Oh right. Halloween.

Halloween is around the corner and so I must confront my yearly dilemma: rejoin the world of the living and drum in the Halloween Parade, or stay home, happily curled up on the couch with my cats, and watch scary movies? This is my band drumming in the Parade four years ago.

Every year I fantasize about going out to Long Island to one of my family member’s houses, if they’ll let me, so I can give out Halloween candy. We don’t get trick or treaters in the city and I have always missed filling up the bags of little kids having the time of their lives, knowing how later in the evening they’ll be emptying everything out, surveying their loot, sorting out the good from the bad. But then I realize this fun will be offset by one of the most depressing things in the world, that trip back into the city, on those dismal trains, pulling into that dismal station, and waiting for the subway which always seems to take the longest when one has just gotten off the Long Island Railroad and desperately needs to get back home to un-do all the dark, dank, dismalality (yes, I just made up that word).

Part of my decision rests on my bone graft recovery, which is mostly going well, except I still look bad. I’d convinced myself that the swelling had gone down enough that it wasn’t noticeable, but when I went to choir last night my friend Barbara immediately gave me the Look of Sympathy and said, “oh” in poor-you voice.

Bleecker Street, in-between a couple of Marc Jacobs stores.

Vanity Shrinks Your Life

I need to get out of the house, regardless of how scary I look. Maybe I’ll just go to a movie, where I’ll spend most of the time in the dark. Being cooped up, unable to swim or do anything is making me depressed. The medication may be contributing.

The question is: will I make it to choir practice tomorrow? Physically, I feel up to it. I can’t sing very well, the skin inside my mouth is tight from the surgery and I seem to have acquired a lisp, but going to rehearsal will be helpful regardless, I’ll still learn. Except I continue to look like something out of a horror movie, like that thing in the basement that makes everyone scream, “don’t go down there!” I honestly don’t think I can bear people seeing me like this. What’s worse, I’m sure no one cares. If anything they’ll think, “poor you!”

Is this who I am? Will I miss something I love to do, something that will make me feel a lot better, at a time when I really need to feel better, because I don’t want anyone to see me when I look this bad? I never would have thought so, but I’m definitely on the fence about going.

Before I forget, WIRED has begun a series that looks amazing: The Decades That Invented the Future. It’s on my to-read list.

And speaking of depressed, I should probably not watch the debate tonight. I don’t think I’m emotionally strong enough.

The curl-up below lasted about two seconds. Then Finney woke up. The problem is, the kitten spends all day attacking Finney, so by the time he is ready to cuddle up and rest Finney is all, “Die, kitten, die.” I was so hoping to see them curl up together like this it almost made me cry. Unfortunately, this scene hasn’t been repeated since.

Rest in Peace, Danny Lieberman

One of the oldest members of Echo, (an online service I started in 1990) and one of the sweetest, died yesterday, of acute myeloid leukemia. Danny was a very social guy, and he came to every gathering, party or event, and he was always smiling. The guy didn’t have a mean bone in his body. I thought he was getting better, a lot of people did. We now think he just didn’t want to worry or upset us. I will always be grateful for all he did for me and for Echo. He liked the place and he did what he could to make it better, welcoming new users and hosting a conference on Echo. A lot of people said that his smiling, friendly face was the first they met after joining Echo.

I scanned and posted some pictures of him on Facebook and this seems to be the one people who knew him liked most. It’s slightly out of focus, but it captures his smile. Rest in Peace, Danny. I’m sorry this happened to you too too soon. This has got to be one of the biggest understatements that can ever be uttered but: life is so unfair sometimes. And fuck cancer.

Rite Aid: You Need to Work on Your Customer Service

I am fine, but unrecognizable. According to the surgeons, I’m going to be swollen for weeks this time. I can’t leave the house like this. You should see me. I am monstrous. I’m still icing, which I need to get back to.

But I’m mad at Rite Aid right now. I went there after the bone graft and asked the pharmacists in the back if they have arnica cream, which I was told might help with the swelling. “Aisle 7,” I was told. I spent a few minutes looking for it and gave up. I went back to the pharmacists. I was holding an ice pack to my face I should point out, and I was already completely swollen up. I asked them to please let me know where in aisle 7 I should look, hoping one of them will actually show me. One of them answers me, but I had trouble hearing and understanding her. She repeated what she said two more times and I still can’t tell what she is saying and she is now mad at me! The other one finally said, “First aid,” which is what the other person had been trying to tell me. (It sounded like “prostate” to me, maybe the pain killers were just starting to kick in?)

But that was the extent of their help. I’m standing there swollen, in pain, with an ice pack to my face and all they can manage is two more words to help me. And, they’re acting like I’m annoying them. Thanks a heap, Rite Aid. (Actually, I do realize they can’t walk everyone to the product they’re looking for, and I wouldn’t be writing about this if they hadn’t acted so put out about it. But I was the one in need of first aid!)

Bleeck reaches out. Poor Bleeck. But poor Finney too. This kitten is a handful. (A wonderful handful.)

I have an idea for something to replace debates!

We had choir rehearsal last night so I only saw the last half of the second presidential debate. I came in when Obama was discussing coal and oil and effectively refuting everything Romney had said. I caught Romney talking about “binders full of women,” suggesting marriage as the best response to assault rifles, and that being able to leave work at five to feed your family was the most pressing work issue for women, completely flubbing immigration, and, of course, the Libya moment, the best part of which was when Obama rounded on him in indignation and said, “And the suggestion that anybody in my team, whether the secretary of state, our U.N. ambassador, anybody on my team would play politics or mislead when we’ve lost four of our own, Governor, is offensive. That’s not what we do. That’s not what I do as president. That’s not what I do as commander in chief.”

It was a balm to my worried heart. That said, I want to repeat what I’ve posted many time: I hate debates. Always have. I’m glad Obama won, but I’d vastly prefer to abandon the practice of presidential debates altogether. It’s too much of a warrior thing, which is not entertaining or informative. I don’t want to watch a battle. And I reject that this tells us anything about a candidate’s ability as a president (or how they would do in a real battle).

I have a better idea. Give each candidate a half hour (or more) to lecture. Sorry, I love a good lecture. I’d like to see Obama speak about constitutional law. What would the Romney equivalent be? Wall Street investments? This would give each of them an opportunity to shine in areas they are knowledgeable about and I’d get to learn something.

There’s be all sort of rules, just as there are in a debate. Leave the other guy out of it. No discussion of your opponent whatsoever. This is your opportunity to show the public what you know and also to educate the public on something you think is important. The subjects of the lectures are not released beforehand. This would be to prevent the other candidate from working in references to the subject in their lecture.

I’d have to give this more thought to come up with the most useful guidelines.

I’m going to take a bunch of pictures of Bleeck. Someone I know who also lost their cat and got a kitten has been shooting up a storm. I don’t have many early shots of Buddy and Finney and I want to make sure that doesn’t happen with Bleeck.