Thursday, November 29, 2007

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Hey, if you haven't noticed...

I have a blog for my latest project, my 1962 Karmann Ghia Coupe. The link is right over there --> to the right. Check it out.

From Ghia 1

Monday, November 19, 2007

Shop Camera

A couple weeks ago, while shopping for Ghias, I decided that I needed a better digital camera than the one my parents have. I went through 3 changes of batteries in about 60 shots with a flash. One set were old rechargeable, but the other two were regular alkalines. Plus, I need a camera for the shop, so I went on craigslist and found an older 3.2 megapixel for $20, got a couple batteries for it on ebay for 99¢, and a charger for $2. This thing has the most amazing macro I've ever seen! The specs I read on the internet said it could focus up to 2mm, but I thought that must have been a typo. Check this out.

From 2mm.
LCD Display on the microwave.

Dots of ink on a magazine cover.

Pixels on my computer screen.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Now that looks pretty good

Maybe I'll change the stripes too.

Nothing like Grandma's Cooking

Unless you have the recipes!

Here are two recipes from Grandma Milligan that I found recently.
Grandma's Egg Salad Sandwiches
Grandma's Chocolate Frosted Brownies (I always thought they were more cake-like, but it says "brownies" in her handwriting)

If there's anything else that might be floating around, I'm sure that many of us would like to have them.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Selling cars on Craigslist

So I list a car for $2200, and what are my first 5 offers? $1500. The stories are great though. One woman who called said that she works 3 jobs and has 4 kids, and her oldest daughter has a baby but the father ran off and they don't know where she is, and her honda broke down and she needs a new car. Can she get it for $1500?


So she tells me she'll pray on it and if god wants her to have my car, he'll tell her.

If God was in your heart, wouldn't you already know? Even if God tells you you'll get it, you're still not getting it for $1500. Trailer trash.

Second person calls, and his daughter just got out of jail or something or just had a baby.

I don't care.




Still not even close to what I'm asking. Trailer trash.

Third guy. Newly rich Canadian importing cars from the US. "Honestly, it's not worth any more than $1500."

So why are you calling me? I'm asking $2200. That's a difference of $700 you'll have to make up. Jerk.

The forth person calls, asks for the VIN to do a check. Calls back the next day to make an appointment. Comes when she says she will. Takes it for a test drive. Says that it's the nicest, cleanest, best running car she's seen for $2200. Pays me cash and takes it home. She was 16 and earned the money herself, and her dad has a custom VW machine shop. She's very cool, and he will get my business.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

What is going on?

Just as I was finishing cancer treatment, my grandpa found out that he has cancer. Then my cousin Russ was diagnosed with Hodgkin's, and he's just started treatment. Now another cousin has been diagnosed with leukemia. What gives?

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Sleeping on a Sidewalk

The bums don't have it that bad. At least they wouldn't if they had the proper equipment for sleeping on sidewalks. All they need is a modern bivy sack. To test out the feasibility of bumming it, I decided to head down to a city 20 minutes south of Portland, OR to sleep on the sidewalk in front of REI in the pouring rain. For supplies I had only four things: a Thermarest camping mattress to keep me off the cold ground and out of the 1cm of standing water, a three season -9°c(15°f) mummy style sleeping bag, and a bivy sack. The bivy had a single pole that arched across the head area, keeping the material off your face while you sleep. The zipper is of the weatherproof variety, keeping out most of the wind and water. The problem with this design for bum applications however is that a drunk bum crawling into it may accidentally close the zipper completely, suffocating himself. I recommend 6 inches of the zipper to conform with the manufacturer's recommendations for the prevention of suffocation.

I wore a thick wool sweater, stardard issue to most North West bums, and my jeans to bed. The only time I was cold during the night, it was my toes, which has slipped off the insulating Thermarest pad, and weren't covered by wool socks, another standard issue bum supply. I remained out of the wind and rain all night, and completely dry. This bivy was made from a material that was both waterproof and breathable, so water falling on the outside simply rolled off, and vapor did not condense on the inside. It was so comfy in fact, that I didn't even want to leave my protective cocoon-like bed in the morning, a trait that is also in keeping with life as a bum.

I recommend that all bums go out immediately and get themselves these three items. To protect yourselves from the upcoming winter cold, you may want a four season bag. Although it rarely if ever gets below -9°c, it may start to get cold when approaching this bone chilling temperature. The Thermarest, mummy bag, bivy combo sure beats sleeping under a bridge.

Sunday, October 07, 2007

The Core of Evil™

I have the Focus all put back together now. It took me three days to get to the heater core, now know as The Core of Evil™, but I had to wait a couple days for the new one. On Wednesday, I got a call from Shucks telling me that it wasn't going to be in Friday as promised, so I canceled that order and called the Ford dealership in Kent. They were able to get the part in the next day, but quoted me the MSRP price, not the price that they had listed on their site. I got them to sell it to me for their web price, and picked it up the next day.

I got the new core in easily enough, and filled the car back up with water. As I started to put things together, I noticed a puddle forming on the floor. I looked under the car and found a new leak coming from a different part of the car. This time it was the plastic thermostat housing. A crack that was already there must have worsened when I was pulling on the heater core hoses. I got that part off in a few minutes and headed back to the dealership for a replacement. It was back on in short time, and refilled with water. No leaks this time. I spent the rest of the night reassembling everything. I had to buy a cool new tool to get the passenger airbag back in, and by late morning on Friday, I was able to take the car for a test drive. No leaks now, and just had to add a little water as air pockets left the system.

But the strangest thing happened. That bearing noise that prompted dad to propose me doing all this work moved from the rear left, to the front right. I also rotated the tires, moving the rear left tire to the front left. Strange... Upon closer examination, I noticed a large flat spot on that tire. The rear bearing was bad when I got to it, but they tend to self destruct sometimes when you take them off anyway, so I don't know if it was bad to begin with, or just after I removed it. But that rear-now-front tire is really bad. Really all of them were bad. There is one that is thread-bare in one spot. So I'm not going to touch it until it has new tires. Then maybe dad will sell it. And the Toyota. And get a VW Bus.

Sunday, September 30, 2007

Working on the Focus

I hate this car.

Dad originally offered me $150 to do the brakes and fix the heater. Brakes are easy, and I thought the heater problem was easy too. I put water in the car, and the heater worked again. Except that by the next morning, it had all drained out. So I pulled the car into the shop to inspect it, and found that the heater core was leaking. This I has suspected for a long time because sometimes when you turn on the heat, without the air conditionings drying effect, the interior would become humid, and the windshield would fog up. So I looked in the Clymer manual and found that to replace the heater core, you had to remove the entire dash, including steering column, both airbags, instrument cluster, the stereo and all the climate controls. I decided that this wasn't a $150 job. Dad said "fine then, I'll have someone else do it." I told him that he wouldn't find anyone else that would do it for $150 either. He didn't. The dealer wanted $875. So he agreed to pay me $400. Now, two days and half way into it, and still not even close to the heater core, I'm still not sure it it will be worth it.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

September's Blog Post (or, 'Some Shit I've Been Doing')

I have a few projects on the burners for the end of September. The project that has been on the front high burner for most of this month, but has been moved to a medium burner for the time being, is my bike. I have the engine completely torn apart, and have repainted the case in the original silver color. The fins on the cylinders and head are a lot harder to clean up, but they are almost done and ready for some clear coat to prevent corrosion. One thing that may keep in on a medium burner for a while, or even put it on a back burner, is that I need to re-plate the bolts that hold the engine case together.

On the front burner now are two projects: selling the Toyota Camry that was my sister's car, and fixing some things on my dad's Focus. All I think I'm going to do in the Camry is have the tires balanced, spray paint the hood white to match the rest of the car, and maybe do a bit of shampooing on the seats and carpets. When I sell it, I'll keep half of the profits from the sale.

My dad's Focus needs new bearings in the rear, the front brake rotors turned or replaced, and a heater core and maybe fixed linkage. He has no heat, and I don't know why yet, but I do know that the heater core has been leaking. It fogs up inside when the heat is turned on if the air conditioning isn't on also. This probably requires the entire dash of the car to be torn apart.

A future project that hasn't even made it onto a burner yet, as it's still in research stages, is to put an electronic fuel injection system in my Beetle. There's a system called MegaSquirt, that consists of a fuel injection controller and software to program it, to which you hook up fuel injectors, oxygen sensors, heat sensors, and a couple other things, and with a bit of sensor tuning and tweaking, will calculate at any given point the proper fuel air mixture, and inject the correct amount of fuel into the intake of the engine. It shouldn't be very hard at all for me to make and gather the parts I'll need, and the control unit is very inexpensive. If this had existed when my Volvo went out when I was in high school, I'd have put one of these systems in. So this I will investigate a little more and see how doable it will be on my car, or if it will be one of those things that I learn enough about to realize that I'll never get around to doing it.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Morotcycle Restoration

I figured I'd better update my blog before the month is over.

Here's what I've been up to lately.

Since these pictures were taken, I've painted the engine cases, and started cleaning up the upper half of the engine that wont be painted. I've kind of gotten a little over zealous with the polish, and some parts are looking a little better than they should. Oh well, it's going to look good.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Back on a Steady Diet of Coffee and...

It took me a while to get into some kind of schedule of doing something after SIFF. Starting radiation a few weeks ago helped quite a bit as I have to wake up at about 8:30 every morning. I really like to have some regularly scheduled thing that I have to do. And it has to be something that someone else schedules. I can't just tell myself that I'm going to get up at 8:30 to study Japanese. By the time I have finished hitting to snooze button, it's 10:30. Breakfast would happen at around 11:30, and by the time my shower's finished at around 12:30 or one, the day's half gone.

A quick side note while I'm looking at this finch: It's hot today. Even the finches look like they're panting.

Anyway, I need something to get me going. Radiation's been good because it hasn't given me any side effects, and it's gotten my out of the house at 9:15 (or 9:30 at the latest) every morning. I get done with that by ten, run errands, grab one of my cameras, go to a park or hunt down something I've been looking for. Fit lunch and dinner in there somewhere (I still have nutritionists prying into my dietary life, trying to tell me I'm too skinny). And then comes coffee. I've been heading to Vivace around 9 to work on my translating. It's kind of a late time for coffee, but I've never been one to postpone sleeping just because I've had a bit of coffee. To me, consumption of coffee and sleep aren't mutually exclusive things. But it is something that I have to be careful of. This morning a had a bit of a headache. I tried to just suffer through it, thinking that I just needed more sleep. No, I just needed coffee. Four ounces later, no headache. So the "and..." in my title? Nothing. Just coffee. It just sounded better with an "and something". I'll have to find something to fill that void. I've been told that cigarettes go well with coffee, but I'm not down with that. Doughnuts seem promising though, and Top Pot on Capital Hill is awesome. Maybe I'll have to start going there.

While coffee is conducive to getting things done, blogging is not, so I'll end this here.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

So Get This...

Today I met my sister's sister's sister. (Aparently there's one more too. Add Kelsey and it's crazyness.)

You all know half sister Brandi. I went to her birthday party today. It was hosted by her half sister Jasmine. About a year ago, Jasmine found out that she has a half sister, who was also at the party today. She apparently also has a half sister who Kelsey has met. So today at Brandi's party, there was a picture taken of my sister, my sister's sister, my sister's sister's sister, my sister's sister's other sister (Brandi has three total sisters), and my sister's sister's sister's sister. I'm glad the sixth one wasn't there. It's too much to type.

Monday, June 11, 2007

Japanese Movie Day

And free burritos.

Today I saw three Japanese movies in a row. I'd meant to see this French movie, but I got to Beleview a few minutes later that I should have and couldn't find parking in time. When I did though, it was this nice tiny little space made by a big SUV taking up two spots, and I thought, I can fit there, so I did. I hope they had to climb through the passenger side.

Chipotle, who is sponsoring SIFF, was giving free burritos to all SIFF pass and ticket holders, and there was one right around the corner from the theater in Bellview, (I'll spell it a few different ways, hoping to get one of them right) so I picked one up for lunch, and saw Retribution, about this cop who was investigating a string of murders that were all related, but were not carried out by the same murderer, and who himself gets a little more involved that he expected.

After this, I headed to another Chipotle location in the U-District and got another burrito for dinner (eating that one now), then to Capital Hill for two more Japanese movies. Mushishi takes place near the turn of the last century, as Japan is modernizing. Don't know why that part was relevant, since the entire movie took place in rural mountainous areas where modernity hadn't reached yet. A Mushishi is a sort of bug/spirit charmer, and that's what the main character did. Kind of weird, a bit slow, and didn't really get to a point where the was a point.

The last movie was Tekkonkinkreet, an animated film about two orphans (the theme for the night?) who try to keep their neighborhood from falling to the Yakuza who are trying to redevelop it into a theme park. A bit trippy, (but it's anime, so I think that's a requirement) but very good artistry, and a pretty good story.

And just for clarification on my last post, I do actually know what a Hasselblad looks like. They look like over rated, expensive cameras that wont make your photos look any better.

Saturday, June 09, 2007

Is That a Hasselblad?

I was out shooting my New Weapon (my new 4x5 press camera) yesterday, and took a break to watch a few movies. (I have a Seattle Film Festival pass) At the end of the first movie, as I was gathering my pile of stuff to leave, the lady next to me asked, "What is that?"

I said, "It's a Speed Graphic."

Her face remained blank, and she asked, "But what does it do?".

"It's a camera, you take pictures."

More blank stares, as there was no visible lens, she still didn't have a clue, so I opened it up. "Gasp! Were you recording the movie?!"

"No" I said, "It can't record a movie. It shoots stills!" Besides, who'd want to record a documentary about how El Salvador's gang problems are a result of a US funded civil war and their repatriation of gang members from LA?

Deep in thought, she said, "Is that a Hasselblad?"

Now I don't even know what a Hasselblad looks like, but apparently, this is the first thing that comes to people's minds when they see some weird camera. A search on Google for "Is that a Hasselblad", in quotes, comes up with over 4,000 hits!

Friday, June 08, 2007

Too many movies

So as you can tell, I abandoned the day-by-day play-by-play in favor of not writing at all. It's a whole lot easier. The last few days have been a bit crummy weather wise, so I've been trying to fit in at least two movies a day. I'll skip all the bad stuff and just get on with what counts.

Sakuran - billed as what Memoirs of a Geisha should have been. It was directed by photographer Mika Ninagawa, and based on a Japanese Graphic Novel. Visually, it was very much like the Ninagawa's still photography, and included an emphasis on goldfish.

The Banquet - Being from Hong Kong, it included it's share of Kung fu. Visually, very beautiful. Grandiose palaces, good fights.

Two Days in Paris - Saw this one with mom. Kind of Woody Allen.

Desepo Naughty Girls - Did I mention that Korean movies are all really strange? It was really strange. This one will be playing at Landmark Theaters.

NW Ties - 6 short films from the NW. Saw these with Emily. The best one was Fortune Hunters, about this guy who works summers in his dad's fortune cookie factory.

Black Sheep - Mutant sheep wreak havok. New Zealand's national horror story. Saw this one with Sylvan and Tristan.

There's still one week to go if you want to see anything. There's plenty of good stuff coming up. Just stay away from the Malaysian stuff.

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Malaysian Movies Suck!

I'm staying away from Malaysian movies for the rest of the festival. I've seen two movies from Malaysia in the last week, and both just sucked. The first one, I read the first two lines of the description just before the house lights went out, and said to my friend, "This sounds like a movie that's not going to go anywhere". And sure enough, and hour and a half later, nothing had happened, and the movie was over.

In the one I saw, I was following what seemed to be the main story, but at the end, that one didn't really do much. The sub-plot did slightly more, even though less time was spent on it, but it really didn't do anything either.

Now maybe it was because these films were both in Chinese. Maybe a Malay film would be better, but I'm going to stay away from Malaysian films for the rest of the festival. I need to see some German and Dutch films.

Monday, May 28, 2007

SIFF Day 3 in Review

Today, Kelsey and I went to my cousin's house fore a little get together with her wife's great fried chicken, and some of their monkey friends. Brandi and Hector showed up with Malika too.

After Becky's, Kelsey and I went to see the midnight screening of Severance, a hilarious black comedy/horror flick out of the UK. A group of employees from a major defense contractor, on a tour of eastern Europe, get lost on their way to a mountain retreat. It's really unlike other movies in the comedy/horror flick genre in that it doesn't follow a trail of stupid mistakes made by the main characters, nor can you anticipate what the bad guy is going to do. It was gory, had a high body count, and was hilarious. It will be in smaller theaters like the Varsity Theater in the U-District soon. Probably cheaper than what a lot of people at SIFF paid too. See it.

Sunday, May 27, 2007

SIFF Day 2 in Review

Today, I stayed up on Capital Hill for two movies at the Neptune, followed by a film at the Egyptian in the U-District. One of the great things about being a pass holder (besides almost never being turned away from a movie, getting first seating priority, and being able to see as many films as your sanity will permit) is that when you're waiting in line to get into a movie, it's really easy and common to get tips on other good movies that are coming up. I would probably never have gone to the last film shown today (especially since it's the midnight showing) if I hadn't heard that a film I'd been interested in had been moved up in the schedule.

The first film I say tonight was Knocked Up. It's a comedy about two very different people who meet on a very drunk night, and well, you can guess what happens next. It was funny and worth seeing (since it was free) and will probably do well in the box office when it's released in the next few weeks.

The next film was Monkey Warfare, a Canadian film about a burnt out ex-anarchist/revolutionary type couple who are trying to stay under the radar until their dope dealer changes all that. I thought this was a very well written, acted and filmed movie, and well worth someone's ten bucks. If you find it in the US, stay after the credits for some extra entertainment. You wont see this part in Canada.

Aachi & Ssipak was one that I heard some murmurings about, so I decided to run the the U-District from Capital hill right after Monkey Warfare. Aachi & Ssipak, and animated film from South Korea, is the story of a time in the future when all that cities have for power is human excrement. For their excrement, they are rewarded with a very addictive popcicle. The story follows two protagonists who find a loophole in the system, and mutants, who live off of the popcicles, but produce no excrement. It's a very very strange, but I'm glad I went, if only for the strangeness.

Tomorrow, I have a kind of day off from film. Although it will probably be the best film watching day for a while, I'm going to a Texas Chicken Fry at my cousin's house.

Friday, May 25, 2007

SIFF Day 1 Review

I saw two movies today, both at Pacific Place, mostly just so I didn't have to walk between theaters.

First, 12:08 East of Bucharest. It was a film about the Romanian Revolution, and one towns recollection of the events of that day. It was mildly funny, but took a long time to get up to that part. Direction and cinematography were average, as was acting. Recommendation: Try something else.

The next film was Pleasant Moments, which followed a psychiatrist trying to council other people's disintegrating lives as her own live goes down the same path. The cinematography style was really annoying, but direction and acting were pretty good. The story was also pretty good. I suspect that I probably broke even on this one. It was good enough that there might not have been something at this time slot that I should have chosen over this one.

Seattle Internation Film Fest Opening Night

Tonight, Sister and I got all spiffed out for the opening night of SIFF. They screened a British movie called "Son of Rambow", about this kid who's family belonged to a very strict, conservative church. Don't know which one it was, but the women wear long dresses, wear head scarves, (not Islam) they can have clocks, but not watches, can drive cars, but not use TVs or record players. Seem them around, but don't know what they are...

So this gets befriended by the school bully, and his life changes. No spoilers...

It was only the second screening, and with about 2,900 people in attendance and Seattle audience's reputation, probably the biggest and best audience they'll have for a while. Not because it wasn't an awesome movie, but because SIFF picked it as it's opening night film.

After the film, there was a big gala, with free everything. Good food catered by Seattle restaurants, an espresso stand, Pyramid beers, cocktails, chocolates, deserts, and 80's dance music. Oh, did I mention the movie was set in the 80s?

So, tons of fun. Too bad I couldn't drink. Had lots of coffee though.

Tons more movies coming up. Lets see some!

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Oh yea, I'm not in the hospital anymore!

Yea, I got out a while ago. I was only there for about 4 days, and since late last week, all my blood counts have been returning to normal, and I've been feeling great mostly. Last Friday, I asked my doctors if I can do without my caregivers (parents) and drive myself to my appointments. They said that I'm doing so much better than they'd expect at this point, and that I'd probably be okay, but it's so much earlier than almost everyone else, that they'd rather not set me completely free yet. What they did though, is set me free for the weekend, and drop my daily appointments back to two days a week, so I only have to go in on Monday and Thursday. They said that I could drive locally, but they still don't want me driving longer distances, like from Bonney Lake to Seattle alone. Don't really know why, but my parents are listening to them, so that means that I can't. I didn't tell them about riding motorcycles...

It sounds like they are going to set me free this week though. On the 30th, I have a CT Scan scheduled, and they will transfer me back to the care of my regular oncologist offically on the 31st. The next, and hopefully last phase of my treatment will start on June 4th, with radiation therapy.

So there's the update everyone's been itching for.

Saturday, May 12, 2007

In the Hospital

I've been in the Hospital for the past few days. I'd been running a temperature for a couple days, but on Thursday, it got high enough for them to be concerned about, so they sent me to the UW hospital. At UW, they did some blood tests, and found an infection, so I've been on antibiotics. My temp got as high as 104, but now everything has pretty much returned to normal. My doc at SCCA said that about 95% of transplant patients spend some time in the hospital, and they were really surprised that at 8 days post transplant, I still hadn't been hospitalized.

It's actually kind of nice to be here because I have access to broad band internet. Having to endure dialup for the last two weeks has almost been more torturous than anything else. Until I started my conditioning, I could take my computer to a coffe shop, and catch up on everything from there, but once my white blood cell counts got too low, I wasn't allowed in public places like that. Apparently fabric stores are okay though...

On my first full day here, Becky and Jenn stopped by on their lunch break, and Ma & Pa have been here every day. I'll probably be out of here today or tomorrow.

Monday, April 30, 2007

Happy re-Birthday to Me!

It's my re-Birthday today. I got my stem cells this morning. I had to sit in the clinic all day, mostly for hydration. I have pretty low energy today, which will probably continue to get worse, but all considering, it's going pretty good. Yesterday, my doctor's and nurses said that it was hard to believe that I was only one day away from a transplant. So on average, I'm doing well.

For my re-Birthday, I got a motorcycle helmet from Tristan. (well, it was actually for all the help I've given him on finding and fixing his new bike) Ma and Pa also got me a card.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Sunday, April 22, 2007

International Pirate Day - April 22

Ahoy me skirvy mates! Today be International Pirate Day. You all must do a bit of pillaging, and drink some rum for your mate Whilley Jim Jim as he can't.

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Drug Cocktail

You wouldn't believe the number of medicine bottles I have on my table right now. It's crazy. It takes 20 minutes just to sort out three days worth of meds. It's crazy. There are over 20 bottles, with a total of 15 different pills each day. The heavy stuff starts tomorrow.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Transplant Next Week!

I just wanted to clear some things up here. I think I've mentioned this before, but I'll give a more through explanation of what a stem cell transplant is, and why it's not the thing that George 'Dubya' Bush and his cronies are trying to outlaw research on (although this doesn't make outlawing research on it okay).

The treatment that I will begin is a few days, called a Autologous Stem Cell Transplant, is a more modern term for the bone marrow transplants that Fred Hutch helped develop a couple decades ago. What happens in these types of treatments is that high does chemo and/or radiation is needed to kill every last remaining cancer cell, but chemo at these high doses also starts killing other healthy cells. The first healthy cells to go are the blood producing cells in the bone marrow. Everyone naturally produces a type of stem cell that has the ability to turn into any type of blood cell. Red blood cells, platelets, and white blood cells are among the most important. Next to go are other rapidly reproducing cells like hair, and mucous membranes. After chemo, the body is left unable to produce any of the different blood cells, and the bone marrow must be rescued.

There are two main ways to do this. They can either take closely matching bone marrow from a donor, or take it from the person needing the transplant to be frozen and used later for the rescue. The second is the Autologous transplant that I'm having.

I began my latest treatment in January, with two three week cycles of chemo.
This served two purposes; to get my cancer back into remission, and to stimulate stem cell growth. From what I understand, the immune system has to be first suppressed, then stimulated to get it to produce the needed stem cells, and get them to enter the blood stream before they've had a chance to morph into other cell types. The goal for me was to gather about 5 million stem cells, which was expected to take a few days, especially when the test the day before my collection revealed fairly low counts. The next day however, I kicked ass, and blood test revealed much higher counts. I went into the apheresis unit (with machines like a kidney dialysis machine) for 4 hours, and was able to collect just over 10 million stem cells.

So here I am now. The Docs just got finished deciding what they wanted to do with me. Before, I said on various profiles that I was a research dummy. Now I really am. I've signed up to be part of a few research studies and have blood and various other bits of me frozen and stored so that researchers can analyze it and see what's wrong with me.

What the Docs have decided is to use a set of three drugs, Busulfan in pill form, and Melphalan and Thiotepa by IV. All three suck. None are good for you, and all have potential long term side effects, but it's what I have to do.

I get Busulfan on Sunday, Monday and Tuesday, Melphalan on Wednesday and Thursday, and Thiotepa on Friday and Saturday. Sunday is a day off, and probably about when the suffering begins. Monday, I receive my stem cells back, and that's it.

Except that I have to recover. That will take about a month? May require a short hospital stay, and will be really sucky. I know about what to expect, but I'll get to that stuff as it comes.

I hope it all makes sense. The most misunderstood part is that it's not actually the transplant the cures the cancer, it's the drugs that necessitate the transplant. Interestingly though, a transplant does 'reset' the immune system, which is useful in autoimmune disease where the body's immune system attacks it's own good cells, and it also seems to have the potential to cure type one diabetes.

I also hope you understand why this isn't a 'controversial new treatment' as I've heard it called. But this doesn't mean that the type of stem cell treatment that Bush and his cronies are talking about doesn't have the potential to help me as well. Treatments from the work that California is funding, and the US government should fund as well, could very well save the life of myself and others in the future.

I guess my apartment warming party will have to wait. It's probably going to turn into an apartment cooling party. I can have visitors as long as you're clean and not sick, so please, don't be afraid to come visit me. I'm at 225 32nd Ave E, Seattle, but give me a call (253-691-1440) before you come :-)

Sunday, April 08, 2007

I DO have Medicaid now!

Last thursday, right after I got the medicaid papers in the mail, I called the housing coordinator at SCCA, and she contacted her people, who contacted their people, who contacted me on Friday, and I now have an apartment!

Amazingly, it's a 3 bedroom, fully furnished apartment in Magnolia, close to a couple neighborhood caffes and other shops, fairly close to a Safeway, Trader Joe's, a food coop, and Grocery Outlet. The apartment has a big screen TV, and a smaller flatscreen TV in my room, a gas fireplace, washer and dryer, dishwasher, big new side by side fridge, gas stove, and includes, linens, dishes, baking and cooking hardware, and even a few condiments. I have to supply it with food, soap, diswasher detergent and washer degergent, and that's about it.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

I think I really do have Medicaid now

I just got a bunch of stuff in the mail from DSHS explaining my benefits, but without actually giving me any explanation. I really don't know what it says, but included with it is a Medicaid card. So I guess I'm covered now. I'll call about an apartment in Seattle tomorrow and see what happens.

Bike for Tristan

Bike for Tristan

I've been helping two friends, Nick and Tristan with bike shopping for the last few weeks. Nick doesn't have his license yet, so he's not looking as hard, but Tristan got his license last year, so he's been really looking for a bike now that the weather will start getting nice. Since I've been home a lot, I've had a lot of time to keep my eye on Craigslist. Two weeks ago, Tristan and I found a really nice bike in Centrailia, but due to a retarted misunderstanding, it had already been spoken for when we got there.

A couple days later, we found a Triumph Bonneville advertized for $700. It turned out that an old guy's daughter had put it up for sale without researching what the bike's value was. So he was really looking at getting around $1200 to $1500 for it. It was probably worth it, and had a lot of potential, but the amount of time and money to get it on the road was too much for Tristan.

So when I got home today, I found an ad on Criagslist for a Yamaha XS750 Triple, with a picture of a nearly perfect bike, for only $400. It was posted at 4:15, and I was calling at 6:00, usually more than enough time for something that looks that good to sell. It was in Bellignham, with a clear title, and he said he'd deliver. Really too good to be true. So I called, he still had it, it really was $400, and it really did look that good. Really too good to be true.

Now Tristan it a bit hard to get ahold of when you really need to. He has a cell phone, but it doesn't really do much. It's a Sweedish prepaid phone that he can't make calls with, and can only text certian people with. So I sent a bunch of emails to him, called his sister, emailed his sister, texted his sister, and finally got a call from him and agreed to meet in Seattle.

As soon as my dad got home, I left to pick up Tristan and head to Bellingham. We got there at 9pm, and the bike was perfect. Really. Only one really small scratch on the tank that can eaisly be polished out, a tiny dent on a fender, and a small scratch near the seat trim. For a bike that's almost 30 years old. The owner is a college kid from a very well off family, who can afford to buy a new bike and sell his old one for next to nothing. He knew it was nice, and I think he just wanted to see the person that it went to to make sure they'd take care of it. He kept saying "don't drop it, take care of it". Really really crazy.

So Tristan and I are going to do a bit of work on it on Friday to get it back on the road. It really wont need much. Until then, here are some pictures right after we got it home. It's going to live at my house until Tristan trusts himself enough to ride it.

Nick, you're next!

Tristan's Bike

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Run in with the law

Today dad and I ran up to Federal Way to get some stuff and advice for my Beetle, and on the way back, a cop that was right next to me at the light, got behind me and turned on his lights. I had no idea what I could have done. There's no way I could have gotten up enough speed; I wan in a Bug. All my lights and signals worked, and my dad was even wearing his seatbelt for once. But it wasn't my dad's seatbelt habits he was worrying about; it was mine. As soon as he looked at me, he realized that I was wearing my seatbelt, but I had it under my arm. He told me that I have to have the shoulder strap over my shoulder. I told him I wasn't because I had a catheter in my chest, but the blank look on his face told me he didn't know what I was talking about, so I said, "well, you wanna see?" and before he had a chance to answer, I pulled down my shirt and showed him my Hickman. The quick jump back that he took said "no" so I said, "Oh, I guess you didn't want to see it", so he just ran my license, and let me go. Dad still doesn't wear his seatbelt all the time though.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007


Well, it turns out that medicaid is going a lot slower than they told me it would the first time I talked to them. I don't know why one person told me one thing while another person told me something completely different. That's red tape I guess.

Last week though, I was involved in my own little episode of Scrubs. For those of you that are not familiar with the show, you can see it on Comedy Central every night around 7pm, and Thursday night on NBC. Watch it. You'll like it.

So it started tuesday two weeks ago. I had an appointment to have a Hickman line put in for collection of my stem cells that week. A Hickman line is type of catheter that enters in the chest, tunnels under the skin up to the collar bone, then enters the jugular to the heart. It's a way to get high volumes of liquid in and out of me. In this case, that liquid was blood.

So I went in early Tuesday morning and got prepped for the surgery. I'd heard a few people talk about their Hickman lines, and Dr. Hickman, but from my research on it, I found that Dr. Hickman had invented it in the early 70's, so I thought that there's no way he'd be doing it. Wrong. We asked why it was called the Hickman line, and the nuse said that we'd have to ask Dr. Hickman, but he'd probably say that it was because they thought it wouldn't work.

So the nurse was prepping me up, but she said that she'd leaving shaving my chest to Dr. Hickman so when it was itchy growing back, I could blame him instead of her. Well when he came in, he handed the shaver directly to my mom and said, "You made this handsome man, you shave him", so my mom shaved the surgery site while he stood there with a big roll of tape cleaning up the clippings.

So they knocked me out, cut me open, and stuck some tubes in me, I woke up, recovered, and went upstairs. Here's where having a hose hooked up the my jugular comes in.

For the previous 5 days, I'd been conditioning myself by giving myself shots of an immune system stimulant to cause stem cells to enter my blood stream. The goal is to collect 5 million stem cells that will be given back to me after conditions for the transplant. So they hooked me up to this machine that's kind of like a kidney dialysis machine and started pumping the blood out. They thought it would take several days to get to 5 million, but I surprised everyone by getting 10 million stem cells on the first four hour session.

So up to this point, everything was going smooth, and I went home around 5pm. I wasn't even really that tired from it all because I slept during a lot of the collection, so I stayed up fairly late. At around 12 that night, I was sitting in the chair watching TV, and just getting ready to go to bed when I looked at my shirt and noticed a small spot of blood. When I looked at the bandage, it was soaked with blood. I called the late night number for my clinic and talked to a doctor who told be that if it wasn't dripping, then I could just bandage it up and wait until morning. That's what I did, but at around 5:30am, I noticed that it was again quite soaked, so I got up and heard that dad was awake, so I knocked on his door with my hand over my shirt, and said that I either needed to go to the hospital emergency room or to the clinic in Seattle. When he asked me why, I removed my hand from the bloody shirt, which made him kind of jump back a bit, and we left about 15 minutes later.

Armed with a fresh bandage, I arrived in Seattle at about 7:30 and got a nurse to look at it. She couldn't do anything to make it stop, so she send me down to Dr. Hickman to take a look at it. He said that everything was fine with the line itself, and that I just needed to put pressure on it for a while. So I laid there with a sand bag on me for a while, and that seemed to stop it. A blood test showed that I was low on platelets and they decided that I needed some more, so what we thought would be a 2 hour trip became an all day thing.

Dad and I grabbed a bite to eat at a local cafe, and came back around 1:30 for my platelets, which took about 2 hours to get into me, and when I was done, I should have been all patched up and ready to go. Except for a pesky new blood spot on my shirt.

So at this point, the nurse was starting to get concerned and she got Dr. Hickman to come back up. After she paged him she started talking about how great he is. She told be about the first time she met him, and then several years later after she moved to the clinic and he remembered her, and how he's just a great guy, and a Nobel Prize winner etc, etc. In short, he's a saint.

When Dr. Hickman arrived on the floor, I can hear his path, all the nurses stop what they are doing to say hi, see how he's doing, he's idolized. But when he walked into the room, all he said was, put pressure on it, and the bleeding will stop. This didn't go over well with the nurse. She was convinced there was something wrong with the line, and there was nothing she could do about it. "It friggin Hickman, you can't argue with that!" But I was still leaking, and she was pissed, so she called my nurse and doctor, and since it was almost 5pm they got me in at the UW hospital, where I was stiched up.

So by 6, we were out of the hospital, I'd stopped leaking, and mom and I (mom and dad had traded places at around 3) stopped for Thai food before going home. Fun day.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Red Tape

The DSHS has finally gotten all my paperwork, so now they'll have to sent it to Olympia to get it approved. The person I talked to on the phone said that it should take about a week. So maybe that will all be good and I'll get help from them.

I am also trying to work with my insurance company to get them to cover living expenses. I talked to a social worker at SCCA, and she'll see about appealing the 75 mile rule, but according to a nurse that works for the insurance company, that is a difficult thing. They basically deny them all. But, that's an insurance company person telling me this, so I really don't know what will end up working.

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Getting somewhere maybe

Last Friday I got a bunch of stuff from the DSHS. They want everything. My bank statement, my work experience, letters from my last two employers, my education background, my hobbies. It's like a cross between applying for a job and going on a blind date. So I've gotten all that stuff filled out and sent in to them.

Also, a friend of mine has a cousin that works for the state determining Social Security benefit elegibility, so I called her today and asked her about this stuff. She talked to some other people in other departments for me, and is sounds like it's likely that I'll qualify for Medicaid, and that they'll get me an apartment in Seattle. There's also another program that she told me about that can help me out.

So now I get to wait again for another few days, and in the meantime, start my second cycle of chemo on Wednesday.

Monday, February 26, 2007

Joining the Welfare State

I may have come up with a solution to my housing problem. Welfare. Medicaid will pay for housing and living expenses for people who need it, so I'll have to do is apply and qualify. I don't know exactly what the qualifications are, but I should probably fit them since I don't have a job, can't have one, and have only $300 in my bank account.

I applied online last Thursday, and am going to try to make an appointment for sometime this week. For the republicans in the family, it's not too late to prevent one more person from living on public money. Just buy me a condo in Seattle and I will forget about going on welfare.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Alternate Housing

Looks like I might have to move out! I was planning on it anyway, but the not being able to work thing sort of put a stop to that, but Fred Hutch wants me to live within 15 to 30 minutes from the clinic. Right now, I'm about an hour and half away, which my nurse says could be a dangerous distance. So I'm evaluating my options, which I will not post here, but if you'd like to know, email me.

This summer, when I'm done, I'm going to take a trip to Halifax Nova Scotia! My friend who had a bed in Bellingham now has a couch there! But I have to wait until summer because right now it's -11 f with wind chill.

Build a fence

99.5% of the Associated Yantzer Clan thinks: Fire the lawyer, get a new survey, and build a fence! Let him spend the money to sue you! Don't let bullies be bullies.

As a pie chart:

As you can see, .5% is such a small amount that it doesn't even show up on the graph. Quotes from respondents that voted for "Sue the fucker" included "blub blub", Polly want a cracker", and "Woof", which indicate that they were probably pets.

Friday, February 02, 2007

Chemo has Begun

I started chemo again yesterday. This stuff isn't as bad as the last time. Not too much sickness, just puked once. One of the drugs I'm on keeps me awake, but I'm kind of sore from the other ones.

At the beginning of April though, I'll start my stem cell transplant. (Just incase there are any right wingers out there, these will be my own stem cells, so no going religiousy on my ass.) For the transplant, I'll have to live in Seattle (don't know how I'll accomplish that.) I'll have to be 30 minutes or less for about too weeks until I get too sick to tolerate that. Then I'll have to be hospitalized for a couple weeks, then back to somewhere within 30 minutes for another 3 to 8 weeks.

During the whole time that I'm not in the hospital, someone will have to be with me all day every day, meaning someone not working. Don't know how this will all work out.

Bike Class

There are several people who do not have their motorcycle licenses yet. Right now is when you need to sign up if you are going to get a spot in a local class. You know who you are, so get on it.

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Oh, and many Bostonians are idiots

To youTube

It's all coming together (to screw me)

Last week, everything decided to come together. On Monday, I had another job interview, they really liked me, and put me on their short list. Amazon called me back to schedule a test, University of Puget Sound scheduled me for another interview, I got offered a job as a data base admin in Tacoma, and I was told I had Hodgkin's Lymphoma.


Yep. Again.

So I decided that probably I could work while having treatment again, so I said yes to the database admin under the condition that I be able to take days off as needed for chemo and stuff, which legally, they can't have a problem with, but I felt bad for having to do that to them anyway. The got back to me on Monday to say that they'd rather wait and see how I was feeling... But also on Monday, my doctor said that there isn't a chance that I'll be able to work. So screw that idea.

So I need some money. I refuse to go back the the Redmond job again. When I called the temp agency, she asked if I wanted to keep working there until I started chemo, I said "Not a chance. That was the worst job I've ever had. I worked 12 hours Thursday, 14 hours Friday, and 16 hours Saturday. If anything's going to kill me, it'll be that job."

So shit.

Sunday, January 14, 2007


So that really bad Amazon interview last week? It wasn't. Bad that is, it was an interview, and according to the recruiter, a pretty good one. They'd like to meet me. I have the UPS interview Monday, and surgery Tuesday, so hopefully I can go to Amazon on Thursday or Friday.

Learning English

I learned a new word this week. I never remembered hearing the word 'skosh' before a couple days ago when someone said it a work, and then just yesterday, I heard it again. Skosh, skosh... Interesting... It's used just like the Japanese word sukoshi, which when said in conversational Japanese, is pronounced pretty much the same. Huh... I guess I must have heard it before, but just didn't realize it until recently. I like it. I'm going to use it from now on.

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

While I'm at it...

I guess I'd better post some pictures from Tokyo last month. I have a few more rolls, but I haven't developed them yet.

I did the coolest thing on Saturday

I got a $5 Polaroid Land camera at Goodwill the other day, spent a half hour making a battery pack for it, and stuck a $10 pack of film in it, and look what I got.

The digital camera picture doesn't do it justice. I need my scanner.

Monday, January 08, 2007

Job Hunting Day 4:

Got a call from today. The first part of the interview was good, nice guy, seemed impressed. The second part was in Japanese, by a Japanese lady. It wasn't so good, and she didn't seem impressed.
Bad point: She asked my why she should hire me considering that other applicants were native Japanese speakers.
Worst Point: I said I don't know.

After the Amazon interview, I submitted a resume on a job site. An hour later I got a job offer to work at UPS (University of Puget Sound). It's in Tacoma though. Too far away from where I want to live. BUT, they are offering my $17/h, so I think I can be a bit picker and insist on a job in or around Seattle. I have an interview with them next monday anyway.

Friday, January 05, 2007

Job Hunting

Day 1: Edited resume, contacted a few staffing agencies. Got an email from a recruiter about a position at Amazon.

Day 2: Got an email to schedule an interview at a tech staffing agency on day 3. Got a call to schedule an interview with Amazon on day 4.

Day 3: Got a job on the campus of a very large Redmond software company. Waiting for Amazon's interview on day 4.