Tuesday, February 28, 2006

I Am Sore

I tried my weight training again tonight. This time I only did Bench Press, Squats, Shrugs, Bent Rows and Lateral Raises. I did three sets of 12 reps for each one with a one-minute rest between sets.

I felt pretty sore from the other day and it still took half an hour. I don’t understand how you can get a good workout in 20 minutes a day.

Posted by The Vorlon on 02/28/06 8:51 PM | Link | Enter your comments here (0)

Back Into the Pool

I met with the oncologist this afternoon. He’s ready to restart my chemo treatments. I go back into the pool next Tuesday.

I will admit to being a little less than enthusiastic. I have felt pretty good for the last few days. I’ll be sorry to lose those good feelings.

On well. You do what you need to. As I like to say, when the going gets tough, the tough gets going. I was concerned as to where I was going with my treatments.

The oncologist will give me three more treatments thee weeks apart and then do another CT scan. If my results continue to look promising, then the process repeats.

Posted by The Vorlon on 02/28/06 8:10 PM | Link | Enter your comments here (2)

Another Fitness Gadget

In my search for the ultimate fitness machine, I came across something call the Bullworker. I don’t have any clue if it is any good or not. While the price is attractive, it’s hard to believe that something so small could be any good. I found no data on epinions.

I do see one advantage to it, it is so easily portable one could take it with them anywhere and not miss their workouts.

When I see the body builders, however, they seem to all be using free weights.

Posted by The Vorlon on 02/28/06 10:05 AM | Link | Enter your comments here (3)

More Crocuses for Feb 28

Here is another photo of the Crocuses from the Vorlon Backyard. This was taken last Saturday. I took a bunch of photos on Saturday so I have a few to publish. This is a close-up of a bunch.

Posted by The Vorlon on 02/28/06 8:00 AM | Link | Enter your comments here (0)

Monday, February 27, 2006

Going for Some Muscle Tone

I have had a weight bench in my computer room for some time. Last night I decided it was time to stop looking at exercise equipment and actually use what I already have. I leafed through a book on weight training that had survived my recent book purge and found some recommended exercises. They gave these as a basic starting point.

Bench Press, Squats, Shrugs, Bent Rows, Lateral Raises, Pull Downs, Crunches, Toe Raises, Bicep Curls, Triceps Extensions, Stiff-leg Dead lifts

So last night I gave them a try. The only one I cannot do this the Pull Downs as I my equipment doesn’t allow me that configuration.

I used light weights and went for three sets of 12 reps with about a one minute rest between sets.

My biggest challenge was the squats. I tried doing them with 60 Lbs on my shoulders and after one set went to zero Lbs. My hamstrings just started to cramp up so badly I could hardly walk for a bit. Luckily I have very little residual soreness, although I am a little stiff legged walking about. But I was a little stiff legged before I started this.

My goal had been to go through this in about 20 minutes. It wound up taking nearly an hour. I’m going have to figure out how to shorten that to 20 minutes.

Posted by The Vorlon on 02/27/06 10:32 AM | Link | Enter your comments here (3)

More on the UAE Deal

Citizen Smash, a Naval Reservist that seved in OIF, gives his take on the UAE deal. The short skinny is, he's not worried.

Am I concerned about Dubai Ports World taking over the franchise to operate certain ports in America? Not at all. And neither should you be. The same union employees will still be running the cranes and forklifts, and the same Coast Guard and Customs officials will still be running the port security.

I’ve been there eight times. The Dubai ports are clean, safe, and efficiently run. The U.S. Navy runs its own port security operation when our ships are in port, in cooperation with the UAE military. I’ve worked port security in high-threat environments, most notably for eight months in Kuwait during Operation Iraqi Freedom. Port operations has very little to do with port security. They do talk to each other, but mostly about shipping schedules. Port operations are about operating cranes and forklifts. Port security is about patrolling the land and water, and inspecting cargo. The difference is not trivial.

I recommend reading his whole post.

Posted by The Vorlon on 02/27/06 8:54 AM | Link | Enter your comments here (0)

More Crocuses Feb 27

Another backlit photo of Crocuses. These are open a lot more than my previous post. The Crocuses are in bunches. Within the bunches they are really thick and make a nice photo. I’m always a little frustrated when I upload these photos to my PC. I never quite like the framing as well as when I’m taking the original photo.

Posted by The Vorlon on 02/27/06 8:00 AM | Link | Enter your comments here (2)

Sunday, February 26, 2006

American Mutts

I was reminded of this quote from the move "Stripes". I think there is a lot of truth in this quote from a fictious movie.

Cut it out! Cut it out! The hell's the matter with you? Stupid! We're all very different people; we're not watoosie, we're not Spartans. We're Americans, with a capital A, huh? You know what that means? Do ya? That means that our forefathers were kicked out of every out every decent country in the world. We are the wretched refuse. We're underdogs, we're mutts! Here's proof: his nose is cold. But there's no animal that's more faithful, that's more loyal, more loveable than the mutt. Who saw "Old Yeller?" Who cried when Old Yeller got shot at the end? Nobody cried when Old Yeller got shot? (hands are reluctantly raised) I cried my eyes out. So we're all dog faces, we're all very, very different, but there is one thing that we all have in common: we were all stupid enough to enlist in the Army. We're mutants, there's something wrong with us, there's something very, very wrong with us. Something seriously wrong with us. We're soldiers, American soldiers! We've been kicking a** for 200 years, we're 10 and 1. Now we don't have to worry about whether or not we practiced. We don't have to worry about whether Captain Diller wants to have us hung. All we have to do-oo is to be the great American fighting soldier that is inside each one of us. Now do what I do, and say what I say. And make me proud.

Bill Murray as John Winger

Posted by The Vorlon on 02/26/06 1:37 PM | Link | Enter your comments here (1)

Backlit Crocuses

I took this picture with the flowers between me and the sun. That’s one way to keep one’s shadow out of the photo. I thought it rather added to their look of being delicate. Although it does tend to wash out the color a bit.

Posted by The Vorlon on 02/26/06 8:00 AM | Link | Enter your comments here (1)

Saturday, February 25, 2006

60 MPG for a Ford F-150

The husband of the Vorlon Wife’s niece sent me a link and this link on an experimental vehicle that Ford is supposedly working on. In internet buzz is, it gets 60 MPG. It’s a hybrid vehicle that stores the energy in hydraulic accumulators instead of electric batteries.

It’s an interesting idea. I have no clue as to whether or not it is a true rumor or a false one. But it DOES make for interesting speculation.

Posted by The Vorlon on 02/25/06 7:53 PM | Link | Enter your comments here (0)

My Search for PDA/Cell Phone Gadgets

We were in BJ’s today and I stopped by the Verizon store to look at the new Palm Treo 700W. It combines the functions of a PDA and a cell phone. It's rather like a Blackberry. I compared it to my Palm Tungsten E. The screen on the Treo was about 20% smaller. I don’t think I want an even smaller screen. I’ve done a little digging and it looks like I can port all my Palm Apps to Windows Mobile. My one biggy was my timekeeping program. But I emailed them and they said they would shortly have a beta version of their program that runs on Windows Mobile platform.

On other thing did not impress me. The demo program running on the Treo locked up while the salesperson was showing it to me. I happen to see a segment on CNN a couple of weeks ago and they were talking about how much they like their Blackberries. They were concerned about what was going to happen with their Blackberries if RIM lost patent infringement law suite wending it way through the courts. One fellow said he had tied the Treo several times, but it kept locking up on him.

Posted by The Vorlon on 02/25/06 5:03 PM | Link | Enter your comments here (2)

More Crocuses

The sun shone today and the temperature went into the 50’s. It was great weather for the crocuses in the back yard. This photo is not as sharp as I would like for two reasons. First, it is four photos stitched together. Secondly, I had to knock down the size so it wouldn’t take forever to download. That really hit the resolution.

Posted by The Vorlon on 02/25/06 4:42 PM | Link | Enter your comments here (0)

Exercise Equipment

I’m still looking for some way to work out. I see several infomercials on TV. One I happened to watch was for the Total Fitness Gym. It has Chuck Norris and Christy Brinkley as spokespeople for the gym. Watching Christy Brinkley workout on it is always entertaining.

In surfing the net I came across this substitute that claims to be better. I don’t know. I’m still looking, along with looking for my next digital camera.

Posted by The Vorlon on 02/25/06 11:48 AM | Link | Enter your comments here (5)

Have You Seen This Video?

I had seen this on TV, but now there’s a video clip on the web. I recommend you click this link to watch the video.

Hat Tip to Dean’s World.

Posted by The Vorlon on 02/25/06 7:54 AM | Link | Enter your comments here (0)

Friday, February 24, 2006

Medical Update II

My medical schedule has some better visibility. I stopped by the chemical oncologist to get my Aranesp shot. It’s to boost my hemoglobin count.

I think my hemoglobin count is fine. I’m just feeling too well for it to be otherwise. While there, I spoke to the scheduler and had my next appointment rescheduled for later in the day. Previously I had my radio oncologist scheduled for 13:00 on March 1. I was told it would be at least 1.5 hours, as they have to “mark me.” I already had an appointment with my chemical oncologist for 14:45. I knew there was no way I could do both.

When I tried to reschedule my chemical oncologist the girl told me he was booked solid for the whole month of March. When I tried to reschedule the radio oncologist, I was told it would push my date back to March 6. I don’t want to delay the radiation treatment.

A physical body is harder to ignore than a voice on the phone. When I told the chemical oncologist’s scheduler of my conflict, they readily pushed my time back to 16:15. That should work out fine.

I’m afraid I was less than my usual charming self at the oncologist's office today. I was feeling really frustrated with my inability to get what I wanted and I was in almost full Type-A mode when I walked in the door. It has now been over three weeks since my last chemo treatment and I am feeling very strong.

I’m probably going to have to make a small apology to them. I was ready to knock heads. I do have on “in” so to speak. One of the girls that works at the oncologist’s office is the sister-in-law to the girl that works with me in my office. Should I call her the Vorlon Assistant?

When I meet with the oncologist, I’m going to see if I can some visibility for chemo schedule in the future.

Oh, I’m also going to take a copy of the MRI on CD with me when I got to the radio oncologist next week. You never know if they’ll want it and not have it.

More and more I’m agreeing with Stephen Schneider, you need to stay on top of these people. It’s a lot like trying to herd cats. I don’t know how a passive person can survive in this system.

Posted by The Vorlon on 02/24/06 3:55 PM | Link | Enter your comments here (3)

Have You Ever Felt THIS Tired?

Looking at this photo, I have had times when I felt this tired.

Hat Tip to Dean's World.

Posted by The Vorlon on 02/24/06 12:19 PM | Link | Enter your comments here (0)

Nano Technology for Cancer

Instapundit had a link to this article about using nanotechnology to destroy caner cells. It sounds promising.

Posted by The Vorlon on 02/24/06 10:20 AM | Link | Enter your comments here (0)

Medical Update

I stopped by the lab this morning and got copies of the MRI and CT scans. It is sort of a good news bad news situation.

First the bad news. The parasites in my head are getting larger. The largest one before was 1.2 cm and it now 1.8 x 1 cm. That is why the radio oncologist wants to start radiation therapy on Monday.

The good news part is the results of the CT scan. The tumor was gone from 2.4 x 3.4 cm to 1.9 x 2.6 cm. That’s roughly a 20 percent decrease in size.

In general I am feeling better.

UPDATE: I called the radio oncologist’s office and the earliest they could schedule me is 13:00 on Wednesday. That’s going to conflict with my appointment with my other oncologist.

Argh! I should have made the appointment a few days ago. More and more I’m convinced my radio oncologist is a second born or lower.

Posted by The Vorlon on 02/24/06 8:42 AM | Link | Enter your comments here (0)

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Feb 23 Stands Down

Dasher-1 performed well on the return trip. I feel a little tired tonight, but I think almost anyone would. I’m signing off early to get as much shuteye as possible. I am looking forward to sleeping in this weekend.

Posted by The Vorlon on 02/23/06 9:52 PM | Link | Enter your comments here (0)

Feb 23 Dawns

There is very little to report this morning. I’m feeling well and I did 1.5 miles on the hotel treadmill.

I’ve had breakfast and have checked out. I’ll load up Dasher-1 and head to the client site. I’m coming home tonight. That probably means I’ll get to bed rather late tonight. Oh well.

Posted by The Vorlon on 02/23/06 7:24 AM | Link | Enter your comments here (0)

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Feb 22 - Goodnight

I felt well again today. I think even my feet felt just a tiny bit better – although they are bothering me at this moment.

I spoke to the radiologist this morning. She asked if I was suffering from headaches or throwing up all the time. That rather took me aback. I should have asked, “Should I?” But I answered in the negative. She said to call her office Friday morning and set up an appointment. She wants me to start radiation treatment on Monday.

After our conversation I felt a headache and then mild nausea. But I recovered quickly and told myself to get back to normal – whatever that is these days.

I know someone at a client site whose husband has Lymphoma and he just started his radiation treatments. She said, he said, it’s pretty uneventful. The radiologist said I’ll get 14 or 15 treatments five days a week. I wonder how she will determine whether I get 14 or 15 treatments. She said it should only take about 40 minutes for each treatment.

A asked her how many IQ points I was going to loose. She said not too many. I told her I didn’t really have any IQ points to spare. Have you noticed that medical people have virtually no sense of humor?

Those who know me, I have a hobby of determining people’s personality traits related to birth order. I rank people into First Borns, Second Borns, and all others. I am a First Born. My oncologist is a First Born. I would guess that my radiologist is a second born or further down the list. I’ll ask her when I see her on Monday.

The birth order theory is not mine. I picked it up from a sales course I took and the instructor got it from someone else. I checked Amazon and there are several books on it.

Anyway, it looks like there will be no road trips until I get through with my radiation treatments.

At my office the tech brought my computer back and I can now read my office email again. I am really pleased I decided to put a RAID 1 system into it. I didn’t loose a thing. Sweet.

Time to hit the hay.

Posted by The Vorlon on 02/22/06 9:08 PM | Link | Enter your comments here (1)

Another RSS Feed Posted

I just posted another RSS feed to my blog. This one is RSS 2.0 (xml) with comments. Personally I like the RSS feed with comments. I put Vorlon Whispers in my own RSS reader. That allows me to easily see if anyone has posted a comment to my blog and see if I have anything intelligent or otherwise to add to the conversation.

I think it's really cool, but let me know what you think.

Posted by The Vorlon on 02/22/06 8:45 PM | Link | Enter your comments here (0)

Good Morning Feb 22

I’m feeling very good this morning. Although groggy when my Palm went off and still felt quite good. My workout on the treadmill was a little tougher than yesterday. I managed to get the speed up to 3.4 mph. It was a good workout and I got as far as 1.5 miles.

I’ll be calling the radiologist today to see when she wants to start the radiation therapy.

Posted by The Vorlon on 02/22/06 7:40 AM | Link | Enter your comments here (0)

Port Security and the UAE

I haven’t decided if the deal with letting a company from the United Arab Emirates is a good idea or not. Instapundit has a great roundup.

UPDATE: The Wall Street Journal is in favor of the deal.

UPDATE II: Glenn Reynolds of Instapundit has a podcast up in which he explores the ramifications of the deal. He talks with Austin Bay and Jim Dunnigan. Here's the link to the Instapundit post where he talks about the podcast and has a link to it. It requires no special software to listen to it.

Posted by The Vorlon on 02/22/06 6:41 AM | Link | Enter your comments here (5)

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Feb 21 - Goodnight

Today was a very good day. I felt VERY good all day - well after a couple of cups of coffee this morning. Still I had good energy all day and never felt the least bit tired. I feel almost like I have warp drive back.

It looks like this stay will be for the whole three days. My schedule now has me heading home Thursday night. February should be a good month, what with all the billable hours I’m getting.

I spoke to the Vorlon wife tonight or perhaps I should call her for Vorlon Frog. It seems she has picked up a cold virus and is feeling pretty badly. She sounds like a frog. It seems I picked a good time to move out of the house. I hope I don’t pick it up upon my return. So far I have managed to avoid getting ANY cold this winter.

The Vorlon Frog said she got a call from my radiologist. She has gotten the results of my MRI and wants me to schedule the radiation therapy. This is an expected part of the treatment. I’ll call the lab tomorrow and tell them the Vorlon Frog will stop by to pick up my reports. Perhaps this is why the oncologist is pausing my chemo treatment.

Much as I feel like I could go on, I need to hit the hay. 05:15 will find me wanting more sleep.

Posted by The Vorlon on 02/21/06 9:30 PM | Link | Enter your comments here (0)

More Snow from the Last Storm

In our back yard, we have a Red Maple tree. It grows rather slowly. Last fall the leaves did not fall off all at once as is the usual custom. Long after the frost had killed them, the fell to the ground one by one. There are still a few leaves remaining. I thought the pale orange of the leaf contrasted nicely with the pure white of the snow.

Posted by The Vorlon on 02/21/06 8:00 AM | Link | Enter your comments here (0)

Feb 21 Starts

I slept like a log last night. I only remember waking up once to drain the plumbing. I was still cutting Z’s when my Palm went off at 05:15 and lit up the room with its light. By the time I groggily got down to the treadmill, it was 05:35. I set the treadmill to go for 25 minutes. I have developed a routine that works well when my energy level is low – which it normally is at that time of day. After 0.15 miles on the treadmill at 3 MPH, I crank the incline up to 12%. I leave it there for 0.06 miles and then drop it back to zero until I’m back at 0.15 miles from where I started. I repeat this until I run out of time.

After my shower and shaving, such that it is, I went down to get some breakfast. Shaving is more of a practice run than really shaving. I think I still have about a dozen follicles that are growing on my face. I could probably go a couple of days without anyone noticing. But it bugs me, so I rarely miss a day.

The breakfast buffet did not have the make-your-own waffles this morning so I had toasted a bagel and with some cream cheese on it.

Now I’m back in my hotel room drinking my coffee, cleaning up and generally getting ready to go out the door.

Posted by The Vorlon on 02/21/06 7:28 AM | Link | Enter your comments here (0)

Monday, February 20, 2006

Feb 20 Fades to Black

I’m sitting in Fair Lawn, New Jersey. I plan on getting to bed fairly early. The drive up was uneventful and except for a couple of slow spots on the turnpike I made good time. I must say, except for the peripheral neuropathy (numbness) in my feet, I feel very good. The further I get from my last chemo treatment, the better I feel.

Normally I would have another chemo treatment this Wednesday, but not this time. My next appointment with my oncologist is March 1 and that’s just a meeting, there is no chemo scheduled. I don’t know quite what to make of this situation. Perhaps the oncologist feels I’m doing well enough that I can take a “chemo vacation.” Perhaps I’ll send him a fax and see what’s happening.

I feel like I’m beating the odds and getting better. As I said before, I believe that when you have your hands around you enemy’s neck, you do not let go. In war, when you have your enemy in a state of loosing, you throw even more at him to completely defeat him. When you enemy is down, you kick him as hard as you can.

That’s what I want to do to the parasite in my body.

I feel so good that I feel like my mind is coming back to normal. I feel almost like I’ve been asleep since last October and I’m starting to wake up. Of course, I have yet to get the results of my MRI and CT scan of last Friday. I could be getting a head fake.

On the way up I popped one of Tony Robbins’ CD’s into the car stereo. I haven’t listened to it for some time. I’m rather a fan of his. Perhaps that’s not quite the right characterization. I guess I wouldn’t call myself a fan but rather I think he makes some good points.

One of the points he makes is the difference between effort and reward. He makes the case that if you do a poor job, you get no reward. He goes on to say, if you do a good job, you get a poor reward. He extends this to say that if you do an excellent job, you only get a good reward.

Lastly he states that excellence is not the end. Even though you think you’ve given it all, you still have something left. If you give that last bit, he calls this performance “outstanding.” He says the outstanding performance gives you all the rewards and the difference in effort between excellence and outstanding is very small.

I rather liken this to hockey. Most professional hockey players are excellent or they wouldn’t be there. But there was only one Gretzky. He was outstanding.

I rather liken his model to what I’m going through. Sadly I don’t feel like I’ve performed at the outstanding point. I don’t think I ever got to the point where I was out of physical capacity and had to reach down and run on only heart. Yeah, there have been some days I felt rather poorly, but I tended to not push myself like I probably should have.

Well, I expect I’ll get another chance to improve my performance. I hope I don’t disappoint.

Posted by The Vorlon on 02/20/06 9:08 PM | Link | Enter your comments here (1)

Memories of What Was

No, it hasn’t snowed again. This is a left over photo from the storm of more than a week ago. I’m still trying to figure out how to capture the feeling of snow everywhere and on everything. When I download (upload?) photo’s to my computer I always regret that I didn’t take more photos. But I deal with what I have.

Posted by The Vorlon on 02/20/06 8:00 AM | Link | Enter your comments here (0)

Feb 20 Dawns

I’m a little tired this morning, but I DID get up at 0510. It was 25 degrees when I went out for my 2-mile walk. I have done my pushups (only seven) and sit-ups (14). My only real complaint is the numbness in my feet.

I’ll be saddling up Dasher-1 this afternoon and heading to North Jersey. My stay up there is two or three days. The total time is yet to be determined. At least Dasher-1 looks a little presentable now.

Posted by The Vorlon on 02/20/06 7:17 AM | Link | Enter your comments here (0)

Sunday, February 19, 2006

New RSS Feed Added

With the help of Chad Everett, I’ve added a new RSS feed under “Syndicate This Site.” This RSS feed includes reader comments. It's called "RSS 1.0 with Comments". I’ll be experimenting with this for a while to see how it goes. Your comments about his RSS feed would be appreciated.

Let me also say “Thank You” to Chad Everett and for this little bit of MT work and more importantly for help moving my company site, to Site5 hosting services. If you need any web help, I highly recommend Chad.

Posted by The Vorlon on 02/19/06 8:50 PM | Link | Enter your comments here (0)

Feb 19 Condition Update

I’m doing quite well both yesterday and today. Yesterday we were driving to the grocery store and went past the car wash. The looked slow so I ran Blue Velvet through and it looked much better. After returning from the store I jumped in Dasher-1 and ran it through the car wash. I rediscovered its original color. I really need to get both vehicles detailed.

The temperature at 7:00 this morning was 14 degrees. In spite of the chilly climes, the Vorlon Wife and I went out for a two mile walk. I have been really slacking off when I’ve been in North Jersey. I just have not had the stamina to work out on the treadmill and also put in 11 plus hours at the client site. Something had to give and it was the early morning exercise.

That said, the further I get from my last chemo treatment the stronger I get. I’m planning on hitting the treadmill, when I return to my Forward Operating Base this week.

I feel like there are two forces at work in my body. One force is trying to make me feel good and the other is working in the opposite direction. This morning I was sitting in church and suddenly I would start to feel really good. Five minutes later I would feel not so good. I would say however, in general, I’m on the mend.

It appears that I’m getting a chemo vacation. Normally I would be having another chemo treatment next Wednesday. However, my next appointment with my oncologist is March 1.

I’m of mixed feelings about this. It will be nice to postpone another chemo treatment. But as nice as that would be, I’d much rather get on with the task at hand. I feel like the chemo treatments helping. I’m a firm believer that when you have your hands around the enemy’s neck, you should not let go until he is dead.

Posted by The Vorlon on 02/19/06 3:14 PM | Link | Enter your comments here (0)

More Crocuses

I thought these were interesting. They look like they’re hatching from eggs. They look like they have a white shell on the outside. It’s nice to have some flowers to photograph again.

Posted by The Vorlon on 02/19/06 8:00 AM | Link | Enter your comments here (1)

Saturday, February 18, 2006

The Early Crocuses are Blooming

The Crocuses in the back yard are blooming. They are an early Crocus and tend to be a more pale color and be a bit smaller than the later Crocuses. The later Crocuses are on the south side of the house so it’s rather a surprise they have yet to bloom. These Crocuses are in a more secluded spot, but they cannot be held back. I’ve taken quite a few shots and will probably take more. I’ll be posting the ones I like best here. I hope you don’t get bored with them.

Posted by The Vorlon on 02/18/06 8:32 AM | Link | Enter your comments here (0)

Friday, February 17, 2006

Getting Back to Normal

I was rather tired today, but with enough coffee, it was overcome. I had my MRI this morning. While at the radiology lab, they observed that I had an appointment for a CT scan at 2:15 in the afternoon. They had me wait just 15 minutes after my MRI and then they ran me in for my CT scan.

I thought that was nice of them. In both cases, the techs found a vein on their first try so I only got stuck once per test. The fellow doing the MRI was really good. I barely felt it when he inserted the needle. In retrospect, I should have had them put one of those them reusable taps into my arm. Then they would have only had to stick me once.

After the radiological procedures, I stopped by the tanning salon for a 7-minute bake. Upon returning home, I observed that the sun was shinning, the temperature was in the 50’s, last weekend’s snow was completely gone and the Crocuses in the back yard were blooming. I played hooky for about 20 minutes while I took advantage of the situation. One result of my photographic interlude is attached. I’ll post more later.

After lunch, I headed into the office. A couple of days ago I updated my Symantec antivirus software and it required a reboot. My station stopped during the reboot process.

I bought this station a little over 18 months ago. When I purchased it, I had them install a RAID 1 array instead of a single hard drive. For those who are not the total computer geek, a RAID 1 array is two identical disks. The system keeps your complete system on both disks. This is also calling disk mirroring.

On of the disks in my RAID 1 array appears to have failed. But since both disks automatically kept each other updated, when it paused, I read the error message and told the system to continue on. My station still works just as before. The only difference is I don’t have that backup, should the second hard drive fail.

I contacted the place where I bought it. I am scheduled to go back to my Forward Operating Base (FOB) in North Jersey again next week. While I am gone, they will come out and replace the defective drive. The system should automatically rebuild the information on the new disk, and I’ll be back where I was before. I am very pleased I decided to make that purchase, when I did.

As I said, my client wants my body back in North Jersey again next week. We have agreed that I will drive up late Monday afternoon and stay at least Tuesday and Wednesday. I am going to reserve three nights at the hotel in case it goes to three days. I must be back in town on Friday as I am scheduled to get another Aranesp shot to boost my hemoglobin count.

Posted by The Vorlon on 02/17/06 9:01 PM | Link | Enter your comments here (0)

Hunting Accidents Appear to be Common

The Washington Times notes the results of this survey.

A poll of 883 South Dakota bird hunters, conducted before Vice President Dick Cheney's weekend hunting accident, asked: "Have you ever been peppered with shotgun BB's?"

It so happens 484 of the hunters, or about 55 percent, replied "yes." And 365 of them said they were wearing orange vests when sprayed.

The poll was conducted by Pheasant Country ("where pheasant hunters come to roost"), a Web site sponsored by the Sioux Falls Argus-Leader newspaper.

Posted by The Vorlon on 02/17/06 4:06 PM | Link | Enter your comments here (2)

Friday the 17th

I feel a little tired this morning. For me when I’m at a client site, I think part of my energy comes from adrenalin. Once I come home the adrenalin stops. That usually makes me feel much more tired than before. That plus I got to bed quite late, for me, last night.

I finally got a little exercise this morning when I went out and walked a measly mile. Still it’s better than nothing. I’ll do another mile tonight.

I have an MRI scheduled at 8:30 this morning and a CT scan at 2:15 this afternoon. Between that, I plan to get into the office and catch up on all that has happened in my absence.

Posted by The Vorlon on 02/17/06 7:28 AM | Link | Enter your comments here (0)

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Feb 16 Draws to a Close

I am now back at home base. I held up well throughout the day and got quite a bit done. But not so much they don’t want me back. In fact, they wanted me to stay through tomorrow. But I have run out of clean underwear and I am schedule for the MRI and CT scan tomorrow. I’ll go back next week.

Although I held up well, I’m feeling rather tired tonight and am looking forward to hitting the sack.


Posted by The Vorlon on 02/16/06 10:16 PM | Link | Enter your comments here (0)

Feb 16 Starts

I’m feeling OK this morning. I’m a little tired, but still moving. I just went down to the reception area of the hotel to see if they had the breakfast ready to go. They don’t. They’re supposed to have it ready at 6:30, but they usually don’t really have it ready until about 6:45. It turns out the person that normally sets up the breakfast has not come it. The poor fellow manning the front desk has to do double duty. I’m considering just bailing out and stopping somewhere for something to eat. The problem is I don’t know the area well enough to know where to go.

I’m looking forward to coming home. I’m even looking forward to catching some long shuteye this weekend.

Posted by The Vorlon on 02/16/06 7:02 AM | Link | Enter your comments here (0)

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

The Ides of February - The End

Today went well. Mostly I’m doing a lot of reports in Crystal Reports. There was lots of work and I felt pretty good all day. I felt like I had quite a bit more energy that yesterday. I think I slept better last night than the night before and I think that had a lot to do with it. I was also able to keep myself well coffeenated throughout the day and I think that helped too.

The project is going well and there is probably enough work that I could stay here another week. But I need to be back in town on Friday.

Friday morning I’m getting an MRI on my head and in the afternoon I’m getting a CT scan of the chest area. The MRI is the most relaxing. I usually just doze off while the machine clangs and buzzes. The CT scan takes longer to set up than do. Two passes through the spin cycle and I’m done.

I’m starting to fade and I really need my beauty sleep. I’ll be coming home tomorrow night.

Posted by The Vorlon on 02/15/06 9:32 PM | Link | Enter your comments here (0)

An Observation

I came across this observation by a military officer and found it very profound.

One evening I stood at the gate to Camp Victory, the US and Coalition base outside of Baghdad and watched our soldiers and Marines prepare to roll “outside the wire” on their patrols…on the hunt for terrorists. A very dangerous mission obviously and the ones most likely to encounter ambushes and road-side bombs. It was about 7:00 PM and I remember thinking that I was literally in Hell. It was 115 degrees or so even at that hour and the air was filled with talcum powder-like sand which made it very difficult to breathe.

That being said I watched our guys don their body armor, an additional 35 pounds of Kevlar helmet and flak vest, on top of what was already a very uncomfortable battle dress uniform or BDU. These were 18, 19-year old young men and their commander was a captain probably 26 or 27. They weren’t aware I was watching and I watched closely for their attitude and demeanor. Having spent 20 years in the Air Force and commanded many units I’ve always known that a quick look into a military unit’s morale and esprit de corps is best seen when they are operating in oppressive conditions.

Jamie, what I saw was remarkable. Not only were these soldiers professional and motivated they were also poised well beyond their years. They each possessed a steely-eyed confidence and it wasn’t a false bravado. There was a quiet calm and as they rolled out the gate I was shaken. Nothing I’d ever experienced in my 20 years of service prepared me for that moment. I realized then that I had just seen America’s future and it was bright and promising. The American people should experience what I did…every one of them. Our military is America and we should all be very proud and thankful for the ways in which they are representing our nation in this brutal conflict.

Posted by The Vorlon on 02/15/06 7:37 AM | Link | Enter your comments here (0)

Cheney's Hunting Accident

I feel like I should have something to say about Cheney’s hunting accident, but the only comment I can make is, I think the press is making too much about it. They’ve got their knickers in a knot because they weren’t told the very second it happened. It sounds like ego to me. It sounds to me like they feel it's all about them.

Every time I hear about an accident of this seriousness, I give thanks that I haven't made a mistake of that caliber.

Posted by The Vorlon on 02/15/06 7:28 AM | Link | Enter your comments here (2)

The Ides of February

I felt really wiped last night and I slept very well. I felt better when my Palm went off this morning. I set an alarm in my Palm instead of having the front desk give me a call. I rather like the Palm in place the jangling telephone in the morning.

When my Palm goes off and beeps at me, it also turns itself on. The light from the display gives a low glow to the whole room. It’s not a bad way to wake up.

I look out the window and it looks clear and cold.

My stay here has been extended. I will be coming home Thursday night. From the first day I rather expected that was going to happen. There were just too many projects coming from all directions for me to be done by the end of today. More billable hours are always welcome.

Posted by The Vorlon on 02/15/06 7:28 AM | Link | Enter your comments here (0)

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Feb 14 at the end

Today was a busy day and we got a lot done. The project is going well. My energy level is lower than yesterday. I found that during the day I just would rather sit than stand and walking was slower than those around me. I guess I’m still recovering from my last treatment.

I’m looking forward to a good night’s sleep.

I feel like I should say something more, but when I’m in my “at client site” mode, there really isn’t much to report. All I do is eat, sleep and get as many billable hours at the client site as possible.

More later.

Posted by The Vorlon on 02/14/06 9:11 PM | Link | Enter your comments here (0)

Happy Valentines Day

I’m doing pretty well this morning, albeit a little tired. But with enough coffee I’ll be running on all three or four cylinders. I expect today to be another busy one, but that’s OK.

Posted by The Vorlon on 02/14/06 7:26 AM | Link | Enter your comments here (0)

Monday, February 13, 2006

Feb 13 - Goodnight

I left home about 7:45 this morning. I stopped at Wawa to top off Dasher-1’s fuel tank, and get some coffee. Since I had skipped breakfast I grabbed one of their breakfast sandwiches. That proved to be a mistake. It just wasn’t that tasty. However the coffee went down well and I paid only $1.979 a gallon for fuel. At that price I was tempted to have them put some in the glove box too.

I took Rt. 55 up to where it merged into Rt. 42. Everything was fine until I got to the Deptford Mall exit. Traffic was backed up to a mile below the Deptford mall. From the mall to the Rt. 42 merge is another two miles or so. I opted to zip through the mall area and got on Rt. 42 in another location. From there I picked up the New Jersey Turnpike at Exit 3 and then went long to Exit 11. The road was clear and dry and traffic was relatively light. I made very good time. From there I picked up the Garden State Parkway and the rest, as they say, was history.

All in all it was a good drive. There was another fellow that was flying in from Maximum Data Solutions in Plymouth, MI. Needless to say, his flight for Sunday night was canceled. While rolled into the client’s site about 10:30 he got there about 1:00 PM.

So far the project has been going well. It is the usual three people asking for three different things at the same time.

I as able to get enough coffee to keep me alert. A little after 7:00 tonight I told them I hated to leave just as a party was getting going, but I needed to get some rest or I wouldn’t be worth much.

So here it is about 9:30 and I’m still not cutting any Z’s. I think I’ll rectify that situation.

Good night.

Posted by The Vorlon on 02/13/06 9:23 PM | Link | Enter your comments here (1)

A Photo From Yesterday's Storm

I took this photo, along with a few others yesterday. I thought it came out not to badly. I find it’s rather hard to get a nice snow photo. There’s not a lot of color to enhance the photo. I have some more I need to go through and see if there is any worth working with.

Posted by The Vorlon on 02/13/06 8:10 AM | Link | Enter your comments here (2)

I'm Soon Leaving

I’m getting ready to go. I slept very well last night and feel quite well rested. The thermometer reads 18 degrees outside. I’m going to pack Dasher-1 and head out. I’ll grab a coffee and a bite to eat at Wawa and be on my way.

In case you’re wondering, here’s my intended route. It's about 130 miles.

Posted by The Vorlon on 02/13/06 6:30 AM | Link | Enter your comments here (0)

Sunday, February 12, 2006

Feb 12 Ends

The snow shoveling rather tired me out today. I’m off to bed. Tomorrow I’m heading up to North Jersey.

Posted by The Vorlon on 02/12/06 7:47 PM | Link | Enter your comments here (0)

Hunger Strike at Guantanamo

I see that some of the prisoners at Guantanamo are on a hunger strike. It appears to be at the point that the military has taken to force feeding them.

I would not force feed them. I would call in the International Red Cross to make sure they were monitored and then I would let them starve themselves to death. Let them have what they want.

As I heard this I was thinking. It doesn’t appear that Islam has much to offer these people. I think that if these prisoners where Chirstians as devote as these muslims claim to be, they would not try to comit suicide.

It would also appear that the terrorists’ hate is not enough to sustain them.

I am reminded of Paul in the Bible. At one point he is imprisoned and chained to two Roman guards. I think he was confined for at least a couple of years. Instead of railing against the inequity of the situation, he took the time to try to convert the guards. My Bibical knowledge is not good enough to remember if he was successful or not. I suspect he was.

If the terrorists were really as devote as they claim, then why don’t they attempt to convert the guard to Islam. Instead there have been recorded incidents of them attacking the guards.

I conclude that either the terrorists at Guantanamo are not really that devote or their religion is inadequate to their situation.

Posted by The Vorlon on 02/12/06 1:47 PM | Link | Enter your comments here (0)

A Brief Winter in Vineland

The Vorlon Wife and I finished shoveling both driveways and the sidewalks. I took it rather slow, but managed to complete my part without utter exhaustion. One of my challenges is I don’t know where my limits are any more. The further I get from my last chemo treatment, the stronger I get, but I never know where the edge is.

After we finished shoveling, I walked around snapping a few photos. The is the Vorlon Ranch viewed from the north side. You can just barely pick out the garage through the trees on the right. The house is easy to find.

Some sharpness was sacrifiiced in this photo to knock the size down.

Posted by The Vorlon on 02/12/06 12:09 PM | Link | Enter your comments here (2)

Photo Galleries

I am always on the lookout for a better way to display my photos on the web. I have been very disappointed in almost everything I looked at so I made my own in FrontPage. Here’s a sample.

What I like about this photo gallery is I can write a small description about each photo. One of my complaints about most photos I see on the web is that there is no story about them. They are just there. I like to tell stories about my photos. In the gallery I made, I can type in my comments in FrontPage and use all the Microsoft Office writing tools (spell checker and thesaurus) to prevent me from sounding too illiterate. I also like that it displays one photo at a time. Those photo galleries that display a page of thumbnails really whack those viewers on slow connections. By showing one photo at a time, I give viewers with slow connections a break.

I still keep my eyes open for better solutions, however. I may have found one that meets my desires. It’s a gallery that works in Movable Type – the software I use for my Blog. This photo gallery as one additional feature that is cool. It lets viewers post comments on each photo. I think that’s a good idea.

Posted by The Vorlon on 02/12/06 10:03 AM | Link | Enter your comments here (2)

Feb 12 - OK It Snowed Last Night

It appears to have snowed all night long. This is a photo from our back porch. Actually, its three photos merged into one. Boy do I year for an 18 mm lens.

Although the wind as picked up, the snow doesn’t seem to be blowing around much. The large flakes of last night have given way to tiny flakes this morning. It’s still snowing.

Although, except for my feet, I feel pretty good, I’m not looking forward to shoveling snow today. I suspect my trip north may be postponed until tomorrow. We’ll see.

Posted by The Vorlon on 02/12/06 8:32 AM | Link | Enter your comments here (0)

Saturday, February 11, 2006

Feb 11 Closes - For Me

I just checked outside, the lawn is covered with snow, and the street is starting to take on a white hue. I still don’t expect the storm to come to much. The temperature is 31 degrees and the snowflakes are huge. My experience is that it is the storms with the very tiny snowflakes that bury you. Usually storms with large snowflakes deposit very little snow.

I’m off to bed. I’ll see what appears in the morning.

Posted by The Vorlon on 02/11/06 9:49 PM | Link | Enter your comments here (0)

It's Starting to Snow

I took this photo off the back porch. It’s just starting to snow. I took it just as the sun was going down. As of now, there is a white dusting on the lawn, but the streets are merely wet. So far, the anticipated blizzard has yet to show itself. If this is a bad as it gets, it’ll be quite mild.

Posted by The Vorlon on 02/11/06 7:36 PM | Link | Enter your comments here (0)

Crocuses and a Tiny Bit of Snow

Just as the sun was setting, it started to snow. I ran, or rather hobbled, out and got this photo. The light was fading so I cranked the ISO up to 200. Then I did my usual tweaks to enhance the photo. Perhaps that’s why it’s not sharper.

I meant to post this earlier, but my Movable Type would not create thumbnails. An email to my web host and resolved the situation. They reinstalled the Image::Magick module and I was back in business.

Posted by The Vorlon on 02/11/06 7:31 PM | Link | Enter your comments here (0)

Another Blog Update

I’ve added a small feature to the sidebar on the right. It’s a section called “Recently Commented On.” It lists the five most recent entries that have comments associated with them.

This is not a Plugin. It is some MT code I found on the web, put in my main Index Template and tweaked to make the formatting match the rest of my blog.

Posted by The Vorlon on 02/11/06 7:06 PM | Link | Enter your comments here (0)

Blog Archives Updated

I’ve made another minor change to the right hand side of the blog. This involves the monthly archives. I found a Plugin called MT-Archive-Dateheader by Adam Kalsey. It’s a pretty simple Plugin but it still took me a bit to get it to work the way I wanted. I like the way it organizes my monthly archives.

Posted by The Vorlon on 02/11/06 2:42 PM | Link | Enter your comments here (0)

MT Blogroll Plugin Install

I just finished setting up and integrating the MT Blogroll Plugin. It allows me to easily maintain category in the right lower part of this blog. I call this category Sites I Like To Read.

I’m not sure I’ve really got it working correctly and it took me a few iterations to put the right codes into my Main Index template. My only challenge, so far, seems to be updating the Blogroll.

Posted by The Vorlon on 02/11/06 12:54 PM | Link | Enter your comments here (0)

Another Digital Camera?

I’m considering getting another digital camera. I’m looking for something compact that I can take with me everywhere. Every once in a while I come across an opportunity for a photo, but without a camera I can’t do anything. One I’m looking at is this one.

Another consideration is how much gear to I want to carry on my body. I already carry me cell phone and my Palm Pilot. Do I also need to strap on a camera too?

I know I could combine the cell phone and PDA functions, but I’ve got some programs on my Palm that I use a lot.

One is a time keeping program that has turned into my bread and butter – almost literally. Unfortunately it ONLY runs on the Palm. One of the things I like about it is it stores all its data into an Access database on my computer. I then used Crystal Reports to create just the kind of report that gives me what I need to know. I know that Crystal is overkill for this, but I do a ton of work in Crystal and it was pretty easy to do the report I wanted.

I also use Bonzai for my do to list and DayNotez for a record that I want to keep. Both programs also have a desktop version so I can move seamlessly from my Palm to my desktop.

I have an Excel spreadsheet on my Palm to track my T & E expenses as well as my mileage.

Also the Palm cost $200 but a combination PDA and cell phone is going to run a lot more. Then I’m going to have to find replacements for all the functions I already use – sigh.

The result is I have yet to make any decision on a go anywhere digital camera.

Posted by The Vorlon on 02/11/06 10:23 AM | Link | Enter your comments here (3)

Feb 11 Starts

I slept well last night, but I’m still moving rather slowly this morning. It may take two cups of coffee to really get me going this morning.

The bathroom scale read 159 Lbs this morning. Yesterday’s 161 Lbs was higher than I wanted to be – unless my percent body fat was under 10 percent. The last time I checked with my skin fold caliper my percent body fat came in at 19%. That’s a tad on the high side.

So far, no snow. I’m thinking I may do some storm blogging and post photos from my back window of the back yard as it fills with snow.

Posted by The Vorlon on 02/11/06 9:35 AM | Link | Enter your comments here (0)

Friday, February 10, 2006

Feb 10, Goodnight

Although I did well today, I’m tired now. I’m looking forward to a long winter’s nap.

The news is all agog at the impending storm. I hope it moves through quickly. I am currently schedule to leave Sunday afternoon for a return engagement in North Jersey. If the turnpike is under 10 inches of snow, my travel time will be increased.

Posted by The Vorlon on 02/10/06 8:47 PM | Link | Enter your comments here (0)

Feb 10 Starts Late

I got to bed late last night so I skipped my workout this morning. I DID get in 7 measly pushups and 14 sit-ups. Yeah I know that’s down from where I was, but I’ll work my way back up again.

I tipped the scale at 161 Lbs this morning. It looks like I can back off on the food intact a bit. I also need to step up my physical exercise now that my stamina is making a tepid return. Today will be another busy day so I’m off and running.

Posted by The Vorlon on 02/10/06 9:01 AM | Link | Enter your comments here (1)

Thursday, February 9, 2006

Return to Base

I have returned to base. Travel in route was a little heavy on the Garden State Parkway, but once I got to the New Jersey Turnpike the speeds were, let us just say, excellent.

As expected, I grew stronger each day. Today I got enough coffee in the PM to really help. I am discovering that just sitting I start to feel almost normal. When I get up, I am immediately reminded of my problem with my feet. Physical exertion again reminds me my aerobic capacity has a ways to go in its recovery.

When you’re driving for a while, I did about two and a half-hours with a half hour stop for food, tonight to get home, you get some time to think. I’m going to have to get me one of them MP3 recorders so I can record my brilliant thoughts and then blog about them later.

Anyway, I was thinking as I was driving. Of course, with an ADD brain like mine, it’s hard to maintain a train of thought. I usually use a mantra to keep my mind focused, “Pass the next car; pass the next car.”

But as I was saying, I was thinking about some of the reactions I’ve gotten from people during my current physical challenges. Many say they are amazed at my attitude. I think they mean it as a compliment, but is it really? Did they expect me to curl up like a leaf that fall that falls from a tree and blow away? I would hope they knew me well enough to know I am, or at least I like to think I am, made of sterner stuff.

Don’t get me wrong. I enjoy and appreciate cheers and words of encouragement from spectators at the sidelines. But I would like those words to convey the thought that, although my challenge is a serious one and will require much on my part, it is one they are confident I will win.

I am not much of a sports fan, but when people watch a great athlete, although they are amazed at his accomplishments, they are also unsurprised. They know he is a great athlete and his accomplishments solidify his greatness in their minds. Although they marvel at his feats, they also know he can do them.

For my part I am doing all I can to win. The other day someone emailed me to fight for all I’m worth. I responded that I’m fighting for more than I’m worth. As the US sold war bonds during WWII to fight the war, I’m taking out loans, of sorts, to fight my war.

The short-winded summation is I appreciate any and all accolades and words of encouragement. My only request is that they express acknowledgement of the task and confidence I will complete my mission.

By the way, thank you for all the support you’ve given me to date. My comments are not meant to be unappreciative. It is all greatly appreciated.

Posted by The Vorlon on 02/09/06 10:31 PM | Link | Enter your comments here (4)

Feb 9 Starts

I’m up, packing and almost ready to go out the door. My strength continues to improve and I’m feeling pretty well this morning. There is not much to report as I’m about as normal as I can be.

I’ll probably stop at a rest area on the way home for something to eat. But weather should be good.

Posted by The Vorlon on 02/09/06 7:25 AM | Link | Enter your comments here (0)

Wednesday, February 8, 2006

Feb 8 - The End

Today went well. I could have used more coffee in the afternoon, but I did OK. My strength continues to improve. Most of the panting is gone. My feet are a little uncomfortable to walk on. I have noticed over the last few weeks my balance seems to have degraded a bit. If I make a sudden large move with my head, I have to concentrate to keep my balance.

My energy level needs some work, but I’m able to work pretty well.

I’d like to get out of the client site a little on the early side so that don’t get home real late. I have an appointment with another client Friday morning and then I need to be back at the oncologist office for my blood test in the afternoon.

Posted by The Vorlon on 02/08/06 9:00 PM | Link | Enter your comments here (0)

Feb 8 - Up and, uh, Running.

I’m feeling a little tired this morning, but I’m still going. I’ve had breakfast and now I’m just downing the coffee. I like to drink a cup before I leave and take a cup with me.

I find I pretty productive – as long as I can stay seated. Walking is a little uncomfortable – but I’m getting there.

Posted by The Vorlon on 02/08/06 7:30 AM | Link | Enter your comments here (1)

Tuesday, February 7, 2006

End of Feb 7

I did pretty well today. I could have used a little more coffee this afternoon. Now I’m feeling tired, but that is expected. I did not use the treadmill this morning and I don’t intend exercise until I get home Thursday night.

That’s right, I said Thursday night. The client has decided that there is sufficient work to keep me the full three days. That works for me. I am always eager to get billable hours.

The project I’m working on, aside from other things to do on-site, has to do with bar coding. The client is going to be using bar codes and handheld scanners to track his inventory. I am here to make sure it integrates well with Great Plains. We have been working on this for some time and I think we are well prepared. The client finally has some people in his own organization that seem to be picking up the ball and carrying it. I can help, but they have to really do the work.

A few weeks ago we did an inventory count using the bar code scanners. While it did not go perfectly, we learned a lot about what was working and what wasn’t. We have taken advantage of the experience and now the part of the project is going eerily smoothly. I keep waiting for the other shoe to drop.

Posted by The Vorlon on 02/07/06 8:56 PM | Link | Enter your comments here (1)

Dirty Jobs

I’m sitting here in my hotel room nibbling on some fried chicken and an orange and watching one of my favorite shows on the Discovery Channel: “Dirty Jobs.” I rather like this show a lot. What I like about it is that celebrates the people that do “dirty jobs.”

Mike Rowe, the host, acts as an “on-the-job-trainee” and does all kinds of yucky jobs. IN many cases he, like anyone unskilled at what he is doing, messes up. It has it humorous moments.

But I like the way it refuses to poke fun at people that many look down upon.

Posted by The Vorlon on 02/07/06 7:40 PM | Link | Enter your comments here (0)

Feb 7 Update

I’m feeling pretty well this morning. I’ve had breakfast, but just as I was going to get a cup of coffee they took it away to refill it – sigh. All I have to do now is clean up the room get my coffee and head out to the client sight.

I’m back with my coffee. As I move around I’m finding myself a bit short of breath. I’m not particularly surprised. In previous cycles Tuesdays have been as bad as Mondays.

Coffee! I just need more coffee.

I’m off.

Posted by The Vorlon on 02/07/06 7:49 AM | Link | Enter your comments here (0)

Monday, February 6, 2006

Flowers are Getting Closer

The weather has been very mild and I have kept a close eye on the Crocuses. Although they have not yet flowered, these are getting close. I sacrificed some physical effort today to get this photo as with the chemo, unusual positions are rather challenging. Unfortunately I tweaked this photo on my laptop. I don’t know how good this photo looks on a regular monitor. I find the laptop is a challenge for doing my photographic work. The monitor doesn’t not lend itself to being able to accurately see the results of my efforts. I still think the “old fashions” CRT monitors are best for photographic work. Although some of the more expensive flat panels may be as good.

Please let me know what you think of this as I won't see it on a CRT monitor until I get home Wednesday or Thursday night.

Posted by The Vorlon on 02/06/06 7:48 PM | Link | Enter your comments here (2)

Feb 6 Update

I am safely enounced in my hotel room in Fair Lawn, New Jersey. The drive up was not too bad, in fact, the traffic was very light and I made good time. The coffee I got at Wawa proved to be a big help. When I first started my trip I panted quite a bit, but that settled down after the coffee. I remembered that, when I used to run competitively, caffeine was a great performance booster.

As I think about that, it should come as no surprise that coffee should help me. If I’m panting, then my body is trying to oxygenate itself. If caffeine can improve aerobic performance, then it should also improve my day-to-day performance.

Tonight I’m still feeling pretty well, but I plan to go to bed early. I find I need a more sleep with the chemo.

Posted by The Vorlon on 02/06/06 7:47 PM | Link | Enter your comments here (0)

On My Way

I slept well last night, but only walked a mile this morning. Although I’m feeling pretty well, I am very tired. Just walking across the room elicits much huffing and puffing.

I’m preparing for blast-off. Dasher-1 is nearly fueled and packed. Although the two and a half hours driving will be a bit of a strain, I don’t expect it to be too bad. I’ll just sit in the cockpit and pilot Dasher-1.

I’m going to stop at Wawa, top off the fuel tank, and get a cup of coffee to go. Wawa has the best price in gas around. A full tank should be sufficient for my whole trip.

I’ll update you later.

Posted by The Vorlon on 02/06/06 1:37 PM | Link | Enter your comments here (0)

Sunday, February 5, 2006

Feb 5 Update

I am better today. When I am sitting, I feel quite energetic – until I stand up to move. But for a brief instant, I feel pretty good. Movement is still slow, my feet bother me when I walk and it takes very little effort for me to huff and puff. I went out with the Vorlon Wife this morning for a very slow 2-mile walk.

But I am better today than yesterday and I expect tomorrow to be a little better than today.

Tomorrow I’m driving up to North Jersey to spend a couple of days with a client. This is the tightest I’ve tucked a project behind a chemo treatment. But tomorrow I only have to drive for about two and a half hours and then I can get to bed early. I will be at the client site 8:00 am Tuesday morning.

Although I might have wanted to push it, back a week, the client needed to do this project now. I have already been working some this weekend, over the internet to his office, to get him running tomorrow morning.

Although I am better today, I find I fade pretty fast at the end of the day. I’m off to bed.

Posted by The Vorlon on 02/05/06 7:53 PM | Link | Enter your comments here (0)

Saturday, February 4, 2006

Feb 4 Ends

I’m doing a very slow recovery. My stomach is settling down and the muscle pain if subsiding. I’m feeling very tired and am going to bed.

My biggest complaint is the numbness in my feet. It is very pronounced on this cycle. I’m finding walking uncomfortable. I’m hoping this will fade a bit, but I’m not sure it will. I’m also feeling numbness in the tip of my thumb, index and forefinger on my right hand.

Posted by The Vorlon on 02/04/06 8:57 PM | Link | Enter your comments here (0)

Churches Being Burned

I see on the news that six churches have recently been torched. Since both black and white churches were burned, I would conclude the motivation was not racial.

With the furor over the cartoons of Mohammed being published, I wonder. Could the arsonist be a Muslim? It would certainly add to the current excitement.

Posted by The Vorlon on 02/04/06 2:19 PM | Link | Enter your comments here (1)

Mohammed Parodies

A blogger in The Netherlands has started a PhotoShop contest in which the participants create parodies of Mohammed.

I'd like to know how they know what Mohammed looked like.

Posted by The Vorlon on 02/04/06 10:58 AM | Link | Enter your comments here (4)

Feb 4 Sort of Starts

I slept well last night, but the chemo has me pretty hammered. The Vorlon wife and I went out for a very slow two mile walk. I think my taste buds are starting to recover. I will be as active as I can today, but that’s likely to be pretty tame. The numbness in my feet is more of an irritant on this cycle.

But it will pass.

Posted by The Vorlon on 02/04/06 10:26 AM | Link | Enter your comments here (0)

Friday, February 3, 2006

The End of 2/3

I’m feeling pretty tired and I tend to hurt almost all over. But that’s par for the course. Today should have been the worst and tomorrow I’ll feel a tiny bit better. One of my biggest complaints is my feet. The numbness in the balls of my feet seems particularly severe this time. Walking is a little uneasy.

Posted by The Vorlon on 02/03/06 8:32 PM | Link | Enter your comments here (0)

My Table-Mate Arrives

A little over two weeks ago I ordered a pair of Table-Mate II. I had seen them advertised on TV and they looked like they would be handy. This morning I received an email they had been ship and UPS dropped them off this afternoon. I’m rather pleased. They seem fairly well made – although they tell you not to put more than 50 Lbs on them. I find it easier to use my laptop on it instead of putting the laptop on my lap.

My only complaint is there is a small ridge around the edge. It is probably to prevent liquids from running off. But I find it a bit uncomfortable on my forearm when I use the mouse. The mouse glides across the plastic surface nicely.

Posted by The Vorlon on 02/03/06 4:32 PM | Link | Enter your comments here (3)

Lasers May Soon be Used as Weapons

It seems the US military is going to be testing using lasers as weapons on the battlefield.

The U.S. military has been developing a gunship that could literally obliterate enemy ground targets with a laser beam.

The military plans to test the Advanced Tactical Laser, a laser weapon mounted on a C-130H air transport that could destroy any weapon system without collateral damage.

The laser could have tremendous repercussions on the battlefield, particularly in urban warfare in such countries as Afghanistan and Iraq. "It's the kind of tool that could bring about victory within minutes," an official said.

The applications of ATL could change military dynamics on the battlefield. Officials envision the laser being able to destroy or damage targets in an urban area with virtually no collateral damage. The range of ATL was expected to be 10 miles.

I think the statement that it could bring victory within minutes is quite a bit over the top. The enemy will discover defenses against this weapon and it'll be just one more arrow in our quiver.

Posted by The Vorlon on 02/03/06 10:55 AM | Link | Enter your comments here (0)

It's Cold in Kyrgyzstan

StrategyPage has this cool photo on their web site. I think he's blowing the snow in the wrong direction.

MANAS AIR BASE, Kyrgyzstan (AFPN) - Airman 1st Class Michael Lepla digs out a C-17 Globemaster III Jan. 28 after 4 inches of snowfall during the night. With temperatures barely above zero and weekly snowstorms, maintainers here work nonstop to keep the aircraft and ramp clear of ice and snow. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Lara Gale

Posted by The Vorlon on 02/03/06 9:53 AM | Link | Enter your comments here (0)

The Start of Feb 3 - Sort Of

It’s definitely not Ground Hog day again today. If you’ve seen that Bill Murray movie, you’ll get the joke.

Yesterday I felt pretty good up to the end. Today starts off just about how I expected it to. I’m moving slowly with some pain. Mind you, taking the ibuprophen ahead of my Neulasta shot has helped mitigate that pain, but my skin is sore and pressing on my cheeks, neck muscles and various parts of my torso stimulate my pain receptors.

IT was raining when the alarm went off and I did a silent “Yeah!” I meant I could sleep some more.

I’m staying home today and doing my work from the sofa with my laptop on my lap. I find that to be a comfortable position and I can still get quite a bit of work done.

I’m hurting right now, but it will pass. I just need to tough it out and I intend to do that.

Posted by The Vorlon on 02/03/06 7:31 AM | Link | Enter your comments here (0)

Thursday, February 2, 2006

Day 33 Closes

I felt pretty good today, but now I’m fading fast. My goal was to be in bed by 8:00 pm. But here it is almost 9:00 pm and I’m not there yet. Soon.

I’ll see you tomorrow.

Posted by The Vorlon on 02/02/06 8:55 PM | Link | Enter your comments here (0)

One Reason US Troops are so Good

StrategyPage has an update of how are troops got so good at what they do.

The U.S. Army experience in Bosnia, during the 1990s, had a tremendous influence on how the army later operated in Iraq. After the Cold War ended, the army was looking for what it should prepare for next. There were no more major foes to prepare for. Aside from North Korea, Iran and Iraq, there were no major potential opponents out there. In response, many army officers set their sights on peacekeeping. Then, when the breakup of Yugoslavia created a Balkan civil war in the 1990s, the army eventually got sent in as peacekeepers.

Army troops had never really trained for this, and had to make it up as they went along. But they had one major advantage. Since the early 1980s, the army had been constantly raising its standard for new recruits (both troops and officers.) The impact of this was seen during the 1991 Gulf War, and in the Balkans, a few years later, the troops were just as energetic and innovative. But that turned out to be a problem. Rather than helping the Bosnians to do a lot of things, the troops just went ahead and did it. This included establish police services, reconstruction and aid distribution. Put too many U.S. troops into an area, and they’ll but the locals out of work. This had a tremendous influence on strategy and tactics used in Iraq.

Over 100,000 American army troops went through the Balkans in the 1990s. As a result, there was hardly a battalion in the army without at least a few Balkan vets. When the army went into Iraq, the Balkan experience was still fresh. It became obvious early on that what worked in the Balkans, would work in Iraq. It was in the Balkans that U.S. troops got their first taste of raids, checkpoints, irregular warfare, hostile civilians and police work. Hardly anyone in the media caught this connection, but among the troops, the Balkan experience was often a lifesaver, and provided a useful template on how to most effectively work with Iraqi civilians.

American troops displayed an enormous amount of ingenuity in dealing with the situation in Iraq, and most of these exploits will only be recognized in the history books. While the troops themselves deserve most of the credit, some goes to the Balkan experience, which served as a training experience for the far more hostile Iraq campaign.

Posted by The Vorlon on 02/02/06 2:33 PM | Link | Enter your comments here (0)

The Extremely Low Casualty Rate in Iraq

StrategyPage has a post on US casualty rates in Iraq and why they are extremely low.

While the media didn’t notice it, the people in the Pentagon, and military historians, were shocked at the low casualty rate of U.S. troops during the 2003 invasion of Iraq. The casualties (killed, wounded missing) per division per day were about SEVEN. That’s a historical low. However, after two years of fighting, it’s apparent that the enemy has learned, as one would expect, how to counter some of the life saving techniques American troops have come up with.

But first, let’s put that low, 2003, casualty rate, into perspective. During the 1991 Gulf War there were 12 American casualties a day per division. By comparison, during World War II the daily losses per American division were usually over a hundred a day. On the Russian front, it was often several hundred casualties a day for German and Russian divisions. The spectacular six week German conquest of France in 1940, saw their combat divisions taking 30 casualties (on average) per day. But during another spectacular military victory, the 1967 Six Day War, Israeli casualties the were 110 per division per day, and that actually went down to 90 a day during the less spectacular 1973 war. So by any measure, American troops have learned how to avoid getting hit. That continued after 2003. When the Iraqi Sunni Arabs began their terror campaign in late 2003, and the media was full of stories of American casualties, but no one pointed out that the losses were again at a historical low. In 2004, there were 4.5 casualties per division per day, while in 2005, that went down to about 3.5. All this time, the troops were heavily engaged.

Posted by The Vorlon on 02/02/06 12:58 PM | Link | Enter your comments here (0)

The Five Languages of Love

I'm reviewing “The Five Love Languages” by Gary Chapman. He is a marriage counselor and he has this theory that there are five languages of love that can occur between couples. He says they are. . .

  • Words of affirmation
  • Quality Time
  • Receiving Gifts
  • Acts of Service
  • Physical Touch

He says that couples tend express their love in their own dominate language. But if it is not the language of their mate, then it will fall on “deaf” ears – so to speak. He has many anecdotes where he determines which love languages couples are wired to and he helps them to understand the correct love language and magic happens. He says you can also use this between parent and child.

It’s an interesting theory and he makes a good case for it. I have bought both the tapes and the book from Amazon. Although it looks like only CD's can be purchased now.

I see he has a web site.

Posted by The Vorlon on 02/02/06 8:29 AM | Link | Enter your comments here (2)

The News From Iraq

I came across this report from someone that has been to Iraq many times. I think it is a good read and tell you a lot about how things are progressing. Warning: It is mostly optimistic.

Your editor has just returned from another month in Iraq—my fourth extended tour in the last two and a half years. During November and December I joined numerous American combat operations, including the largest air assault since the beginning of the war, walked miles of streets and roads, entered scores of homes, listened to hundreds of Iraqis, observed voting at a dozen different polling sites, and endured my third roadside ambush. With this latest firsthand experience, here are answers to some common queries about how the war is faring.

[. . .]

Make no mistake: Iraq is broken. Most residents have never known proper sewage service, 24 hour electricity, or decent health care.

And improvement could be faster. Both terror attacks and the Arab tradition of endemic corruption are making today’s economic recovery less booming than it would otherwise be. Another damper has been the failure of our Western allies to make good on their promises of Iraq aid: Of the $13.6 billion European and other nations pledged to help rebuild Iraq, only a couple billion has so far been delivered.

All the same, progress is visible in Iraq, not just to observers like me but to Iraqis themselves. There is ample proof of this in the latest scientific poll of the Iraqi public, released December 12 by Oxford Research International. Asked how things are going for them personally, 71 percent of Iraqis now say life is “good,” compared to 29 percent who say “bad.” A majority insist that despite the war, life is already better for them than it was under Saddam Hussein. By 5:1 they expect their lives will be even better one year from now. Seven out of ten Iraqis think their country as a whole will be a better place in one year.

Iraqis are particularly pleased about trends in security. By 61 to 38 percent, they say security where they live is now “good” rather than “bad.” Back at the beginning of 2004 those numbers were reversed (49 percent good, 50 percent bad). On a vast range of specific subjects—from the availability of clean water and medical care to their ability to buy household basics—Iraqis say things are good and getting better. Fully 70 percent say “my family’s economic situation is good,” and 78 percent rate their new freedom of speech as “good.”

Posted by The Vorlon on 02/02/06 8:21 AM | Link | Enter your comments here (0)

Day 33 Starts

It was 32 degrees when I went out for my 2-mile walk/jog this morning. I jogged about 75% of the way. A little later, I did 11 pushups and 22 sit-ups. My weight is still at 157 Lbs.

I expect this to be the last day of good physical activity as I get my Neulasta shot this afternoon. By 6:00 pm, I’ll start to hurt. However, from my previous experience I’ll start taking my ibuprophen this morning. Pre-medicating, as they call it, seems to help.

Posted by The Vorlon on 02/02/06 7:33 AM | Link | Enter your comments here (0)

Wednesday, February 1, 2006

I'm done

I’m getting ready for bed. I’m feeling off tonight and my stomach is a little queasy. My best bet is some rest.

Posted by The Vorlon on 02/01/06 8:35 PM | Link | Enter your comments here (0)

Chemo Blogging III

I’m home from the Chemo Treatment. It was a longer day that usual. Also, when I came home, my internet was down. I shut everything down and waited a couple of minutes. Then I booted the cable modem, booted the router, and then booted the PC. That cured the problem.

I feeling rather wiped at the moment. My taste buds are starting to go, so I have to eat carefully tonight.

It’ll be four weeks before my next meeting with the oncologist. In that time I will be getting a CT scan and an MRI. He’ll look at the CT scan and decide were we go from there.

I expect to feel quite well tomorrow until after the Neulasta shot. At least that’s been the pattern in the past.

Posted by The Vorlon on 02/01/06 5:24 PM | Link | Enter your comments here (0)

Chemo Blogging II

I’ve had all the premeds they give me before the Taxol. Now she just plugged me into the Taxol and it is slowly dripping through my veins. The Benadryl is hitting me pretty hard, but the coffee counteracts then effects.

Posted by The Vorlon on 02/01/06 11:12 AM | Link | Enter your comments here (0)

Chemo Blogging I

I met with the oncologist. He said I seem to be doing better than average. He said not many people can do the chemo and still work like I do. It’s a nice complement, but I don’t feel that unusual. I’m just stubborn beyond belief and I refuse to knuckle under to this thing. He said, “Let’s hope the cancer is not a stubborn as you are.” I’m doing my best to will this thing out of my body. If I had the ability, I would reach into my lung and rip it out with my own bear hands.

He wants me to get a CT scan before my next meeting with him I will also get an MRI on the head. Depending on the results of the CT scan he will determine what to do next. If the parasite shows more shrinkage, then he would do three more treatments. If it doesn’t, then he may change up the chemo treatment.

He said that since there are cancer cells throughout the plural lining, removing the parasite would not help. He also said that injecting chemo directly into the parasite may not help either. If there is some deadness in the parasite, the injection might go into the dead part and that wouldn’t help. He said at some point they will want to do a PET scan. That seems to be a good test for parasite activity.

The nurse this morning took two tries to find a vein. All my efforts to hydrate myself yesterday were to no avail. She has started near the inside of my elbow, but couldn’t connect to a vein. She did, however, find a vein near the back side of my thumb. I can still type and that’s the important part.

I’m a little frustrated in that there are two unsecured wireless networks in the area, but the signal strength is very low and I can’t make a good enough connection to access them. I’ll have to beat on the oncologist to add a WiFi hotspot to his office. Somehow I think my suggestion will fall on deaf ears. I have also tired my new Verizon wireless network card, but I can’t make it work correctly. When I try to connect it just tells me it can’t connect.

Currently their dripping the 50 mg of Benadryl into me and I’m starting to feel the effects. During the last treatment I inadvertently found that coffee helps to counteract the Benadryl, but it’s not a cure-all. I can feel the Benadryl starting to whack me.

Posted by The Vorlon on 02/01/06 10:52 AM | Link | Enter your comments here (0)

Are Journalist Casualties More Important than Troop Casualties

It seems the US Troops are unhappy with the coverage of Bob Woodruff and his cameraman getting wounded.

In Iraq, and throughout the military, there is sympathy and concern for anchor Bob Woodruff and cameraman Doug Vogt, but there is also this question:

"Why do you think this is such a huge story?" wrote an officer stationed in Baqubah, Iraq, Monday via e-mail. "It's a bit stunning to us over here how absolutely dominant the story is on every network and front page. I mean, you'd think we lost the entire 1st Marine Division or something.

"There's a lot of grumbling from guys at all ranks about it. That's a really impolite and impolitic thing to say ... but it's what you would hear over here."

At least 2,242 troops have died in Iraq since the war's start, 1,753 of them killed in action. Another 16,000 have been injured, half of them seriously enough to require evacuation from the battlefield. According to the Pentagon, 60 percent of the deaths are the result of IEDs. IEDs have injured more than 9,200 troops, nine times more than gunshots.

"The point that is currently being made (is that) that press folks are more important than mere military folks," a senior military officer told UPI Tuesday.

The unavoidable consequence of war is this: People are savagely wounded and killed. Soldiers in Iraq watching the coverage on satellite television and reading the news on the Internet are getting the impression that the press has only just discovered this fact.

Posted by The Vorlon on 02/01/06 8:51 AM | Link | Enter your comments here (0)

Day 32 Starts

Except for getting up to drain the plumbing, I slept well last night. I took all my premeds and I feel very good this morning. I did my 2-mile walk/jog where I jogged about 75% of the distance. A little later, I did 11 pushups and 22 sit-ups.

With the pushups, as I get higher numbers it becomes easier to add one more. When increased from four to five pushups, that was a 25% increase. My recent increase from 10 to 11 pushups was only a 10% increase. The better one gets, the easier it is to move up.

I just need to go over to the Wawa and get a cup of coffee. That is my premed for my premed. They give me 50 mg of Benadryl to ease the side effects of the chemo. I drink a cup of coffee to ease the side effects of the Benadryl. It’s a never-ending cycle.

I’ll be at the oncologist’s office by about 9:00 am. I should be out of there around 2:30 pm – give or take a bit.

Posted by The Vorlon on 02/01/06 8:14 AM | Link | Enter your comments here (2)