Hunka Hunka Burnin’ Toast

Recently I lamented in this spot how I had been unable to find a suitable fever thermometer audible to my rock-and-roll dulled ears. Fortunately, a solution has been sent in by alert reader April, who obviously has had much experience taking the temperature of her baby boy, Aiden, as he has valiantly fought back a variety of childhood illnesses. Way to go, guys!

Thanks to April for suggesting a product made by Vicks called the “Fever InSight” thermometer, which not only takes a reading in under ten seconds, it then lights up green, amber, or red depending on the results. As you can see from the photo, I am definitely an “amber” sort of guy, confirming the fact that I seem to have a relatively constant low-grade fever. I’m not exactly sure what this means, but I intend to ask my doctor about it when I see him next week.

Yes, I am just now about to learn the results of my bronchoscopy from almost two months ago. Due to confidentiality issues, he does not wish to discuss the matter over the phone with me (who knows, Dick Cheney might be listening in) so he’s insisted that I make the 300 mile round trip to Houston to hear the latest news about the state of my lungs. However, we’ve managed to schedule a couple of other activities around this visit as well, and have also planned a festive dinner with friends at the venerable Joe’s Crab Shack, so the trip should be productive.

Perhaps the weather has something to do with my feverishness. After months of rain and outdoor temperatures that have been lower than normal, we have finally slipped into our typical Texas summertime pattern; it’s been over 100 for the last couple of weeks, with no letup in sight for perhaps another month. This is the price we pay down here for not having to deal with snow and ice in the winter, although I’m not sure which is worse.

But in case my slightly elevated temperature requires medical attention, I will have no shortage of resources to call on. Just today, in fact, I received the following lousy spam helpful advice via anonymous email:

“Benefit from the Shelter, Effectiveness Not Expensive Prices and Eminence Advantage the majority trusted Web-Based Canadian Medical Supplies. We contain over 2000 Trademark and Standard remedy. We are the prevalent internet medical store, we are able obtain at the minimum workable prices. We then send our funds onto you.No need to have a medical instruction to purchase from our organization. We can even set you up on instant re-purchase so you don’t have to uneasy about running out of you medical drugs.”

Who knew the Internet was home to such friendly, helpful people? With my remarkable powers of insight, I have determined that English was probably not the primary language of whoever wrote this message, however I must say I am looking forward to them sending their funds onto me as soon as possible.

While we’re on the subject of burning, it looks like I will not be heading to the Nevada desert for Burning Man again this year after all. As I write this, some 25,000+ people are making their final preparations for a trek to the playa during the week leading up to Labor Day, where they will construct a city out of nothing, enjoy a week-long celebration of art and community, and depart leaving behind no trace whatsoever of their experience there. (You can see a remarkably detailed bird’s-eye view of last year’s event in Google Earth by clicking here.) Huge interactive art installations are constructed on the desert floor, groups of people gather in elaborate theme camps, and everyone dresses outlandishly (if at all). The festival started in 1986 as an impromptu annual gathering on a San Francisco beach, and has turned into an highly-organized if not exactly mainstream event. Although not quite the debauchery of sex and drugs that marked its early years, Burning Man still maintains an air of spirituality and counterculturalism, and in this respect is somewhat like the Glastonbury Festival in the UK — only without the music. The other big difference is that Burning Man is held in the middle of a harsh, barren desert with no shade, water, electricity, or other “creature comforts” for miles around. Temperatures range from near freezing at night to over 100 degrees in the daytime, and freak windstorms can whip up out of nowhere, driving the alkaline playa dust into every crack and crevice of your body. But the very act of not just surviving but thriving under the harsh conditions creates a camaraderie among the participants that is hard to describe, and I have wanted to experience this event for years. However, considering my need for supplemental oxygen and the generally fragile state of my health, this difficult environment would not be ideal for me — let alone the fact that it’s a 2,000 mile drive to get there.

Oh well, maybe next year. If I do go, I’ll be sure to bring my new thermometer.

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