Friday, January 30, 2004

So there is not really an 'explanation' of why I got cancer. I mean, sick, okay, but why? we dunno.

My pal Mitch sends me this link: enter my zipcode, and search around, 95125.

Santa Clara County has one of the highest concentrations of superfund cleanup sites in the nation. Great! Why did I sick? cause silicon valley is full of bad stuff!


On the other hand, I am alive, that's good.

So I hope to spend a quiet weekend relaxing, etc... then pack for the trip to India on Thursday.

now, for something disgusting: Urban dictionary of slang
do not look up "hot Carl" I promise, it is gross.

Now for something offbeat "Iraq Cartoonish Buffoonery"
collection of stories from a recently returned serviceman. I like the grenade fight story

I was supposed to go to SF to look at a 1963 superhawk a gal had for sale, but unfortunately, she parked it on the sidewalk, and the city towed it away.....

Tuesday, January 27, 2004

Dangit, Memories are always better than reality. I've been going on for a while now about wanting a seamless black watch cap, that fits snugly about my head, and does not have to roll up. Not a knit ski hat, but a cool black watch cap. Like Mike Parks wore in the 70's TV show "Then Came Bronson" He looked so cool on his Harley Sportster.

So I order the super cool 'hellstorm' advanced tactical, blah blah, black watch cap. It has seams. I have to cuff the bottom, and it does not fit so super tight to my head. It does look like a guys cap, not something Mary Tyler More may wear, but no where near as cool as Jim Bronson. A hip, beat reporter in San Francisco.

Well, I finally decided to surf the web and find photos. Ya know what I found? Yep. Let down again! He had a plain old black knit stocking cap, with a HUGE cuff!

FURTHERMORE, his sportster had longhorn bars and ugly dirt bike 'gaiters' on the forks!

DOH! it is better to remember cool stuff from the past, then find out it was not so cool.

Last Night Sara and I went for dinner with our pals Alan & Michele. The restaurant closed at 9pm. Damn, what is the deal with San Jose.

And now, for something completely different!

is Mark's Hoto Dog Stand on Alum Rock Road Really closed?

Sunday, January 25, 2004

What a day! What a BEAUTIFUL DAY! Most cancer survivors (you know you don't 'cure' or 'beat' cancer, you 'survive' it, if you are lucky) anyhow, most cancer survivors probably share my thought that EVERY day you wake up is a beautiful day. It is so wonderful to be ALIVE!

But today! Today was exceptional. The sun was out, the air was crisp, clear and chilly. And at 10:30am, a group of my friends (Kevin, Chuck, Larissa & Sara) went for a motorcycle ride. Unfortunately, my pal Aparna, visiting from India, has a little cold, and could not make it with us. So I took the Suzuki Mo-tard. But what a day.

We rode through Saratoga, out Highway 9, up into the hills, out to the pacific coast, and stopped in Davenport for lunch. Oh my, I could have stopped there and had a full day. After lunch we took the Pacific Coast highway north, then came inland over Stagecoach Road. Woo Hoo! tight, twisty, perfect for a hooligan on a super motard. I rode fast, I did wheelies, I did rolling stoppies, I backed it into corners, I was laughing so hard my face hurt from smiling.

Oh, brilliance. Oh joy.

Through the small town of San Gregorio, and out to the coast again to Tunitas Creek Road. Wee Tiny goat-trail of a road along the creek. Now this is no normal creek. It looks like rain forest. Jurrasic rain forest to be exact. Big ferns, giant redwoods, high canopy, I just kept waiting for a dinosaur to run across the road.

Stopped at Alices for gas, rested a bit, then down Page Mill Road and home.

I am tired, I am feeling great. What a day!

Other news:
My 'hellstorm' tactical police watch cap arrived Friday afternoon. It fits a lot closer to my head, and is V warm & soft, and I look like a bad man when I wear it, but it doesn't fit under a helmet, and is still a little large.

My pal Rebecca was on her way to work Thursday, and some guy in a car thought she was ready to stop, and assisted her. Fortunately, she is okay, but her street/city bike is done for. Everyone is sending her all sorts of good wishes, which is grand, as she's a wonderful person.

Friday night Sara and I went for schmancy dinner at Jack's girlfriend Elaine's house. yummy yummy fishes.

Saturday we slept late, Sara had an afternoon Yoga workshop, while Kevin & I went for vietnamese noodles.

OH OH OH! And I sold my spare DRZ motor yesterday, having all the spare money has lead to me Next week, I go to SF to look at a 1963 Honda 305 Superhawk a gal up there needs to part with. This is the bike I dream about, and hope it is a worthy bike, if so, I may have a new project.....

A few weeks back was our pal Joan's birthday, Jack's brilliant photos are up here:

if you look at the album, photo#
jack2193 is Jack & Elaine
jack2126 is Me & Jack pretending to not talk to each other
jack2223 is the most brilliant photo of my pal Kevin Tiene
jack2282xx is Joan & Dale
jack2276 is our pal Karolyn from Kanada
jack2274 is Joanne, the fastest motorcycle next to OMJ in the world, with her husband Mauro, the best baker
jack2239 is apparently me administering a birthday spanking?
jack2246 is me next to the most beautiful woman I know. (who will let me kiss her)

Work is busy, but it's all good stuff. I just got a new laptop, IBM T-40, to replace my old T-30. So far I've been configuring it, and it seems a little pokey, but the keyboard has nice action, and really feels workable. I have some budgeting to finish at work, meetings to set, etc, but hope to really dive into my book on the flight to India.

And now, I must stop, cause I am way tired. But first, this forwarded from my pal Joe in Austin, comparing a dragster to a GP Motorcycle

Interesting facts passed along from Ray Blank, Pres of American Honda MC Group
While I'm not crazy about the sport, horsepower is always intoxicating:

* One Top Fuel dragster 500 cubic inch Hemi engine makes more horsepower than the first 4 rows at the Daytona 500.

* Under full throttle, a Top Fuel dragster engine consumes 1 gallons of nitro methane per second; a fully loaded 747 consumes jet fuel at the same rate with 25% less energy being produced.

* A stock Dodge 426 Hemi V8 engine cannot produce enough power to drive the dragster's supercharger.

* With 3000 CFM of air being rammed in by the supercharger on overdrive, the fuel mixture is compressed into a near-solid form before ignition. Cylinders run on the verge of hydraulic lock at full throttle.

* At the stoichiometric 1.7:1 air/fuel mixture for nitro methane the flame front temperature measures 7050 degrees F.

* Nitro methane burns yellow. The spectacular white flame seen above the stacks at night is raw burning hydrogen, dissociated from atmospheric water vapor by the searing exhaust gases.

* Dual magnetos supply 44 amps to each spark plug. This is the output of an arc welder in each cylinder.

* Spark plug electrodes are totally consumed during a pass. After 1/2 way, the engine is dieseling from compression plus the glow of exhaust valves at 1400 degrees F. Cutting the fuel flow can only shut down the engine.

* If spark momentarily fails early in the run, unburned nitro builds up in the affected cylinders and then explodes with sufficient force to blow cylinder heads off the block in pieces or split the block in half.

* In order to exceed 300 mph in 4.5 seconds dragsters must accelerate at an average of over 4G's. In order to reach 200 mph well before half-track, the launch acceleration approaches 8G's.

* Dragsters reach over 300 miles per hour before you have completed reading this sentence.

* Top Fuel Engines turn approximately 540 revolutions from light to light!

* Including the burnout the engine must only survive 900 revolutions under load.

* The redline is actually quite high at 9500 rpm.

* The Bottom Line; Assuming all the equipment is paid off, the crew worked for free, and for once NOTHING BLOWS UP, each run costs an estimated $1,000.00 per second. The current Top Fuel dragster elapsed time record is 4.441 seconds for the quarter mile (10/05/03, Tony Schumacher). The top speed record is 333.00 mph (533 km/h) as measured over the last 66' of the run (09/28/03 Doug Kalitta).

Putting all of this into perspective:
You are riding the average US$250,000 Honda MotoGP bike. Over a mile up the road, a Top Fuel dragster is staged and ready to launch down a quarter mile strip as you pass. You have the advantage of a flying start. You run the RC211V hard up through the gears and blast across the starting line and past the dragster at an honest 200 mph (293 ft/sec).

The 'tree' goes green for both of you at that moment. The dragster launches and starts after you. You keep your wrist cranked hard, but you hear an incredibly brutal whine that sears your eardrums and within 3 seconds the dragster catches and passes you. He beats you to the finish line, a quarter mile away from where you just passed him.

Think about it, from a standing start, the dragster had spotted you 200 mph and not only caught, but nearly blasted you off the road when he passed you within a mere 1320 foot long race course.

Saturday, January 24, 2004

Blatantly stolen from a pal of mine:

Dr. Laura Schlessinger is a US radio personality who dispenses advice to people who call in to her radio show. Recently, she said that, as an observant Orthodox Jew, homosexuality is an abomination according to Leviticus 18:22, and cannot be condoned under any circumstance. The following is an open letter to Dr. Laura penned by a US resident, which was posted on the Internet. It's funny, as well as informative:

Dear Dr. Laura:

Thank you for doing so much to educate people regarding God's Law. I have learned a great deal from your show, and try to share that knowledge with as many people as I can. When someone tries to defend the homosexual lifestyle, for example, I simply remind them that Leviticus 18:22 clearly states it to be an abomination. End of debate. I do need some advice from you, however, regarding some of the other specific laws and how to follow them.

1. When I burn a bull on the altar as a sacrifice, I know it creates a pleasing odor for the Lord - Lev. 1:9. The problem is my neighbours. They claim the odor is not pleasing to them. Should I smite them?

2. I would like to sell my daughter into slavery, as sanctioned in Exodus 21:7. In this day and age, what do you think would be a fair price for her?

3. I know that I am allowed no contact with a woman while she is in her period of menstrual cleanliness - Lev. 15:19-24. The problem is, how do I tell? I have tried asking, but most women take offence.

4. Lev. 25:44 states that I may indeed possess slaves, both male and female, provided they are purchased from neighbouring nations. A friend of mine claims that this applies to Mexicans, but not Canadians. Can you clarify? Why can't I own Canadians?

5. I have a neighbor who insists on working on the Sabbath. Exodus 35:2 clearly states he should be put to death. Am I morally obligated to kill him myself?

6. A friend of mine feels that even though eating shellfish is an abomination - Lev. 11:10, it is a lesser abomination than homosexuality. I don't agree. Can you settle this? 7. Lev. 21:20 states that I may not approach the altar of God if I have a defect in my sight. I have to admit that I wear reading glasses. Does my vision have to be 20/20, or is there some wiggle room here?

8. Most of my male friends get their hair trimmed, including the hair around their temples, even though this is expressly forbidden by Lev. 19:27. How should they die?

9. I know from Lev. 11:6-8 that touching the skin of a dead pig makes me unclean, but may I still play football if I wear gloves?

10. My uncle has a farm. He violates Lev. 19:19 by planting two different crops in the same field, as does his wife by wearing garments made of two different kinds of thread (cotton/polyester blend). He also tends to curse and blaspheme a lot. Is it really necessary that we go to all the trouble of getting the whole town together to stone them? Lev. 24:10-16. Couldn't we just burn them to death at a private family affair like we do with people who sleep with their in-laws? (Lev. 20:14)

I know you have studied these things extensively, so I am confident you can help. Thank you again for reminding us that God's word is eternal and unchanging. Your devoted fan, .....


by the way,

I want to smite some people...

and, FYI, Dr. Laura is a nasty skank who let some dude take nekkid photos of her when she was much younger.

the article

and the photos

Tuesday, January 20, 2004

Great news!

My PET scan showed clear. My doctor spoke with a group from San Francisco, they also agree, clear, clean, needs to monitor and make sure it stays that way. My blood counts are up to normal, no more shots, just monitoring, Dr.s visits, and cat scans quarterly.

So this is GOOD NEWS! yay!

Additionally, I've finalized plans for a work trip to India Feb 7-23. I asked if there was any special precautions, and Dr. Scates recommended I not eat after 9pm. Why not after 9? Oh, Indian food after 9 gives him a rough stomach. that's all. :)


In other news, the more I read and listen to NPR, the angrier I get about John Ashcroft and the Patriot Act. But I will save that rant for later. Still trying to find a presidential candidate I like.

Monday, January 19, 2004

I've been so bad. I have not been remembering to write, and have not returned a bunch of emails and phone calls.

I am working again, and I promised myself I would balance working and living, but have been doing a poor job of it. Work makes me really tired.

tomorrow morning is doctors appointment to learn about the PET scan, I will post it for sure. and will try to catch up a story or two

Thursday, January 15, 2004

so a few days ago I was feeling homesick for Austin, and reading the Austin Chronicle online. There was an article about late night eateries, and I felt bad. San Jose has no place to eat late. That is not a truck stop on the highway....

So I wrote a letter to the Chronicle, and they published it.

years after leaving Austin, I STILL can get those fools to publish me! Woo Hoo.

Work has been busy and full of opportunity, but wearing me out. I should leave earlier and rest, but there is so much to do.

Travel Update, I will leave here Feb 7, go to India, return around Feb 22

more as it develops

Tuesday, January 13, 2004

By Sunday, I was a very tired puppy. I slept like a rock. Very good. Work? Great! I love my job. I have a wonderful boss who cares about me, and a great team working for me. YAY! One of my best friends back to Austin (Joe the red headed menace) just had his second child, a son named Paul.

AND!!!! My nose hair is growing again! woo hoo!

my mom sent me this joke, and unfortyunately, I feel the need to share it with you all.

Subject: Murder at Safeway

Tired of constantly being broke and stuck in an unhappy marriage, a young husband decided to solve both problems by taking out a large insurance policy on his wife, with himself as the beneficiary, and arranging to have her killed. A "friend of a friend" put him in touch with a nefarious underworld figure that went by the name of "Artie."

Artie explained to the husband that his going price for snuffing out a spouse was $5,000. The husband said he was willing to pay that amount but that he wouldn't have any cash on hand until he could collect his wife's insurance money. Artie insisted on being paid something up front. The man opened up his wallet, displaying the single dollar bill that rested inside. Artie sighed, rolled his eyes, and reluctantly agreed to accept the dollar as down payment for the dirty deed.

A few days later, Artie followed the man's wife to the local Safeway grocery store. There, he surprised her in the produce department and proceeded to strangle her with his gloved hands. As the poor unsuspecting woman drew her last breath and slumped to the floor, the manager of the produce department stumbled unexpectedly onto the scene. Unwilling to leave any witnesses behind, Artie had no choice but to strangle the produce manager as well.

Unknown to Artie, the entire proceedings were captured by hidden cameras and observed by the store's security guard, who immediately called the police Artie was caught and arrested before he could leave the store.

Under intense questioning at the police station, Artie revealed the sordid plan, including his financial arrangements with the hapless husband.

And that is why, the next day in the newspaper, the headline declared:

[You're going to hate me for this]


Sunday, January 11, 2004

Like I was really a human!

Yesterday, for the fist time since August, I rode a motorcycle. January 31st was my target to be able to ride, however a friend is up from India, and she wants to go for a ride. I figured I should have a practice ride alone, before carting someone else along.

The opportunity for a practice came up yesterday, as Jack announced a ride Friday afternoon, that would depard Saturday morning at 10am. I prepped the Harley, new brake pads, adjust the chain, fix the kickstand (again), replace all the brunt out light bulbs, add more oil, etc. etc. And working in the bike felt good.

Saturday morning, woke up nervous, anxious, and a little just scared. We got dressed, Sara was going along on her DRz. When I started the Harley, there was a lot of smoke from sitting, but it cleared out quickly. Plugged in my new electric vest that Sara got me for Hannukah, put on the helmet, jacket, gloves, and felt very 'tight'. I probably have not worn that much clothing since last winter.

We rolled out onto Kingfisher Avenue, and I stalled the Harley! I was scared, my ears are still ringing (back to both again) and I thought I would have to give up. Nope, pit-bull, do not give up easily boy-o! Thumbed the started, and we got onto Almaden Expressway. I was frightened, so many cars, everyone moving so fast, and California drivers are not sane to begin with.... By the time we turned onto highway 85, I felt good. I was comfortable, but still following Sara for direction.

Eventually we stopped in Saratoga Village for gas, then a few more blocks to the coffee shop/designated meeting place. By then, I felt great. I was riding! I love motorcycles. There are so many things that are difficult about that Harley, but just sitting on it seems to rattle my brain chemistry around, and always re-aligns me and makes me feel great.

We had some bagels, and the ride group arrived, Dale and Joan, Joann, Jack, and Kevin. We sat and talked, then Sara and Joan had to depart. Joan needed to go take care of her daughter, and Sara had a date with Mark Alpen to go to Berkley and look at special woods. Mark built our nightstands, and is going to build a dining room table, but they are choosing wood.

After they split, the rest of the group rode up highway 9. It was foggy, the road was damp, and I was still nervous. So I slowed down, took it easy, and did just fine. As we crossed Highway 35, there was a big Harley that had wrecked, rider face down in the street, cars were there, his pals had stopped, we would just have added to the confusion, so we kept going. I accelerated after judging the scene. Dale, however, in front of me, had not. There was a brief moment, where I nearly bought Dale a new Ducati. Fortunately, he accelerated as I braked, and it all worked out. But I was now even more nervous. I had to force myself to pay more attention.

Highway 9 between Hwy 35 and Boulder creek was damp, and has lots of "tar snakes" were the county fixes cracks in the road by painting tar over them? Which get really slick in the wet? Plus the road runs through the trees, so the lighting goes form bright sun to dense shade and back very rapidly, very often. My pupils were not expanding/contracting quickly enough, as a chemo side effect, so I was having trouble seeing, and sliding a lot. I calmed myself, forced a loose grip on the bars, and slowed down.

By the time we got into Boulder Creek I was behind quite a ways, but feeling okay. The road had tested my thinking powers, and I had prevailed!

From Boulder Creek we went out to Felton, then up Alba Road. A very twisty hill climb through dense rain forest. This was easy compared to the last stretch, I just concentrated and rode. Because the twist and elevation changes, it was a slow but enjoyable ride. We took this road to Skyline, which was bright, open, well paved, mostly dry, and had a higher speed run into Bonny Doon, then out to Hwy 1 and the coast!

By this time I WAS riding by instinct. I had the bike and road under control, and was reacting without thinking. The way a rider SHOULD ride. It felt great. As we turned onto Hwy 1, I even busted a small celebratory wheelie! Yay!

We stopped at Whale City Cafe on the coast in Davenport for lunch. for some reason, an egg salad sandwich appealed to me. We ate, we talked, it was grand! I sat in the sun, looking out at the Pacific Ocean, surrounded by friends. Woo HOO! To make it even more fun, my pal Mike "softcore" Jones pulled up on his new Ducati, and we got to chat. He has not seen me bald, so that was fun.

As we left, I busted another wheelie, that went large. And swerved over towards Dale. Again? I really like him, but the Sportster has developed a magnetic affinity. Fortunately, no issues, and we rode up Pacific Coast Highway 1 past the lighthouse, covered in fog, to Highway 84. 84 will take us inland to Alices Restaurant, but I am starting to get tired by now. It's an easy road, I am in front briefly, but riding a very sound pace.

The electic vest is doing a great job, but the thermostat knob is tiny, and with gloves, difficult to fine tune. I am either hot or cold. No in between. I think I may trade the thermostat for a simple switch.

We stop at Alices, and chat for a bit. I tell eveyone how much fun I am having. Then I make the statement "Electric Vest? Good! - - - Egg Salad Sandwich farts? BAD!!!" Joann holds her hands up about 2 feet apart, then turns to the left, and holds them up about 6 inches apart, and we all laugh. This means "Amount of Information" and "Amount I needed to know" by turning, she indicated that the amount she needed to know was not even relevant to the amount given! Woo hoo!

Dale and I crossed the street, filled out bikes with gas, then Jack joined us and we left Kevin and Joann to head down Page Mill Road. We finished 84 to the highway, and buzzed home on 280. Straight, boring, easy.

By this time, I did not even worry about the other cars on the road. My instinct was back, I saw it all, I reacted as needed, there was no fear and worry. YAY!

Got to the house, and washed the Harley. It was a filthy piglet. Water, soap, degreaser, WD-40, towels, the whole routine. During this, one of the neighborhood kids, Ruben, about 5 yrs old, stopped by. He has nt seen me since chemo, and asked "Where'd all your hair go?" Kids are great. We chatted for a while as I worked on the bike. He wanted to know where my daughter was. I told him I did not have a daughter, and he said, "you know, the girl with the blonde hair" He thought Sara was my daughter!

Woo hoo! I felt great. We laughed. His mom came looking for him, and we chatted for a while. Then our neighbor Florence stopped by to tell me how happy she was to hear BOTH bikes leaving for a ride in the morning. YAY! I am getting back to normal! YAY!

When I finished with the Harley, I went inside and hit the bed like a bag of potatoes. THUNK! and asleep.

Lather in the evening, we went to a birthday party for Joan, Dale had arranged it all, all the folks on the ride were there, it was grand fun. Back home afterwards, and thunk into bed again.

Today, Sara is cooking breakfast, then I think I'll do a little yard work, a little work work, and a lot of resting.

I feel human again!

Tuesday, January 06, 2004

So I started going back to work last week, and am trying to do it full time this week. all sorts of amazing wonderful things are happening. But by the end of the day (3:30/4pm), I am wore out, tore up, needing a nap. I've been busier than a one armed paper hanger, and need to get my act together, and put in some serious update time.

But not tonight. Will try for some time tomorrow.


Sunday, January 04, 2004

very busy weekend, with much napping in between. tired and wore down.

Oddly, Friday morning at 7:45am my left ear stopped ringing, and only my right ear is ringing now, but seems louder than was before.

going to work tomorrow morning.

more later

Thursday, January 01, 2004

years and YEARS ago, in Austin, I'd participate or host in a special party thrown by a group of friends. It was called the "Thank God the Holidays are OVER" party. We'd usually rent a club, print flyers, host bands, and invite the entire city. Once, I foolishly volunteered the house I was renting, ... lost the security deposit on that one.

Anyhow, the whole premise was the Holidays are forced. people are just trying really hard to have fun and be nice, and get things on sale sale sale. But it is not real, and does not last all year.

We would celebrate by burning dead trees, finishing all the snacks we would not normally eat, and generally having a bang up last of the holiday soiree. At the end of which, every single year, someone would stand and say this speech (or darn close, depending on inebriation):

"the holidays are over, who really cares? Who will make a difference this year? Who will give gifts and send cards when they don't have to? Who will have dinner parties? Who will try to make the world a better place to live in?"

then it would get dead silent, and everyone would file out, heads down, thinking. thinking too hard for leaving a party.

And every year, I tried to live up to that. I tried to give small gifts at inappropriate times. I tried to have parties. I tried to do fun things.

For some reason, being married killed that inside me. I became this horrible, responsible, grown up person, worrying about the mortgage, and the job, and paying bills on time, and was not as much fun as I could have been, and did not enjoy life.

I changed from a kid into a grownup. But did not like the grown up I became.

After the dee-vorce, I knew I could never return to being a kid, but tried to be a better grown-up, who still has fun, gives gifts, and tries to make the world better, by making people smile. Sort of in between, a compromise of the best of both. Paying the bills, having a roof over my head, but still pushing smiles to pals.

The job out here, the grind, the daily tasks, found me becoming more and more dull and boring, forgetting to do the little things. Oh, still trying, but not as hard as I should.

Frankly, this past half year stunk. I've often heard the phrase "I wouldn't wish that on my worst enemies" but had not really experienced any pain or suffering so bad that somewhere, deep inside me, I felt "yeah, well, maybe I'd wish it on that jerk who just cut me off in traffic..."

Well, I would not even wish chemo on that guy. It was horrible, and I am still trying to figure out how to recover. Today, for example, I've been tired, slightly sickly, and beginning to feel all the wrong things the chemo and drugs had blasted over.

BUT! Cancer no more in 2004! I am back on track, healing, at a job I love, with a gal I love, surrounded by friends and family.

It's not really new years resolutions, but I am gonna try to:

have more dinners, give more gifts, make more people smile, try to make the world better by making the people in it happier

spend more time with friends

be great at my job

ride more motorcyle

travel more

write this damn book on 'nut cancer for guys'

and generally be a more enjoyable companion to everyone.

All my best, to all of you, for a happy and healthy 2004.


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