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Today at the pump

The Sole Prop's Sister?


Under here.

June 21, 2010

Emmy Anymore
Monday. Up, feeling pretty good, the tired character that dominated yesterday seemingly not in evidence, the sky clear, the sun shining, the temperatures cool. Pretty nice way to start the day, no complaints. Back now from breakfast printing out the list of meds and what I was calling a bullet point list to describe these symptoms to the doctor. Haven't seen hide nor hair of the symptoms in the last month, perhaps something like a sore knee that comes and goes, just passing through, but gets your attention while they're in residence. One of the old "sore knee, twisted brain" kind of episodes: here for a month, gone for the rest of your life (one hopes?).

A little guitar practice before leaving for the doctor's office in Mountain View? Nah, sounds nice, but another morning application of the hup! hup! hup! Mountain View, though, across the bay, south of San Francisco, appointment at noon. Not a bad time of the day to be driving, although we're talking roads that get pretty crowded during the commute, not the sort of route you'd voluntarily take on an early morning or a late afternoon.

The guitar practice does, however, continue. This marks the end of the second week, the fingertips of the left hand seem to have toughened up remarkably. I'm sure I couldn't finger the strings for a long period without damage, but the stinging that came when I started seems to have pretty much gone. I say “pretty much” because it hasn't, but the difference makes all the difference, let me tell you.

How is it going otherwise? Well, I can finger the scale (just a linear progression, lowest to highest, highest to lowest, of twenty-three notes. I vary the speed (kicking it up and down between slower and slowest) until the fingertips begin to bark. That's been the progression, that and attempting the three what I assume are simple chords they want you to learn. Simple, perhaps, but fingering them and playing them cleanly takes time and some effort. They're the next hurdle, memorizing them and then practicing playing them in order, the fingers finding their destinations without overlapping on strings beside them. I'm nowhere close to being able to do that. Play those chords in any semblance of order.

So you're depressed about it? You'll never be able to play?

No, we're doing our little practice the guitar for three months here, see what happens. No preconceptions. You don't ride a bike the first time out, although you find you're riding it pretty quickly. I'm just doing the practice as they recommend, seeing what happens. If it results in being able to play a tune (in three months time) that's good, but I'm not worrying about it. We're doing three months of practice from zero to wherever, we'll see where wherever lies in ninety days. The results at the end are the results at the end, you do the three months and you get to see.

I saw an old clip on television last night: Bing Crosby singing with Jose Feleciano accompanied by Feleciano on acoustic guitar. I don't know if you remember Jose Feleciano, but he did a version of ‘Come On Baby Light My Fire’ in the late sixties that was pretty popular (and amazing). Anyway, he played the acoustic guitar (he's blind, by the way) like I've never seen or heard anyone play the guitar. And I've seen a couple. Amazing performance.

Comparing my plink! plink! plink! is like comparing the complexity of an amoeba to that of a human being. Yeah, the DNA and such, we share some of the components, but in skill level and complexity any comparison isn't so much a joke, as a comparison so broad as to not be possible. Still, no complaints. I've got a guitar for these three months, I'm going to play the way they say and not worry about it. (Plink! Plink!)

Later. Ocular migraine headaches was the preliminary diagnosis with some final thoughts after I complete a battery of tests: an MRI, an MRA and a laundry list of things to measure in the blood. He thought there was nothing about these “ocular migraine headaches” that was too upsetting, discounting TIA's and such, but the various scans and tests would confirm it one way or the other.

OK. He also mentioned he had something to try with the earlier ongoing sinus-upper palate thing, which was nice, I wasn't expecting anything for that. So we'll see. There's always a chance they'll discover something dreadful, but then there's always that chance. We'll get them done and get on with it.

Got back from Mountain View just after two, decided to treat myself to comfort food even though I wasn't all that hungry. Since I needed to pass close to the usual place coming home, that's where I ended up. What the hell.

There's evidently no pain associated with an ocular migraine, which is nice, but the little puddle-amoeba shaped things with the sparkling edges I was seeing when I closed my eyes pretty much confirmed the diagnosis. So it's best that I went, best I get this over with, best that I put my feet up and rest for the remainder of the day. Get my walk in tomorrow. Practice the guitar. Say hello to Emmy, except I can't say hello to Emmy anymore.

The photograph was taken at the San Francisco 2010 Carnaval Parade with a Nikon D3s mounted with a 70 - 200mm f 2.8 Nikkor VR II lens at f 8 at 1/125th second, ISO 200.