Hello Cruel World
Wednesday, March 29, 2006
*Dancin'* — looks like I'll live a little longer yet <relief>
The incidence of breast cancer has gone up about a percentage point every year since 1940.

'Good' News? Going Amazonian, but: From all the tests they've done so far, it *looks* like there are no other signs of the cancer spreading beyond its main body and the nearest axillary lymph node. Greatly relieving to my most fearful worries.

The surgeon wants to operate on me next week. Because the bodily damage is less than my previous operation I may only have to stay in hospital for a week. He says that most people can return to work between 4 and 6 weeks after that, and they would usually let me recover for some while more before starting further treatment.

After the operation, when they've had a chance to look inside, and can study what they take out closely to see just what it is, we'll be discussing the best alternative for further treatment. It all depends on which type or combination of the many treatments available seems to be best, given all the information we'll have by then.

General Information from
www.abc.com.au/ health/ library/ breastcancer_ff.htm

From www.fenceliners.com.au/ news.htm
The Radical Mastectomy
The Sentinel Node Biopsy
by Paul Crea FRCS FRACS. General Surgery, Surgical Oncology and Breast Surgery.

See also www.breasthealth.com.au/index.html (tho' it's freezing up the browser at the moment).

Why I'm lucky - one reason I'd hesitate if time travel became practicable.
Thank goodness for anaesthetics (& of course antisepsis).

A small memorial to Fanny Burney's September 30th, 1811 mastectomy: with only "one wine cordial" for her anaesthesia, she endured "the most torturing pain. I felt the knife rackling against the breast bone -- scraping it! cutting against the grain, attom after attom" until "the air rushed into those delicate parts, and felt like a mass of minute but sharp & forked poniards."

www.abc.net.au/ rn/ talks/ firstper/ stories/ s1308221.htm (Thursday 21/04/2005 at 10.45am, as part of Life Matters, in Real Media Format)
www.abc.net.au/ rn/ talks/ firstper/ audio/ firstper_21042005.ram Read by: Kate Roberts
Also at
www.wesclark.com/jw/mastectomy.html - the full letter
www.asylumeclectica.com/ morbid/ archives/ morb0801.htm — a brief excerpt given at the entry for August 7, 2001

Welcome to Tit-Bits, a website for women with breast cancer
www.titbits.ca (this site requires the latest flash drivers)
Here you can:
  Share your thoughts and feelings about breast cancer with other women;
   Post art work, poetry, and other ramblings about living with breast cancer;
  Exchange practical titbits for surviving breast cancer;
   Download cool creative projects to help with the healing process;

Get Tit-Bits - hip, hand-knitted breasts - [shop, not patterns]

Knitting Patterns
www.straw.com/ cpy/ patterns/ cot_chenille_boob.html


PDF of knitting pattern knittwotogether.typepad.com/ TitBitPattern.pdf

A sort-of-related clothing company www.toughtitties.com

www.flickr.com/ photos/ spike55151/ 50874304
www.flickr.com/ photos/ 18575352@N00/ 90232901

An alternative to the knitted version
www.sff.net/ people/ lucy-snyder/ brain/ 2006/02/ tit-bits.html

Comments, discussion, etc.

Ah, chemo; Yes, chemo: Can't live with it; Can't live without it.
This links to a bunch of personal stories, comments and definitions
{If my courage fails, this might be an alternative to the usual injections: www.everything2.com/index.pl?node_id=1323675 }

Carpe diem, quam minimum credula postero
Enjoy today, trust little to tomorrow.
     From Horace's Ode I. xi. 8.

You can translate it literally as pluck the day.
Not to be confused with carpe deum which means "God is a fish"
[See also www.everything2.com/ index.pl?node_id=583853 ]

Ah, but I am torn in warring pieces. Hope/relief war with fear, frustration, anger at myself for what I haven't got done in the interval since my last illness; grief wells up with reminders of my mother's and my partner's deaths (anniversary) and flows together with grief for my body - to be mutilated again - for my strength, and growing hope I had of getting clear of shadows of despair, for the world and our society that seems to be heading in a disturbing direction instead of the great possibilities that could be opening up.
Four Years Gone
I remember days I spent with friends since dead, words and gestures no one knows but me, stories of which I am the sole custodian. They fill my heart sometimes ‘til I can think of little else. I remember days with friends who live still, the trivial stuff a sane man would have long forgotten [from Chris Clarke]

Just this stuff, y'know
Who Cares What You Think?


Sunday, March 26, 2006
ThinkGeek :: PC HabiCase
"Now your small rodent(s) can always be by your side when using the computer! The PC HabiCase allows your gerbil, hamster or mouse to live INSIDE your computer. Ample room is provided for climbing, or your pet can hang out in one of the two 'play pods' located at the front and top of the case. Heat from your CPU ensures your rodent will be warm and comfortable in a climate controlled environment.

The PC HabiCase features anodized aluminum construction with a side window port to more easily monitor your pet. The quiet low-speed 120mm fan allows your rodent to live comfortably without fear of hearing damage."
Friday, March 24, 2006
Testing Times
Big day yesterday. The night before I went to stay at some friends', who live only a 20 or 30-minute walk from the hospital, instead of an or or so by a couple of buses from where I'm staying now. So we talked & so forth in the evening to keep me from worrying too much, made sure I had a good dinner, then didn't eat after when I had to start my fast, and they made sure I woke up in time.

The first appointment was for 8:30 in the morning, with the last to start about 2:00 in the afternoon, and a series between back and forth in the medical centre for pathology and X-rays and nuclear scans, blah, blah, blah. As usual my veins were unco-operative and tricky to work with, so my hands and arms ended up patched all over with cotton wool and tape or bandaids. That's one of the most offputting and difficult things, just relaxing and holding still while someone is probing around inside you with a needle trying to thread it into a vessel, or even find one. But they weren't too bad at it, even around the site of the biopsy (he took four cores, I think) isn't much bruised.

The scans and X-rays are easier, and can be almost relaxing (except for mammograms, which are awkward and uncomfortable, but bearable). You are often laid down, they give you supports if you need to be on your side, and the machines move over you, or move the table you're on into or through the detectors. For some reason, the light levels are often fairly low too. It might be more difficult if you are feeling sick or in pain, but I'm not feeling too bad at the moment. I've been practicing some kinds of simple meditation and/or visualization for these situations. And I was better prepared for some of the possible effects of the chemicals, which caused a disaster on my way home a couple of years back from the last CT scan.

Might write a bit more about things later, but I'm still feeling a touch poorly.

Something to chew on: The Median Isn't the Message, by Stephen Jay Gould
Retail Distraction: Portable brain augmentation device
Sprint PPC 6700: A Super Model
The most stunning hardware feature of the PPC 6700 is the slick, slide-out QWERTY keyboard. The keyboard slides to the side, which leaves the device feeling more balanced than a device with a keyboard that slides out the bottom. Another feature I liked: When you slide out the keyboard, the screen automatically displays in landscape mode. The keyboard is big enough for even the large thumbed among us.
It's the first device to offer the Windows Mobile 5.0 operating system. This has the following cool features:
    A built-in PowerPoint viewer
    Charts in Mobile Excel
    Pictures with your contacts
    Customized ringtones for contacts
    Persistent storage (no lost data)
    MiniSD card storage
    1.3 megapixel camera
    Can be used as a modem
    Pocket MSN

The Sprint PPC 6700 comes loaded with Pocket MSN, which you can use to access your Hotmail, as well as maps, weather, news, and other MSN content services on any Windows Mobile powered device.

This device uses mini SD storage cards. I slip the mini SD card into an adapter and have never had a problem moving my music library between different devices. I change devices frequently, so being able to use the same storage card is a plus for me.

Another stellar feature is persistent storage. This means that your personal data and the third-party software you install are stored in non-volatile flash ROM memory. The big advantage is that you don't lose your data if your battery runs out of power.

Recommended in Unmistakable Marks: In Which the Future Surreptitiously Arrives
They were too slow, too clunky, too limited, too stylus-oriented, and just generally not quite all there. But the PPC-6700 suddenly and amazingly nails it. It’s not any one thing about the device that makes it into magic future-tech instead of just a nice try, it’s the confluence of several things. First, Windows Mobile 5, which is the first version of Windows Mobile (nee PocketPC nee Windows CE) that’s actually designed to work well as a phone. Then there’s the side-sliding keyboard, which is an absolutely brilliant (and obvious in retrospect) design that makes the keyboard big enough to be usable while simultaneous making the screen more useful for computing purposes (Windows Mobile is smart enough to automatically re-orient the screen when you slide out the keyboard; it’s slick). Then there’s the connectivity: EV-DO, which is broadband-ish speed over the air (for only $15 a month extra, unlimited, with Sprint); WiFi, if you happen to be in a WiFi-able place; and Bluetooth, if you want to hook up a headset or whatever.

My fear when I bought the thing was that it’d end up just being a clunky phone, and that the PDA/Internet aspects of it would be a novelty. Not so. With the smooth notification system and contact integration, it’s the best damn phone I’ve ever used (though to be honest, it probably helps in this regard that my last phone was five years old). And the Internet capabilities are good enough that when I was doing some morning Internet browsing in a hotel, I didn’t even wish that I had my laptop with me. After a month of living with this phone personal communications device, I can’t imagine going back to a plain ol’ phone. No email? No web? No way.

I don’t want to sound like a salesman here, because the thing isn’t perfect — it’s still a little bulkier than would be ideal; it feels a bit less well-constructed than I’d prefer; and there are a few quirks of the software that I’d like to see changed (like the screen coming on when it checks email) — but it’s rare to get something that’s even better than you were expecting, and it’s even rarer when it’s the thing for which you’ve been waiting impatiently for years.

Saturday, March 18, 2006
Humour Distraction: Jon Carroll, 14th March, 2006
I do understand that this is not a funny story. I certainly oppose public drunkenness, and I oppose irresponsible physicians, and a drunken doctor is no laughing matter. A drunken surgeon is even less of a laughing matter.
Therefore, it must be true that I was not laughing when I read the tale of Dr. Federico Castro-Moure being hauled out of the operating room for allegedly being drunk and belligerent.
     Further, the event happened at Highland Hospital, which is about seven blocks from where I live and thus will be the place they take me when I fall down on the street. Not that I plan to fall down on the street, but really — who does?
     And yet, when I thought about it, this is what happened:
Friday, March 17, 2006
Doctor Update
I had thought that yesterday would be a whole series of tests, but all they wanted was a set of (quite uncomfortable) X-rays. From that they could tell that the tumour was quite substantial, and that the nearest lymph node had started to get involved. So they'll definitely have to slice out quite a sizable chunk. Now, though, they want a set of other tests — CT scan, radioactive bone scan, biopsy & blood tests — to get pictures to guide the operation, to see if it's spread out to anywhere else, and also get some cells to see how advanced it is, how malignant. That will be next week, the results will go to the surgeon/oncologist(s). and I have another appointment the week after to hear what they've found, and their ideas for further treatment. Nicely situated pretty much on the anniversary of my partner's death during my introduction to the last lot of cancer.

So things are still rather up in the air. Probably operation will come first, then some kind of therapy/ies. Previously, they did radiotherapy and chemotherapy to shrink down and weaken the tumour, then operated to take it out, then did more chemotherapy to destroy any remaining malignant cells, but that was in a different part of the body. According to the surgeon, the recovery from this surgery is usually quicker than the really serious assault on my body that the last operation was. He does say that the recurrence within 5 years is less of a worry than if it were the same type of cancer returning. And it looks like this is from a separate source — though I suppose the biopsy might throw some light on that. Well, we shall see.

Up! - Jumping into Life
kat.uprush.org/2006/03/i-would-not-call-myself-hedonist.html ... As we are preparing dinner last night, she asks, if you had to give up one sense, which would it be?
Wednesday, March 15, 2006
Really shit bad news from the Doctor. Either the old menace has cropped up, or a new one arrived. Have to get tests done and consult with surgeon/specialist on Thursday to get a better idea of just how bad, and how much of me they're going to carve off this time — hoping that they think it's worthwhile to do it, and aren't just going for "making me comfortable". Visions of Monty Python's Black Knight, having more & more bits lopped off.

I've told a couple of the people quietly at work. Ones I've known for a longer time, and who've been through my troubles, and the illnesses and deaths of other workmates. Some of them have had their own troubles too.

It's bloody scary. If the news is really seriously bad, I may sell up a bunch of the stuff I got dumped onto me when my partner & family died off. It's been taking up an awful lot of my worry, time & energy since, but I was planning on using it to get me through my old age once settled & organised. If there won't be an old age, and without children or close relatives to inherit, except for the bits I want to leave to some charities & fund my bequeathed artistic heritage, I may as well use a chunk to get my surrounds into good shape so I can expire relatively comfortably instead of making my existence even harder as I slide downhill.

Maybe take a couple of trips to nice places, that I haven't been able to get back to since everything fell apart, like the hill between Marulan & Goulburn, or the spot on the ridge in the Blue Mountains, or the Penrith Regional Gallery. Even back to the parts of Europe Chris & I visited. Or New York to see the Cloisters and the Flatiron Building, where I've never been yet.

The Merck Manual of Diagnosis and Therapy: www.merck.com/mrkshared/mmanual/sections.jsp

Morbid small-hours thinking. I'd best to bed & sleep. Keep strong and healthy; rest, eat well, step by step, one day at a time. Wait to hear what more informed opinon is once they get a good look.

Some quite true remarks here: It's Not Gonna Be OK, by Mark Allen (2003)

    Quid opus est partes deflere?
    What need is there to weep over parts of life?
    Tota flebilis vita est.
    The whole of it calls for tears.

Non quid sed quemadmodum feras interest.
Not what you endure, but how you endure, is important.

[Quite a few good & thoughtful things at bornthoughtdied.blogspot.com/2005/10/moral-essays-of-seneca.html ]
Tuesday, March 14, 2006
An Online Conversation
FL: The script for this [US] administration is written by a team including Franz Kafka, Karel Capek, Groucho Marx, and William McGonnagal. That's the only sane explanation of which I can think.

RS: You're trying to think of a sane explanation? Well, there's your mistake right there. I think it was Sam Clemens who pointed out that the reason why truth is stranger than fiction is that fiction is required to make sense.

CH: Which is why Fletcher Knebel (author of Seven Days in May, Vanished, et al) stopped writing political fiction after Watergate -- he said the truth was so strange that he couldn't write anything that was still fiction but believable.

Ep: Tom Lehrer is reported to have said "It was the moment satire died ... What could I come up with that could beat that?" when Henry Kissinger won the 1973 Nobel Peace Prize (or words to that effect, SMH interview)

One of my lasting memories from the Sydney Olympics was looking across the floor at the Greco-Roman Wrestling finals (historical, and a great spectacle in itself, which became a 'must-see' for me decades ago after watching the wrestling scene in Topkapi) to see Henry Kissinger and Juan Antonio Samaranch sitting cosily together ready to hand out the medals.

Others managed to hook up with eligible Danish princes ... mutter, mutter, grumble
Friday, March 10, 2006
Life on the Ocean Road
I've just returned from Cargolaw's three amazing pages on the stranding of the MV APL Panama outside Ensenada. (Thanks to Ranter) It's hard to type with my jaw in this position.

They say they are taking the photos off because they are slowing down the links, and they are large photos & slow-loading so GET THERE NOW!

Maybe someone can volunteer to set up some separate photo pages for them so the big ones are off the main page.
In fact, I hope someone volunteers to give the site a bit of a go-over. Unless they're deliberately doing it in that style for some kind of post-modern ironic grunge credibility — "we're so serious about our work that we can't pay attention to style or design, or sometimes spelling". Yes, it's a fascinating place, but gee, it's quite tiring trying to read it.

UPDATE — March 10 2006: SHE FLOATS !!!!!
www.signonsandiego.com/news/ mexico/tijuana/ 20060310-0913-bn10ship.html
yorkshire-ranter.blogspot.com/ 2006/03/ more-stranded-giant-container-ship.html
M/V APL Panama — aground near Ensenada, Mexico since Christmas Day 2005 — was floated away from the beach at 4:41 a.m. March 10!!!
Monday, March 06, 2006
Rejected Letter to an Editor
NRMA applauds reduced bus lanes Rejected Letter to an Editor — Monday, 6th March, 2006
Why do those complaining about traffic congestion in the city want to reduce and make life harder for buses? One average bus takes the road space of three or four cars, but carries over 40 people. Nearly all commuter cars carry just one.

So cars take 10 times more road to transport the same number. Then they need 10 x space at destination to sit waiting all day for the next trip, instead of serving more people as buses do, and 10 x space at home overnight, at the shops, sportsgrounds, etc, etc. No wonder there's sprawl & congestion.

If people are to be persuaded out of the self-destructive addiction to cars, alternatives need to be usable, or political pressures will perpetuate our inevitable decline.

Sunday, March 05, 2006
From Star Wars, The Musical
originally posted 22/2/2006
www.starwars.com/community/ event/celebration/f20050419/indexp4.html
Threepio: (quickly) ... I am programmed to adapt to whatever functions you may require of me...

    I am a high-grade model of a multipurpose service droid,
    I've information on each planet, nebula, and asteroid,
    I know the inner workings of most anything mechanical,
    I'm friendly with all life forms both organic and botanical;
    I'm very well acquainted, too, with matters mathematical,
    I calculate the odds, and my reports are quite emphatical;
    About your moisture 'vaporators I think they make perfect sense,
    Of course, I know the Bocce verbs in future and imperfect tense

    I'm fluent in six mill-i-on or more communication types;
    I know the shortest distance to a hundred good vacation sites;
    In short, I will excel at anything for which I am employed,
    I am a high-grade model of a multipurpose service droid.

    Jawas: In short, he will excel at anything for which he is employed,
    He is a high-grade model of a multipurpose service droid.
    Threepio: I can tell you local time on Alderaan and Coruscant,
    I'm capable of changing lights, from neon bulbs to fluorescent,
    I'm programmed in politeness, I say "thank you," "sir," "madam," and "please,"
    I'm not too good at telling tales -- unless they are in Ewokese
    Though I know all the mountain scapes and which sand dune is hillier,
    Though I can't put my finger on why this place is familiar --

THREEPIO pauses a moment as OWEN looks guilty.

writers Kris "Rogue" Shindler and Jess Suess, arranger Steve Peters
The Star Wars: Musical Edition was transformed from just words on paper when Shindler moved to Boston and began working with the MIT Musical Theatre Guild, a student-run community group." ...

The reaction was very positive, and the project proceeded. But due to technical limitations, the Board recommended the ambitious trilogy be pared down to just the first act, A New Hope. It was an editorial decision not too different from the one George Lucas made when first writing the original Star Wars.
The Star Wars: Musical Edition debuted to a sell-out audience in February 2003. "We sold out six out of the eight shows," says Shindler. "We tried to cram in as many people as we could, and even added performances. But we still unfortunately had to turn people away."
As with all live theatre, the show is constantly evolving, adding the latest jibes and topical humour
The musical kicks off with the spirited "Trilogy Tonight," a saga-spun incarnation of "Comedy Tonight" from A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, and Seuss intros the show as the beflanneled director
"In the original version we had Luke, because that made sense. It was a parody of the Forum song, and in that, it's the main character doing the intro. But then I thought it'd be perfect to have George come out in jeans and the flannel

    Motti: Walkers!
    Han: Fast Talkers!
    Leia: Complexity!
    Ben: Dyslexity!
    Rebels: Reprise!
    Imperials: Spies!
    Luke and Vader: Sons!
    Leia and Han: Buns!
    Everyone: Gamblers!
    No Roman gods
    None Greek or Norse
    Just a Jedi learning the Force
    Dark side and Light side
    Which he must decide
    We promise it turns out all right
    Hobbits tomorrow
    Trilogy, trilogy, trilogy,
    trilogy, trilogy, trilogy,
    trilogy, trilogy
    Trilogy tonight!

Star Wars Trilogy: Musical Edition
November 11-12, 16-19, 2005 at 8pm; matinee performances at 2pm November 13 and 20

massachusetts institute of technology www.mit.edu/~mtg/PastShowsPresent-2005.html

Theatre Guild strikes back with 'Star Wars' spoof
web.mit.edu/newsoffice/ 2005/starwars-1109.html
Sarah H. Wright, News Office
November 9, 2005

The Boston Globe
My Fair Leia? MIT troupe turns epic into a musical (printer-friendly)
www.boston.com/ae/ theater_arts/articles/2005/11/06/ my_fair_leia_mit_troupe_turns_epic_into_a_musical

Erich Kastner, writer - part of his story
Erich Kastner at the Looniverse

To establish the proper atmosphere, this is as good a place as any to show a sample of the bill you got for having your husband killed by the Nazis for political, or any, reasons.
Hangman's Bill
The Hangman's Bill
Yes, you were supposed to pay for the execution (or else...) It comes to a total of what now must be well over $6000. They even charged you 12 cents for the stamp to send you the bill.
A Sample of Erich Kastner's Poetry
Kennst du das Land, wo die Kanonen blühen?
Du kennst es nicht? Du wirst es kennenlernen!

Do you know the country where the cannons bloom?
You do not know it? You will get to know it!

[Mein Gott! I actually know the poem this is based on - I did an amateur translation of it, used on Chris' Memorial Site.]

Kennst du das Land, wo die Zitronen blühn,
Kennst du es wohl? Dahin! dahin

Do you know the land where lemon blossom grows,
This land you know? To there! To there;
And in the year of 1933 my books were burned with dark festive splendor in Berlin, on the large square next to the Opera, by a certain Mr. Goebbels. He triumphantly called out the names of twenty-four German writers, who symbolically had to be eradicated for eternity. I was the only one of the twenty-four who had appeared in person to witness this theatrical insolence...

Crystal Night, 1938

When, on November 10 1938 at 3 o'clock in the morning, I drove up the Berlin Tauentzien in a taxi, I heard glass tinkling on both sides of the street. It sounded as if dozens of wagons full of glass were being turned over. I looked out and saw, on the left and right, a man standing in front of about every fifth house, each using an iron rod to smash store windows with mighty blows. The job done, he walked over to the next shop with a measured pace and, with powerful calmth, dedicated himself to that one's still intact window-pane.
Except for these men, wearing black breeches, riding boots and civil jackets, there was no human being in sight. The taxi turned into the Kurfürstendamm. Here, too, men were standing at regular distances and with long bars smashed "Jewish" show windows. Each one seemed to have some five to ten windows for a job. Cascades of glass fell down, crushing on the concrete. It sounded as if the entire town existed of nothing but crashing glass. It was a drive right through a madman's dream.
Between Uhlandstraße and Knesebeckstraße I asked to stop, opened the door and was just putting my right foot on the street, when a man emerged from the nearest tree and softly and energetically told me: "Don't get out! Drive on at once!" It was a man in hat and cloak. "But listen", I started, "I just wanted to…" "No", he interrupted threateningly. "Getting out is forbidden! Get on your way at once!" He pushed me back into the car, beckoned the driver, threw the door shut, and the driver obeyed. On we went through the ghostly "splinter night".


Nothing too serious, even from Mr Ballard
Look back at Empire
JG Ballard waited 40 years before writing about his experiences in a Japanese internment camp. Here he remembers how Hollywood hijacked his childhood memories to create a deeply moving film
The Guardian, Saturday March 4, 2006

Experiences with new technology
The Roomba Revolution: www.earlygirl.com/roombaloo.shtm
Roombalicious (Grinding of Gears 17/5/2005)
Also see the sage of Two Lumps twolumps.comicgenesis.com/d/20050321.html in severall continuing episodes

Another entry in the giant Cute v Porn battle for hegemony over the Net
Shrove Tuesday - www.stuffonmycat.com/index.php?itemid=883
Cubby - www.stuffonmycat.com/index.php?itemid=882

a nice day out kayaking (video)

I don't think this skating comes from the Winter Olympics (video)

CNN on Sydney Mardi Gras: javascript:CNN_openPopup('/interactive/us/0603/gallery.gay.mardi.gras/frameset.exclude.html','770x576','toolbar=no,location=no,directories=no,status=no,menubar=no,scrollbars=no,resizable=no,width=770,height=576')
Thursday, March 02, 2006
Light Reliefs
This 300+ page index job gets to my brain sometimes
Some light relief
(some may go for www.northernsun.com/n/s/2130.html ), as a felinophile, perhaps I should go for www.northernsun.com/n/s/2104.html

(Some variations on Fish stickers)

Powered by Blogger
Feedback by backBlog

 / . Lives in Australia/New South Wales/Sydney, speaks English. Eye color is hazel. I am what my mother calls unique. My interests are photography, reading, natural history/land use, town planning, sustainability.

This is my blogchalk:
Australia, New South Wales, Sydney, English, photography, reading, natural history, land use, town planning, sustainability.