August 19th, 2010


[links] Link salad goes on a diet of clear liquids

Fossils may be 'earliest animals'Tiny, irregularly shaped fossils from South Australia could be the oldest remains of simple animal life found to date.

What Does 'P vs. NP' Mean for the Rest of Us?

Minnesota Tornadoes 2010: We're #1! — Repeat after me, weather is not climate. Still, the trends don't look good. Darn that liberal bias in reality.

The Boondocks with a strip re-run from seven years ago that is eerily on target today — Le plus que ça change...

In US 20% believe Obama is MuslimThe poll found one third of conservative Republicans believe Obama is a Muslim, nearly double the figure who said so last year. This is what we call "the crazy", and it's reinforced by constant messaging from conservative media outlets and political leaders. Confidential to conservatives in America: Your ideals are mighty damned weak if you have to rely on bald-faced lies to advance your agenda.

Olbermann: There is no 'Ground Zero Mosque' — A little unaccustomed reality to counter the conservative hysteria. Not that it will help... Still, worth watching if you want to understand this story from a reality-based perspective.

?otD: What is the weirdest thing you've ever eaten?

Writing time yesterday: 1.0 hour (revisions)
Body movement: 30 minute stationary bike ride
Hours slept: 7.75 (interrupted)
This morning's weigh-in: 243.2
Yesterday's chemo stress index: 4/10 (fatigue, peripheral neuropathy)
Currently (re)reading: Destroyer by C.J. Cherryh


[cancer] Time for another alien abduction experience

I am having another colonoscopy tomorrow. That means I'm on a clear fluid diet today, and this afternoon will be taking WonderDrugs™ to ensure the pipes are clean. I've warned everyone local to stay the heck away from Nuevo Rancho Lake today. There truly are some experiences that should not be shared.

A lot people are very uncomfortable with the idea of a colonoscopy. It's invasive, in a manner and location which can feel very transgressive. It's a little spooky, especially if you happen to get a look at the probe beforehand. Imagine a Norelco razor duct-taped to a black garden hose... Then imagine that going where the sun don't shine. We're talking Fantastic Voyage, except with John Candy in the Raquel Welch role.

I like to think of colonoscopies as alien abduction experiences. I'm taken into a little room with bright lights by mysterious figures in face masks and splash guards, I'm forced to strip and lie on a cold table, I get to enjoy an anal probe, and afterward remember almost noting of it. Really, how different is that from the classic contactee narrative? Perhaps the CIA has had field-expedient colonoscopy teams roaming the country in black helicopters all these years, when they've been able to take time off from mutilating cattle, staring at goats and overthrowing Third World dictatorships.

But there's two critical facts about colonoscopies.

One, they don't hurt at all. (I'm far more wiped out by the sedation.)

Two, they can and will save your life.

So do me a favor. Do yourself a favor. Do everyone who loves you a favor. If you're eligible for a colonoscopy (in most US healthcare environments, that means being aged 50 or older), go get one. More to the point, if you have experienced any of the warning signs of colon cancer, whatever your age, go get a colonoscopy.

Colon cancer is the third most commonly diagnosed cancer in the United States, with about 6% of the population eventually suffering from it. It's the second largest killer among cancers, after lung cancer. The procedure is a little embarrassing and rather disruptive, but I'm here to tell you from deep personal experience that living with colon cancer is a hell of a lot more disruptive than half a day on the toilet and some bright lights in a little room.

So enough with the PSA. I'm doing my bit, because we already know my colon loves to produce new polyps, the bad kind. Due to my medical history, that induces a certain amount of fear and trepidation on my part, but the alternatives are worse.