Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Movie Catch-Up

With all the hullabaloo with my bout of diverticulitis, Thanksgiving, holiday shopping, etc., I forgot to mention a few of the movies that we've seen!

On the Sunday before Thanksgiving, The Boyfriend and I managed to sneak in a screening of The Nightmare Before Christmas 3-D. Luckily, we still had our glasses from earlier in the year when we saw Monster House in 3-D, and they fit nicely over my own glasses so that I could actually see the screen. Though Nightmare wasn't originally filmed with 3-D in mind -- no silly gimmicks or tricks à  la Jaws 3-D -- the added depth to each scene made the film even more enjoyable. The flatness I usually accept with animated films disappearedd, making it appear (to me, at least) as if the characters moved through actual castles and graveyards and hills instead of sets. As I like to put it, I felt as though we were watching a stage play instead of a movie.

This past Sunday, we watched Christopher Guest's latest comedy, For Your Consideration. This film takes the audience behind the scenes as a small group of actors work on the production of the holiday film Home for Purim, about a Southern Jewish family during World War II coming together for one last holiday meal before the matriarch of the family passes away from cancer. During the production, buzz about possible Oscar nominations for three of the actors subtly worms its way into their egos and what ensues is a humorous skewering of the Hollywood publicity machine. Catherine O'Hara as actress Marilyn Hack and Parker Posey as actress Callie Webb (who's Home for Purim character comes out as a lesbian) had us both laughing hysterically, as did Jennifer Coolidge's producer Whitney Taylor Brown, heiress to the Brown Diaper Service who decided to pursue the Arts instead of clean diapers. Jane Lynch and Fred Willard lampoon the Mary-Hart-Ryan-Seacrest-Entertainment-Tonight types wonderfully well, too. While it was a fun movie, the laughs weren't constant, making the film seem a bit uneven. Fans of Christopher Guest will definitely enjoy the film, but those who aren't too sure might be better off waiting for the DVD.

Monday, November 27, 2006

Thanks(giving) for the 4-Day Weekend!!

Thursday was spent with the family at my folk's house. The delicious turkey from Stater Bros.; homemade mashed potatoes; candied sweet potatoes; King's Hawaiian Sweet rolls; two kinds of cranberry sauce; deviled eggs; too much stuffing; pumpkin pie with whipped cream. Even my Grandmother ate second helpings of almost everything. She looked good, too; I really believe that the move to her new, sunshine-filled room from that dank cubbyhole of an apartment at The W has made such a difference. She kept up with the conversation, enjoyed the meal from her spot at the head of the table, and relished all the attention. As well she should.

Friday, I ventured to Disneyland rather than hit the malls for Black Friday. Decorations-wise, not much had changed from last year: the same beach-themed holiday décor in California Adventure, "it's a small world" decked out with Christmas lights and a change of music, New Orleans Square hidden beneath gold and silver baubles, Mickey garland all along Main Street U.S.A. The lines for most of the attractions were well over 45 minutes (an hour for Pirates of the Caribbean; an hour and a half for the Haunted Mansion Holiday) so I just leisurely walked through both parks, only stopping for a moment to get my Tower of Terror fix. I don't understand the thrill I get from being dropped down an elevator shaft because in real life I would be terrified and sporting a huge wet stain on the front of my pants if I were in a falling elevator. But somehow, I willingly allow myself to be dropped and love the huge rush of adrenaline. After wandering a while longer, I braved the shops in Downtown Disney and walked away with a few Disney goodies for myself.

Saturday night's dinner with RG, SK, CS, and The Boyfriend was supposed to take place at the Claim Jumper at South Coast Plaza, but RG called an hour before we were to be there suggesting that we find a different restaurant. Parking was at a premium -- if you could make it into a parking lot; they were sitting at a stop light which had already cycled three times, moving the car maybe four feet the entire time. So we made the quick change to Hamburger Mary's. The Boyfriend and I arrived and noted the strangely empty parking lot, walked to the door, read the yellow sheet with the new hours, returned to the car and waited the fifteen minutes for the restaurant to open. The boys arrived just as someone unlocked the restaurant doors. We occupied that table for two hours eating decent food, dividing our attention between catching up with friends, the odd assortment of music videos from artists no one had heard of, and the USC-Notre Dame game. At the last minute, we broke down and ordered dessert: Mary Tyler S'mores (which you cook at the table) and Warm Apple Crisp with Vanilla Iced Cream. (Needless to say, I'm hitting the gym after work today.) We waddled to the parking lot then crammed into CS' car for the short drive to the theater.

A few years ago, CS and I had seen a one-man show called MacHomer from Canadian actor Rick Miller, and I promised myself that if the show ever returned to Southern California that I would drag anyone and everyone I could to see it. Lucky for me, Miller brought the show back for a three-night run at UC Irvine and within hours of the news, tickets were on their way to my house. MacHomer retells Shakespeare's MacBeth only all the roles are portrayed by characters from The Simpsons -- Homer is MacHomer, Marge is Lady MacHomer, Ned Flanders is Banquo, Mr. Burns is the King, Waylan Smithers is the King's "son" Malcolm, and so on. As Miller puts it, "One dysfunctional family doing another." For ninety minutes, a kilt-clad Miller remained on stage, changing from voice to voice with ease, timing his actions perfectly with the video at the back of the stage, distorting the Bard's words, and making us laugh so hard that I almost cried. He even ended with a musical number and with a musical encore of twenty-five voices singing Queen's Bohemian Rhapsody. Afterward, RG purchased a copy of the script which Miller autographed, and we were soon back at Hamburger Mary's to find our own car and head for home.

Friday, November 24, 2006

First Line Friday

Sorry for the late First Line. I took avantage of having the day after Thanksgiving off and spent some time at Disneyland. But fear not! I'm back, and here's the answer to last week's First Line:



Big in Japan by Alphaville; music and lyrics by Marian Gold, Bernhard Lloyd and Frank Mertens. Congratulations to Garry from [& Garry] for being the first to correctly name it. And, for the next first line, I decided to pay tribute to one of Garry's favorite singers: Morrissey.

Trudging slowly over wet sand
Back to the bench where your clothes were stolen
This is the coastal town
That they forgot to close down


This track is featured on Morrissey's first solo effort after the break-up of The Smiths, Viva Hate released in 1988. The first time I heard the song was as a cover on the CD single for Candy Everybody Wants by 10,000 Maniacs, but never realized who originally sang it until I heard the song on a local radio station.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Happy Thanksgiving!!



Here's to good food, to time well spent with family and friends, and to the four-day weekend!!!

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Bookwhore Chronicles: Pride of Baghdad

I read comic books while growing up, though not as enthusiastically as many others my age. Sure I enjoyed the action, the fantasy, and most definitely the muscled men in tight, body-enhancing unitards, and I had my favorites (Giant Man, Green Arrow), but the mania about collecting them never caught hold with me. The few stragglers that I had after college, I donated to the library to sell or to add to their children's section, and left it at that. But the recent influx of movies created from graphic novels -- The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, The Road to Perdition, A History of Violence, to name a few -- my interest slowly rekindled, and I found myself skimming through them, though not buying, at the bookstores. Last week, I finally broke down and bought one: Pride of Baghdad, written by Brian K. Vaughan with beautiful artwork by Niko Henrichon.

In 2003, during an airstrike against Baghdad, part of the zoo is destroyed, allowing the animals to escape. Among them are four lions: Zill, the leader who has become complacent after his many years of captivity; Safa, the lioness who is afraid to flee the comfort of the zoo because of a dark secret in her past; Noor, the lioness who longs to break free from the zoo and to return to the wild; and Ali, the young male cub who knows nothing of life other than the zoo. Together, they journey through Baghdad, trying to learn what happened and how to survive in this new world.

At first, I thought of it as an updated Lion King, with all the talking animals, etc., but some of the panels turned out to be much darker than I expected, and even though Henrichon's artwork is stunning, I gasped at the violence of them. The art combined with Vaughan's storytelling made the novel hard to put down, and once I finished it, I turned back to the start and re-read, taking more time to examine the panels, the expressions, the detail of the surroundings.

I never expected to enjoy this type of book. No particular reason why; maybe I grouped graphic novels in with the comic books of childhood. Funny what you start to like when you get older.

Monday, November 20, 2006

Out and About

Saturday, we stopped by Equal Writes to see how Dan, the Owner, was and to show our support by buying books. Much of the stock had been sold, but the semi-barren shelves still had enough books for us to browse: autographed books, mysteries, spirituality, biography, pop culture, lots of gay and lesbian fiction and erotica. We pored over the shelves and each brought a few books to the counter: The Boyfriend walked away with two titles including a fantastic illustrated copy of Dracula, and I purchased four. Dan told us that if the liquidation went well, he may try to re-locate to anther part of Long Beach. The shop next door to his felt the crunch, as well, and was closing its doors. He said that once the city tore down the building next door and blocked of its parking lot for construction, much of the business died away because of the lack of parking. Dan was taking the closing sale day by day, hoping more people will at least stop by to take advantage of the discounts before shutting the doors for good.

We dropped the books off at his place then spruced up for a special dinner. Saturday, his Mother was celebrating a birthday so The Boyfriend's entire family took her to dinner at La Parrilla, one of her favorite restaurants in Boyle Heights. About thirteen of us edged around the tiled tables and for the next few hours, we enjoyed good company, good music and great food. The Boyfriend and I ordered a "parrillada," which is like a Mexican hibachi, filled with sizzling portions of carne asada, chicken breats and tripitas (intestines). (I can hear some of the groaning right now, and let me just say that when they're crispy, wrapped in a fresh corn tortilla and liberally splashed with jalapeño salsa, yummy!!!) I ate quite of few of the latter which think may have impressed his Mother. The Boyfriend's brother even let me sample some nopales which were pretty good. After dinner, I was as stuffed as everyone else, and we all managed somehow to waddle back to our cars, wishing his Mother a very happy birthday.

Friday, November 17, 2006

First Line Friday

The answer to last week's:

Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered from the musical Pal Joey; music by Richard Rodgers, lyrics by Lorenz Hart

This 1940 musical not only introduced us to this classic, but to Gene Kelly and Van Johnson. Over the years, this song has been recorded by some of the great singers: Mel Tormé, Linda Ronstadt, Ella Fitzgerald, Carly Simon and -- if you dare to believe it -- Rod Stewart and Cher (as a duet in 2003).



Congratulations to Matt over at A Guy's Moleskine Notebook for naming that song! And, in honor of his recent trip to Japan, please find for your consideration, this week's first Line:

Winter's cityside
Crystal bits of snowflakes
All around my head and in the wind
I had no illusions


This comes from the 1984 debut single by Alphaville which reached #1 on the U.S. Dance Chart but only #66 on the Singles Chart.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

"Time will explain it all. He is a talker, and needs no questioning before he speaks." - Euripides

Saturday turned out to be much warmer than I expected, especially after the abnormally chilly night. I had burrowed beneath my thick comforter and two blankets -- one fleece, one hand-knit -- but that one ray of sunlight pierced the blinds and struck my face, making it warmer and warmer as the minutes ticked by. too warm for the blankets, then the comforter, finally grudgingly getting myself out of bed for a quick breakfast and some computer time. Around 10 AM I eventually decided to clean up, tidy the house a bit, fold some laundry, then hop in the car for a visit with my Grandmother.

The weather cooled as I approached Laguna, some grey clouds overhead providing a bit of a break from the heat. My Grandmother wasn't in her room when I first announced that I was there. I stepped in a bit, then heard harrumphing and a metallic scraping form the bathroom. I called her again, and she slowly appeared in the doorway with her walker. She looked up at me and took a moment before exclaiming how nice it was that I stopped by. We chatted about the weather, sports, how she was being treated at the new place ("They treat me so much nicer over here than at that other place."). I asked what she wanted for Christmas. "What do I want? I don't want anything." No clothes or blankets? "I have too many clothes as it is so I don't think I'll be needing any more." I asked if she needed anything. "Nope, I'm okay and don't need anything." She looked blankly at the TV for a few moments. I was at a loss as to what to say next so the quiet hung between us for some time. So many things I wanted to tell her about me and The Boyfriend, the plays and movies we had seen, the books we were reading, but my parents and I discussed the matter a few years ago when the Alzheimer symptoms began in earnest. Would it matter if she knew? I doubted that it would, but a few times I'd witnessed one of her episodes, when she called her doctor that "Jap" to his face or one of the cleaning ladies at The W "those Mexicans." We all thought it best not to tell her that I was gay.

Instead, I told her about the dog parade a few weeks ago, describing the little dachshunds dressed up as Hot Dogs and the little Chef Woofgang Puck until she laughed hard enough to cry. I promised to bring the pictures the next time I visited. She yawned so I took that as my cue to leave, adding my name to her calendar to show that I had been to see her.

I helped her from her chair, steadying her so that she could grab onto her walker. "Ugh, it's so awful being so old and ugly." I admonished her for saying that, telling her that she was the most beautiful Grandmother in the world and kissing her on the cheek. "Thank you. Now promise me that you'll see me again real soon." I did. And I will with the pcitures of dogs in costumes.

Monday, November 13, 2006

Punching Bag

While waiting for the light to change so that I could cross "safely" to the food court, I noticed an odd man walking toward a small alley behind the buildings across the street. He wore nice gray slacks, a bright blue dress shirt and dark tie, which wasn't all that odd considering the food court was in an industrial area, but as he turned to head down the alley, he bunched his left hand into a fist and purposely banged it against the side of his head twice. He walked a few more steps, turned in profile to the right, then slapped the right side of his head a few times. I could see his lips moving in anger as he sliced both hands through the air, index fingers pointing at nothing, emphasizing that perhaps he said the wrong thing or needed to stop acting in a certain way. He paced back and forth, alternately striking the left side of his head with a fist or slapping the right.

The light changed, and as I stepped into the crosswalk, the man left the alley heading toward the food court. I stayed a good pace behind and noticed that he struck the left side a few more times, but only when he passed shaded windows or when he thought no one was looking. As he neared the food court, I found myself wondering what would people do when they saw him enter, hitting himself and possibly cursing. Would the din of their lunchtime conversations grind to a halt? Would someone call the police? Would someone ask if he needed any help? He passed the food court, continuing to the main sidewalk and then disappeared down the street.

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Bookwhore Chronicles: Equal Writes

I received an e-mail from the owner of my favorite gay bookstore Equal Writes this morning:

There is no easy way to say this — Equal Writes Bookstore is closing. We will begin liquidating assets on Saturday, November 11th. Our Board of Directors and investors knew that we had to remain on-track with our sales projections; unfortunately, October was [sic] off pace and we cannot absorb the loss.

I'm just at a loss as to what to say, to think. I loved walking down the aisles, being able to browse at the many titles by gay and lesbian authors, finding new authors among the scores of the well-known. So many titles that I may have never purchased before: Blackbird by Larry Duplechan. The Man Who Invented Rock Hudson by Robert Hofler. Patience and Sarah by Isabel Miller. Lust by Geoff Ryman. Regular chain stores don't carry them or, if they do on the one or two shelves located near the Psychology and the Religion sections or mixed in with the regular fiction, you have to know exactly who and what you're looking for.

I liked the proximity of the store to my house, of being able to just pop in to look around, to chat with the owner. The next closest gay bookstores are 50 miles to the North in West Hollywood or in the desert of Palm Springs.

It was also at Equal Writes that The Boyfriend and I met face to face for the first time, at one of the first few meetings of the book group.

I think I'm getting depressed....

Friday, November 10, 2006

First Line Friday

The answer to last week's:

Bad Case of Lovin' You (Doctor, Doctor) music/lyrics by John Martin

Robert Palmer recorded and released this song on his 1979 Secrets album, garnering him his second U.S. top 20 hit and quickliy becoming one of his signature songs.



Last night, The Boyfriend and I sped through the homeward bound traffic and arrived at The Ahmanson around 7:30 PM -- plenty of time to pick up our tickets from the Will Call window for The Light in the Piazza. With a book by Craig Lucas ("Prelude To a Kiss," "Longtime Companion") and music/lyrics from Adam Guettel, this tale of romance between a young American girl visiting Florence with her mother and a young Italian really lives up to the New York Times' calling it "the most romantic score of any Broadway musical." I almost cried during a few scenes. I guess these types of scores run in the family because Guettel's grandfather is Richard Rodgers (of Rodgers & Hammerstein and Rodgers & Hart fame) so that's where this week's First Line comes from.

After one whole quart of brandy
Like a daisy, I’m awake
With no bromo-seltzer handy
I don’t even shake


I love Ella Fitzgerald's recording of this song, though I've never heard it in the context of the show for which it was written.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Bookwhore Chronicles: World War Z

In the years following the great World War against the living dead, author Max Brooks traveled the world to learn the stories of the men and women who battled and survived against the almost unstoppable force. From the supposed beginning of the outbreak in Old Dachang, China to the government coverups -- many in power choosing to claim the first few infected as contracting "African rabies" -- and the drug companies jumping on the bandwagon to create ineffective panaceas for the people. From the survival of a blind man in Japan to the disastrous Battle of Yonkers when the armies had no real idea of what they were fighting against. From the survivors who managed to find escape from the devouring hordes and who battle to this day to take back the world to the sometimes unbelievable actions of governments trying to maintain some kind of control. (The whole of North Korea disappeared and has yet to be heard from.) This oral history offers a vivid portrayal of a new world order, where instead of allowing fear to take control, the people of the world rise to the challenge, learn to communicate with one another to overcome obstacles. And while the major threat of zombie infestation has ended, pockets of the undead still remain, slowly and methodically being controlled by the survivors of the new world.

World War Z is a work of fiction. No zombies were harmed in the creation of this post.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Runs with Scissors

We read the book quite a while ago for the Men's Reading Group at Equal Writes and were excited to learn about the impending movie. So this Sunday, we managed to catch a screening. We wondered how they would create a single, flowing story from the many short stories and anecdotes of the memoir, and fortunately, were not disappointed with the outcome. The movie retells portions from Augusten Burrough's memoirs about growing up with a diverse and dysfunctionally functional family. His mother Dierdre (Annette Benning) dreams of becoming a published author and dotes on her favorite audience, Augusten (Joseph Cross). His father Norman (Alec Baldwin) tries to cope with his dissatisfaction by drinking which eventually leads to a tremendous argument with Dierdre in front of Augusten. They hope by visiting a psychiatrist, Dr. Finch (Brian Cox), to fix their problems, but what happens is anything but normal. They divorce, and then Deirdre signs her parental rights over to Dr. Finch and his weird family: the ultra-religious daughter Hope (Gwyneth Paltrow), the mousey housewife Agnes (Jill Clayburgh), their rebellious daughter Natalie (Evan Rachel Wood) and the 33-year-old pedophile Neil Bookman (Joseph Fiennes) whom the Doctor has "adopted."

The writers picked and chose from the many stories of "Running with Scissors" and managed to craft a story that alternates from laughter at the sheer audacity of the Finch household to poignant with Augusten's dealing with an absent mother. Annette Benning and Jill Clayburgh, both at opposite ends of the spectrum as far as their characters, gave wonderful performances. Annette's drugged out scenes are some of the best in the entire film, just the way she carried herself and spoke were amazing; Jill's mousey, somewhat addle-minded portrayal made me sympathize with her role in the strange family. Evan Rachel Wood fit the role of the rebellious Natalie with perfection, and Gabrielle Union's Dorothy was such a bitch that I wanted to jump from my seat and slap her silly (just like in the book). Joseph Cross gave an admirable performance as Augusten, and together with Joseph Fiennes, did a nice job with their relationship. Though I wish they had kept the power control that Augusten had over Norman -- it made for such an important part of the memoir and really defined their relationship. Brian Cox played the Doctor as cooky and as crazy as I imagined, and though he wasn't in the movie too much, Alec Baldwin made me feel sorry for Norman. Paltrow was underutilized in the movie but came across rather stiff when she was in any scene so no big loss for me.

Would I recommend it? Definitely, despite the four or five people who walked out during the first thirty minutes of the film. If you've read the book, I think you will enjoy the movie; and if you haven't, well, you should.

Monday, November 06, 2006

Vote

Don't sit at home, allowing others to make the decisions for you. Have your say tomorrow at the polls. Vote!!!

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Dogs on Parade!

No Halloween would be complete wihtout a visit to the Long Beach "Hot Dog" Parade, in which dogs and their owners dress in their Halloween finery then parade down 2nd Street in Belmont Shores. We stepped off the Passport with quite a bit of time to spare so we stepped in Fingerprints with the sole intention of browsing; I bought two CDs while The Boyfriend bought the German import of Ta-Dah by the Scissor Sisters. Good intentions. We then hurried to the starting line of the parade and tried to squeeze in among the myriad of people crowding both sides of the sidewalk. Once the parade of dogs and their owners began, I overheard one woman say that supposedly over 600 dogs had been registered for the event. At the slow pace of the parade, the entrants wouldn't stop until well after dark so we stayed for a short time, snapped a few pictures then ate a wonderful barbecue chicken pizza at B.J.s with time to spare for the bus ride back to the apartment.

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Bookwhore Chronicles: Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

After I decided to drive myself to the hospital very early Wednesday morning, I grabbed a book like I always do if I know that my time is going to be free, like sitting on an airplane or in an airport, eating at a restaurant by myself, or waiting to be called back to see the doctor. The pain was intense enough that I just grabbed a book without looking, and it wasn't until I was lying back on the gurney that I even knew I was holding a Harry Potter book. Many of the doctors and nurses offered a wry laugh at the thirty-six year-old man reading a book written for children, but I didn't care.

Especially once the morphine kicked in.

Reading about someone else's difficulties and troubles, how he confronts them and works to resolve them, takes my mind off my own problems, which is what I really needed at the moment. Otherwise, I would have been staring into the nurse's station (as they forgot to close my curtain), forced to listen to the agony of the poor man in the next bed with the broken jaw and multiple cuts and bruises. And poor Harry, trying to understand his own feelings toward Ginny Weasley while Dumbledore and Draco Malfoy keep disappearing from Hogwarts and trying to figure out what sort of deviltry Draco and Professor Snape are up to when no one will seem to listen to him -- well, I found myself lost in their world. The magical world was so much better than the real world of needles and pain and the doctor shoving a gloved hand up your ass.

While in the E/R, I managed to finish about four hundred of the almost six hundred fifty pages.

But now, after seeing the first four films, I pictured Maggie Smith as Professor McGonagall, Robbie Coltrane as Hagrid, Daniel Radcliffe as Harry, and Alan Rickman as Snape. The actors fit so well with, are so ingrained in my mind as the characters from the novels that it is them I see acting out the story as I turn the pages. Is this a bad thing? Shouldn't I be able to imagine for myself what each character should look like?

Friday, November 03, 2006

First Line Friday

The answer to last week's First Line:

Over at the Frankenstein Place from The Rocky Horror Picture Show, music/lyrics by Richard O'Brien





Congrats to Jef at Cult of Jef for naming the song and Six Shooter Shoot from the Hip for correctly naming both characters.

From Wikipedia:

"The Rocky Horror Picture Show (RHPS) (first released in the United Kingdom on 14 August 1975) is a science fiction-comedy-horror musical film directed by Jim Sharman from a screenplay by Sharman and Richard O'Brien, who also composed the song Time Warp. The film was based on O'Brien's long-running stage production The Rocky Horror Show. After an unexceptional first run, the movie went on to become a cult hit that continues to play weekly in many theaters (usually at midnight). Fans often attend viewings dressed as characters from the film and respond ritualistically to certain events by throwing food, using props, yelling jokes, dancing, and cheering." And let's not forget the de-virginizing process for first-time viewers....

As for this week's First Line, I spent early Wednesday morning in the hospital so why not post lyrics having to do with medicine and doctors and such -- even if in a roundabout way?

A hot summer night fell like a net
I've gotta find my baby yet
I need you to soothe my head
And turn my blue heart to red


This classic was recorded by Robert Palmer in 1979 and went on to reach #14 on the U.S. charts.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Those Pesky Diverticula

The pain was just enough that the doctor ordered a dose of morphine injected into my IV. And as its effects slowly began kicking in, I couldn't lay flat or sit up on the rolling bed without cringing. The voices of the nurses floated into my area from behind the curtain: "we're still waiting for the results of the pregnancy test before we take her up"; "a man with severe breathing problems...should be there within two minutes"; "you've got an evulsion that we'll need to stitch but it's still going to leave a scar." All I really remember between bouts of trying to doze and the nurses divulging the best diets for someone with diverticulosis, is that I was much better off than the young man behind he curtain to my left. Walking in front of a bowling alley, he'd been jumped and beaten, his jaw broken so that it would require being wired shut. He seemed more worried with figuring out how to pay for the E/R visit; the nurse told him what he would need to do, to file a police report so that the state could pay for some of it since he didn't have any insurance. And if they caught the guy who jumped him, a record would be able to show guilt, and he would be forced to pay for the hospital.

Some time later, another nurse told me to drink one of the two tall, orange bottles he carried with him. Drink the other in an hour then I would be wheeled over to the lab for a CT scan. Barium smoothies with no other food in my stomach. They left a very unpleasant, slightly orangey aftertaste, but I had to admit these were mch better than having a long tube shoved up my ass and barium forced into my colon and stomach.

That same nurse along with yet another new face wheeled me along the corridors and into the CT room. I carefully slid from the bed onto the exam table, with my feet pointing into the machine. Hands over my head to stretch my body and to increase the pain in my left abdomen. I did this for fifteen minutes, wincing with pain, praying that my stomach would not burst open.

They pumped two kinds of anitbiotics into my bloodstream, and the attedning physician wrote a prescription for those same drugs in pill form along with Hydrocodone (similar to Vicodin) and a stool softener. He said that my diverticulosis had flared up, but the case was mild, antibiotics should bring down the swelling and stop any infection. And with that, I was free to leave so I slowly, slowly dressed and hobbled out of the E/R.