24 December 2009

I repeat

Five years gone.

I may have accomplished quite a fair amount throughout the duration, but I still hate it.

Not a surprise, of course; just a reminder...

15 December 2009


Hey all! Apparently promising more frequent updates guarantees less frequent updates... I guess I've been a bit busy lately? Excuses, excuses. Let's rock.


My new method of therapeutic activity is, umm, acceptable... I took a week or so off after Thanksgiving, partially because I hadn't had a break since July, and partially because I felt pretty much horrendous. Last week I kicked things off, though, going in on Tues and Wed to do e-stim bike, weights, and the Motomed (active/passive arm/leg bike that doesn't implement electrical muscle stimulation). I planned on heading over on Fri as well, but both Thurs and Fri were so amazingly cold - 15 deg F, 40 mph wind? no thanks! - and I was sore from Motomedding, so I stayed in the suite and did stretches and weights and such instead. Ha, as if it's that warm in the suite...

Otherwise, hmm, what's up? Wiped and reinstalled Windows on a virus-laden lapster over the past week or so - how exciting! Piece of cake, though, as I've gone through the process literally hundreds of times. It's tedious that there are about 1048576 "Microsoft Updates" (security fixes) to be downloaded for XP by now; XP is great as far as Windows versions go, but it's undeniably rather vintage. The most dangerous part is to become the resident "computer guy", as such introduces the risk of being expected to fix everything for everyone all the time. Gotta keep nerdliness on the d-l.

Oh well, blah geek blah blah. Not much else going on. I'll be headed to So-IL for about 2wk during "the holidays" and enjoying the kitty overload... It'll be quick though, as I need to be here exercising, biking, etc. One minor dose of celebration: I think I'll have all of my holiday-related shopping done without going to a single brick 'n' mortar store! Mwa ha ha ha. I can't stand crowd behavior, particularly at this time of year... Why do people think I'm going to run over their children in a manual chair? Are your little ones' brains slower than my push speed? Am I more dangerous than the average distracted cart pusher? Ugh.

Trying hard to avoid a massive gripefest. I should go before I become even more grouchy. My apologies for the whine, but sometimes it needs to come out. Such holiday cheer!

Let me know if you'll be in the cville area soon and interested in scheduling a rendezvous! Catch you again soon... Rocket like Goddard.

16 November 2009

not just monotics

Que tal, pals! Slowster McBloggypants, at your service. So much, yet so little, to cover! My grammar is awful. Let's rock.

Therapy has been, of course, grand. Err, mostly? The Wave [vibration thing] has been in and out of commission - mostly out - so I've not used that in a while. I haven't been on the Redcord [suspension magic] for a bit either, but just because we're working on other stuff au lieu. Bummer; the Redcord in particular is an amazing workout. Instead it's been the usual list of short and long sit maneuvers, stacks and stacks of weights, and a vast array of rolling and other prone/supine mat work. Zappy bike time is always queued up for the last part of the session, bien sûr. I've probably forgotten a heap of other stuff, but hey, it's been a while... oops.

On that note, for myriad reasons, I'm taking a bit of a break from hardcore PT! I'm overall not pleased with myself about the whole deal, but it seems "oh well" is my only available input option. I haven't really even had a break since early July (which involved enough car time that said week barely counts), so it's time to take a few breaths and de-fizzle. Ergo, for a bit I'm cutting back from real PT to, umm, essentially a glorified gym membership? I'll be doing weights, the fancy non-power-assist arm bike, and whatever else is available at the first floor Brasza workout area, as well as sneaking in Motomed and leg e-stim bike time upstairs when they're free over lunch and such. Unfortunately, I'll have to give up the other neato CSCIR equipment - Wave, Redcord, etc. - and almost all mat work while I'm on break. That is, I won't have dedicated trainers/therapists at my disposal, so I'm limited to whatever my daytime assistant and I can accomplish on our own. Again, I'm pretty bummed - it wasn't my idea, and I will inevitably regress no matter how hard I work - but I'm trying to convince myself that it'll be nice to be "liberated" for a bit. My last day of real PT for now will be 25 Nov. Anyway, I'm tired of talking about it, so there you go; methinks you get the idea.

BTW, other than some time in Cville for "the holidays" in December, I intend to stay in Detroit despite the PT break! I have at least one xlnt reason to keep living here, but it wouldn't make any sense to pack up and move out for such a brief period, only to move right back in. Puis, just an FYI. Any other applicable acronyms?

I imagine you might be info-saturated by now, so I'll save some irrelevantales for later. Feel free to reco subjects to cover once the barrel of free-time monkeys has arrived... Otherwise, beware of approaching mundaneity!

Check out the hook while the DJ revolves it.

24 October 2009

than never, ever before

Hey cats! rrow. Interpret as you wish, because I like nonsense.

Happy 2^10 day!

So, what's up here? PT has been hi-qual, of course. Weight work has built up the guns to a sufficiently high caliber that I've caught comments/compliments from random people. That qualifies as a self-esteem booster, methinks. A+ to exercise (poor puppies, they're sick). I'm not exactly bursting with typing time, so I'll say we've been sticking to the usual exercises that work and leave you to review as nec. Giddayup!

Mega advance: I've noticed lately in the shower that I can feel the warmth of the water on my arms down to my elbows or so. Compare to the previous mark of no temperature sensation at all in my arms, and there you go.

Here in the 3-1-3, we've cut straight to winter! It was nice, sunny, 75 for a while, and one day it warped to 45/gray. There were threats of snow. Ugh. Any day now, it'll be -15/frogs.

We caught our KMFDM pals a bit ago, yay! As Mr. Willis would say, "the jam session was excellent - the crowd roared like a lion in a cage!" It was a shame we didn't get to meet them after the show, but it was cold and late and we were in a sketchy part of town [ha, a sketchy part of Detroit... zing], so it worked out, I suppose. Here they are, as seen from the only "accessible" part of Harpos, behind the sound guy:

On that note, game over! A week or so until there's time to write for realz. BTW, speaking as a total nerd, TeX/LaTeX beats the MS math editor (and Word in general) at everything. Ok, go ahead, invent your own clever ending to post 100...

29 September 2009


Hey reader people! Bask in the glory of this non-update...

First, happy birthday, Les Claypool!

PT has been going strong with all sorts of fun stuff at my request - Total Gym, Redcord, Wave, Uppertone, cool mat work, etc. It's been enjoyable and productive...and hard, of course! As it should be. Progress: alllmost functional (nearing 2 or higher on ASIA strength tests) voluntary control of various abdominal and related core muscles! I already knew I could stabilize myself with trunk muscles quasi-randomly when wheeling around on rugged terrain and doing leaning stuff in the room, but contractions are becoming stronger in, dare I pun, a more controlled therapeutic environment. Rock.

Elsewhere, it has become Detroitly outside - cold, windy, wet, and most stereotypically, gray. It's just the start, though, as these adjectives will only intensify as they stick around until next May or so. Yay, gray. More merrily, the hardest part of my current write->proof->fix->submit task is over, chemistry relearning and all! Yes, that's intentionally and mandatorily cryptic. Enjoy guessing.

Elsewhere elsewhere, my Wii Tennis skilz are developing from "royally subpar" back to "thoroughly average"... Why oh why am I incapable of standing a chance in any of the tennis training tasks?? I'm better at boring people away from the e-stim bikes, it seems. Watching simulated doubles matches is apparently not too enthralling.

Eh, I don't have much more to contribute, and Jeopardy[!] is distracting my nerdly soul. My apologies; a few more weeks of severely busy before worthwhile (err, less worthless) updates return. Until then... Rocket!

10 September 2009

tossing up

Hey strangers! Here's a quickie while I'm on self-regulated break...

PT has been mostly the usual stuff, with emphasis on the Wave vibration plate exercises and time in/on the Total Gym - one of my favorite activities has been playing catch [extremely poorly] while on the T-Gym or in long sit position, throwing one of those large kiddie rubber bouncy balls back and forth with my trainer. Catching = easy, throwing = not so much. I play with quite a few children's toys...

The most hilarious (and one of the most difficult) tasks has been, um, "extra strength" wheelchair propulsion? To start benignly, let's push around outside, going a fairly long distance, checking out inclines/declines/ramps/etc. To spice it up, add 1) wrist weights, 2) a trainer trying to pull me backwards via stretchy exercise tubing tied to the back of my chair. That's right, wimpy jlink, armed with wrist weights (pun severely intended), pulling someone around DMC campus in the manuchair. Someone fetch a little red wagon.

There has been one completely new exercise system for me as of last Friday. Recently the CSCIR acquired a Redcord suspension weapon, which is, in short, a bunch of bungee-style stretchy tubing (colored red, of course, or else they need a naming consultant) hanging from the ceiling. The apparatus is used to suspend the participant partially or completely above a standard therapy mat table, facilitating myriad exercises with better manipulation of weight distribution to improve task efficiency. Royally confusing? This might help.

On Friday I did two activities in "modified prone on elbows" position, face down, elbows in contact with the mat, but with the rest of my body suspended. First were scapular protractions, aka shoulder-powered pushups through elbows; in the suspended position, this works not only paraspinals and rhomboids, but also all sorts of traps and "chin tuck" muscles to keep from swinging all over the place (ha ha, sorry, dust off your anatomy book for that sentence). The other was the dynamically stationary army crawl, where I push my body forward and back through my elbows - like taking one crawl-step forward and then one back, such that I wouldn't actually go anywhere. This is waaaay better on the Redcord than our old method of rolling on bolsters! Let's just say the bolster way was rather unpleasant... So, yay, new and cool therapeutic weaponry.

That's about it for phys ther... What else? The alischool year has started here in the 3-1-3, and I've/we've been super mega busy lining up PA help to cater to my toddler needs during the day on weekdays. It's working out extremely well so far. HIPAA says I shouldn't mention anything else.

Speaking of top secrecy, my apologies, I've been writing stuff other than blog posts lately, so updates have been scarce. Lo siento again. I'm reminded that I can't do high school-level math anymore, and that I remember approximately no chemistry whatsoever... Thus, more apologies, I'll still be ravenously busy for a bit longer and probably won't be able to afford much postage. If you're itching for jlink blog amusement - ha, yeah right - feel free to re-browse around last March's musical posts and comment away! Also, I'll gladly throw in a plug for the jarmstro's endlessly entertaining musings. Read, foo!

Ok, that's about it. My vintage electric razor finally bit the dust, so I got a new one and I'm trying to raze on a regular basis - we'll see how long that lasts. It doesn't help that I have three-day stubble after about 20min... Howl, it's the wolfman. Rocket.

11 August 2009


Hey all! Perhaps I should update this century. Prepare for rambling nonsense, as always.

PT activities have been hi-qual. Beyond the typical e-stim biking, weights, and mat work, I've gotten to do Total Gym stuff and real arm biking several times... Weee. It's hard work, but oh well - easy therapy is pointless! Frighteningly enough, it's easier/less traumatizing for my posture and blood pressure to be upright in the T-Gym Norris Machine than it is to sit in the manual chair; maintaining the 90-90 position for so long isn't a truly natural human trick. Speaking of, I guess I'm getting better in the manuworld, as I don't even remember when I last used the power chair... Remember the part where at least one of my doctors told me the manuchair would be impossible and I'd be stuck in a power chair forever? Hmmm!

The biggest PT change has been that the facility was moved to a different part of the building. Today was my first session in the new digs. I was expecting a horror but was pleasantly surprised! Anything is a step down from the incredible space we used to have, but the new place is, umm, sufficiently mediocre? The track is tiny, pathetic, and barely usable, but otherwise, it's a workable setup. If nothing else, it's warmer! We'll see how it goes after inpatient neuro moves in next door.

In OT world, a bit of a surprise - monaliso came on Thurs to learn about crazy underwater hand e-stim and the like... And then I was discharged! Nobody gave me a warning...explanation...anything... I think it's that I do enough OT stuff on my own that sessions are superfluous? Who knows. I hope I wasn't kicked out.

Otherwise, life is incredibly busy but incredibly fantastic. A zillion deadlines are fast approaching, but I'm still in procrastination phase (permanently, of course). The "live-in caregiver" is moving in very soon, but I still need to organize further daily assistance, as she'll start her real job bastante pronto... I had forgotten how much work [and potentially fun] it is to teach personal assistants from scratch. I know I need to be bossy, but that's not exactly one of my best skills. Whew.

Umm, what else? I finally have my nice speakers up here, yay! No more agonizingly tinny laptop audio, and I don't have to wear the C-clamp-on-my-massive-melon headphones all the time to enjoy snob-certified sound. Oh bro, I learned from the best :-/ Now if I could just have a kitty or two, I'd never leave the room.

oook, food, proofread, post... Thunderbirds are go!

29 July 2009


Hey all! I've been feeling rather fevery for a few days, but here's something (zealously cropped for privacy) to enjoy:

That's right, weight-bearing through my legs on the Norris-endorsed Total Gym (recall, nerds, vertical force here = earth's gravity times my mass times the sine of the angle of incline [F_y = mGsinθ]).

And, much to the shock and dismay of myriad anti-progress folk, my bones didn't turn into calcium-flavored Jell-O! Ha.

It's a start - finally a move in the right direction.

23 July 2009


Here's a quick shot of the aforementioned arm bike, bad posture and all. Woohoo.

Happy whatever. Word out.

19 July 2009



Hi-qual PT and OT this week! Tues/Wed PT was actually not that phenomenal; nothing new the first day, and about 2h of thoroughly subpar mat work before e-stim bike on the second. Friday, though, new activity! Sandwiched between weights and zap biking was some time on the real arm bike. Think giganto wheelchair-turned-tricycle, with arm pedaling to provide propulsion through the front wheel. It's a hacked ten-speed, really, gears and all. I just did laps around the indoor track - no big adventures - although it was an adventure weaving around the zillion other people also doing laps. You might safely guess that I in arm cycle was a bit faster than others much harder at work crawling or walking on their own... Somehow I managed not to injure myself or anyone else. Weee.

OT was new stuff as well this week. We played the reschedule/cancel game, so I only had one session. Oh well. I think I've explained before that my arms are extremely hypersensitive, seemingly as part of the natural progression of improvement and extension of normal perception of touch sensation. For now it's to the point where I usually keep my sleeves rolled up so they don't constantly scratch my deltoid-region shoulders and make me flip out slash want to injure someone. So, in OT we're using vibration sensation to try to reduce hypersensitivity. It involves stimulating my arms with this magic vibration massage wand, starting with very tolerable sensation on the least irritated areas, currently my lower forearms close to my wrists. Right now we're dissipating some of the vibration by placing a foam ball between the vibration source and my arm, too. It's pretty benign, but we'll gradually make it more bothersome, increasing intensity and moving up to more irritable areas. Woohoo, doesn't intentional aggravation sound like fun? Like consciously getting a bad sunburn and then rubbing it with sandpaper... If therapy isn't crazy, it's not worthwhile!

Elsewhere, I just put fresh contacts in with record speed (not that fast)... I've still been rolling around the DMC for a few miles on nice days - long enough last time that one of the wheel batteries died after I got back to the room. In the rant world, some doctor felt it necessary to stand in the way of cars to lecture me on parking lot safety... Hope you're better at medicine than you are at real life, ma'am. Paralysis implies stupidity, right? Bring it. (Note: whine whine; people are in general not complete jerks.)

Game over! Insert coin. Au rev!

11 July 2009


Hey all! He returns, sort of...

Soooo, it's been a while! I'm not going to try to regurge everything; I think the quasi-accurate term for this is "taking a mulligan" on the past however long it's been, like blog bankruptcy protection. There was [were?] a visitor, a still-recurring fever, a trip to Central IL, many miles pushed around the DMC, and a heap of PT sessions... Fill in your own details, I suppose. It's probably more interesting that way.

My rambles are in shambles. More and better when I'm less pyretic. Word out.

29 June 2009

stormy eyes

m o. m o p. m o p p. Post!

PT this week: Tuesday was rolling and prone stuff on the mat, then rows and chest presses on the Uppertone, closing up with about an hour zap biking.

Wednesday saw a few new tricks, working with a sub trainer and such... First (last, actually), I ended the session with the usual FES bike party. The rest of the time was mat work - my blood pressure was behaving nicely, so we were able to do both long and short sitting exercises without issue. Legs straight long-style, I kicked off with a completely new task. We wrapped my hands together; then, like a prayer ninja, I held my arms forward with elbows bent and pushed downward against resistance. Indeed, it's not the easiest exercise to describe! Imagine you're on your knees, hands clasped, begging for mercy - from there, push your elbows downward against something. That's approximately what I was doing, except that I was seated on the mat with my legs out straight, rather than on my knees. Wow, this exercise works a slew of muscles. The actual push-down part enlists rear deltoids, mid/lower traps, paraspinals, rhomboids and lats (among others): that is, the back of the upper arm (higher than the triceps) and just about every muscle in the mid to upper back. Even better, as a side effect, this exercise works the "good posture" muscles, including abdominals, obliques, lower back and more (the "core"), as well as the upper traps and other neck-related, hold-your-head-up stuff. Hmm, how can we illustrate this? Try sitting at the kitchen table with a ridiculous slouch. Then put your elbows on the table (let's break as many etiquette rules as possible) and push down hard. See how your slouch goes away? Magic! As it were, the kitchen table description demonstrates the task rather well.

While you're still at the table, we can do the next exercise, and you can even help clean up. Do whatever is necessary to get the table at a bit lower than chest level and put an arm out on the surface, palm down (insert washcloth here for cleaning benefits). Now, wax on, wax off! The outward/arm-straightening motion (left hand to the left or right --> right) works some good shoulder and upper back muscles; the opposite move is good for pecs and anterior deltoids, not to mention cross-body range of motion. Instead of cleaning the table, I did this in long sit on the mat with a propped skater's sliding board, pillowcases, and wrist weights, but you can pretend I was doing busboy therapy if you want.

I next did some random short sit stuff for a bit since my blood pressure was remotely close to normal human levels, but by then my shoulders were rather crackly and in and out of socket, so there wasn't anything too intense. As previously noted, I wrapped up with the bike post-matting. End Wednesday session.

Friday was back to fairly normal stuff - typical Wave maneuvers, weights on the first floor, e-stim bike. Woohoo. Sorry, I blew all my words on Wednesdescriptions.

Elsewhere, I'm doing my best to wheel around and attract stares (I appear to have become a bit famous already) for an hour or two every day, with the exception of Thursday's rain and Monday's überwind. I'm traveling much faster and more dangerously than when I started bombing around a bit over a week ago, for sure. Still no accurate speed/daily distance numbers - phone GPS cuts in and out as I go between buildings (and isn't really to be trusted anyway), and though they have some distances around campus premeasured, I don't understand their crazy routes. Too bad the sidewalks aren't functionally defined, or I could just integrate! Pues, my best day was 3h, for I'm guessing 4+ miles. My posture is getting better, too, and I'm taking fewer breaks; improvements all around. I can even roll and play wheel bass simultaneously. Hyah.

Wrapping up, I'm headed to cville over the 4july weekend to meet with my Illinois "help me with managing paid personal assistants" case worker, who will hopefully [surprise] help me with acquisition of assistance up here. I should be starting OT when I come back, so prepare for tales of beans, marbles, PVC trees and mini-basketballs...

aaaaand that's a wrap! Stay tuned next time for more monotony and clean tables. Rocket!

22 June 2009

racing and pacing and plotting the course

Tag, Pepys! Let's see how this sprawls. A marvelous part of blogificating is that, unlike in more formal writing situations, I start whipping up a post with no plan whatsoever. Such is probably why it's never that good. Shucks. Let's rock.

Last round covered up to martes for therapy, so let's pick up at miércoles. And, miércoles! I only vaguely recall. There was e-stim biking for sure, as well as a giant heap of mat work. We did triceps extensions in the short-sit position - that is, sit up with hands on mat on each side; then, bend an elbow to lean to that side and push back up through that arm to straighten the elbow and return to upright position. This is amusing with barely functional triceps and barely measurable blood pressure... Further, my right shoulder exhibits subluxation (shifts out of socket) in certain motions, so we have to get it just right. I also did some prone-on-elbows stuff, i.e. face-down on the mat ("prone", opposite of face-up "supine") supporting my upper body off the mat by putting weight on my elbows. These activities are usually scapular protractions, which are basically doing shoulder-powered push-ups, and side-to-side weight shifts. Sem açúcar, prone on elbows is one of the most uncomfortable positions out there. Eh, whine whine. I think that's all for the hump?

Viernes was pretty standard, with weights, some long-sit entertainment, and a zap bike wrap-up. I'm no longer any good at Wii tennis; however, my score still magically increases when I am viciously trounced?? Wii Math is just as realistic as the rest of the console. Good riddance, Sarah/Elisa!

In the gorgeon of viernes tarde post-session, I took the opportunity to grab some headphones and push around the DMC campus for a while in the manual chair. I toured mostly familiar locations, including a few laps around the brush mall and a trip over to where the ER is and the pharmacy used to be, heading back home by way of the northern border/street-side/"[something something] Spain Elementary" sidewalk. I don't have an odometer, nor do I know how fast I go to do a rate times time equals distance calculation, but I'll randomly guess it was about two miles (3.2km).

Observations? People don't look before they pull into a driveway/loop from the street. There is no way the sidewalk curb cuts are even close to ADA compliance (you know, JKL/KG!). Pedestrians here scare me when I'm not a zinging electrified 1/4 ton of evil, though five-fingering my phone seems trivial when you consider how many large I'm sitting on at any given moment. I must modify my mobile music mashup, even if it means ruining my nerd-humorous total of 1337 songs.

Sábado, Henry Ford Museum! I'm not exactly a museum addict, but the padre and I had a few hours of fun. Mr. F was an industrial polymath, as it were, building trains and electrical monstrosities and whatnot. Not surprisingly, though, I was there for the cars and not disappointed. Go there if you're in the area or read if you're not.

Domingo, lunes were wonderfully uneventful. I went out and about both days, for a total of five miles or so (8ish km). It is outstandingly boring wheeling back and forth over the same few chunks of DMC sidewalk, but meandering too adventurously would be outstandingly unintelligent. Yay for the same people staring at me all the time, every time I pass. At least I've moved, chubbies. Get over it.

I guess we're summarized. I apologize for not having any jl pictures yet! Until then...

Sascha has not only figured out that I am no longer in my room in cville, but also solved where I have gone. Sorry, my little kitty, sneaking into a package to Detroit is not a wise way to travel.

Paz afuera! Wink.

16 June 2009


Hey hey, home fries!

Most important for this update is that Dr. Carlos Lima and friends were in town over the weekend to give a presentation on his OMA surgery, research, etc., over at the WTLTSCIR facility in town.

I'll share a better explanation soon, I hope, but for now, a quick refresher: "OMA" stands for "olfactory mucosal autograft", which refers to an adult (non-embryonic, not NC-17) stem cell transplant procedure that involves moving stem cells from waaay up in the nose ("olfactory mucosal") to the site of spinal cord lesion ("autograft", where "auto-" indicates that the graft uses a person's own cells). I had this surgery last year, 11 April 2008, and it's why I'm here recovering and writing. That's good for now, and I'll pretend you're in suspense until I reiterate the process more thoroughly or you reread some old posts.

Anywho, Dr. Lima's presentation was hi-qual if not a bit old hat, and it was good to see/hear/brag to him about progress. I like to keep under my hat the stuff that is most important to me, but take my word that I can do quite a bit more than a C4-C5 quad should (manual chair, anyone?), and Dr. Lima deserves some credit in that regard.

The other presentations were excellent as well. There was a showcase of Japanese "robosuit" technology, implementing electrically assistive prosthetics - exoskeletons, really - to enable patients with rather high spinal injuries to sit, stand, and even walk without other assistance. Wow. Finally, Dr. Steve Hinderer of DMC/Wayne State gave a very thorough analysis of available therapeutic activities; I'm hoping to get a copy of his slides, but until then I can't begin to do justice with a summary.

In the usual realm of therapy, just a few particularly special activities happened in the past weekish. I used a new weight machine, the Uppertone, over on the inpatient neuro floor (6) of RIM. Without buttering it up too much, it's just a different, more self-contained and quad-friendly weapon for doing the exercises I usually do with the weights at first floor Brasza's gym. I did rows and chest presses - standard weighty fare. Also, for the first time in a long time, I did rolling stuff on the mat. My shoulders were not pleased! Oh well. Otherwise, no Giger since my first session, but plenty of e-stim biking and some time outside in the delicious Friday weather, being warm and relearning how to travel in a straight line with the power assist wheels.

Today-at-time-of-writing, Tuesday, consisted of some random short-sit exercises, followed by Uppertone rows/chest presses, and a wrap-up of FES bike and Wii tennis. Blood pressure and shoulder muscles were misbehaving, so it wasn't the most productive session on record. Further, I was pretty much awful at digitennis - rusty! On the optimistic side, I didn't go passive on the bike, so my leg muscles are getting back into the swing of things.

Wait, what's "going passive" all about? Ideally, the e-stim bike runs in "active therapy" mode, meaning the cycling procedure is accomplished by my own muscle power through the evoked contractions caused by the bike's timed electrical impulses. That is, I am actively pedaling. In contrast, "passive therapy" means there is no electrical stimulation of my muscles, and the cycling process is merely the bike-powered rotation of the pedals with my feet attached. In other words, I'm not doing anything, passively going through the motions of pedaling the bike. Active therapy is obviously much better - it is real exercise, since my muscles are doing the work. However, the bike goes into passive when it detects that the necessary muscles are sufficiently fatigued. Passive is better than nothing, as it's still reminding the body of a useful motion system, but the goal is to stay in active therapy through the entire cycling session.

Eh, I guess I should stop and actually post. Those who know, bask in the glory of what hasn't been said... Rock out!

06 June 2009

chez j

Whatup rock stars!

Home sweet home, I'm back for more phys therapy in Detroit. We drove all day lundi, arriving circa 00:15 mardi. Delicious. No skirting around the issue - almost 12h in the car is awful in myriad ways. Upon arrival, though, joy! I had been assigned to a crummy, essentially inaccessible suite to start until a better one became available. However, when we picked up the keys, they were for the same [slightly less crummy, slightly less inaccessible] suite I was in last year... So, without delay, I get a roll-in shower! I'm a psychotically clean person; unfathomably important and meaningful is a daily real shower to me. Yay. I'd describe the two-room suite's layout and all, but last year's explanation is much more entertaining and inaccurate. It instantly felt like home.

My first PT session started about 12h later, consisting of two hours of eval and some time on the Giger. Weee. We didn't do the complete ASIA exam, but strength testing showed that I'm about the same as I was when I stopped in December of last year - not bad, as I went almost six months without any official PT.

Mercredi was the next round. Two hours of mat work, one hour of lower extremity FES bike. Endurance isn't quite where it was, but again, not a big shocker there (oh yes, pun thoroughly intended).

Nonsequentially, vendredi afternoon was round three of PT for the week ("doing the math", that means sessions TWF afternoons for now). We started out with chest presses and rows downstairs on the weight machines; then came some push-ups and such on the Wave vibration plate, followed by significantly better performance on the leg zap bike. Soon I'll be back to ideal levels with that exercise weapon.

Rewinding a day, we hit the highlight: manual chair acquisition! After entirely too many months of insurance battles, compromises, and plain old waiting, I finally have the thing. It's me-sized. It's comfy. With the power assist, it might even be too easy to push. Wheelies all around. Smiles, too.

I'm worn out and there are approximately 6.022x10^23 things to accomplish ASAP, so that's it for now. Welcome back to a blog with a purpose!

29 May 2009

easterly wins

Therapy returns Tuesday. Get psyched.

24 May 2009

broadway cast

Hey all! I'd been putting off an update until after my doctor's appointment last Thursday, but it had to be moved to this coming Thursday, so no stories on that front. However, today it has officially sunken in - I'm out of here pronto (prontito, de veras)! Anyway, on to irrelevant uncropped pictures of kitties.

First, the incumbents...

Simon says z.

There is no caption that could make this photo of 289 ("Tommy") any better. Big black thing = upright bass.

Here come the newest residents...

Sascha, my guardian (he's so mean?), says nothing for now.

If Katze weren't secretly a fuzzy barrel, she would probably slide off the end of the bed.

Buddy steals my lap while Sascha isn't looking.

Gratuitous picture of the lovecats Sascha and [basement] Katze, hinting that I need to go to bed so they have something more interesting to sleep on.


09 May 2009

buck shot

Pity the quickies, foo!

--still sick.

--wedding at the end of May --> heading to Detroit early June.

--hoping I feel better by then.

--I just took my contacts out with the help of my webcam; wouldn't that have been a delicious Youtube video?

--super mega awesome: MY manual chair is supposedly built, ready and waiting!

--minor hindrance: it's in Detroit.

--so goes the tyranny of the hunt.

I'm bad at parallel structure. Rocket!

29 April 2009

signing a cease-fire

*feliz a-cump!*

Hey all! Amazing how much more often I update when there are real updates, eh?

As mentioned last time, I'm cycling between wellness and not-so-wellness, not because I'm a KUB rockstar, but because I have a hi-qual Pseudomonas infection. The plan had been to break out the big guns and treat it with a superpowered intravenous antibiotic. However, we decided that I'm going to skip the antibiotic and tough it out unless I get über-mal.

"What?!", you say, "an infection that serious and you're not even going to treat it?"

Bingo. Commence ridiculous explicative analogy.

For most any bacterial infection, there is at least one "good" antibiotic that takes out the problem bacteria like microscopic machine gun-wielding Rambo. However, there are inevitably strains of the bacteria in question that are slightly genetically different, such that they are resistant to that antibiotic. In this ridiculous example, umm, maybe there are some bacteria with natural bulletproof vests or whatever. Anyway, when someone has this infection, we unleash Rambo to take it out, and he annihilates all of the bad guys but the few that have the bulletproof vest mutation.

To start, this is great - for a while, we just summon the Rambo antibiotic when someone has an infection, it toasts basically all of the bacteria, and the person's immune system either eliminates the few remaining bulletproof bacteria or tolerates them in their tiny numbers.

The more we page Rambo, though, the more un-tiny the population of vested bacteria grows (oh no, the "e" word). With overuse, Rambo eventually eliminates just about all of the non-bulletproof baddies of that particular species. But eek! Now the Rambo antibiotic is powerless and pointless. oops.

With most minor infections, this isn't a big deal; we can just switch to the samurai antibiotics, or antibiotics with grenades, or antibiotics with whatever relatively mild form of violence you prefer. As long as the bacteria we're fighting can't cause that much damage, we're not afraid to attack in a variety of ways, even if we're risking the proliferation of more resistant strains. Also, there are often so many different effective antibiotics that we can pick from them at random and no strain ever has a significant resistant advantage. For example, there are myriad Penicillin-like drugs (a Penizillion, perhaps), and we're free to use them as we please because there is trivial likelihood that a significant population of bacteria will be resistant to all of them.

However, my current infection is superpowered and megaresistant. It can cause pretty severe illness if it wants to, and the bacterial population has already developed bulletproof vests, chain mail, mine detectors, Sherman tanks, missile flak... The bacteria can battle everything short of medicinal nuclear bombs, and a tiny portion of them can even handle nukes, rendering those few indestructible to us.

So, following the Rambo pattern, what's not a good idea for dealing with this bacteria? Well, what will happen if we unleash nuclear warfare the moment we detect their existence, every single time? To start, great, they stand no chance. But slowly, the nuke-resistant strain will grow in number. Eventually the nukeable strain population shrinks until what's left are all essentially invulnerable. Problem! We can tough it out when we do this with the wimpy fever-bacteria infection until our immune systems clear it up, but the superpowered bacteria will likely take us out before our immune systems can deal.

It sure would've been a better idea to use nuclear bombs on the über-bacteria as rarely as possible so that the nuclear-resistant population would remain insignificantly small and non-threatening...

Well, I have a superpowered infection, and the IV antibiotic is its nuclear bomb. I'm not that sick, so taking the one effective antibiotic would mostly just contribute to the proliferation of the indestructible strain. If I become extremely ill, then it's the right situation to use this last remaining weapon.

That was a horrible, holey, unclear, and noneducational example, but oh well. Isn't [quasi-]natural selection great?

25 April 2009

ex falso

¡hola! Prontito.

Surprise! My conjecture about illness due to a rocky overload was not the case. I guess my psychic urology license should be revoked.

Pues, I wasn't completely wrong; I do indeed have a small stash of kidney stones, but they are currently trivial/benign/not the problem. Rather, I appear to have a hardcore infection that will require a round of intravenous antibiotics. Yay?

I suppose this is a fair trade. I've been up and down on illness symptoms, while kidney stones would have effected a steady decline, probably into hospital-quality sickness. Also, I don't know if it will take several visits to the doc to administer the appropriate IV doses, but I can get started on that right away locally, where I would have to wait several weeks to get in for surgery. So, I think I picked the right way to ill. Insert Beastie Boys jokes here.

Looks like only my head is full of rocks.

21 April 2009


Hey all! Here's a dose of past, present, and future... Not necessarily in that order.

First of all, happy birthday [yesterday], Ron! I think I'm prevented from saying who he is, but if you knew him, send him some happy thoughts.

Also yesterday was a trip to the dentist. Ugh. I usually don't care about such appointments, but this time I was abnormally nervous... From the way the rest of my body works, I've learned to tell when something should hurt, even if I can't really feel it; thus, despite copious Novocaine, seeing smoke coming out of my mouth and feeling that distant nerve twinge are enough to anxious me up sumpin' fierce.

Next up, manuchair acquisition progress: ha! As if anything new has happened. Let's keep dreaming for now, and pretending insurance approval doesn't travel at the speed of glacier.

On the return-to-Detroit front, I'm guessing it's a matter of weeks now. I still have some medical events on the calendar that must take place here in so-IL, such that my über-optimistic soonest return date is early May. Again, though, that's optimistically assuming the next issue is taken care of at top speed... Further, rehab is supposedly pretty full throughout May, so it might be a bit before I can squeeze into their schedule anyway.

Aforementioned "next issue": I'm not feeling all right today; I'm not feeling that great. Symptoms make me think I've reached critical mass on KUB stones - my math degree makes me a qualified telepathic urologist, right? I have a CT scan bright and early tomorrow to prove my conjecture, and then it's off to surgery ASAP. Scheduling the surgery is the potential therapy delay, as Dr. Ro-z is a busy dude. (Note: kidney stones are a pretty safe bet; I'm always a loaded calcification shotgun, but we only worry when they're causing problems.)


10 April 2009

the return of the non-musical

Hey all! Back to the grind of posting short, fairly meaningless updates. The music project was quite fun, but that was a giant load of work, and it's nice to get back to enjoying music, rather than strictly analyzing. Note to people who might want to pay me to do that: I'd love to - it was a blast - as long as I don't have to cover 20, 30, 40, 50 bands a day (I'm looking at you, "s*" and "b*" days). In fact, pay me and I'll blog about whatever you want.

Anyway, updates? I haven't said anything worthwhile since February...

As far as therapy is concerned, I will hopefully get back to Detroit by the first week of May. I'm cramming in all the various appointments I've been putting off - stupid bad vision, stupid cavities - so I don't think I can get back until the fourth or fifth at the earliest. Restarting therapy on 5/5, Cinco de Mayo, would be quite coincidental, as that was the day I started last year. Then the goal is for my return to Detroit to be a permanent departure. No offense to the wonderful small town of cville, but rehabilitation and recovery are far too important for me to keep burning up days here. With the help of the magicali, I think it could happen. First, though, I need to get my eyes and teeth checked!

Manual wheelchair update: in the molasses-in-January process of pushing equipment requests through the insurance process, I've made some baby steps regarding the jl-sized, power-assisted custom manuchair. Insurance semi-officially went line-by-line through my chair parts request, approving or quasi-denying each detail. They approved (again, unofficially) most of what I asked for, but there are several parts that they will either pay for a lower-quality part, or not cover at all ("convenience" items, though they have a rather skewed idea of what items are essential and what are luxuries). For these denied and halfway-approved items, I can choose whether I want to pay out-of-pocket to include or upgrade, or to do without. Without diving any further into those details, I had the opportunity to chat with the chair dude and pass judgement on these items; so, theoretically I am at the point where we're letting insurance know my decisions, they're sending their part of the check to the wheelchair people and the rest of the bill to me, and the chair guys will then put together my portable throne (ha ha, bad word choice). Thus, we've taken a leap forward, but who knows how long it will be before insurance finally finishes their part of the process; then the chair guy's expectation is at least five weeks after approval to get all the parts together and hand over the finished product. Ergo, I still have weeks, maybe months to wait - no doubt I'll be back in Detroit before the chair finally appears. After waiting months and months already, all I can say is... ugh.

Actually, there is something else I can say - a huge thanks to everyone who has donated over the past few years. If it weren't for your contributions, I likely couldn't have my own manual chair at all. For that matter, I probably couldn't do therapy either. You're enabling my dramatic physical progress, and I am eternally grateful.

On that note, let's hang it up for this round. There's more to cover - concerts and such - but I'll save that for a more desolate week. Until next time, go read some of jarmstro's recent math posts. Rocket!

29 March 2009

all over but the listenin'

Here comes the series finale...

AC/DC - undeniably, classic rock all-stars! Everybody knows a pile of their hits and recognizes them instantly... Nobody understands the lyrics, and nobody cares. The git riffs and solos are perfection. All he has to do is scream "yeeeeaaahhh!" into the mic, and everyone goes nuts. It couldn't possibly get much better for this band. They're TNT - dyn-o-mite!

Ace of Base - highlighting that the nineties were often as nongood as the eighties... Don't forget, she's gone tomorrow!

I remember hearing "The Sign", "All That She Wants", etc., on the radio at the swimming pool around 15 years ago. Sadly, I liked them then, and more sadly, I'm still slightly addicted. The nineties are sufficiently retro/roots for those my age, right?

Afrika Bambaataa - funk/rap/electronics masters. Renegades of funk, even. I particularly appreciate that they have typical goofy 1990 rap themes, rather than going on and on about crunk. As old school hip hop was supposed to be, they spent half of every song doing name checks. Yesss.

Bonus for tagging up with Überzone on several tracks for the Über-album Faith in the Future. "What is this electrofunk that's drivin' y'all crazy?"

Alarm Will Sound - a classical orchestra who focus on performing symphonic remakes of quite non-symphonic contemporary music. Their main album has been Acoustica (I suspect a play on the term "electronica"), which is a collection of Aphex Twin songs turned symphonic (catch Aphex about ten bands further down in today's post). It's impressive work - though Aphex Twin uses sounds that obviously do not occur in the natural world, AWS still pulls some slick moves with a bit of creative license (ok, more than a bit) to imitate Aphex frighteningly accurately. There are plenty of "you can do that on a cello?" moments, de veras. I would have liked to hear them try something completely out there - "Come to Daddy (Pappy Mix)" and "54 Cymru Beats" (yes, Jo, the broken printer song) come to mind - but that might be asking a little much.

Courtesy of these guys, I must always have a brief chuckle when I see the signs on fire exits. Naturally, it scores me some questioning looks from passersby, but oh well. It's a drop in the jl-is-a-freak-show bucket.

Alec Empire - yum, more digital hardcore! There's absolutely nothing to like about this guy: he's way offensive; the beats aren't foot-tapworthy, danceworthy, or even raveworthy; the bass electronics aren't pleasant; there's constant electronoise; his samples are a bit frightening; he doesn't even have the slightly cute appeal of EC8OR's female rant machine.

Citing all of that, of course I love it! My favorite sample: "besides, I felt that if I smiled one more time tonight, my face would crack." Thanks, Alec.

Alice Donut - obscure as punk can get without it being down the street in your friend's basement. Mr. Knight probably won't bother reading this, but I recall our pal Bill asking years ago, "hey Ray... Uh, have you ever heard of Alice Donut?" I think that, unless you are a member of the Donut, the answer to that question is fairly obvious. Even I only know about them from Bill.

The All-American Rejects - yes indeed, I sometimes devolve into a faux-punk emo fan. Let's keep that our dirty little secret...

Amy Winehouse - further proof that no quantity of drogas can keep people from making pretty bad music that still somehow becomes popular. I'll give her credit for her unique, Motown-esque sound, but I'll promptly take away such credit for still being so bad.

They tried to make her go to rehab, [and] she said no, no, no... But they made her go anyway.

Andrew WK - what a fun style, very standard rockish with just a dash of punk! They're very energetic and fairly positive, and their songs imbue something happy-go-lucky. However, like our pals from Nickelback ;-) , they suffer from one-song syndrome; every track they record sounds exactly like every other. "Let's have a party party party hard party party fun hard party and we'll party hard, party hard!" Repeat as necessary.

Anne Feeney - weee, current-era protesty folk. She's obviously passionate, but if you don't stop and at least pretend that there is an inkling of justice in the world for the occasional song or two, people can only listen to so much. An essential characteristic of music is the fun factor, and unfortunately, her factor is zero. Also, she falls a tad further in my rankings by reminding me of Janis Joplin... However, she is ranked very highly as a person because I deeply respect her knowledge, passion, and true concern for those who indeed feel the injustice of the world on a regular basis.

Antipop Consortium - quite the creative rap clan. I don't know much about them, but I appreciate their use of both bizarre and thoroughly everyday samples - a song on Arrhythmia lays down thumps and rhymes over recordings of a game of ping pong. Pretty slick!

Credit by association for appearing when I search for the Primus album Antipop.

Ape - a guy with a Casiotone, something akin to cartoon music... I have one album, and every song is about monkeys. I'm not kidding - one is a parody of [the wicked] Wilson Pickett's "Land of 1000 Dances", entitled "Ba-na-na-na". One of the best lines on the album (if you can call it that) is "ooh ooh ah ah ooh ooh ah ah ooh ooh I'm an ape". Delicious! It's probably pathetic that Ape made it onto my mp3 player...

Aphex Twin - the original Tim-inflicted electronica in my collection, and still my favorite. The music is just irritating to most, but it's also genius. Read up on background info. Richard D. James is quite the oddball. He wrote his own audio software...

Anyway, this stuff is the real "beeps 'n' clix". He never really caught on in the USA, where we don't really have a club scene, but his weirdness became somehow popular in his native England and the rest of Europe. Not bad, sir.

Rather than rambling more, I reco listening to "54 Cymru Beats", "Bucephalus Bouncing Ball" (my favorite), and if you're brave, "Ventolin (Video Version)". I heart.

Aquabats - stole my sweater. Not the green one, which Weezer took and then lost; no, the Aquabats made off with the red one. Ska is strange sometimes, eh?

Archies - oldies masters who are surely diabetic. Candy girl, stop pouring your sugar all over them!

Arlo Guthrie - alllmost "oldies", but I think he's more like Vietnam protest-era, along the line of but not as angry as Country Joe and the Fish (that's who he sounds most like to me, a menos). He's most well-known for the slightly-protesty, 18-minute storysong "Alice's Restaurant" (you can get anything you want there, excepting Alice), which gets radio airtime every Thanksgiving because the song's antics take place around the fall holiday.

More enjoyable, though, is Arlo's "The Motorcycle Song", where he rhymes "pickle" with "motorcycle", among other "clever" lines... I simply recommend hunting this song down for at least one listen. Remember, dumb = fun.

Art Paul Schlosser - be my valentine, oh twanger of comedic anti-folk.

Artless - because "beer is better than girls are"... They are most nearly classified as "punk", I guess, and they quite live up to their name. That doesn't mean they're not fun!

Atari Teenage Riot - not to be confused with the Ataris, we have one more dose of digital hardcore. ATR is possibly the least unlistenable of the digi-core bands I'm mentioned. Though there's still excessive noise and lots of rant/yell, they're occasionally melodic, the synth-bass is clever (as in slidey), and every now and then the lyrics are a bit witty. It's no EC8OR, that's for sure.

Of course, Kyle disapproves of their Berlin Wall-era mockery of Deutschland. If it weren't for that, you'd be a huge fan, right K Griz?

ATR supplied my theme song for my trip to Portugal - I recall listening to "Start the Riot" during our descent into Lisbon, and subsequently over and over in the hospital. It's a disturbingly appropriate metaphor for the journey...

"I would die for peanut butter!"

Autechre - semi-ambient, extremely intelligent electronica. Rarely conforming to the standard four-beat notion of rhythm, or any notion of rhythm whatsoever, Autechre requires an unbelievable load of thought and concentration to grasp the essence of their ideas of music. Thus, few actually like this stuff.

Further, "ambient" music usually tries to recreate the beauty of nature, or some garbage like that. Autechre? Not at all. They seem to aim for reproducing the synthetic world with their more ambient works. For example, "Foil" reminds me of being in the MRI machine. Again, few would choose to listen to this, but the rest of you are missing out.

Finally, mad props to my brother for teaching me to appreciate these "beeps 'n' clix".

All done! And ha, I actually did it! Time for a break, then catching up on what I've been putting off all month. Thanks for reading, and add in the comments porfav!

28 March 2009


Spread your sails to take in the wind. Happy birthday, Ms B!

The B-52's - mm, shacks and lobsters... My friend Nate and I - not bass player Nate, but the only other person in jazz choir who could sing down in my preferred range - used to sing "Love Shack", except with parts inverted; that is, we'd sing the girls' parts way low and the guys' up there in the clouds, with ridiculous falsetto and all. It was a sight to see. High schoolers are dorks.

Bachman-Turner Overdrive - b-b-b-baby, d-d-dumb = c-c-c-catch-ch-chy = pop-p-p-p-pular. Rock trick #2571416: if you're out of lyrics, stutter.

Bad Brains - I'm not familiar at all, but Les Claypool pointed them out as "real punk rockers" when we were talking a few years ago, and I'll take his word for it.

The Bangles - so we did "Walk Like an Egyptian" in high school pep band...including a verse where winds were supposed to put down their instruments and whistle the melody, just like in the real recording. Epic fail. High schoolers can't whistle a tune, particularly a tune they don't even recognize!

Along that line, I'm completely making this up, but bonus points for inspiring DeVotchKa to include whistling in several of their songs. He is incredible at it, btw, like a true instrument (not making that up). I'm sure they would cite the Bangles as one of their major influences...

Barry White - the subsonic love/soul crooner. I don't think I'll analyze why most people will put a Barry White album on the stereo... Only, Barry = deep, sexy voice + deep, sexy love themes.

(Math nerds: could we factor that to "(deep, sexy)(voice + love themes)"? Are those terms relatively prime? Are spoken languages groups as such under the concatenation operation? Linguistics nerds: would this make it a regular language? [answer there: no sir.])

After trying out for the high school musical freshman year and singing the tryout song "White Christmas" an octave lower than the norm (including that low C in the end, at "and may all your Christ-mases be white"), I picked up "Barry White" as a nickname. It caught on enough that my grandparents got a B-W CD for me for the holiday that year, which is how I know any of his music in the first place. I must say, his voice was absolutely subterranean. I could do it once upon a time, but my voice can't quite cut it since the tracheostomy. Sadface.

The Beastie Boys - my first rap exposure, and still probably my favorites in the genre. They've cranked out many a hit, all loaded with smart, nerdy lyrics: "I'm the king of Boggle, there is none higher \ I gets eleven points off the word 'quagmire'". Better yet, catch their brilliant observations, such as the completely non sequitur "White Castle fries only come in one size", inserted into "Slow and Low" on Licensed to Ill. They're also known for their oddball music videos, from cop show mockery "Sabotage" to giant robots in "Intergalactic" to yelling at a camera in the ground for "So Whatcha Want". Go look stuff up if you need any more background info.

I remember driving around with Tim in the Jeep, listening to the aforementioned Licensed to Ill tape and making cracks about their inarguably clever (or dumb) lines. Good times. This is when I memorized "Paul Revere", and I still know it - "I said howdy, he said hi!" We could have entire conversations with just Beastie quotes... Good times indeed.

I had a difficult time not being an idiot/jerk in several classes in college; one of my professors' names could be abbreviated to "Mike D", and it was all I could do not to make constant cracks and BB references that nobody would follow. Whew, close one.

The Beatles - you know who they are, and my stories are no doubt weak compared to yours. Help!, Revolver, and "The White Album" shaped my childhood and provide more memories by a long shot than any other music, listening to our scratched record say "Rocky Raccoo--into his room"... Though devoid of #1's, Rubber Soul has also been extremely important in my musical history.

Speaking of Beatles chart-toppers, their "1" compilation was the only single-band permanent disc in the van's CD changer. Though there were actually 27 #1 tracks, that CD was an 80min disc filled to the brim; we only had 74min blank discs at the time, though, so to make a copy I could just leave in the car, I had to leave out two tracks... So sorry Yoko, nobody likes you or your ballad with John, and "The Long and Winding Road" wasn't that great either. Thus, I don't know those songs very well, but my friends (mostly Jeff) and I know every single note and cough of their other 5^2 number ones.

Also to Beatles+van credit, they ushered in that vehicle's 100,000 mile landmark. It couldn't have been better - we were in the middle of "Piggies" and watching the odometer, and it went in rhythm even, "clutching forks and knives \ to eat the bacon! [click]" Marvelous.

Moving on, props to Paul for playing lefty basses. Some of us have to be backwards to be good!

Penultimately, you must ask jarmstro about this band. He is an encyclopedia.

Finally, a mini-survey: do you prefer the early Beatles style, their later sound, or something in between? Or, do you hate their entire collection? Sound off in the comments, pretty please!

Beck - delicious grunge and nonsense. You might know "Loser", "Devil's Haircut", "Odelay", or various others. The dad constantly tells me they sound like War (the "Low Rider" people), and indeed they slightly do.

Kudos to Beck for writing songs with utter nonsense for lyrics, landing these songs on the Billboard charts, and then getting everyone to memorize the nonsense. Have you ever paid attention to the words to "Loser"? They're not even sentences. But, the trick is that you know them by heart. Surprise, eres el perdido.

Beyond that, thanks for teaching me some other gangster Spanish, and for making me ask Texans if their trips to Houston are for pants.

Béla Fleck [and the Flecktones] - this is how you shred on the banjo.

Ben Folds - piano rocker, either solo or with ska instrumentation (but most definitely not the ska sound). "Philosophy" was one of the first songs I picked up from the Emily influence, and its intricacies/raw passion are a main reason why I liked him in the first place. He's a bit more sarcastic and a bit less passionate now, but oh well. He writes a lot about downstate Illinois; consider the recent album Way to Normal, named after the town next to Bloomington. Go ahead, math nerds, pile on the "perpendicular" jokes.

Mr. Folds is an awful lot of fun live! He came to IWU (in Bloomington) in the fall of 2004, and it was a blast. He took requests, talked to people in the crowd, poked fun at State Farm (whose HQ is on the outskirts of BloNo); he even did his usual singalong rendition of "Army", splitting the crowd down the middle to sing the sax and trumpet parts in the bridge. What fun.

Extra credit for featuring Cake's John McCrea on "Fred Jones, Part 2", and Regina Spektor on "You Don't Know Me". Duets for everyone!

Ben Harper - recommends that you not come around.

Benny Goodman - jazz/big band clarinet legend. Though I think Louis Prima wrote "Sing, Sing, Sing", Benny is the one who made that song popular. Thus, he can take credit for sparking my interest in jazz band. That drum solo still slays me.

Big and Rich - if I sang someone every Willie Nelson song I knew, we'd be moving on to the next line rather quickly. Nothing wrong with that.

The Big Bopper - he may not have any money, but...but...but...oh baby, you know what he likes. It appears to have nothing to do with personality.

Bill Aper - one of my favorite drummers for rocking hard and weird. Hunt him down solo, with Turf Surgery, etc. on MySpace!

Bill Withers - no need to wonder, for he has quite reiterated that he knows. He needs more sunshine, that's for sure.

Billy Joel - another weirder, more sarcastic keyboardist, and sort of an inspiration for Ben Folds. Everyone knows him for "Piano Man", but I'd rather hear dumber tracks like "Captain Jack" or "Movin' Out (Anthony's Song)". We also did "And So It Goes" in high school jazz choir. Anyway, add your stories in the comments, because I'm not the one who knows.

BJ Thomas - get him to rehab, he's hooked on a feeling. Is that a sitar I hear in his version of the song?

Björk - yes, she's weird, her music is cacophonous, her Icelandic accent is somewhere between cute and incomprehensible (doesn't matter because most of the lyrics don't make sense), and she has a swan suit... So, what's not to like? My favorite is "5 Years", which sounds like she's singing and playing Space Invaders. Oh well. Nothing I say will change your opinion of her in either direction. Just remember, she's the hunter. She'll bring back the goods.

Umlaut bonus!

Black Sabbath - a classic rock staple, with ubiquitous hits such as "Paranoid", "Crazy Train", "Iron Man", "War Pigs", and on and on. Extra credit for inspiring an infinitude of covers, and for selling their souls for rock and roll. I'm obviously a novice, but they had to be mentioned.

Blind Illusion - in reverse alphabetical order, we have the final Claypool band of the list. To be honest, they barely qualify as a Les band - he only appeared on occasion, and there are only two or three spots on their album where you can hear a Les-brand bass trick. Rather, they're just eighties thrash metal, and pretty poor thrash at that. Their album is pretty obscure and necessary to complete a Claypool collection, but I'm here to say it's not worth a listen. Sausage and Oysterhead aren't that hot, but at least they're obviously Les; Blind Illusion could be any crummy thrash metal band. I consider it appropriate that I accidentally typed "trash metal" above. Listen to Antipop if you need Les metal.

Blondie - is the name of the band. Oh, the eighties...

Blood, Sweat and Tears - not my favorite oldies group out there, but they did create the excessively catchy "Spinning Wheel", a CHS jazz band classic, as well as the excessively goofy/awkward "And When I Die". Oh well.

Blue Man Group - the famous crew of improv musicians/showmen, known for their impromptu crowd involvement, use of giant PVC pipe constructions as musical instruments, mime-like humor, and duh, painting themselves blue. I recommend finding videos of and articles about them, rather than having me attempt to describe them further.

In my OT sessions in Detroit, we would do what we jokingly called "blue man" therapy. That is, my therapist would put a random assortment of equipment and objects in front of me, and then I was supposed to come up with something creative and challenging to do with the stuff. This is a pretty effective way to come up with OT tasks, and actually conveys the idea behind the Blue Man Group fairly well.

Blue Öyster Cult - needs more cowbell! I can't imagine how sick they are of that SNL joke. Gold star for capital O umlaut.

Bob Dylan - every band in existence since around 1961 has covered a song by Mr. Dylan, the timeless titan of singer/songwriters. For further commentary I once again defer to the jarmstro and his blog, as he has already written volumes on the musician and will hopefully pen (err, keyboard?) volumes more. Bask in his glory.

Bootsy Collins - a founding father of funk bass. Enjoy the wiki-p for detailed background info.

Have I mentioned before that I've gotten to talk to this wonder on the phone? For a few years, my bro Tim lived in Cincinnati. Bootsy is also a Cinci native, and a huge supporter of the Bengals. He performed their theme song, and can often be found around town at promotional events for the team. Tim ended up going to one of their smaller events in his neighborhood, actually hoping to have some Buckethead stuff signed - Bootsy collaborated with Mr. Bucket quite often, appearing on at least two Buckethead albums. So, he went down to the restaurant where the event was being held, and there weren't many people there, so Tim got to hang out with Bootsy for a little while. Bootsy actually got a pretty big kick out of Tim bringing Buckethead albums; most people had just been bringing in football stuff, so seeing such obscure goods caught him by surprise. (I have those autographed albums now, btw)

As I said, there weren't that many people at the moment, so Tim wondered, "hey, can you talk to someone on my phone for me?" Bootsy said sure, so Tim called and said, "John! I have someone who needs to talk to you!" I said, "um, ok...", he put Bootsy on, and we schmoozed for a bit - my phone at the time had a terrible speakerphone, so I couldn't really tell who it was. After a minute or two, I asked who it was, and he dropped his signature "ah, the name is Bootsy, baby"... My jaw hit the floor. How are you supposed to respond to that??


The Box Tops - just received some important mail.

Brahms - ha ha, the original sleep music.

Bread - heartfelt folk rockish stuff...making it that much more ironic that Cake did a deadpan, sarcastic cover of "The Guitar Man". The guitar tricks are cooler in the original, so it's hard for me to choose which version I prefer. You'd think choosing between Bread and Cake would be easy!

Brian Eno - I spend loads of time talking about electronica/ambient artists who are skilled, weird, innovative, or otherwise interesting enough to be worth a listen. Brian Eno is none of these. His most well-known recent work is the "composition" of the startup sound for Windows 95. I recommend microwaving every CD and deleting every Eno mp3 you can find. There are so many better artists out there, even if you're just looking for ambient non-music to break silence. Just back away from the Eno.

Brian Setzer Orchestra - newer big band tunes that are still very true to the old school sound. They even appeared on the pop charts with decidedly not-pop tracks; "Jump, Jive An' Wail" comes to mind (also a prime example of gorgeous twelve-bar blues).

The whole band has some talent, but they are most thoroughly distinguished by their title man/front man/lead singer/virtuoso guitar slinger, Mr. Setzer. He's ridiculous - another one of those miracle workers who can't seem to play a wrong note. These people are so frustrating to the rest of us! His jazz shredding is prominent on all of their tracks; one of the best examples of his virtuosity is their cover of Santo & Johnny's "Sleep Walk". Wow.

Another worthless piece of minutiae is that he was supposedly obsessive/compulsive about cleanliness, always washing his hands and his axe almost to the point of sterility before playing. If you're that good, Brian, whatever floats your boat.

Bruce Channel - hey, hey Brucey! I want to kno-o-o-ow: is it pronounced "shuh-nell", French-style, or "tcha-nul", like what you flip through on TV?

His one hit was a van classic, as well as another pep band disaster; we'd play through the main part once on our instruments as written, then repeat with everyone dropping their instruments and singing the melody on top of the drums and bass line. Times like those make me glad I switched almost completely to bari sax for pep band.

Bruno Coulais - soundtrack composer for "Les Choristes". Purdy choral chansons, though I find little boys' choirs a bit irritating, and a pretty good French study aide.

Buckethead - virtuoso, at both guitar and oddity. Bucket and mask aside, he's unstoppable on guitar in any genre. In fact, buying a new Bucket album is a difficult task - if you don't have the opportunity to listen first, there's no guarantee whether it will be shreddy (Decoding the Tomb of Bansheebot, Kaleidoscalp), riffy almost classic rockish (Pepper's Ghost), airy lite-rocky (Colma, Electric Tears), pure acoustic mushy (Population Override), or what you're hoping for, which is unfathomably weird (Giant Robot, Monsters and Robots). He can do it all.

Let the bonus points roll. To start, he's collaborated with everyone: Bootsy Collins, Bill Laswell, Serj Tankian, Les Claypool, Travis Dickerson, That 1 Guy... Not to mention the groups Primus, C2B3, Guns 'n' Roses, Praxis, etc. Look at "Buckethead & Friends" for concentrated collaborative efforts, as well as the many I'm skipping.

Ok, I'm pretty much out of time, so I just recommend playing Guitar Hero II and unlocking "Jordan". Guitar Hero and real guitar are hardly comparable, but you should get the idea. eek.

Busta Rhymes - another one of my favorite rappers, for his ever-present humor and wit, as well as his constant about-to-flip-out vocal style. Woo haa! Further, he's hardcore like Quick Draw McGraw (btw, that supposedly rhymes).

One more day!

27 March 2009


Cab Calloway - where would we be without the tale of Minnie the moocher? Hi dee hi dee hi dee hiii.

Cake - "alt-satirical-country-grunge" is what I will call them, and they are my second-favorite band (behind the Les Claypool meta-band conglomeration). They're catchy, musically intelligent, simple-yet-complex, skilled at melody/harmony/bass/trumpet/solos/drumthump/etc., and sarcastically satirical as can be. Most importantly, their tunes are a blast to sing and play. As you've noticed by now, I pretty much always opt for their straight-faced, ironic covers over original songs.

Bonus points, as if they need any, for Les Claypool picking up one of their drummers, Paulo Baldi, to play in various Claypool bands over the past few years (and currently). I love having him as part of the Fancy Band and such - though their songs are obviously Les-dominated, Mr. Baldi always sounds like pure Cake. Smiles to that.

Otherwise, I don't feel like sharing any personal stories; just let it be known that my love for them is entirely Emily's fault, and that she and I have clocked many, many hours having loads of fun Cake-style. Pues, learn to buck up!

Finally, Cake is a major reason why I'm still determined to play bass again. It will happen. No "perhaps" about it.

Canned Heat - hmmm, anyone familiar want to pin a genre on the Heat? They're sort of blues bluegrass or something to that effect, I guess. Their lead vocalist, a huge guy in person, has a ridiculously high voice that juxtaposes rather comically. Score random flute and jaw harp, for added confusion. They might be an early "jam band"; several of their records have just one song on each side ("Parthenogenesis", "Refried Boogie"). All of that aside, you probably know them for either "On the Road Again" or that one about "goin' up the country" (I forget the title), which was on some car commercials a few years ago.

Remember the "600-Minute Reading Club" back in elementary school, which tried to get children to read more by offering Six Flags tickets to students who read 600min (10h) over a certain period of time? Sure, ten hours of reading doesn't seem that daunting, but try getting a second-grader to sit down with a book for ten minutes! Anyway, my bro Steve and I did that every year because Six Flags is magical, and I remember piling into our Jeep and always popping in the dad's tape (from vinyl) of their eponymous album to start the ~2h journey down past STL... "On the Road Again" was our travelin' theme.

I'm glad I didn't have a particularly normal childhood in the realm of music.

Captain Beefheart and His Magic Band - my only contribution here is that the Cap'n was incredibly bizarre, along the lines of Mothers of Invention and other Zappa work. Could be because Beefheart and Zappa worked together intermittently, with Zappa helping produce Magic Band albums. Don't take my novice word for it, though; read through jarmstro's backlogs and harass him for more info. He's an expert.

The Cardigans - yes, the girls from the nineties pop era, and they're a secret jlink vice. "Lovefool" is still the musical magnetic north to my south. If you've never heard their elevator musicish cover of Black Sabbath's "Iron Man", you're simply missing out on some quality laughs.

The Cars - eh, everybody knows them, I hope? I think they caught the tail end of the classic rock period, sounding fairly classic, but with a heavy eighties/New Wave aftertaste. Their instrumentation was a bit imbalanced, with a bassist, a drummer, keyboards every now and then, and about a dozen guys on guitar for any given song (ok, slight exaggeration). They had at least as many hits as guitarists, including "Just What I Needed", "My Best Friend's Girl", "I'm Not the One", "(Let the) Good Times Roll", to name a few. Like Herman's Hermits, they're one of those "sleeper" bands who, though they don't stand out as mega-popular, can still make a greatest hits album full of songs you know.

Those dudes from Six Ways 'til Sunday may have mutilated "Just What I Needed" into a ska cover... Someone needed to teach that front man to sing in the right octave. Yet again, "not as broken as Lance" Armstrong might have something to add.

Cat Stevens - continuing the "many flavors of weird" theme, here's another one! He had a handful of normal "hippie" hits (don't deny it, that's his sound), i.e. "Wild World", "Peace Train", and "Moonshadow", but he earns weirdo points for recording the Christian canticle "Morning Has Broken" and subsequently changing his name and converting to Islam. Figure that one out. Check with jarmstro here, too.

The Causey Way - insanity! They're sort of indie-punkish-oddball; the songs that matter have Mr. Causey singing/talking/wailing wacko lyrics, high in both pitch and speed. This stuff is pure crazy. What other descriptors could I provide? Their Wiki-p article is useless, but you should hunt them down elsewhere on teh internets. They pretended to be a cult.

I had a good time in Discrete Math 135, where our book was written by someone named Causey; nobody else cared, but I liked to imagine we were learning the Causey way.

Also, their song "Word Problems" aligns eerily with the Beatles' "One After 909"... Compare "everybody I know wants to know my brother's girlfriend's name" to "my baby said she's travelin' on the one after 909". It's like Pink Floyd and The Wizard of Oz.

Charles Mingus - jazzalicious, "Moanin'" bari sax-led work. He plays it rough and growly, as it should be. If you're looking for "elegant" or "pretty", you aren't looking for baritone saxamaphone.

The Charlie Daniels Band - some of the most popular bluegrass (and country) out there; also known as "the fat guy with the fiddle" (sorry, Charlie). Everybody knows his "Devil Went Down to Georgia", full of witty, clever lyrics and, umm, pretty busy but pretty sloppy fiddle shredding. Not as many know his (intentionally, I hope) dumb rhymes like "sittin' on a barstool \ actin' like a darn fool", which is too bad. Chuck D's band, though completely out-of-genre for the jlink, is enjoyable stuff.

Extra credit for inspiring Primus to do a cover of "Devil Went Down to Georgia", complete with hilarious claymation music video, Claypool upright bass flair, and an unknown fiddle player who actually plays in tune, for better or worse. Which recording/video is a matter of personal preference, though, as they both have their highlights. "Boy said!"

Further extra credit for using a very common meter for the lyrics; in Primus music alone, lines from "Devil Went Down to Georgia", "Jerry Was a Racecar Driver", and "Wynona's Big Brown Beaver" can be mixed interchangeably... Go to town with those.

The Chemical Brothers - masters of überstructured loops and insanely heavy beats in the electronica/dance/house/club world. Most clubbers recognize a fair number of their songs, though probably not by name.

First of all, they're waaay structured. Everything comes in units of eight - you know exactly when samples will come in and drop out, and when the beat will change. It's delicious. In fact, they poke fun at themselves for this tendency: "Loops of Fury" is so rigid, you don't even need to listen. This makes them great for dance... no surprises!

Also glorious is the extraneous window-rattling bass thump. To demonstrate, find someone with a big subwoofer and have them play "Under the Influence". See if you can get things to vibrate off the table, but don't break any windows!

Thanks to Tim for teaching me to appreciate the nuances of something otherwise extremely close to "techno".

Chicago - offbeat experts, to the point of irritation. Does anybody really know what time it is? (Does anybody really care?)

Chopin - one composition: etude, opus 25, #10 in B minor. Nobody but my brother has big enough hands to play that song so deftly. I can still hear him wail it out...

The Clash - ah, back when punks were really punks. They should stay; they should not go.

The Click Five - ha ha, what is this emo garbage? "Cool as a" what??

So I listen to Greetings From Imrie House at least once a week. It must not be that garbaginous. They did do a decent cover of The Thompson Twins' "Lies"... Your fault, Kyle! I'll take my chances.

Cliff Nobles and Company - creators of the oldies instrumental "The Horse", and inspirateurs of the first and only organized drum solo dance break in CHS pep band history.

The Coasters - all I can say is, don't talk back.

CocoRosie - sisters ("Coco" and "Rosie"), doing drugs and recording albums in their bathroom. If you can find Emily anywhere, interrogate her about them, as she is the resident expert.

Colonel Claypool's Bucket of Bernie Brains - a "supergroup", and creators of my second-favorite album in existence (after the Frog Brigade's Purple Onion, of course). The band consists of Les Claypool on bass, Buckethead on guitar, Bernie Worrell on keyboards, and Bryan "Brain" Mantia on drums (hence the band name). For a brief history and such, enjoy Wikipedia.

Their sole album, The Big Eyeball in the Sky, is profoundly bizarre. Each member is both weird and extremely talented, and the whole is far greater/weirder than its parts. Les uses his whole bass collection (no whamola on the album, though), Bucket uses all of his pedals and buttons, Bernie breaks out every keyboard trick known to man, and Brain explodes with creativity on his tiny minimalist drum kit. As far as lyrics go, there are actually several instrumentals, but the words to the rest of the songs are as weird as you might predict. There's a song just about Buckethead; there's a song about Thai noodles. Most of the songs are overly political, and now obsolete...

As awesome as the album is, the concert was even better. I have no reservations in saying that it was the best concert I have ever attended, and will probably be the best concert experience of my entire life. My brother, two of my school friends and I went to see it at the Riviera in Chicago, three days after the album release (concert on 25 September 2004). Actually, it started out a bit lackluster - Gabby La La was the opener, and you may have gathered from G* day that I'm not a Gabby fan. Further, I was extremely anxious to see C2B3, so any opener would have been at least slightly frustrating.

The C2B3 set was great. They played long, bizarro-jam-heavy versions of all the best songs from the album, with Gabby coming out on occasion to play sitar or provide backup vocals. The rather surprising part to me was who [my bro and] I ended up watching the most. With any Claypool show, you expect Les to be the highlight; especially, as a bassist, I'm generally locked on Les' busy hands. However, as the show progressed, Tim and I found ourselves gravitating towards the Buckethead side of the stage. As amazing as Mr. Claypool was, Bucket was simply mesmerizing. What a shock to me that was.

Anyway, again, the set was great. They were a bit sloppy, as this was the first stop on the tour, but oh well. Like a dream to me, the show culminated in my favorite song of theirs, and one of my favorites of all time - "Hip Shot From the Slab". I remember after Buckethead played about an 8min solo montage, Les walked out on stage with his six-string fretless and this ridiculous "alien with a moustache" mask on, bent over to his bullet mic, and asked, "whatcha gonna do about it, huh?" (the only lyrics to the song, repeated over and over)... Tim and I turned to each other and shared possibly the biggest grin ever. It was like a dream to me.

Squint at these dark, blurry pics from the end of the show, taken with my poor little Treo 600. One's of Buckethead - you can see his eye and mouth holes on his mask - and the other is an extremely blurry one of alien-masked Les. Consider how close we were, given that I didn't use the zoom. Enjoy!

If ever there has been inspiration to play bass again, this is it.

Combichrist - a mix of the ideology of digital hardcore with metalelectronica sound. Yup, pretty irritating. But with albums like "What The **** Is Wrong with You People", what's not to like? Thanks, Tim!

The Commodores - mmm, bass-focused seventies-era funk/soul/almostdisco. Just lettin' it all hang out.

Creedence Clearwater Revival - "southern rock" foundations. Oh, Fogerty, has anyone ever understood a word you've said?

CSS - is my favorite mistress.

26 March 2009

delicious bands ahead!

It's comb jelly post time day, by the way. I'll explain someday.

The Damage Manual - very heavy-handed "digital hardcore", but I'd call it electronica, as it is a bit too pleasant and more focused on intricate beats than angry noise. Oh well. Courtesy of the bro, I like 'em. There's my noisy two cents.

Danny and the Juniors - yup, "At the Hop", and that's about it. However, that song is mind-bogglingly catchy, and classic enough that it held a spot on one of the permanent CDs in the van's changer. Further, after listening hundreds, even thousands of times, I make the conjecture that he says "get your lips on a wet chicken at the hop!" It has to be true!

(Ha, you know that when you sing along, all you say is, "you can hm a bop a huh n ha and hm n he de da da at the hop" for almost every line...)

Danny Elfman - TV/movie soundtrack royale! He composed scores for approximately all of Tim Burton's films, from Pee-Wee's Big Adventure to The Nightmare Before Christmas to Batman. He also did copious TV themes, including [whatever the Pee-Wee TV show's name was] and The Simpsons, and even Desperate Housewives.

That cursed Batman theme was unbelievably hard to play back in pep band - high schoolers can't count - but ohhh, so cool. Note #2, our friend Mr. Claypool revered Danny's music, often trying to compare various Claypool bands to Elfman's work. At the Primus shows I attended in 2003 and 2004, random Elfman songs were used for pre- and post-show music, as well as intermission filler (pure trivia: on the official recording of Primus' show at the Aragon in Chicago, 7 Nov 2003, you can hear a few seconds of the main Pee-Wee theme before Les moseys on stage playing the intro to "To Defy the Laws of Tradition").

The Dave Clark Five - I've said over and over and over again, dumb/irritating/goofy = popular. Come on, let them show you where it's at... Flunking people in grammar class since the sixties.

Death Cab for Cutie - oh, Death Cab, how you melt me... I first knew about the Postal Service, falling in love with the lead singer (and copious electronics); at the time, I was ideologically against dcfc. Then I accidentally heard some random Death Cab song, and I freaked out. Since then, I have been addicted. He is like a dream to hear. I cried at their concert last summer. I am such a weenie. Let's move on already.

Deee-Lite - cranked out a few house/club ditties in the nineties. I must admit, I only care about "Groove is In the Heart", featuring not only a dude from A Tribe Called Quest (was it Q-Tip?), but more importantly [to me], a certain Bootsy Collins on bass and occasional vocal interjections. The song is just plain fun.

Back in eighth grade, I got to go to Disneyworld for some award thing, and I remember that for the intro to one event (same time I saw/met Christopher Reeve), an a capella group did a rendition of "Groove is In the Heart"... Brains hang onto the weirdest memories.

Deep Purple - providers of the one song everyone can instinctively play on guitar/bass, regardless of experience. Try it.

Dethklok - the stars of Metalocalypse on Cartoon Network's nighttime Adult Swim lineup, and everyone's favorite made-up metal band, in the vein of Spinal Tap. They're surprisingly good for being a comedy show first and a band second. Obviously, their songs are tongue-->cheek and hilarious. Their album, The Dethalbum - yes, they released an actual CD - is worth consideration for both fans of the show and Adult Swim-agnostic metalheads alike.

On the show and in the studio, almost all of the voices and instruments are done by Brendon Small, who also created the original Adult Swim show, Home Movies, and has appeared on nearly every AdSw show at some point. He gots da skilz - a modern polymath of sorts. Whew, comma overload.

Devo - equals eighties "New Wave". Try to detect it! It's not too late!

Die Fantastischen Vier - what's better than electro hip-hop? Electro hip-hop in German! Pretty catchy stuff. It means "The Fantastic Four", btw; I have no idea how they avoided copyright infringement on that one. Thanks, Tim! He said he used DFV as a study aide for colloquial German... Maybe not the best choice.

Dillinger Escape Plan - overly organized noise rock. I appreciate their cover of Aphex Twin's "Come to Daddy (Pappy Mix)", which is ironically already very much noise electronica. They will eat your soul, too.

Dire Straits - the Sultans of... classic rock. Impressive acoustic guitar work, and extra credit for inspiring some Weird Al covers. Plus, the chicks are free.

DJ Keoki - not exactly an astronomical DJ in my book on his own, but Überzone remixed a few of his tracks, so he is at least vicariously outstanding.

DJ Soul Slinger - as you may have gathered by now, the Slinger is omnipresent in the scratch world, and a jockey deity. His standard work is impressive, sampling and mimicking myriad genres, but I most adore his continuous mixes - that is, albums with one giant hour-long track of beats. He explores the turntables as if spelunking immense caverns of sonic creativity, and as is mandatory for the best electro-anything, he's not afraid to apply excessive window-rattling bass. Yesss.

Finally, extra extra credit for being inextricably tied to my bro, who first exposed me to the "continuous mix" concept. I am forever grateful.

Donna Summer - queen of the syncopated disco afterbeat. It's pretty hot stuff.

Donovan - because electrical banana is bound to be the very next phase. Saffron, anyone?

The Doors - eloquent crooner + drugs + drugs + drugs + even more drugs = this band. No complaints! Can you believe I'm highlighting a group who were ostensibly sans bassist?? A+ for Morrison's vocal range being close to mine.

I remember seeing the video associated with "The End" way back when, and being absolutely freaked out. The song still scares me. I saw the movie at too young of an age as well - eek. So much for innocence.

Tim and I rewrote "Love Me Two Times" as "Wash Me Two Times", a PSA for proper shampoo use... Nerd alert!

Doris Day - I know nothing about Ms. Day, other than that she did the original "Perhaps, Perhaps, Perhaps", ostensibly covered by my number two band, Cake. As usual, if you are first familiar with the deadpan, satirical Cake version of a song, the original rendition is even more comical. Perrr...haps.

Dr. Dre - as far as I can tell, the Doc has been involved with every rap album ever created. Empirically, so far so good...

Clearly I don't have much to contribute, but I refuse to be accused of forgetting about Dre!

Dream Theater - more prog/experimental rock "sleep music", which is a high honor in my collection. Sometimes they are distractingly mind-bending, but I can tolerate that!

Add please? !