Monday, June 30, 2008

I made it back!!!

Visiting my sister's family was cool. I don't get to spend much time with her, my brother in law, or their kids and this time I did. They are a well behaved, but fun, crowd. The air was clear enough to see the backside of the Tetons and even the Sawtooth area. Usually all I see in that area are wheat and potato fields. Wow!

I really just hung out with the family, though I did have some excitement. I was at a diner and while eating I got this pain in my leg like I was stabbed with a hot knife. The pain got worse, so I went into the bathroom to check it out. On my upper thigh was a bite mark that was swollen and bleeding. I never did find out what it was, but I had pain trouble with that leg all yesterday. It was funny because I'm sitting there with my family and I let out a loud "Son of a bitch" like I had Tourett's.

We went through Palisades/Snake river area and down through Star Valley, Wyoming, where I still have a lot of relatives. Well, they'd know my mom. They'd just think I was city folk and get out their shotguns to chase me off their property.

I bought two, ten dollar lotto tickets, one scratch ticket and one Powerball. I figure it will be about as much fun as dinner and a movie, because I usually feel like I've wasted twenty bucks afterwards on that as well. I haven't done the scratch ticket yet.

I was supposed to be in Yellowstone right now, but my brother got some job interviews and had to cancel. I think what I am going to do is go hike up in my own hills and live off of the land for a few days because Les Stroud is my hero,aka, Survivorman. Bear Grylls is just a candy-assed Brit poser compared to this guy.

I'll be around, but doing day trips. You go out and have fun yourselves, k?

Thursday, June 26, 2008

TIGF has been cancelled today. Check this out instead.


I have been helping out this kid with his guitar craft. Mostly, teaching him about equipment, setup, amps, how stuff works, what is whack, what is cool and so forth. His band got to to play a gig at an elementary school's field day. It is a year round school and this was the second to last day for this block. What better way to treat these young darlings than with a rock concert!


This phone video sucks, though. You can't really hear what is going on and you can't really see the band, but they are there. They didn't have a PA for the singer, so I lent them my biggest guitar amp. It really didn't work and I new it wouldn't like having a microphone plugged into it--screeeeeeee! It worked in a pinch, but they really need to invest in a good PA. The kid did good, real good, and his brother, the drummer, did a pretty cool, yet slightly cliched drum solo, complete with hitting a cymbal so hard that it shattered. The bass player looked like a underfed hobbit, but he laid that bass line down pretty solid. The singer was this 15-year-old red-headed girl that hung with the boys damn well. She needed to project more, though. They are all just starting out, so you have to take that into consideration. They are on the right track, at least.

I got a big kick at the school kids freaking out and screaming. They really got into it. The band signed autographs afterwards. I was enlisted as security/guitar tech/roadie. That was pretty damned funny to say the least. I did have my black T-shirt, sunglasses, and steel-toed boots on. I don't think getting rough would be cool, but looking badass was required. I did my part well. I did at least teach innocent little kids the proper way to salute Satan at a rock concert. I'd like to think that I made a difference.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

It's coming!!!


Are you ready for it??? What gives you a patriotic stiffy? I don't know about you all, but I am turned on by F-16 fly overs.

In other news, Ideeho you da pimp. I am going up to Idaho this weekend to visit the baby of the family, my sister that is five years older than me, and her family. Why is she the baby of the family and not the youngest, me? Because my dad said so. He rarely hides his bias towards her. I think that I am going to do some investing while I'm up there, in lottery tickets. I was going to head up to Yellowstone after, but those plans fell through. If it weren't for having family in Idaho, the only reason I'd ever go there would be to get to another sate. Well, Ketchum is cool at least.

That's all I have right now.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Monday Report

I went rappelling on Saturday. It was fun and I'm getting much better at it. I think gravity helps. It was a real fast rope, light and thin, better suited for climbing. This rope being flexible and not static made this a real dynamic ride. You spend your early life trying to stand upright. You accomplish that and then that is what feels natural. To have to trust the equipment in rappelling, especially when you take that first step over the edge, takes some real faith. You fall back into a position that goes against the natural, upright position that you've been used to your whole life. Then you find that everything balances out and the rush kicks in. The seventy feet seem too much until you get near the bottom. I wish I could've kept going another hundred. Solution: get back up there and do it again.

I sent some voice mail with some sound samples to my friend who I'm doing some work on a guitar amplifier for. He kept calling me today and thanking me. He said I sounded like Billy Gibbons through that amp now. I don't know that I want to give it back. He can keep his money.

Sunday (today), I took care of Sunday business and thought that I'd like to revisit some childhood stomping grounds up in the hills. I went for the most bushwackingest hike ever. It was awesome. It involved much trespassing of private property, sunburn, and perspiration. I saw a few rattlers and plenty of other critters. I got up one canyon further than I did as a kid and found a rather cool waterfall. While I'm not in as good of shape when I was younger, I can take a lot more discomfort now. Getting up those steep canyon sides was less of a cuss than I remember, even though I know I will be paying for it tomorrow at work.

I thought I'd be able to get in touch with a few friends tonight, but then I remember that most people are already asleep by now and work early in the morning. Someday I will have a work schedule that won't be so late. It seems to keep me out of step with what is going on, TV shows and the like. I don't get much of a social life during the week because of it. There are some benefits of it though. I get paid. I'll get back to you on the others when I can think of them.

I was in the mood for blood this weekend, so I watched the new Rambo and Death Wish II. I've got to say that Rambo raised the bar on movie violence. Bravo! Sylvester Stallone looks like a roided out professional wrestler more than a sleek killing machine in this picture. As far as for Death Wish, Charles Bronson cracks me up. The mustache just kills me and those supposed thugs are hilarious! You should check out Jeff Goldblum as a hood in the first Death Wish. I about peed my pants the last time I saw that one. Anyways, the last baddie to get his comeuppance in II throws a punch at Chuck and misses, punching a hole into a shock therapy machine. Chuck then hits the switch and awesome death ensues!

How were your weekends?

Friday, June 20, 2008

TIGF!!! (That's Incredibly Gay Friday): Things that are swell and not swell

Today's post is about swellness, or the absence of. Having a long phone conversation with someone that is swell, is, um, swell! Having your phone battery die on you during a good part of said conversation is not swell. In fact, there is a definite absence of swellness involved in that happening. The only time that is swell is if you do not desire to converse with the person on the other line.

Jesus, where were you? I thought that being my personal savior also meant charging my phone via a miracle or by the power of the Holy Ghost. I don't want to get Satan involved, either. He demands oral sex in exchange for supernatural intervention, and I am so not that way. This leaves me with waiting for my phone in the "off" position long enough to turn it back on and hope to hell I can say a quick goodnight to the person. Well, at least it was a voice mail. That was semi-swell.

In short, swell is "gay" for good. At least, that's what my cell mate told me.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Randomonium

I was mugged once when I lived in Sheffield, England. I always have wondered what those two hooligans did with my Social Security card, Barclay's bank card, buss pass, and my driver's licenses. They can keep my library card. Have any of you had the pleasure of being mugged before? I must say that it ranks up in the top five experiences in life that suck major, unwiped ass. When I reported the crime to the police they basically laughed at me and told me to take me and my "Hoover" pamphlets back to America. Fucking British police. They look like they are all wearing a giant tit on their heads anyway.

A guy that I work with had an interesting thing happen to his dad on this last Friday the 13th. This happened somewhere in Colorado at someplace called "Dirty Sanchez Reservoir". Maybe I'm mistaken on the name, but I'm sure sketchy things happen there. Anyway, his dad is unloading his fishing boat and there are these rangers saying that the reservoir just reopened after a 12 day search for a missing teenager. His dad then asks the ranger what he should do if he comes across the body and the ranger said to immediately call 911. So, this guy's dad and a brother get out towards this small island and see what they think is a strange rock. This rock seems to be floating. They go over to this strange, floating rock and discover that it is in fact the missing person. Needless to say, a dead body that has been sitting in the water for 12 days is none too pretty. After calling 911 and having a whole host of law enforcement descend upon them, they spent the rest of the day being interviewed by police. What a fishing story!

I am glad that Boston won.

I'm trying to decide if I am the type of man that can pull off wearing an ascot. A monocle , no. An ascot, maybe. What do you think?

I've always wondered what the Red Baron's favorite color was.

Did you know that Ruby Red Squirt has caffeine in it while regular Squirt does not? Both have glycerol ester of wood rosin in them, though.

What in the hell is "brominated vegetable oil"? Squirt has that in it as well.

I was thinking of writing a short story or poem about a sweet, yet slightly intoxicated girl named Ester who lived in a little hamlet called "Wood Rosin".

It has been my life's ambition to invent the ultimate afro sheen.

I like you. Do you like me?

Oh, gosh. Do tell!

Swell.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Yellow Submarine


This is one of my best friends, and one of his four blond-haired, blue-eyed daughters, showing off his '72 Chevy 'Burban. This isn't a great shot. It was taken with my camera phone. The thing is on air bags and 22s. This was at a local auto show on Saturday and he actually won a prize.
This is an interior shot. He did all the custom upholstery himself, as well as the paint.This shot is a bit better. Anyway, what makes this all very cool was that this was the ol' wagon that I grew up with, was taken to my first day of school in, learned to drive in, and went on many vacations in, including hauling our boat to the Gulf of California back when I was a wee bairn. My brother bought the Suburban from my father in the 90s and had it painted. It was dubbed "The Banana Wagon". My brother wasn't very good at taking care of things, that and salted winter roads, made this old guy deteriorate pretty fast.

After I got done fixing up Clyde in 2000, my brother asked me for help in restoring the Banana Wagon. I helped him weld in new floor pans, rocker panels, and both rear quarter panels. It was a lot of work. We did all of this work only to have my brother not follow through and finish the job. He kept driving it around and all that work started to get ruined.

Two years ago my friend inquired about the wagon and I talked my brother into considering letting the thing go. Knowing that my friend is the type to finish things, and has completed many customs in the past, my brother sold it to him. It is now in good hands, and as you can see, living a better life on the show circuit.

Viva la raza! Viva, Banana Wagon!

Edit: I felt like I needed to add more to this post--it's very important that I do. My friend Jason and his family played a big part in supporting me through my battle with cancer. They would have me over at their home all the time and his wife and kids made my day much brighter. Being able to see the progress he was making on this wagon really lifted my spirits and gave me something to look forward to each time I'd visit. He and his older brother even did some major repairs on Clyde when I was unable to because of my feeling too weak to do so myself. I wanted you all to see the people that supported me through my tough times and let you know that it wasn't just me on my own. You have to have friends like this to get you through these things. I also want you to know that you all played a part in helping me through this as well, and the continuing saga. Thanks!

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

G@@gle Satellite vacations

Since I have had my money tied up in medical bills and rising gas prices, I've been finding ways to get away for nothing. One thing that I've been doing is taking, what I call, G@@gle Satellite vacations (I think you can figure it out).

It started out innocently enough--just checking stuff out around where I live. Then I started looking at my old stomping grounds and flats where I lived in Northern England, where I sold vacuum cleaners for Jesus back in the day. After indulging myself in some nostalgia I wondered to myself what else there was in this world to spy on. Would it be possible for me to find lake Titicaca, for example. I'll be damed if I did just that. From lake "booby poo-poo" I then ventured over to Egypt to see if I could find any pyramids. I did, but not the classic ones. I figured they'd be along the Nile somewhere. Eventually, I did find the right ones. Since then I have been checking out loads of places, rarely finding what I'd set out to find, but finding cool stuff along the way.

Monday, June 09, 2008

I, Postapotamus

So, I went in to the hospital today (it's still Monday here) and saw my radiation oncologist. It was funny to see the nurses that worked there looking at me, trying to figure out where they knew me from. I was bald back then. I still don't get tired of comments on my hair and once they figured out who I was my hair stole the show.

So, it was just as I thought. There was no big revelation. But, we did get a direction. He said it would be better for me to wait three more months and re-scan. The reasoning was that the calculated spread of the cancer, if there is still Hodkin's in me, would still be quite manageable. The particular node would require extensive surgery to biopsy. So, I will have to learn patience.

We went over my three PET scans over the course of my treatment and compared the results. I can see why they won't let this go. I'm either dealing with a residual mass, fibrosis, or Hodgkin's. I asked him for a percentage that it would be cancer again and he said probably 15-20%. I can deal with those odds. Seeing the first PET scan again was mind blowing. My whole chest and neck were on fire with this stuff--anywhere there were lymph nodes.

This got me thinking back to the beginning of 2006 when I dropped a lot of weight. It was like I was feeding two, but only eating for one--all that glucose going to my tumors. It makes sense to me now the mysterious illness that I had in June 2006, but was misdiagnosed as viral meningitis. I must have gone through a period of inactivity then in 2007 it finally took over. People, let me warn you that if you start losing weight for no reason, lots of weight, you have not discovered some cool new way of losing weight. Go see your doctor immediately! Scary stuff.

So, I am slowly accepting the fact that this will be a longer wait than I had thought. I wanted to change jobs, but changing insurance right now would not be smart. I can still look for other departments where I am employed to work. It would be nice to start using that college education that I paid for--well, get paid for using it!

On the lighter side of things, there is this family that is currently taking care of their mother who is recovering from radiation therapy for her cancer. I work with one of the family members and so they are also aware of my situation. They have three handicap siblings and, well, I will tell you the significance of that later. They were having a family prayer one Sunday and they let "Judy", who is one of the handicapped siblings, say the prayer. According to my friend, she said in her prayer, "Bless mom, who is in our family, that she will get better," and the best part, "And bless M@tt, who is of the McDonald's family, that he will get better too!" I could not stop laughing when I heard this. It made my day.

For the back story on all of this, click on the link above--her "name". I took part in a lot of her training and it still amazes me to this day that she remembers me, asks about me, and still thinks I work at McDonald's. That was eons ago! When asked where I work at McDonald's she says that she thinks that I help Ronald McDonald now. I think being his personal assistant would kick ass. Even though it only exists in the mind of a 37-year-old girl, I want to have that job and put it on my resume. At least let me a fry guy fluffer.

Sunday, June 08, 2008

Blessed are the cheese makers

Despite adjusting to medications and lack of sleep, this boy is keeping the show on the road! The title? Yeah, I just got done watching The Life Of Brian on DVD.

How were your weekends? I had some good times as well as weird times. I would alternate between wanting to go into a sleep coma in the middle of the day then just to have my heart start racing. However, I did get out and see Don't Mess With The Zohan (stupid). I had a good time at a friend's house on Saturday night, just kicking back and playing with his Children of the Damned looking daughters (all four of them). Actually, their glowing eyes and white/blond hair is pretty cute. I bought a used KISS CD, Dressed to Kill. I was in the mood for something stoopid and big sounding, all covered in blood, makeup, and hair. I got it, mister!

Today I went on a hike for a couple of hours in one of the canyons near where I live. It was great to stick my hands out to the sides and feel the grass and leaves as I walked up the trail. I needed to cap that off with some time at the bench, fixing some of the guitar amps that I've promised to people--of which I'm getting paid, finally! My room looks like a tornado-damaged Radio Shack right now. I kind of like it. Let's just hope that I don't step on a probe in the middle of the night, making a pee-pee dash.

There were a couple of things that really shocked me today: My sister showed up and looked very different. Read that sentence a few times over if you didn't get it the first time. She kept asking why I couldn't look at her. Well, duh! It would be worse if she were my younger sister, but I am the baby. She does look great and they needed to be done since she has made such a dramatic change in her physical shape. I am happy for her. It still is weird for me to look her now. I'll get used to it.

One thing that has been really great about my current trials are that they have given me an opportunity to get to know some of my fellow Gruntonians better. I really do feel lucky to have all of you on my side.

Alright, I hope your Mondays go well. I get to go to the hospital tomorrow to visit my radiation oncologist and then finish up half of a shift at work. I'm not expecting anything revelatory tomorrow. It should, though, give weight to sway one direction or another.

Thursday, June 05, 2008

Blah, medical crap, blah, freakin' blah!

I sounded like The Count there. I forget what stuff I needed to say. It was something like I am tired of this crap, waaaah-waaaah! I go in Monday to see my radiation oncologist, who was informed today, while on his vacation, that he needs to get in on this action. He called his secretary and told her to clear a spot for me on Monday when he returns. It should be interesting to see what he brings to the table. I will also consult with a surgeon about the risks of the biopsy procedure, if all three of my oncologists think this ambient cluster justifies the risky nature of it all. It may involve chest tubes and major chest incisions. w00t!

I have been having chest pains since last Friday. I asked my doctors about it and we concluded that anxiety is the culprit. Also, having depression along with all of this has brought me to my knees. As of last night, I have been taking medication for that. It was one crappy night of no sleep. Fun stuff. We'll get it dialed in, though.

Who do you feel like when you don't feel like yourself anymore? I wonder what it would be like to feel like the late actor Richard Chamberlain. Probably really gay. Oh yeah, I remember now what this day used to be. Good times.

I planned a more detailed telling of the events of that Wednesday, but I really am in a state where things like that are hard. You should have seen my mother's face when the pharmacist at the hospital was talking about problems with ejaculation with one of the drugs that I'm on. I don't care how much of a master of your domain you are; when you are a man and someone tells you that something is going to effect your ejaculation, you get real curious. I mean, do buttons come out or something? Maybe it's just a refreshing mist. Um, forget what I just said.

Love you guys/gals. Keep making my day!

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

What is this, like the 3rd...4th overtime?

Santa Clause, are you real? Because if you are I don't want any toys. I just want my life back, thanks.

I am so glad that I did not have to wait another week and a half to hear that I have a mystery going on inside of me. Yeah, my doctors haven't seen it go this way. There was no "lights out" nor was there a big freakin' neon "Eat At Joe's" sign in my chest, either. Instead all we got was some funky mood lighting. My cells are having an identity crisis. Well, this is a fine fucking time for a moratorium!

I will post details in the next day or two. I am too tired to recite it all at the moment. Thanks for showing your support. Gad, it makes me feel like a fink to have to keep posting stuff like this, even if it is about my own life. You guys need good news just as much as I do.

I'm going to over there in the corner chillin', k?

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Further good news

My oncologists raised hell with the radiology department at the "H" cancer hospital. My date has been moved up to tomorrow (Wednesday) and I will meet with the doctors afterwards. So, hopefully I will have some totally insane good news for you tomorrow.

Monday, June 02, 2008

Yes!

Just wanted to let you know that my insurance gave approval for the PET scan. It will be on the 12th. I love making my body radioactive!

Sunday, June 01, 2008

The weekend: featuring desperate ramblings and retelling of events!

Friday night was absolutely horrible for me. I was talking out loud to myself, God, and the window. I even tried to communicate telepathically with the neighbors dog, Cooper--anything to get some answers or relief from my troubles. Everything at my work has become stupid, stupid, stupid. There's bosses fighting with bosses. I've always worked hard at my stupid monkey job and done what I was told to do and now everything is supposedly wrong. Don't they know that I don't get paid enough to give a shit? They know what I am going through, too, and it doesn't seem to stop them from wanting me to get involved in their battles with each other or to cover their asses. Honestly, I've never been one to break down, throw a fit, and cry on the job, but I came close on Friday. I don't know how much more of this stupidness I can take. I wish to God in heaven that I didn't need health insurance.

Waiting for the next step in my health saga continues, as I have not heard back from my insurance company yet. I did get some good news though. A leader from a local church here has assured me financial support, should things make a turn for the worse. I know that there are a lot of things to bash on with religion, but I have found through this ordeal that for every one religious nut that there are ten others who want to do right--and out of that group there are a few that actually do something good. People believing in something can be very powerful and very good. If a person believes in little people that live in the woods but that belief causes them to do good and to live the best that they can, well, I am all for it. That's actually a Disney movie, if I can recall--Darby O'Gill and the Little People, I believe.

Saturday I was supposed to put on my brave face and go to a belated wedding party of a girl that I dated about a year ago. I didn't go, after all. I wasn't in the right frame of mind to deal with any possible complications or awkwardness. Believe me, she probably doesn't give two thoughts about it. I, on the other hand, carry things like this around for years. It's really hard for me to get involved with women because of this. Instead, one of my married friends took pity on my soul and hung out with me. I've got to thank his wife for letting him do so.

First thing my BFF and I did was have a jam session on guitars. He showed me his new Fender Stratocaster. I congratulated him on joining the Strat club. We did an amp swap, where I will be working on his amplifier that he got second hand--I think a team of chimpanzees soldered it together. It should sound like a bourbon-soaked banshee after I get done with it. After that we headed into town to fill up on dolmathes and hit the Sam Weller bookstore on Main, possibly the best bookstore ever. I picked up an awesome book called, Bigfoot: I not dead, by Graham Roumieu. When I took it to the counter for purchase, the lady working the till says to me, "I like book", and we both had a good chuckle. Later on that night I saw a great little movie called Son of Rambow. Go see it if it's showing at a theater near you.

Today, I watched a clip of Randy Pausch's The Last Lecture. It was something that my dearest webbernets friend Christielli wanted me to check out. Actually, she wanted me to check out the book, but because I usually need a book with lots of pretty pictures in it, I decided to check out the video clip first. Pausch is dying from pancreatic cancer and is taking it like a man. So, a guy like me who has had a life threatening disease, and still faces uncertainty regarding said disease, this was, needless to say (a comma happy sentence?) something that spoke to me.

Having not slept well this past week, I passed out on the couch with the TV on for three hours. I really didn't want to waste the day like this, but I felt so weak. When I woke up, I was even weaker and more tired than before. I decided that the best remedy was to take a walk up the creek to a pond and see if there were any aliens in the woods that would whisk me away off of this planet--you know, for research. They weren't biting. I guess, despite my old truck and small income, my intelligence level screws up my white trash credentials. You know how much those aliens like white trash. I guess if I drank or got high, I could have imagined that it all happened. Oh well, here's to clean living. I guess I'll have to rely on my mental health deteriorating to the point of delusions before I can go to "outer space".

I watched a couple of DVD's. I finally saw Atonement and the phrase "Cecillia, noooo!" has replaced "I drink your milkshake! I drink it up!!!" as my favorite thing to say from a movie. I also watched the Western, Going South, today. It's the one with Jack Nicholson starring and Mary Steamvirgin, or whatever, in it. I got a kick out of Jack's performance, as always. Now I am here, typing, hoping to hell that I can beat the inevitability of that one constant: the dreaded Monday back at work.

Where's my fucking ruby slippers?