Who’s afraid?

Undoubtedly this video will go viral. Deb was going in for a double mastectomy. Her life about to change forever. Does she look scared?

Yes.

She is scared as anyone would be. So is her team of doctors and nurses. As they should be. And as much as Deb is putting on a show to hide her fear, she’s doing much more than that. She’s also telling her team “I’m ok. I want you to be ok too”. All surgery comes with risk. There is a chance that Deb might not make it alive but instead of letting that tension overshadow the situation, she lead them in a celebration of life. Of course there is a practical reason to do this: A happy team is a successful team. But Deb is telling her team that if she doesn’t make it, she wanted the last people she sees to have fond memories of her.

 

I thought about my own surgery in 2007. My doctor wanted to thread a scope via my groin so he could take a look at my heart. A bunch of nervous looking nurses waited for the surgeon to start. A young nurse was checking my vitals when I began flirting with her. I wasn’t trying to pick her up, but I couldn’t resist the chance to make someone smile.

So there I was, with my lower half fully exposed, I asked her.

“So, do you come here often?” I think I saw a faint smile. Of course I couldn’t be sure with her surgical mask and hair cap covering most of her face.

“What time do you get off work?” I asked her. Still no response.

Tough crowd.

“Its very cold in here”.

“Yes we keep it cold to prevent infection”. Finally I get a response.

“I’m just saying its very cold in here so I want you to consider the issue of shrinkage.”

That broke the ice. Everyone laughed and the room felt 10 degrees warmer.

 

The surgeon hovered over me and said “We’re ready to start. Any questions before we begin?”

“Just one”, I replied. “Will I be able to play the piano after surgery?”

“Did you play before?” He asked.

“No.”

“Then we’re good to go”.

 

 

Today I thank my team who saved my life.

Here is another attempt at creating the worst dating profile

Part of my okcupid dating profile:

Nasal drip

Apr 13, 2010

I hate pollen season. I’m stuffy, dizzy, and my nose drips like a cheap Chinese faucet. I can say that because I’m a cheap Chinese faucet.

Every year around this time my eyes become crusty, I sound like Randy Newman, and I’m constantly looking for tissues or curtains to wipe my nose with. My friend Amy gave me a few suggestions:

  1. Shower before you sleep. This will wash the pollen off your body. You will also benefit from a change of clothes, unless you re-wear the clothes you had on before the shower. I usually burn the clothes I wore that day. You don’t want to know why.
  2. Seal up your room. I was going to try and seal up the room with insulation. Then Dexter on Showtime gave me an idea. I’ve covered everything in painting tarp just like he does.
  3. Buy Neti-pot. It’s a little pot where you shove one end in your nose and pour water in. It’s some kind of water boarding for your sinuses. I was able to obtain some sensitive information about Al-Qaeda from my nostrils.

Unfortunately those tips have not worked. So tonight I’m going to sleep with a plastic bag over my head. No pollen will get through that if I make sure its taped securely around my neck.

I’ve collected some awesome photos of various colors of phlegm. I’ll post them on flickr for everyone’s benefit.

On a different note, why hasn’t anyone contacted me for a date? I’m really quite the catch. Except right now I’m like catching an eel, slimy and snotty.

I used to be so funny

At least I thought I was funny. I posted this on an online dating site okcupid more than a year ago:

Why won’t you date me?

Mar 31, 2010

If you want to enjoy the summer, why not let Chuck be your date? Out of an estimated 200,000 single men in New York, Chuck is considered by far the best.

Hello. Let me buy you coffee. Please, when you’re thirsty? Let me get that soda. It would mean so much to me, if you would just let me buy you a drink. Come on, you need some fluids! Somebody’s gotta buy that bottle of water! Why.. why can’t it be me? Please? Hey! Hey! Please let me buy you a drink.

Come on, let the boy take you out!

Hi, hello. Are you good? Good! Let me get you a sandwich. While you’re drinking that coffee. Come on, please? Let me get you a panini? You’ll really enjoy the sandwich while you drink that soda. Let me get a sandwich for you. Come on, I’m already gonna be buying you a drink. Just say yes to let me buy you a sandwich. Please? Don’t look away – look at me! I honestly and sincerely would like to buy you a hoagie.

He’s a good hard-working boy! Let him buy you a sub!

Hey, look who’s here! It’s nice to see you again, you look great! Let me hold your hand. Don’t shake your head “no”. Let me hold your hand. No one else is holding it . Please let me hold your hand? Nothing weird’s gonna happen. I’m not going to squeeze too hard. You can trust me. I’ll even let go when we’re in public and look away, how’s that? Please?

Sweet Mother of God, what is the hold up?! Let the boy hold your hand! He said he’d let go in public!

Please don’t make me let go.

He’s a nice boy! Let him hold your hand in public! For God’s sakes!

Let me touch your boobie, please? When you notice, don’t make me remove my hand. Please, let me touch your boobie? I’ll touch them over the clothes. It will be more of a brush. Please? I won’t bother you. You won’t even have to look at me. Please, let me touch your boobie, please? I’d like an answer, and I’d like that answer to be “yes”. Please? I’ve already held your hand. If you didn’t want me to touch your boobie, why’d you let me hold your hand? Just let me touch your boobie, please?

Can we STOP this cruel game! And allow the boy to keep ONE shred of diginity! For God’s sake, I can’t STAND to see him in all this pain!! You VICIOUS BASTARDS!! Let him touch your boobie!! Is it so bad to see somebody happy?! So just let him TOUCH YOUR BOOBIE!! For the LOVE OF GOD, let the boy touch your boobie!! Good Lord!!

I’m not gonna beg you. My track record speaks for itself. I’m confident you’ll make the right decision.

Just date him. Let’s face it, he’s gonna touch your boobie anyway.

Happy Anniversary

4 Years ago today I almost died. Today I have a bad infected jaw which is causing me pain from jaw to chest. Oh four years ago I had similar pain. Tomorrow I celebrate 4 years of injections. I think a bunch of diabetics are getting together at Central Park to protest.

Saw aunt joyce today. Had a nice dinner.

Today I thank

Joyce, Dave, Mike, Nik, William, LB, Jacko

Guilt

For all of Brad’s enthusiasm and collection of photo equipment, he was not a very good photographer. He was not a very good network administrator. He believed in conspiracies. And worst of all he tried to cure his cancer with vitamin B.

I wanted to tell him that he was crazy. Maybe tie him up and force him to get some real medical treatment. Who’s to say which one of us was more in denial? Him in believing that doctors don’t know what they are doing or me believing that there was any hope.

I didn’t know he had cancer when we hired him. I didn’t know he had cancer when his family invested their saving in the failing company. I would have tried to stop him. But that’s Brad, always positive. He came from a family that was positive. Brad’s dad invested the little money he had saved as an electrician into a completely mismanaged start-up. After he signed the check, he came in the office to wire up some equipment. Never seen a guy so happy to be crawling under desk with a screw driver and a flashlight. You’d think he bought the winning lottery ticket.

I know it wasn’t my fault. I didn’t make him any promises. I certainly didn’t suggest that he buy stock in the company. But that doesn’t really lessen the guilt. I was their leader. I didn’t do a very good job protecting them. Lots of people lost money. Some of them can simply write this off. But for some, it was their life savings. The company had spiraled out of control. I had lost any say in what went on from the very beginning. Still, I kept a front.

I really thought I could turn this around. I made some deals and gave up as much as I could to try to fix things. But in the end I lost. I lost my enthusiasm, my best years and nearly my life. But that is nothing compared to what Brad’s family lost. They lost Brad.

So today I thanks these people, and I ask for forgiveness:

Brad, Scott, Jack, Mike, Lorraine, Jenn, Jay, Anthony, TJ, Keith, Estelle, Doreen.

Brad took a fuzzy photo of Elvis

——————————

Brad passed away at 5:12 p.m. Saturday, January 24, 2009. He fought a
long, hard battle with colon cancer for many years. He was 37 years
old.
He was loved so much and will be missed even more.
Sincerely,
Bill and Sherron

Gonna be a tough week

I started driving soon after MOLI.com closed. These photos are taken somewhere in New Mexico. It was one of these forgotten highways whose days have passed since new interstates were built. I didn’t see any cars or gas stations. I was looking for an old spanish missionary I found on google maps. I had a GPS, coordinates, and time. I was lost but also was not lost. I stopped at the proper GPS location but was unsure since there were no road signs. Unsure of where that road lead, but undaunted, I got back in the car and took the turn.

The road continued a while until I reached my destination. The bewildered park ranger asked me how I found the place. Someone else had come here before me, took a photo and left a marker on google maps.

Salinas Pueblo National Monument. I don’t think you can be any more middle-of-New-Mexico than this.

Straight into nothing
A turnoff to nowhere
why are you here?

Thanks Caron

Sometimes people surprise you. I was surprised by Caron many years ago. I met her some time in the mid 90’s. Not really sure which year. She was a friend of Jenn, and like many of Jenn’s friends, Caron is tall and striking. I didn’t have a whole lot to talk about with Caron but that’s because I prejudged her.

One day I went to her apartment with Jenn. I can’t remember what year that was either but at the time she lived on Avenue A near 14th Street. I remember browsing through her book collection and thinking to myself that I would like to have that collection. Those are wonderful books. Many I have read, and more I would like to read. When I saw her book collection, I opened up and spoke to her. You just can’t judge a book by its cover.

Being able to converse with someone is a rare and exceptional gift. There is an ocean of difference between talking and conversing. And I found that I was able to converse with Caron because there is a free exchange of ideas. I like that Caron is sensitive to statements that she makes. Several times today she said “Tell me if you disagree with this”, and “Tell me if this is inaccurate about you”. I will try to learn from her and not lead with my belief, but with sensitivity.

Then years later, Caron surprised me again. I went to her art exhibit with Chris. I remember saying to myself “I’ll go and be nice. Then I’ll try to get out of there as fast as I can.” Once again, I prejudged her. When I got to the exhibit, I was amazed by her talent. I’m not versed in art, but that doesn’t matter. Something about the way she paints mesmerized me. She agreed to sell me a piece, at a rock bottom price, I cannot wait. I will treasure it.

It was nice to reconnect with Caron today. And her baby is probably going to play profession football one day. The six-month-old did an unassisted pull-up infront of me. We sat in the park and Caron gave me some good advice that I will try.

Today I thank: Caron, LB, Bomee, Jack, Joyce

Haven’t really posted recently

Not that I haven’t had much on my mind. I have. Not that I don’t have any time. I do. Just didn’t feel like writing. Certainly not about the present.

Here is a story about the past.

Every night I would drive to Jupiter Beach. It was nice to sit and look at the stars. I had to get away from Kristin and from the stuffy apartment. Around midnight I sat on the sand, listening to the wind, looking up at the stars. It was nice and I was learning how to enjoy being with myself. I rarely miss Florida, but I do miss those nights.

One night I sat on the railing of the boardwalk. I don’t remember why I sat up there, maybe it was the vantage point, or maybe it was high tide. In the distance I saw the shadow of a woman walking towards the water. She was in her late 40s to early 50s, wearing a nice dress. She walked toward the water with intent, a woman on a mission. She didn’t test the waters but simply walked into the waves without breaking her stride.

I kept watching as I reached to remove my shoes, then my shirt. When she was hip deep in water I start towards the steps down to the dunes. I couldn’t move my eyes from her for fear of loosing her position in the water. Just then, she turned and headed back to the beach. I felt a wave of relief come over me. I have no desire witness a suicide. Not tonight, not any night.

As she approached me I called out to her, “Hi, are you ok?” She smiled and joined me on the boardwalk. I noticed that she was carrying an urn. We chatted a bit. That night was the one year anniversary of her husband’s death and she went to spread his ashes in the ocean. The ashes were just a pile of carbon molecules. It doesn’t contain her husband and it doesn’t hold the memories of him. She will always have him but she was trapped inside the urn with the ashes.

She smiled and asked me why I was out there. I was there because the ocean has the power to free one’s soul. And that night it freed both of ours.

Today I thank: Jack, LB and Amy for being my best friends. And I also thank Terri for showing me Jupiter Beach.

Happy Third Birthday

Close one!

Three years ago today I came face to face with death. So I took a picture with my Blackberry phone while the nurses where not looking.

I wasn’t suppose to have the phone in ER, but I couldn’t part with it. The details of how I got there isn’t important. Lets just say that I should have taken much better care of myself. And now three years later, my memory of that day has become a little fuzzy. It plays in my mind like someone else’s story. It doesn’t seem as intense now and maybe not as close to the precipice.

In the three years I’ve taken much better care of myself. My blood sugar is under control, my weight is down and I’ve been exercising regularly. I feel stronger, but older.

How has this changed me? In many ways it has not. I’m writing this at 3:45am, just finished a couple of hours of work for a client. I’ve promised myself that I would not work this way again, however a zebra cannot change its stripes. I’ve always been adventurous, but recently with surfing and other activities to push the envelope, I’m fairly certain this has made me an excitement junky.

Jack cracking me up in the ER

I doubt I will ever really learn and perhaps I need someone else to really push me to conquer my last fear.

I’m not afraid of dying. I’m afraid to not live.

So tomorrow I’ll begin again.

Today I thank:

Kelli for saving my life

Jack for seeing me through it

Mom and Dave for holding strong

Terri for teaching me to live again.

Chuck 2.0

Best shape of my life. Not bad for 38!

Grandmother

This painting was done from a photo taken during my time with my grandmother.

I’m sitting in a cafe, thinking about why I don’t feel worse. Ten minutes ago, during the World Cup 2010 match of Korea versus Uruguay, my mother called to tell me she’s on her way to Taiwan. “There is no hope for grandmother” is what she mumbled in Taiwanese.
My grandmother took care of me when I was very young. I have some spotted memories of that time, but since the age of 8 when my family immigrated to the US, I’ve only seen her a handful of times. What I remember about my grandmother always involved food in some way. When I lived with my grandparents in Tainan, she would often take me to the market on her black bicycle. We would load up with groceries, and I would hold on to her tightly.
I also remember every morning begging her for a couple of dollars ( at $30NT to $1USD, that was probably about 1 nickel ) for breakfast at the street vendor. I loved the steamed rice cups with peanut powder and cilantro. They also included a delicious clear soup.
My grandmother spent hours everyday cooking. My grandfather and my uncles would eat both lunch and dinner at home, and everyday the meals where freshly cooked. We kept chickens in the yard, which was my job to feed them. When we have company, I would watch her grab a chicken, slice its neck and drip the blood in a cup. She would make a sort of rice cake with the blood and butcher the chicken for stew.
Back in those days we had a wood burning boiler. Grandmother would split some wood in the yard and light the boiler with some old newspaper. When the water was hot, she would bathe me using a ladle.
I don’t have any memories of doing fun things with my grandmother. She was a homemaker, 24/7. All of my memories are of her taking care of her family. She liked to complain but she also liked to laugh.
I hope I will remember her laughter for a long time.

Today I thank my grandmother