Monday, December 29, 2008

no sleep till brooklyn

My mother had set the table for Christmas a week in advance, so the plates required a little dusting just before the big day:

We had an international motley crew over for dinner with enough booze to put Santa and all his reindeer out through to New Year’s. And while other countries celebrate the day after Christmas as ‘Boxing Day’, where the tradition is to give gifts to the less fortunate; here there’s ‘Black Friday: Part II’, where the tradition is to spend even more money on pointless crap just for yourself and just because it’s cheaper right after an (inevitably) unsatisfactory 25th. They even make the sick consumer orgy sound like a thrilling movie sequel.

I’ve divided my stay here between the age old Florida pastime of schadenwetterfreude: watching the weather channel and gloating over how terrible the weather is ‘up North’ and hanging with the local fauna (this guy from the 9th hole):

Yesterday I began my clinical trial after a brief consultation with my new doctor outside his trailer:

I’ll expand and expound about why I trust a guy in a trailer more than America’s officially sanctioned cancer industry death camps in future posts – all the invective and diatribe you’ve been waiting for in a neat little series of tirades that have been brewing and festering since my arrival – but suffice it to say that I’m pissed and watching a marathon of ‘House’ reruns on channel ‘USA’ right now is not helping. They just gave chemo to a girl with leprosy for no reason.

My Mom and I went to the beautiful beaches of Gasparilla Island today: where the Bushes spend their post-Christmas holiday. We didn’t see any and so had a wonderful time:

I’m headed back to New York later today and Sherm is going to pick me up at the airport, so the taxi won't cost more than my flight. Happy New Year!

Saturday, December 20, 2008

orange blossom special

Had a lovely time in our nation’s capital and its beltway environs. The American Visionary Art Museum in Baltimore was particularly inspirational:

But the real highlight was Wilco last Sunday at the Opera House – that’s right, second row center! Almost too close:

The Opera has recently filed for bankruptcy like everyone else over here, so they’re branching out a bit. I’m thinking of booking it for next year’s mikeFEST™. The show blew me away and more than made up for that Icelandic nonsense in Prague.

I got to Florida on Tuesday and was met by my uncle, aunt and cousin who I hadn’t seen for quite awhile. We played cards and ate a lot. It was fun. My mother, Bob and I have been nosing around some of America’s greatest discount warehouse stores, hunting for last minute bargains and shrimp platters.

I’m off to Orlando in a couple of minutes to see Zoe’ and her Mom. Healthwise, looks like the neuropathy is here to stay in varying degrees of numbness. I’ll set up the Wii Fit thingy when I get back and start my electronic yoga routine as well as daily trips to the state-of-the-art fitness center, pool, hot tub and sauna.

Pretty much everyone in Florida has cancer, so I fit right in. My post-Christmas plans are still up in the air, but I’m planning on going to the inauguration, even though the post-election euphoria is showing some wear and tear:

and then to Buenos Aires in January for a couple of weeks. Thanks again for all your comments and support. Miss you all, merry Christmas!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

five capitals

Sorry for the delays. Wow. It’s been awhile since Shay and I finally caught that sunset back in Denver:

Mark picked me up at the airport in Austin and we went out to the ‘ham jam’ – a monthly jam session of around a hundred young musicians in this really nice older gentleman’s beautiful mansion. Every room, terrace and closet had people playing fantastic music in it. Great food and drink to boot. Very cool:

We went to see live (music) shows every night, often racing from one to the next, except the night I made Mark and a friend watch Slacker, the main reason I’d wanted to visit Austin since college. They hated it. And no wonder. Austin hasn’t changed that much, so it plays more like a documentary there.

We even got up to Mt. Bonnell to pay homage to Christine at her behest:

And drove down to Houston on Thursday to see his friends play at a dinner theater. It was worth both the five hour car trip and the speeding ticket.

Up early and off to Baltimore on Friday, Sherman met us at Jon and Annette’s house. And on Saturday, we went down to Richmond to see my childhood friend, Kevin, and his new wife, Peggy. We were a bit late, so Kevin had started without us and didn’t quite make it through dinner:

After a delicious all-you-can-eat brunch, they dropped me off at Miguel’s on Sunday, whence we went to dinner karaoke in Arlington (a little risky, but no one was stabbed). On Monday morning, Miguel and I went to the Czech Embassy, where my application was promptly rejected as being ‘out of their jurisdiction’: as my ‘trvalý pobyt’ is in New York, I’d have to apply there. I didn’t argue. Feeling defeated, we spent the day giving inspirational historic speeches at the Smithsonian:

Miguel drove me back up to Baltimore Tuesday evening and Taffy took Jon and me out to lunch yesterday with her beautiful eleven-month old baby, Greyson:

In addition to our senior yearbook, Taffy brought along some old high hair photos and two letters I’d written her my freshman year of college: replete with eclectic time-capsuled period memorabilia. There was even a poem!

I’d spent Tuesday either on or over the toilet with some sort of dysentery/stomach virus. And my (cancerous?) lymph nodes have been swollen and slightly painful, but both conditions have almost completely subsided in the last two days.

I should probably be making more of an effort to look into clinical trials, but I’ve become increasingly suspicious of the motives of the drugs industry, direct or indirect sponsor of all of them. I’m feeling very ‘if ain’t broke don’t fix it’ right now and am enjoying my relatively cancer-free vacation.

Hats off to ‘Aunt Lil’, Zoe’’s Mom, whose latest CT came back tumor free! Great news!

We’re having a birthday party here for and at Jon’s on Saturday, so if you’re in the Baltimore/DC area, let me know – it should start around 3PM EST. See you there!

Monday, December 1, 2008

things to do in denver

Shay took me on a tour through the windowless ventilation ducts of the Hyatt to see the sunset:

Back at the house, drinking with the cat:

we got ready for the big day:

and went over to Ann’s parents':

for a fantastic Thanksgiving dinner with all the trimmings:

before hitting the Czech bar for karaoke:

and enjoying the first snow of the year:

in a city already really looking forward to Christmas:

I had an amazing time here and am off to Texas, of all places, in a couple of hours for my first visit to a ‘red’ state. Feeling pretty well. Hope you all had a great Thanksgiving. More from Austin.

Monday, November 24, 2008

picture post

I’m in Denver now with Ann. Am having such a great time that I’ve had no time to write (sorry Greg) and given my new camera (which I’m not particularly fond of) and the artfartsiness that is San Paco, this post will be more visual than textual:

Arrived without too much ado after a blast in NYC with Tim et many als. Tommy picked me up on Sunday and took me back to his crib:

Quite the climb up, but what a view when you get there:

And spending ‘more money [on me] than a drunken sailor’ ($15), Tommy took me to a fancy spa up in Calistoga for some hot springs (clearly marked as hot) and clearly ‘not for poor people’:

And although the abandoned boarded-up gas station may hint at progress to come:

the lines that wrap around the block at the Skid Row (aka Jones St.) employment office point to a different reality:

and while the SF mint works 24/7 to print more money, Fort Knox, emptied of its gold, is now open for self-storage:

Insulated from all this in a Korean karaoke with Ann, singing along to images of Prague for some strange reason:

and with a decadent macroörganobiotic barbecue and faux band photo session as the fog rolled in at Golden Gate park on Saturday:

it was easy to forget our friends back on Skid Row, so we went to the track for $1 Sundays: dollar beers and dollar hot dogs, to place our bets with the rest on not-so-easy money and pipe dreams:

We broke even. Neuropathy marginally better. Miss you all. More soon.

Thursday, November 13, 2008


I’m winding up my time here in New York - off on Sunday morning to San Francisco to see Tommy and eventually Ann. I’ve made some changes to the blog (look to your right) to reflect the fact that I’m no longer in the hospital or even in Prague for that matter, while updating the picture from one showing me without hair to a recent one of me trying to pull it out (courtesy of Pamela – the picture, I mean).

I just got back from more laundry and yet another delicious soul food lunch special. I think I may be addicted to both. Soul food restaurants seem to be the only places to get large portions of unpretentious, pronounceable vegetables at reasonable prices in New York, not to mention jerk goat and grits.

Last Friday saw Tim, Sherm, Christine and me up at Tom and Pauline’s in New Haven, of all places, for a brief look at Yale, the fall foliage and to clear the beach of vermin for the season:

Back in Brooklyn on Saturday, I met up with Jessica who had flown in from Maine just to sing karaoke with me. We were out until almost 6 in the AM, still singing medleys of TV theme songs to anyone who would listen.

After lunch with Pamela and John Oliver, of all people, in Chelsea on Tuesday, I tried to catch up to the Veterans’ Day Parade, but those vets were either too fast or I was too easily sidetracked.

I stopped in to see a $10 ‘psychic advisor’ palm reading gypsy lady, who told me that I ‘will have a very long life’. That finally settled and much to my relief, I tipped her two bucks and took my time (now that I had more) getting to the Intrepid, the ostensible start of the parade:

The Intrepid had been billed as ‘the greatest symbol of peace’ in New York Harbor that morning by the douchebag singing Bush’s praises and running the Veterans’ Day ceremony. He must have missed the Statue of Liberty somehow on his way in - gigantic artillery piece or surface-to-air missile in the way, I guess.

The neuropathy has stabilized for the worse, but I bought a pair of high tops to improve my support, widen my wheel-base and fit in better in Brooklyn. Three hours of walking didn’t do me any favors, so I met Marguerite for drinks and Thai at the end of my hike in midtown.

Thanks for the comments. I’m off to town to buy a camera before the sabbath. Later.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

yes we did!

After a seemingly short transatlantic flight (despite the curmudgeon next to me - long dull story), I landed in a laundromat for the first time in well over twenty years. The locals walked me through the wash and dry, even offering well-guarded tips along with the detergent. I haven’t used a washing machine in twenty years, I said. Yup, it’s tough times, they all agreed.

When I went to mail my ballot on Friday, the line was about fifteen minutes deep at least. A really nice guy in line gave me a stamp and then gave me another when he found out it was for my ballot – just to make sure, he said. People are so friendly in Brooklyn; it’s almost weird.

Tims’ (there are indeed two of them) party that night went ween, with all and sundry all the groggy the morning after. Tim even made a traditional Halloween turkey to go with the pumpkin:

Got a free bottle of wine on Saturday at a fancy wine bar just by sharing it with the waitress – who woulda thought? As I say, people are nice; I’m not used to it.

And on Sunday, we walked the two blocks to watch the NYC Marathon blow through the hood. There was a gospel choir and band with a singing, hopping, dancing preacher cheering the runners on for Jesus in front of the Baptist church. The music was great:

Contrast all this good cheer with my trip to the Czech consulate on Monday. Boy, was it lousy to be home. Over an hour wait with only two (embarrassingly stupid) NYU girls ahead of me, only to find out I was missing a paper that I had two copies of – with me at the consulate. It’s kind of like when a southern cop breaks your taillight just to give you a ticket. So my application will be (surprise!) delayed as 'the document' has to be (surprise!) notarized (again) in the Czech Republic.

I went into Starbucks yesterday to use their bathroom and get my free cup of coffee for having voted (a promotion later declared illegal by party-poopers) and the atmosphere was electric with the prospects of free toilets and coffee, both incurring even longer lines than at the polls.

Around town, the preference was clear. From the sweatshop poster stuck to the bottom of a dirty window in Chinatown declaring the only single, solitary Asian voter for McCain:

To the upscale storefront in Chelsea with a dozen life-size Obamannequins sporting this winter’s (admittedly disappointing) fashions:

Back in Brooklyn, there was shouting, cheering, dancing and fireworks as the preliminary results began to indicate not only an Obama victory, but a landslide. And I couldn’t be more pleased and proud.

Oh yeah, my health. Neuropathy quite a bit worse – almost up to my knees. Other than that, I feel OK. Off to meet Sherman in our old ‘living room’ at Mona’s in the East Village. My number here is +1 347 633 7738. Miss you all in Prague; well most of you, anyway...

Thursday, October 30, 2008


I’m in Berlin now at Henny & Florian’s after their spectacular wedding on Rügen Island over the weekend:

Damien and Ashley were in town until yesterday and Jirka is here until I leave in a couple of hours for New York. We had sushi on those little boats yesterday:

Having a great time here and wish I had more time to write about it, but haven’t even had time to think, let alone pack (again), so you’ll have to settle for kitchy pictures like this one:

I hope to see many of you at the Tims' Halloween Party in Brooklyn this Friday night at 224 St. James Place in Clinton Hill of all places. Until then!

Friday, October 24, 2008

encouragingly inconclusive

My twenty minute super-duper-high-tech (and insanely expensive) nuclear PET/CT exam took seven hours on Tuesday when all was said and done, but I got the results right after which were as disturbing as they were encouraging. The report starts out with “the patient (‘sick one’) with small cell lung cancer...”

This was just handed to me. I looked at it and dismissed it as the all too usual mistake. I took the diagnosis to Dr. Klener who took a pen and crossed it out, replacing it with an almost illegible ‘something something melanoma’. This is the same doctor who crossed out the ‘melanoma of the lip’ crap on one of my older documents.

They don’t call him ‘golden hands’ for nothing. I asked him to cross out the other tumors on the report, but it looks like I only get one at a time. I’m sure these penciled in amendments make their way into the ‘official’ system eventually.

The good news is that it looks like the remaining tumors have all shrunken somewhat and/or decreased their metabolic activity. “It looks like regression,” the report concludes. Nice.

That Facebook is a can of worms. I’ll get around to posting a photo and accepting all your lovely invitations of friendship forthwith. Unfortunately, I’m furiously packing for the big trip at the moment and don’t have the time to do it justice. Gotta go. Dropped Šlupers off at John and Bo’s for the duration:

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

arbitrary milestone

I celebrated? the anniversary of my illness on Monday as well as having lasted six months beyond the average sell-by date for those with my condition. It was a year ago Monday that I started inexplicably dropping beers downstairs during my vernissage and I can now both safely hold and even drink them again!

When they tell you that you have cancer, they (usually) don’t tell you that you’re going to die. They wait until you ask, ‘how long do I have?’ Then they look wistfully askance and tell you the average survival time for what they think you have. They might even give you some ranges and percentages, cross-calculated with treatment options and other scenarios, etc. So you’ve got that to think about, even though you probably stopped listening awhile ago.

Then they tell you that ‘all cancers are different,’ which you dismiss as a platitude (if you’re still listening), but shouldn’t. All cancers are different. They may be rogue, rowdy and rebellious, but they’re your cells after all. That’s how they manage to fool your immune system. Cancer is as personal and unique as the color of your eyes or the shape of your nose. This leaves ranges and averages rather arbitrary.

My own cancer seems to be luckily less ambitious than is the norm for its particular breed. So happy arbitrary milestone to me! The MRI came back negative (or positive if you’re a glass-full type not in the medical profession) – no current CNS metastasis. The sinusitus (that I’d forgot I had) has also improved.

The neuropathy has stabilized to the very tips of my fingers and the bottoms of my feet. It feels like I have shag carpeting inside my sneakers. I’ll get a CD of the PET/CT and various other acronyms on Tuesday, but probably won’t be able to read any of it. Results will be over the phone later that week before I leave for Germany.

Really looking forward to my upcoming trip(s) and hope to see as many of you as is superhumanly possible. Take care and thanks for the comments. Taffy, now there’s a lass from the past! Keep on rockin’ girl.

Thursday, October 9, 2008


I cornered Klener in the cafeteria at Homolka on Tuesday (I was nostalgic for the salad bar) and explained my dilemma. He told me to stop by his office before my MRI and he’d arrange the PET/CT of my lungs/torso, before I left for the States. Which he did – for the 21st of October at 7:20 in the morning - so much for being booked out for the rest of eternity ;-)

I had the MRI at 2 and got the results on CD immediately after:

Looks pretty good to my amateur eye - better than last time, but still some swelling. I’ll have to wait until Tuesday for the official analysis. I looked at the last (lung) CT again (for the fiftieth time) and noticed some cloudiness not present in the previous one. Really, could be anything; I’m not too concerned, sort of.

I had my busted crown from February finally replaced yesterday. Looks only slightly better in my mouth than in this plaster mold:


My neuropathy is very slowly, but fairly surely fading – a trend I hope will continue. I was pretty worried that it would be permanent, leaving me worse off than before the operation. I saw Dr. Wang again today for some relatively painful acupuncture and magic herbs, which may or may not be helping.

That chemo tirade will have to be postponed to a less fun-filled post, as I'm not in the mood for a tirade. Thanks again for all of your comments and words of support. I’m really looking forward to seeing you all stateside (I just love that word) very soon.

PS. It was a real mötley crüe down at the Globe at 3 in the morning last Thursday to watch Palin not answer her own list of questions, let alone the moderator’s:
and something else to think about:
until next time...

Thursday, October 2, 2008

no news is no news

Before we all beat up on Batko, we should realize that he just unexpectedly inherited hundreds of patients of all ages and backgrounds in varying states of decay, through no fault of his own. He didn’t choose to be my doctor, nor I his patient, though.

But what I think the good doctor meant by being ‘lucky to have lived this long’ was that it is very rare that melanoma IV patients respond to chemo at all and I should give it another shot. Unfortunately, he is drawing the conclusion that I somehow responded ‘well’ to chemo.

Every doctor wants to believe that their method works – it gives meaning to their lives. I had planned on publishing my own theories as to why I’ve been ‘lucky’ to have lived this long, but I won’t be as presumptuous as the doctor and that sermon will have to wait, but look for my chemo tirade in my next post (rehearsed with Greg and politely delivered to the doctor/choir a few minutes ago – I had to call).

And we are in complete agreement. He discussed my case with the other oncologists and they’ve decided that I should wait and have another CT in two months. So I asked for a PET before I leave for the States to have something for the clinical trials. He argued as to its usefulness (the little lung tumors? wouldn’t show up) and suggested something called a PET/CT that would be more effective and I said ‘Let’s go!’ and he said it was booked out at Homolka for the rest of eternity and I said I’d see what I could do.

PLT: 113 (low) WBC: 8.9 (high/normal)

I had my last cigarette (a Viceroy 100 that I got from a sweet old man) on my way to the hospital Tuesday morning around 8:45 and will not have another one – ever. Although I had cut down significantly over the last year (from roughly 2 packs to 2 smokes / day), I just didn’t think that I deserved to get better if I didn’t quit, so I quit.

I did “Save a Prayer” (before he got fat) and “Landslide” (Nicks/Pumpkins mash-up) Tuesday night at the karaoke, making the best use of my lungs while I’ve still got them. I’m sure to waste them tonight shouting at the television. Don’t miss it: 21h EST on one or more of those thousands of channels you all get now.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

probably not good

Irina and I went to Motol this morning to meet my new erstwhile oncologist (mine is recovering from surgery) and get last Thursday’s CT results. That’s right, the verdict is: probably not good... maybe:

“Multiple small lesions and ‘infiltrations’ between 2mm – 4mm are apparent in both lungs.” They suspect lung metastasis. But it could also be some sort of inflammation - they can’t really tell or say. But they think it’s metastasis, they’re sort of sure (like they were about the ‘first’ lung tumor). The other lymphatic tumors are slightly reduced or the same as before. Gall bladder still in tatters, but the good news is that the report says nothing about my prostate. Yeah!

I compared both CT lung exams (July 24 & September 25) and can’t see any difference therebetween even with the fancy magnifying glass function. I’ll be looking for a second opinion, or yet again, a more definitive first.

Dr. Batko did tell me that I was very lucky to have lived this long. I’m to speak with him again tomorrow after he’s looked at today’s bloodwork and consulted with the other doctors (including my own, I think) at Motol and they come up with a plan/proposal for my next treatment, which I will most likely politely decline.

Because the really good news is that I now qualify for clinical trials! I’m just trying to remain positive. More as this story unravels...

Monogram were great last night - as always. I will be in Atlanta (ATL) twice actually in December for an hour apiece if you want to meet up for a quick $18 beer, Hunter.

Friday, September 26, 2008

the american tour

The tingling seems to be fairly steady in both feet and hands now and, it’s either gotten slightly better, or I’m just getting used to it. I am, however, having more and more trouble walking and standing for longer periods, but this usually remains unnoticeable to all but the most observant. We’re going to call it ‘peripheral neuropathy’ from now on, as that’s the name of the (more chronic) condition and fairly common side-effect of chemotherapy.

I got my ticket for the post-election gloat-boat, the “In your face, grandpa, and you too, ya cheap hussy” Express, for less than $700 (that’s like 50 crowns!) for all these imminent arrivals:

Sunday, Nov 16: San Francisco (SFO) 12:08 PM PST
Sunday, Nov 23: Denver (DEN) 11:44 PM MST
Monday, Dec 1: Austin (AUS) 10:09 PM CST
Friday, Dec 5: Baltimore (BWI) 4:23 PM EST
Tuesday, Dec 16: Fort Myers, Florida (RSW) 2:37 PM EST
Monday, Dec 29: New York (EWR) 10:56 PM EST

So buckle your seatbelts! Despite the recent ‘mental recession’, the fundamentals of the American economy appear stronger than ever: waste gas and pollute the air for next to nothing and buy lots of Christmas presents made (or at least bought) in USA.

But I progress. From October 30th to November 16th I’ll be in the greatest New York area, as well as after December 29th. I look forward to seeing all of you and your respective sundries at our mutual conveniences on any stop of the tour. That’s a pretty wide berth: you have no excuse.

I had my long-awaited CT scan yesterday morning. It took them four tries to get a working needle in for the contrast solution, so I’m back to junkie pincushion arms after a long break. I got the results on CD immediately after, but can’t find anything, nor have been able to in the past, except that my insides are a lovely shade of blue, my boxers are a little too tight in the waist, I have a strange wire running down the right side of my body and my spine is pretty straight for all my poor posture:

My oncologist, in a surprise move, is mysteriously disappearing (on purpose) for a month, or at least until after my last opportunity to see her before I leave for Germany and then the States. I’m to have blood tests and get my CT results on Tuesday morning with her replacement, Dr. Batko. I’m having some abandonment anxiety. I hope to arrange a PET scan before I leave, depending on Tuesday’s consultation with the second string.

I saw Dr. Wang today and told him about the neuropathy. He stuck ten relatively painful pins in my head, turning me into a real Hellraiser, and left me for almost an hour. I feel pretty much the same, although my much lighter wallet has put a little skip in my step.

Results on Tuesday could affect my US itinerary, so bate your collective breath until next time. Don't miss tonight's presidential debate, even if McCain does.

Friday, September 19, 2008

homeward bound

The paresthesis, for lack of a more accurate term, has got substantially worse and is now accompanied by burning sensations on?/in? my right hand and foot along with the previously-reported pins and needles. The good news is that it’s become so bad that it’s passed (more diffused) to my left side as well – strangely, but logically, considered a positive sign in the topsy-turvy world of neurology.

Diagnosing me via SMS (I was in Spain, she was leaving for the States), my neurologist blamed the usual suspect, the chemo culprit, for my new-found numbness. Seeing me in person on Tuesday, my neurosurgeon, Dr. Klener, gave me a slightly more thorough exam and concurred with her diagnosis. I will have an MRI on October 7th just to be sure. Forgot to ask whether or not this kind of nerve damage is permanent.

I went over to Will and Irina’s for dinner and the traditional bestowing upon of the winter coat on Wednesday - my Mother got last year’s. My first leather coat! And boy is it stylish! But here’s a picture of violins instead:

¡Me lo pasé dpm en Madrid! ¡Gracias a todos! Despite the fact that I lost another molar - this time to a potato chip, which I shouldn’t have been eating anyway. My dentist patched it up yesterday and will replace my chewed-up Terminator-(1)-looking crown, busted since February, a week from Monday.

The big Bulgarian beach barbecue is off (not only for the obvious health implications of ‘beach’ and ‘barbecue’, not to mention ‘Bulgarian’); and although they were practically paying us to go there toward the end, the grapes were really a bit sour: -20 degrees and hail the size of soccer balls or something. I did, however, get my ticket to the States after a protracted struggle with the booking UI, which has no back button and expects both decisiveness and perfection at every screen.

I’ll go up to Rügen Island for Henny and Florian’s wedding weekend on the 24th of October, apparently, and fly out of Berlin nonstop to JFK on the 30th. After about two weeks in the tri-state area, my other intended ports of call include: Baltimore/DC, Denver, San Francisco, possibly Austin, Miami and then Fort Myers, Florida for Christmas.

Tickets are surprisingly reasonable, pretty much regardless of the order of the aforementioned cities, so let me know if there are any potential conflicts or preferences. Nothing’s set in stone, I’m still flexible, but need to be fast. I should get the ticket early next week at the latest.

After Christmas, I’ll either go back to NY (for more), to Seattle or Bethesda (for clinical trials), Argentina and Brazil (just for kicks), or any combination of the above. I’m to return to Berlin on February 17th - hopefully to good news from the Embassy. I still need to get my papers in order (all over again), sublet my apartment and find someone to take care of the šlupers.

Some of my friends from the Northwest Territories took umbrage at my characterization of Sarah Palin as “Canadian-sounding”. If only she were Canadian, as Mary points out, she would have more to recommend her. I’d take Anne Murray or Robin Sparkles over Palin any day. Unfortunately, it’s specifically forbidden by the American Constitution. Wait a minute... that never stopped Bush!

So apologies to my brothers and sisters both to and from the North and, if you haven’t seen it already:

Vrat's birthday tonight.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

la vuelta de españa

Sorry it’s been awhile, but I’m in:

And don’t have a lot to report, medically, that is, but hope to make up for lack of text with some visuals.

I got the part as ‘housepainter extra’ or something from that casting after all. I guess dude must have been: too drunk to remember, overcome by remorse, completely desperate or most probably just some low-level flunky who happens to have a laptop and hang out with film people while trying to look important.

Fortunately, I had already bought my ticket to Madrid and therefore had the perfect excuse not to get up at 5AM for three days in a row and go all the way out to boondock Barrandov for full-day pretend house-painting and crap money. Maybe next time.

I arrived here last Friday, pretty much without a hitch - plane was late, food was terrible, but I was not immediately deported :-) Paco and I went straight to the hospital from the airport (his appointment, not mine for once), so I could feel a little more at home - shop and compare, as it were.

I’m floating between Pensión América (Paco’s Mom’s place downtown, where I used to live) and his beautiful new apartment in the near-burbs of Coslada from whence I’m writing now.

Been travelling around a lot: Chinchón, some town called Ear, up to the source of the river Manzanares, etc. and on Tuesday, we went to Salamanca to see Paco’s sister and pick up his nephew for school in Madrid. Here’s a picture of Paco, me and Rebe (his beautiful bird) in the Plaza Mayor in Salamanca:

Having a really great time, eating unbelievably well and healthy - no chorizo for Mikey this time, but lots of fish, fruits and vegetables:

I’ve been experiencing some paresthesis (numbness, tingling) in my right foot and hand, which has had me a little worried. I’m going to try to order a brain MRI when I get back to Prague, as it’s about time for one anyway.

Although it would be a greater risk than coming here, I may go to Bulgaria with my Prague peeps next week. I’ll let you know. Going to see the Senator DJ in Lavapiés (Footwash) tonight – should be wild.

As always, thanks for your patience, comments and continuing support. ¡Hasta muy pronto!

Monday, September 1, 2008

working in the garden

I had my last dose(s) of radiation today (I had mistakenly miscounted in the last post, apologies) and couldn’t be more pleased. The red areas are redder and I’ve lost a bit of hair in the pit and, aside from the: seemingly indelible, inscrutable, ‘out, out damn spot’, unscrubable, stigmatic welts of crosses from the dye, I’m fine.

Went to my good friend and former prodigy’s cottage up in my old rhinoceros stomping grounds of České Středohoří on Friday to help him with some gardening:

I unfortunately got called back on a callback for a commercial much earlier than I had planned on Saturday afternoon, only to find out that the casting director was the selfsame schmuck I had a bit of a ‘disagreement’ with last Tuesday at the karaoke of all places. With my recently-acquired arch-nemesis calling the shots, I doubt I have one. Prague is really too small.

So I bought a ticket for Madrid. I have some time before my next CT scan on the 25th and need to get the hell out of here for a bit. I’ll have a PET scan some time in late October and then plan to go to the States in time to vote.

If melanoma ever makes me crazy enough to pick a gun-toting, creationist, pregnant-teenage-daughter-having, small town politick, Canadian-sounding (no offence, but c’mon), right-wing whackjob as my back-up, just pull the plug.

My mother fractured both her tibia and her fibula playing golf with a baby this past weekend, but is recovering nicely.

Happy (only-in-America, gotta be different) Labor Day! Go Obama!