Volume 2 Book 10 Part 1 of "Living In The Bonus Round"
The Online Diary of Steve Schalchlin

[ Diary Index ]
[ Book 9 ] -- [ Pt 1 ] [ Pt 2 ] [ Pt 3 ] [ Pt 4 ] [ Pt 5 ]
[ Pt 6 ] [ Pt 7 ] [ Pt 8 ] [ Pt 9 ] [ Pt 10 ] -- [ Vol. 3 Book 1 ]

Sunday, March 24, 2002.
First Day Again.
Nicholas posted to my discussion board that since I hadn't written in this diary for weeks I must be dead. I told him that as a dedicated solipsist, if I don't write in my diary it's more like he's dead.

I've been very lazy with the diary but the truth is that while Jimmy and I were on vacation, the only thing I did was get up, play the piano for hours and hours and write songs. (I'll tell "Stories from Vacation" at a later time -- maybe after I get back to Rochester. My whole life right now is focused on those three short weeks in May where we're doing TLS and, assuming we finish writing it, the untitled God musical).

But then this email came onto the TLS list from Amy (my beloved). It was the first entry in the Bonus Round diary. Amy writes:

"As I customarily do on my birthday (hint hint LOL) here's a blast from the past...

"Sunday, March 24, 1996
Day One

"Hello, dear reader. I've never seen another person's diary on the internet before, so I'm flying blind on this one. Diaries of others are never interesting for me, but I know that some people love peering into the lives of others. Plus, I'm dealing with a lot and I need to say it all "out loud." This is day one..."

(Notice how this diary entry starts right off with my admission that other people's diaries are "never" interesting for me. More evidence of my incipient solipsism and self-centeredness.) But it was the next phrase that caught my eye:
"...I've been living with a constant cough for about three months. It's going on four..."
I began this diary six years ago because of a cough. Well, guess what? I have a cough again and it also has lasted about four months. Okay, I get the hint. Write a diary entry.

The doctor isn't sure what it is. When the ENT looked at down my throat two months ago, he said there didn't appear to be anything wrong. So Dr. Peter yesterday ordered an MRI and I do that on Wednesday.

Also, while reviewing my chart (from three months ago), he read the cholesterol (290), the triglycerides (1600) -- which made his eyes pop -- and a high level of red blood cells. Then he said:

"Your blood is pure sludge."

It was so off-handed the way he said it with his Australian accent. (I think he'd like Russell Crowe to play him in the movie of my life but he's more like Paul Hogan).


"Have you been exercising?" he asked.

Dammit. Caught.

"Um, no."

I hadn't been. Oh, I've been lifting my little hand weights every once in awhile but no, I have not been exercising. Oh I pretend to. But I've been a big fat liar on the subject. So now I'm putting it on the record.

And day before yesterday, I actually WALKED to the gym (a membership I've had for five years so it's really cheap and they love me because I never use the facility) and asked the guy how the treadmill worked.

Then I got on the treadmill and I exercised aerobically. I felt my blood race. I kept thinking:
And each time I increased the speed, I would visualize muddy creeks and rivers being replenished by fast flowing currents of clean new, unsludgified blood.

Yesterday I said to Jimmy that for my exercise I wanted to walk to the subway station, take the subway to Hollywood and Highland (where the Oscar ceremony is going to be tonight) and take pictures.

North Hollywood subway.

They don't actually make it easy for you to walk this town. Sidewalks come and go. You find yourself having to walk in the street. Drivers get SO annoyed when you use the crosswalks (if you can find a crosswalk).

Entering the subway in North Hollywood
This is the first year that you can take a subway to the Oscars. The station opens right into the middle of the whole shebang. It's right there. The whole block was cordoned off. They built a media bridge over the street and it was OSCAR OSCAR OSCAR.

Tourists watched as look-alikes stood in the receiving line in front of cameras and lights during receiving line practice runs. We watched entertainment reporters (all with magnificent hair) from all over the world doing remotes, reading from cue cards and "feeling the excitement in the air."

I love the bald headed guy with the sunglasses.
It's like teevee reporter secret service.

On the news, however, all the reports are that the new multi-million dollar shopping complex built to accommodate all this is failing miserably monetarily. People come to Hollywood, spend a half hour walking around and then go somewhere else. Well, I can tell you why.

The stores in Hollywood and Highland mall are the highest end, most super expensive designer stores in the world. The "family from Florida" crowd is looking for cheap regional looking junk and silly things that they can take home. Armani socks are just not going to fit into that category. And rich people go to Beverly Hills or Westwood.

So there's this huge mall, you walk around for a half hour, admire the gleaming architecture (complete with huge elephant in the sky like an Egyptian slave movie) and then take the train to Universal Studios CityWalk where you find things that are still overpriced but you can afford 'em.

Grauman's Chinese Theatre/Jim tries to pry up John Wayne's cement block.
Grauman's Chinese is a more negotiable public area without the old ticketbooth but there's something missing now.  Also, out front there was a guy in a Spider-Man costume who had a pot-belly and bad posture. He just slouched on the make-shift fence doing nothing. It was as if Spider-Man had grown up, had a few too many beers and was trying on the old suit for kicks.

Buy yer own Oscar!

Still, this was fun. Jimmy and I felt like kids again. We really had a blast just looking around. Jimmy met some tourists from Oregon and was telling them things. We marveled at the fact that the Hollywood subway is not token driven. It's on the honor system. (If they catch you without a ticket it's a $250 fine but there are no entry stiles like in DC or NY.)

There's something wonderful about the words "Hollywood" and "Honor" being in the same sentence.

Jim shows the subway mural of El Portal to the tourists from Oregon.
Sharon Stone's star on Hollywood Blvd. Walk of Fame.
So, anyway, my main focus right now is Rochester and health. Finishing the hat and using the treadmill. I'll update the diary as health reports come in. But I'm not going to spend a lot of time here. Not till I get to New York in May.

Six years ago this diary started with a cough. Six years later I have a cough again and sludge blood. I can't control the throat thing but I can go after the sludge.

By writing this entry I'm inviting everyone in the world to constantly nag me if I've done my exercising this week, but maybe I need that kind of public commitment. It seems to be working for Bev over in her diary. Also, though Jess Carey's play about Dickie is getting its first reading in NYC  The Quilt people don't seem to know where they put his quilt.

Oh well. Happy Birthday, Amy.

Sunday, (March 25 -) April 7, 2002.
Dedicated Sludge Head.
Well, I'm very proud of myself. For nearly three weeks, I have been faithful to my regimen of aerobic walking. Even on those days when I think, "It's too much. I want to take a nap," I instead head for my shorts and t-shirt, put on my walking shoes and head out the door. I also have been put through a battery of tests about this cough.

Steve Blows.

This is a picture of me taking a breathing test. Attractive, huh? Oh, and this is Midway Hospital and its MRI chamber.

So far I haven't heard anything. So that's good news. There's not much to tell which is why I haven't updated the diary. I spend the mornings working on music, walking in early afternoon, sleep in the late afternoon, eat dinner and then pass out on the couch.

I want to be in perfect health for our three weeks in Rochester coming up. I'm also excited to be invited to the University of Judaism here in L.A. on April 18th. I've also  been invited to do a webcast concert at Kulak's Woodshed. As soon as I have the date for that, I'll let you know.

As I said, not much to tell. Oh, I got my blood tests back and my t-cell count was UP to 800! That's the most EVER. Considering the fact that it was at less than 300 in December (when I had that chest infection), this is sensational news. So now it's focus focus focus on health and music. Health and music.

[ Diary Index ]
[ Book 9 ] -- [ Pt 1 ] [ Pt 2 ] [ Pt 3 ] [ Pt 4 ] [ Pt 5 ]
[ Pt 6 ] [ Pt 7 ] [ Pt 8 ] [ Pt 9 ] [ Pt 10 ] -- [ Vol. 3 Book 1 ]

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© 2002 by Steve Schalchlin.
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