"Music is a spiritual expression of what's in your heart. Music as a way of getting rich is a pretty new thing, and I often wonder if the mega-bucks glitzy atmosphere is making the quality of music suffer. You have to work really hard to get around that and remember why you're in it in the first place: because you have to be. It's like an addiction. You can't go a day without picking up your guitar. To me, the only commercial goals that are really valid are, 'Boy, I wish I didn't have to go to work. I wish I could do this all the time." -Trey Anastasio
"Impose rules to make life simpler. Break them to make life more fun." -Jon Fishman
For most of the past week, I've spent each day shuttling back and forth to Presbyterian/St. Luke's hospital. Delivering food. Delivering sweatshirts and hats. Delivering some small measure of comfort, I hope.
I work for an organization dedicated to finding cures for blood-related cancers like leukemia. I'm not a doctor, a nurse, a social worker or a healthcare professional. I'm a fundraiser. I put together events to raise money to fund research for better treatments and cures, and to fund patient services programs that help families from diagnosis, through treatment and hopefully into survivorship.
The vast majority of the time, I absolutely love what I do. Even when I have bad days, I can go to bed knowing that I've made some kind of positive impact on this planet. Today is one of the REALLY bad days, though, and it makes me feel a little bit hopeless.
Today, we said goodbye to one of those people who made the world a better place to live. When he was diagnosed with leukemia, the doctors told him he had maybe two years to live. He made it nearly ten. He's been a huge advocate and a tireless volunteer for my organization. He'd impacted the way medical research happens, and he's made life a little brighter for anyone who has eve known him.
Last summer, we thought he finally got his miracle. He needed a bone marrow transplant, but couldn't find a donor match. So the doctors went for a cord blood stem cell transplant, and a match was finally found in Italy. So my friend became known as the Italian Stallion. He survived the transplant and a couple of subsequent life-threatening infections. He even came back from the brink, recovering from another infection that put him in ICU on a respirator. Most people don't come back from that.
But in the last couple of weeks, another infection got him - this time it was fungal. Because he has virtually no immune system, any little germ can turn deadly. We got good news last week - he was recovering from surgery nicely, they thought the infection was gone, and he was able to come off of dialysis. The man's a fighter, we thought, and he's really going to make it.
The infection came back on Monday, though, with a vengeance. Today, they'll be removing all life support and letting nature take over. My friend is gone. And this really fucking sucks.
I know that the work I do is important... that it really does help people. But the thought that what has happened to my friend happens every ten minutes is almost more than I can handle today. It makes me want to throw my hands up and give up - if what I'm doing couldn't help my friend, then what's the use?
But I know better than that. I see it happen every day. I have to keep going and work as hard as I can until this doesn't happen anymore. As horrible - as absolutely, mind-boggling-ly, abyssmally, gut-wrenchingly horrible - as this is, it ultimately makes me even more determined to raise the money it will take to end these diseases.
If you want to help, you can help too. Click here for info.
CheezLog is back. I’ve been meaning to post a few entries here, but I got lazy. I hope you can find it in your hearts to forgive me.
To catch you up, I hit the following shows since we last spoke: - Siren Music Festival @ Coney Island (Brooklyn) - Band of Horses @ McCarren Pool (Brooklyn) - TV on the Radio @ McCarren Pool (Brooklyn)
The Siren Music Festival is an annual music festival that’s hosted by the Village Voice each summer. It’s not a great festival by any means, but it’s fun to attend because it’s at Coney Island and it’s free. One of the stages is literally next to the world famous roller coaster, the Cyclone! This year’s lineup wasn’t too shabby. The highlight of the festival was easily M.I.A. In case you’re not familiar with M.I.A., she’s a British/Sri Lankan MC who's hot in the electronica world right now. Thousands stood shoulder to shoulder for M.I.A.’s afternoon set. People were even climbing fences to catch a glimpse of her performance. It was nuts. In addition to M.I.A., I also caught We Are Scientists, The Black Lips, Cursive, and The New York Dolls. [Recommended M.I.A. Downloads: Paper Planes, Bucky Done Gun, Boyz]
The next two shows took place at McCarren Pool in Greenpoint, Brooklyn. For those of you who don’t live in the New York area, McCarren Pool is an extremely unique concert setting. It was built in 1936 and is the size of three Olympic-sized pools. It can hold up to 6,800 swimmers, but here’s the catch…it’s currently empty of water. The city closed the pool in 1983 and it sat abandoned for 20 years. That is until someone had the bright idea to host concerts in the empty pool last summer. Now there’s a gigantic stage set inside, along with an adult slip ‘n slide and a fenced-in dodge ball court. This summer, bands like Sonic Youth, Beastie Boys, Feist, Grizzly Bear, Built to Spill, TV on the Radio and Band of Horses performed. On September 22nd, The Chemical Brothers will play there, too. This video will give you a better idea what I’m talking about: http://video.on.nytimes.com/?fr_story=e0dc1af27b6f4547a4cced0bd9cad7a76ec477ac
Band of Horses was perfect for a lazy Sunday afternoon. I thoroughly enjoyed this show. I highly recommend their first CD, Everything All the Time. It’s an excellent, mellow, summer disc. [Recommended Downloads: The Funeral, The Great Salt Lake, Wicked Gil]
TV on the Radio played McCarren several weeks later. I was looking forward to this show all summer and they didn’t disappoint. It rained most of the day, but the skies cleared when the band hit the stage. It’s always fun seeing a band play their hometown, which for TVOTR, is Brooklyn. Their music is thick with unique sounds, so I enjoyed watching them recreate their songs live. [Recommended Downloads: Wolf Like Me, Staring at the Sun]
And finally, I can’t leave without mentioning Van Halen’s upcoming tour. I’ve been waiting for this tour since David Lee Roth was kicked out of the band in ’85. VH are easily one of my all time favorite bands, so I’m beyond excited about this. I just hope I can get tix for their Madison Square Garden show. Most of the dates on their tour have quickly sold out.
My busy season is upon me. We hosted our first fundraising walk of the fall on Saturday. One down, four to go, and on September 30th, I'm getting drunk. Stupid drunk. Maybe even whiskey drunk.
The walk was absolutely beautiful. There's just something about a college campus in the fall, framed by the Flatirons, that can't quite be captured anywhere else. I'm bruised and sore from the physical labor of it all, but it was definitely worth it. Our participants had a wonderful evening, and we raised a shit ton of money for cancer research and patient care.
Fall seems to have fallen...
We had a bit of a cold snap over the weekend. It will warm back up in the next couple of days, but right now it feels like football. Makes me want to cook up a batch of chili over the weekend. I wore a sweater and boots today, and I could've used a jacket. I forgot how much I love the fall - and ski season is right around the corner.
I saw Wilco at the Fillmore over Labor Day weekend with the Joker and a whole group of other friends. In the Joker's words, "I think my face melted off." What an amazing show. I've loved this band for years, but this was the first chance I've had to see them live. Well worth the $8 beers at the venue, let me tell you. I love me some Tweedy.
Travels... Once my Walk season wraps, I'm off to Orlando for a training, and then it's my long-awaited trip to Mexico. Ixtapa, to be exact. Land of Coronas and cabana boys. I'll be spending a full seven days sprawled out on the beach drinking fruity concoctions with umbrellas. It can't get here soon enough. Beats the hell out of being trapped inside by three feet of snow. I'm thinking of throwing a weekend in New York or Vegas somewhere in the fall as well. We'll see how it all plays out.
That's pretty much all I've got in terms of an update. I'm still waiting for the Joker to tell us all about getting kicked out of Red Rocks and the three days of STS9 last week...
So Lisa finally took me out to the Moon Time Bar & Grill last night. I think I might have a new favorite "regular" joint. And I'm pretty sure I want to marry the DJ. I'm hard pressed to remember when I've heard so many fabulous songs in a row. Everything from The Band's "Up on Cripple Creek" to Jerry's "Rubin and Cherise" to the Talking Heads' "Psycho Killer." Nice. But I digress...
Being a single girl again after 7 years or so, I admit that I'm absolutely clueless about the laws of attraction, etc. It's been a pretty interesting year - most of the time I don't think about it or worry about it too much. I figure it's best just to roll with it. I have made a few observations, though, that seem to hold true every single time.
Last night, I didn't go out on the prowl, per se, but the thought did cross my mind that I could potentially meet someone interesting. (Fat chance, I know - it's been months since I met someone who caught my interest. Who was actually interested back.)
Anyway, I think I inadvertently stumbled into one of the Murphy's laws of mutual attraction. See, I pretty much guaranteed myself that there would be no chance of any sort of after-hours activities by doing two things. I shaved my legs, and I wore sassy little underthings. And that's when I remembered the rule.
Preparation eliminates the possibility. The only time I ever seem to really hit it off with someone, I'm scraggly and/or wearing granny panties. Which virtually negates the possibility of a second go-round, in the event that I were to decide "what the hell" and actually indulge in a first go-round.
The rate I'm going, though, I need to lose my razor and stock up on granny panties. And buy a tooled leather bag. I'm letting you in on a little secret here, ladies - that thing is a man magnet.
We had an absolutely fabulous evening, though. I'm pretty sure the bartender is our new best friend, and we fell in with a group of jovial Illinois-ians (Illinois-ites?) toward the end of the night who kept us quite entertained. I'll definitely be back there for Stellas on the roof deck in the near future.