Welcome to the Sound and Light Show

Sort of a diary for myself ... but you can read it too.

Monday, June 30, 2008

Weak Gardening

Work around my house has come to a screeching halt due to my spinal surgery this summer.

In a half-hearted attempt to at least feel some acclomplishments and add some color to my back yard, I purchased a box of mixed flower seed that you just 'shake out' where you want the flowers to grow. The box lists some latin names for the 2 dozen or so types types of flowers that are supposed to be included in the seed but there are no reference pictures ... so I really don't know what's what. (plus, about only 4 types of flowers have actually bloomed from my efforts)

Below are pics of some of the results where I 'planted' near my retaining wall.

The orange flowers that are flourishing the most are really nice. I like how they are vine-like and have grown over the wall ... I only wish I knew what kind they were. Anybody?

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Euro 2008

Today was the last day of the Semi Finals. Spain beat down Russia today 3-0. Germany squeaked past Turkey yesterday 3-2 scoring the winning goal in the 90th minute. I worked only half days both days so I could be home to watch the games live at 14:45 Eastern Time. C'mon, You have to have your priorities. Plus I'm an Engineering Consultant for German company. I get bonus points for liking soccer.

The final is on Sunday and I just made plans to watch it with a friend visiting from Seattle. He called to see if I would be around while he was in town and got very excited when I mentioned wanting to watch the game since he's very much into it himself. Synchronicity indeed.

Awesome Dream ...

I had a dream last night that I went to visit my orthopedic surgeon for a check up and he had bad news for me. Looking at my xray, he showed me that he missed a herniated disc and stated that I would have to be operated on again. He then went on to say, 'But this one is on me since it was my mistake. You won't have to pay a dime.' I remember feeling a little bit a dread but then my (bio)Dad showed up and we went to Kennywood. I told him about the 'mistake' and we both laughed. Funny how dreams work.

Incidentally, I did just get my bill for the surgery*. The total came in somewhere a little over $40K not counting all of the doctors visits, xrays and MRIs I took previously. Of course, I don't have to pay a dime since my health insurance rocks (even if they did desecrate our steel building and ruin our skyline).

*I'm guessing getting the bill is partly why I was dreaming about it all. That and the fact that last night I was feeling really 'achy' before going to bed.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

I'm Free

Yesterday was the last day of me wearing the soft collar around my neck. I am so relieved to be done with it. To celebrate, 'Litl' and I went to Kelly's Bar for a few pints of Franziskaner and a shot of Jameson (or as 'Meg F' refers to it now, 'my medicine'). At midnight, the Shadow Lounge's owner also turned dirty thirty so more shots of Jameson were poured to celebrate his birthday. We were in good company as usual; 'Schell', 'Torque Smackey', 'Jack Wilson', 'Taracalypse', 'Pipecock' and many more joined us.

It's good to be back out in the social scene.

BTW, the Kokolo show I was helping promote last week was phenomenal. Attendance exceeded everyone's expectations and the band played an energetic, close to 2 hour set. I know we were violating fire code capacity at the venue because at one point the front door to the place could barely open because of the standing room only crowd pushed up against it. The place was sweaty, jammed and jumping. The band made money and I made money and everyone was happy.

There was a little scare though ... the band called me from the road before the show as they were driving in from NYC. They called at 6pm to tell me they were still at least 2 hours away from Pgh and that they were in stand still traffic on the turnpike due to a major accident. Doors to the show were listed to open at 10pm and the band still needed to get there, unpack, sound check, get dinner and relax before going on. It ended up being pretty tight ... the band arrived around 9pm. Sound check went well and then they were off to a friend's house who had prepared dinner for the band. It was 10pm, people were already arriving and the band was just off to have supper. I was supposed to have a DJ occupy the time until the band went on but there was some miscommunication with the club and they had lent their turntables to be used by another DJ in another room for the night. I had to play a CD while people got restless waiting for the band to go on. Finally the band got back to the club around 11:30pm and after a quick meet and greet with some friends in a back room (and a quick 'break a leg' shot of Jameson by all of us) they took the stage.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Hong Kong Dragon Boat Festival

Dragon boat races are believed to have originated in China more than 2,500 years ago, contemporaneous with the Greeks beginning their games at Olympia. Beyond a sporting event, the races and water festivals serve as a veneration to the dragons, hoping for health through the dangerously warm and humid summer months.

Last night I ventured off to Soba Restaurant with 'Clover', 'Schaf' and 'C.A.' to celebrate the Dragon Boat Festival with a special tasting menu inspired by the cuisines of south-central China.

1st Course:
Dim Sum
Scallop shu mai, spicy dipping sauce
Shrimp potsticker, citrus-soy sauce
Lobster bun, orange-scallion dipping sauce

2nd Course:
Little neck clam bowl, lo mein noodles, choy, chili and fermented black bean broth

3rd Course:
Flash cooked rare tuna, ginger, garlic, asparagus and scallion salad

4th Course:
Almond custard bao, szechwan-berry sauce, ginger poached apricot*

We also had wine pairings with each course; two Rieslings, a Pinot Noir and a Sherry for dessert.

Overall, the meal was quite good with the rare tuna being my favorite. The tuna was prepared perfectly; barely, barely seared with an oil and citrus sauce over it, sort fo like a seviche style. The 1st course 'appetizers' were all good but very small and the citrus sauce on them kind of over powered the flavor of the main ingredients. The clam bowl was nice and hearty, the most filling of the three dishes. I would have liked less noddles and more clams and choy though.

*Since I'm allergic to almonds, the restaurant let me switch to a Lemongrass creme brulee with coconut tuile and fresh tropical fruit salad as my 4th course. Excellent.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Getting back to normal

So I've been going to work 3 days a week now. Driving myself. Running errands. Getting back to my normal life.

I stopped by the Shadow Lounge last night to drop off posters and flyers for the next show I'm promoting on June 20th. I ended up sitting in front of the lounge talking with 'Jmall$' for a while. It's good to start getting back out into the social, public atmospshere.

I then decided to go over to Kelly's Bar to see 'Meg F' but there was a sign on the door saying 'Closed for Private Party'. Figures ... I haven't been to Kelly's in well over a month and the night I decide to stop by, I'm not allowed in. I texted 'Meg F' only to find out that the AC was out and it was pretty miserable inside anyway.

I also stopped by to see a musician friend of mine to pick up some new music to work on. My friend is an internationally published artist on various record labels; Record Kicks, Freestyle Records, Vampisoul . He is leaving PGH tomorrow to go to NYC and then on to Europe to tour until September of this year. He has a new album he's been working on and he wanted to give it to me to listen to while he's gone and possibly add my musical touch to it. When he returns in the fall, he plans on recording and producing the album here in PGH and he has asked me to help out. Pretty freakin' cool. I had to pick up all of the individual music tracks last night for the 10 unfinished songs. Over the next few months I'll dissect the album, assemble and mix the songs, learn them inside and out to see what I can come up with. Hopefully, when he returns in September, I'll have come up with something he'll like and we can get moving on finishing the project.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

The New Brace

I had my first post surgery doctor's visit today. Everything is going well; my insides are fine and my outsides are fine. My spinal fusion is healing nicely and my incisions are looking healthy. I dig my throat scar. Today was the first day I got to see it since it was covered with surgically tape before. It's small and the doctors did a great job of keeping it compact and slim ... but it is still there. I'll have to come up with a great story to go along with it ... you know, like in the movie 'Jaws' when they all start comparing scars and stories. Anterior cervical spinal fusion sounds too wussy and technical ... back alley knife fight in the outskirts of Shanghai sounds much more interesting ... or something like that.

I get to start wearing this 'soft collar' instead of the hard plastic brace I was previously sporting. Damn, this new 'collar' is bulkier and more in my face than the hard brace ... it's like a wrapped a small pillow around my neck. What the heck? I'm a little disappointed about this. I thought I was going to get something smaller, more comfortable and easier to conceal.

Anyway ... I have to wear the collar for at least 3 more weeks (ugh) 24 hours a day (minus the showers) but I am allowed to drive now. Huh? ... I don't see how that is recommended since this collar is more obtrusive than the last one.

oh well ... I see the doctor again in 2 months and then I'll start physical therapy.

I'm still supposed to take it easy, no lifting more than 20 lbs, so my summer is going to be pretty laid back.

Below is a pic I took of my xray today. Nice shot of my hardware, huh?