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I decided to do another pass through a bookshelf I haven't closely inspected in a while. Anyone want the paperback Son of Origins of Marvel Comics (1975)? Used copies currently selling on Amazon for $12, yours for the cost of postage, about $3 via media mail. (Greg, is this something that would interest you?) Anyone want the very last Sears Wishbook, 1992, currently selling on eBay for $10-15, for the cost of postage, probably about $4-5 because since it's ads it can't go media mail? What they would sell for is just not enough to be worth the hassle of dealing with eBay. Last but not least, you'll never guess what I found: that's right, another one of Steve's college textbooks! _Die Energie_ - it's a physics textbook. In German. From 50+ years ago. Nobody in their right mind wants that, do they? Anyway, let me know if any of the above interests you.

Also have a 1963 issue of Film Culture magazine, an autographed concert program from Al Hirt, and two issues of Life magazine - ask me for details if you collect any of those kinds of things!
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Can I use "I've been busy" as an excuse, when I'm home all the time except for trips for lab work and biopsies?

The great news is, I am doing well enough post-transplant that they have already started lowering the immunosuppresant dosages at 7 weeks (that was yesterday) instead of 3 months. My kidney function is not 100% normal yet, and I still have to watch my potassium, but that's because these drugs are real tough on the kidneys, not because the kidneys are otherwise impaired, and everything's still within expected and acceptable ranges. My blood pressure continues to drop toward normal - the diastolic in particular was quite high for several weeks, but now it's down to around 80. For the most part I have my blood sugar under control. I am managing to get some knitting and other needlework done despite the prednisone-induced hand tremors, and am hopeful that the lower dosse of prednisone will alleviate a bit of that, once I get used to taking it all in one dose a day instead of two.

The schedule over the next few weeks is a busy one. Next week I see the surgeon for normal follow-up: x-rays and whatnot to make sure that the physical aspects of the surgery are healing normally and then I can be released from "sternal precautions" and be allowed to use my arms more. I look forward to being allowed to sit in the front seat of a car again! Theoretically I'll also be cleared to drive at 8 weeks, although the aforesaid hand tremors may make me hesitate about that for a bit longer. Next biopsy is the week after that - I'm on every two weeks now, through March, then it goes to once a month. And March 7, I start cardiac rehab. This time it will be at HoCo General (Howard County, MD is referred to by almost everybody who lives here as HoCo; Montgomery County is MoCo.) Last time, after the ablation and lead placement surgery, I had to go up to Greenspring, about 25 miles away, because HoCo didn't have an opening till about a month and a half after I needed to start. I am not sure that the benefits of cardiac rehab then outweighed the additional risks involved in driving a 50 mile round trip largely on the Baltimore Beltway...

Of course we didn't go out to dinner on Valentine's Day = but, since they have already lowered the dosage of immunosuppresants, I am going to be allowed to go out to dinner for our anniversary on March 25! I will have to be cautious - a restaurant with booths, so we aren't cheek to jowl with other patrons whose health status is unknown, and all food cooked well done and served hot. (No salad bars ever again - wah!)

Overall, things are going well. One thing I'm going to try to do before the end of the month is put together a detailed timeline of everything that happened in 2016 that led up to the transplant as a finish for the year. The two really big highlights are getting married on March 25, and getting the transplant on December 30, and both of those events were the start of a new life. But those wouldn't have happened if other things hadn't happened, so it's important to document the chain of events.

My mantra for now: people who make it through the first three months can expect 20 to 30 years!

Wedding photo:
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FB status isn't enough. I should blog more. More pics of my yarn and crafting. Right?

I started off the new year with a new heart - actually, received my new heart on December 30, after only a month and a half on the waiting list. Still adjusting to life as an organ recipient. Still mostly at home except for visits back to the hospital for tests, and will be mostly at home for several more months. That's because transplantees take a whole bunch of immune-system suppressing drugs, which means I could catch a virus or other germ if someone so much as looks at me funny. The doses go down quite a bit after the first 6 months.

So far, changing my schedule around to take meds at strict times and eat meals at strict times has been the biggest adjustment. Well, and coping with the "sternum protection" rules while my breastbone heals - have you ever tried sitting up from lying flat in bed without putting any weight on your arms? Cant bend over and pull out the big bin in our bottom freezer, either.

But then, a regular schedule is probably healthier overall, right? Enough sleep, waking up at the same time every day, those are supposed to be healthy.

Still, it takes some getting used to.

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Jan. 25th, 2017 12:00 pm
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Jan. 22nd, 2017 12:00 pm
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Jan. 8th, 2017 12:00 pm
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  • Sat, 12:58: @fadeaccompli Steve as computer geek got called in to backup cust. service phone answer b/c so many ppl in Austin don't know abt pipes.

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Jan. 7th, 2017 12:00 pm
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  • Fri, 21:23: I don't have the pain people keep asking about, but I can tell I've had surgery by how exhausting everything is. Talking. Peeing.

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Jan. 6th, 2017 12:00 pm
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  • Thu, 19:20: I don't know if it means I'm getting better, or worse, that that was not the worst hospital meal ever.
  • Fri, 09:54: So far so great Remaining stuff to do in hospital: ramp up + monitor tacrolimus levels, continue IV antibiotics to kill off reservoirs.
  • Fri, 09:56: And of course hours more training w pharmacy, nutrition, social worker, occup. therapy, for home care.
  • Fri, 09:58: And getting the kind of blood sugar monitoring equip I will be using at home, + start using it here w/ nurses, so I can do it right.
  • Fri, 10:00: Many people in transplant land already have had some diabetes; I am somewhat unusual in not, the Prednisone-induced is my first. experience

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Jan. 4th, 2017 12:00 pm
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  • Wed, 10:46: I will be happier when the puffy fingers unpuff. Yes I am happy to be alive but nonetheless annoyed at the puffy.
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Steve
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Below are the 4 most recent journal entries recorded in the "Steve" journal:
July 31st, 2009
02:42 am
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Marine Band concert
I attended a Marine Band concert at the Washington Monument this evening. They began with Sousa's not so well-known Marquette University March, followed by the Overture to The Bartered Bride. It opened with the clarinets in full violin section mode, playing unison 16th notes at about MM=140, no one else playing and thus very exposed, and sounding like one large clarinet. This is the sort of thing we seem to expect from the orchestra world, yet rarely hear done this well in the bands. Of course there are more professional orchestras than bands. By the end of the piece every section had had their opportunity at rapid articulated 16ths--a virtuoso performance.

Next was the Saint-Saens Cavatine, originally for trombone and piano, arranged for brass and trombone by the noted British brass band arranger James Gourlay, featuring SSgt Preston Hardage. Reportedly, his peers liked it--me, not so much.

Then was the Entry March of the Boyars, practically the national march of Norway, followed by Morton Gould's Ballad for Band.

Next, GySgt Kevin Bennear performed the recitation for Randy Bass's Casey At the Bat. He delivered a wonderfully dramatic reading, and, since he is also a musician singing baritone for the band, he and Director Colonel Michael Colburn worked well together so that the recitation and the music coordinated perfectly.

They closed with Rimsky-Korsakov's Capriccio Espagnol, another difficult transcription, performed superbly.

All in all, another outstanding example of your tax dollars at work. I thank all you citizens of Montana, Florida, Texas and all the other states for your contribution to my enjoyment, and wish more of you could share it with me, but there isn't room for all of you to live in Maryland and northern Virginia.
(3 comments | Leave a comment)

February 4th, 2008
12:54 am
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Fortu(ba)itous encounter
This last Friday and Saturday I was at the annual U.S. Army Tuba-Euphonium Conference at Fort Myer, adjacent to Arlington National Cemetery--lots of interesting and/or enjoyable music featuring the instruments you would expect, all performed by artists of the highest ability. I also caught up with several friends that I see there every year. There were opportunities to do other things as well, wherein lies the point of this post. I visited the elephant room, as the area where the vendors are set up is called, and after relinquishing more than a fistful of dollars, I am now the owner of a new tuba, a B&S PT-1, bought from Custom Music Company. As they do not take trade-ins, I still have the 1970s Mirafone 186 I have been using for 35 years.

New Tuba


The horn was a demonstrator or floor sample or something like that. It does have a few blemishes and one small dent on the bottom bow, but that translates to a significant discount, and compared to the wrinkled appearance of the 186 (the bell was crushed during shipment to the dealer and repaired, which got me a very affordable price in the 70s, plus a few knocks and bumps since then), the damage is trivial and cosmetic.

I had been browsing the vendors with the thought of maybe buying something. I tried a new 186 with 5 valves which was nicer and responded better that mine, but it still felt ... just ... adequate, and at $7200 besides. I finally talked myself into waiting until some later time, and continued wandering around the exhibitors when I saw the PT-1, which I hadn't noticed earlier. I tried it; it spoke easily in the lower register, which I never had with my 186; it responded well to ascending scales and descending octave slurs, again better than my 186; it just started feeling right in short order. I talked with them of price, which seemed reasonable, and did not include any tax or shipping costs. "Let's do it!" and I walked away 22 pounds heavier.

Unfortunately, the vendor was wrong when he said he thought it would fit the same bag I have been using for the 186. I have discovered that the current 186 is a slightly larger horn that mine, with the bell being an inch larger in diameter. The PT-1 is another inch+ larger yet, and 2 inches taller, so I had to order the larger Pro-Tec tuba gig bag.

I expect to be very happy with my shiny new toy. Despite containing a larger volume of air, it is more nimble than my 186, and the larger size produces a more powerful low register. I only hope that my creaky aging joints will not complain prohibitively about the 2 and a half pound weight gain.
Current Mood: pleasedpleased

(5 comments | Leave a comment)

March 2nd, 2007
06:47 pm
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I can't do that?
Well, here we are, home at last, a day late and a dollar short--actually, an hour or two late and $250 short.

We went to a museum on the Johns Hopkins campus, and returned to see a tow truck with one car on the flatbed and our car being towed behind (the only two cars remaining on that block-length segment, the others all presumably already driven or towed away). Reaching the driver just as he was starting to move away, I got the address of where to go find the car, and them we went into a nearby church to ask for a phone book so we could call a taxi. There we learned that apparently north-bound Charles St by the campus is no-parking in the right-hand lane after maybe 3:30 to help rush-hour traffic.

While I can understand and agree with the intent of such a policy, I don't think there was enough signage to communicate it to drivers who did not already know this. I was one in a long line of parked vehicles, so I expected parking was allowed. Ahead of me was a NO STOPPING. CARS WILL BE TOWED sign with an arrow pointing to where I was not. Behind me a little bit was another sign, arrowed away from where I was, mentioning 4PM as when parking must stop. A minute of walking about before the taxi came did not produce any sign I had not already seen when I drove into the space. I must return at some future time to see if there was some sign at the beginning of this half-mile section of road about the parking regulations, although if that is the case, I personally don't consider it adequate delivery of information.

Oh, well, it was a beautiful clear 50° day, the people in the museum gift shop we had been chatting with instead of returning to the car (being unaware that it was under attack) were friendly and shared our interests. So, as with most days, it could be worse.
Current Mood: discontentdiscontent

(7 comments | Leave a comment)

January 29th, 2007
03:45 pm
[Link]

Marine Band concert
Well, there are some really nice benefits of living in Baltimore near DC--all those tax-supported military band concerts!
Yesterday I attended a Marine Band performance in Alexandria VA for what was probably a once-in-a-(mine anyway)lifetime event. They played a transcription of The Planets--the whole thing, making up the entire second half of the program.

Beginning pleasantly enough with Bach's "Wir glauben all' an einen Gott," we then proceeded into the celestial segment of our journey, with Husa's Apotheosis of this Earth.

Following Music for Prague 1968 by two years, it is as dissonant as Prague and presents a frighteningly depressed depiction of the destruction of the planet. Quoting from Husa:

...In the first movement, Apotheosis, the earth first appears as a point of light in the universe. Our memory and imagination approach it perhaps the same way as it appeared to the astronauts returning from the moon....
The second movement, Tragedy of Destruction, deals with the actual brutalities of man against nature, which lead to the destruction of our planet, perhaps by radioactive explosion. The earth dies as a savagely, mortally wounded creature.

The last movement is a Postscript, full of the realization that so little is left to be said.... one of so many questions comes to our minds: "Why have we let it happen?"

In 1970, perhaps the threat of nuclear annihilation was more pressing than after the end of the Cold War. Nonetheless it was so powerfully depressing that I preferred to perceive it as, similar to Marley's ghost, a prophet saying "I have shown you a possible future. It does not have to be this way."

Fortunately I did not have to go home with that echoing in my head, for Holst was yet to come.

Although I had never heard of it before, this transcription is apparently 7 or 8 years old, done by Merlin Patterson, the brother of Don Patterson, who along with Stephen Bulla, does music production for the Marine Band.

Much of the time, I didn't particularly notice the absence of strings. Besides the usual transfer of black notes into clarinets and flutes, some solo violin parts were covered by soprano sax and some string color went to marimba.

I did hear differences in sectional balance, such that I heard some lines and rhythms I had never noticed before, done here by trumpets and trombones, whatever they were originally.

Besides its difficulty, I will probably never hear this again because of the resources it requires. There were two harps, two sets of timpani, two string basses, bass and contrabass clarinet, contrabass bassoon, three vibraphones and evidently lots of other stuff in the percussion section. In a post-concert meet-the-conductor chat in the lobby, I commented that concert preparation probably included choreographing the percussionists' moves from one place to another. Captain Fettig agreed and noted that this concert had required the biggest transportation effort of any performance in memory--five trucks filled with equipment. Indeed, the long 20 minute intermission was needed to allow time for the percussion to be set up.

Unfortunately, the joy of hearing such an abundance of musical sound is increasingly rare in both band and orchestra. Professional symphonies will consider the expense of hiring the additional musicians and decide that it's not worth it. Even the biggest community bands are unlikely to be able to find such extras. Probably large music schools are the only place that might find that many diverse musical resources to be called up without financial pain, and even more than the DC military bands have a limited geographical accessibility to an audience.

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[User Picture]
From: bunrab
Date: January 30th, 2007 01:42 am (local)
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Remember the orchestra concert where the truck went astray and the visiting orchestra had to borrow all the instruments? Good thing that didn't happen here!
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From: stylizedboredom
Date: January 31st, 2007 09:08 pm (local)
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You posted. I fainted.
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From: squirrel_magnet
Date: February 1st, 2007 01:03 am (local)
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Hi, Liz,

Yeah, I just felt like talking about that concert--like *you* never did anything on impulse!!

You're another one of those interesting little bits of Austin that I miss.
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Dec. 28th, 2016 12:00 pm
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  • Tue, 16:33: Richard Adams, sigh. Go home, 2016, you're drunk. And stoned.

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Dec. 24th, 2016 03:04 pm
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  • Fri, 16:05: I suspect that in most of the country, the pre-movie ads do not include defense contractors.
  • Fri, 18:38: We saw Sing! That was a lot of fun. They're going sell millions of that soundtrack.

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Dec. 17th, 2016 08:41 pm
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Nov. 23rd, 2016 12:01 pm
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