Friday, March 31, 2006

March 31 Final Update

I’m fading very fast tonight. I was doing pretty well until about 3:00 this afternoon. Then I just went downhill. I’m going through quite a bit of body pain at the moment. It even hurts to lie down.

I’m still experimenting with foods. The Vorlon Wife brought home some root beer and I could hardly drink it – much to my disappointment.

I am hoping for a better tomorrow.

Posted by The Vorlon on 03/31/06 8:26 PM | Link | Enter your comments here (0)

March 31 Condition Update

As a second day after my chemo, I’m hanging in there – as best I can. I did some work from home.

I’m able to get some food down not too badly today. I have changed my breakfast regime in recent weeks. Instead of my normal drink breakfast, I have taken to cutting up a banana into a bowl, cutting a fresh pear into the bowl. I love fresh ripe Bartlet pears. I spoon in two scoops of low fat cottage cheese and then add some crushed pineapple to it. I stir it up into a soupy mixture and shovel it down.

To my surprise, I was able to get it past my tongue this morning.

At lunch, I went through a can of split pea soup. That too went down surprisingly well. I’ve tried a couple of things that did not go down well.

I do pretty well for a while, then I just kind of poop out for a bit and need to just vegetate.

I don’t have too much body pain except the back of my neck where the muscles attach to the base of my skull. That seems common experience for me with the Neulasta shot.

So far, though I haven’t needed any Kytrils. I find that when my stomach does not feel well, food in it actually seems to settle it down.

I am finding I seem to go to different food cravings from time to time. Now, after my taste buds have completely recovered, I’d like to have a bologna sandwich on spongy white bread, with Kraft Miracle Whip, sweet bread and butter pickles and fresh crunchy lettuce.

I have no idea where these food cravings come from. Perhaps my brain relates them to some long past pleasurable experience that I can no longer remember.

Posted by The Vorlon on 03/31/06 3:27 PM | Link | Enter your comments here (1)

Thursday, March 30, 2006

March 30 Final Update

Chemo yesterday and my Neulasta shot today. I’ve done pretty well today. I got in 3 and half hours billable this morning. My Neulasta shot was the afternoon. I’m starting to feel its effects. I started taking ibuprofen, 600mg, about 12:00. I would rather have started about 10:00, but I was at a client site and got distracted.

My big challenge today and tomorrow is eating. Since most food tastes so badly it’s hard to find things I can eat. Each time seems to be some experimentation. By Saturday, most of my taste buds should be recovered. My caloric intact will degrade during this period. But since it only lasts a few days, I can easily make it back up again. So far, my stomach has been stable enough that I haven’t needed a Kytril – right after I just got that prescription refilled, just in case I needed it. I had three pills left and I didn’t want to not have it, if I needed it. In the past, I’ve taken on Kytril the first and second day have my chemo treatment. I thought that with the aftereffects of the radiation, I might need a reserve. Perhaps I was wrong.

Fortunately, my radiation is behind me. I have been absent from the tanning salon as they tell you to stay out of the sun during the radiation. That seemed like good sense to me. I’ll go back again in a week or so. I can see my tan is staring to fad. I rather view my tan as in indicator of my vitamin D reserves.

I expect tomorrow to be my worst day and plan on staying home and doing some work from home. I have found I can sit on the sofa with my laptop and get some work done and stay pretty comfortable.

When I have a little more energy, I’ll relate my discussion with the oncologist about the treatment of someone I indirectly know and my treatment proposal to him at our next meeting. I figure it part of my job to continuously challenge him to new ideas that he wouldn’t think of.

Posted by The Vorlon on 03/30/06 9:16 PM | Link | Enter your comments here (2)

The Kind of People the Army Wants

Here's an interesting story by an army recruiter about a candidate he recruited. I found it pretty good.

Sgt Hook - This We’ll Defend - Blog Archive - Ranger Chuck (Reconstructed)

I had an oppurtinity to serve as a recruiter for the Army a few years back in central Maine and know all too well the resistance and sometimes rude attitudes our recruiters face when telling the Army story and trying to fill boots. Recruiting duty wasn’t something I sought out, but when a Soldier is told to do something, he/she does it. So I did the duffel bag drag up to Maine and started filling boots.

There is an element of sales to recruiting, and yes, recruiters have specific goals to reach each month, but as Baldilocks pointed out, finding “qualified” young men and women willing to defend the Constitution was the real challenge. After reading her post, I was reminded of the day a young man came into the recruiting office with his uncle.

It was snowing out, as it often did in Waterville, and I had just returned from working the coast about an hour east. No sooner had I sat at my desk to check email messages, did the door open and in walked Chuck.
Chuck was a handsome young man with jet black hair who looked like a running back for his high school football team. He was trailed by his uncle who I later learned was retired from the Army, SF. Uncle Jack shook my hand and explained, “Chuck here would like to join the Army, he’d like to be a Ranger.”

Well, how about that! It isn’t often an applicant walks into your office and says he/she would like to join the ranks and has the support of his/her family. Things were looking up.

We sat down and I started building rapport with both Chuck and Uncle Jack. We eventually got around to talking about how difficult it is to get a Ranger Contract, but that as long as Chuck met the requirements I thought it very possible. That’s when Chuck said that he was ready to join NOW. That he wanted to drop out of high school and get a GED and a haircut and ship out. At the time, the Army was accepting GEDs, and I had no doubt I could’ve got Chuck a pretty good contract, but there was NO way he could go Ranger. High School Diplomas only.

So I smiled at Chuck, and looking at Uncle Jack said, “I’m sorry Chuck, I won’t put you in the Army with a GED. You need to stay in school and get your diploma.” Uncle Jack smiled and nodded holding back an “I told you so.”

I explained to Chuck that although it was possible for a GED to enlist, he wouldn’t be able to become a Ranger without a diploma and that there would be a lot of obstacles in his way. It was obvious to me that Chuck was a very bright boy, probably too bright as he seemed bored with school and tended to get into trouble, and I thought he’d not only make a great Soldier, but a damned good Ranger as well. I matter of factly told him that he’d have to find another recruiter if he insisted on dropping out, that I wouldn’t be a part of it.

So, we agreed that he would stay in school and graduate. I processed his application and Chuck enlisted into the Delayed Entry Program with a guarantee of Ranger school providing he finished high school on time.

The ensuing eight months included my having to bail Chuck out of jail for fighting, talking his high school principal into not expelling him, finding him an apartment because his mother threw him out of the house, meeting with his father enlisting his help to keep Chuck on track, meeting with his guidance counselor to talk about his failing grades, calls to Uncle Jack trying to find Chuck’s whereabouts, getting Chuck enrolled in a different school after he eventually was expelled, attending his high school graduation ceremony, and convincing the local Sheriff not to chase down the bus that was taking Chuck to the airport to catch his flight to Fort Benning, GA. Chuck was a royal pain in the ass.

Chuck is today an Army Ranger fighting in the Global War On Terror and his mother sent me a letter recently thanking me for sticking with her son when others hadn’t, herself included, and helping him to become the man he is today. She wrote that she never thought she would see the day that she and her husband would be proud of their son Chuck. They are immensely proud of him.

Posted by The Vorlon on 03/30/06 4:54 PM | Link | Enter your comments here (0)

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Coffee is Good for You

This morning Foxnews had a segment in which they highlighted studies that show that coffee is good for you.

In my health segment today on "FOX and Friends," I talked about the benefits of coffee. Some of the data comes from Harvard researchers who analyzed results from 126,000 coffee drinkers over an 18-year period. In the study, researchers found a significant reduction in Type II diabetes when compared to non-coffee drinkers. Even though the average coffee drinker in the study consumed an average of two to three cups of caffeinated coffee daily, the more coffee the subjects drank (over six cups), the more significant the reduction in diabetes was found — for men and women.

These findings are nothing new. The positive attributes of coffee run the gamut from reducing colon cancer by as much as 25 percent, reducing liver cirrhosis by as much as 80 percent, to helping alleviate asthma symptoms, knocking out headaches and, get this, preventing cavities.

Posted by The Vorlon on 03/29/06 7:56 PM | Link | Enter your comments here (1)

Chemo Day is Over

My chemo is over for the day. I felt really wiped when I came home. I ate supper, but my taste buds are starting to degrade. My stomach is uneasy.

But I feel a little recovered, but I am looking forward to bed.

I have updated my blood test.

Posted by The Vorlon on 03/29/06 7:31 PM | Link | Enter your comments here (0)

Rule #1 - Chapter 4

I’m still reading Phil Town’s book “Rule #1”. I just finished the Chapter 4. In this chapter he explores his big 5. Here are the salient points, to me.

One of the things Phil likes to see is 10% or better growth in book value. I’m not sure I completely agree with that assessment. The book value is how much money you should get if you sold all the assets of the company. The problem with that is, they may have inventory that has been there for years and could either not find a buyer or would be sold at a steep discount. Ditto for any equipment. If they have purchased any specializes machinery that too might not find any buyers. The same with accounts receivable. They could have some very old AR balances they will never collect on. On the other hand, if they own real estate that might well sell for more than they paid for it.

Posted by The Vorlon on 03/29/06 1:47 PM | Link | Enter your comments here (0)

Rule #1 - Chapter 3

I’m still reading Phil Town’s book “Rule #1”. I just finished the Chapter 3. In this chapter he explores one of his 4 M’s – Does the business have meaning for. Here are the salient points, to me.

  • Does the business do business in a way that you are comfortable with. Do they use child labor and do you have a problem with that. In my past, I have always just bought stock based on the numbers that come up in my stock scans. Sometimes I don’t have a clue as to what they do, I just want to make a quick profit and then take my money and run.

  • He introduces his 10-10 rule: “I won’t own a business for 10 minutes unless I’m willing to own it for 10 years. He goes on to say that doesn’t mean we will actually own it for 10 years. We may only own if for a few days or a few weeks. I found that encouraging, perhaps his method is not so different than my own. Stay tuned.

  • He posits three questions. He says that whatever comes from all three questions is a good subject to look to invest in.
    • What do you love to do, professionally as well as recreation?
    • What things are you really good at?
    • What do you do to make money, and what do you spend money on?

Posted by The Vorlon on 03/29/06 12:04 PM | Link | Enter your comments here (0)

Rule #1 - Chapter 2

I’m reading Phil Town’s book "Rule #1". I just finished the Chapter 2. Here are the salient points to me.

The basis of his system is these four steps:

  • Find a wonderful business
  • Know what’s worth as a business
  • Buy it as 50% off
  • Repeat until rich.

In this chapters he introduces his four M’s. They are:

  • Meaning – Does the business have meaning to you?
  • Moat – Does the business have a wide moat?
  • Management – Does the business have great Management?
  • Margin of safety – Does the business have a big Margin of Safety?

He says he’s going to explain his four M’s in detail, later in the book.

Posted by The Vorlon on 03/29/06 11:47 AM | Link | Enter your comments here (0)

Rule #1 - Chapter 1

I’m still reading Phil Town’s book “Rule #1”. I just finished Chapter 1. Here are the salient points to me.

  • Since 1985 only 4% of mutual fund managers have beat the S&P 500. Those that did, did so by only a few percentage points.

  • He sets up what he calls the three myths of investing and then demolishes them:
    • Its hard and it takes too long
    • You can’t beat the market
    • Diversify, buy and hold.

Of the three, I don’t see “myths” two and three as being real. In particular myth 3. Those who know my investing style know that I don’t believe in the buy and hold strategy. When I’m active in the market I typically am in a trade from just a few days to a few weeks at the most.

Posted by The Vorlon on 03/29/06 11:11 AM | Link | Enter your comments here (0)

Rule #1 - Introduction

I’m reading Phil Town’s book "Rule #1" during my chemo. I just finished the introduction. He makes a point of his humble beginnings. It turns out he was a Green Beret and served in Vietnam. Anyone that goes through the training to become a Green Beret will have a certain amount of respect from me.

But that doesn’t mean he knows what he’s talking about when he discusses investing. Still the introduction comes across as reasonable. The salient points, to me, in the introduction seem to have validity.

I see his salient points as follows.

  • This book is a simple guide to returns of 15% or more in the stock market with almost no risk.

  • According to Warren Buffet there are only two rules to investing: “Rule #1: Don’t lose money.. . . And Rule #2, don’t forget Rule #1.”

  • In 1980, with the helps of a customer in the business he was working, he turned $1,000 into $1 million.

  • In 1906 the Dow was 100. In 1942 the Dow was 100. In 1965 the Dow was 1,000. The Dow never went over that number until 1983. In 2000 the Dow was 11,000. Since that time, the Dow has see-sawed up and down and basically just gone sideways.

  • Phil has a web site that it looks like you can, for a fee, subscribe to for updates of the use his Rule #1 system. This means the book is more of a marketing piece for his web services. I rather expected that. The web site is his back-end. I don’t see that as a problem. I have no complaints about people trying to makes some money. If he delivers good value, he has every right to get paid for it.

Posted by The Vorlon on 03/29/06 10:18 AM | Link | Enter your comments here (0)

Hi ho, hi ho, its off to chemo I go

I’m off to my chemo treatment very shortly. I’m still tired, but a little improved over the last few days. My stomach is still a bit uneasy. This may mean that I will need to use my Kytril more often. That’s OK as I am well stocked and prepared for that. My weight was 158 Lbs this morning. That’s down from 161 Lbs of a few days ago, but still well above my “normal” weight of 153 Lbs.

I’m downing my two cups of coffee to help ward off the side effects of the Benadryl they will be hitting me with this morning.

I’m taking my laptop computer as well as the most recent copy of the Wittenberg Door and Phil Town’s book in investing. There’s one seat I like to get that is behind the TV in the room so I can concentrate on other things instead of the TV.

I’m also taking a chemo hat the Vorlon Wife made for me. It got quite a stir last time I wore it. I like to keep the troops on their toes.

Posted by The Vorlon on 03/29/06 8:22 AM | Link | Enter your comments here (0)

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

March 28 Condition Update

I’m feeling a little better tonight. Although I’m still tired, it doesn’t seem to be as bad as in the past. I rather wish I was a little stronger going into tomorrow’s chemo treatment.

My stomach still is uneasy, but I have had to take anything for it.

I’m off to get a good night’s sleep.

Posted by The Vorlon on 03/28/06 8:57 PM | Link | Enter your comments here (1)

In Body Armour More can be Less

StrategyPage has a post on new body armour arriving in Iraq. The troops are not particularly pleased.

The new, heavier, body armor arriving in Iraq is creating a potential public relations problem. Many of the troops don't want to wear the new stuff. Why? Because the heavier new armor could get them killed.

As they say, I recommend you read the whole post.

Posted by The Vorlon on 03/28/06 7:20 PM | Link | Enter your comments here (0)

The Battle for Fallujah

Remember the battle for Fallujah in Iraq? It was a battle in which the insurgents expected to take on the US in an urban battlefield and if not win, make the US pay dearly for any victory. It turns out the insurgents had no idea how badly they would be hammered. StrategyPage has a post on how the Pentagon is still studying the battle to see what lessons can be learned from it.

The battle of Fallujah, in late 2004, is still being studied by U.S. Army and Marine historians and doctrine ("how to fight") experts. The Fallujah fighting was quite intense, even by historical standards, something that the media missed. What was noticed was how quickly the army and marine troops blitzed through the city, clearing out the 4,000 very determined defenders. The speed and efficiency of the American attack was the result of some unique, in the history of warfare, factors. But the principal reason for the success in Fallujah was the high degree of training the troops had. Many also had months of combat experience in Iraq. These factors (training and combat experience) have long been key factors in combat success. But the American troops in Fallujah had some relatively new advantages that were used aggressively. These included massive amounts of information on the enemy, and robotic weapons. The standard gear of the 5,000 attacking troops was also exceptionally good by historical standards. Especially notable was the improved body armor and communications gear.

The end result of all this was a two week campaign that resulted in some 500 American and Iraqi casualties, but the obliteration of the defending force (1,200, 1,500 captured, the rest either got out, or were buried in bombed buildings). While the enemy was not, compared to the U.S. troops, well trained, they were motivated, and often refused to surrender. But the speed and violence of the American assault prevented any coordinated defense. The U.S. troops quickly cut the city into sectors that were then methodically cleared out.

The terrorists that got out, later all repeated the same story. Once the Americans were on to you, if was like being stalked by a machine. The often-petrified defender could only remember the footsteps of the approaching American troops inside a building, the gunfire and grenade blasts as rooms were cleared, and the shouted commands that accompanied it. If a building was so well defended that the American infantry could not get in, they would just obliterate it with a smart bomb. They used smaller weapons, like AT-4 rocket launchers, many of which fuel-air explosive (thermobaric) warheads. These would use an explosive mist to create a lethal blast, capable of clearing several rooms at once. The defenders could occasionally kill or wound the advancing Americans, but could not stop them. Nothing the defenders did worked, and the American tactics developers want to keep it that way.

The speed with which intelligence information (from troops, electronic intercepts, and constant live video via UAVs and gunships overhead) was processed enabled commanders to keep the battle going 24/7. The defenders were not ready to deal with this, and many of them died while groggy from lack of sleep. When in that condition, you are more prone to make mistakes, and the attackers were ready to take advantage.

Compared to earlier wars, there has never been anything quite like Fallujah. The Pentagon is still sorting out what it all means for the future of warfare. What they do know is that future battles are likely to continue being different that anything in the past.

Posted by The Vorlon on 03/28/06 7:10 PM | Link | Enter your comments here (0)

Monday, March 27, 2006

March 27 Final Update

Today was also a tired day, although the afternoon seemed a bit better than the morning. Today was my last radiation treatment – Yeah!

It appears it will take two to four weeks to recover fully from the radiation. I probably won’t have an MRI for several weeks.

My stomach remains a bit uneasy.

I’m now bracing myself for the next whack on Wednesday.

Posted by The Vorlon on 03/27/06 8:39 PM | Link | Enter your comments here (0)


I bought a new book on investing. It’s called “Rule #1” – The simple strategy of successful investing in only 15 minutes a week by Phil Town. He says he took $1,000 and turned it into $1 million over five years.

I’m a little dubious, but I’ll see what he has to say. Here are the chapter headings

  • Introduction: Make Money No Matter What
  • The Myths of Investing
  • Rule #1 and the Four Ms
  • Buy a Business, Not a Stock
  • Identify a Moat
  • The Big Five Numbers
  • Calculate the Big Five
  • Bet on the Jockey
  • Demand a Margin of Safety
  • Calculate the Sticker Price
  • Know the Right Time to Sell
  • Grab the Stick
  • The Three Tools
  • Take Baby Steps
  • Eliminate the Barriers
  • Prepare for Your First Rule #1 Purchase
  • Q&A

I bought it through Amazon. I ordered the book Saturday and it arrived today – and I didn’t bother to pay for extra fast shipping. I don’t have a clue as to how they can do that.

One of the things that makes it interesting is, it looks like he tells you when to sell. Knowing when to exit a trade is just as important as knowing when to buy.

I’ll give me something to read while they drip toxins through my veins this Wednesday.

Posted by The Vorlon on 03/27/06 8:19 PM | Link | Enter your comments here (3)

The Abdul Rahman Case Sparks Interest in Christianity

It seems that the case of the Afghan, Abdul Rahman that converted from Islam to Christianity has sparked a greater interest in Christianity by Muslims.

Hussain Andaryas run a pro Christian web site and has seen his hit rate go from 300 unique visitors a month to hundreds of thousands.

Andaryas was tortured when he converted to Christianity.

Andaryas' own journey took him from Afghanistan to Iran, where he said he was caught communicating with a local Christian and arrested. In detention, he was cut with a knife and beaten with a rod bearing the words "confession or death" in Farsi.

"The three days and nights of torture in Iran brought me to understand that God cannot be like that, that God does not need protection for His religion, His way," he wrote later.

He later managed to leave Iran and eventually found his way to the U.S. by way of Turkey, Egypt, Pakistan and India.

Posted by The Vorlon on 03/27/06 8:04 PM | Link | Enter your comments here (2)

Sunday, March 26, 2006

March 26 Final Update

Today was another day of rest. My stomach still occasionally feels uneasy, but I haven’t required any medication to settle it down. I’m just really looking forward to sleeping. I find I feel pretty good in the morning, but fade pretty quickly by about noon. Also, the numbness in my feet makes me hobble a bit when I walk.

At least tomorrow is my last radiation treatment. Then Wednesday I get another chemo treatment. Just another day in the life of a cancer warrior.

Posted by The Vorlon on 03/26/06 8:22 PM | Link | Enter your comments here (1)

Saturday, March 25, 2006

March 25 Final Update

I know I’m sounding like a broken record. I’m just resting trying to get rid of the tiredness that seems to plague me. I’m off to bed.

Posted by The Vorlon on 03/25/06 9:27 PM | Link | Enter your comments here (0)

March 25 Condition Update

I got 10 plus hours of sleep last night. Although I still feel tired, I DO feel better than last night. Maybe I’ll take a nap later today. My stomach is still a little uneasy from time to time.

Posted by The Vorlon on 03/25/06 9:54 AM | Link | Enter your comments here (0)

Friday, March 24, 2006

Thoughts on Staying Skinny

I heard an interview with a model that is supposedly the perfect size 7. One thing she things she does to stay slender is to make sure there is five hours between when she eats her last meal of the day and when she goes to bed. She also gets between 8 and 10 hours of sleep each night. Don’t I wish I could get that much.

But she is young. I wonder if the same regime would work for older folks.

Posted by The Vorlon on 03/24/06 7:55 PM | Link | Enter your comments here (0)

March 24 Condition Update

I feel like the radiation is wearing me down. Today my stomach became very uneasy and I took one of my Kytrils. The good news is, Monday will be my last treatment – as far as I know. I’m just very tired. I think the radiation slowed my recovery from my last chemo treatment. I wish I had a little more time to recover to my next chemo treatment, which is next Wednesday.

I’m looking forward to lots of sleep this weekend.

I have no particular pains and I sleep well. My weight is good. I’m just tired.

As they say, this too shall pass.

I’m going to ask the oncologist on Wednesday why he doesn't use radiation on the parasite in my lung. From what I can tell, it’s near the front side. I have a client that was diagnosed with lung cancer and they had very little hope for her survival. They gave her BOTH chemo and radiation. The radiation was on her chest. That was 10 years ago and she is still driving her two daughters crazy.

Posted by The Vorlon on 03/24/06 7:48 PM | Link | Enter your comments here (0)

Photo Editing Software

I was looking at Steve’s Digicam website and came across this Plugin that woks in my PhotoShop Elements as well as other photo editing software.

It’s called Noise Buster. One of my frustrations with my camera is the highest ISO I can use is 400. But if I use that setting, the noise in photo is unacceptable. High ISO settings are needed for low light shooting conditions.

This may resolve my problem. It’s not has good as a DSLR camera, which can typically go up to ISO 1600 or better. But it’s a whole lot cheaper than a DSLR camera.

Posted by The Vorlon on 03/24/06 5:23 PM | Link | Enter your comments here (0)

March 24 Miniature Daffodils

This is a reprise of yesterday’s photo. A reader though the previous photo would be better if it was cropped. So I cropped it and put my funky border around it.

What to you think? Better, worse, or about the same?

Posted by The Vorlon on 03/24/06 8:00 AM | Link | Enter your comments here (0)

Thursday, March 23, 2006

March 23 Final Update

The day is over and I’m ready for it and ready for bed. I’m disappointed that I haven’t bounced back more quickly. I put it to the radiation. Although I don’t feel any direct effect from it, I have to think the added stress has degraded my response.

I’m looking forward to the weekend where I can catch up on my sleep.

Good night.

Posted by The Vorlon on 03/23/06 9:48 PM | Link | Enter your comments here (2)

March 23 Miniature Daffodils

I’m starting to get a little thin on new photos to post. This is another of the miniature daffodils. I think I’ve mentioned before how much I like bright yellow flowers.

Posted by The Vorlon on 03/23/06 8:00 AM | Link | Enter your comments here (0)

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

March 22 Final Update

Although I felt good this morning, I’m fading very fast. Actually I started to fade about lunch time. I have no particular pains, I'm just tired - but you've heard that before.

I’m off to bed. Good night.

Posted by The Vorlon on 03/22/06 9:23 PM | Link | Enter your comments here (0)

March 22 Morning Update

I have to say, I feel better today. I think I feel the best I’ve felt in that last couple of weeks. I feel like I’ve turned the corner. I’m hoping the physical improvement continues. Maybe now I can get something accomplished.

Posted by The Vorlon on 03/22/06 9:15 AM | Link | Enter your comments here (1)

More Crocuses

Here are more Crocuses. I still have quite a few photos of Crocuses even if the Crocuses are down flowering. I’ll shortly run out of Crocus photos, but let’s enjoy them while we can.

Posted by The Vorlon on 03/22/06 8:00 AM | Link | Enter your comments here (0)

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Bush's Press Conference

I caught a snippet of Bush’s recent press conference and I cheered. I really liked what he had to say about the recent criticism against the interception of called from terrorists. He said:

I did notice that nobody from the Democratic Party has actually stood up and called for getting rid of the terrorist surveillance program. You know, if that's what they believe, if people in the party believe that, then they ought to stand up and say it. They ought to stand up and say, "The tools we're using to protect the American people shouldn't be used." They ought to take their message to the people and say, "Vote for me. I promise we're not going to have a terrorist surveillance program." That's what they ought to be doing. That's part of what is an open and honest debate.

It’s a great challenge. We’ll see if the Democrats stoop down and take up the gauntlet.

I know, I hopelessly partisan. It’s a disease.

Posted by The Vorlon on 03/21/06 10:00 PM | Link | Enter your comments here (1)

The Vorlon Brother Calls

I received a call from the Vorlon Brother tonight. He seems to be recovering from his recent heart ablation treatment. The good news is, he feels he’s experiencing a lot less of the Atrial Fibula ion that before the treatment.

The bad news is they still have him on blood thinners. He said he didn’t realize how thin his blood was until he cut his finger. Two days later, it was still weeping a bit.

I asked him if he was still riding his bicycle. He affirmed it. I suggested he might want to refrain from bike riding until they take him off the blood thinners. Even a minor spill could generate a sufficient internal bruise that he could hemorrhage internally. I understand his desire to maintain his aerobic capacity, but I really think he’s risking more that I think prudent.

But we each have to make our own decisions. At least he seems to be recovering well from his treatment and it seems to have been effective.

Posted by The Vorlon on 03/21/06 9:53 PM | Link | Enter your comments here (1)

March 21 Condition Update

Today seemed about the same as yesterday with maybe a little bit of improvement. I’m sorry to report no new news, but there just isn’t much change from yesterday. I still get tired easily, although when I go out for my 2-mile walk with the Vorlon Wife I seem to do pretty well.

I feel the radiation is another drag on my body that is degrading my recovery. I’m also experiencing a little stomach unease from time to time. I’ll be glad when the radiation is done.

Posted by The Vorlon on 03/21/06 9:46 PM | Link | Enter your comments here (1)

More Spring Flowers

The Vorlon Wife has a few Hyacinths. They are the result of previous gifts that were planted after they finished flowering. Now they are not nearly as thick as when she received them many years ago. But I thought this small forest of white Hyacinths contrasted nicely with the green foliage. I suspect this was originally just one or two bulbs that have multiplied. Perhaps it should be thinned out, and then the stalks would have more profuse blooms.

Posted by The Vorlon on 03/21/06 8:00 AM | Link | Enter your comments here (2)

Monday, March 20, 2006

March 20 Condition Update

Today was ever so slightly better than yesterday, but I am eagerly heading off to bed. My stomach sometimes does not feel good, but it isn’t so bad that I need to take anything.

I met with the radio oncologist this morning. This time my session was more amenable. I change tactics a bit. Instead of waiting seated, I waited standing. When he came in and said some like “Good morning Mr. Armstrong,” I quickly corrected him. I told him my name is Ted. I told him that only telemarketers and 10-year old children call me Mr. Armstrong.

I also stood more closely to him. He is shorter than I am. I asked him if the radiation could raise my body temperature, as I feel it has. He said no. But then he also told me I couldn’t see what I’m seeing during the radiation. I shrugged it off. He can his way and I’ll go mine.

Good night.

Posted by The Vorlon on 03/20/06 9:22 PM | Link | Enter your comments here (2)

Another Vorlon Grand... Birthday

147_4711.jpgWe went to the Vorlon Grand Nephew’s third birthday Saturday. He is the son of the Vorlon Wife’s nephew. Here he is about ready to bite into his birthday cake.

I shot several photos and this is about the best of the bunch. My Canon really gives people red-eye. But I’ll give the Photoshop Elements credit. I told it to fix the red-eye automatically. Poof, it was done. Normally I’m not fond of automatic fixes. But it worked well and was quick. Quick is good.

Posted by The Vorlon on 03/20/06 9:02 PM | Link | Enter your comments here (0)

On the Third Anniversay of the Iraq War

An Iraqi blogger who writes a blog called "Iraq the Model" ponders the Third Anniversay of the Iraq War.


The green bud looks weak and is buried in the dirt and surrounded by a tough shell but it will break through this covering, pierce the dirt and stand on its feet to announce a new era.

We will not be defeated and orphans of the dark past will get what they deserve and our sacrifices and the sacrifices of those who stand with us shall not go in vain, our sacrifices will pave an easier road for those want to follow us when they decide it's time for them to change.

And yes…Iraq will be the model.

I recommend reading his whole post.

Posted by The Vorlon on 03/20/06 1:10 PM | Link | Enter your comments here (0)

More Miniature Daffodils

Here’s another photo of miniature daffodils. In this one, I’ve taken the photo and sort of stylized it. I’ve tried to make it look more like a painting than a photo. I rather like the way the yellow came out.

I think I said before how much I’m attracted to bright yellow flowers. In this photo, one nearly drowns in the yellow.

Then there’s the green and yellow contrasted to each other. It reminds me of the John Deere tractor and equipment we had back on the farm.

Posted by The Vorlon on 03/20/06 8:00 AM | Link | Enter your comments here (1)

Sunday, March 19, 2006

Another Photo of the Vorlon Grand Niece

IM000102.jpgThe Vorlon Wife thought I didn’t grab the best photo of all I had of the Vorlon Grand Niece’s second birthday. I went through what I had and came up with this one. Children, at very young ages, are hard to shoot, as they don’t sit very still. Do you think this one is any better than the previous one?

In this photo, she’s riding a small Merry-go-round.

Posted by The Vorlon on 03/19/06 3:16 PM | Link | Enter your comments here (5)

March 19 Crocuses

On this photo, I’ve got a bit experimental. I created a copy of the photo. Then I blurred it and made it lighter. On the original, I used the cookie-cutter tool to crop the original with the shape. Then I merged both together to give this effect.

It’s OK, but I think it could have been done better. As I said, it’s an experiment.

Posted by The Vorlon on 03/19/06 8:00 AM | Link | Enter your comments here (0)

Saturday, March 18, 2006

The Grand Vorlon Niece is 2 Years Old

IM000055w.jpgThe Vorlon Grand Niece turned two years old the other day. The Vorlon Niece sent photos of the party. This is one of them.

Posted by The Vorlon on 03/18/06 8:58 PM | Link | Enter your comments here (1)

March 18 - Crocuses

Another photo of Crocuses. On this one, I’ve started playing with borders again. I rather like the effect of the ragged edge, but what do you think?

The other night I upgraded my Photoshop Elements from 3.0 to 4.0. It took a call to tech support for me to get it going. 3.0 had something called File Browser that made it easy find and select my photos for editing.

I could not find it in 4.0. The tech support guy told me the 4.0 doesn’t have that. Instead, I need to user their photo browser. My response to him was, “So. It’s a feature not a bug?”

I guess I can make do.

Posted by The Vorlon on 03/18/06 8:00 AM | Link | Enter your comments here (0)

Friday, March 17, 2006

The NSA Surveillance Controversy

In all the controversy over the electronic surveillance of incoming calls from known terrorists, I put together the following narrative. It’s a feeble try at humor.

Deep in the NSA at a secret underground location, the phone rings: Ring, Ring.

Sally: “Joe, that’s UBL’s phone number track that baby”

Joe: “I can’t, I’m still working of the FISA justification for the last 3,156 phone calls we intercepted. The 45 day time limit is almost up and if we miss it, my a** is grass man. Do you know I’m trying to support three kids, a wife, a collie, a Doberman, an ex-wife and two cats on my salary?

Sally: “But Joe, it’s UBL for Christ’s sake!”

Joe: “Maybe he’s just calling to have a friend buy a Powerball ticket. I hear UBL’s not doing too well financially and the Powerball is up to $250 million. You want it, you take it.

Sally: “But Joe, I’m already tracking thee calls from Hamas, six from the Muslim Brotherhood, one from that nut job in Iran, a couple of Chechyans and one from Zarqawi’s tailor. Did you know Zarqawi wears a size 36 coat and pants with a 30 inch waist and a 28 inch inseam. He sounds like someone suffering from small man syndrome to me. On top of that, my social life is sh**. I haven’t had a date in months.”

Ring, ring. Ring, ring. Ring, ring.


Joe: “So, what do you want for lunch?”

Posted by The Vorlon on 03/17/06 8:29 PM | Link | Enter your comments here (0)

Condition Update

My physical condition seemed to be about the same today as it was yesterday.

This afternoon I stopped by the oncologist’s office for my blood tests. You can view my updated blood test results by clicking here. I’m not really sure what it all means, but I can collect and plot the data. If you have any clue, you can clue me in.

In my discussion with the nurse over the blood test, I told her I was happy to see my white cell count high. I told her I wasn’t sure I had really gotten a Neulasta shot, when they gave it. The high white cell count assured me that they had indeed given me the right injection. I told her I just didn’t hurt as much as I normally do.

She assured me it was impossible for them to make a mistake. I did not argue with her, but from now on I’m looking it every shot they give me. At least that way I’ll be sure in my own mind.

She said my hemoglobin was a bit low and if I wanted, she could give me an Aranesp shot to raise it. Then she realized I was also getting radiation on the head, she deferred. She said it wasn’t critical and she remembered they don’t want those growth stimulators during that kind of treatment. She said it was too late to call them to check.

I asked her what she thought male radio oncologist. She said she had only spoken to him on the phone. I asked her, “Is he as arrogant on the phone as he is in person?”

She seemed not to want to say anything, but her expression gave her away. I told that he really rubbed me the wrong way.

It’ll be interesting to see if I see him again next Monday morning.

Posted by The Vorlon on 03/17/06 6:04 PM | Link | Enter your comments here (1)

More Crocuses

Another boring photo of Crocuses. I’ve got a bunch and I’ll post more as I never tired of looking at them. With a little luck, I should have a plentiful supply of photo material for many weeks.

Posted by The Vorlon on 03/17/06 8:00 AM | Link | Enter your comments here (1)

Thursday, March 16, 2006

March 16 Condition Update

Today was a better day. I feel like the fatigue is finally starting to abate. Yea, I was tired, but it didn’t seem to be that bone-numbing tiredness that has plagued me for the last few days.

The good news is I sleep pretty well at night. Readers may remember that when this whole adventure started I frequently described how much back pain I experienced. It really hammered my sleep patterns. The Depraved Brain even sent me some wedge pillows (greatly appreciated) that helped when I could not find a comfortable position in which to sleep.

My back pain was gradually subsided. I still experience some from time to time, but not when I’m in bed – and it does nothing to prohibit my sleep. The last couple of days I have started sleeping on my left side again. Throughout much of my adventure, I have been limited to only sleeping on my right side. The last few weeks I have gradually been able to also sleep on my back. Now I can really sleep on my left side. There is still a tiny amount of discomfort in my left rib cage, but it doesn’t stop me from sleeping.

It helps that I now can sleep in almost any position – although I haven’t yet mastered sleeping on my head. I’m still looking forward to the weekend to catch some more shuteye.


Posted by The Vorlon on 03/16/06 8:48 PM | Link | Enter your comments here (0)

Later Crocuses

More Crocuses. These are on the south side of the house. They are a dark purple color. I had hoped they would be thicker. But this seems to be as good a photo as I could get.

Posted by The Vorlon on 03/16/06 8:00 AM | Link | Enter your comments here (0)

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

March 15 Final Update

My fatigue continues. My nausea seems to have passed, but I am still dragging throughout the day. I hope that that will slowly pass as the days go on. I guess I’m just impatient to be feeling better.

I’m off to bed.

Posted by The Vorlon on 03/15/06 8:56 PM | Link | Enter your comments here (0)

Lord Jeffery Archer

I was listening to the radio this morning and the host was interviewing Lord Jeffery Archer. He’s an author that has just released his newest novel “False Impression.”

I found it interesting to hear him describe his work day, when he’s writing. Here’s his schedule.

05:00 get up
06:00 – 08:00 write
08:00 – 10:00 take break
10:00 – 12:00 write
12:00 – 14:00 take break
14:00 – 16:00 write
16:00 – 18:00 take break
18:00 – 20:00 write
20:00 – 22:00 take break and off to bed

He said it takes him about 45 days to write a whole novel.

I know someone that is working on a novel and I thought I’d post this to give him some idea how other writers work.

He also said they he only lays out, in skeletal form the first three chapters. He finds that after that the book takes over and he just follows it. He says he’s never gotten a letter where people tell him they knew early on how the novel will end. He said that because HE doesn’t know how it’s going to end.

Although I've never read any of his novels, apparently one of his more famous is "Cain and Abel."

Posted by The Vorlon on 03/15/06 10:11 AM | Link | Enter your comments here (2)

Miniature Daffodils

The Vorlon Wife has several clumps of miniature Daffodils. I’m finding them a little frustrating to photograph. For one thing, they sit very low to the ground. I really need to get a short tripod. I just can’t get the kind of angle I want.

I have always loved bright yellow Daffodils in the spring. They strike as so cheery in the spring and, as you know, I have a penchant for yellow flowers. This bunch is a few years old and is flowering profusely this year.

Posted by The Vorlon on 03/15/06 8:00 AM | Link | Enter your comments here (0)

March 15 Morning Update

I’m moving a little slowly this morning. I feel like my recovery has plateaued. Today seems about the same has yesterday.

My weight is rebounding. I’m not sure that is a great thing. An interesting detail I’ve noticed this time is my morning temperature. Normally my temperature in the morning is 97 something. This cycle it’s been 98 something. This morning was 98.6. That’s the highest morning temperature I’ve had in months.

Oh well, on to the wars.

Posted by The Vorlon on 03/15/06 7:37 AM | Link | Enter your comments here (0)

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

March 14 Evening Update

Today proved to be a bit tougher than I expected. After about 09:00 I just sort of pooped out. I was pretty tired the rest of the day. I’m wondering if the addition of the radiation is hammering me a bit more than usual.

I'm off to bed.

Posted by The Vorlon on 03/14/06 9:19 PM | Link | Enter your comments here (1)

Mardi Gras in Iraq

us-army-mardigras.jpgSome Louisiana National Guard troops in Iraq celebrated Mardi Gras. They had floats and everything. Click here for the web site with all the photos.

Very cool.

You just can't stop Americans from having fun. By the way, that is very likely non-alcoholic beer.

Posted by The Vorlon on 03/14/06 8:59 PM | Link | Enter your comments here (0)

Not Yet a Flower

This is a Showy Sedum. It’s a succulent like plant that flowers in the fall. The flowers are particularly attractive and I have never really like the plant as a flower. They tend to multiply if you leave them alone.

The only memorable thing about the flowers is bumblebees really seem to like them. In the fall, when I come out in the morning, I frequently find one or two small bumblebees sleeping on the flower. Eventually the day warms up, the bee tanks up and flies away.

Although they are not very attractive, I thought the spring growth look almost like a basket of blue-green flowers. They are not particularly beautiful, but it think it makes for an interesting photo.

Posted by The Vorlon on 03/14/06 8:00 AM | Link | Enter your comments here (1)

March 14 Morning Update

I’m doing better this morning. Although I’m still moving slowly, I don’t have that bone crushing fatigue. Moving my 2-mile walk to the evening has also helped. If it wears on me, I’m only a few hours from bed anyway. I get another hour of sleep in the morning and I have better stamina throughout the day.

Perhaps next week I’ll revert to my morning schedule.

I’ve picked up a pound from yesterday. On the way back from a client site, I stopped for one of the basic food groups – pizza. Unfortunately, it was at the mall’s food court so it was just OK pizza.

I’m feeling like I can start to catch up on the various tasks I have fallen behind on.

Posted by The Vorlon on 03/14/06 6:44 AM | Link | Enter your comments here (0)

Monday, March 13, 2006

An Interesting Experience getting Radiated this Morning

I had an interesting experience at the radio oncology center. Upon completion of my radiation, they told me not to forget to meet with the doctor.

I responded, “When did this get scheduled?” The tech responded, “You’re supposed to see the doctor every Monday after your radiation.” I asked, “Why didn’t anyone tell me this?”

They took me to the small room and I waited for whatever was to come.

In walked the male component of the radio oncology center. He asked if I had blurred vision or any other side effects. I responded that I had a bit of a headache that came and went, but wasn’t severe enough for me to take anything for it. He sort of waved that off.

I then asked him if it was normal to be able to see the radiation. He dismissed my question with, “That’s impossible! You can’t see the radiation. Can you see the radiation coming off that light?”

I further elucidated my experience by describing that when they turn the machine on, I can see a purple glow and originates from the side they are hitting me with.

He said I’m probably seeing the lasers they use to line up for the radiation. I responded that the lasers are red. What I see is purple and I have my eyes closed.

He dismissed me with, “Do you know how many whole brain radiations I’ve done? No one has every described what your saying!”

With that, he left.

As the day wore on, I got a little hotter under the collar. If I have a client that tells me something that I’m sure is impossible, I don’t insult their intelligence and tell them that’s impossible. I usually just respond with something like, “I’ve not experienced that before. Can you tell me more?”

He’s going to pay for that.

Posted by The Vorlon on 03/13/06 8:35 PM | Link | Enter your comments here (6)

Another Take on the UAE Ports Deal

Strategypage has an interesting comment on the rejection of the UAE ports deal.

In the past three weeks, there has been a political firestorm caused by misreported facts about the purchase of P&O by Dubai Port Works, and scurrilous attacks on the UAE by pundits, which has led to the betrayal of America's most loyal and useful an ally in the Persian Gulf. The fallout from this betrayal will make it difficult to recruit future allies in the war on terror. The attacks on the UAE have the potential to do what Osama bin Laden has not been able to do with over a decade of bombings, the hijacked airliners, and fatwas.

Just take a look at the UAE's track record. As part of the coalition to liberate Kuwait in 1991, the UAE has also supported the United States in the war on terror. This includes, among other things, providing access to a deep-water port that can accommodate aircraft carriers, use of a training facility for air-to-air combat training, airfields, and logistics support. It is a country that has proven largely inhospitable to al Qaeda (instead, the focus is on business), the UAE sent forces to Afghanistan to protect the construction of a hospital that they donated and built. They also have sent humanitarian assistance to Iraq while also providing a location for training Iraqi police. In 2002, the UAE also captured a major al-Qaeda figure, Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri, who was involved in the attack on the USS Cole in 2000, and handed him over to the United States despite threats from the terrorist organization. Both Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld and General Peter Pace have described the relationship the United States has with the United Arab Emirates as "very close" and "superb". General Tommy Franks gave the UAE credit for providing valuable intelligence prior to the liberation of Afghanistan, and his successor, General John Abizaid, also described the UAE's contributions as vital. The reward the UAE got for its support of the United States was to be smeared by pundits like Michelle Malkin as "demonstrably unreliable" or worse. The UAE is not perfect, but it is highly doubtful that the critics of the port deal could find one country that hasn't made mistakes – or pursued a policy it has come to regret – in the past.

Contrary to the claim, Malkin made in her blog that the extent of UAE retaliation would be a pullback from potential airline deals with Boeing, the UAE's retaliatory options could also include a reduction in cooperation in a number of strategic areas. It needs to be noted that outside of Dubai, the closest facility that can conduct major repairs on an aircraft carrier is Guam. The United Arab Emirates has also been sharing intelligence with the United States – and is better equipped in the area of human intelligence against terrorism from Islamic extremists (due to being in the same neighborhood that many major al-Qaeda figures come from) than the United States.

I'm rather a fan of Michelle Malkin, but in this instance I worry that we may have bitten off our nose to spite our face. Any time the liberals are for or against something, I'm suspicious.

Posted by The Vorlon on 03/13/06 8:08 PM | Link | Enter your comments here (0)

Dutch Irises

Another flower that blooms early in the spring is the Vorlon Wife’s Dutch Irises. Sadly, they are not quite as colorful as the Crocuses and the foliage isn’t much to write home about either. Still they add color and that is always appreciated when we are tired of winter and ready for spring.

Posted by The Vorlon on 03/13/06 8:00 AM | Link | Enter your comments here (1)

March 13 Morning Update

I continue very slowly to improve. I opted not to go for my 2-mile walk this morning. I have an appointment with a client and the exercise just takes too much out of me.

I’ve picked up a pound from yesterday and although I’m feeling pretty wiped, I can function – albeit a bit more slowly than usual.

I’m off to get radiated and then to work.

Posted by The Vorlon on 03/13/06 7:34 AM | Link | Enter your comments here (0)

Sunday, March 12, 2006

March 12 Condition Update

I’m still moving slowly, the numbness in my feet is bothersome and I'm quite tired. However, I’m making some very slow progress in my recovery from last Tuesday’s chemo treatment. I tipped the scale at 156 Lbs this morning. That means I dropped five Lbs in the last five days.

However, my stomach seems to be settling down. I didn’t have to take any anti-nausea medication today and I seemed to eat better. In celebration for a bit of the Vorlon Wife’s Irish ancestry, she made some corned beef and cabbage and that went down quite well.

I happened to watch a show on the food channel this afternoon in which they were highlighting 10 contestants that were competing for a $50,000 prize for the best burger. Although the corned beef and cabbage was good, after watching these people make all those burgers and everyone saying how delicious they were, I was really set for a burger. Sadly, I don’t think I could have gotten any like were being cooked in the contest.

I’m experiencing a little bit of a headache that comes and goes. The radiation techs said that I might get a little swelling form the brain tumors as they are exposed to the radiation. I gather that’s a side effect of they’re being killed off. On the other hand, the headache could be from the chemo or something else entirely. There is just no way to now for sure. So far, it’s not so bad that I have to take anything for it.

Tomorrow I’m going back to work. I have an appointment with a client. I think it is better to get out and do that sit around and mop.

Posted by The Vorlon on 03/12/06 8:28 PM | Link | Enter your comments here (0)

Yellow Crocuses

For some reason most of our crocuses are some shade of purple. I am very partial to yellow flowers – particularly in the spring time. We DO have a FEW yellow crocuses. This is the best of what we have in that color. This clutch is not nearly as lush as the purple ones. But it’s not too bad. Perhaps I should use my Photoshop Elements and add more blooms to the photo. But that would seem like cheating.

Posted by The Vorlon on 03/12/06 5:53 PM | Link | Enter your comments here (1)

Saturday, March 11, 2006

More Crocuses

My recovery on is proceeding very slowly. The weather was really nice today and I made the sacrifice to take some more photos of the Vorlon Wife’s Crocuses.

This proved to be pretty painful. Crawling around on the ground hurt. I’m a little disappointed that I’m not recovering faster. The nausea seems to be haunting me more that previous chemo sessions. I wonder if it’s from the radiation therapy. The radio oncologist indicated I might experience a little nausea from it. If the nausea persists then I’ll have a good indication that’s the cause.

I took quite a few photos and will be posting a few on the blog over the next few days.

Posted by The Vorlon on 03/11/06 8:22 PM | Link | Enter your comments here (2)

Friday, March 10, 2006

March 10 Update

Today was another hunker down day. I had a rather severe feeling of nausea today and took another of my Kytrils and the seemed to help. My taste buds are still recovering so food is not terribly appetizing at the moment.

Fortunately, my brain is wired to disregard pain and suffering. I had almost forgotten how badly I felt during this time. That’s OK. I just need to tough it out, that’s all.

I have no radiation treatments over the weekend. I just look forward to each new day with the hope that I will feel better.

I want to talk about how I’m feeling, outside of the chemo, but right now, I’m just too beat to say much more. I’m off to bed.

Posted by The Vorlon on 03/10/06 8:13 PM | Link | Enter your comments here (3)

Thursday, March 9, 2006

March 9 Final Update

Today has been a hunker down day. I think I’m starting to recover a bit, but for the most part, I didn’t move any more than I had to. I’m off to bed early tonight.

Posted by The Vorlon on 03/09/06 7:36 PM | Link | Enter your comments here (0)

Wednesday, March 8, 2006

March 8 Evening Update

I had my Neulasta shot at 14:30 today and am now starting to suffer the consequences. As soon as I got home from the shot, I did my weight workout. I was hoping to get it in before the full effects of the shot hit me.

I did OK, but the chemo from yesterday was already starting to degrade me performance. Tomorrow should be the bottom before the very slow climb out of the hole.

So far, I’m just tired. I don’t have the usual Neulasta pain. Usually I hurt pretty good by now.

I’m not looking forward to tomorrow’s radiation treatment. Its not the treatment per se, but the getting up, going there, and returning that’s going to be the chore.

Oh well.

I’m off to bed. Good night.

Posted by The Vorlon on 03/08/06 8:48 PM | Link | Enter your comments here (0)

Getting Zapped

146_4614.jpgThis is me getting zapped. I took my camera into the radiology lab and asked the tech to take my photo. Sadly, I could not take my own. The first photo is me lying on the table with the machine ready to zap me.

146_4613.jpgThe second photo is more of a close-up. The white plastic net over my head was made last week. It fits to my head and holds me in the right spot to get the radiation. As you can see, it is a fishnet like and easy to breathe through.

So how can you tell it’s me? Easy, the khaki’s and my relaxed demeanor easily give it away. If you could read the logo on the shirt, it would say Stampede to Fargo – that’s where Great Plains is.

Posted by The Vorlon on 03/08/06 5:34 PM | Link | Enter your comments here (3)

Tumor Numerical Analysis

I’ve been doing a little numerical analysis on the tumor in my lung. I probably wouldn’t be doing this if the results weren’t promising.

I did a little searching on the internet and found a formula for calculating the volume of an ellipsoid. That’s sort of like an egg shape. I’m using that shape as a model for my analysis.

When they do a CT scan they give the size the reader sees. I’m not sure the human body is very dimensionally stable. From day to day my ring is easier or harder to slip off my finger. Since I doubt the gold is changing dimensions very much, I presuming it’s my finger that is getting smaller or larger.

In addition, I think the CT scanner takes a slice every 10mm. So different scans “might” show different sizes, depending if they happen to scan the maximum size or not.

That all said, I am not the one reading the images, the CT guy is. I will presume for my analysis that his readings are accurate.

What I’ve done in the attached chart is show the whole volume of the tumor in cc’s (cubic centimeters or milliliters). I don’t have any reports on the width on the 10/5/05 scan so I used the 12/16/05 scan’s width and calculated the aspect ratio and applied it to the 10/5/05 scan. From these data points I calculated the total volume of the tumor.





Vol (cc)

Prior Change

Total Change



















You can see that on 12/06/05 scan the tumor shrank in volume 45%. On the 2/17/05 scan the tumor had shrunk another 52%.

Taking the 12/16/05 and the 2/17/06 scans together; you can see the total volume of the tumor has shrunk 73%.

I rate that as encouraging.

The 2/17/06 scan shows lager shrinkage than the 12/16/05 scan. From my own mind, I find this unremarkable. As the tumor shrinks, it has more surface area per volume. That’s just how the numbers work out. With more surface area per volume, I would expect the tumor to get hit a little harder.

Now the 45% to 52% is not a large change difference and could very well be within the error of this analysis. Both changes might be 50%.

Either way, I’ll take what I can get.

Posted by The Vorlon on 03/08/06 12:50 PM | Link | Enter your comments here (3)

Schools Must Accept Military Recruiters

I see the Ivy League law schools lost their attempt to keep military recruiters off campus. The Solomon Amendment says that if they accept federal funds, they must also accept military recruiters. If they don’t want the military recruiters, they don’t have to have them. But they have to give up the money.

They fought this in the courts trying to peg it as a free speech issue.

I can’t believe they thought they had a snowball’s chance in h*** if winning this case. The federal government has long threatened to withhold funding to states that did not comply with federal guidelines on highway safety bills. I don’t know if that went to the court system or not, but it’s simple. You don’t want to comply, don’t take the money.

I must say, it doesn’t say much for the law school education being passed out at these institutions. I’m not a lawyer of any type, but I always figured it was a no brainer they would lose. Not only did they lose, but they lost decisively. The Supreme Court decision was unanimous. In other words, the Supreme Court thought it was a no brainer too.

The argument was that the military discriminates against gays in their “Don’t ask, don’t tell” policy. It is a policy that Clinton implemented.

Personally I think they should have said they don’t want the recruiters on campus because it’s cold in the winter time. You may ask, what has the winter temperature have to do with military recruiters on campus.

It’s very simple. I they don’t want military recruiters on campus; one excuse is as good as another.

Posted by The Vorlon on 03/08/06 10:00 AM | Link | Enter your comments here (1)

March 8 Morning Update

I’m feeling pretty well this morning. On my two-mile walk/jog, I jogged without walking the last 1.5 miles. I had to push a little to do that, but I wanted to get it in, as I probably won’t have the aerobic capacity to repeat it for some time.

I’m getting my Neulasta shot about 14:30 today. I think I’ll do my weight training regime very soon after – before the Neulasta starts to hit me.

I take Ginger root pills as that supposed to prevent motion sickness and I’m thinking that it might help reduce nausea. There is one side effect of the ginger pill. It makes my face flush.

I also have plenty of Kytrils, which is a prescription drug. I probably won’t be eating much today or tomorrow. Typically, most food taste inedible.

However, I’m tipping the scales at 161 Lbs this morning so it won’t hurt me a bit to reduce my calorie consumption. Although in past chemo cycles I drop about three Lbs about three or four days AFTER my treatment.

We have some fresh asparagus, which has proved edible and plenty of ice cream, which also seems to go down quite well. How’s that for a diet asparagus and ice cream – but not at the exact same time.

Posted by The Vorlon on 03/08/06 6:48 AM | Link | Enter your comments here (1)

Tuesday, March 7, 2006

Blood Test Results

I have been entering all my blood test into Excel and I have finally posted them on my web site. I'm not a hematologist so I don't know what all the numbers mean. Anyway, here's the link.

The first data point was taken, just before my first chemo treatment. The next data point was 10 days after my chemo treatment. The raise in the white cell count is due to the Neulasta. So think of the data as a two data point cycle. The last data point was taken this morning.

Posted by The Vorlon on 03/07/06 8:03 PM | Link | Enter your comments here (0)

Chemo is Done for today

I’ve returned from the oncologist’s office. I’m feeling a little tired and my stomach is a little queasy. In the past, I have gotten a large black and blue spot at the location where they had tapped my vein. It’ll be interesting to see if I get one again this time.

Tomorrow afternoon I go back for my Neulasta shot.

Posted by The Vorlon on 03/07/06 4:29 PM | Link | Enter your comments here (0)

I am wired

I found an unsecured wireless network and it seems to work pretty well. I don’t know how long this connection will stay active. In the past, I’ve lost the connection after a bit. The signal strength is low.

Posted by The Vorlon on 03/07/06 11:09 AM | Link | Enter your comments here (3)

March 7 Chemo Blogging

I had my radiation treatment, and then I left there, stopped by the Wawa for coffee and made it to the oncologist’s office about 15 minutes late. They told me at the radiology lab that tomorrow, it will go much faster. It seems they had to waif for someone to come and load my profile into the computer.

You may ask why they didn’t do this yesterday. Good question and I don’t have the answer.

I closed my eyes during the radiation treatment and, sure enough, I saw light when the machine was zapping me. They shot me twice for about 20 seconds at a time. One shot from each side. The light I say was light purple and it was filamentous. I’ll have to ask the radio oncologist why I could see light. I’m guessing it’s because the radiation stimulated some part of my visual system. I don’t know if it just caused the light sensors to be simulated or if it causes them to fluress.

They just finished the Benadryl and now they’re giving me the Tagamet. The girl doing the poking got the vein on the first try. She found one down near my wrist. I’m experiencing a little pain at the drip site. Although the liquid is at room temperature, it’s giving me a dull ache at the injection site. I got them to retrieve my scarf and have wrapped it around my wrist to keep it warm. I think a better solution would have been to run the plastic tubing through some warm water, but I’m afraid that’s asking a bit much. However, the scarf seems to be helping the ache.

By the way, the Benadryl degrades my already poor typing skill.

Posted by The Vorlon on 03/07/06 11:06 AM | Link | Enter your comments here (1)

Monday, March 6, 2006

Thoughts on Upcoming Treatments

Tomorrow will be a little busy. At 08:00, I need to be down to the New Jersey Health Care System for my first radiation treatment. Then I need to be back at the oncologist for my chemo treatment at 09:15.

After that, it’s just a matter of sitting back in their easy chair while they drip their chemicals through my veins.

I’ve had some people offer their sympathy for my upcoming treatment. While I appreciate the thoughts, let me just say this.

If this treatment will move me forward, I say bring it on. Yes, it knocks me down a bit and I feel pretty tired for a period of time. However, I’m not about to turn back now. Shoot. If I had to, I could do this standing on my head.

I think this feeling comes a bit, from when I used to run competitively several years ago. I used to rate myself as an A- minus runner. When I was in good racing shape, I would place in the top 90 percent of all the runners. Mind you, we had no world-class runners in the group. I used to run 5 km, 5 mile, 10 km, 10 mile, and half marathon races.

Foot racing teaches one how to suffer. There are long miles on the road by yourself building your aerobic capacity. Then you get down to speed training where you try to build your leg speed for future races.

The trick is to train hard, but not so hard, you cannot go out and perform on weekends.

The real deal comes when the gun goes off at the start of the race. I had to figure how how fast I figured I could run the race. The best strategy is to run the race so that every mile is exactly the same speed. By the same token, you want to expend your energy is such a way that you collapse just past the finish line.

At the beginning of a race one has a lot of adrenalin and it is easy to go out like a bat out of h*** and then crash and burn. I had rather a good sense of pace and could start out slow enough that I would have quite a bit fuel left at the half way point.

The second half of the race is the hardest part. One attempts to speed up. You don’t really speed up, but by attempting to, you have a better chance of maintaining your speed.

Aside from feeling like you’re not getting enough oxygen, your whole body starts to hurt. However, one must re-interpret the pain. It’s not really pain. Its how you body feels when is performing flat-out.

And this takes all the mental concentration you can bring to the table. Your whole concentration turns inward and you monitor your body piece by piece. If there are no potentially, nagging pains that could be incipient injuries then you just concentrate on maintaining your pace. If your mind wanders for even a bit, you will find yourself falling off the pace.

I think that mental “toughness”, if you will, has helped me in my treatments. I’ve been tired before. I’ve been in a lot of pain before. All is only flesh. The real part is the inner part – the mental part. That’s where you dig down and bury yourself. Now, protected from all the fleshly concerns, you concentrate on steering the ship and making sure things get done that need to be done.

There is always pain and fatigue in life. But if you give in to them, you are lost. I guess that is relatively easy for me to say, as I have so far not experienced any excruciating pain.

I don’t know if this all makes any sense or not. It’s sort of stream of thought. I should probably save this and rewrite it, but I don’t have that kind of patience.

Posted by The Vorlon on 03/06/06 9:39 PM | Link | Enter your comments here (5)

Saturday, March 4, 2006

CT Scan Reports Online

I scanned the reports from my CT scans and converted them to Word documents. Then I posted them to my web site. Currently there are only three. You can view them by clicking on this link.

I’m also in the process of doing some numerical analysis. I’ll post that later.

Posted by The Vorlon on 03/04/06 9:21 PM | Link | Enter your comments here (1)

Friday, March 3, 2006

Razor Blogging

gillete_fusion.jpgThe Vorlon Father recently complained how he couldn’t seem to get a good shave. Glenn Reynolds of Instapundit fame had indicated in an earlier post that he had tried the Gillette Fusion and found it performed well.

I figured it was something the Vorlon Father would never buy for himself so I him bought one and sent it along. The results of the Vorlon testing are now in. The Vorlon Father has pronounced it a good razor. He is quoted as saying, “It was the best shave I’ve had in years.”

For my part, I don’t really need a great razor. I could probably go a week without shaving, but I shave daily just for practice. But I only use a butter knife.

Posted by The Vorlon on 03/03/06 7:21 PM | Link | Enter your comments here (3)

Two Sisters

No, it hasn’t snowed. This is left over from the, so far, single snowstorm of this winter season. I now wish I’d taken more time to shoot more pictures. But here it is.

I rather thought these two snow-covered bushes looked like two sisters.

Posted by The Vorlon on 03/03/06 8:00 AM | Link | Enter your comments here (1)

Thursday, March 2, 2006

Bush is Popular in India

Here's an interesting take on Bush's popularity in India:

Bush's approval is at 40% in US, v/s 54% in India. That coupled with our population being more that thrice that of US means we have much more Bush fans than entire US population! We love him because we are a pragmatic bunch who can cut through the PC/lefty/dhimmi cr@p and see who is fighting the good fight.

Posted by The Vorlon on 03/02/06 9:30 PM | Link | Enter your comments here (0)

March 2 Crocuses

More Crocuses. This is a close shot of one of the bunches. Crocuses are rather small flowers, but we have some nice bunches and I get in close to get the shots I want. It seems that no matter how many photos I take, when I upload them to my PC, they are never framed quite the way I want. I suspect I just don’t take enough time when I’m shooting the pictures. I’m not terribly patient. I just fire away madly and hope something looks good later.

I walked past the Crocuses yesterday and they are about done for this year. Most of the flowers are gone. I'm glad I took their picture at the time I did. Had I waited, I would have gotten nothing.

Posted by The Vorlon on 03/02/06 8:00 AM | Link | Enter your comments here (0)

Wednesday, March 1, 2006

Back from Getting Fitted for Radiation

I just got back from the radiation place. It was an interesting experience. What they did was put this warm plastic fishnet type material over my face as I was lying on the table on my back. They stretched it over my head and clamped it to the table. They had me hold very still while the form cooled and hardened.

This will be used in the future to fix my head to a specific spot, when I go in for my treatments. That way they can be sure they are always hitting the same spot.

While they had me clamped down, I couldn’t even talk, they took a couple of x-rays to make sure they had me correctly lined up. There are lasers on the machine and they put masking tape on the form and used a magic marker to mark where the laser hit. That way, when I return, they line up the spot with the lasers and they are good to go. I was a little disappointed the machine wasn’t smart enough to record the x and y coordinates of where I was and they could just punch my coordinates in and put me in exactly the right spot.

I made a discovery while lying there and them shooting me with x-rays – you can see x-rays. Well, at least the x-rays seem to stimulate the visual receptors of the optic nerve or the photo receptors at the back of the eyeball. What I saw was sort of like a camera flash. It had a blue and white color to it and lasted only as long as the x-ray machine was on. It was almost like someone was shining a flashlight from my left or right. They x-rayed me from both directions.

It turns out the radiation will be gamma rays – very high energy. They have a linear accelerator to generate the gamma rays. The said they will shoot me from one side and then from the other. Each day the actual treatment will only take a few seconds per side.

I start my treatments 8:00 am next Tuesday and continue everyday, skipping weekends, until March 27. Then they will do an MRI and see how I’m doing.

The tech told me that way this treatment works is, the radiation damages the cells it hits. Cancer cells are not as healthy as normal tissue. Normal tissue will repair itself quite quickly. The cancer cells cannot repair themselves as well. With repeated exposures, the cancer cells die and the healthy ones live on.

At least that's the theory. Let hope my cancer cells are very sickly and it will take only a simple push to wipe them out.

Posted by The Vorlon on 03/01/06 3:41 PM | Link | Enter your comments here (2)

Crocuses for March 1

I still have quite a few Crocus photos to bore you with. I’m sorry I don’t have more variety, but that’s all that is flowering right now. I try different angles to give SOME variety. Even though they are the same, I still don’t tire of them.

I just wish I had a better story to say about them.

Posted by The Vorlon on 03/01/06 8:00 AM | Link | Enter your comments here (0)