Saturday, June 30, 2007

First Impressions

Absolutely gorgeous packaging. Beautiful iPhone bag.

And my impressions pretty much end there. 'cause I have yet to open the damn thing. This is kind of my modus operandi; I get caught up in the hype cycle and make the purchase, anguish over it for days, and then generally bring it back to the store. And I think that's what is going to happen in this instance.

I have doing extensive research for the past 24 hours and have been following all the forums. Generally, I'd say that most consumers seem pleased. I spoke with my buddy and he's happy. And I noodled around on my neighbors unit (man, does that sound wrong) and was impressed as I was last night (by the way, I went to the store last night expecting them to be sold out; the only reason I made the purchase was 1. it was so damn cool -- beyond expectations and 2. the dude at the store announced they only had 20 more 8 gigs, and I noted I would be the 19th person in line!).

Without question, the thing is wicked ass cool, but I have a few major concerns:

1. For me personally, it's simply too expensive a toy that I don't really need right now -- unless it can offer business utility. If I can get my network email, which for me is the "killer app" and non-negotiable, then we'll be in business. In order for that to happen, though, Apple needs to strike a licensing agreement with Microsoft (Exchange Server), so that it can Active Synch and deliver messages in real time. Word has it that this announcement will be made next week and I'll be watching out for it; this, for me, is enormous. This would enable me to use it as my primary device and if I can do that, and it's fairly efficient then I have NO problem rationalizing the cost. As is, however, there is no way I currently get rid of my 8525.

2. The keyboard is better than I thought, but I still don't think it is optimal for a power user as is. However, if they can create an option where the keyboard can be made available in landscape mode, I think it will prove sufficient for email. Currently, the keyboard will in fact go into landscape mode, but only in Safari. I suspect this will be a relatively easy software fix and I hope they get it out soon.

Now, if any of the above happens in the next two weeks (I have 14 days to return), it's a keeper. If not, I will return it without regrets, because there is no question Apple is going to hose all the early adopters ; I predict we'll see a version 2.0 come the holidays, replete with 3g (with a brower like this, no way does Jobs stand still with EDGE) and bigger capacity (hello 15 and 25 gig).

Anyway you look at it though, there is no question that this is a very, very big step forward for the mobile industry. Well done, Apple.

By the way, for all fo you who don't know me all that well, I am a fairly simple man, but there's a few areas/subjects in which I consider myself an "expert": bikes and mobile devices being two of them. So for me (and half of America, it seems), this product is a pretty big deal.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Eight Days Until The Tour, Crappy TV and Other Thoughts

There is nothing good or interesting on TV right now. And I mean nothing. The upside: I have more time to write and workout. The downside? Well, there's nothing to freaking watch on TV. I have no choice but to get caught up on Howard Stern TV (which rules by the way).

Of course, there is always Entourage, but I'm afraid even that is not enjoying its finest season. A "bad" Entourage is still pretty darn good but this season just appears a little ... off. Remember my prediction a few weeks ago that Medellin is going to bomb, throwing the boys into a tailspin. I am still standing by that one.

John from Cinci has totally lost me. It's to meta-something or other, the characters aren't all that interesting and the John character is annoying as hell.

Flight of the Concords isn't half bad. It's a little weird, but starting to grow on me.

Man, I am so desparate I just might give Age of Love (kittens vs, cougars is the premise) a shot. What an incredibly dopie concept. I think reality TV has officially jumped the shark.

I need a new book. I am reading a fairly interesting one about Navy SEALS (a major obsession by the way; a dedicated post on this subject later) and I just started The Hunt for Lincoln's Killer, which is pretty good, but I am open to suggestions.

I haven't blogged at all on books, but I am a major reader and think I will start a monthly book review. Please let me know if there's anyting you recommend; nothing has really jumped out at me at the bookstore

Eight days until the Tour de France, baby. I don't have the biggest blog audience in the world, for the record (though I love each and everyone of you), and I am fearful it's going to drop precipitously once I start with my Tour rantings. Try to bear with me. It's a spectacular sport and forget about all the drug nonsense that surrounds the sport. Sure, it's unfortunate, but I can personally care less, much as I could really care less about steroids in baseball. I just love watching both the individual effort as well as the high level of strategy involved on both an individual and team level. It's like watching a chess game with fast moving pieces.

Team Discovery announced their squad today and it is *very* interesting. The big surprise is no Tom Danielson, but he's had a crappy spring. Levi is the team leader, and Johan's prediction that they are "going for the podium" is typical Johan. Either he's playing it coy and Levi is on form or he knows Vino looked unbeatable in the Dauphine. Either way, it should be interesting. I'll be pulling for Levi in a huge way. I'm also intrigued by some of the new guys on Discovery, many of whom I don't know. Should be interesting to see how they perform. The one guy I will be keeping a keen eye on is this Alberto Contador dude, the Spanish climber. We haven't had a good Spanish guy in quite some time and they say this guy is a revelation. I also expect big things from Popo. He's had enough seasoning and it's time for him to take a stage or two.

Ok, I sense in advance I might be losing you, so to wind this down, here's my predictions for the Tour:

3. Levi
2. Menchov
1. Vino.

Let the fireworks begin.

Couple of interesting new albums out. I'm thus far liking the new White Stripes album, Icky Thump. Perry Farrrell's album is getting marginal reviews, but it is really growing on me and I think it's an 8 on a scale of 1-10. And I just go the new Velvet Revolver, which i'm really stoked about.

Dad, if you want any of the above let me know and I'll burn them for you asap.

(Ps. The decision has been made: I am sitting out tomorrow's iPhone introduction. For now, at least)

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Things That Rules and Things That Ain't Too Cool

For the first time since starting this blog, I'm struggling a bit for a topic. That said, I just got back from a fantastic 4.5 mile trail run. California gets this amazing golden sunlight late in the day (I'm wondering if this is where the Golden State comes from) and as it makes its appearance while I am climbing up the Miwok Trail, I'm thinking to myself: this rules. Not more than a minute later I jump over what appears to a piece of wood in the middle of the trail and the damn thing moves right at me. A snake. And a fairly large one at that. I think: that ain't at all too cool.

So, in the spirit of that moment, following is a list of random things that rules and others that aren't too cool.

Rules: Coming home from work every evening and knowing exactly what I am going to do the second I park my car in the driveway: have a catch with my son. Some of our catches last two minutes and others a half hour but we always have a catch. And it really is true: nothing rules more than having a catch with my son. And there is nothing greater than watching him learn - and learn to love -- the great game of baseball.

Not So Cool: the occasional throws that bonk him in the head.

Rules: On the subject of baseball, my Yankees.

Not So Cool: My Yankees.

Rules: Finally getting fit again.

Not So Cool: Knowing that in a few short months I am going to lose all this fitness again due to another godforsaken cancer treatment.

Rules: My wife. She does not get nearly enough credit or space on these pages (and she would probably add that she doesn't get enough credit from me in life, either) but she's the best. I appreciate her more every day and could not have married a better woman.

Not So Cool: The infrequent times that I get on her bad side. They are infrequent, aren't they, Love?

Rules: Going for a run with your main boy in Michigan for the first time in about six years; the same guy who got you into all this working out nonsense. An hour after the run, going for an equally killer swim with your other main boy.

Not So Cool: Blowing all the accrued fitness from the above by drinking copious amount of various alcohol-based products, none of which mix particularly well with one another.

Rules: My sister in law Penny, who I love dearly and is a great kid.

Not So Cool. Her last few weeks. May the pain both physical and in your heart one day pass, Penny.

Rules: My new special edition Lance Armstong glasses. Yep, I got 'em - actually the wife got them for me for Father's Day -- and I am pleased to report that they are not at all too Fred-ish. That said, these puppies are more designed for function than fashion. They ain't everyday wearing glasses if you know what I am saying. What's amazing though, is the specially designed lenses, which somehow are able to shed water/sweat and don't smudge. As you runners and bikers know, this is a big development. If you want to support the Lance Armstrong Foundation and need workout sunglasses, I recommend them highly. If you want a slightly cheaper edition, go get any version of the Oakley Radars.

Not So Cool: The $185 cost to the consumer and the fact that they probably cost Oakley no more than $15 to manufacture.

Rules: This blog. Since I've started this blog, I've had good karma both in business and in life. I'm enjoying writing each day and learning more about the blogging process. Most importantly, though, I am loving the sense of community that is developing among friends and family from all facets of my life as well as strangers that I am meeting along the way.

Not So Cool. Absolutely nothing as relates to the above. Let's hope it stays this way for a while.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

To iPhone or Not to iPhone ... That is the Question

Howard Solomon of CancerMan fame back, after abdicating to my father for a fortnight.

For the record, I've discovered I should on occasion mention my name (Howard Solomon) and "affiliation" (Cancerman in this case) as it greatly optimizes my ranking on Google. Google ranking, I should add, is utterly irrelevant vis a vis the intent of this blog, but admittedly somewhat cool at the same time. Plus, once I get to a couple of hundred unique users per day (in my estimation, and at my current pace, I expect this to happen by 2011, latest) I fully intend to speak of myself in the third-person anyway, ala any of today's NBA stars.

Dad -- for the record, I don't expect you to follow any of the above in this lifetime. Speaking of my father, I think he was pretty psyched about all the comments. I spoke with him earlier and he asked me "How many blogs have I gotten?" Ummm.... not exactly down with the vernacular. But hey, he's 71 so I will cut him some slack. I'm just glad he figured out how to use a keyboard. But, he's funny as hell all the same and I have sent him off to think about his next post. I've promoted him by the way, and he's now challenged to pen a weekly post. Email me or post a comment if you have any suggestions or topics for his next column.

Most of you who know me know that I am the mother of early adopters so far as technology products are concerned. I am proud to state I haven't missed a good solid consumer product introduction in almost a decade. A few examples:

-- I purchased an IMac and first generation Ipod within one week of introduction to the marketplace.

-- I was Ruder-Finn's original Blackberry beta user. With the exception of the 8800 and the Curve, I have owned every single Blackberry ever introduced. I purchased most on the first day of their introduction. Michael Beno can confirm.

-- I waited on line for four hours in a driving Chicago snowstorm for the first Ipod shuffle. I am proud to say I was owner number number two in all of Chicagoland. I should also note that I've owned five or six ipods in total, and currently have a 15 gig, 30 gig video, Nano and old shuffle. Just last night April and I took the wraps off the new shuffle.

-- I purchased the new MacBook within a week of introduction. Actually, in the interest of full disclosure, my family purchased it for me as an early 40th birthday present. Thanks again, family.

-- I purchased a PSP2 the day it was introduced. Actually, my main man Beno got it for me. I returned it after a week, upon recognition that I haven't played video games for about 20 years and had no intention of starting any time soon. But It was cool and much desired so I had to go with the proverbial flow.

I could go on and on but you probably get my point. And by the way, I don't state the above in a boastful manner. The truth of the matter is I think I have a borderline problem. I am sure we'll examine this in greater detail at a later date.

Which brings us to the iPhone. Up until today, I've been proud of myself: I did not allow myself to get caught up in the hype. For once in my life, reason seemed to prevail. I was committed to waiting the first generation out and seeing what kind of reviews it would garner.

As a power emailer, I was also concerned about the keypad and just didn't think it would cut it from a corporate perspective. A fun toy for the masses, perhaps, but it didn't offer a compelling value proposition for someone who already had a screaming fast 3G phone, multiple ipods, and other such toys.

And then today came along, and reason completely unravelled. I don't know what it was that set me off: for some crazy reason I think it might have been today's announcement that you can activate the damn thing through itunes. Or maybe it's the nonstop news coverage. Or the fact that people are starting to camp out in front of Apple stores in anticipation. Or maybe it was the kicker: positive reviews by Walt Mossberg and David Pogue.

Whatever it is, something has snapped and I am freaking out. I feel like I need one -- right now. In fact, I'm thinking of getting on line (that is, on line in front of an Apple store) right now with the huddled masses.

Of course, this is completely illogical. I would need to keep my existing phone and number for work until I had full trust in its email capabiities. I'd need to carry two devices, versus one. And I'd need to get a new phone number, which seems completely superfluous. In fact, my only rationalization would be the fact that I travel regularly, and my current 3G phone dies after about three hours of use (I know, getting a second battery would make sense. But it's a heck of a lot less fun than GETTING A BRAND NEW IPHONE!).

Anyway, a long winded way of stating that I am torn. I could argue the pluses and minuses all day. In fact, that's exactly what I have been doing.

So, upon rumination, I have decided to throw it out there for you all to decide. Let's allow the wisdom of the crowds to prevail.

With that all said, what say ye all (for the record: Burch, Beno and Dave, no need to respond. I know -- and have already tallied -- your respective responses)?

Should I buy on Friday, or sit it out for the time being? You be "the decider" as GWB would say.

Monday, June 25, 2007

I'm Back .. and So is My Father

Back late yesterday from the boys weekend at my friends cabin in Michigan. What happens at boys weekend stays at boys weekend, but given that the average age of our group is now 40.5, nothing really occurs that's not fit for these pages. Just some good old fashioned hanging among a group of great friends who because of age and geography unfortunately don't see nearly as much of one another as we'd all like. But alas, we all manage to clear this one weekend each year for a 72 hour group hang. Good times indeed.

Before I left I was talking to my father on the phone and he started to tell me about his recent trip to the urologist. I was doubled over with laughter (after, of course, he told me everything ultimately checked out ok) within 30 seconds of the story and I told him this he had to write on this for his next guest blog posting.

I sure hope no one finds this one offensive, and apologies in advance if you do. I recognize the *humor* might be somewhat lost on those of you who have never had the pleasure of meeting my father, but if you know him, you can almost hear his voice in the following and it is just classic Gerald Solomon.

So, without further ado, I bring you this guest posting (oh, and if you do like it, please leave a comment so he doesn't badger me like he did after his last posting).


Written by Gerald Solomon

The other day while taking a whiz I noticed that the fluid in the the urinal was not my customary pale yellow (like the maize in maize and blue) but rather more like pink.A second pee a few hours later was more like crimson (but I,m no buckeye). Having heard what this could mean I immediately pulled the panic button. I jumped in my car and raced to my doctors office. I called him from his waiting room and when he asked when I could come in I told him I was already in and had my zipper down and ready to go . He reluctantly agreed to see me then even though he was examining his last patient of the day. That patient happened to be my urologist.

The next step was an appointment with the urologist. As a favor he sqeezed me in at 7:30 am a few days later. I got there at 7:05 and the place was already jumping with patients. Allover the office were pamphlets my doc had written.Sexual Disfunction, Urinary Disfunction,Prostate Disfunction,and aTime magazine. Anyway a sonogram showed something that looked like it might be a stone so off to the radiologist for pictures of my insides.Tests were negative but the doc wanted me to come in for I more test.

So I arrive for this appointment this time in the afternoon. It must have been “old timers day”.Canes walkers,men so bent over they were face to face with their crotches,Finally they put me in the room where they perform cystascopies. Whoa I say to the nurse who wants to prep me , No one is sticking anything up my penis de milo just like that. This procedure has been a nightmare to me since I first heard about it 40 years ago. She brings in the doc. who tells me this test is a must for anyone with my initial symptom (blood),Well what are you going to say to that. I lie down on the table,the nurse puts a metal clothspin on my pdm,presumably so he won,t jump off the table, and puts some anethstetic on it too. The procedure is not half bad. You get to see for the first time your own uretha,prostate, sphincter,bladder,kidney and then it is over. No problems I,m happy to report.I ask the doc how soon I can have sex again. He says tonight. Great , please call my wife and make arrangements. He says” I have my own problems in that area’ .

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Howard Solomon Run for Thyroid Cancer and Other Thoughts

First off, what a great initial response to the Howard Solomon Run for Thyroid Cancer (the tenative name; I am open to suggestions). By the way Nick, you were right; the actual date is September 9th. Mark it in your calender, people.

I came up with this idea on a lark, but now it's officially "on" and it was great to hear from so many people -- Beno, Nick, Deb and Gary G, Laurie, Payro, Toddie, Zolla, and anyone else I am forgetting. Thank you all. Thanks to my father too, who volunteered to -- nap.

I haven't added up the miles yet and will do so later but I suspect we're probably up near around 100, exclusive of mine.

I'm going to set a tentative goal of 500 miles, so we still have a ways to go. So come on all ye faithful readers -- let's hear from you. I know you are out there: still haven't heard from Schultz, my lame ass brothers who never post on this blog -I don't think they read it, actually. Come on Solomon boys. I'm throwing out the challenge to you. Neil, my former marathon-running-turned-soft brother - man up and do 10. Scott. Ummm, I'll make a special exception and make a donation in your name if you run one. Seriously. Scooter, you can run three. Sellers, you can match Payro's 20 my man. Silbo -- actually, forget Silbo. I don't think he could run a yard). Hope G, you out there? I'm putting you in for 10 unless I hear otherwise. Val R -- you're the runner. Let's hear from you. CrazaMama, you have any time with those six kids of yours to get in three miles? Emily H -- come on Em -- you can easily run 6!

Everyone else, be forewarned; I know how to reach you.

If I get enough of you committed, I am going to send y'all specially-designed "race" t-shirts. Now is that motivation enough?

Oh, and special thanks to my dear father, who has graciously agreed to underwrite a good portion of this event (actually, he hasn't quite agreed to anything. This is the first he's heard of this idea. Though I am absolutely certain he'll step up -- right dad?).


There is a post I have been contemplating for a long time. It's a tough one, and one I have given much thought to: it's about people who have disappointed and let me down during this ordeal.

As I mentioned in one of my original posts, this entire ordeal has gone a long way of reaffirming my faith in my fellow man. Overall, people have just been fantastic; whether it's old friends, or new.

That being said, there's been the unfortunate side of the coin too; people who have disappointed me tremendously. Individuals who I thought were family, who never reached out to me in any capacity. Or reached out once and were never heard from again. Or family (albeit not immediate family) who lives down the street and has not once called.

Fortunately, these folks have been in the minority, but because I value friendship above all, I can't help but be bothered by this on several different levels. I am not going to name names but in the off chance these individuals ever happen to read these words, the only thing I can really say is I hope you regain your humanity and not make the same mistake twice in this lifetime. A phone call -- or even an email --takes but a few seconds from your very busy lives, but the meaning can endure forever.

I was going to go on more on this subject, but I think I'll end it here. I am trying to avoid negative ju ju on this blog. I did need to get that off my chest though

Anyway, headed out for a long weekend with the boys. I'll be back posting on Sunday, provided I have the requisite brain cells. Have a nice weekend all and start training!

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

New York Times Article

Greetings from sunny LA. I love coming to this town (I am probably here anywhere between 4-5 nights a month). Say what you will about LA, and everyone has an opinion, but the weather here is stone cold pimping.

Anyway, I'm on my flight, minding my own business, reading the New York Times when I come across an article in the Tuesday Health section titled "With Rise in Radiation Exposure, Experts Urge Caution on Tests."


The article is mostly about CT scans. Double gulp. I quote: "Though CT scans make up only 12 percent of all medical radiation procedures, they deliver almost half of the estimated collective dose of radiation exposure in the United States. A CT scan exposes patients to far more radiation than a standard X-ray and multislice CT scanners deliver higher doses of radiation than single-slice scanners."

Is there such a thing as a triple gulp?

Anyway, the article goes on -- it's a half page in length, and it is disconcerting to say the least, especially for someone like me who's had a gazillion tests, including multiple CT's the past year. Ironically, I've been focused on the amount of radiation in my RAI treatments and haven't given much thought at all to the exposure I've been receiving through my multiple radiological tests.

Anyway, if you have today's paper take a look at this article. I would link to it but can't through the hotel web browser. Page D5.

So I am reading this article and turn to my right and notice that my two fellow passengers on the other side of the aisle are trying to read this article over my shoulder, and are speaking with one another in hushed tones. I ask one of them if they would like to read it and they reply "No, we need to pick up our own copy as soon as we land."

So I ask him if he's a doctor and get this -- he tells me he works for the association that represents medical imaging devices and that he's a specialist on CT scans. He says that he wasn't aware of this article but that it could have a potentially significant impact on the industry (like he needed to tell me that - I am in PR after all. In fact, I should have pitched him on our PR services but was too interested in his take on this from my Cancerman perspective).

I explained my situation and he said, without question I've been receiving fairly significant doses of radiation, but really only through CT scans, and not the MRI, ultrasound or PET scan. I told him I was amazed how little information doctors shared with me on this subject and he intimated that this was a very delicate subject and one that is a hot button topic within the industry. I told him as a cancer patient, it's their obligation to provide patients with more, versus less information and he seemed to agree.

Anyway, pretty interesting flight and conversation. But this article validates a nagging concern I've had in the back of my head and that which I have expressed before on these pages; I am really afraid that if the cancer doesn't kill me, the cumulative effects of the treatment might, which is one reason why I am not crazy about more radiation in December.

One more reason to live my life to the fullest I guess.

LA Celebrity Watch: Chad Lowe spotting at dinner and according to one of my collegues, Brittany Spears, though I am kind of unconvinced. Thing with LA is that every other woman looks like her.

Monday, June 18, 2007

A Helping Hand

I got my first note today from someone whose family member was recently diagnosed with papillary thyroid cancer. Like me, he had multiple bad nodes and it appears as if he will need a good dose of RAI in August. Anyway, this person emailed me today and said that this blog was a help to her in understanding more about thyroid cancer. I must say I was really moved by this message. Six weeks into it I am having a lot of fun with this blog. We're reaching a stage now that up until my RAI in December, the dialogue will likely move a bit away from its emphasis, my dealings with cancer, and more towards the "mundane" but that being said, it is a privilege and honor to provide even a small degree of meaning to someone who's going through the same ordeal. That, after all, was my original intent.

Anyway, Dear Person Who Emailed Me - please feel free to shoot me a message on this blog or offline with any questions you or your family might have. I'm certainly not a medical doctor, but there's certain areas where I can probably provie guidance and it's my pleasure to help in any way possible.

What did you think about Entourage? I thought it was awesome, per usual. Walsh is a freaking scene stealer. I though Vince is a fantastic Pablo Escobar and the few scenes they showed looked great. That said, I think the writers are going to throw us a curveball and have the movie bomb, forcing Vince to make unseemly career choices to pay the bills. Hope I'm wrong but that's my theory and I'm sticking with it.

So, as promised, a little about the Dauphine Libere (heretofore referred to as the DL). Cycling is comprised of the three "majors" -- the Tour de France, The Giro (Italy) and the Vuelta (Spain). Each spring features a number of secondary races referred to as 'the classics" of which the DL is one. The DL is an eight day race which is significant in that it replicates the Tour de France in many respects, including the fact that many of the stages are raced on the same course. It's also the race where the Tour contenders (referred to as the GC) show what kind of shape they are in as thry approach the Tour ("their form" as they say.

Still with me? Good.

Anyway, in year's past, folks came to the DL looking to win; until Lance came along, that is. A few years ago, I think it was 2002 or 2003, Lance made a huge strategic blunder. He came to the DL to win (which is what Lance is want to do, given his ultra competitive nature) and he had to fight hard to do so. In the process, however, he showed some moments of weakness, including a rare bonk. He went into the Tour a month later and ended up winning, but by his smallest margin of his seven victories, and there were moments of very serious doubt along the way. The DL essentially drained him in advance of the Tour and he admitted as much. He demonstrated that it is tough to show the form necessary to win the DL and then hold that form until the Tour.

So now, the main GC guys almost do everything in their power NOT to win the DL; they use it more as a hard training ride in anticipation of the tour. At best, they might look to win a few select stages.

Ok, all that as backdrop, this was an interesting DL. Props to Moreau for his victory; at 36, it's probably his last. It was clear he wanted a last hurrah and isn't going into the Tour looking for victory. He's a terrific rider who's had a great career and he deserved this win.

I think the real revelation though was Alexandre Vinoukourov (aka, Vino) who showed excellent -- almost inredible -- form. He killed the time trial as well as multiple mountain stages. No question he's the prohibitive favorite this year. He is more than race ready. More interestingly, his team, Astana, looks really formidable. Discovery (Lance's former team) is going to have problems this year. Levi Leipheimer, the leader of Discovery, had stomach problems so it was tough to ascertain what kind of shape he is in. I like Levi and I will definitely be rooting hard for him this year, but I've said this in the past and I'll say it again; I don't think he has the killer instinct it takes to win the Tour. Vino definitely has it, though he almost is too fuled by testosterone; it causes him to make frequent and stupid mistakes. If he manages to ride within himself this year, though, I think the Reign of American's will come to an end. That said, I do think Levi has enough fight in him to get a podium spot. Either way, it should be real interesting.

Still with me? I didn't think so.

Oh well.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Happy Father's Day and a Fundraising Challenge

Just back from Arizona. Figure I'll be cooled down by Wednesday or so. Jesus H. Christ. How do people freaking survive - literally - in weather like that? Crazy Mama, care to shed some light on this for us???

Joking aside, it was a nice trip and always fun to hang with the family. Highlights included one 24 hour span which featured:

1. Summer getting crapped on by a bird at breakfast in full view of the entire restaurant (she was a great sport about it)
2. Summer running full steam into a glass sliding door (fortunately, uninjured)
3. Summer falling out of bed in the middle of the night (monster fat lip but no blood or missing teeth).

I was thinking this past weekend about what Lance calls the "obligation of the cured." Even though I am not cured quite yet I still haven't really done much to help further "the cause." Unfortunately, I really don't have the time right now to do "real work" (i.e. fundraising, advocacy, events, PR, etc.) though I will absolutely make the the time at some point in my lifetime. What I can do, though, is give money. Even though this is the easy route, it's better than nothing and at the end of the day, moneythis is what most cancer organizations need most.

So, I was thinking about a fun way of raising money. I am loath to hit you all up for money ala many other well-intentioned organizations. That's not my style. Instead, I'd rather get you all running.

Here's what I am proposing:

I invite you all to "virtually" join me on September 7th when I ran the Big Kahuna Half Ironman in Santa Cruz. For all of you who run between three and ten miles on the same day I do the half ironman, I will donate 25 dollars in your name to Thyca (see the link to the right to learn more). If you run between 10 and 20 I will donate $50 in your respective names. If you run over 20, I will donate $100. Note the use of "I". The financial part is all on me; all you have to do is run. However, if you want to donate direct, thats fine by me too, but I'm not asking you to do so.

While this is by no means the world's largest or popular blog, there's enough of you out there reading this that we (I) can make a fairly substantial contribution. It will also provide further motivation and inspiration for me personally when I do Big Kahuna, knowing that you're out there with me in body and spirit.

So, what say ye? Who is in? Let's make this even more fun and don't email me privately -- state your goal on the comments section. And it's all good by me -- if you simply want to run three, that is awesome in my book. The goal is simply to get us all running.

Speaking of comments section, my father is kind of bummed out (an understatement) that there was so few comments to his guest blog, so give him some love people, otherwise it will be hard to cajole another article out of him.

Happy Father's Day, all you fathers. Hoope you had a great day.

Tomorrow's commentary will focus on the Dauphine Libere bike race, the final tuneup to the Tour de France, which wrapped up yesterday. With the Tour coming up I warn you in advance that you are about to see a LOT of bike related posts. I recognize that this might turn some of you off, but try to hang with me if you can. Despite the recent doping scandal, pro cycling is really a beautiful sport and I will do my best to make it interesting.

Ou tof rnow; off to watch Entourage.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

The Heat

Greetings from sunny Scottsdale, AZ.

It's so freaking hot here I cannot even see straight -- and that's at 9:25 am. You know you are in the desert when the people at the hotel say things like "It wasn't so bad today, just 105. We usually start to see problems when it gets to 110" or "We had a cold spell in May. We were stuck in the 80's all month."

Seriously, both lines are true.

I like AZ and the desert panorama is quite beautiful and April LOVES the heat (biggest nonsensical line ever, btw -- "But it's a dry heat." Screw that. Hot is hot) but personally, I need to be near water. Nice place to visit but I could never live here.

Anyway, enjoyable day though I ended up having to work the entire day. Plus, good lord was it hot. I wanted to go for a late afternoon run but it was literally impossible.

Anyway, I can't complain.

Line of the day came from Summer at dinner. We were talking about the Soprano's and I was reciting some of the lines and out of nowhwere she blurts ... no joking "Mommy used to be daddy's goomah." How'd she know?

(I can't link from this computer but if you don't know what it means, go to and type it in).

That's all for now.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

The Story of My Life: As Told By My Father

Alrightee. This is the post that many of you have been waiting for; the guest blog from my father. For those of you know him, I think you will recognize his unmistakeable "voice." Those of you who are unfamiliar with him, well, let's just say that if you stick around, you'll get to to know him soon. Depending on your sense of humor, you're more likely than not to be amused.

The parameters I set forth were simple: I asked him to guest blog on any subject he wanted. I have not edited one single word, though in the interest of full disclosure, after submitting the following he did ask me to add one additional sentence which I didn't think was appropriate (the sentence, that is). If any of you are interested in seeing this "addendum", please email me privately.

Also note that the family is headed out for an extended weekend of R&R to Arizona, where, according to, the temperature is a rather tepid 113. No exaggeration. So, not sure if I'll have the ability to post (because I will likely have melted), but will try.

Lastly, thanks for the cascade of good wishes today, everyone. At the risk of sounding trite, it really means a lot; actually, it means more than you know. Heavy duty day; I sincerely hope that none of you ever find yourself in this lifetime sitting in a doctor's office, waiting the outcome of your cancer scans.

Anyway. without further ado ... the Story of My Life in less than 500 words. Also note I've asked him to weigh back in as guest columnist on a monthly basis.

Here you go:

GS sitting in for howard .we (parents and brothers scott and neil) are very proud of h. i did not have high hopes for him after his low to mediocre 4 years at Michigan. The number of English majors at the time he graduated was only slightly lower than the number of roaches in the big apple. I knew he could work because he was a relentless worker at my co. during his high school summers but for 4 years he tasted the good life of college. The first clue i had of his ability was when he went to work for my cousin who had a failing advertising co. howard ,for no pay, made cold calls and if he was successful in making an appointment his reward was to go along to the meeting. My cousin surprised me by saying that if he had h a few months earlier they might have been able to save the co. still, smoking 2 packs a day and choosing to live in off the beaten track in Greenwich village supported some of my old doubts.
It all started in the boogie down Bronx. Probably the thinnest baby born in Bronx Lebanon hospital came home to our apt. in riverdale with a 24 hour case of hiccups. Scared the crap out of us . H. was so thin he only had one side. People came to see his heartbeat thru his skin. A year later came our move to n.j and the arrival of his 1st bro. another skinny kid. They fought all the time but noone ever got hurt because there was no beef. Soon comes neil. H and n team up against s. so we buy s a dog for s. Dumbest dog ever.
Turns out h. had something that attracted most of the neighborhood kids . I think it was that he always had something to do in mind while the others didn,t.this boy of many friends continued that way thru high school. His interests were gambling (card, racetrack) and music. He liked outdoor reggae concerts where he was the only white kid. How did he survive?. He was a good student in high school and was class pres. College for h was a place to make friends and he obviously did it with a passion. Drugs? Why not?
One day he and a friend from work decide to run. Next thing i know;a marathon and no more smoking. Soon after a wife ,a good job a,move to Chicago with a chance to save a black sheep office after many top knockers tried and failed and h succeeds. Along comes the new thin baby champ,z and then his seasonally named sister. H is now running, swimming and biking and does an iron man in lake placid. I am becoming more winded than he by these accomplishments.later a transfer to s.f and more of the same except with better scenery.
Look out ; a pain in the neck turns out to be the big c. scares us all. Still h continues to do his things. April and his father and mother in law become his support team and his friends from all over come to his psychological support. The future for a kid like this should be good.better be good.i am blessed to have a fighter like his grandfather (99 years at time of death in las vegas) would have said “this kid kicks ass.”

No Surgery; More Radiation

Just got back from Dr. Clark and I nailed this one 100 percent; it's exactly what I expected and I almost posted by prediction last night -- in fact, I started to type the words, but then decided I didn't want to potentially jinx myself.

Good news: no surgery. We know definitively that there's something in there but it's small enough to be undetectable by the MRI, CAP and PET scans, all of which came back negative. So .. that's good. I just bought myself a triathlon/running "season."

Bad news: there's no getting around one more big radiation treatment. This will hopefully eradicate everything in the neck and prove once and for all that the hip is indeed clean. I won't bore you with all the details re: the hip and we'll never know whether it was in fact cancer or a false positive but man has it proven to be a pain in the ass.

Anyway, that's that. Radiation will probably be a 100 milicures, which is slightly less than the 150 dose I had back in September. I will have to go through hypo/diet hell one more time and I will need to go into isolation for 72-96 hours. The family will once again need to clear out fo the house. But now I get to live blog with minute-by-minut updates!

So, the radiation sucks but such is life. You do what ya gotta do as they say.

So .... that's it; about as expected. I wouldn't exactly categorize it as "good" news because my November and December will be an immense hassle, but in looking at the flip side, I guess it could be worse.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Survey and Other Thoughts

The time has come for a new pair of sunglasses for my biking and running. I stumbled upon these, which look pretty cool and have obvious appeal. The question is, will I look like a total Fred?

Your opinions and comments are welcomed.....

I am pretty certain Tony died. I watched it again last night and the evidence is pretty overwhelming. What's even more incredible, though, is the public's reaction to the last five minutes. At the risk of deep hyperbole, I am fairly certain this will go down as the most controversial and discussed scene in television history.

By the way, the first 1 hour was just ok. Interesting but ok. It was the last five minutes that transformed it to the realm of epic.

On the topic of TV, I watched the season debut of Big Love last night. It is very well acted and written and it's a fairly interesting and certainly unique subject, but the problem as I see it ... it just isn't captivating. I don't think it's capable of achieving "A" level status in the spirit of other great HBO shows such as Soprano's, Deadwood and Entourage. The thing about the great shows is that they immediately leave you anticipating the next episode .... and by this measure, Big Love fails. I'm guesings that's one of the reason why it got relegated to the graveyard shift (Monday night). It's still early but I think the same fate might be in order for John in Cinci.

The Yankees won again tonight; their sixth straight. Clemens is back and Wang and Pettite are pitching well. A-Rod is killing it like it's April redux and all of a sudden, baseball is getting a heck of lot more interesting.

Despite their May swoon, expect them to be competing for a wild card spot. That being said, fair is fair and I must say that the Red Sox are formidable this year. This team scares me -- even more than the 2004 squad. They have an exceptionally deep line-up a great rotation which is only going to get better as Dice-K figures things out, and the best reliever in the league in Papelbon. They also seem to have good team chemistry, which I personally believe is vastly underrated in the game of baseball.

Tomorrow is Dr. Clark appointment. I'm looking forward to finally getting some firm direction in terms of next steps. Send out good vibes.

Lastly, look forward to a guest post from my inimitable father on Thursday. It's written and in the last stages of editing. Be sure ot check back; it promises to be a good one.

Monday, June 11, 2007

Good Deeds

I'm not a terribly religious person (though given my circumstances, perhaps I should be giving this more consideration), though I would say that I come from a "traditional" Jewish background.

Despite being a somewhat lapsed Jew, there's a certain tenet in Judaism that has long resonated with me on a personal level; the concept of performing daily mitzvot. Regardless of whether you are Jewish or not, I suggest taking a look at this link; it is relevant to everyone on this planet, regardless of race, religion or creed.

The simplified version is this (actually, I'm not sure if what I am about to write is in fact the "technical" description. Instead, consider it my own personal interpretation) is that everyone should strive to perform frequent good deeds for others for reasons that have nothing to do with personal gain. You should make an effort to occasionally do something good simply to help make the world a slightly better place. Maybe you help someone you don't know who's out of a job with networking; maybe you help an old lady cross the street. Both are perfectly good examples of mitzvah's.

I've tried my best to abide by this code but since my diagnosis I believe I've been a tad too self absorbed and haven't made it the priority in my life that I have in the past. So, with this in mind I've been making an effort of late to keep this top of mind both at home and at work.

I'm not even remotely spiritual but I'm a big believer in karma and in the concept that what comes around, goes around. It takes minimal effort and time to help someone else in need and you have to think that in the end, the universe has an uncanny way of settling all debts.

Anyway, that's my diatribe for the evening and that's about as "heavy" as you'll see me get on these pages. Tomorrow I'm sure I'll be writing about very important subjects such as the Soprano's, Big Love and the lack of good television during the summer months.

That said, I suggest that you give this concept a real life whirl.

In fact, start today.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

And That Was That

Wow. Not exactly sure what to make of The Last Episode: it was so unexpected (in a less than dramatic manner, I might add) that I think I need a night to process it. I will say, though, that the last five minutes was very interesting. I thought for sure Tony was going to get whacked in front of the entire family. Perhaps he did; I guess we'll never know for sure. More on this later and feel free to weigh in with your thoughts.

I'm about 10 minutes into John from Cinci. We'll see if this one makes the cut. Little too quirky for my taste.

Beautiful weekend here in in Marin, CA weather and action wise; a few representative photos are attached. Things kicked off on Friday with Summer's graduation from nursery school; it was pretty darn cute. Yesterday's highlight was the Colt's season ending game. Z man ended the season in fine fashion, going 4-4 though he unfortunately failed in his season-long effort to squeeze a hit past the pitcher. What can I say though -- he tried hard, took it seriously and had a lot of fun in the process. Can't ask for more than that. Following is a picture of Z and a few of his fans, who surprised him a colorfully adorned "Go Zevan" sign. He was more excited about his fan base than the game itself.

Z went on a trip with a friend today so we took Summer on a brief hike on one of our favorite trails in Tiburon. This one features unbeatable views; it looks straight into San Francisco on one side, and the Bay and San Quentin prison on the other. Alas, our bucolic family hike was shortened by my hike-resistant daughter, who had the line of the weekend, "I'm going to die of walking." Classic.

Training wise, did an 1 hour 15 gnarly ass trail run yesterday morning fromTennessee Valley straight up Coastal Coast trail. It's one of the toughest trail runs out here and all in all, I felt pretty good. Swam a little over 2 miles this morning at my Sunday am master's swim followed by a 3.5 mile trail run and think I am finally rounding into half decent shape. I'm hoping Dr. Clark gives the no surgery word on Wednesday so that I can salvage a season.

Friday, June 8, 2007

Random Musings and a Special Shout out to My Sister-In-Law

Well, Ms. Summer is offically a nursery school graduate: the ceremony was this morning. Her name was announced, she walked across the podium, hugged her teacher and got her diploma. Just like that, my little baby is a nursery school graduate. Next up: college.

The highlight of her day was that all kids in her class were given a yearbook and man, is she stoked on that. I'll post some pictures this evening

I'm burned out on cancer talk, so nothing else on that subject until I meet with Dr. Clark on the 13th.

I am finally starting to work myself back into semi-respectable shape. I ran 5 miles last night and for the first time in a long while felt pretty good. I picked it up the last 2 miles and was probably running sub 8 pace. I woke up very early this am to get in a Computrainer ride (for all you cycling dorks out there, the main set after warm up was 4 X 8 minutes at 150, 165, 180 and 195 watts.) and felt fairly decent on the bike too.

I was reading on my Yahoo newsgroup that it takes 4-6 weeks after going hypo for TSH levels to come down to normal levels. I think that would be fairly consistent with my personal experience; it's taken me about that amount of time to feel like my old self from a training standpoint.

Speaking of Summer, by the way, she appears to have moved on from the boy she kissed last weekend. She announced this morning that she's now in love with a young man from her class and as it turns out, they are going to the same school next year.

If the cancer doesn't kill me, she will.

Since my father seems to be such a hit on this blog, I think I am going to ask him to pen a guest column for next week. Lord only knows what he will write (presuming he agrees at all) but I am certain it will be entertaining, to say the least.

Last, but certainly not least, I want to send a huge, special, enormous shout out and hug to my sister-in-law, Penny, who's going through some serious medical issues of her own right now.

She's a fantastic person and the best sister in law a boy could ask for. When April had her bout with cervical cancer (more on this later, btw) a few years ago, Penny flew in to Chicago to help out within matter of days without us asking. She was right there for me as well. All of us adore her, but most especially my kids; she's like a second mom to them. Get better soon, Penny; we love you and will hopefully be out there soon to visit and help out.

(While I am on the subject: shout out to my main man Gaga too!)

Thursday, June 7, 2007

Enter the Scanman

Anyone get the reference in the title of this post? Special prize to the first person to respond correctly.

Before I provide an update on the scans, I must say that while the Red Sox may have won today in Oakland, I am loving the fact that Schilling lost a PERFECT GAME with 2 outs in the 9th. Hope you enjoyed your one hitter, Curt.

Ok, so, here's the update:

Got to the hospital this morning at 7:15 am. At 7:45 they had me changed into these pajama things and stuck me in ye olde cylinder. This one was gigantic: a real bad boy. For this one, they gave me earplugs because of the noise it creates when filming. After putting them in, they put a Hannibal Lecter-like mask over my face. I was then moved into the cylinder and this thing proceeded to POUND for about 45 minutes -- and I mean POUND. I couldn't even hear myself think. It was like sitting in the damn engine of an airplane. They pulled me out it at about the 35 minute mark, gave a contrast IV and then took more film. I don't mean to bitch and moan, because short of the IV's the scans are all essentially painless but man, I have to say that these tests -- and I've now had countless CT's, MRI's PET's, CAT's, ultrasounds, etc. -- are disconcerting, to say the least. All I can say is I am *truly* glad I am not claustrophobic. I do take solace in the fact that the technician was super nice -- and cute, too, for that matter.

I should have results of this one next week.

The ultrasound was far less egregious. For all of you with kids, it's basically the same thing they do to the wives stomach to examine the child, only on the neck. I was there for about 45 but this technician (also cute, btw, not that it matters, dear wife who is certainly reading this) kept me highly entertained with her stories (divorced a doc, remarrried a doc, from California, likes horses, lived in FLA, lives in Marin, etc. She was pretty funny). She also told me that UCSF was renowned for it's ultrasound and that people literally travel from across the world to see Dr. Clark (my surgeon) which I obviously find encouraging.

Anyway, the big news from ultrasound: they couldn't find the damn bugger. And she looked everywhere. Which leads her to conclude it's either hidden, or a remnant of tissue vs. a lymph node.

So, here's how things have shaken out:

-- we know there's uptake of radiation into the thyroid bed
-- PET scan is clean in thyroid (no uptake)
-- MRI is still tbd
-- Ultrasound shows nothing.

What does this all mean? I have no freaking clue. Guess we'll have to wait and see what Dr. Clark has to say on the 13th. One thing I have definitely learned the past year: there's no sense trying to figure these things out. You really need to be Zen about it and put your trust in the experts, or you run the risk of making yourself crazy. Cancer is without question NOT the best disease for a true control freak.

Lastly, I spoke with my father today and he seems to feel badly about his comments on the blog. He said he wanted to stop posting and just send me email. I told him that he could do whatever he wanted, but that I thought his comments were the best thing about this thing and that most of you probably agreed. So let's put it to a vote: should he continue to post (I vote aye) or is his idea of self-banishment a good one?

Wednesday, June 6, 2007

Going Buggy

"We make honey and keep the flowers seeded."

And with that line, my son's career in theater was born. Not sure what kind of career it's going to be however: I think his sister is the one with the flair for drama. His mother too, for that matter.

Anyway, tonight was the premier of his second grade play, "Going Buggy." He was a bumblebee. I must say, it was pretty much the cutest thing I have ever seen. Pictures to followin a few days.

Short post tonight. I need to get some sleep and prepare myself for:

-- the upcoming NBA FInals, aka The LeBron James show. Man, did he bring the noise against hte Piston's. Exclusive of game one, that was a postively Jordanesque performance.

-- my date with nuclear medicine tomorrow; I have to be at UCSF Cancer Center at 7:30 am for my neck MRI and CT Scan. Let's see if we can't find that little f($*%*er of a lymph node.

That's it; full update in the am when I am done with the scans.

I'm going to see if they will take a picture of me in the CT canister for your viewing pleasure.

Tuesday, June 5, 2007

Music Time

Well, it appears as if my father of all freaking people- one year ago he didn't even know how to spell internet, now he's Mr. Online - isn't grooving on my TV reviews. Speaking of which, Summer is officially here: TV viewing is so bad that I am actually watching Dog: Bounty Hunter. And the scary thing is it's not half bad. Oh we've come a long way from a mere two weeks ago, when we were looking at a Tuesday night lineup of American Idol, House and Boston Legal.

So, in respect to my old man, we'll move on to a topic which I have yet to address and which I am sure he will appreciate even less than TV: music. More specifically, alternative music. I'm saving some music-dedicated posts for the dog days of Summer, but thought I'd list out five albums that I strongly recommend.

I am fortunate to have a great group of guys who "share" much of their music with me, so I'm fairly in tune with what's new, what's "hot" and what's "not." For a 41 year old, I feel somewhat dialed in to the music scene, though these guys are light years ahead of me.

Frankly, I'm not personally digging many of these new, ballyhooed bands, but if you have the time and disposition to sift through it all (which is what I do during my weekend long runs) there are some gems, including without further ado, my five recommendations:

1. Perry Farrell's Satellite Party: Ultra Payloaded

As many of you who know me are aware, I am a huge Jane's Addiction fan. In fact, they are probably my second favorite band of all-time behind The Clash. While I think Perry has peaked with Janes, even when he produces something that's a bit uneven, such as this album, it's better than 99 percent of other other stuff that's out there. Plus, who but Perry would ever doing anything as wacky as pair up with the guitarist from Extreme? This album is getting better with each listen and is highly recommended. Furthermore, he had a great appearance on Howard Stern today and his wife is SMOKING hot. Perry is most definitely the man.

2. The Teddybears

Who are these dudes and why have I never heard of them before? Another album that is a tad uneven, but the good songs are off the hook. "Punk Rocker" with Iggy Pop is one of the best songs that I've heard in a long while. I heard it on Alt.nation on Sirius (by the way, if any of you drive for more than 30 minutes continuously during the day, then you MUST buy Sirius. At only $9.95 a month, it's an incredible value. Or conversely, you can do what I just did and buy a new car that offers six months of free service. More on that later).

3. The Arcade Fire: Neon Bible

I was inherently skeptical as I thought this album was a bit overhyped, but there's no denying the fact that it is very, very good. I think pound for pound, these guys are the most talented band to come around in years. I think they are one of the few bands out there -- I'd put The Killers up there too -- that are capable of attaining "super band" status, ala U2. In order for that to happen, their next album will need to be a classic. By the way, on the topic of The Killers: I really am not sure why the pundits were so down on Sam's Town. I think it is excellent and arguably even better than Hot Fuss.

4. Smashing Pumpkins

This bad boy isn't even out yet but based on the recently released single, Tarantula, I know it's going to just rock. If Jane's is my second favorite band of all-time, the Pumpkins are a very close third. I'm kind of bummed that they are getting back together though, for the very selfish reason that I thought it pretty cool that I was at their last show (and ended up partying with Billy Corgan at his after party, a story which I will save for another day).

5. LInkin Park: Minutes To Midnight

I take tremendous shit from some of my indie snob friends (hi Beno!) for this one, but what can I say: I like music that rocks. I'm old school like that. And there's no denying the fact that Chester and the boys rock. And when you are on a Computrainer, suffering like a dog while pedaling at 210 watts for 5 minutes intervals, well, Linkin Park is just the ticket for keeping the legs moving. And for the record: LP is what Lance listened to while warming up for the Tour. So, if it's good by Lance, then it's certainly good by me. While this new album is a tad softer than I would have preferred, it is produced by the master himself, Rick Rubin, and all RR productions are pretty darn solid.

Five others that didn't make the cut, but merit mentioning, include:

-- Silversun Pickups, Caravanas. This one is very Pumkin-esque and is *very* much growing on me
-- Deerhunter, Cryptogram. Another one which I have owned for a while but is starting to now grow on me
-- Feist, The Reminder. This one is deserving of the accolades. My only thing: it's a bit of a downer and I haven't exactly been in the mood for downer music of late for obvious reasons
-- LCD Soundsystem, Sound of Silver. For all you technoheads, this one is just pumpin.'

Test: dad, you make it to the end of this post? My guess is no. If you've made it htus far, please leave another borderline inappropriae comment.

That's it for tonight. Long day and longer tomorrow.

(Ps. The Dog Bounty dude is a total bad ass. Anyone know anything about this show?)

Monday, June 4, 2007

Ultimate showdown: Tony vs. Phil

Man, that was some Soprano's last night; maybe the best ever. After a fair to middling last season, I have to give credit where credit is due: they've brought their A+ game this season. The pace has escalated in each successive episode and last night it went to a whole different level. My only issue: I am just not certain how they are going to resolve so may open ended issues in one hour.

Regardless of what they resolve or not, it's gonna be one hell of a conclusion.

I think the big surprise next week is going to be that Paulie is in cahoots with Phil. That would explain why he wasn't labeled one of the "big three." It also would explain the botched hit on Phil. Last night was Phil's night, but I think Tony exacts his revenge in the conclusion. I still maintain my position from a week ago that they won't kill Tony off. I do think however we're in for a big surprise -- and that surprise will be a member of Tony's family -- AJ would seem to make the most sense - getting killed by accidently getting in the way of a failed hit on Tony. That might be a stretch but regardless, I think Tony gets himself off the mattress, whacks Phil in a mano e mano confrontation and consolidates his power. Roll credits.

So, let's hear it from the peanut gallery: what's your prediction?

In regards to Entourage, I felt that though it was a really good episode last night, it got overwhelmed by the Soprano's, which in my opinion is a first. Still it was great, due in strong part to the return of Shauna (one of the best female characters in all of TV, btw) and Walsh ("The creative juices are flowing, Suit. I'm going to shoot the whole thing in Spanish.")

Despite what promises to be a crazy process filled with Walsh-ian drama, Medellin is going to be a big hit and Vinc is going to get his Oscar. The Boys always end up on top in the end. Except Drama. His show will likely get canned, leaving Vince to bail him out yet again.

Lastly, this new show, John from Cincinanati, looks pretty interesting. Definitely going to get a tryout, as ironically enough, a friend of mine from Cinci would say. We'll see what happens after the first two or three episodes (the period of time in which, unfortunately for me, both Rome and Deadwood failed their respective tryouts.)

Beyond that, not much to look forward to from a television perspective this offseason (read: Summer). We've got the Tour de France and Entourage and that's about it. Here's to hoping for a new variation on Rock Star Supernova.

(PS. My doc finally called me up tonight and confirmed that the PET scan was good news. He expected to see uptake in the thyroid and was encouraged that there was none though the RAI scan is more of a complete test than the PET vis a vis the neck. He said this week's neck ultrasound and MRI will be very telling.)

Sunday, June 3, 2007

Summer's First Kiss, Triathlon Race Report and Other Random Musings

Ok, so picture this: after being out late Saturday night, Summer walks in our room at around 7:30 am and proceeds to whisper a "secret" in April's ear: evidently she and a boy who shall remain unnamed kissed on Saturday while at Z's baseball game. The two of them "went behind a tree" (her words) and apparently he planted one on her.

Pretty hard to ascertain what really occurred as it involves 5 and 4 year olds. Anyway, by approximately 10:30 am I was at the little fella's house (mostly to pick up Z, who had a sleepover with his big brother). The little boy was pretty smart and simply denied, denied, denied. A wise tact - I was impressed by his acumen. So I had no choice but to give him the benefit of the doubt. But in the event he's reading this blog, he should know I'm out there keeping a keen eye on him. You got that, Little Man?

Man. Kissing behind a tree. This is how it starts, isn't it?

BTW, as I type this, the Yankees and trailing the Sox in the 7th. I will throw up if the Yankees lose again after giving up a big lead. Literally. Just thought I'd share that with you all.

So, I did the tri last night. You know you have picked a weird sport when you suffer like a dog for 1 hour and 15 minutes and yet they call it a "sprint" distance. These shorter distance races are like racing a 5k; the distance isn't so bad, but you suffer at a greater intensity.

Anyway, if I can offer myself a moment of self-congratulations: a big "Word" to me for finishing. Pretty cool that one month ago I was massively hypo and yesterday I was able to complete even a sprint distance tri. That being said, it was a pretty dumb move especially given that I've swam about four times, biked twice and gone for only a handful of runs. I realized on the bike that I was simply there to finish and I think it was my knowledge, not my conditioning, that got me through this one. That said, and even though I was getting passed left and right, I was pretty darn stoked to be out there. Between this race and Vineman half ironman back in July, which I raced less than 90 days from my thyroidectomy, I'm not sure if there are many people who could do (or are crazy enough to try) what I've done vis a vis completing races shortly after surgery/treatments.

Ok, all that being said, here's the other side of the equation. I have come to terms with the fact that I really suck. I think a combination of these treatments, going hypo, etc. coupled with age, have had a cumulative effect and there's little to no question in my mind that my days of doing PR's are over. I used to be a good solid middle of the packer who was capable of busting out the occasional strong performance; now I am a tad more towards the back of the pack. But I think I'm at peace with this: there's something liberating about not having to worry about "racing." Instead, I can simply give it a good go while focusing more on enjoying the day.

So, on to the race itself. This was the first major evening triathlon in the Bay Area and it was super cool. The race started at 5:00 pm on Saturday. I've probably done about 30, 40 triathlons in my day and this was definitely a first. The race was smallish and they had only three swim waves. I was in the second wave, which was all males -- probably about 200 or so of us. Unfortunately, the problem with the short distance swims is that there's not enough time for the swimmers to string out and form a line. So, it was like a gigantic washing machine: significantly worse than a longer distance tri. I never really got into a rhythm and was smacked in the head a half dozen or so times. It was gnarly. The other problem: the water was freaking freezing. It was the first time I've ever been in the Bay, and holy freaking cow. the temperature must have been no more than 62. It literally took my breathe away. Thankfully, I brought my westuit, which I rarely do anymore.

In regards to the bike, if you ever look at a course description for a race in Northern California and it says "rolling hills" that's a load of crap: it means get ready for some ugly hills. I think the bike was about 11 miles and it was hilly enough that I never got into the aero position. But -- it was along the water's edge and was quite beautiful. And the run was the run. I walked up a massive initial hill and then dialed into a consistent pace. I didn't pay much attention to my watch and am guessing that I finished the 5k run in about 25 minutes. Slow as hell for me but again -- whatever.

And that's about it. I think it took me longer to write this than it took to finish the damn race. All in all a lot of fun, and much more laid back than many of the other tri's I've run the past few years. I suspect this is what the vibe must have been like during the 80's halcyon days of triathlon.


A freaking Rod just hit a homer off Papelbon with two out in the 9th! Let's go Yankees!!! Let's close it out, Mo!

Friday, June 1, 2007

Weird Day

Had two highlights to my day, coupled with a very weird and disconcerting incident at my doctor's office. I said yesterday that if I didn't get the answers I was looking for today I would unleash my fury, so stick around through the next paragraph for a good story.

First, the good. Had a great swim this am with my boy Dave. Nothing like swimming outside in the California sun while sharing a lane with your main boy. Today's set, in the event anyone could care less, was: 400 warmup, followed by 6 X 75 (kick/drill/swim) followed by 14 X 50's (most at race pace) followed by 2(4X100). Rocking workout. Second update: Yankees beat the Red Sox. It's always a good day when the Yanks beat the Sox, even though the Yankees season is on the precipe of being a complete and utter disaster. I plan a dedicated posting on this subject soon.

Ok, on to the incident with my doc. And by the way, Dave is my witness that all of the following is true. I was pretty heated up about this earlier, but will try to strip out the emotion and just give the facts.

So ... I still hadn't heard back from my doctor at around 10:30 am, so I called up again and said that I would like to pick up my PET scan report for my surgeon. I also asked if I could meet with my doc while I was there for two minutes so that he could explain the results. I thought this was a reasonable request. The receptionist responded that he wasn't in and that he left yesterday for a conference.

I told her that I could not believe he hadn't called back and that it was proving to be so difficult to get a simple answer to an important question. I added that I thoguht they were being cavalier about this and that as a patient with cancer, I deserved an answer to my question.

Unbelieveably, she told me, and I slightly paraphrase here, but not by a lot, "You call with a lot of questions Howard and we generally get back to you fairly quickly. But this time we didn't. I am sorry. But you are not our only patient."

It took every ounce of composure to not explode.

For the record, I have certainly called in the past with questions, all of which were legit. I happen to have cancer and there are several nuances to the treatment so I called for clarification. Pretty much what any patient would do. But I have notbeen a pain in the ass nor have I overwhelmed them with questions. And for the record, in certain instances they have in fact responded quickly and in others, they have not; April is my witness to this. And I have never, ever behaved like a prima donna, as she implied by telling me that I'm not their only patient. What bullshit. For the record, I am in the services business. If a client called me with an issue -- even if it was one of my smaller clients -- never in a zillion years would I EVER respond with a "sorry, you are not my only client."

Well, when I got to the office ten minutes later to pick up the report, the doctor's assistant was waiting for me with her hands crossed and her face red. She was pissed (an understatement) about the cavalier line. I told her I was sorry, but I'm incredibly frustrated by my inability to get a simple answer to an important question. I reminded her that I had cancer, not a cold. Incredibly, she then changed tact and told me that she agrees, she would be angry if she were in my shoes, but (I paraphrase) "I told the doctor that you wanted to speak and he didn't call you back. After I leave him a message to do something what else can I do?"

I could go on but you probably get the point. Beyond frustrating; at times it feels like being stuck in a Kafka novel. So -- I get no answers to Monday, presuming of crouse that he calls back.

Ladies and gentlemen: I give you our wonderful health care system.