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June 18th, 2007

And the bea(s)t goes on...

I got an appointment for 11:15, back with Dr. Adam. I brought all my meds with me, and when my nurse, Denise, whom I really liked, lifted my Amoxicillin out of the bag, the cap wasn't screwed tight, the bottle flew to the floor, and five pills scattered about the floor. She was simply beside herself.

Doc came in, did another thorough checking—still no definite conclusions other than everyone agrees that I'm "not responding" to the Amoxicillin, so it's probably something viral.

"Your tonsils are still very swollen and irritated, but the good news is that there is no abscess of any kind back there. I'm going to have you finish out the antibiotic (with some replacement samples for the 'wasted' ones), I'm going to draw blood so we can look for signs of anything else the might come out in the lab work, and since you're just going to have to 'ride this out' if it's viral, I'll give you a prescription for percocet in case the pain gets to be too much in your throat or head."

He seemed to agree that the fact that the top of my head is so sensitive to pain that even the drops from the shower spray hurt when they hit it, along with the shooting pains inside my head are postherpetic neuralgia, which I've gotten on and off ever since having the shingles many years ago.

So, all in all, I guess the takeaway was, "Suck it up," or in some gay vernacular, "Be a man, girl."  [Sorry furrycatherder, I know you hate that expression.]



I met Joe for dinner at Red Lobster, during which I felt the best I had felt since this all began. While feeling better, I took the opportunity to stop by Office Depot there to return one of the desk blotters and the "in-basket" that was too big for my credenza cabinet shelf.

That was about the worst shopping experience I've had in a while:
  1. It was way too hot in the store; there was definitely something wrong with the A/C. However, the cashier did have a nice big, ole fan blowing directly on her.

  2. Returns in this store are done in the checkout lines, not at a customer service desk; there was only one checkout line open, and there was a line.

  3. I went to look for replacement articles (same articles, different sizes) for the two things I'd returned, and I got so hot just walking over to the section I needed to be in that I just bagged the whole idea.


I listened to three more hour-long podcasts of This American Life of which I found one totally compelling, another totally delightful, and the third one entertaining, but not one to rant and rave about.

The totally compelling one:

Duty Calls (Episode 334)

Josh's mother and younger brother were a mess. His mother drank too much. His brother got arrested a lot. Josh hadn't lived with them since he was nine, and they didn't play much of a role in his daily life—until duty called, and they took over his life.

Prologue.

Host Ira Glass talks to Vincent Homenick and Norman Goodman, the court officials who hear all the excuses from New York City residents trying to get out of jury duty. (5 minutes)

Act One.

Josh Bearman grew up in California with his dad, stepmom, and brother. But they're not his whole family. His mom and half-brother David live in Florida. Josh had never spent much time with the two of them until recently. One day he got a phone call: his mother was in the hospital, near death, and David was on his way to jail. They had no money and couldn't take care of themselves. So Josh flew to Florida and tried to take over. (30 minutes)

Song: "Instrumental," Galaxie 500


Act Two.

Josh Bearman continues his story by looking at how things got so bad for his mother and David in the first place. (22 minutes)

Song: "One Way or Another," Skrap


The totally entertaining one:

Notes on Camp (Episode 109)

Stories of summer camp. People who love camp say that non-camp people simply don't understand what's so amazing about camp. In this program, we attempt to bridge the gap of misunderstanding between camp people and non-camp people.

Original harmonica music throughout the hour by Howard Levy.

Prologue.

Camp kids explain how their non-camp friends and their non-camp loved ones have no idea why camp is the most important thing in their lives. Most of this hour takes place at a pair of camps in Michigan—Lake of the Woods, a girls camp, and Greenwoods, a boys camp. The two camps share facilities and activities and essentially function as one camp. (3 minutes)

Note One. Mr. Popular.

David Himmel is a college sophomore, a former camper who's now a counselor. He says all the best experiences of his life have been at camp or with camp people. We follow him around and discover why. He creates songs that become camp traditions. He has his own fan club of four thirteen-year-old girls. He coaches one of the boys in his cabin when the boy wants to try and kiss a girl he likes. (7 minutes)

Song: "I Wish I Was Him," Young & Jaded

Note Two. Fear.

Sure, kids today are sophisticated. But get them living in the woods for a few days, and they revert to some of the most stupidly primitive forms of entertainment known since the dawn of civilization. Specifically: they love scary stories. Every camp has a camp ghost story. We hear one. And we go with the Sioux cabin of ten-year-olds as they try an experiment in fear, in the dark, in front of a mirror in their cabin. (7 minutes).

Note Three. You.

We asked listeners to call and write with their camp stories. Hundreds did. We hear a selection. (7 minutes)

Note Four. Ritual.

Camp Lake of the Woods holds a fake Indian powwow during the summer. This kind of fake Native American-ness has been a part of camping in America since organized camping began a century ago. And ceremonies like this are just part of making the business run for any camp. By having traditions, and lots of songs in which campers sing about their loyalty to their own camp, camps create repeat customers. It's an economic imperative. Of course, it's also really fun. (5 minutes)

Read more about the history of Indian "traditions" in summer camps in Philip Joseph Deloria's Playing Indian.

Note Five. How the Israeli Army Is Just Like Summer Camp.

Writer Adam Davidson tells a true story from his own childhood. He was sent to a camp run by the Israeli army at its own training facility. He shot an M-16, sure, but in other ways, army life was amazingly similar to other summer camps: it was all about loyalty to your group, loyalty to your team. (7 minutes)

Note Six. Color Days.

This American Life producer Julie Snyder reports on a three-day competition called "Color Days." It's most kids' favorite time at camp—despite the fact that the girls, at least, spend most of the three days crying and screaming. It's thrilling to be part of a team at this level of intensity. (18 minutes)

Song: "Mmm Bop," Hanson


And, finally, the "okay" one. My two favorite acts were two and four. For those of you who listened to an act of an earlier episode of TAL with me, in which couples share the stories they tell over and over in their relationships, Carmen and Candido were one of the couples in that act and episode. I like their rapport.

The fourth act I liked mostly due to the voice in which it was told and because it was just brash.

Roadtrip! (Episode 102)


Prologue.

With all the American movies and songs and books about the joy of the open road, it's hard for an American to take just a normal roadtrip, without huge expectations. Host Ira Glass talks with a guy who hit the road after his mother's death, hoping for some experience that would change him and shed light on what had just happened. This never happens to him, or to most of us. And yet, every Memorial Day we all head out on the roads. Hoping.

Act One. Busman's Holiday.

Dishwasher Pete, an itinerant dishwasher and publisher of the zine Dishwasher, loves taking the bus as he moves from city to city every few weeks. In this act, he takes a tape recorder with him, hoping to capture the stories he always hears from his fellow passengers. It completely ruins his feelings about the bus. (Note: Pete's zine Dishwasher is now on semi-permanent hiatus.)

Song: "Greyhound Theme in E minor," Ian Lynam and Paul Iannotti


Act Two. Merci.

A roadtrip can be a profound test of any relationship. It can save a marriage or destroy it. We have this example of a roadtrip in Europe. Playwrights Candido Tirado and Carmen Rivera told the story at the Nuyorican Cafe in New York City, part of an evening of "traveling stories" organized by The Moth.

Act Three. Roadtrip in a Tuxedo.

What happens when being on the road is your job—and has been your job for decades? Reporter Margy Rochlin recalls a trip she took ten years ago with the 92-year-old George Burns and his tiny entourage.

Act Four. Paw Paw for Jesus.

What we want on the road—many of us—is adventure. And what is adventure but a moment you never could've predicted before you left home? Chicago writer Cheryl Trykv tells the story of one such moment.

Songs: "Happy Trails" and "One More Mile," Dave Dudley.


Robert checked in by AIM early evening, and I recommended the "Notes on Camp" episode to him, since when I mentioned it to him he said he had some great memories of one camp he went to when he was a kid.

He checked in again with me later, and was really enjoying the podcast, with about 15 minutes left in it for him.

His mother had been taken to the ER, but it seems that everything okay. Tests are being done.



***This is stuff from earlier in the day, so I moved it to the bottom of the posting.***


I awoke this morning, and literally had to peel my flannel sheets off me. Soaked to the bone. I can't fathom how I can sweat this much without waking up while it's happening.

One of the first things I did, of course, was to take my temp, assuming my "fever had broke," and as you can see, there certainly was a drastic change.


I tried to call the doctor's office to see if the appointment answering service would pick up yet, even though I was pretty sure they don't start until 7:00.  No luck.

I can't wait to get back in there today. I sure hope they have an opening or have had, or will get, a cancellation today.



Though they call this one, "Ow—Jesus," I think I'd go with, "Ah, clueless!"

Ow—Jesus! I Point with That Finger

Lady: It's freezing out. Is the weather cold like this in Korea?

[Manicurist is silent.]

Lady:  Hello? Is it this cold in Korea? ... Does she speak English?

Manicurist: I'm Chinese.

Lady: Oh, well, I eat a lot of Chinese vegetables.

—Nail salon, Queens

Overheard by: Risavia Overheard in New York, Jun 18, 2007

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