Wednesday, May 31, 2006

shock and awe

From the NEW YORK TIMES editorial page, by Thomas Friedman:

...if you go to G.M.'s Web site, here's what you will see: an ad with a young African-American boy saluting an American flag, above the following offer for U.S. military personnel: "In appreciation of your commitment to our country, G.M. extends a $500 exclusive offer to active duty military and reserves when you purchase or lease select 2005, 2006 or 2007 G.M. cars, trucks and S.U.V.'s — just show your military ID!"

That's really touching. First G.M. offers a gasoline subsidy so more Americans can get hooked on nine-mile-per-gallon Hummers, and then it offers a discount to the soldiers who have to protect the oil lines to keep G.M.'s gas guzzlers guzzling. Here's a rule of thumb: The more Hummers we have on the road in America, the more military Humvees we will need in the Middle East.

You want to do something patriotic, G.M., Ford and Daimler-Chrysler? Why don't you stop using your diminishing pools of cash to buy votes so Congress will never impose improved mileage standards? That kind of strategy is why Toyota today is worth $198.9 billion and G.M. $15.8 billion. G.M. is worth just slightly more than Harley-Davidson, the motorcycle company ($13.6 billion).

President Bush remarked the other day how agonizingly tough it is for a president to send young Americans to war. Yet, he's ready to do that, but he's not ready to look Detroit or Congress in the eye and demand that we put in place the fuel-efficiency legislation that will weaken the forces of theocracy and autocracy that are killing our soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan — because it might cost Republicans votes or campaign contributions.

This whole thing is a travesty. We can't keep asking young Americans to make the ultimate sacrifice in Iraq and Afghanistan if we as a society are not ready to make even the most minimal sacrifice to help them.

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Monday, May 29, 2006



The past two days have been a jumble of activity. The last three days, really, since Friday I was running around on so many errands. Saturday was a day of crowds: first at the Broadway Panhandler sale in Soho, where the line to get in stretched around the block and I had an interesting and clever exchange with a woman who had cut into the line near me; next driving to Fort Greene and getting ensnarled in awful traffic, and where I witnessed much of the worst driving I've ever seen; third, at the new Fairway in Red Hook, a huge amazing market, much too crowded (holiday weekend).

Yesterday I went to the Museum of Natural History, but it was too crowded so we opted to walk across the park and go to the Met instead. That was nice.

Friday, May 26, 2006


I just returned from numerous errands. First, since school is closed for a long weekend, I swam early. I felt good and fast. Then I went to Soho to the Apple store to buy a sleeve for my MacBook for protection during transport. Then, still in Soho, I went to Dean and Deluca to buy coffee. While there I had an immense nostalgia blast. I remembered when I first moved to New York. I would go into Dean and Deluca and feel so excited by the rows of perfect vegetables, the deluxe marble floors, the white-jacketed workers. Who cared that it was outrageously expensive because I was finally living in NEW YORK.

Today Dean and Deluca doesn't excite me so much. In fact it feels pretentious. A guy in front of me in the checkout line bought a $50 piece of cheese.

Thursday, May 25, 2006



This is perhaps the busiest week of my year. I am doing fine with it, although my allergies are making me nuts. My entire head is congested, my chest also, and my eyes sockets feel as though they have been filled with broken glass.

I have not had time to practice the bass or organize the new computer. I am still trying to figure out how to divide labor between my iMac (which I am using now) and the MacBook. But I can definitely use the MacBook at school. Not only do we have wireless, but I can print wirelessly to various printers in the building.

Last night I watched the finale of American Idol. I really find Taylor Hicks repulsive.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

new, shiny and fast

I am writing this from my new computer. It is compact, shiny, and very fast. It gets wireless internet service, although I currently am only set up for that at school. I like it. It unnerves me a bit. I will post pictures later.
tuna face 2

Monday, May 22, 2006

Sunday, May 21, 2006

too cute?


I can't walk Mabel anywhere without being stopped every ten feet or so by people who are stunned by her cuteness. Even the ones who don't stop smile when they see her. She is unbelievably cute with this haircut, and her friendly personality makes her even more cute. So I stand there, overshadowed by my dog's cuteness, and get tired of answering the inevitable questions: Is this a puppy? What kind of dog? Is it a baby chow? I know that Mabel is flattered by the attention, but sometimes I don't want to be so friendly. I am preoccupied by the sword dangling over my head, which I hope will soon fly away, leaving me intact and unharmed.

I will receive my new MacBook laptop in a few days. I am excited. I will have internet access at school and in the numerous spots where wireless service is available. I hope the wireless will work in my apartment. Given the density of the population here it is almost guaranteed. Also the laptop can sit on my drafting table next to the piano, so I can compose more efficiently.

Friday, May 19, 2006


I am quite busy. That is good. If I were not, I would have too much time to sit around and worry. But there is nothing I can do until I see the next doctor in line. I am glad I bought this bass. I am having a great time and am becoming a decent player. It is not particularly difficult; the hardest thing is getting a good sound.

set up

Wednesday, May 17, 2006



As any old friend or family member can attest, I used to be a complete hypochondriac. I didn't know it at the time, but it was another manifestation of my bipolar situation. When I started taking medication years ago, my hypochondria vanished. It was a tremendous relief not to be tortured by imaginary illnesses and preoccupation with my own demise. Yet interestingly enough, in those days I was almost never ill. I would get my annual cold, maybe a touch of the flu every few years.

Now that I am no longer a hypochondriac it seems that over the past ten years I have been subject to numerous medical problems. The latest is just another one in a series. But this is the most troubling, and I feel that I am a participant in an existential game of Russian roulette.

When I told a friend about my situation the first thing she asked me was whether or not I had a will. I don't, but I am going to file one in the next few weeks.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

tangled web of branches

old trees

I received some upsetting news from my doctor at my appointment last evening. I am going to keep a positive outlook and not let myself worry too much. I have to see another doctor and have some tests, but there is no doubt that this is a serious matter. Changes my perspective a lot.

Monday, May 15, 2006

something new

bass neck

On Friday evening I bought this bass, something I had been thinking of getting for some time. I want to learn out of the simple desire to play, and also because it will be useful in teaching my jazz classes. It is a very nice instrument, a Fender jazz bass with a maple body, much more distinctive than the usual black or white versions. I have been practicing. Since I already play the guitar -- though I am not an expert -- the bass is already familiar. The neck is longer than that of a guitar and so there is more of a stretch required. This will be good for my extension (for piano) as well. I love buying instruments.

Sunday, May 14, 2006

Saturday, May 13, 2006

Mabel just got her hair cut.


Friday, May 12, 2006

money changes everything

A cousin of mine, whom I dearly love, wanted to set me up with her best friend's younger brother. She had broached the subject with me more than once, and I know that she had also asked my sister if she thought I would be game. I told her that she could give the guy my phone number.

In the meantime, since she had told me his name of course, I did what anyone would do these days. I googled him. It turns out that he was an immensely successful doctor, a specialist in a very lucrative branch of medicine. My cousin had described him as a great guy, spoke of him in glowing terms, and I have no doubt that he was. But immediately a wall went up for me. How could I date someone who had a monthly income that was far more than what I make in a year? Someone who undoubtedly had a country house or Fire Island house, an expensive German car, a stunning Village apartment? Where would we go out for dinner? We are from two extremely different classes.

There was an article in last Sunday's TIMES about how money really means far more in personal relationships than we would like to admit. For example, if you go to an expensive, elite college, you will likely become close friends with people who are quite affluent, if not downright rich. You (I), the scholarship student, would find that money was not a barrier, really (with the exception that I, rather unique among my circle, had to actually get a summer job each year). Our common experience would bond us. Where we came from did not matter all that much.

But once we had all moved on to more adult lives, we find that the money does create an barriers both psychological and material. I have chosen a life for myself that, in all probability, won't bring me wealth. But many of the friends whom I was close to in college and post-college days are now well established, wealthy, living in Brooklyn brownstones or in posh homes in wealthy suburbs (yick) with lifestyles so different from mine that common experience no longer applies. I am acutely aware of this construct, and it disappoints me. I miss some of my college friends very much, but the money wall between us grows higher and wider and more impossible to cross.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

phone call

phone call


On Sunday I wandered around the `hood taking photographs.


Sunday, May 07, 2006

Patsy would not sit still long enough for me to get a clear photograph. The others were cooperative.

Allergies tortured me and many others this weekend, despite the fantastic weather.

mabel's glamour shotpomona recliningtuna looking up

Friday, May 05, 2006


Today I:

woke up, had coffee, showered, walked Mabel
took the R train to Fifth Ave
had a duplex carotid ultrasound test (very unpleasant, with
this thing pressing hard against my artery in my neck for like
ten minutes on each side)
took the R downtown to Prince Street
went to the Apple store to look at the 12-inch iBook
took the subway back to Brooklyn, saw a student on the train
did some work
took a nap
went to the gym, did weights, no swimming today
my cousin called and I talked to her and my aunt
stopped at cleaners to get my jacket back
fed the cats and Mabel
took Mabel out; she was admired many times
soon will go to Ft. Greene to have dinner

self portraits


Thursday, May 04, 2006

explanations (partial)

Budeprion is the drug name for wellbutrin. It is a non-SSRI antidepressant. SSRI antidepressants tend to make me manic.

Lamictal was first use as an anti-convulsant but has been shown to be effective for bipolar depression. It does not increase episodes of mania and so is good for people like me (and it does work although I want to stop it).

Trazodone is an antidepressant with very strong sedative action. Without it I barely sleep. I have tried many times to stop taking it but for years I had horrendous insomnia and lack of sleep is very bad for bipolar folk. It causes intense mania.

Clonazepam is an anti-anxiety drug. I take it sparingly, as it is not without its addictive qualities.

I no longer know where I am in all this which is why I wish to stop. But it is like walking a tightrope when I stop, at least as I know it from previous experience.


For the last two days I have been hypomanic. It started on Tuesday when I felt a little tingling and an accelerated feeling in my head. Yesterday it began in earnest, but luckily I was also quite tired and busy which helped me cope and try to act as normal as possible. Today it has started to get away from me. I am trying very hard to keep myself in check. But things are moving fast, and my thoughts fly around in dizzying patterns.

lavender and red


Over the last few weeks a number of people--neighbors mostly--have commented that I look thin. "Are you alright?" they ask. "Did you do this intentionally?" They peer at me closely. I think that they think I must be sick, beginning to waste away. I tell them I am fine, that I have been exercising more. Or I might reply "well, I am taking lamictal and budeprion and trazodone and clonazepam and it destroys my appetite and makes me dizzy."

Speaking of all that, at my next appointment my doctor and I plan to discuss my medication. I want to reduce/eliminate as much as I can. An interesting experiment, if nothing else.


I now weigh about 145 pounds, what I weighed in college.

a list

Things I have done in the last week:

gotten my hair cut very very short (i.e. buzzed) which scared me but now I like it
played the guitar and actually practiced it
cleaned my apartment
did the laundry
hosted a colleague from another school to show him our jazz program
bought organic groceries and ate no meat
swam three times
went to the chiropractor two times
had a bad headache
had a bad allergy attack which kept me up most of the night one night

Wednesday, May 03, 2006


sleeping Tuna

My sweet gentle Tuna turned seventeen yesterday. I gave him parmesan cheese and a little bit of liquid from a jar of olives, two of his favorites .

Tuesday, May 02, 2006



The last few days have been tough. Nothing major, but just lots to do, some surprises at school, changes at the last minute, my aching back, and last night, almost no sleep due to horrendous allergy symptoms. Oh, and I got stung by a bee on Sunday afternoon walking along Washington Square Park. But I am tough. I am in a good mood despite all these little trials.

Monday, May 01, 2006


After years of driving their huge bloated SUVs people are screaming in protest over the cost of gas.