Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Kanrei's Episode Three

I am quite happy with my Special Edition plots for the Star Wars prequels; about as happy as most who write fan-fiction are with their work which I realized I had done, so I am going to elaborate on the one scene I really would love to see: the betrayal of the Jedi in my version.

I don't change much in how it ends as far as Vader and Obi Won's fates, but how it happens changes greatly.   I see the Jedi on a volcanic planet being lead down a dark valley by Vader and Obi Won with Vader in the lead.   Vader and Obi Won have joined them to help clear the name of the Jedi after the terrorist attack of the last movie was blamed on them.   It is believed the real source of the attack is hiding on this planet.   As the Jedi pass the pitch black walls of valley, above them, one by one, red light saber blades start to emerge.  They don't notice at first as slowly over 100 blades begin glowing above the 20 remaining Jedi.   It becomes clear the Sith were waiting and this is a trap.

As the Jedi begin to notice the glowing red blades of the Sith, Obi Won also notices Vader has moved about 20 feet away from the pack of Jedi with his back to them.  Obi Won calls out to his student to be careful as Vader slowly turns around to face Obi Won with a smirk on his lips and his own red bladed light saber is unleashed spelling out to Obi Won exactly what has happened.  Without hesitation, Obi Won launches a full assault on Vader allowing his rage to take over and the Sith overpower and slaughter the Jedi.  Vader's smile grows as he taunts Obi Won with the fact that it was Obi Won's uncontrolled rage that made Palpentine pick him to train Vader.   It was Obi Won's style of being a Jedi that allowed the Sith to infiltrate the Jedi Order.  It was Obi Won's trust that lead to the downfall of the Republic and it was Obi Won's friendship that blocked his ability to see any of it.    The more Vader taunts, the more rage Obi Won feels, and this rage forces Obi Won to not just defeat Vader, but to mutilate him all while screaming and revealing his own personal feelings for Padame, feelings he didn't even know he felt.  In a final act of vengeance against his former student,  Obi Won purposely leaves what is left of Vader alive.

Yoda, who has been missing since the first movie contacts Obi Won to come to the Dagobah system and bring Padame with him.   He infers it is her children who are the only hope for the galaxy.   Yoda further reveals Vader only knows about one child, not the twins, and that he knows it is a son.   It is decided it is best to separate the twins with the one Vader doesn't know exists remaining in the Republic to learn the insides of the system while Obi Won would go into hiding and would  watch over the son, eventually contacting him to reveal his true place in the galaxy.

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

My Star Wars Prequel Special Edition Plot

Been thinking about the Prequels and I think we need to Special Edition them.

Phantom Menace would introduce the true Jedi Knights. They would wear armor sort of like the Stormtrooper's wear, but slightly different to show their higher rank. Obi Won would be assigned by the leader of the government a new student named Anikan Vader to train. Anikan would have a secret assignment as well that would slowly be revealed where he was to commit an act of terrorism against the Republic that would appear like the Jedi did it. The first movie would expand on and explain the possible rift between the Jedi and the Republic; possibly Yoda sensing evil in the Republic's leader. Padame would be introduced, but not sure of her role. First movie ends with the Jedi being sent off by Palpatine (except Obi Won and Anikan who are assigned to protect Palpatine) to deal with a created crisis far from the capital. At no time is it spelled out Anikan or Palpatine are evil, but it is hinted at.

Second movie starts with the Jedi heroically dealing with the created crisis as the terrorist act they are to be blamed for happens at home. Palpatine makes a speech condemning the Jedi for leaving and hinting they may have been behind the attack. The rift between Obi Won and Anikan starts as Obi Won knows something is not right, but Anikan defends Palpatine. As Palpatine expands his power to protect the Republic from the Jedi threat (and crushing those he deems pro-Jedi), the surviving Jedi start to make their way home unaware of the changing climate. Ends with the audience seeing Obi Won starting to fall for Anikan's lies about Palpatine thanks to Padame's defense of Anikan.

Third movie opens with Obi Won and Anikan linking up with the remaining Jedi under the guise of coming to aid them as they have now become aware they were set up. It is mentioned Padame is pregnant back home with Ankian's child. Obi Won goes to hear their side, but Anikan has been sent to lead the Jedi into a trap. Anikan and Obi Won lead the Jedi to a volcanic planet in the name of clearing their name, only to suddenly expose a Sith army lying in wait for the Jedi. It is at this moment Obi Won realizes how he was betrayed by Anikan and the slaughter beings. Obi Won is the only Jedi to escape, deforming and almost killing Anikan in the process. Palpatine rewards Anikan's loyalty by saving him and promoting him to the title of Darth; Dark Lord of the Sith while Obi Won takes Padame, who unknown to Darth Vader, gave birth to twins. One twin, a daughter, is kept right under Vader's nose while the other, a son, is sent off to live on a far distant desert planet and given to a family with the name "Skywalker." Vader knows he has a son, but not a daughter.

Tuesday, December 08, 2015

Yesterday's Thoughts Continued.

Following up from yesterday:

Let me tell you a story.  Sit back and relax, but this won't take long.   Parts of this story will be exaggerated for both dramatic effect and to inspire you to look it up for yourself.  I will point the way and give you a guide, but it is up to you to connect these dots.   Ready?

Once upon a time, Europe was falling one nation after another to a fascist, nationalistic, and racist government.  As each nation fell to this mighty force of evil, certain members of those nations who were deemed less than human by the evil force were relocated to "re-education" camps to learn how to better serve the new evil force.   When the sheer number of these sub-humans kept growing, it became a problem and a final solution was proposed to deal with these poor cretins.  

But not all who were conquered supported this cleansing.   A ship was commissioned,  the MS St. Louis, and in 1939 it set sail with 908 poor subhumans on board searching for a nation to take them in.  First was Cuba where they were denied entry.   Next came an attempt to find sanctuary in Florida, but the US said no as well.   Canada was the next port where help was sought and was the third nation in a row to turn down the refugees.   So back to Europe they went where England and a few other nations agreed to take in some of them, but as nations fell, many of those refugees found themselves right back in the very same situation they first fled from.  In the end, well...
"Of the 620 St. Louis passengers who returned to continental Europe, we determined that eighty-seven were able to emigrate before Germany invaded western Europe on May 10, 1940. Two hundred fifty-four passengers in Belgium, France, and the Netherlands after that date died during the Holocaust. Most of these people were murdered in the killing centers of Auschwitz and Sobib√≥r; the rest died in internment camps, in hiding or attempting to evade the Nazis. Three hundred sixty-five of the 620 passengers who returned to continental Europe survived the war."Source

I know there are people screaming again about Godwin's Law, but dammit if you don't want to be compared to Nazis, then STOP ACTING LIKE NAZIS!   I studied history and I learned from the past because I don't want to repeat it.   I have seen directly what becomes of refugees when we decide we have filled our quota of immigrants from a specific area or of a specific ethnicity.    We talk a damned good game of freedom, equality, and noble pursuits, but we suck at follow through.  Let these Syrian refugees in!

There is nothing to fear from the refugees.   Why bother with refugee status and loopholes when you can come into America as a tourist or on a student visa like those who have actually attacked us have done.   Refugees are too well watched compared to tourists and students.

The ports are safe.  Thank the mafia for that.  Same with those drug tunnels coming from Mexico.  Thank the Cartels for that.   Neither of those groups want more government attention on them and they know all it would take is for one attack to be traced back to either route for those organizations to suffer greatly.    Right now our attention on terrorism has given them a sort of clearance to do business as normal so long as they keep a lid on it and I doubt they want to risk that.

Limiting access to guns will help, but using something as vague as the Terrorist Watch List, which I believe accepts anonymous tips to add people who would then be denied their Constitutional rights without confronting their accusers would hardly be American and if we start denying basic rights based on anonymous tips, the terrorists win.   Where would it stop?   Imagine losing your right to speech, a public trial, legal assistance, a defense, etc all because someone said you could be up to no good.   Even more frightening, imagine this due to some clerical error and your name was placed on the wrong list.

We have too much to lose to willingly give it up for the illusion of security.   We cannot possibly be guaranteed giving these right up will protect us, but we can be guaranteed giving up these rights would forever change our nation and remove the very ideas we are willing to die to defend.

Sometimes life really does break down to the famous Rocky quote: Life isn't about how hard you can hit; its about how hard you can get hit and keep going.

Monday, December 07, 2015

A Brief Moment of Serious Thought

When I blog on that other site, I tend to find myself defending Muslims quite often from blanket accusations and hate.   Eventually someone always says "funny that a Jew would defend a Muslim when that Muslim wouldn't defend a Jew."   I can't tell you how offensive that question is and how telling it is of the person who asks it, but I am going to try in the name of posting something since it has been a very long time and this is where my mind is headed.

First is this stupid idea that a Muslim wouldn't defend a Jew.  Do people really think this is some kind of global war where all members of a faith are drafted in and happy to engage in the fighting?   Do you really think any one faith is centered around killing, violence, and death?  Is your's?  Because that is what they probably think and if they are wrong about you, can't you be wrong about them.

Have you read the Quran?   The Torah?  The Talmud?  The New Testament start to finish?  More than once?   Studied and compared it?   Did detailed analysis of each and its place in the context of the times in which it was written?  Looked at the symbolism, the metaphors, and the analogies contained within each?   Me either.    So we can't really talk with knowledge about any faith, can we?   Bet we haven't even done this with our own faith, so we can't really talk with any knowledge about our own either.   Funny, huh?

I have done some research recently out of curiosity and I will share it with you about the context of the word "Allah" in Islam and to whom they speak when the Quran threatens the lives of those who don't believe in Allah (which is probably a metaphor, but I can't back that up).   The short answer is "Allah" is G-d is Jesus is Adoni is the Flying Spaghetti Monster is whatever you believe is god.   Weird huh?   So technically, almost everyone believes in Allah.   Don't believe me?


Let there be no compulsion in religion: Truth stands out clear from Error: whoever rejects evil and believes in Allah hath grasped the most trustworthy hand-hold, that never breaks. And Allah heareth and knoweth all things.
--  trans. Yusuf Ali, Quran 2:256

AKA: You can't force someone to worship Allah as you do.  So who or what exactly is Allah?

First of all, it is important to note that "Allah" is the same word that Arabic-speaking Christians and Jews use for God. If you pick up an Arabic Bible, you will see the word "Allah" being used where "God" is used in English. This is because "Allah" is the only word in the Arabic language equivalent to the English word "God" with a capital "G". 

So everyone who worships a god worships Allah and you can't force someone to pray the same way you do.    Pretty much means everyone killing in the name of Allah are not very good Muslims, are they?  Also means there is no reason why a Muslim wouldn't defend a Jew, does it?

Now at the risk of violating Godwin's Law, I must bring up Nazi Germany.  I apologize, but it is necessary to why I defend Muslim accusations.   I'm not going to recap the history (you're welcome), but I am going to quote my favorite poem from the era which I think sums my position up perfectly:

First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Socialist.
Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Trade Unionist.
Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Jew.
Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me source

I'm going to stop for now and let that sink in.   I'll have more later about the refugees and why we need to take them in.

Wednesday, November 04, 2015

Obi-Wan is the True Villain

So we all think we know Star Wars so well.   We think that first movie tells us the story that is continued in the rest of the saga, but what if we are wrong.   We already know George Lucas loves to alter his work and change the story on a whim, so what if we never really saw Star Wars (that first one so long, long ago in a theater far, far away) for what it was?    What if those "Rebels" were really terrorists and Luke Skywalker was simply a tool being used and manipulated by a bitter soldier from the losing side?  Think I'm crazy?  Challenge accepted.

First and foremost I must recap the legend of Obi-Wan.  Obi-Wan "Ben" Kenobi is the last of the Jedi Knights; an order of mystic warriors who acted as a sort of Police Force for the government.   A student of Obi-Wan's turned against the Jedi, slaughtered them, and forced Obi-Wan to fight and defeat him and go into hiding.  The end.  Sounds heroic, right?  I agree, but myths often are.  

When we first see Ben as he is now being called, he is a hermit on an obscure desert planet, supposedly in hiding and he comes across a young man who he saves and let's it be known he has been watching this boy and knew this boy's father who he says was killed  in the Jedi slaughter.    He promises to teach this boy all about his father and help him avenge his father's death.  Still good, right?  The only problem is that this is all a lie and I don't mean some of it; I mean all of it.

First things first and should be quite obvious is that Obi-Wan "Ben" Kenobi is not in hiding at all.  For one thing, he is still using the name "Kenobi" and more importantly is still wearing his Jedi uniform.    This is not obvious in the first movie and probably not intended, but as the series continued we learned that Ben's desert attire wasn't just what one wears in the desert as we first assumed, but was the uniform of the Jedi, an order extinct in the universe.  How in hiding are you if you are using your name and still wearing your uniform some 30 years later?   The Jedi slaughter and growth of the Empire wasn't exactly some small and unknown event.  If the remaining Jedi were being hunted, then why is he  using his name and wearing his uniform?   What kind of insane freak still wears the uniform of a defunct army 30 years after the war?   Wouldn't someone say "look, isn't that a Jedi?"

Next we have Princess Leia's mission.  Star War opens with the Rebel ship fleeing a gigantic Star Destroyer (possibly the coolest opening in movie history).   The ship becomes damaged and the Princess sneaks stolen information off the ship and it lands on a random planet.   This planet just happens to be where the guy she was looking for was in hiding AND the son of the bad guy she is fighting happens to live.    The means she uses to get said plans off her ship happens to be the robot made by the bad guy when he was a child.   How many coincidences do you need before pattern emerges?  Her ship doesn't slow down due to damage, it stops because they arrived at their destination.   The robots were brought along because it was known Obi-Wan would recognize the robots of his former pupil.   Basically, more evidence he was never in hiding at all.

After Ben saves Luke, he takes Luke to his home and begins telling Luke the story of his father.   He tells Luke his father was a great pilot and a hero; he paints a picture of a man Luke instantly falls in love with as it fills every dream a fatherless son has of who their dad was.   He then tells Luke that Darth Vader betrayed and murdered his father and hands Luke his father's old sword.   Come on!  He flat out lied and manipulated Luke to find and kill his own father.   Basically, Obi-Wan's final revenge on his former pupil is to have the son kill the father.   What a demented sick old bastard!   Darth Vader isn 't even the "Big Bad" of Star War, but only a lackey of Tarkin.   Killing Vader does nothing to aid the rebellion against the Empire: this is a personal vendetta Kenobi has against Vader with Luke a tool.

It is funny in an ironic way how Lucas altered his story so much that his heroes have become villains and terrorists.

I hope I have some friends left after reading this.

Tuesday, November 03, 2015

My Tattoo

It had been haunting me; bouncing about in the back of my head for years, but something I would never do.   I was afraid; both of the pain and disappointing other people, but it was something I wanted.   My friend Miguel said "maybe it is something you are not supposed to get," but I countered "because of my fear it is something I HAVE to get."   He was the only one in on my internal debate and didn't think I would go through with it.  Neither did I actually.

My first design idea was "7/30/13" which is the day I was diagnosed and my world changed.   I would place it on my upper right arm, inside flesh so it would be hidden by a sleeve and remain a tattoo just for me.   Some people I would propose hypothetical tattoo ideas to with that date would say it was a bad idea because it was a bad date.   Everyone assumed it was a negative thing and wondered why I wanted to commemorate that date given my life changed and not for the better from their perspective.  And while I think of that date as a second birthday, I decided not to get it just because I didn't want a lifetime of justifying the idea and trying to prove it was a good day in the long run.   So the tattoo was back on the backburner but the desire was still haunting me.

While in Captiva, I decided on a new placement for my mythical tattoo; my right wrist.  Still a place where it was just for me, but also a place where I could see it.   The coward in me also felt that if girls could get a tattoo there, so could I.   And I could hide it by my watch if need be.  All I needed now was a design.

My first design stuck with me and a date on my wrist was pretty much decided, but it still didn't sit right thanks to the advise of others.   I still didn't want a lifetime of justifying it to everyone, so I started thinking about what means something to me.  My faith is a guiding force and a defining aspect of how I see myself.   While not religious, I am spiritual and believe in many of the Jewish philosophies found in the texts.    And I have spent the last two years of my life fight for life.   2+2=4 and Jewish faith + life = a Chai.   Decision made, but courage still lacking.   Then I had another operation and ended up in Hell.

While sitting in my hospital room and feeling miserable, a show came on about only survivors of plane crashes and, since NOTHING was on, I watched it.  It was OK for the most part and not half as depressing as I feared it would be and it sealed the deal on my tattoo with something a survivor said.  She said "life had put scars on me and changed my body in way I never wanted, so I found the courage to do it in a way I did."    That was it: I was getting a tattoo, but when?

Months went by and the tattoo stayed on my brain.  I began watching those stupid tattooing shows on TV and reading about them.   My rule was "if a design stayed in my mind for 6 months that I wanted, then I could get it for a lifetime."   I went about 3 1/2 months before I found myself driving to the tattoo shop at lunch one Friday.    Without thinking, I walked in and inquired about getting a tattoo.   The artist on duty was busy, but they said they could call me when he was done if I left my number.  I had a way out and didn't take it.   I left my number and went back to work as lunch was over.   I could still not do it.

My cell phone rang around 1:30 and they were ready.  Again, without thinking I asked my co-workers if I could go run a quick errand and they didn't ask where to, so I went.   I paid before my tattoo was started, so my window of backing out ended quite quickly.   By 2:10 I was back at work with a bandage on my arm that nobody noticed.   Weird huh?

So that is the story of my tattoo done in a quick and probably incomplete fashion.   I might have more to say later.

Monday, September 28, 2015

Officially Worthless in Case of Zombie Apocalypse

Depressing headline, right?  Yes, I'm back and feeling better after my Hell Ride which I will discuss soon, but not today.   Today I am discussing a disappointing aspect of my colostomy bag: I am officially worthless in case of a zombie uprising.   And NO, I have not been training, but who doesn't dream?  

I grew up on dystopian fantasies from zombie movies to Mad Max films to Escape from New York to Metalstorm.   Yes, I admit to seeing Metalstorm.  And I always have that thought in the back of my mind; especially in hardware stores.  "Crowbar?  Yup, would need one of those.  Oh, look at that knife!  That would make me look bad ass!   Bet that sledgehammer would hurt a zombie or two. "  Like I'm the only one: admit it!

Anyway, with this colostomy bag, the apocalypse would really be a pain in the ass.   Sure, not having to stop to take shits would be advantageous, but the constant need of medical supplies would probably be hard to accommodate in the end times.   I could rinse out bags, sure, but the wafers that stick to my skin would eventually be no good and then what?   Duct tape?   Gorilla tape?   Sounds painful.

This kind of sucks.  

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

From Five Days Post-Op

This was dictated into my phone over the course of Monday night and Tuesday afternoon from a hospital room in Tower 3 of an unnamed hospital.

So this is a hospital post on the night before I am to be going home.   I'm a little doped up right now, so it might be interesting.

For the most part my experience has been the stuff nightmares use to scare other nightmares.  Of course it hasn't helped much that my anti-depressants were somehow overlooked in all the chaos my first three days in, so I am sure things in my mind were not lining up with events happening around me.  I do know for a fact the pain medication I was on was causing me to hallucinate rather extensively.   I definitely recall lying in my bed and "Watching" the television and enjoying a really funny cartoon until I actually opened my eyes and saw the History channel was what was actually on.    There were also a few times that people came into my room and spoke to me and when I opened my eyes, the room was empty, but I quit taking that pain killer after 4 days because I was not enjoying it at all.    The drug is quite strong, but the effects are short lived while the negatives are rather long lasting.    The negatives outweighed the pain relief in the end.

The Hospital has been a mixed bag.  South Miami Hospital was phenomenal service with occasional bouts of badness.   This hospital (which I was born in) has been the opposite in every regard.   I think the main problem is that they have gotten way too big while trying to keep the same costs that they had as a small hospital.  The end result is a lot said about patient care being number one (although they did state their goal was "very good care" and not "excellent"), but they lacked the resources to give that care.     For example, they were supposed to check on my every hour during the day and every two at night, but six or seven hours would go by with nobody checking on me.    Seems (according to a technician) that they tend to leave younger patients alone more as they said young patients take offense to offers of bathing or the nagging of getting up to walk.   Let me assure you that I was incapable of doing any of it on my own and would have loved offers of help.       This aspect was made even more ironic by the fact that my neighbor is an 87 year old woman who had to have her grand daughter "remind" her that the nurses were there to help and she needed to stop hitting them.

In the "warts and all" spirit of this blog, it is time for some blunt honesty: I can say without any doubt I had a complete and total mental breakdown on Saturday and I would like to apologize to every single soul I had to deal with or, more to the point, had to deal with me on that day.   Not one person saw me; they saw the effects of withdraw, fear, helplessness, and a lack of anti-depressants.   They saw something I had never seen before: a Brad without any control and lost in fear.   Apparently as I demanded they transfer me to another hospital I said "I never feared cancer killing me, but I honestly wonder if this hospital will!"  I've been embarrassed about it since.   Happily, Sunday they started my antidepressants and all was good mentally again....or was it (Dun, dun, DUUUUUN!!!!!!!)?

I am going home on Tuesday (tomorrow from the perspective of writing this).   Well, not all of me as half my colon is staying behind.   The surgery turned into something out of Gilligan's Island as a three hour tour just extended and extended.   I was told the operation ended up lasting almost six hours with just one hour alone dedicated to nothing but removing of scar tissue from the chemo and radiation.    While my rectum was originally going to be removed and I was to be sealed there, they found just far too much damage to leave enough tissue to seal the area if they had removed the rectum, so instead it is detached from every other part of my body and will just be a souvenir of days long gone.   History Channel and HLN are my constant companions although no amount of high quality hospital dope could get me through either Nancy Grace nor Dr Drew.

End of Monday's babble portion and now the start of Tuesday afternoon's:

I can honestly say that I am a little scared about my future right now.   The colostomy is an entirely different world  from the iliostomy, but it is still a change and if I am going to be honest (and why would I bother writing if I weren't going to be?) I will admit to moments of wondering if I actually can do this for the next 50 to 60 years and if I really want to.   That is a very long time; longer than I have been alive.   I think this is a thought any sane person would have at this moment where we just passed the point of no return, but I also know given what I have already endured that I can endure much worse and come out smiling.  I bet this is something I can go through over and over again; although I am NOT looking to put this theory to the test so slow down Universe!

I am going to miss peeing in bed.   I am not going to miss the room, the TV, or the solitude...and the solitude was my choice.   I told everyone who offered not to come and even told my parents they didn't have to wait until the operation was over before leaving because it would be late.    I told them they don't have to come visit me because all I do is sleep, but they did.   You cannot stop a Jewish mother when her son is in the hospital from doing anything.    You stand a better chance of convincing North that it is South.

See, the thing is that I don't want people I care about to see me the way they would in a hospital bed; as I see people in hospital beds.   Few things are more sacred and private to me.    While I don't show it often, I am still human and some dignity it appears has remained and my vanity doesn't want those in my life sitting around in a room as I have a scar on my stomach, a bag of shit on my chest, tubes in my nose draining my stomach, and IV's hanging off my arms.  It is just not a memory I want people to have of me.    Everyone did ask if my mom was my wife or older sister though.   She was flattered.

I'm tired of transcribing right now.   Will finish this later.   I am out, free, and alive.  Also happy and having a Diet Coke: my soul desire from that hospital hell: they only had Pepsi!  Can they get nothing right?

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Pre-Op Thoughts

I know I have a prohibition against blogging while taking medication, but my surgery is tomorrow so I really have no choice.

Last night was monumental; it was a historic moment in my life    Last night was my last traditional bowel movement. Last night was the last time that I sat on a toilet.  Last night was the last time I wiped my arse.  Last night was the last time period.

It is very strange doing something for the last time.   And it is not like when one says "this is the last time I'm going to have a cigarette" he says as he smokes out of nervousness.  This was an honest to G-d no looking back no second chance no changing your mind last time I was going to do something and I knew it going into it.  Countless times in our lives we do numerous things for the last time, but how often do we go into it knowing it?

I've never enjoyed bowel movements.  I'm sure that is actually a stupid statement as nobody enjoys it.  They come at inconvenient times and create odors that can clear the most congested nasal passage.    But then again who doesn't really enjoy a good shit from time to time?   I can be the only one who occasionally feels deep satisfaction with what I have created sometimes, am I?     TMI again?   Sorry...

Without the daily bowel ritual, how will I catch up on my reading?  My news?  Am I supposed to sit there pretending I'm just constipated until I finish that next chapter?  Is it even possible for me to read and retain what I read without a toilet attached to my ass?   Does anyone really read without one attached to their's.   I bet there is one attached to you as you read this.

I also wonder how many hours per year I am now going to save on average.

I wonder how many trees are going to thank me for not using them to clean myself.    I wonder if they will send me a card, or would that be too ironic?  

I wonder how many fish will bless me for not sending them wads of used toilet paper.    I wonder if that blessing will be mitigated by the fact I will still be sending, poo.  No hard feelings.   I think some of you eat it.   Gross, but who am I to judge?

In closing, I want to leave you with some wisdom I found in an issue of the comic series event "Marvel Civil War".  It is something Ironman says to Spider-Man that struck a chord deep within me and I feel relates to us all:
In everyone's life, Peter, there's an 'it'... your wife leaves you, or you get cancer. There's your life before 'it' and your life after 'it.' 9/11 was an 'it' of national magnitude. --Anthony Stark from Amazing Spider-Man Vol 1 Issue 352
One last paraphrase from an unknown source: "IT" does change who you are; "IT" reveals you.

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

My Mind's Got a Mind of It's Own

So here is where we are today at T-52 hours: nervous and working against myself mentally.   I know I shouldn't and am fighting back with all I got, but in a battle between my mind and my control of it, the mind has an advantage.  It knows my weakness and fears far better than I do and is introducing me to new ones constantly.   Lucky for me, I am sarcastic enough even to myself that I can counter most.     Here is the latest form of attack and it is good one:

"So Brad..."

"Yes self.  What have you got for me now?"

"A doosey."

"This should be good."

"Oh, it is."

"Hit me."

My mind pauses in sadistic delight and says "you know your 'plight' has been totally internal, right?"

"What do you mean?"

"It has all been inside you; not on the outside.   100% of the people who look at you can't tell there is anything wrong about you; different."

"100% of people have been wrong my entire life; I have always been different."

"Yes, but not physically.   You always could fit in."

"Not really, but please go  on."

"Your problem has been one of internal plumbing.   As of Thursday it will be external and it will be for the rest of your life.   You will have a literal bag of shit hanging from your chest for all to see.    Good bye shirtless days!"

"OK, fair points, but I can counter them."

"You think you can?  I am your mind, Bubba!  I know what you know!"

"Apparently not.   How often do I go shirtless?  Never?   Is there something less than never, because that would fit far better.   And a "literal bag of shit" is far better than the humiliation of a pair of pants full of shit.    A bag is a medical condition only assholes would mock; a grown man with shitty drawers is worthy of mockery from all."

"OK, but it is an operation..."

"I've had way too many operations as of late to fear this one.   And the man doing it is the same man who has had 100% success with me thus far, so there is no worry about it."

"Liquid diet!   For days!"

"That does suck, but the ability to wear boxers again is worth it.   The knowledge of knowing I didn't just shit myself is worth it.   The security of feeling like an adult again is worth it.   The loss of shame is worth it.   The return of some of my dignity is worth it."

I smile to my mind and say with sadistic glee: "I would go through this and more to end what I have endured.   I would go through this and more to feel human again. "

I would not trade one second of my journey for anything.   Cancer has blessed me with as much as it has taken away, maybe more.   Thursday is not the Apocalypse, it is the salvation.

Praise Jeebus.

Sunday, August 09, 2015

Sudden Lucidity

I never remember my dreams.   I fall asleep and suddenly it is the next day.   I know I dream because everybody does, but I never remember them...except today.

Last night I was in prison.   I don't know what for or what prison I was in.   The entire dream took place at a bench in the yard on a single day.   For some reason, I had a pipe, a lighter, a small supply of pot, and a cell phone with hundreds of numbers in it.    My entire dream consisted of me calling every number and getting voice mail as I tried to find someone to get more pot to me so I could continue to deal with my situation.   I knew everyone was more than willing to aid me if I could just reach one of them, but not one answered.    And the situation I needed aid with was my lack of pot and not my imprisonment.

The idea that I somehow had a pipe, pot, and a cell phone in prison never occurred to me as strange; nor did the fact that I told my plight to numerous other inmates who tried to find solutions for me rather than stealing my pipe, pot, and/or cell phone.   They were sympathetic to my cause.  

I have no memory of who the names were or who the other inmates were.   The dream was interrupted by my cell phone ringing in real life as a friend was calling me to see how I was feeling.  It was the exact moment the dream was achieving a lucid moment as I started questioning my situation and how unrealistic it was.    I said out loud in the dream "this is like a nightmare" as my phone woke me up.

I not only remember this dream, but understand it entirely.    The prions was cancer obviously.   The other inmates were the members of my cancer support group.   The cell phone was my security and the pot was my strength.   I was calling out to my security to help fill my fading strength.   I even said in the dream "I need to start rationing what I have left."   It was a feeling of being lost and in despair that was ironically interrupted by a real life sign that friends cared.

Now, the cell phone is important.    It had hundreds of names in it, so that tells me I know I have a large support group, but the fact that it kept going to voice mail is symbolic of the fact that they all have their own lives with their own trials going on and they can't always be there the exact moment I need them.   But real life, as if spying on my dream, showed up to say "this is not true" as a phone call on my cell phone woke me up and said "How are you feeling?  What's up?  Do you need anything?"

My not seeking escape from the prison is telling to me too.   It is a good sign that I am accepting of my situation and am instead seeking how best to remain comfortable in it rather than dreaming of a day it is all over.  

To quote an Elton John song: I'm still standing better than I ever did feeling like a true survivor.  

Thursday, August 06, 2015

File Under "T.M.I"

This post may be more than you want to know, but fuck it and yes I cursed; not out of anger, but joy!   Today marked a historic event in my life that few people knew about: today I bought my last bag of Depends!   Yes, I have been wearing Depend for over a year now; it happens when you have no rectum.  So why am I posting this?   Because I am fucking happy to close this part of my life and, as I have said numerous times here- I have no shame!

The shame of buying Depends fades fairly quickly; faster than buying tampons ever did which is ironic since there was never any chance the tampons were for me when I had to buy them.   Buying condoms the first time was harder than buying Depends the first time, but that was mainly because I refused to buy condoms from a woman back then.   I was afraid she would say "you don't really think you're going to use these, do you?"    Buying Depends is more of "you aren't really going to use these, are you?" and since I am not looking for sex or a partner right now, that old shame carries no weight.   I buy them with pride actually.

"Yes, these adult diapers are mine and mine alone!  No, I am not buying them for a relative or someone in my care.   Perhaps you have noticed an aroma around you since I came to stand here?   Yes, I have no rectum and these are for me because I periodically don't shit my pants, but I usually do."
I can say this now without worry of people mocking me because in exactly one week and two hours it will all be in the past.   Thanks to "Chemo-Brain," I can't even say for sure if it will be a memory; blessings everywhere!

To Depends,

I am sorry I am no longer a customer (not really, but for the purposes of expressing sympathy I will say I am).   I have been a very loyal customer for these last 18 months or so and will recommend your product to anyone who needs it, but there are few things I will be happier to be rid of than your wonderful product.     Best of luck in the future and I hope you can replace me with someone less bothered about wearing them...preferably senile so they won't even know they are wearing them.



And to get back to an old theme of my posts: I have passed the Book of Brad and I still love G-d.

Tuesday, August 04, 2015

That "C" Word

I have pinpointed the source of my anxiety and it is that dreaded "C-word," but not the one you think.   I am not talking about the "7/30/13" type of c-word, but rather the one that hits us all and does so numerous times throughout our lives.   Yes kids, I am talking about "Change."

Did you feel that shutter drift down your spine when you read it?   That is because we all know it, and we all fear it.   Sure we psyche ourselves up before it and try our damnedest to reshape that emotion into excitement or anxiety, but let's be honest: it is fear and that is OK.   Fear is natural.   Fear always heralds in the unknown and Change is the ultimate unknown, any change, so fear it; worry about it; lose sleep.    This is all vital to the process.

I've always loved the expression "Worry is a form of Jewish Prayer."  I take it to mean instead of telling G-d what we want to have happen, we leave the end results in His hands, but express in no shortage of detail exactly what we DO NOT want to happen.    We are saying "of the myriad of options and outcomes you have before you, please don' t pick this one" and usually G-d listens.   People say he doesn't answer prayers, but the truth is we don't pray for the right things: leave the outcome to Him and express your desires only.

None of the above mitigates the symptoms of fear, and it will only make you miserable to deny it.   "I'm not scared" and "I'm not nervous" are things we tell others hoping if we see that they bought it, we might believe it ourselves, but they know we are terrified.  

Communication is 80% body language, so I am only aware of 20% of what I am communicating at best.  Hell, even the 7 year old child of a co-worker who is spending the summer in the office called me out on it, but didn't realize it when he did.  He asked me why my hands were shaking.  I hadn't realized they were as they never do.   Now I notice I am making far more errors typing than I normally do.   Subtle, but an obvious symptom of the fear.  So too is my constantly in motion right leg and foot.

The reason this process is vital is because it aids in the acceptance process that occurs after the stimulus of the fear has passed.   Experience is expectation minus perception.   This means what we experience is what's left of our expectation after what we perceive happens.   To make it simpler (you're welcome), we go into something with an idea of what is going to happen, good or bad, and then the something happens.   This either confirms our thoughts, or removes them with a different experience.   What is left is what we think of what we went though.  

Going into an unknown expecting good sets you up for disappointment.   Going into an unknown expecting something bad sets you up for surprise.   I feel going into an operation that this is the path to use.      This "law" if you will is not a universal one at all and is rather a guideline than even a "rule."

I went to the dentist today and a painkiller I took has kicked in, so I am going to stop writing.    Rule one: Thou Shall Not Blog High.

Monday, August 03, 2015

Starts With An Obligatory Disclaimer

I would like to say the following post is something my mind came up with 100% on its own with no input from me.   It forced me to dictate it into my phone and has since nagged my fingers to cave in and help spread its vision.   I apologize and wish to note that the following in no way, shape, or form represents the management of The Kanrei Home for Wayward Lemmings, its affiliates, or its authors.   Thank you.   Now, here's my brain's announcement:

The planet of Brad recently held a meeting at the United Nations of my Body AKA my mmind, and has determined that the nation of Colon is responsible for the global catastrophe currently being called "Cancer."

Extreme measures were propose and debated.

Two years ago negotiations began between the nations of Colon, Rectum, and Sphincter, but after multiple intense sessions, no agreement could be reached.  

In response, the UN allowed a minor, but  through  radioactive   and chemical weapon assault and, while the Cancer did retreat, it did not surrender and further actions were required.

After consulting with experts, the United Nations heard a proposal to completely eliminate the nation of Colon, thus removing the source of the problem, but some nations disagreed; particularly the nations of Heart, who felt sorry for the problems Colon has faced, Intestine who feared intrusion from retreating Terrorist Cancer Cells, and the Urinary Nations who just don't like the idea of meddling in their domain.

This Body feels that the nation of Colon cannot be allowed to continue to exist as it stands today with these threats it imposes upon the rest of the Body.

Therefore, it is the recommendation of this Committee to invade the nation of Colon and confiscate its Eastern Territory, and remove it from the Body as a whole.  

As a condition of its remaining in the body, the Western Colon Territory will submit to regular inspections and if found in violation of this agreement, understands extreme and severe measures will be taken against not only the nation of Colon, but any nation that aids Colon in their terrorist activities.

 So signed,
 All the Nations of the Body

 *Thank G-d Dubya ain' t in my body or else they would probably invade my lungs to get to my colon.

Sunday, August 02, 2015

Objects in the Mirror May Be Closer Than They Apear

Let me start today by telling the Science Nerds to turn your brain off!   I am going to play with terms that have a very certain scientific meaning, but am going to use literary license because I am writing.  So take it and SHUT UP!

Oh, and I love you too.  =D

Einstein has a theory of relativity that I lack the ability to really comprehend, but I apply it to mean that things far away are smaller than they actually are and things closer to you are much larger than they are.    A mountain can seem like a molehill in the distance and an ant hill can appear larger than Mount Kilimanjaro (rising like Olympus above the Serengeti* courtesy of Toto's Africa).   Same can be true of concept as it is of objects I am discovering.   July was easy; August sucks.

Not being very good at math (and you thought I was so smart), it was easy for me to dismiss my upcoming operation as "a month away" in July.  I could not be bothered to work out how many days were between July 27th and August 13th, but those days are over.   WE are in August now and the countdown is on.   Today is August 2nd, which means we are eleven days out: less if you include the pre-op prep.   The nature of the date has changed and oddly I am no longer in a hurry for the time to come, but I want it over with at the same time.

Salvation was my focus in July as the upcoming date was far enough in the future that I could forget about the path to it and could focus on how much better things will be after August 13.    Now however, I see the Apocalypse I have to endure to reach salvation and am getting scared of what it will bring.   I look at my stomach in the mirror and remember more the hell of my iliostamy rather than remembering this will be different.   I am thinking about that bathroom again; the one in my parent's house where I suffered, bleed, leaked, and endured.  I am thinking "again?" instead of "finally!"  I have begun taking Valium again.  My sister and her awesome husband are coming down this week for a Captiva Redux (all the same people) and I am worried how I will be at these events with the loom of August 13th on the horizon.

I must stress right now I am not looking for any reassurance right now.   I will react hostility to any words of encouragement.   I know they are well meant and come from love, but I may not be thinking about the operation at the time you say something and I WILL snap at the sudden realization of how close it is.   I am not snapping at you, but at the situation.   I am sorry in advance for this.

You have to understand that the moment you tell someone that you have cancer, 100% of them know EXACTLY what you should have done to avoid it and, to be honest, these dime store experts get very tiring very quickly.

 Let me save you (general you not to be thought to mean the reader) some time before you say something to the person telling you they have cancer:

Sorry, but after 2 years it gets annoying.  Did not mean to yell.  Back to my subject and yes, I had to re-read this to remember what I was talking about.

It is funny right now because this is getting harder to type the more I am sitting here thinking of how to say what I am feeling about the operation.  It is bringing dormant emotions to the surface and my hands are starting to shake making typing more difficult.    I have to focus on August 14th.    I have to remember the trick that got me through the most severe pain I went through; remember my mantra:

In Two Weeks This Won't Even Be A Memory!   I Can Take It Because I Won't Remember It!   Only the Good Will Survive

This actually works!   I learned it when I got my nose done as a kid and was in pain and in pain and then suddenly wasn't in pain anymore and then a few weeks later could not even describe the pain if I had to.    I remembered being in pain, but not the pain.    My knee operation 4 years ago confirmed this thought process as once again the pain faded into just general "pain" and not something that hurt in the slightest.    All  training for cancer?   Either way, this anxiety, this fear, this worry, this panic, this hypochondria, this everything will be over on August 13th and not even a memory by August 25th, so I just have to focus on August 25th and my new life free from diapers and accidents and a return to boxer shorts!


Friday, July 31, 2015

Rambling Again Still Once Again And Learning Even More As I Do

It's funny, but quite unintentionally this blog has turned into an online representation of what cancer is and has done with me.  I ignored my blog for a little while kind of like I ignored my health.   I look at all the different things I used to be interested in and passionate about to the point that I could write about it endlessly and then suddenly I slowed down.

I look and notice it was in mid 2012 I suddenly stopped blogging; probably when the symptoms of a disease I didn't consider first began.   I just assumed I had lost interest, but 2013 saw even less postings and 2014 saw only 2.  I look at that first "Cancer" themed post and I notice no other tab has been used since really.   That is the effect of cancer not killing you:  you keep living, but the cancer becomes an all encompassing thing that just absorbs every aspect of your life.  Politics, pop-culture, that annoying driver in the car that blocked your way into work; these things I used to be so passionate about to a point where I actually had four blogs running at one time for all my random thoughts are not pointless and moot.  I mean, how can you stare death in the face, walk away victorious, and still be impressed by the stupidity of minor fads or political blunders?  I've said it before, but not all of me survived cancer.

This week at my Cancer support group we discussed something called "Chemo-Brain."   It is something that was long thought to be an urban legend, but it has recently been shown to not only exist, but to last for a very long time.   So what is "Chemo-Brain?"   I've gone online and looked so you don't have to.

Chemo-Brain is a side effect of chemotherapy.   It has long been known that radiation can effect memory, focus, coordination, and various other brain functions for a period of time, but many people undergoing chemo had reported similar symptoms.   They, whomever "they" are, did research into it and found that chemotherapy does in fact effect brain function and this effect can last for five years or longer.     We can add this to the neuropathy (numbness in extremities) that chemo already provides for free.

Here's what I am experiencing:  First, feeling in my fingers mostly returned shortly after the chemo ended in June of 2014, but my feet still feel basically like I am wearing socks when I am not.   On some types of floors I actually have less traction barefoot than I do with socks on.   Very weird, but something one gets used to and it just becomes part of life.   It is not a "poor Brad" thing at all, but something I wanted to talk about in case other cancer people stumble upon this blog and are experiencing the same things and need confirmation:  yes, it is the chemo.

Now for Chemo-Brain.  I am no expert and am only speaking of what I am personally experiencing.   This may or may not be par for the course.   And while I don't need to say this, I still will say I am no doctor nor a scientist and am assuming based on my research and speaking with other cancer survivors that the things I describe here are attributed to Chemo-Brain.    I hate disclaimers.

OK, so you know we have "long term memory" and "short term memory," right?  For me, my short term is fairly sharp and in vivid detail while my long term is basically a highlight reel of the event or time I am remembering.   The memories also feel differently: short term feel fresh and alive while long term feel fuzzy and like history long past.   Short term memories contain emotion while long term are detached views of events.   Well, my short term memories feel like long term ones: they are hazy, vague, detached, and long in the past.   The problem is that things that happened 2 minutes ago feel that way and that is if I remember them at all.

Here is an example from today: I was at work and calling patients to see if they were ready to schedule.   I was in the groove doing it and, while not succeeding in getting them to commit, was successful in making them know we cared and were there for them.   It was going great until a call came in and I answered it.  I think it was a doctor's office, but it might have been a patient, but either way it required me to leave my desk to get a file.   I sat down, finished the call, and began surfing the internet completely forgetting about the calls I was making.   As far as I could remember, I was done with my work and had nothing to do.  I remembered making the calls, but it was so long ago according to my recall that I had to be done.    And, to be honest, I can't say for sure if this actually happened today, yesterday, last week, or last month.   Probably all of the above.

Now I know I went out to lunch with my mom today.  I know where we went.   I know what I had (because I had leftovers), but I'll be damned if I remember anything we talked about.   NOTHING!   I know we talked.   I hope it was good.  And by Sunday or Monday I won't remember which day I went out to lunch with my mom, but I will remember going out to lunch with her.   That is the weird thing about this Chemo-Brain that I think I am experiencing: I do remember events, but not details.   Everything is a blur, like when you drive home drunk by accident:  that feeling when you pull into your drive way and have a sudden realization that you drove, but you can't recall doing it.

Still no "poor Brad" here though, because in typical Kanrei fashion I have turned this into a positive and a lesson I believe I needed to learn.  I have learned to live in the moment and get the most out of every second that you can.   This is a lesson I REALLY needed to learn as I was someone obsessed with the mistakes of yesterday and worried about the mistakes I will make tomorrow.  Cancer first removed worry about tomorrow with the threat of death that I had to accept and now has removed the worry of yesterday by taking it and making it history instead of a ghost haunting me; sitting on my shoulder asking "are you sure" with every choice I make.

The pre-7/30/13 Brad, when I think about how I would describe him, amazes me he had friends.   It amazes me he never killed himself.   It amazes me he ever had a girlfriend,   It amazes me his parents never felt shame and disappointment when they looked at him.  And it amazes me that he had the strength to become this post-7/30/13 Brad I am proud to be.

Is it weird that I am kind of thankful for cancer?  I said something akin to this at group and I could tell the concept bothered them and I can understand this because they were probably great people having an amazing life that cancer destoryed, but I wasn't there.   It took cancer to make me realize life had value and, pardon the expression, a limited lifespan, but I am drifting into topics I have already covered.

Thanks for reading.

Thursday, July 30, 2015

The Devious Evil of Oz

So I have come to realize the Wizard of Oz and Glenda, the “Good” Witch are actually manipulative villains who misled Dorothy into a war she had no business in with false promises and empty powers: sound familiar?    I’m shocked to be honest.  I always knew Charlie and the Chocolate Factory was the story of a homicidal child killer who set traps and then invited kids into his “Fun House of Horror” to watch them fall victim to their own weakness, but I thought the Wizard of Oz, while really just a man behind a curtain, was at least good; not so.    Hang on kids…
We all know the general tale, so I am not going to recap it, but there are aspects we need to revisit: for example, the start of Dorothy’s adventure in Oz.   Glenda and the Wizard were in a battle for control of Oz with the “Wicked” witches of the East and West prior to Dorothy's arrival.   Dorothy just happened to get caught up in a tornado that ripped her house out of Kansas and placed it, of all places, directly on half of Glenda and the Wizard’s arch-nemesis?   And notice Glenda just happened to be there when Dorothy landed?   Coincidence?  Hardly!   Glenda was there to do a job: get the shoes off the dead Witch and onto Dorothy’s feet so the sister Witch will assume Dorothy murdered her; send her off to meet a “wizard” who has the power to send her home and escape this madness knowing full well the wizard had no such powers.   Glenda the “Good” witch is introduced with a murder, a manipulation, and a lie to a 13 year old girl she just tricked into aiding her war.    And that is just the start of the tale!

The center of the land of Oz, home of the Great and Powerful Wizard, is known as the Emerald City; sounds great right?    Except the city is surrounded by a gigantic wall and a locked door being guarded by the most rude and obnoxious gatekeeper who refuses anyone access reflexively.    And the Emerald City is surrounded by poppy fields that put anyone who enter it into a deep coma-like sleep.   Sounds real inviting right?    And you have to get through a forest full of human hating mobile trees just to get to that poppy field trap; Oz ain't a wonderland.

The Witch is wicked, right?   How do we know that?   All we know is she is after Dorothy for the murder and robbery of her sister and all she wants is the return of her sister's shoes.    That's evil?   Compared to the Wizard who took advantage of a 13 year old girl with promises he couldn't fulfill only on the condition she would also murder the sister Witch; this time premeditated murder no less?   This Wizard's help is to turn a child into a cold-blooded killer!    And who does he send with her?   A moron, a lazy woodsman, and a coward.    He could have, in theory, prepared them for the trip being a great and powerful wizard, but instead sends her on her way with a moron, a slacker, and a coward: a 13 year old girl!

Now then, a spoiler you should all know is that the entire story actually takes place in Dorothy's head, so that should mitigate the evil of Oz, right?  Hardly.  What that fact does it place Dorothy in direct competition with Alice for the most insane character in literature.   I mean if Dorothy based everyone she met in Oz on a real life person she knew, that means she thinks of them as manipulative, evil, cowardly, stupid, lazy, and eager to take advantage of a child for their own purposes.    

"There's No Place Like Home?"

Maybe, but given how she saw home, is that a good thing?

Friday, July 24, 2015

Why Now?

Donald Trump being Trump....

Hulk Hogan removed from the WWE...

Fox News vs Jon Stewart...

WHY DO I HAVE TO HAVE OTHER THINGS ON MY MIND NOW?!  This is not fair!   Those are like Kanrei's Treats and I can imagine the rants I would be on right now if not for this stupid annoying 7/30/13 crap on my mind!

Oh, the PET scan came back great and the operation is on for August 13th!

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Insurance Companies Suck Eggs and Love the Aftertaste

Let's discuss insurance companies for a moment as they are a big topic today.   I will avoid politics and calling out of parties and politicians because that is divisive and we need unity on this.   It affects us all and we do not know the impact until it is too late.   Yes, this is that serious.

I am a cancer patient and one time survivor who is trying to go for two.   After major rectal and colon surgery in early 2014, a recent colonoscopy found a tad bit more cancer that will now require half my colon being removed.  Prior to this procedure, a full body PET Scan is needed to make sure there are no other terroristic cancer cells lying in wait for their coming out party.   MY surgeon said if there is cancer elsewhere in my body then the operation he has planned  becomes moot and a different course of action will be necessary.   The insurance company did not agree and blocked the scan; they decided on the morning of my scan to request more notes from my doctor to show medical necessity.   They did not inform either me or my doctor; only the lab knew and they were told two hours before the procedure was to begin.  Do you see a problem?

Here is my question: why can an insurance, why can some non-medically trained person working for an insurance company get between my doctor and me and actually have  stronger voice in my treatment than my doctor?  The techs at the lab looked over what was sent to them and said it was "self explanatory" why I was having the scan done.   My guess is that once again my age made them think they could delay it.

This is not the first time I believe my age has come into play with my treatment and I fear it will not be the last.   Getting cancer young is not something people want to consider is actually a possibility.    Either that, or they just don't believe someone under 50 is suffering since the industry standard for screening for this type of cancer doesn't start until that age.   I started showing symptoms around 38 I have come to realize; diagnosed at 41.   Sorry, but my life forgot to check with industry standards.

And let's be honest: it is quite stressing to not only have to fight cancer, but to also have to constantly prove I have it.   These non-doctors have no business basing life and death decisions on some cookie-cutter handbook filled with "if/then" formulas that determine care.   My doctor went to school!   I bet they took an online course and my life is in their hands?  I face better odds with cancer.   At least the cancer needs me alive to survive; this insurance company already has my money and probably already has me replaced.   My death would simply be a statistic, a line on a profit ledger, and nothing more.

Now for the good news.   The people at the scan lab called my doctor's office who in turn called the insurance company.   I'm not sure what was said exactly, but less than 20 minutes later it was reversed and my scan was back on with their reluctant blessings.   It was quick, painless, and I believe the results will be in my favor.  

I hope the results are in my favor.   Not because I fear cancer; been there done that.   No, I hope the results are in my favor because I am afraid of the insurance company and having to fight them again.    This is par for the course for cancer community from what I have been hearing.    We have enough stress with our bodies trying to kill us, we really don't need the health insurance industry betting against us too.

I can't wait to see what they have in store for my operation.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

OK, I am officially human: I'm shocked.

 I am worried about tomorrow's PET Scan (I think that is what it is called as I have only heard it said and I think that is what I heard) to do a survey of any and all cancer that might be hiding in my body, head to toe.   Well, not worried, but unable to think of much anything else right now.  

 The PET Scan is a 3 hour rest stop in a giant doughnut-shaped apparatus the size of a room that hums, knocks, and moans.   It is probably the most freaky sci-fi thing I have encountered in my cancer travels.   It is a frightening monstrosity that would not be at all out of place in Dr Frankenstein or Melange's lab.   Someone did some serious "can I make this more scary" thought when designing it.  All it needs are spikes...actually, it has a needle that pumps some dye or iodine or something into your body to make it all aglow under the PET Scan's gaze.

OK, I don't want to talk about it more.   I will post tomorrow how it went, but I am going to think about other things from now until then.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Quick Meaningless Empty Babble

A subject came up in a thread on a blog I play around on and it sparked me thinking.   The subject was "wisdom vs intelligence" and it sparked many quotes in my mind from the Tao of Pooh.

"A clever mind is not a heart. Knowledge doesn't really care, wisdom does."
― Benjamin Hoff, The Tao of Pooh

"The masters of life know the way, for they listen to the voice within them, the voice of wisdom and simplicity, the voice that reasons beyond cleverness and knows beyond knowledge."
― Benjamin Hoff, The Tao of Pooh

Told you I have gotten big on quotes since 7/30/13.

I have always believed Intelligence is what you know; the depth of the library in your  mind and your ability to recall the most minute details from that reference section.    I am a fairly intelligent person, but probably closer to par for the course.    I know quite a lot, but have difficulty recalling it without the proper spark to set off the explosion of memory.

I have always felt Wisdom is the ability to learn from experience and apply it to one's life.    While I do feel intelligent, 7/30/13 has made me far more wise than I ever was.    And my exploration into the meaning of things and my love of quotes I have noticed has made me more wise than intelligent.   I can't recall facts, but I can quotes and teachings and can and do apply them to my daily life.

Let me explain how I see things by example:

The intelligent person can look at a fire and explain to me the whys of the fire and the hows and find uses for it and will see it as a tool and nothing more, but the wise person remembers the damage it can cause, the pain, and knows to treat it with care.   The wise person will use it as well, but with the protections of past experience that the intelligent person will write off as error on their part.   The intelligent man is burdened with hubris where the wise man knows he knows nothing.

I'm done babbling for now.

Monday, July 20, 2015

A Slightly Obsessive Fan's Anal Retentive Review of Mad Max: Road Fury

My name is Kanrei and I have a problem: I can't leave baggage at home when I see a franchise film or TV show.   I am cursed with a clear memory of the canon of the story and I end up falling in love with the most minute  details as I piece together how they combine to form the characters I love.   That is a disclaimer before you read my review.   That said, here we go...

I finally got around to seeing the newest Mad Max movie; Road Fury starring Charlize Theron and Tom Hardy and written/directed by Mad Max creator George Miller.  I have to be honest: I was mostly unimpressed if I viewed it as an entry into the franchise, but enjoyed it as a stand alone movie.

Now that said, I do go into the series with a lot of baggage and that definitely had a major influence on my enjoyment of the movie.    To give you an idea: my Empire Strikes Back era Han Solo action figure had his left left wrapped in masking tape the moment Road Warrior ended and he was christened Mad Max from that point on.  Every time my Star Wars and GI Joe toys came out to play, it was always a post-apocalyptic setting they were playing in.   The Star Wars figures no longer fought the Empire and GI Joe didn't care about Cobra; it became every man for himself in a battle for survival.   The weaker figures banded together into gangs, but the heroes were always alone.  Even my Matchbox and Hot Wheels toys found renewed value to me as I re-created the final scenes of Road Warrior over and over again and made up my own versions.

Star Wars was huge for me, but Mad Max introduced a new style of story that I just feel in love with much like the Zombie fans of today.   I even dressed up as Max to get a chance to see Beyond Thunderdome a day early for free at Sunniland Theater.   I think I have a photo of it somewhere, but no scanner so no copies here.  Sorry.   Yes, it is safe to say Max and I go way back so it is also safe to say I was very excited to hear George Miller was returning to the world I so loved as a kid.

The baggage one would expect a long time fan to bring to this movie is that a new actor was, for the first time, playing the role of ex-cop desert wandering Max Rockatansky.    The antics of Mel Gibson (the original Max) over the last decade or so made it fairly easy for me to not mind that he was out of the story.  I would probably keep wondering if his "madness" was mostly intoxication and would be waiting for him to ask the bad guy if he was Jewish.   And we all know there would be an extensive torture scene because I think that is a rider in any and all Mel Gibson movies.   I'm getting off subject...

The new Mad Max didn't bother me because this is a new movie introducing a 30 year old character to a new audience.   Mel's Max would be more about a geriatric ex-bad ass and just the fact he was still alive would be impressive enough.   Old men driving could be interesting if you like chase scenes at 15 miles per hour, but I don't think it would be effective in a 2 hour large screen event.   How many bathroom breaks would they have to have?

I don't know Tom Hardy.  I think he played Bane in the last Batman movie, so I had a clean slate with him.   I was ready for a new Max and it was way easier to me to accept that I expected.   To be honest, just the thought of it being George Miller returning to this world made me giddy like a 12 year old again.   The man who made the greatest action movies of my childhood started making movies about talking pigs, so his return was beyond a dream in the shock factor.   Who ever comes back from kid movies?   How would he return from CGI wonderlands and did he even want to?   Can you go home again?   Actually, yes you can on most fronts, but not entirely as even Max is subject to Hollywood trends and other successful franchise influence.

I will try to avoid spoilers, but some are inevitable for me to really talk about the problems I had with the movie.  I promise I will be as vague as possible with plot details and will not discuss the third act at all.   Consider this a review of the first 2/3rds.

The first and biggest problem was that Max was mainly pointless to the movie and the role seemed to be "generic action hero" at times, but mostly just "audience surrogate" so we have a character to follow.   He was mostly in the way and the few times he actually served a purpose to the story, it was out of character for the Max character we have known since the 70's.   While he was the best behind the wheel of a car, his use of firearms has always traditionally been problematic.   I can only think of two times he successfully used a firearm in the first three movies.   It is actually a running joke that the shotgun he waved around in Road Warrior was actually empty and the few times he found a shell, it was a dud.   It was a joke they included once in this new movie, but for the most part this Max was just an amazing marksman with a pistol while driving.

Now I know kids today have grown up in a world where everyone with a gun is a bad ass straight out of a video game, but Max was always more of a "Die Hard" type hero.   He was not looking to save anyone, just survive.  Like John McCain, he would actually go out of his way to avoid a fight if at all possible.   Not so with this Max.  They try to have a scene where they want you to think he doesn't care for anyone, but you knew given the time it happens in the film that he was going to go against the character we knew and help out of the kindness of his heart and not for the reward of his actions.

The plot of the movie revolves around a harem being stolen from a warlord and the warlord's attempt to get it back, but is wasn't Max who stole them; it was a new character to the series and actually the main focus of the action for the most part.   When the action needed it, he would become the uber hero of action movie mythology, but for the most part it was Charlize Theron's movie.   They even altered Max's back story from a dead son to a dead daughter to try and make some sort of empathetic bond with the plight of the harem.  I wouldn't mind him helping them if he got fuel, weapons, or a car out of the deal, but helping them just to help them doesn't fit a character that was willing to let an entire colony fall in Road Warrior if they didn't give him all the fuel he could carry for his help.   Maybe George Miller did make children's movies for too long and forgot how to make a truly cold hero in the style of Eastwood's "Man with No Name."

The main problem I had with the film was that there was nothing to tell me this was Max.   It really could have been anybody in Max's place and the story would have been the same.   I'm not even totally sure this is Max's world either to be honest.  Robotic arms?  Villains in cartoon skull masks?  Blood transfusions on cars?   A rock band on a car?   Fuel is no longer an issue (the central theme of the Mad Max movies) as there seems to be tons of it, but water is in short supply and mutations and tumors are running amok.  

I know the opening credits said Tom Hardy as Max Rockatansky and I briefly saw the famous V-8 Interceptor and he did have a brace on his left knee, but that was about it.  The brace on his knee due to a shotgun blast removing his kneecap was an issue in the movies that followed the shot, but not in this one.   He could run and catch up with cars, leap from exploding vehicles, and every other action hero staple we expect from movies today.   This was more Mad Max as envisioned by Sylvester Stallone or Arnold Schwarzenegger than as seen by the George Miller of the past.

All that said, the people I saw it with who had no such baggage loved it.   It starts with action and never lets up.   Their only complaint was ironically one thing I loved: they don't give you any real back story or narrative to catch you up on the series.   You really have no idea where in the series this movie takes place and that is a great aspect for people just getting into it.

Mad Max is a great character and I am very happy to see his return.   I am so happy he is back that I am going to see the next one on opening day and try my best to leave all my baggage at home.

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Vacation Hangover

Oh my vacation hangover.  I feel in a haze today where nothing feels quite right.  Seven days of constant family and beach and dining and fun becomes habit fairly easily as it is perfection and Heaven on Earth, so when it ends it is almost like the end of a world.   Any problems and stresses from the week fades fairly quickly into the past as only the good times, the smiles, the laughs, and the joy remains in my mind and the possible myth of the vacation replaces the minute realities.

Were there stresses?  Most certainly there were.   One cannot spend a week with parents, siblings, in-laws, and children and remain free of hectic stresses and clashes of personalities.   It is inevitable and the reason why we don't live together year round, but for a week or two here and there, the personality differences take a back seat to a combined effort for a united great memory of something that we don't get to experience often enough: getting away with nothing but people you love, trust, and can be yourself around.

For me, the week was just what I needed, wanted, and dreamed of.  It was days of activity and nights of me alone on the beach or in a pool; both times staring at a sky of sparkling white dots forming images like some connect the dots designed by eons of planning.   City living really makes me forget how much I love seeing the stars.

So anyway, as I sit here back in my apartment I am left feeling out of place and wondering how to get back to last week.  It is weeks like last week that I beat 7/30/13 for and thanks to 7/30/13 I was able to participate in ways I never did before and my former hangups did not block my engaging in a great time.

Thank you family and thank you 7/30/13.

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Nocturnal Delusions

I love the beach at night.  It's amazing during the day, yes, but there's just something magical and special about the beach at night.   And it is not due to the lack of people, although the solitude is nice.   It is just that at night the beach takes on a new connotation.

The day beach is alive. It is about people watching and children playing and splashing waves while young people soak up the sun and parents play with children building sand castles and digging to China.   The parade of hotdog and iced cream vendors and parasailers and jetski renters: this is the spirit of the beach and it is a beautiful thing to both watch and be a part of, but the night beach is magic; solitude without being alone.

The nighttime beach is where the vast darkness of the sea meets the vast darkness of the sky.  During the day the two always meet, but never entwine.  The blue of the ocean keeps itself separate from the blue of the sky and the specks of white from the waves never interacts with the splashes of white from the clouds; not so at night.   Night they meet, they dance, they become one.   The only separation between sea and sky comes from the flashes of glowing crests of waves as they answer back to the moon and from the twinkles of stars far too often hidden by city lights.   The single blackness hinting at larger mysteries that will never be solved as unknown life dances both above and below.

I'm not sure there is any other place at any other time that really puts everything into perspective as the beach, any beach, at night.   The idea that there are billions upon billions of lives happening both above and below, each with a myriad of problems all cataclysimic to a group of individuals, but meaningless in the vastness of existence makes any and all hurdles I encounter seem quite silly.

 I don't, for example, have something trying to eat me 24/7.   Might seem trivial and almost comical to point out, but pretty much every other living thing on this planet and I'm sure most of the living things above us all have to worry about being a meal for something else and I don't.   Perspective!   Oh joy of joys to never have to worry about being dinner!   Trouble with co-workers or family really doesn't seem to matter in comparison.

"Brenda took the stapler off my desk again!'

"At least she didn't consume you."


And the beach at night reminds me of how little I know (to repeat a theme).   And the little I do know, I probably don't really understand.   Standing on the shore looking out at the sea and the stars and I can't stop imagining all the wonders and sights and experiences I will never have occuring just beneath and above me.   It is a wonderful and a humbling moment.

I love the beach at night.

Monday, July 13, 2015

Through the Looking Glass on This One

They say "You Only Live Once," but I'm on my second and, to be honest, about to start my third.   And I am through the Looking Glass with this one.  Everything is the same, but ever so slightly a mirror reflection of what it was pre-cancer: I'm tired of typing that word so I will refer to the date I was diagnosed instead as it is a rebirthday: 7/30/13.  

It seems from my perspective that in many ways Brad didn't survive his ordeal and I am what came through.   7/30/13 was a Baptism by Fire and I am what didn't burn.    Thinking of the damage the radiation did, the fire analogy isn't that far from truth actually.   The flaws of my character (as I saw them) were destroyed in the onslaught of radiation and only the parts I wanted to survive came through.    I'm sure many MANY flaws survived, but they are probably aspects of me I viewed as essential character traits and I hope they have been refined to be slightly less annoying to the masses.

Since my last chemo treatment about 13 months ago, I have not felt fully engaged in my, or Brad's life.  It is a wonderful feel I cannot recommend enough.   I have engaged in all forms of self-exploration and self-analysis and found some aspects that I needed help in and have sought said help.   I have gained a detached look at life in general and feel (ironic choice of words) that I look at it from a sane logical "it won't affect me either way" point of view.   I mean, when you are not sure you will be around to know who wins the next election, you really have a great insight in that you have no horse in the race.   It is a natural high and has given me a wonderful appreciation of life I never had, but I realized last week it can't last and that also is good.

This natural high, these last 13 months have been a cocoon; a period between lives.   I had a feeling in my bones that 7/30/13 wasn't done with me and when it became fact, I realized this time was just the time for me to change into what I am going to be.    Even more refreshing of a thought than the natural high to be honest.   Brad couldn't have handled what is to come like I can.

And I am Brad.   When I speak of Brad as a separate entity, it is because the person I am now is really very little like I was.   I would go into detail, but I think my previous posts have covered that aspect of this saga quite well.   This is just a disclaimer that I am not schizophrenic, but am just using a literary device.

OK, back to our story:

The Colostomy Bag...Brad couldn't have done that, but a post Iliostomy Bag Brad laughs at it.   And I am entering a new life on August 13, 2015; my third.   I have no idea what this life will entail, but I know this second life has equipped and trained me to deal with it in ways I never knew I could.   I am not scared, but excited to enter it.   I am nervous of course.   Sometimes even scared, but this new Post-7/30/13 Brad has no problem dealing with it and actually sometimes enjoys the game.

Friday, July 10, 2015

And the Posts Go On When the Mind is Blown

Gimme a V!
Gimme an A!
Gimme a C!
Gimme an A!
Next comes the T!
Followed by an I!
Oh, where's that O?
Finish it off with an N!

What's that spell?  VACATION I hope!  Yes, I am on vacation!  Splitting.  Bolting.  Getting the Hell outta Dodge.  Leaving the office.  Abandoning my cat (guilt trip on that one).   Stick a fork in me for I am done!  A week with the entire family ( parents, brother, sister, brother and sister in-laws, niece, friend of the family: everyone but poor Satchel and Lilly who will NOT be hanging out together having a "can you believe they left us" bitch session.

Where am I going?  Not gonna tell ya because it is not vacation if they can reach you.

When am I coming back?  Not gonna tell ya because I don't want you camping outside my apartment eagerly awaiting my return.

Who am I going with?  Not gonna...oh wait.

Will I be updating my blog?  I hope so and there might actually be a post or two that ISN'T cancer related.    Can you imagine?   Do you remember when I was all politics and pop culture?   Can you believe I don't know ANYTHING going on in the pop culture world?   It is nice actually.   I now consider myself an expert in Nostalgic Pop Culture and have lost the Ph.D in Pop Culture bestowed on me by a group of friends.

Have a great weekend although I may post again before Monday.  

Thursday, July 09, 2015

I'm Still Thinking and Rambling...Perhaps Even Babbling at This Point

I'm sorry in advance if you are tired of hearing about my cancer, but it is the  event  most recently with the biggest impact on my life, so forgive me.   I spoke yesterday of how I changed from cancer, so today I will talk about how cancer changed me; a subtle but important difference.     Yesterday I spoke of what cancer taught me and today will be the effect the experience had on me.

I was a very private person who played their cards close to their chest.  My internal monologue was quite entertaining and funny, but I usually kept those thoughts in my head.    The few times I shared I was usually made uncomfortable by the reaction to them.   I thought it was my thoughts.   It wasn't, but my confidence in them.    The listener could tell I was uncomfortable sharing my thoughts and, as a result, they came across as empty and vague.   Not their fault at all.  Then came cancer...

There is no private with cancer.   There is no personal space with cancer.   I lost count of how many people had their fingers up my ass (not at one time pervert).  Shitting myself is more a norm than a freak occurrence.  I've had a catheter put up my penis and my ass exposed to random nurses (some quite hot) and had to call those same nurses to help the few times my ass exploded and missed the toilet 100%.  I've created smells in an office filled with women (one of whom I am attracted to) and had to overhear their "do you smell something" or "what smells" comments simply because they forgot; not malicious.    I've used the public bathrooms in every gas station, grocery store, movie theater ,restaurant, and rest stop you can think of and not to piss.  I've had a  bag of shit attached to my belly that burst open one time in Best Buy.   And that is just the first few things that leaps to mind without my getting too detailed (yes, there is worse).    I've gone through all of that and, as Elton John sang, am still standing better than I ever did.  

I learned shame is not something someone else forces upon you, but something you choose to feel.   Every experience I had was horrifying and worthy of my deciding to hide my head in shame, but for some reason I didn't.  I made jokes.   I laughed at myself.   The night I shit 7 pounds (yes, I weighed myself after every bowel movement for a year and averaged 2 pounds per session) I actually bragged about it to anyone who would listen.    I said to my radiation doctor one day as she apologized for having to finger my ass once again that it was OK because I had no shame left and I wasn't joking

It seems shame, like a man's hair, comes in a finite amount and, if you use it all up early, you will live your life without it.   I had long hair as a teen and in my 20's, so I have a bald spot today because I used up that area's hair allowance.  The same thing happened with my shame; where I was once embarrassed to even fart in public and never NEVER let anyone know I was taking a shit, I was now telling multiple strangers intimate details of my personal Hell and wasn't hesitating or feeling embarrassed in the slightest.   I've further realized as I post these stories uncensored here for all the world to read that I really have no shame left.

Someone once told me to write like my parents were dead.   They said I couldn't be honest as a writer if I worried what my mom would think if she read it.   I never could do it; I don't like the thought of dead parents and, when I did have one it would crush my creativity because I was sad my parents would be dead.   It never worked.

Cancer taught me something else: write like you are going to die.   If you are dead and people mock your writing, who cares?  If you are dead and people learn from your writing, you have a  legacy.  If the details of my journey can help another relate and know they are not alone like I sometimes felt, all the better.

And while I am being honest, I should let most of you know I was pissed at you for a time.   Some of you were great, but most of you vanished on me when I needed every reason to live I could find.   That hurt deeply.   I can understand my impending death might have made you uncomfortable, scared of saying the wrong thing, or made aware that we are the same age and my dying means you could be too.   I don't know, but I forgive you.    Some of you have been purged from my Facebook.   No hard feelings.

To be honest, since you never read this blog in the first place, you still won't know about this.

Wednesday, July 08, 2015

Not a Nihilist? I'm Shocked If Correct.

Yesterday at my Cancer Group, we discussed how our priorities changed because of our experiences.  It was a subject I have toyed with internally before, but never actually vocalized how cancer changed my outlook and the core of who I am.

I used to be a cynical realist before the C-word entered my life.   There is a lot, no really, A LOT of debate between me and everyone I know how much of me was "cynic" and how much was "realist," ( clue where I fell: A "cynic" is an "optimist's" word for a "realist.").  Irregardless (I know that isn't a word, but love to torment my inner English major), I have changed in every single way; you sort of can't face impending death and NOT change.

Let me say for the record and without false bravado that not once was I sad about my potential death.   To be honest, and my mom is going to hate reading this, but I was shocked I made it as far as I had.   If I was stage four and death was a certainty, I was OK with what I had done with my life and the impressions I had left with those I cared about.   Being Gen-X, the concept of a life cut short was ingrained in a lot of us from an early age.  Think of the opening scene from "Pleasantville".  Here  is the scene:

[Montage of teachers talking to David's classes] 
College Counselor: For those of you going on to college next year, the chance of finding a good job will actually decrease by the time you graduate. The available number of entry-level jobs will drop 31 percent over the next four years. Median income for those jobs will go down as well. Obviously, my friends, it's a competitive world, and good grades are your only ticket through. In fact, by the year 2000... 

Health Teacher: The chance of contracting HIV from a non-monogamous lifestyle will climb to 1 in 150. The odds of dying in an auto accident are only 1 in twenty-five hundred. Now, this marks a drastic increase... 
Science Teacher: ...from fourteen years ago, when ozone depletion was just at 10 percent of its current level. By the time you are thirty years old, average global temperature will have risen two and a half degrees, causing such catastrophic consequences as typhoons, floods, widespread drought, and famine.  

Science Teacher: [With a bright smile:] Okay! Who can tell me what "famine" is?

Fiction?  Afraid not.   This is right on the money for what I was taught very early in life, so I was a bit of a cynic, yeah.

Cancer was life's way to deal with my existence cleanly; I was meant to die, this was the time for it to happen, but it didn't.   That haunted me actually more than my perspective death: why did I live when I had so little to live for and why did people who had so much more die?

Survival Guilt?  Me?  That shit is fiction!  How can you feel guilty for living?   It is not like my life or death had any impact on their survival.   Death doesn't work on a quota system (I hope), but there it was.   I spent a good three weeks after a family friend's death from cancer in a funk questioning everything.   I suppose it was my emotional cocoon and how I was processing what I had gone through.  On one side I was no longer a cynic, but on the other, my nihilism was born.

I would spend the next year of my life believing nothing mattered; everything was random.   Healthy life or eat like shit?  Work out or lounge?   Family or single?  Slacker or contributor?  It doesn't mean shit.  The value of one's life is purely random and without any deeper meaning.    There is no "Fate" other than "your game has ended."  How could it mean anything?   I had seen for myself the meaningless waste and cruelness life can dish out and there was clearly no meaning to any of it, so why bother trying?

So why did I survive?  To spread that message?  That couldn't be, because if I survived to spread the message that "Life Had No Meaning," that clearly means my life had a purpose yet unfulfilled (to spread that message) and therefore the message was wrong.    But if the message is wrong, then I couldn't have been saved to spread a false message; there had to be something more.   My nihilism became detection.

I began recounting books I read, movies I watched, songs I knew, and reviewed them for hints.   Richard Bach's "Illusions" and his "Messiah Guide" were big helps.   I looked up Gandhi and MLK and other great minds for things they said.   I looked at quote sites for things about life, death, and what could be between.  I became obsessed.  It was amazing.   The INTERNET became my own personal "Messiah's Handbook."

As Bach wrote
:  (H)e said. “You just open it and whatever you need most is there.”
 “A magic book!”
 “No. You can do it with any book. You can do it with an old newspaper, if you read carefully enough. Haven’t you done that, hold some problem in your mind, then open any book handy and see what it tells you?”
 “Well, try it sometime.”

The INTERNET was working this way (Why is INTERNET in all caps?) and I was transforming internally.   I realized, as Socrates had said, "I know that I 'KNOW' nothing."  I realized I believe, I think, I hope, but I don't know and odds are neither does anyone else.   We are all slaves to our perceptions, so we can't be anymore upset at someone who sees an issue differently than we do than we can at a dog for not understanding abstract advanced calculus in Spanish backwards.   This was illuminating to say the least.

I'm going to split for now, but the greatest way I can summarize my new found outlook is to again quote Richard Bach:

“The world is your exercise-book, the pages on which you do your sums. It is not reality, although you can express reality there if you wish. You are also free to write nonsense, or lies, or to tear the pages.”

Every personall theevents of your life, are there because you have drawn ... What you choose to do with them is up to you

Everything in this post may be wrong =D