Intermission
Friday May 13th 2011, 11:00 pm
Filed under: Family, Friends, Leukemia, Me, Myself, and Reid, Music

Ladies and Gentlemen, thank you for all of your kind words of congratulations and encouragement, whether via the Internet, by telephone, in person, by raising your glass, left on the front porch (anonymously), and by any and all other means. You are all truly wonderful friends and I am honored to have you in my life.

Last night at 10:30 MDT, I took my final dose of 6-mercaptopurine, and in doing so, brought my three and a half years on chemotherapy to an end. Before those three and a half years, I spent several months searching for a diagnosis to explain why I was in so much pain, which turned out to be acute lymphoblastic leukemia. All told, I’ve been fighting leukemia nonstop for about four years. And while I’m done fighting leukemia, I’m not quite done getting well yet.

Over the coming months, I will be weaned off the non-chemotherapy support medications I’ve been taking for the past several years. I’ll be undergoing regular tests to check for leukemia blasts, to make sure my immune system is rebuilding itself correctly, and to make sure there’s nothing else concerning happening in my body. None of that comes close to what is now behind me, but it will take me time to heal–it will be awhile before I’m truly healthy and able to fully move on to the rest of my life.

While I’m taking care of getting better, stand up, stretch your legs, go to the lobby and get some snacks. The restrooms are out the main doors to the left. This is the end of Reid Levin: Act II. I don’t know exactly what’s coming in Act III, but I know it will be long (seriously, if you’ve got to go, go now) and I know that it will be a dashing and bold adventure.

I hope you’ll join me for Act III. I can’t wait to see what it holds.

–Reid.

Written while listening to the extremely pertinent “Swim” by Jack’s Mannequin (it was written while the lead singer was fighting acute lymphoblastic leukemia).



Mr. Levin And Me, We’re Gonna Be Big Stars…
Sunday February 27th 2011, 11:51 pm
Filed under: Family, Music

Tonight, after not sleeping at all last night, I jammed with Dad for the first time in a long time. Our awesome sonic grooves were enough to convince me to take our show on the road as “Levin & Son” or “Levin & Father” or “Rise of the Levins’ Son” or something less crappy sounding. Picking out a name is really the biggest hurdle between us and becoming a household name at this point. There are also just a few other minor, tiny, almost non-kinks that we need to work the kinks out of before international superstardom:

1) Release Totally Awesome Chart Topping Hit Songs. We are well on our way to completing our first mega hit single that will rock the hearts of all peoples, young and old. We have two chords down so far: E minor and A. They sound really good together. We’ve also done some experimentation with B and F, but we’re still debating whether or not those would be too showy.

2) Radically Make The Songs We’re Covering Our Own In A Super Radical Way. At our sold out arena concerts, our crowds are going to love our takes on some old classics. We’ve added a lot of new chords, words, mumbling, pauses, cursing and start overs. We’re even considering going to such lengths as listening to the original versions of the songs we’re covering, so we could incorporate at least a little bit of the original sound, like the melody, into our new, way more kick-ass sound.

3) Practice. We heard this was important but I don’t know how much we need it–we seem to be naturally gifted rock stars. I guess there are still a few things we won’t really know until we’ve played together some more, that I guess we could work out in practice instead of on the world stage. For instance, we’re fairly confident that we want our guitars in tune, and also in tune with each other. But we’re keeping our minds open at this point. We don’t want to get too far ahead of ourselves.

So if you’d like to be a part of this million mile-per-hour machine that’s about to make money off every man, woman and child in the galaxy, you should give me a call ASAP.

–Reid.


Listening to some band’s demo or something. I don’t know what the hell this is supposed to be–oh wait. Oh no. Oh crap.



I’m Really Ready To Do All Those Things I Want To Do
Sunday January 30th 2011, 11:05 pm
Filed under: Denver, Friends, Leukemia, Me, Myself, and Reid, Music

Despite being very fatigued after last night, only having slept for three hours and still generally feeling chemo’d, I hung out with Reiman today. It was important to me to do so and it would have taken a lot (a lot more, anyway) for me to turn down a good old fashioned hang. I think Reiman was only in town for about 48 hours, so I’m happy we got to spend a good chunk of time together, between the Geek Bowl last night and getting lunch and shooting the breeze today. It was great catching up with him before he had to return to the City of Brotherly Love.

Speaking of which (right here someone might state that they do not mean to go off on a tangent; I am not stating that), judging from the crime statistics of the place, it seems to me that Philadelphia calling itself the “City of Brotherly Love” is misleading. Don’t city nicknames have to make some sense? Who’s in charge of officiating these things? Shouldn’t a city’s nickname instantly portray an impression of what that city is actually like? Some fairly obvious reason for the name? For instance, Denver is the Mile High City because of its altitude, Chicago is the Windy City because it’s windy there, and New York City is the Big Apple. They all make perfect sense.

Get it together, Philly!

I hate to tell me this, but I am very close to not accomplishing my personal goal of posting a video of myself playing an original song here by tomorrow. It’s very frustrating for me to realize that I’ve been saying I would do this for several years, and for many of those years I had no excuse for not following through. Even though I actually have an excuse now, I really want to do this thing I’ve been putting off for so long. So I’m going to keep working towards this goal of sharing at least one song I wrote that wasn’t for Better Than The Machine. And the date by which I want to accomplish this goal will be the vaguely worded “not long after chemo ends.” I’d love to get this (and many other things) done before then, but if I don’t, I’m not going to beat myself up.

This month I broke my own rule about not scheduling things too far out in the future. Which, right now, means any time beyond a day or two. While most of these things turned out reasonably well, the truth is that I can’t even predict how I’ll be feeling in an hour, let alone several weeks or months out. Tomorrow always arrives bearing surprises. Over the past three years, those surprises have hampered my ability to do the things I want to be doing, from seeing friends to writing books and comedy to playing music to traveling to see people who are important to me to breaking 30 . Today I was very aware that while going off chemo really freaks me out, I really can’t wait to be done with it.

–Reid.

—————-
Now playing: Barenaked Ladies – It’s Only Me (The Wizard Of Magicland)
via FoxyTunes



Geek Bowl V: The 17th Vice President, Captain Cold, Mal Reynold’s Ship, Toy Story 3 & Ernest P. Worrel
Sunday January 30th 2011, 1:58 am
Filed under: Denver, Friends, Knowledge Junkie, Leukemia, Music, Sodapopcornculture

This evening I had the honor of competing on a team with five brilliant friends in the largest pub quiz event in America: Geek Bowl V. There were between 130 to 150 teams competing in the Fillmore Auditorium tonight for several thousand dollars in prize money. The annual Geek Bowls are produced by Geeks Who Drink, a national pub quiz organization founded in Denver. Geeks Who Drink holds pub quizzes every day of the week at different bars around the country. These pub quizzes are much harder than the weekly trivia we play at The Tavern. Check out these sample questions to get a taste of what a regular Geeks Who Drink quiz is like. The questions are hard and there are eight rounds of ’em.

Our team tonight was put together by one of my bestest buddies in the whole world, David Reiman, who phlew in from Philly to compete in the tournament. The other not Reid members of our team were David’s siblings Becca and Alex and their respective sweethearts, Dan (who flew in from New York) and Shayna. Becca and I are on the same team, along with our parents, that regularly competes at The Tavern. Shayna and Alex sometimes play on our team, too. Our team name for the Geek Bowl was “Four Out Of Six Teachers Can’t Be Wrong,” in reference to all three Reimans and Shayna being teachers or working towards becoming teachers. It turns out that a team with four teachers can, in fact, be wrong.

We didn’t win but we didn’t come in last place, either. My personal favorite round was the music round. Parts of different songs were played by a live mariachi band, who played mariachi arrangements of current and past popular songs. For each song, we had to 1) identify the song being played, and 2) identify someone associated with the song in some way. For example, “What is this song and who popularized it in 1958?” and “What is this song and what actress sang it in a 1965 movie?” It was neat hearing mariachi versions of songs like “Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da,” “My Way,” and “Perhaps, Perhaps, Perhaps.”

I think there were 80 questions to be answered (some rounds had two part questions). Just as each of us on the team answered questions wrong and fought against what turned out to be correct answers, we also each answered many questions correctly. Sometimes confidently, and sometimes because we needed an answer in the next three seconds. Although I assisted with several correct answers and answered some questions correctly with less than full confidence, there are a few specific questions I am really pleased to have answered. Here are four of them, three of which I attribute answering correctly to friends:
 

1. The 17th Vice President of the United States, Schuyler Colfax, was the Vice President to which President?
Ulysses S. Grant, our 18th President! The presidential history geek (me) came through. Haha!
 

2. Leonard Snart, also known as Captain Cold, is a villain in what superhero’s rogue’s gallery?
The Flash! I attribute this knowledge to Amy and Jason. While in college, Jason’s enthusiasm for comics led Amy and me to return to comic books years after we had both misguidedly abandoned them in our youth. One of Amy’s favorite comics became The Flash. She taught me all about The Flash, his rogues gallery, and The Speed Force.
 

3. In one round, we had to identify ships in pictures we were shown. There were boats like The Minnow, The Flying Dutchman and The Titanic. And then, there was this ship that Alex and I were both able to identify right away:
 

Serenity

It’s Serenity from the unjustly far too short TV series Firefly. My knowledge of this is entirely thanks to Amy, who introduced me to Joss Whedon and his many excellent TV shows and movies.
 

4. In Toy Story 3, which actor from the previous Toy Story movies was replaced by Blake Clark?
I knew instantly who this was, but I couldn’t remember his name. He played Slinky Dog! He died before the movie was made! Most importantly, he played Ernest in the Ernest movies! This information was met with blank stares from my teammates. Even as a barrage of questions kept coming at us, I closed my eyes and my thoughts went straight to Matt Gallo. Matt Gallo did not introduce me to Ernest, nor does he remind me of Ernest, but somewhere in the far reaches of my mind, a vague memory emerged of Matt and I having a serious discussion about Ernest P. Worrel years ago. And there it was: Jim Varney! Matt, you inspired me somehow. Hell if I know how. Maybe it was through The Force–it was that kind of event. Thanks any which way.

When I woke up this morning, I was still feeling really crappy from Wednesday’s chemo. I decided to forgo spending time with David, who’s only in town for today and tomorrow, and instead slept all day in hopes that I’d feel up to doing more than just filling a chair. This plan worked well: I felt extremely okay until the end of seventh round, when we were subjected to a quizmaster talent show. At that point, my brain realized that it was no longer needed for answering questions and it began shutting down parts of my body accordingly. I’m back to feeling chemo crappy, but I had a great time tonight and don’t regret being a part of Geek Bowl V even a little bit. I’m hopeful that I will be feeling well enough to hang out with David tomorrow.

For that to happen, I need to go to bed right… nnnnnoooowhours ago.

–Reid.

—————-
Now playing: The Beatles – I’m So Tired
via FoxyTunes



18kg Barbell, Levin In NYC! Is It Me? (It’s Not Me) & Our Sputnik Moment Eating American Pie With The Reds!
Wednesday January 26th 2011, 2:01 am
Filed under: Family, Friends, Leukemia, Liberty!, Music, NYC

I felt up to working out with Diana today, and she was nice enough to add me to her schedule. It was great; I’m definitely working my way back up. I’m using a 40 pound (728 hectogram) barbell now for all the exercises that use a barbell. I’m really glad we were able to workout today because tomorrow I’m getting an infusion of vincristine and taking more methotrexate. That’ll knock me out for a few days, during which time, it will feel like a 40 pound (1,983 megagram) barbell has been dropped on my head. Not from many stories stories up. Probably from a window on the fourth or fifth floor. So it’ll be bad, but it could be worse–my metaphorical building has 27 floors (5,122,011º gigaliters).

My dad is NYC all week for ADL training. They are teaching him to do the job he has been doing since December 1. Don’t worry, I think all the people and things he’s stood up for still count. He’ll be able to stand up for things better than ever when they’re through with him! Which is good because his back has been bothering him lately when he stands up. I mention this not only because it explains why he wasn’t at trivia tonight, but also because I forgot to mention it yesterday when he left… er… I love you, Dad!

We started trivia off shorthanded tonight without my dad, Becca or Jeff. The latter two had other commitments (in state) that delayed their arrivals. When we started (as “Sputnik Moment”) it was Joyce, my mom and I. We did not do great on sports, but we totally nailed those Robert Frost questions. We also missed a question that asked which two political figures’ names are specifically mentioned in Don McLean’s “American Pie.” Later, in the Lightning Round, my mom redeemed us by correctly answering that James Dean is the only other person mentioned by name in the same song (he lent his coat to the Jester for some reason). We didn’t do great the first round, but it turned out no one did great the first round, even our super nice and polite horrible bitter rivals the Reds. When Becca and Jeff arrived at the end of round one, we were in fifth place, but only four points behind the Reds, who led the round with the lowest number of points I can remember anyone ever leading a round with.

In the second round, we only did moderately better, but we came in second place (which paid for all but ¢84 of dinner). I attribute this ranking not necessarily to Becca and/or Jeff adding moderate betterness to our team, but to the questions being hard and everyone else having an even more off night than us. We finished six or seven points behind those awful menacing super friendly Reds. In the all-or-nothing final round (named the “Lightning Round” after Reagan’s Quizmaster General, C. Everett Lightning) we won in the sense that we had more points than anyone else except some other team with the same number of points, and from our shaky start, that was really unexpected and exciting! However, we lost in the sense that the other team won the tie-breaker and thus all of the winnings of beers and pizzas and the recording contract. Oh well, we still had a good time! At least I did.

On the way home, Mom and I sang along to “American Pie.” Except for that one verse where political figures Lenin and Marx were specifically mentioned. We had never heard that verse before, somebody must’ve stuck it in there recently. The Reds. Yeah, sure, that makes sense. A new verse by our mortal enemies, the extremely personable and generous despicable no good, very bad Communist Reds! That’s the ticket!

–Reid.

—————-
Now playing: “Weird Al” Yankovic – The Saga Begins
via FoxyTunes



Celebrating, Rocking, Awesomeness (Backwards, Poorly, Foppa, respectively)
Monday January 24th 2011, 1:14 am
Filed under: Denver, Family, Music, Word Nerd

Tonight, I’m feeling much better. I started feeling better midday today and kept feeling better from there. My first week back on it, oral methotrexate hit me harder than I anticipated it would. That said, it didn’t hit me nearly hard enough to make me so much as question seeing my journey to its end. The timing–when I could start to feel it, when it was at its worst, and when it finally decided it was bored with me–matches up fairly well with how it used to time out during weeks of [the opposite of total disaster]. When I say “used to,” I mean before methotrexate was beating me with an aluminum bat every day of the week with no recovery time between doses, which is what led to me being taken off of it. It’s very reassuring that it is acting predictably again.

This evening we went to Aunt Lise’s house to celebrate Papa’s birthday. He turned 84 today, and I was glad I felt up to spending the occasion with him. Papa and Gigi, my mom’s parents, moved away from Denver for a long time, for at least 15 years. They moved back last year, and as much as I hate to give it any credit, leukemia bringing me back here from New York has allowed me to reconnect with my grandparents, especially with Papa. He had very good news for everyone: next year, he’ll be turning 83. Apparently, his age is going to start moving in reverse from now on. I told him I looked backward to celebrating his previous birthday with him.

Remembering my forgotten few week old personal goal of posting an original song online by the end of this month, I played some guitar today. I had also played a bit last night, but I haven’t really practiced on a regular basis for… at least… since… hnh. Uhm, let’s see here. I can remember I was practicing “Rain” (singing the tape-reversed words at the end backwards, “nnniaaaaaaaaR” and so on), and I know it was here in Colorado, and I know I wasn’t in the hospital. So, sometime between July-ish 2008 and November 2010. It doesn’t seem like it was very long ago but it had to have been long enough ago that I no longer have any trace of the thick callouses I had redeveloped on my sinister fingers. My timeline makes almost no logical sense so I have no idea when I last practiced, but judging from how bad I was today, it was probably longer ago than I realize.

Okay, wait. I have to admit something. In the second-to-last sentence of that last paragraph right up there, I used the adjective “sinister” to describe my fingers entirely to make you think that I’m an amazing guitar shredding machine. Everything I said in that sentence was true, but now I feel really bad for misleading you. It just seemed so cool when I realized I could use the word as a double entendre. Still, sorry about that.

I’ve been able to recover some old notes about songs I wrote and have also been able to remember enough of others that I’ve been re-evaluating them and rewriting a lot of them more better..ly. I know there were songs I wrote that I was really happy with, but I can only vaguely remember lyrics and lukewarm lixx. It’s very frustrating, especially because I recorded absolutely everything at the time on my computer, which is now either in an attic in Connecticut or in a landfill in Connecticut. I recorded an audio tape in 2005 of some songs that I liked. I sent that tape to Joe in Africa. I won’t bother Joe in England. When he returns to be Joe in America, I will ask if he still has that tape. Is it weird to ask for it back? Yes. Maybe I’ll ask him to play it to me over the phone. Yeah, that’s definitely less weird.

Finally, Peter Forsberg has returned to Colorado to play professional ice hockey. Tonight, he skated with the Avalanche, who were practicing at the Family Fun Center, which is right by my house. I don’t care that he’s injury prone. I don’t care that this was just one practice. I don’t care that the name “Family Fun Center” makes it sound like the Avalanche practice at a Chuck E. Cheese’s. I don’t care about any of that!

Just having Forsberg around, skating with the team, is so amazingly supremely exceptionally fantastically awesome and also pretty great (especially because at trivia the other night, I was complaining about him no longer playing for the Avs) I’ve happily found myself subconsciously muttering “Foppa, Foppa, Foppa,” over and over to myself. Foppa is Forsberg’s fun-to-say Swedish nickname. Although, subconsciously muttering sounds like those the Swedish Chef might make could also indicate some sort of brain damage. Either way, I was very happy to see all the fans on TV that showed up to the Family Fun Center, wearing their #21 burgundy Avalanche jerseys and yellow triple crown Swedish Olympic jerseys, for the sole purpose of seeing a Colorado sports legend do some drills with his team.

Well, for that and then to play ski ball and whack-a-mole and eat some pizza.

–Reid.

—————-
Now playing: The Presidents Of The United States Of America – Stranger
via FoxyTunes



Fun Hanging Out With Friends, Boo, and Guster. Notsomuch With This Stupid Bug.
Friday January 14th 2011, 11:39 pm
Filed under: Family, Friends, Leukemia, Music

Mobile post. Riding shotgun in Louie.

Louie is Boo’s VW. He is a Jetta. He was raised by Germans. He may be known as “something something something – LUI” to the Colorado Department of Motor Vehicles, but he’s always been “Louie” to me, ever since Boo explained to me why she calls him that about ten minutes ago.

We’re heading home from seeing Guster kick off their 2011 tour at the Ogden Theater here in Denver.

Before the show, we went to the Cheeky Monk Belgian Beer Cafe with friends who were also attending the concert: Loren, Laura, Brandon, Leah, Adam and Becca. A different Becca. There were two Beccas, but only one was my sister. Rebecca. Boo. She and I didn’t quite know what to expect from a restaurant with the words “cheeky” “monk” “Belgian” or the term “beer cafe” in its name. It didn’t take long to decide we both really liked it. They had lots of good beer there and the food was good, too. I ordered a beer called Delirium, because I suffered from that scary neuropsychological disorder in June 2009, the last time I had pancreatitis, and since we were toasting my being less than four months away from putting all this chemotherapy and its side effects behind me, well, I’m sure you can see how there was no way I couldn’t order a Delirium.

When I got the glass with the elephants on it that Delirium is served in, I realized that I had had Delirium (the beer) before, at least five years ago at a bar Christina worked at in NYC. She recommended it to me after the bar stopped carrying Éphémère Apple Beer, a delicious apple based beer (not a cider) brewed by Québécois brewery Unibroue (French for “one long eyebrow”)(not really). Éphémère was the first beer I ever tasted that I liked and that made me say, “Hey, I could probably drink other beers, too.” Christina had introduced Amy and I to Éphémère one weekend and when we went back the next weekend for more, it was gone, and in its place was Delirium. Which was good, but it was not Éphémère. Christina quit over this disaster in customer relations. Or at least that’s how I remember it.

Man we’re home, so I guess this mobile post will now become a stationary post. I’ll finish this inside.

Boring old stationary post. Sitting at my desk.

All right, let’s see where I left off. Somewhere totally unrelated to anything that happened tonight. That figures, since the reason I was writing this in Boo’s car was that I’m not feeling well and didn’t want to have to hold up going to bed by typing this up when we got home. So of course, instead of giving a brief overview of the day’s most exciting events, I wrote about Boo’s car and a beer I have not had for at least five years.

I did not wake up this morning, because I never fell asleep last night. Not once, not ever. I slept through much of the day, but even when I awoke from this makeup sleep, I still felt icky because of the stupid bug I’ve contracted. I had somewhere to be, though, and I really wanted to go hang out with Boo and our friends. So I used bug repellent, went to the Cheeky Monk with Boo and all those other people we like, and then we went to the main event of the evening, seeing Guster perform. Well, seeing Guster perform was supposed to be the main event, and it was a great concert, but Boo found a place for us to be in the theater where I could sit down when I needed to, at the expense of her being able to see Guster perform. I felt bad, but she told me that she has plenty of experience not being able to see the performers at concerts. This is because she is the size of a peanut. It was still exceptionally nice of her to take care of me at the expense of being able to see the band.

The show was a lot of fun. For the second encore (after a first encore of three or four songs), Guster played “Under The Bridge” by the Red Hot Chili Peppers. Now you have to understand that the Red Hot Chili Peppers are another one of my very favorite bands. So, when I heard those instantly identifiable chords from one of the best songs from the past 20 years, I was ecstatic. A smashup of two of my favorite, albeit very different bands. It was going to be just like when Guster weaved “Jolene” by CAKE into “Demons,” another meeting of two of my favorite songs by two of my favorite bands played to great success by Guster. I couldn’t wait to hear their take on “Under The Bridge.” Then, Brian Rosenworcel started singing.

Brian is a legendary conguero, percussionist and drummer. His skills in those areas are amazing to behold. He is referred to by fans as the “Thundergod,” due to his mastery of the percussive arts. However, he has, quite possibly, one of the worst singing voice of anyone, anywhere, ever. Or at least he plays it up that way. This was funny to A) Guster and B) most of the sold out house of 1,300 Guster fans. It was not funny to people who had never been to a Guster concert before, like Boo, who asked me questions like, “Why are they playing this Red Hot Chili Peppers song for their encore?” and “Why is he singing this Red Hot Chili Peppers song in a way that is making my ears bleed?” (I may have paraphrased.) I explained that sometimes they just do funny and/or endearing things; I’m not sure she was so convinced.

Even though we were both really tired and I was feeling really cruddy, we waited around, because I scored us a pair of after-show passes to “hang out with the band.”

I got these passes because, in 2002, I became a Guster rep. To become a rep, I had to buy five Guster CDs, which I was supposed to sell to people unfamiliar with the band. As a reward for doing this, I got to go to exclusive rep concerts and I received all kinds of exclusive rep swag like a t-shirt and EPs by the band made for their reps. Some reps sold hundreds of CDs. I sold two. I sold them to my roommate Aaron, who I’m not sure ever listened to them. I think I still have the other three unopened CDs somewhere. I figured Guster never needed to be bothered with any of that information.

Fast forward to last week, when Guster put out a notice that if anyone still had their rep badge from the old days, the band would give them after-show passes for any show in 2011. I don’t have my badge here in Denver, so I sent an email to the band explaining my extenuating circumstances, asking if I could still get those after-show passes despite my lack of badge. In a display of genuine good guy-ness, they gave me the passes.

As I said, Boo and I were both very tired and I was not feeling well, so we didn’t stick around at the after-show party for too long. Only long enough to talk to the Thundergod for a few minutes and get our pictures taken with him. Maybe I’ll post that picture here tomorrow. Maybe. He helped me a lot with the very detailed Gusterography website I created back when I was a truly obsessive fanatic in my early college years (and which still exists, but is now maintained by someone else). So getting to talk to him for a few minutes and critique his butchering of “Under The Bridge” was fun.

Then Boo and I left the theater, got into Louie, and I started writing this post.

The end.

–Reid.

—————-
Now playing: Guster – Jonah
via FoxyTunes



I Hope You Like Jamming Too.
Monday January 03rd 2011, 12:13 am
Filed under: Family, Music

I’m really happy to say that I felt good today.

Dad and I saw a movie and then we kind of jammed. He jammed very well on the guitar, the keyboard and the drums. I jammed my ego into the ground. It turns out not regularly playing can impact one’s ability to play an instrument. Especially when that instrument really requires calluses. Ow, it’s hard to type with my dainty lady fingers hurting.

Personal Goal: record a song and post it on the Internet by the end of the month.
I’ve been saying I was going to do this since 2003 (that’s before YouTube existed, kids), when I completed writing my first song with a guitar. It was called “Pastrami On Rye.” At least I think that’s what it was called. My old compy had tons of recordings of songs I had written by myself at four o’clock in the morning and lyrics and musical notations, but I don’t know if any of that still exists. Including my old computer. I fear many potential hits of our generation may be lost forever.

If I didn’t have chemobrain, I’m convinced I would be able to sit down, strum a few chords and my brain would click and say, “This is how guitars are played. Related articles include: Songs Reid Wrote and Better Songs. Just like riding a bike! Years and years may have passed, but once you put your foot on the pedal, the part of your brain dedicated to bicycles kicks in and you’re off. Unless you have chemobrain, in which case, once you put your foot on the pedal, the part of your brain dedicated to self preservation kicks in and you disassemble the bike and send its parts to the four corners of the earth so that it won’t be able to sneak up on you while you’re sleeping and ring its bell in your face.

Maybe that’s just me.

I’m hoping I will still be feeling good tomorrow. I have some anxiety because now I’m up to finishing projects I started last time I felt good and I’d really like to finish at least one. We’ll see what happens. I want to finish cleaning my room, finish hanging some pictures and, hell, maybe I’ll even record a song and put it on the Internet.

–Reid.



Nine Months To Go!
Friday August 13th 2010, 7:31 pm
Filed under: Friends, Leukemia, Music

Nine Months To Go! Hooray! Well, technically, I have “only” Nine Months (minus a day) To Go with my chemotherapy course. The nine month mark was yesterday, August 12, 2010. And yes, it’s capitalized. It’s a holiday meant for celebrating and taking time off from work, like Arbor Day or Flag Day.

I celebrated with Loren by seeing Guster at the Fox Theatre in Boulder last night, ten years after we saw them there last with Jason. It may very well have been their first time back at the Fox since we last saw them there. And the date was just a happy coincidence–I gave Loren the tickets for his birthday. Well, his ticket anyway.

It was a great show, and the first stop on Guster’s new tour promoting their upcoming album Easy Wonderful (which, now having heard music from, I am even more psyched to hear). It turned out that the night was actually a radio showcase, in which three bands played, and somewhere among the crowd were radio station executives deciding if they wanted to play any of the music they heard on stage on their radio stations. But, as all three bands noted, it just felt like a night of really, really good music.

In addition to seeing Guster, we were introduced to two indie bands; first, Delta Spirit, one of Ryan Miller (of Guster)’s favorite bands, as evidenced by him standing right next to Loren and I and saying “this is one of my favorite bands.” Next, we saw Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeroes, an ensemble band with ten performers, including a trumpeter, an upright pianist, and a requirement that once you join their band you must be baked for every waking (and probably sleeping) moment of your life. Both bands were good, but Edward Sharpe stood out as a rare band whose album I knew I needed after they had been onstage for just a few moments. They had a lot going on, and their first song could not have possibly been more appropriate than the one the played: The Beatles “Magical Mystery Tour.”

Anyway, Nine Months (minus a day) Left To Go is juuust super.

–Reid.



Twitlog: Several 140-Character Stories I Meant To Blog About

Since my last entry, I’ve missed several topics I wish I’d blogged about. Knowing full well from prior experience that if I gave each of these many topics their own posts, I would quickly feel overwhelmed and, just as quickly, give up. So I decided to write about each of these many topics in one entry I’ve dubbed a “twitlog.” Aware of my propensity for verbose verbiage, I decided to treat each story as a Twitter post by limiting each of them to 140 characters. Onward!

-Last Vid: Bobby Fitzsimmons (of screen & stage) vlogs. Los: great! But whycome so few hits for funny video? I want to play Bobby’s cousin.

-New Vid: Crazy lady thinks cat is her son; boyfriend aghast. YT Comedy Spotlight! Moms Day dedication: to all moms, not just the crazy ones.

-Ebert: Why I Hate 3-D (And You Should Too) I’ve been saying that! If only I were a movie critic, they’d listen… and pay! Er, just listen.

-Rachel moved up and out to D.C. Rebecca is graduating on Friday and got into law school. I’m writing in my blog in the middle of the night.

-Dad and I met current Minnesota Senator and former SNL writer and performer Al Franken the other day. He was extremely nice and personable.

-How could I have possibly forgotten to mention burping as a side effect of iron overload? Hmn… maybe it’s because I’ve been busy burping?

-Weekly bar trivia, I think I love you.

-The Fam is going on a cruise next week to honor Boo’s graduation & acceptance into law school, Roo’s promotion & move, and my 1 YEAR TO GO!

-I’ve been feeling well enough to restart physical therapy. Crack! Snap! Oops! Those exercises hurt enough that I’m not sure I can do PT. Ow.

-I went to my first Derby Day party/benefit. Mmm… mint juleps. It was a blast until the last 90 seconds-we had to watch some horse race.

-The Levin Fam is being honored by the ADL for community service & leadership. I serve the community by making videos about boobs and farts.

-My ANC is great, but my platelets are so low that I’m off chemo until at least after the cruise. Note to self: don’t get stabbed on cruise.

Funny parody of Jay-Z & Alicia Keys’ Empire State Of Mind. Star Wars, I admit I’m still in love with you despite George Lucas’ best efforts.

-I’ve tried so hard to enjoy the new Steven Page-less BNL album. It’s very, very okay. But it lacks a certain… Steven Page.

-New “Give A Shit” lyrics: Earthquakes, volcanoes and the oil spill/My candidate still says, “Drill, Baby, Drill!”

Whew, okay I think that does it. This turned out to be a fun challenge. Maybe I’ll wind up making more of these. We’ll see how I feel about it a few days out. At any rate, I enjoyed doing this enough to create a new category for these things (’cause you know, this entry wasn’t already in enough categories).

For the record, “twitlog” is a double portmanteau, and I love me some portmanteaus. First, of course, there’s the Twitter-weblog combination, which is an apt description of all these Twitter-style stories in my blog. Second is the more self-derisive combination of “twit” and “log”; with the “twit” being myself, and this effort being the only “log” of what happened in the unintended space between more frequent and detailed blog posts.

I’m such a nerd.

–Reid.

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Now playing: Guster – Jonah
via FoxyTunes