25 October 2008

jacques chiractober review

Hey all! It's been so long, there is no way I can put together an all-inclusive update to bring you completely up to speed. Here are some randomized entertaining parts. If I skip anything you want to know, either ask in the comments or make it up.

Apart from the distributed time at home, phys therapy is going quite well. The short breaks actually appear to have helped my body rest and rebuild even stronger, so it seems. I've improved across the board. More weight during lifting. Average Giger revs have marginally increased, barring days where dysreflexia cuts time short. Neck strength is getting better for sitting balance. Same with arms. And my traps are ridiculous. Apparently my trunk muscles are getting a bit stronger, too: sometimes those conniving therapists of mine will leave me sitting upright under my own power - no arms, even - without telling me. Sneaky people they are.

Manual chair propulsion (with the power assist wheels) is getting waaay easier with practice. Back in the days of warmer weather, we went on a few trips around the DMC campus, finding all of the non-ADA-compliant ramps to various buildings and trying to take them on. We've been in the up and down world of "the tunnels" a bunch, too. I've taken the manuchair home overnight a few times as well to test out the skilz on relatively boring (to you) daily use stuff. Let's rock it already!

(For those familiar with the DMC underground system, miercoles I did a few laps for warmup, then went from the CSCIR all the way down to the end of the downhill hot part with the pipes and back, then the other direction to the other end elevators, up to the ground floor, and through the hospitals past Wendy's. And back.)

Further, an update on the manual chair acquisition story: schooled. Last time I checked in with you guys, I needed to demonstrate sufficient incline/decline/propulsion/stability/everything skills in order to get the doc's Rx approval, necessary to ask for stuff to be covered under insurance. Let's just say that has been done, and then some. QED.

On the not-so-optimistic end, there are a few sad notes. First of all, Katie's gone! My awesome main therapist has been transferred temporarily. Positive: I still have the same rockin' trainer, and my replacement PT is also pretty much sweetness. Also a bummer, an assortment of the most inspirational people on the floor either left recently or about to leave. Boo. Next on the ugh list, insurance is about to give up (already has, really), so I don't think I get to be here much longer. Continuing, I had another DXA last week, and it confirmed that my bone density is indeed terrible. Eh, I don't want to talk about negative stuff anymore.

Finally, I spent today with my hands in an electrified bucket of water. I heart neurology.

Beyond therapy, umm, it's cold here! Detroit weather is not cool. Er, I guess it's extremely cool, and that's the problem. Fortunately, it's not far from the room to the RIM. So far, I've been able trick myself, too. I have quite vivid memories of several occasions at school when it was way below freezing, there was heavy sleet/snow/wind, and I was trapped outside my building because the accessible door was either frozen shut or just plain broken... So before I go outside here I just think of those times, and then it doesn't seem so bad out. This has a second benefit of getting me pretty fired up, and anger improves therapy performance! Ha ha, you know who you are.

Otherwise, I severely hacked my phone, and as a "computer guy" who does not fear the technical aspects, it is delicious. On a related topic, I'm trying to figure out some good certifications to pick up in order to improve my prospects in the computing job world. A+ and similars are pretty much out, since I can't physically manipulate hardware very well. Once upon a time, someone recommended getting into WWAN stuff. I like *nix/platform-agnostic projects, too, and I'm all about the educational sect. Any suggestions?

Ok, drugs say I should probably stop talking. I would like to say, though, thanks to everyone for diligently checking for updates all this time that I've been MIA. I'm sorry to have abandoned you; you're the ones that matter, after all. Continue being amazing, and I'll do my best to keep up.

16 October 2008

children fear and critics rage

29 September 2008. Majestic Theatre. Detroit. Buckethead, featuring That 1 Guy. Photos courtesy of the mom and my old Moto Q, usually without zoom because we were that close. Click the pictures to see them full size, of course. Caption comes after photo.

"Let's begin." --Stick Pit

My brave, brave front row cohort for the evening.

Opener: That 1 Guy. Awesome, impressive, bizarre. He plays a homemade concoction - two one-string "basses" made out of metal pipe and connected by a bunch of metal pipe joints - and a little drum kit thing. Lots of buttons all around. Here he's using a classical upright bass bow.

We actually met this dude before the show. We were inside getting out of the rain, and someone asked me, "you know who the opener is?" I said, "yeah, I think it's 'That 1 Guy'..." And out of nowhere the Guy himself walks by and says, "hey, that's me! Hope you like it!" Crazy.

Upright slap bass technique, combined with words from BizarroLyricLand. (example: while improvving a bit, he rhymed "biotch" with "iotch". Delicious.)

More upright slap style - here you can sort of see both necks on the bass contraption. (Technically a true double bass? Har har, music nerds...)

Goofy singing face #1 of many.

Let's play with a drumstick. Whamola, anyone?

The tiny drum weaponry.

Uh oh...

For triangulation purposes, to demonstrate how close we were. Compare with other head-on and his-left-side photos. Also, he's showing off his guitar strap antics. The big metal thing on the left is That 1 Guy's instrument. Mr. Striped Shirt was actually next to us, not in front.

Classic. Gorgeous. Creepy.

Shred shred shred shred wail.

Mmm, elastic guitar strap

More blurry, but a better demo of what he does quite a bit. In case you haven't gathered yet, his git strap is stretchy; he likes to push the thing away from his body to get weird bends/distortion while still playing notes with his fret (left) hand. Buckethead? Weird guitar noises? Go fig. BTW, blurry as it is, this is probably my favorite photo from the collection - he's shoving his guitar in my face, after all.

Here he hides behind the speaker stack stage right, poking his head out to stare at the crowd. (Another good triangulation photo, since he's really offstage at this point.)

Slap pop slap pop


Magic killswitch button!

Reminds me of some other slap/popper I know...


Next he picks up a giant rubber chicken and invests a solid minute or two walking it all the way across the stage. Yesss.

Robot dance also mandatory

He's not too bad at it, either.

Again, bad blur obfuscating guitar insanity. By now you may have also noticed that he never looks at what he's playing. This means he spent a lot of time sharing stares with all of us up front.

tappy tap, shreddy shred

Magic button, even more up close!

Another standard "huh?" mask break. Sadly, I recognize that mask from another concert...

Why pick when you can 8-finger tap?

The original robot wail maneuver.

Eight fingers again. His hands are huge.

Could it be merely six digits?

That 1 Guy returns for some jam time.

Simultaneous Bucket shred and T1G thump/wallop/???

Turn, pose!

PS he's pretty good.

To close, something dreamlike: so about 2/3 of the way through Buckethead's set, he picks up some unidentifiable object from on top of his equipment and starts playing some bizarro Star Wars-like riffs/noises, using the object as a guitar pick of sorts. This goes on for about a minute. Then he stops, walks up to the front of the stage, crouches down, pushes everyone's grabby hands away... And directly hands me a little R2-D2 action figure, pictured - the thing he had just been playing with. I reiterate: Buckethead stopped the show to single me out and hand me something. Wow. :-D

(Still only the second-best concert ever, Tim)

15 October 2008

choose your time zone wisely

happy birthday, jarmstro,

smartest human I know!

you should read his blog and leave best wishes...
(because it's waaay more interesting than mine)

sugoi, ne? desu yo.

(it's the 16th, btw, but he's in Japan, so he really lives in the future for most of us)

13 October 2008