An Elliptical Machine.

We bought an elliptical machine and they delivered and set it up today. It’s massive. Seriously it takes up half the living room. (The TV takes up the other half.) But we have both gained a lot of weight since we met – I’m about 20 pounds heavier than I’ve ever been – and neither of us has much motivation to go to a gym. I spend 11 hours of the day 4 days a week either on the train or at work, and I’m very protective of those remaining few hours.

So we bought the damn machine. I’m watching more TV than I have in a long time, so at least now we can exercise while we watch Big Brother.

Yes, Big Brother. Shut up. I know: first it was American Idol and now it’s Big Brother. My snob card is in serious danger of being revoked. Big Brother is actually pretty good. It takes me back to my drug trial stints at PPD in Austin. Last week gentle, sweet Jordan lost her shit. Isolate a bunch of people in a house together for long enough and sooner or later they start to lose their shit, and that makes good TV.

I think I’ve mentioned that I have Wednesdays off. They tend to get booked up pretty far ahead since they’re the only days I can do anything. Lately Wednesdays are all about doctor’s appointments. I have health insurance for the first time in decades so I’m getting everything checked out and taken care of.

My visit to a dermatologist was a revelation. All the annoying, persistent skin problems I’ve had since I was a teenager now have names and some of them have treatments and cures. My favorite is Delayed Pressure Urticaria. It’s a condition related to hives. It causes me to break out in red welts a couple hours after I’ve had any pressure applied to my body. It especially affects my palms when I’ve been carrying shopping bags or doing any kind of manual labor (chopping vegetables, hammering nails). Sometimes it hurts quite a bit. I can prevent it by taking an antihistamine beforehand.

I’m also seeing a round of doctors about my double vision. I may have eye muscle surgery again. I had it in my 20s, and it worked until a few years ago. Lately, if I’m tired, I can’t watch a movie. Even if I’m not tired, I can’t focus on anything close up. Conversations at parties are taxing, since I can barely hear when there’s background noise, and anyone standing or sitting closer than 4 feet is a double image. I run into things, knock things over, all the time because I can’t judge distance well. Poor me.

Anyway, Wednesdays.

Before the guys arrived with the elliptical machine, I had a computer technician over to look at my G5. I thought I had another failed hard drive – a couple weeks ago, I was copying my iTunes music onto a portable hard drive so I could copy it onto my new MacBook Air, but the portable disk was full of old stuff, so I was copying the old stuff onto my G5 to make room for the iTunes music, and the whole thing just shut down and wouldn’t boot up again – and I was ready to give up on my dear, old Mac and only hope that most of the data was salvageable. But this guy had it up and running after about an hour and a half of tinkering. I was a little worried about a stranger coming to fix the computer because, okay I’m going to be really honest now, when the computer crashed I was, as I said, transferring files, but while I was sitting waiting for the files to copy I was reading my email, and looking at blogs, and then, well, xtube. Porn killed my computer. I was sure this guy was going to boot up my computer and there on the monitor would be exactly what was there when it died. (I was saved that embarrassment.)

My parents sent me the boxes that I left in Indiana last summer. Mostly archival stuff: cassettes of my old recordings, demos; some correspondence mostly from my teens and twenties; and manuscripts and journals. C has been reading my old journals. I’ve been a sporadic journaler – periods of years went by without writing – but even so, there’s a lot chronicled. Most of it I haven’t looked at in many years, but his interest in it has set me to thinking that I really need to go through it all, transcribe it. And I need to put the more recent entries, which are mostly digital on one computer or another, into some kind of orderly, safe format. (This afternoon I pulled up files from 10 or so years ago, and they’re in WordPerfect, which my computer won’t read. It’s funny how we all live under the assumption that all our media is permanent now because it’s digital. It’s actually much less permanent because formats change, files get damaged, storage media deteriorates. Paper might grow fragile but it doesn’t just disappear.)

All this attention on my journals has also got me to thinking about the process itself. This blog has replaced my journal. In some ways I think that’s good, as far as art is concerned at least in the short term. But there’s a lot in my private journals that I would not have shared here. That must seem hard to believe since I write about such intimate stuff here. But I’m very concerned not to write in my blog about anything or in a way that might hurt someone’s feelings, whereas in my personal journals I have written without inhibition. And, as much as I write about sex here, I was always more frank when it wasn’t public. Being an artist who exploits my own life for my work, I didn’t think of my journals as exactly completely private. I think I always thought maybe years later it would be safe to share them, but not in real time. Blogging is immediate and it has consequences in the world. The awareness of that has imposed a kind of discipline on the writing that has been good. But I’ve begun to wonder about what gets left out and whether I'll remember it or not.