emanating from atop the lighthouse standing tall and proud on the rocky shore.

If ever I need someone to show me what it means to be strong, from your ability to manhandle my dead weight to the way you put my needs and Emma’s needs miles ahead of your own, or the way you work all day at school and when you get home, you still have the energy to play with our little girl while hanging out with and including me in your offbeat shenanigans, I look in awe at you, Fehmeen.

If ever I need someone to be inspired by, I find that inspiration in you, Fehmeen.  I marvel at the dedication you exhibit every day to your workout regimen, to your chosen profession and to your students, to your friends and family, to raising our daughter Emma, and to helping me survive to see another day.

And if ever I need some way to express how much I love you, Fehmeen, know that even though I am physically unable to tell you so with my own voice these days, every word I type on this blog, every song I play for you as DJ iGaze (with the obvious exception of Tom Waits), and every smile laugh giggle inside joke and obvious grammatical punctuational mistake is done with you in mind.

This is the best way I know of to show you how much you mean to me besides just coming out and saying it.  I love you the most in the world, Babe.

I was so totally kidding about the Wal-Mart jewelry for your birthday.  Like I told you this weekend, it’s already taken care of.  Seriously!  There is no way I’m going to repeat the Victoria’s Secret debacle from last year around this time.

I may be a lot of things but I ain’t stupid!  Once was enough for me.

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Emma enjoys herself a nap each and every day.  She typically slumbers for several hours before waking up.

Fehmeen usually brings The Bug into our living room/ALS Boy Headquarters so she can slowly ease into the early evening with the family unit.  I am seated (duh!) in my recliner, looking absolutely resplendent in my Miami J neck collar, playing the role of DJ iGaze spinning tunes for the entertainment of those around me.  After a couple of songs off of her special playlist and a few giggles courtesy of her momma, Emma is up and around and chatting up a storm like a sugar-crazed tweenager.

Every so often, Emma wakes up from her afternoon nap in a mood several klicks south of good.

It starts out with whining that goes on for several minutes.  Then the whining turns into tears of the crocodile variety.  Fehmeen asks her what she is crying about but by this time Emma is on automatic pilot with the waterworks, inconsolable even with promises of a visit to the park or chocolate pudding after dinner.  The only viable option is to let her cry it out.

And then there’s DJ iGaze.

During this crying episode, I try to help the situation by providing a soundtrack of her favorite songs such as Billionaire, Hey Soul Sister, and Meet Me Halfway.  When that particular gambit has failed to elicit a smile on our little girl’s face, I take a less subtle approach towards solving the problem.

Combined with giving her the time to let her get it all out of her system, Dad, aka DJ iGaze, dials up songs like Madonna’s version of Don’t Cry for Me Argentina or Melissa Manchester’s big hit from the seventies Don’t Cry Out Loud.  Fehmeen and I are still laughing at my inclusion of Bad Day by Daniel Powter.

At some point in time Emma will understand the lyrics of those tunes and we will have to face the formidable wrath of a preschooler scorned.  But until then I will be on a quest to find as many songs about the subject mentioned above as possible.

She’ll think it’s funny someday, right?

And just so you don’t think I’m an evil troll who doesn’t love his daughter, I present to you a picture of the happiest guy in the world wearing a Miami J.

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