Volume 4 Book 2 of
Living in the Bonus Round
Bonus Round singing!
[ Book 4-1 ] -- [ Pt 1 ] [ Pt 2 ] [ Pt 3 ] [ Pt 4 ] [ Pt 5 ] [ Pt 6 ] [ Pt 7 ] [ Pt 8 ]
[ Pt 9 ] [ Pt 10 ] [ Pt 11] [ Pt 12 ] [ Pt 13 ] [ Pt 14 ] -- [ Book 4-3 ]
December 1-4, 2004.
World AIDS Day at SLO.It felt good to be back in front of an audience again.
It also was nice to see AIDS in the news again, especially a report from France about a possible new vaccine that would help people who are already suffering from the disease. (I always know World AIDS Day is around the corner when HIV suddenly slips back onto the media radar for a week).
After singing for the University of Judaism earlier this week, Jim and drove up the beautiful coastline of California to San Luis Obispo.
Quick shot from a speeding car of the California coastline.Several campus groups had joined together to invite me to come and sing my semi-famous AIDS education concert "Living In The Bonus Round," which was like dusting off an old friend. We've been so focused on The Big Voice I had almost forgotten about "Bonus Round." (In fact, when they first called, I thought they were inviting us to do Big Voice. Luckily, I asked enough questions to avoid that debacle).
I was met at the campus by the BEAUTIFUL Maya, who is in charge of Women's and GLBT programs.
Steve & Maya.
Also, driving down from Davis California five hours away was the always beautiful and definitely lovely Bev.
Steve & Rick.
And if that didn't stoke my ego enough we were also met by Rick who was wearing a TLS Laguna t-shirt which he picked up when he saw the original production there. He said, "I have all three of your CDs. When are you gonna put out another one?" Good question, my man. I guess the next CD will probably be the official off-Broadway cast album of The Big Voice.
In the back of the room there was a camera crew asking questions. "Do people still fear those living with AIDS?" they asked. My response, "I think the bigger problem is that people aren't afraid enough of the disease given the rising infection rates and the neglect of the world to the African AIDS crisis."
Peppered with questions.
Bev sat in the front row and took video of the concert. These are a few of the screencaps I put together along with a few shots Bev did with her digital snapshot camera (which are clearer):
Do you like the chin whiskers?
How adorable is this shot?
We had a healthy crowd, though it's always difficult to get students out for some "AIDS guy" but I particularly loved Maya's mom and grandmother and (I think) sister sitting in the front row laughing at all my weird humor. Afterwards, we had big hugs all the way around.December 5 - 10, 2004.
Then, Bev and I went out to a little diner and shared fajitas. Or rather, I ate mine and then proceeded to eat hers, whatever was left. Bev and I have been close friends for several years now and it's been way too long since we just had some alone time together. She's been a relentless helper to me, especially when I was just getting the Bonus Round series out of the starting gate.
I haven't done as many AIDS education concerts in recent years, though, due to the fact that my agent for schools dropped me because "no one is funding AIDS education programs anymore. It's not trendy enough."
"Trendy," for colleges, means "not enough Americans are dying of AIDS so it's not in the news anymore and we prefer something more in the news."
I'm just thankful to people like Maya who literally hunted me down by going onto the Net. She found a report about a concert I did at some school, then she Googled me and found my website. But, you know, if the infection rates of young people continue to soar sky-high because of this neglect by school administrators, maybe we'll get trendy again.
Eyeball Fear Factor.This week has been all about seeing my doctors. The first visit was to the eye surgeon to assess the situation with my eye. First, a cute Asian doctor put me through absolutely every imaginable test. Follow the finger. Find the blind spot. Look at the starry night. Follow the laser. Read the numbers. Read the other numbers. Dilate the pupil. Put head in instrument. Look at bright light. Let doctor shine bright light into your eyes. Let doctor shine blue light.
All pretty typical stuff.
But then came the Fear Factor Moment.
"Here," he said. "We need to test how well your tear ducts are working."
He picked up two little strips of white paper.
"Okay," he said, pulling back my lower eyelid. "This might be a bit uncomfortable."
He slipped the pieces of paper down between my lower eyelid and my eyeball. It felt like he was rubbing sandpaper against them. I tried to be a good patient naturally.
"Very good," he said. "Now hold that for five minutes. I'll be right back."
So I sat there with paper in my eyes. I was counting off the moments in my head. Then I thought, Okay, think of something else. I started repeating a new song I've been writing in my mind. Starting from verse one. Just letting the song unfold in my head, testing a new lyric, trying a different solo. Anything to get my mind off my poor eyeballs.
After a seeming eternity, he came back in, praised me for my endurance and then announced, "Okay, that was to soak up the tears that were already there. Now comes the real test."
Two more strips of paper slipped beneath the bottom eyelid. More stinging. I was screaming inside.
"Excellent," he assured me. "Now, five more minutes. Hold it. I'll be right back."
I started the song over again in my mind. Sorting through lyrics. Wishing I had my camera so I could take a picture of this. I got bored with the song. I started imagining how this should read in the diary. I thought about anything to just get my mind off the eye torture.
Finally... FINALLY, he came back in. Ripped out the pieces of paper, which were by now glued to my eyeball, nodded and said, "Thank you."
Then the surgeon came in. He was quick. Said that I might still have double vision if I look up and down but that I'd at least have single vision looking forward after the surgery. But before they would do the surgery, I would need a CAT Scan (or CT Scan) to look at the muscles. (That'll be next week. Surgery will be in January).
On Wednesday I saw my regular doctor who said I look good and that recent tests were excellent. On Saturday I go back to the foot doctor. I've been very diligent about rubbing the presciption cream on my heels to get my feet back to babysoft goodness just like he ordered. So I think he'll be very proud of me.
© 1996-2004 by Steve Schalchlin.You have permission to print from this diary and distribute for use in support groups, schools, or to just give to a friend. You do not have permission to sell it.