June 24th, 2013


[links] Link salad doesn't know you from the wind

The Little League World Series’ Only Perfect GameIn 1957, Mexico’s scrawny players overcame the odds to become the first foreign team to win the Little League World Series. (Thanks to [info]threeoutside.)

Son and Heir? In Britain, Daughters Cry No Fair — It's kind of hard to know what to think about this.

Full moon at McMurdo station — Wow. Just wow. (Via [info]danjite.)

The hidden cost of terrorism: U.S. smoking After the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks, a million former U.S. smokers took up the habit again and kept puffing for at least two years, a researcher says. Really? (Via David Goldman.)

Chris Kluwe: Here’s what’s wrong with Ayn Rand, libertarians A world full of Ayn Rands would be a terrifyingly selfish place, writes the outspoken NFL star in his new book.

Greg Mankiw and the Gatsby Curve — Paul Krugman on Greg Mankiw's blindly idiotic and self-serving defense of extreme economic privilege.

Church without God - by design — Atheist services. Huh. (Via Dad.)

God's Own Law — Steve Buchheit on Biblical laws and our allegedly Christian nation.

Obama to reveal “plan to prep for the impacts of climate change” on TuesdayHe'll make due on his inaugural address by sharing how the US can "lead global efforts." Oh, those liberal lies, based on mere "facts" and "data" when there's good conservative ideology out there to sustain the happily counterfactual and willfully ignorant.

QotD?: Will you ever? Did you ever?

Writing time yesterday: 0.0 hour (day overwhelmed with busy-ness)
Hours slept: 5.5 hours (fitful)
Body movement: 0.5 hours (stationary bike)
Weight: 247.8
Number of FEMA troops on my block installing Islamic footwashing sinks: 0
Currently reading: Real Happiness: The Power of Meditation: A 28-Day Program by Sharon Salzberg; I Shall Wear Midnight by Terry Pratchett


[cancer|religion] Me and prayer

As anyone who's read my blog for more than about twelve minutes knows, I am a staunch atheist. One might even say raving. This is both a personal stance and cultural-political stance. No one's interests, least of all those of the faithful, are served by intruding religion into public policy, let alone the law. In such a scenario, whichever faith serves as the template diminishes all the others. I'm fairly certain, for example, that those many conservative Christian advocates of school prayer would be horrified if the prayers were Islamic. Which is pretty much how those of us who aren't Christian feel about Christian prayer in schools and other public settings.

That being said, I have an absolute respect for the role of religion in the private life of every individual, whatever their faith (or lack thereof), citizenship, place of residence and what have you. So when a friend tells me they pray, I respect what prayer means to them and for them.

When a friend tells me they pray for me and my cancer, I respect that as well. That isn't a statement about my relationship with faith. That's a statement about their relationship with faith.

I'm saying this because people on Facebook and in my blog comments fairly often tell me they're praying for me, and somewhat less often but still frequently apologize for that. Please, pray if your spirit is so moved. I don't have to believe in your faith. It's enough for me that you do.

And to those who do pray for me, thank you.


[cancer] Field notes from Cancerland, miscellaneous bitses and pieceses of help edition

I've been taking Trazodone as a sleep aid since last week. Friday night it worked like a champ. Every other night it's as if I'd taken a sugar pill. On the plus side, I'm no longer waking up groggy. This apparently means my body is acclimating to the medication. On the minus side, what the heck is happening? I was advise to slowly titrate the dose upward if it wasn't effective at the initial, minimal dosage. But then there was Friday night's 10+ hours of sleep, compared to last night's 5.5 hours. There are some external stressors which have caused both my adrenaline and my anxiety to be up in the evenings these past two nights, but I don't want to take a Lorazepam on top of a Trazodone. That seems like asking for trouble.

I really detest my pharmaceutically-driven lifestyle.

Speaking of the pharmaceutically-driven lifestyle, as of this morning I am back on the Regorafenib. This after a week off for side effect recovery. That's the normal pattern for this medication, three weeks on, one week off. Apparently if you take it continuously, the side effects are so horrible people just give up. Dad, Lisa Costello and I are going in for bloodwork and to see the oncologist today, so we can benchmark the first month of this medication. I'll also be scheduling the follow-up CT scan, about four weeks from today.

I found the recovery period helpful in terms of minimizing the pain in my feet and hands. Likewise, my GI made a substantial recovery. My sore and swollen tongue has settled down a lot. Now that's all going to start up again. If the last week of this first three-week series just past represents my peak symptoms, I'll be able to tolerate this medication. If it gets much worse in this forthcoming three-week tranche, we'll have to consider pretty carefully what I'm doing. And of course, the CT to be scheduled will tell us whether the drug is having any effect at all. If not, then I'm paying a pretty steep price for nothing.

Still not writing. Another day of deadline-driven life/business/planning activity yesterday, along with a deep sense of being overwhelmed. As I said a while ago, this is how the end begins. When every day I just can't. I wrote for a decade without ever being blocked for more than a day or two. But cancer and its discontents really do a number on me.

A friend recently suggested that I formally retire from writing. My response was that this is what I'm in the process of doing, I just haven't called it that. But the idea of quitting on purpose appalls me. That's even worse than waiting for the cancer and the chemo and the stress to strip me bare.

I hate this, too.

I've found some old stock from a former employer that has been through at least two rounds of M&A activity since the certificate was issued. Does anyone reading this, especially in the Portland area, have sufficient knowledge of stocks and how share ownership descends over time to give me either informal or formal advice? At a minimum, I'd appreciate a better understanding of what questions I need to ask, and of whom I need to ask them.

The Simpsons on DVD
Does anybody in my circle have the series run of The Simpsons on DVD? It's wicked expensive to buy them all, and I'd like to start viewing this summer. The library has them, but that requires both waiting for the DVDs to be available, and fairly rapid timing in my part in watching them.

Game of Thrones on BluRay
Likewise, I'm interested in Game of Thrones on BluRay. Again, wicked expensive. Again, the library has them, but I'm trying to get around both availability and return issues.