hummingbirdmadgirl: (Default)
so i used to be one of those people who would say, sincerely, "i never win anything" and that was, for the most part, true. (i'm talking games of chance type stuff, not merit based)

then this year i won tickets to see tom petty in a club (!!!!) and that was really awesome.

we're moving to hollywood on saturday, we found this awesome place off of hollywood blvd. it's nicer and larger and safer than our home in venice, and while i will miss a ton of things related to venice, i will be psyched to do novel things like sleep with the windows open, not have to look out for rv sewage in the street, or inadvertently walk into a group of kids beating each other up with skateboards. I'll miss the ocean, but you really don't get what you're paying for in venice. for a place WAAAAAY cheaper than what we're currently paying we get more room & a gym. plus we'll be near runyon canyon so i can take the bear there for walks and i can drink in the people watching of hollywood blvd.

so the jimmy kimmel show does concerts on hollywood blvd, which i am sure as a resident of the neighborhood i am going to grow to hate, but this monday Paul McCartney is playing and I figured, "what the hell, it's literally around the corner, i'm going to enter the lottery to get tickets" totally assuming nothing would come of it.

so i won tickets. which is cool because it will be a neat experience, but i also sort of feel like an asshole because i really don't like paul mccartney very much at all. but it's one of those things where you might as well do it because i imagine i'm going to be able to hear it from the apartment anyway.

so i guess 2013 is the year of good concert luck for me. plus i've got the breaking bad finale at hollywood forever, and while i didn't technically "win" those tickets, i still managed to score tickets for something that sold out in two minutes.


Sep. 5th, 2013 11:50 pm
hummingbirdmadgirl: (Default)
so i had surgery on my foot Tues morning.

this has been going on forever, pretty much since January when I hurt my foot while hiking a lava field. At the time I went to a podiatrist who decided it was fractured and put me in a boot for a month or so. Then when it still hurt and was visibly swollen, no one knew what to do with me until I found some eccentric rock star surgeon at Cedars. He felt confident it was a ganglion cyst, though the pain it was causing was atypical. While I found him to be smart, I didn't like him and didn't feel comfortable with him operating me as a masto patient since he seemed to show a lot of hubris when it came to the disease and his knowledge didn't match his arrogance.

FINALLY I found another ortho surgeon (another rockstar who works on ballerinas and athletes and whatnot) and he seemed to be a lot more down to earth and human about the whole thing. he hooked me up with the head of ortho anesthesia (as we all know at this point anesthesia is the hardest part of surgery for me) and we went from there.

so far so good. my left leg is still mostly numb as they applied a nerve block which meant less general anesthesia but more numbing to the affected area. as it turns out, while the surgery wasn't super complicated, the cyst was strangling the nerve it was wrapped around, which explains why it was exponentially more painful than it should've been. so now i'm off my feet and just kinda hanging out.

which brings me to the second point in life, we're moving. in like, 2 weeks. If i can ever share any piece of advice with you, it is DO NOT PLAN MOVING AND SURGERY IN THE SAME MONTH. It is the worst idea ever. between trying to pack, sell stuff on ebay, all while not being able to walk, it's less than ideal.

i am psyched about our new place though. it's an apartment in Hollywood, right near Runyon Canyon, so it should be a good mix of nature and urban. I will no doubt miss the canals and the ocean something fierce, and I imagine we'll end up on the westside again, but there's something to be said about being less isolated too.

3rd point, e got a pretty cool job offer from beats by dre. i was hoping it would be signed by either Jimmy Iovine or Dr Dre, but alas that was not in the cards. Still though I think he'll be pretty psyched.

that's about it. things are good save for the surgery. we're going to see the Breaking Bad finale at Hollywood Forever, I have _no_ idea how I managed to score the mystical karma for that event since it sold out in 30 seconds (!!!) but I'm way happy.

Also vaguely related, Fever Ray is a goddamn fantastic band. I am ashamed to be so late to their game.

Otherwise I'm pretty horrified at the state of the world, but at times like this I can understand why myopia is sort of comforting. i'd rather talk about the triviality in my life vs try to articulate how messed up things beyond my control are. i sort of feel like it's necessary. i've gotten so riled up about giant things where i have _0_ agency (apparently this is not uncommon for people with chronic illnesses) that instead I'm now just trying to focus on things within my control. which is not to say i'm playing some game of willful ignorance, it's just at this point i am unclear where to channel those energies and throwing tantrums on FB seems pretty futile.
hummingbirdmadgirl: (Default)
I am selling a ton of stuff. gothy stuff, gamer stuff, kitchen stuff, dog stuff, shoes, just a ton of stuff that is all nice and you totally want to own.
hummingbirdmadgirl: (Default)
For christmas last year, my brother in law got me a fitbit. i don't use it to track sleep or calories, but i do use it to track my steps each day. it's been a great motivator since it holds me accountable for my movement. there are some frustrating things like the fact it doesn't know when i'm standing vs sitting or when i'm using my arms (90 minutes of poi mean nothing to fitbit!) but i love it. it's also good because it keeps me accountable for making sure that Bones gets enough exercise too. He loves to walk, though as it's been warmer out we've been taking longer walks in the evening with a few shorter walks during the day. french bulldogs are notoriously bad at regulating their body temperature due to the shape of their heads so taking him for long walks midday is just out. but making sure he gets exercise is important since if he gets too fat, getting him back to a healthy weight would be difficult (again due to the breed's tendency to overheat). So during the day we have a couple short walks and at night we either walk him on the canals or on the boardwalk. he's a total rockstar on the boardwalk with people taking his picture, playing with him, you'd really think he was part of the unofficial show that is Ocean Front Walk. I always love those walks the best, it's a dramatic contrast to the multi million dollar serenity of the canals, but he always seems -so- happy after hitting the boardwalk, there's always just this adorable bounce in his step after getting lavished with love from strangers and he'll look up at me or ethan with this doggie grin that almost says, "i wish we could do this every day!"

a year or two ago the city of Venice put all these new ordinances into play to clean up the boardwalk, probably in an effort to make it more appealing to all the silicon beach people moving in along with the Google offices. They cut down on performance artists, what people could and couldn't sell on the boardwalk, and they banned dogs on the weekends from 11am to 8pm, which is kind of a bummer, but it has made for some awesome sunset walks along the beach.

last night we were sitting in our tv room when we heard a cacophony of sirens and helicopters. there are usually sirens and helicopters in venice, especially in the summer on the weekends, but this was -intense-, like nothing i had ever heard before. i checked on twitter and saw that there had been an accident on Ocean Front Walk, which in and of itself was horrific. So many people, so many street vendors, it must have been total chaos. At first I thought, like most people did, that it was an accident, that someone was high or drunk and did something stupid, however as more details came to light it sounded scarier and scarier. The driver actually drove half a mile on the boardwalk mowing down 12 people in the process. Security footage showed that he was actively swerving to the left and right, seemingly trying to hit people. It also showed that he stopped his car to get debris off it before continuing on his rampage. I guess an hour or so later he showed up at the Santa Monica police house asking cavalierly "So, here I am, how many people did I kill?"

He killed one woman who was visiting, on her honeymoon, from Italy. One person is in critical condition, and he -just- missed murdering a friend of mine who sells hoops.

I'm just sort of surprised how much this has left me shaken.
hummingbirdmadgirl: (Default)
a week or two ago a friend contacted me about being in an indie film with her. she's not a hardcore performer either, and is pretty laid back and not at ALL into anything entertainment industry related (she's a lawyer) and I was like "yeah sure, just remind me about it and we'll see what happens". I figured it would be fun to light up and screw around. i asked if we should dress a certain way (no) and what the scene was (no idea) so i just wore what i'd been wearing all day (jeans and a tank top that had cojoined twin fetal skeletons on it - classy)

so yesterday was the "indie movie" shoot, and neither Ethan or I had plans and we were game for adventure and itching to burn so we figured it would be a good time. i think after living in boston and seeing so many "indie movie" shoots that consisted of students and a few digital cameras I assumed the shoot would be tiny, haphazard, and low key. so we drove into DTLA expecting to spend a couple hours shooting. my impression that this indie movie shoot must have had a budget of $10 was somewhat strengthened by the fact that -we- were the fire performers, as opposed to Fire Groove or any of the other professional fire troupes out here.

Obviously there are times where we apparently forget we live in Los Angeles.

we got down to the location around call time and were met with tables upon tables of craft services. like, seriously fancy buffet food, probably fancier than some weddings i've been to. that was the first sign that this movie was perhaps bigger than we thought it was going to be. there was a makeup tent with like, 5 makeup artists, costumes, embellishments for people's costumes, stiltwalkers, drag queens, the viking cast from those "what's in your wallet" commercials (seriously, they were in fact the same actors, i heard them talking about it), hipsters, hundreds of extras walking around looking like a gay pride parade had exploded in the parking lot. This made sense as we found out the scene we were shooting was in fact a gay pride parade. an extremely surreal gay pride parade at night. at this point I was really curious as to where we were going to be holding this parade since there were only mostly main roads around us, and the few side roads available were very tiny and wouldn't look at all believable. i also didn't see any floats or cars or anything that looked particularly parade like so i was pretty confused as to where our awesome parade was going to be.

i also realized that my aforementioned shirt was highly inappropriate compared to all the fabulousness around me. all love and light and rainbows and then me with cojoined twin skeleton shirt just seemed wrong. THANKFULLY i was wearing this pretty awesome yoga top/sports bra thing from the om collection that, while boob tastic, worked a lot better with the scene. while running around half dressed in public is really not my thing, it seemed more appropriate. plus skin is less flammable than anything you can wear so yay, bra it was. after that, i went over to make up to get all prettied up, still wondering where our awesome parade was going to take place.

there were 6 fire dancers and 1 fire breather in total so we broke down who was best at what (since we all worked with multiple tools) and were screwing around, unlit, in the backlot while the rest of the extras were taken to the set. we were going to be shot toward the end for safety reasons, since we didn't want to set anyone's costumes on fire or anything (since there were lots of people wearing feathers or other really flowy/flammable stuff.) so we had a fair amount of downtime to just hang out and play with our tools.

when we were finally brought over to our set, it turned out they had shut down wilshire boulevard, at night, on a friday for our shoot. that would be comparable to shutting down mass ave or something. the set was HUGE with giant floats everywhere, cameras everywhere, cameras attached to cameramen, on risers, this was very much not what any of us were expecting. they had those giant aerial balloon lamp things, some sort of gels that I guess did color correction, it was intense. Hundreds of people milling about, lots of spectators, so very very much not what I ever expected to be a part of.

Then we were up. The director was in LOVE with fire breathing, so Ethan and I stood behind the fire breather and rocked out with our hoops (on and off body) for about 5 minutes. Then the rest of the fire performers went up and repeated the scene. I guess due to safety concerns they couldn't have all 7 of us on set at once without moving the parade back about 10 feet and that was going to be a huge production so instead they just shot us in groups and eventually will edit the footage together. After we were done, we were kind of bummed out as I think we all wanted to do multiple takes, both to nail our form but also because we wanted to burn more. Initially they had us hang out for a while because they weren't sure if they would need us again, so we rebelled and had an impromptu burn in the parking lot behind the shoot. which really was totally warranted since we spent about 5 hours hanging out for 5 minutes of actual work.

it's funny because i am a total fire novice, (honestly i think about half of us were) but when you get a group of people together doing basic stuff with fire, it still manages to look pretty awesome, especially to people who have no experience with it. i've also noticed this when i've gotten to see conclave practice for burning man, there are a handful of people doing really amazing tech stuff and a ton of people doing pretty basic stuff, but it's enthralling just based on the sheer number of people, and i'm past the "fire is pretty solely for being fire" stage of things.

so yeah, that was incredibly random and cool and huge and unexpected. i am very grateful for the opportunity though i am completely baffled at how people can do that as a job, the whole hurry up and wait thing is really dreary after a while. but then it was also incredibly fun when we weren't waiting, and it will be really interesting to see what the final product is like. just to give you an idea of what i didn't know i was getting myself into, this is the buzz the movie is already generating so that's something else all right.


Jul. 30th, 2013 03:58 pm
hummingbirdmadgirl: (Default)
Growing up my family always had wolfhounds. They are these huge, majestic dogs with a long and storied past starting off as war and sheep dogs and eventually being revitalized as pets. my father always refused to teach them tricks outside of sitting, staying, and house training, as he felt like it was demeaning to make them behave like circus clowns. I'd always be slightly jealous when I'd see dogs that could do all sorts of ridiculous behaviors, but I was also sort of proud of the fact that our dogs retained the bulk of their individuality. this is something i've carried over into how i've raised my own dog. he's well behaved but he's not trained to perform. He's my companion, he's not around for me to get youtube hits or facebook likes.

When I was 7 Ringling Brothers Circus announced that they would be showing a live unicorn. I was a 7 year old girl so obviously i was all about the horses and the unicorns, and as such i was ridiculously excited. Then my parents explained to me that the unicorn was actually a goat who, somehow, had had its horns surgically manipulated so that they would grow into one horn in the middle of its forehead. I was -horrified-. Even at 7, this seemed far worse than any of the medical oddities I'd seen at various state fairs ("come see the two headed goat, the 5 legged calf") since it was an aberration that was man made solely for the sake of entertainment vs flaws in nature which were not intentional. I never went to see an animal based circus again.

Even though we owned aquariums and I loved marine biology, we never went to Sea World. We went to tons of zoos and aquariums that were accredited but my parents felt like there was no educational purpose behind Sea World and therefore it would be a waste of money and time. I wasn't particularly drawn to going since it looked large and mawkish, though I would've loved to have seen an Orca up close. I'd seen all sorts of sharks and even beluga whales, so the idea of seeing an Orca was super appealing.

Yesterday I went to see Blackfish ( and in hindsight I am SO happy that my parents opted out of taking me to Sea World as it essentially goes against every single thing I was ever taught in terms of respecting animals. Those animals are treated with less dignity than bettas, and at a great cost, both to them and to their trainers. Sea World is -awful-. I had no idea it included people standing on whales or riding them or making them enact all sorts of completely ridiculous behaviors that they would never come close to engaging in the wild.

Obviously the film has a heavy bias against the corporation but you can't deny the fact that the bulk of the "trainers" have no backgrounds in marine biology and are hired on their looks and swimming ability (something that was attested to by a bunch of former trainers) and all they do is parrot pre determined commands to the whales using operant conditioning. This is clearly not safe for either the whales (who live in tiny pools) or the trainers (who, when the whales do react negatively are essentially on their own since, you know, whales.) Their lack of understanding of the animals coupled with poor living conditions has resulted in numerous trainer deaths or severe injuries.

What really killed me was learning how many of their animals are still wild caught. As someone who was an avid aquarist for years, who still owns lizards, one of my main personal rules was that none of my pets could be wild caught, they all had to be captive bred. Most recently during my horribly failed jellyfish tank experiment, I found out that one of the suppliers for jellies was using wild caught animals and i was enraged. And we're talking about -jellyfish- which are not known for either their intelligence or their pod behavior. But whales and dolphins are...and to realize that these parks are separating families solely for the purpose of entertainment is gut wrenching, especially since orcas travel in pods their entire lives...even whales born in captivity are taken from their mothers in instances where either the babies or the mothers end up not performing up to par as a result of the distraction of the whole mother/child bond. But even just watching/reading how many of these animals live seriously shortened lifespans in captivity made me sick...because again as someone who has owned animals as a hobby, I quickly have come to realize there are some animals I could not care for properly (either do to the environment or something as embarrassing as user error) and in those instances I STOPPED TRYING. Because when you're constantly killing animals that you don't know how to adequately care for, you need to be responsible and stop.

Anyway, Blackfish is an astounding movie. There are absolutely times where the filmmaker's bias bothered me slightly, though realistically they are trying to pack in decades of a story into a shortish documentary. The film easily could have been another hour and I wouldn't have even minded. It's a really great and simple examination into why sea mammals should not be used for entertainment purposes and how companies like Sea World are not being held accountable both for endangering whales and humans. I also can't remember the last time a movie made me cry like that, I think it must've been Requiem for a Dream.
hummingbirdmadgirl: (Default)
so this shit has been going on since january when i tripped while hiking a lava field and assumed i sprained my foot or wrenched it or something.

a few weeks back in LA and i went to a podiatrist who thought it was this point i was unaware that podiatrists are not actually md's and with my medical stuff (the masto, the osteo) seeing a doctor would be far more in my better interest. so after a few weeks of walking around in an air cast i saw an orthopedic surgeon who did a ct scan and decided that it was sprained or bruised. so a few more weeks in the air cast and i felt reasonably better. reasonably better went back to painful and swollen again so back to the orthopedist i went and they thought it was a ganglion cyst wrapped around a nerve...but they weren't 100% certain it was actually a cyst to we had to wait it out.

the whole thing just gets fucking tedious after a while since doctors don't want to rush into surgery because of the masto, and i've just been bouncing back and forth between specialists to see how this is going to turn out. i had a nuclear bone scan to rule out stress fractures which instead magically showed that the REST of my skeleton no longer has lesions (which is a vast improvement from when i had a scan done a few years ago - so that's a plus)

but the cyst is really evident now (visibly so), and really painful. i swear it's like my foot is going to give birth to something, but it is of course complicated by the masto and the osteo since it's possible i could have a potential stress fracture in the works in addition to the cyst which is apparently wrapped around a nerve. it's frustrating because if it's just the cyst, i can pick up weights and yoga again, but if the bone is compromised i have to take it easy for a bit. either way i'm going to need surgery, it just depends on whether i will end up in a cast and THEN surgery or have surgery and THEN a cast.

in other news, Ethan and I have been taking poi lessons to expand our fire arts repertoire. so far we have fun with hoops and fans, but poi are a totally different beast. at least with hoops and fans the fire is essentially always at a set distance from you and is fairly predictable. poi on the other hand can go wherever the hell they want to if you lose momentum. so far i am -pro- at hitting myself in the head with my practice poi, i can't wait to see what happens when they're on fire ;) (though that won't be for another 5 weeks, during which i plan to practice as intensely as possible) but i really like poi because i feel like they are more of a dance tool. fans are awesome and you can get pretty techy with them, but my confidence with them lit vs unlit is pretty dramatic. i can do a ton of cool unlit fan moves, but when they're lit i just turn into a moth and want to stare at them ;) the hoop is awesome because it surrounds you and there's something equally terrifying and emboldening about being surrounded by fire. the day after my bone scan results i went and lit up for a couple hours which was a great way to celebrate good news.

trying to think of what else is going on. lots of walking around with the dog, which is continuously awesome. he forces me to get out into the world on a daily basis, and since he's a total attention whore, all these walks result in interacting with tons of people which is great. but he really is an amazing little guy, so full of love and joy. there is just something about him, the way he looks at people, he just connects on a really neat level. people totally adore him too, which i still find curious since frenchies are totally popular out here, but i guess that shows how special he is!

in other news we're thinking of maybe moving to hollywood. it's cheaper and we can have a nicer place, but i really love the west side...but since google moved to venice it's become increasingly expensive so who knows. i think that moving is going to hinge on surgery since after having had it happen -twice- i absolutely refuse to move right before or after surgery. it's too draining. i also want to sell an assload of stuff that i own as i'm -so- tired of being attached to so many belongings. the hardest part is books, which honestly take up a huge amount of real estate in our apartment, but if we could pare down the bookshelves we'd need a lot less space. especially since we have less pets.

so that is essentially where things are now. things are good, honestly better than they've been in a while. my bones are getting better, my dog is awesome, i've been playing with fire, it's all good, i just need to get the surgery out of the way.
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I remember once, years ago, before I got sick even, talking to someone about how they were allergic to white gas...and at the time I was sort of confused as to how one came to know they were allergic to white gas, what it was, and why someone would want to play with it.

This past Feb I got a pair of fire fans as I just thought they were gorgeous and kind of complimentary to the pseudo voguing goth dancing style. i practiced with them for ages and learned some basic tech moves, but when it came time to light up, i chickened out. part of this was because my left leg was in a cast and I didn't want to remove it, part of it was because i felt like a beached whale, and part of it was because i remembered having a conversation with someone about how they had reacted to white gas.

we went to seattle last month and when i got back i weighed myself and was just despondent about how the scale wasn't budging. i knew i had had some major setbacks this year that included multiple long term rounds of prednisone which is just evil stuff that makes you (or me) psycho and very into eating everything. i'd also had surgery that meant I couldn't work out, and the whole leg in a cast thing. so circumstances weren't on my side, but i wasn't eating super healthy so i had to own the blame as well. but even living in LA kind of screws with you (if you are me) because everyone drives everywhere and walking is next to impossible...ok it's not impossible but i hate wandering aimlessly, I feel under-stimulated and get bored very quickly. which of course is such a pathetic thing to complain about "oh how boring the consistently gorgeous weather and beaches and canals get"

Anyway when we got back from Seattle (less than a month ago) i buckled down on the food (which meant cutting out the carbs and the dairy) and upped my walking (thanks fitbit! having a dog helps though, especially a dog that -loves- to go on long walks.) and that coupled with teaching regular hoop classes resulted in an awesome 10lb loss this month alone. aside from losing weight i -feel- 100x better.

i know that paleo centric diets are sort of magnets for bad press lately (the most common, and most stupid in my opinion is the whole "well it's not truly paleolithic" which to me makes as much sense as saying "well not everyone in south beach eats that way") i don't think anyone who adheres to that style of eating thinks they are representing the paleolithic era, but it's a name and it's easier than saying, "i am on a strict elimination & anti inflammatory diet". So I guess we can say that I've either been sticking to a paleo diet or a strict elimination & anti inflammatory diet; either way i've been losing weight (something that is historically very hard for me) and I feel really good. A lot of the cognitive stuff that comes with masto seems to be abating, I'm actually taking less medication, my skin looks great (and really, when you are chronically sick, it tends to show in the skin)...I'm totally sold on this as a lifestyle choice. there are days where i miss bread or cookies but i'll take experiencing less fatigue, bloating, and cognitive impairment over a cupcake any day. plus, there is something i enjoy about bringing things back to basics and cutting out the dyes, preservatives, and food that could potentially have a longer shelf life than i do. I think it helps that when I got sick I had to pare down on a lot of more common sensual pleasure anyway (a lot of different food, alcohol, spices, perfumes, some makeup, some material) so the idea of paring food down to being fuel vs something decadent is really appealing as well. there are still many many aspects of my life that are, in my opinion, quite decadent, so I have no problem cutting out some of the basic things.

So losing weight and feeling better gave me the confidence last night to light up my fans. at first it was terrifying as there is a lot more fire in a much smaller area when it comes to fans vs hoops, but by the 3rd time I lit up I was all "raaar this is empowering" and really it was. i still have an easier time doing tech stuff when the fans aren't lit, but i'll get there and it will be awesome. I also did some hooping and that was 100x better than the first time I did it. Way less fear, way more control. I am sold.

And I didn't react to the white gas. I will react to cinnamon or chocolate, but white gas is fine.
hummingbirdmadgirl: (Default)
When I was younger, Tom Petty played something like 20 nights at the Fillmore and I remember being devastated that I couldn't go. I forget when this was, but money was an issue and at that point the idea of traveling across the country to see a band, even THE band, seemed unrealistic.

This month the Heartbreakers did a week long residency at the Beacon Theater in NY and are following it up with a week long residency at the Fonda Theater. The Fonda is small, it maybe holds 1500 people and it's general admission. Suffice it to say I was psyched when we were able to score a pair of tickets for one of the shows (being last night). The goal of the shows was to NOT play their greatest hits (yay!)

monday night
On Monday, I checked twitter, something I do maybe once or twice a month at most. Generally I only check twitter if there's some huge news or if I'm bored at the doctor's office...but for some reason on Monday I decided to see what going on and RIGHT when I checked it, the official Tom Petty account announced there was going to be a trivial contest on their website for tickets for that night's show. I logged on assuming I'd probably missed the contest, but instead was there right for the beginning and because an inordinate amount of my brain is reserved either for Tom Petty trivia or Tom Petty lyrics, I ended up winning the second question and getting a pair of tickets for the opening night. I was beyond psyched.

So we got to the Fonda and waited in line for 2 hours on Hollywood Blvd which in and of itself is awesome people watching. Then we got inside and had to stand around for 2 more hours until the show started. More great people watching but something was off...primarily that the audience, opposed to the arena shows which seem to be mostly hippies or fratboys, was mostly much older than me and where I got free tickets, they'd spent hundreds of not thousands of dollars for their tickets. In addition, no matter how much people had spent on their tickets, everyone had had to wait outside in the sun for hours before getting into the venue so I think a lot of people were dehydrated and were also not used to GA between the amount of money people spent, being worn out, overheated, and out of their element, once booze got thrown in things turned kind of nasty kind of quickly. I assume people who bought scalped tickets had an unrealistic sense of entitlement and felt it wasn't fair that they weren't in the front row (ethan and I were 6 people back from the stage) and suddenly I was witnessing people my mom's age attacking each other. It got so bad that I tried to break it up (as this was happening right next to me) and then suddenly someone my mom's age was screaming at me to fuck off while simultaneously punching anyone who tried to walk closer than her to the stage. It was kind of tense and unpleasant.

I get that when you sit outside for hours you want to be close to the stage. but I also believe that over the course of a 2 hour show it's totally reasonable to switch places with people and let them have a better vantage point, especially for such a rare occasion. I say this as a HUGE Petty fan, but to me, I didn't need 2 hours of being 20ft away from the dude, and was more than okay to see two happy dancing people get a little closer to the stage. But sadly most people were insanely territorial of their real estate on the floor and you could just feel the hate radiating from them whenever someone got up closer...which was really pathetic when you think about it, as it's a rock show, people are going to dance and get shuffled around and it's supposed to be FUN, but you could just see these little clusters of people who were infuriated by the fact they weren't in the front, by the fact someone in front of them let a stranger pass them was just really disheartening in a way. But the band sounded great and the song selection was awesome.

thursday night
we tried to sell our tickets (at face value) for thursday's show because we felt like we'd been very lucky to go to the opening night and wanted to share our good fortune with others. however, it was reallllllly a pain in the ass to transfer tickets, so in the end we sold Ethan's ticket to a hardcore fan and I went by myself. It only seemed right because Ethan doesn't really even like Tom Petty and the woman we sold the ticket to had driven down from SF for business and decided to try to get a ticket for the show last minute. So I went into the venue with her and she pulled me up to the first row (!!!!) where some friends she had made on line were hanging out. Somehow I lost her in the crowd (i was still in the first row) and suddenly I was getting SCREAMED at by another posse of women my mom's age who were threatening me for being in the front row. To be incredibly clear I did not push in front of these women as I was about 10 feet to their right, I did not push in front of any of their friends, and the guys behind me had absolutely no problem with my being there as they were quite tall and I wasn't blocking their view. I told them that I'd head toward the back after the first song, that I just wanted to see Petty up close for the beginning and then I'd go find somewhere else to stand...the conversation between me and the raging women essentially went like this:

them: we waited out here all day to get in, you don't deserve to be here

me: i was outside all afternoon too, but I didn't have VIP tickets (which cost $300 a piece) so I was at the head of the other line...I'm going to leave right after the first song, I promise

them well maybe if you got a fucking job you'd be able to afford expensive tickets. YOU DO NOT DESERVE THIS

then they started screaming that they were going to call security but the guys behind me essentially told them to shut up. it was very exciting! then a fight broke out about 3 people behind me because some one else felt that their territory had been encroached upon by some guy (and said guy was super petite, easily shorter than me). This was essentially the vibe throughout the whole venue.

So Tom Petty came out and I was like 6ft away from him and I swear I was just heartbroken. He was wearing so much makeup and looked -so- old and tired. His hands were shaking as if he had some sort of tremor to the point where I have a hard time believing his guitar was really even plugged in because it would've sounded awful. It wasn't some stylistic choice, he just seemed like he couldn't hold the strings down without shaking....I don't know if it was nerves or health or what....but after nearly 30 years of fandom and wanting to be close to the stage, there i was and it was AWFUL. Seeing him so old and frail made -me- feel old and frail (standing for like 6 hours didn't help) and after the first song, true to my word, I escaped the front row and went up to the roof where the music from the mixing board was being piped. It sounded better than being in the venue since you could actually hear the band instead of hearing drunken screaming women.

On the roof I ended up talking to a bartender and security and they essentially said that these were some of the worst audiences the theater has seen in a while. They felt that the audience was one that wasn't really handling the whole standing in the sun all day and then standing on the floor + drinking thing very well and that EVERY night so far had had a lot of people getting into fights or passing out....but that the difference between this happening at a punk show vs a Tom Petty show was about a 40 year age difference and that was actually making things worse.

I eventually went downstairs again and ended up hanging out with some guy who was friends with the band and he was going to give me his afterparty pass because he didn't want to attend, but I demurred since Ethan was not with me and all I wanted to do was go home. Even the guy who was friends with the band thought that the crowd was nasty and kind of out of control and was counting the minutes for the show to be over so he could go back to the hotel suite and get his stuff and drive back to San Diego. This night the band sounded good (not as good at monday) and played more covers.

So all in all it was a weird scene. I feel incredibly lucky to have won tickets, to have gotten my brief moment in the front row, to have made another hardcore fan seriously happy, but I was also just disheartened by the whole VIP ticket thing. It is, in my mind, stupid to have VIP tickets for a GA show since there's no way to enforce one's VIP-ness and because of that, it results in a lot of tension...which is a shame to have all these undercurrents of hostility happening in what should be a really special event. Don't get me wrong, it was still awesome and I'm thrilled to have gone twice, but it was memorable in all the wrong ways.


May. 7th, 2013 01:19 pm
hummingbirdmadgirl: (Default)
not too much of depth to report. we've been hooping more which is fantastic, both as teachers and students so i'm pretty happy about that.

today Bones turns 1 year old! I haven't had him for a year obviously, but it's his birthday. i guess he'll get two anniversaries, one for his birth and one for when he entered into our little happy family. he still continues to be awesome.

this video is from when I saw Nick Cave a few months ago. i really hope they end up releasing a concert video since all the footage (at least what I saw) was excellent.

hummingbirdmadgirl: (Default)
it's been a fucking week.
i was going to write some stupid fucking post about it, but there's no point as people lived it and people far more eloquent than i have have already summarized it and will continue to do so.

it was an insane week, i imagine made more insane by not being there, as counter intuitive as that sounds. i miss my friends, i miss my family, i am eternally grateful for social media, amanda palmer is a terrible poet, bobby makes awesome t-shirts, my kidney no longer has a catheter in it (thank god), i taught a bunch of wonderful stoned ladies how to hoop this past saturday, i watched the news and talked about it with friends online, i learned more fire fan's just been a fucking week, something i don't think anyone can dispute.
hummingbirdmadgirl: (Default)
but for now i just wanted to point out this awesome design

in one swoop you can:
support a local boston designer
show your love for boston
wear a pretty awesome shirt
hummingbirdmadgirl: (Default)
last week when i was getting prepped for my surgery, my anesthesiologist was telling me how he'd previously worked with one of my surgeons from MGH. even though i was at one of the best hospitals in the world, being seen by doctors at the top of their field, that nod toward boston made me feel safer. it was a notion that i wrapped myself in as i felt the propophol crawl up my arm. (i think i might've tried to high five my doctor too)

i was raised on Long Island, New York was always "the city". When it came time to choose where to go to college I decided I wanted to move to Boston. I didn't want to commute to school (i lived about 45 minutes outside "the city") but I knew I wanted to be in a city. I'd heard about Emerson, went to visit, and fell in love. I remember the first time I visited, in Feb of 96, it was freezing out, there was ice everywhere and i felt sort of numb. My grandmother had just passed away, it was me, my dad, and two friends who were interviewing at Harvard and Wellesley respectively. We got to our hotel (a howard johnson's that sort of bordered the now defunct combat zone) and just wandered around and i felt like it was the start of something.

a few months later, i was walking down boylston street with my newly minted classmate/boyfriend. he was from rural maine, the type of rural where his graduating class was 19 people from probably 19 different towns, whereas I had graduated with 500 people from one town. we were exploring, figuring out where T stops were, where the best video rental places were in respect to our dorm. I remember hitting Copley and both of us just stopped to take it in. Almost simultaneously he said "it's so big" while I said "it's so tiny". we laughed at the differences in our experiences and expectations.

while I was raised on Long Island, I grew up in Boston (i am still growing). In no order, I made friends based on common interests vs physical proximity. i joined a bunch of mailing lists, i started going to clubs with regularity, eventually had the honor of djing at said clubs, i put holes and ink in my skin as a way to further claim it, make it my own. i did dumb things, i did smart things, i primarily met brilliant people. i did more dumb things. i trainwrecked my life and then dug myself out from the resultant ditch. i got a cat, it ran away. eventually i got another cat. we had a lot of parties. i met a boy. honestly i met a decent amount of boys. i fell in love. i got my heart broken. i worked in a record store and ended up on the local news after a radio dj freaked out about a tasteless statue of elvis. i got to see the fountain in copley full of bubbles. i walked around with 2 of my dearest friends singing tori amos and the cure at 4am, a feeble attempt to stay warm. i went to baseball games. i went to deli haus, a lot. i worked at urban outfitters and hated my job but loved riding my bike passed the neco wafer plant at night; the air thick with the smell of sugar. i went to a lot of coffee houses. i moved to england. i moved back. i missed england. i got a job, got married, got sick, got diagnosed, got treatment, i kept going. i discovered a whole host of things from flow arts, Anonymous, making jewelry, rising fish, geckos, frogs...i felt utterly alone, i felt completely loved. i fell out of love with the city. it felt small, i felt suffocated. i moved to los angeles. i love the energy of los angeles but i missed the people from boston something terrible, even people i hadn't spoken to in years, even people who don't like me. the amount of love i feel for the residents of boston, the people whose lives touched mine, has never wavered, regardless of my feelings of the city.

watching the news over the past 24 hours, i find comfort seeing shots of the streets that are not blood soaked, of hearing bahston accents, i got teary eyed when the yankees played sweet caroline, i got teary when i saw copley, and i was just overwhelmed by how defensive i felt for -my- city and by how much love i felt. i've cried. a lot.

(though i have to admit it's fucking alien to see people wearing winter coats)


Apr. 15th, 2013 07:48 am
hummingbirdmadgirl: (Default)
that last post ended on a weird note

since i am excited we're going to see Joseph Arthur at the Troubadour soonish, here are some songs

hummingbirdmadgirl: (Default)
first off, i'm selling some awesome and useful things:

in other news, still recovering from surgery. it's a blast. i don't know how i did this, and the specifics are unimportant, but i totally wrecked my neck/shoulder in my sleep and now i feel like i'm half paralyzed. really it's just a muscle strain, but it's bad enough my kidney and bladder are going into spasms constantly, i don't need this on top of it. it's frustrating because the kidney/bladder pain shoots all the way down my leg into my foot, which is gross, and the beck pain shoots all the way down my right side into my hand. while i appreciate this unintentional attempt at shitty pain symmetry, i'm over it. of course all this could easily be remedied with medication i cannot take. though i -did- fill a prescription for some sort of pseudo narcotic painkiller ( can't recall the name) that is only somewhat risky, but so far i've been trying to just stay ahead of the pain with tylenol. i think tweaking my neck out has just exacerbated stuff since it feels damn near impossible to do anything without using your neck. at least with the kidney stuff, if i stay really really really still, it backs down enough to be background noise.

i'm achievement whoring through bioshock infinite now, since i feel like ass and repetitive simple stuff is comforting. the more i play the game the more i like it, but i also see more and more inherent flaws. ethan was telling me that some reviewers had sort of gone back and said "yeah maybe we were too enthusiastic about it" though i haven't confirmed that fact for myself... sort of hope that is the case though, because while this is a great game, it's not gaming's Kane moment. If we have to be all redundant and throw titles around to somehow prove the worth of things, that should still go to the first Bioshock. That game had way more depth, the audio diaries were amazing, the few characters you ran into were captivating. One thing I realize playing BSI through more is that it's very much like going through a really elaborate Disney vacation or something. There's all this opulent looking stuff around me that is nearly impossible to interact with and completely unreal. instead of feeling immersive it just gets old after a while.

it's frustrating because the game is really quite good, which i guess makes the shortcomings more jarring because they seem like sloppy oversights on some level.

Dead Space 3
so [ profile] spriggan and i were thwarted earlier in the weekend when it came to co-oping this as XBL was down. i can't remember the last time i scheduled playing a game with a friend and i really can't remember the last time xbl went down. good timing. but this game man. i don't know. it's pretty and i have no idea what is going on and i can't tell if it's because the game is hard, obtuse, or because i just feel really out of it due to a messed up sleep schedule and intermittent kidney spasms. it is awesome to play a game with a friend online so i can't complain too much, but this game just seems SO much different from the first Dead Space and also about 100x harder
hummingbirdmadgirl: (Default)
so today i went in and had laproscopic kidney surgery. i handled the anesthesia with flying colors, so well that after 5 or so hours the doctors determined i could leave since by that point i probably wouldn't have any issues. it was slightly risky but i was in SO much pain and there was nothing that could be done in the hospital aside from pump me full of fentanyl or versed and those were accomplishing minimal results (plus we think they might've caused the cardiac problems i had last time, though it could've just been the surgery or having a bunch of bones broken and removed from my skull). i think i handled this surgery better because even though in some ways it was more active than the sinus stuff, it was about 90 minutes vs 5 hours and i am assuming that much of a difference in exposure to triggers probably makes a marked difference. i also decided that i wanted to leave the hospital after someone who appeared to no longer have a face was wheeled by, and that was enough for me. though my surgical team was AWESOME, both my kidney dr and my anesthesiologist are total rock stars who completely deserve all the praise and accolades they get (one is the head of urology and one is the head of critical care anesthesia. it is sort of disheartening that the most awesome pseudo backstage pass access i have to all these brilliant people is because i have a very rare and very curious disease)

all that said, this is _seriously_ some of the worst pain i've been in in my life. i think if you combined the worst menstrual cramps, nausea, UTI (i think, i've never had one), and the worst kidney stone together and that would explain the recovery. while this surgery is WAY more successful than ESWL and has less potential for negative side effects, I now understand reading so many reports about how people who had both procedures would go back to ESWL.

ESWL is sort of like a not terribly painful procedure where you lay under an xray your body is battered with sound waves that are targeted to destroy the stone which results in a few weeks to possibly a month of discomfort as you pass what is essentially sand in your urine. it's gross but it's tolerable, i think because it happens slowly. Laser surgery involves laying under an xray while a camera and a laser being inserted (at the same time) into your urethra, up your ureter until they find the stone and then zap it with the laser until it is pulverized and then go and clean out your kidney. The camera has some sort of attachment on it that sucks up the stone fragments to be analyzed. it is awesome in that unless they screw up or the stone is too hard, they can get the whole thing in one go, which means you WON'T have to strain your urine for a couple weeks on some gross stone collection hunt that you have to bring to your dr to analyze. it also means not pissing sand for weeks on end.

BUT it means that you have a bunch of fucking machines stuck up your urethra at the same time. Since I cannot tolerate NSAIDs, which are typically used during the procedure, i missed out on a pivotal pain management part of things which means that everything from my kidney down is on fire. This would happen regardless of the NSAIDs but it's about 100 times worse because I couldn't take them. Plus since I had said machines stuck up there, my ureter, if left unattended, would swell shut, so i have some sort of internal catheter stuck there for the next two weeks. so instead of having a few weeks of moderate discomfort you have a couple days of hell.

seriously i cannot remember the last time i had such intense and constant pain. this probably trumps two weeks ago when i discovered the stone in the first place. it's just this deep constant pain that suddenly and randomly gets overshadowed by the most intense spasms i've ever felt in my life. i wish orgasms were this strong but then i think i'd be afraid of orgasms. it's really amazing how painful this is. Me and my trusty tylenol will get through it though. what i've heard is that the first 24-48 hours are the worst and then things start to settle down and your body acclimates to the stent and the spasms stop after your insides get over the trauma of having a laser go pewpewpew inside them (still, a laser, how awesome!). i'm lucky in that my stone broke up pretty quickly and they only had to use the laser on a relatively low setting. otherwise i think i would've took the hospital up on 24 hours of access to pain meds (yeah i know there are fentanyl patches, but due to the masto i need to have constant supervision on that drug which means either post op recovery or ICU)

my kidney was in pretty rough shape apparently, all swollen and completely blocked off. like, i can see and feel the difference on the left side of my body, which is kind of gross, but kind of awesome because when you brush aside all the mind numbing pain that might drive me crazy, i actually feel pretty fucking amazing at the moment. it's one of those times where i had -no- idea how absolutely miserable this thing was making me until it was fixed. like, the results were pretty instantaneous, which i guess makes sense since the blockage was removed as was the gunk inside my kidney. so that is fucking awesome. like really really really awesome. it makes all this suffering completely worth it.

let's hope i feel this optimistic tomorrow.


Apr. 8th, 2013 02:56 am
hummingbirdmadgirl: (Default)
so i -could- have had surgery on my kidney this past thursday (wheee!) but there was nowhere near enough time to do all the pre op testing, schedule my anesthesia guy or train his replacement (he was on vacation last week), get my cardiac guy on call, get my oncologist prepared, start pre meds, and know that everything would be safe. one thing that is suuuuper annoying thanks to masto is that surgery under general anesthesia is more risky than for the general population due to reactions to all sorts of drugs. sadly this kidney thing is more complicated than the last time, so i can't get ESWL done, it needs to be laproscopic and apparently this is just complicated enough that doing it under twilight isn't possible. i guess this kidney stone is HUGE and will require lasers and stuff.

so this week i go in to get my kidney taken care of and hopefully that will be that. this surgery is more invasive than the ESWL but it's also got a better turn around healing wise. though in the same vein, last time i had ESWL my father in law had a massive heart attack the next day which required a quadruple bipass, so no matter what healing this time around is going to be more comfortable.

this has sucked so much though. again the no pain meds thing is fantastic to deal with, but i'm also astounded at how utterly exhausted i have become over the past week. my temporary totem animal is the sloth and it sucks. it sucks because i feel a hundred years older than i actually am. on the other hand, if i were to be spending more time awake, i'd be considering laying down on my bass amp and making a ton of noise to see if that got me anywhere stone wise. so i guess sleeping a lot right now is probably for the better.

one thing i have noticed is that getting sick has seriously amped up some weird longing for boston that i didn't even know was there. while i fully admit that moving to LA hasn't been as successful or exciting as i'd hoped it would be, i am not quite willing to throw in the towel just yet. but when i get sick i have this automatic desire to go home to a tiny city where things aren't on average 45 minutes away from each other and where scheduling surgery is infinitely easier because i was only dealing with one hospital, not one large hospital with two locations (ucla) and a secondary hospital for my oncology needs and getting records transferred seems tantamount to, i don't know, something big and dramatic. though people posting about the fact it's still snow and cold sort of tamps down that longing for the most part. but it is frustrating, this whole move, this whole getting sick thing. i know none of these things are permanent and they all have workarounds but bleargh.

in the meantime i've been playing a lot of bioshock infinite and it seems to have been infiltrating my dreams. so i'm glad i'm not playing TWD anymore because i don't think i'd be too psyched about zombie dreams.
hummingbirdmadgirl: (Default)
so friday i woke up with the most excruciating pain in my left flank. it felt like someone had been punching me all night or something. well it felt worse than that, after having gone through all sorts of minor surgical procedures without anesthesia, breaking bones, and having a bone marrow biopsy, i still feel confident in saying it was the worst pain ever. if not the worst pain, in the top 3. of course i also 10000% knew what it was, my stupid kidney. well more specifically it was renal colic. which, at least according to wikipedia, is the same pain level (if not worse) as giving birth, breaking bones, or getting shot. having broken a couple bones i can certainly agree that this is worse than that, but having never been shot or been pregnant i can't say for certain about the other two. suffice it to say it's super painful.

we went to see some urologist who could see me last minute, and up, lodged right outside my left kidney is a big ass stone. this doctor by the way, was a total dick. generally speaking i've been really happy with the quality of healthcare out here, but when it's bad, it's REALLY bad. just as an example, this guy was making jokes about people having allergic reactions to medication (this being after i said i was prone to having allergic reactions to most pain killers) and then getting bitchy about not knowing enough about masto (as if that were my fault, either for having the disease or for him not knowing about it or the specific anesthesia protocols that come with the disease. for instance, we're gonna have to do lithotripsy or some sort of surgical intervention and i was asking if i could do it through twilight anesthesia (this is how i do pretty much all the surgeries except the hardcore sinus ones) and he got all incensed, how could i possibly understand the gravity or pain that comes along with that procedure, and i was like, "dude, i have already done this once under twilight and i never moved an inch during the procedure" and he seemed dubious, even when i told him it was done at a prestigious hospital in the northeast (mgh). And it's not like i -want- to experience super painful things, but after having had a couple hours of SNRTs after my last experience with general anesthesia, i'd rather avoid it if at all possible. because 15-20 min of pain is a hell of a lot better than having my heart freak out for a couple hours.

but anyway, since it was the friday before a holiday weekend he wasn't interested in looking into surgical options anyway, so i got the standard advice of going home and taking lots of painkillers....which would be awesome if i could -take- painkillers, but i can't. i can take tylenol but i need to space that out pretty drastically because i don't want to fry my liver on top of everything else. and i really don't want to risk shocking under these circumstances because the pain is bad enough, i don't want to add epi to the equation. so i got to just suck it up while feeling like my insides were being ripped apart.

this weekend was spent is some sort of pain induced delirious state (i mean seriously, they tend to prescribe hardcore painkillers for the shit and i had nothing. i totally was getting jealous reading messageboards on how to deal with kidne stones and people were talking about getting percocet or demarol) where i spent most of the time playing bioshock. Tomorrow I have an appointment with a urologist at UCLA as at this point I feel like I've made it through 3 days of sheer torture, i can make it through a couple more if it means i'll be getting the best possible care. but there's no way i way i'm going back to that jerk at cedars. if this doesn't work out, i'll fly to boston to see my old doctor if i have to...but i'm going to be vigilant about my healthcare.

it sucks because i can't really walk the dog in my current state and i feel guilty about it since we go on long ass walks together every day (ethan has been picking up my slack) and that's sort of our bonding thing. i also feel pissed off because i am seriously starting to feel elderly which is ridiculous since i'm only 35. but it's like, i just got over the foot stuff, and now this. i'm going to have my doctors look into my parathyroid since there is no reason i should be getting kidney stones as frequently as i do (most of them are unremarkable and don't require surgery obviously) and it seems like parathyroid can be causing a few of the problems i am experiencing. that's one thing that is frustrating when you have a serious illness(tm) is that ANY symptom you experience ever, you tend to attribute it to said illness. but other things can go wrong and other options shouldn't be explored.

blahblahblah, whine whine whine. at least this is fixable, though as always surgery is a terrifying option.
hummingbirdmadgirl: (Default)
So this is going to be spoilertastic but i'll put all that stuff behind a cut.

because i'm a contrary bitch, i totally went into Bioshock Infinite kind of determined to dislike it...I loved the first game, and hearing all the ridiculous praise being heaped on this sequel was getting tiresome. Plus having seen bits and pieces of the game throughout development (whatever they released) it was also obvious the game was changing massively over time (seriously, go look at the 10 and 15 minute long gameplay demos on youtube to see how dramatically the game has changed. i mean hell, 90% of the television commercial never even happens in the game). But seriously, when people are calling it the Citizen Kane of gaming or the most revolutionary game of our time, I'm going to cringe (also for the record, i think that those platitudes should go to Braid or Psychonauts or possibly Rock Band for changing the way we interacted with our consoles instead) - all the BS games, while awesome, are FPS's that happen to have good stories, which doesn't seem to me to be particularly revolutionary in the grand scheme of things. But, there is obviously something to be said for gorgeous FPS's with good storylines...But when a game is being touted as the best thing ever, before it's even been released or played, it puts my teeth on edge a little bit. I tend to think a lot of the massive hype behind this game is due to the fact it's going to be one of the last BIG releases for this generation of consoles, and it's been in development for ages and been delayed a couple times, but whatever. i also sort of felt like while OBVIOUSLY game reviewers were going to tear TWD Survival Instinct apart because it's a relatively unimaginative franchise spin-off (which i still think is unfair. it's not a brilliant game, but if you like the show and want to kill zombies, it serves its purpose), they were also OBVIOUSLY going to laud on the praises for BSI.

i started playing and i thought "jesus, this is essentially the first game, only in the sky and without crackhead splicers"

massive fucking spoilers for the series so be warned )
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