Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Relay for Life

I mentioned Relay for Life in my last post. If you're in Atlanta, or will be on May 8, please join our team and come on out!

But if you aren't in Atlanta and still want to pitch in, you can! If you join the team anyway, we might get a bigger space, which will give those of us who are there more space to lounge around and sell/eat gumbo.

(The team captain, my friend Stephen, is also un-thyroided for the same reason as I, but was raised in New Orleans. He shows off his mad Cajun cooking skilz whenever he can. It's one of the reasons I hang around him. Another is I can totally tell when he's bluffing at poker.)

Another option is to simply donate. You can do that here:

I'm not sure how this works, but I think the people who raise the most money get cutsies in the line after they find the cure. Or maybe there's a Red Rover tournament. I want to be covered either way.


Monday, April 27, 2009

Well, that was fun

Thanks for indulging me with my videos, all! A face for radio and a voice for the written word. I am the new Isaac Asimov :)

For those of you interested in the actual events, there really wasn't any. Thursday morning, I dropped my dogs off at Paws Playhouse to live in a radiation-free environment for a few days. Maria had packed a bag and was checking into a hotel until Sunday. Then I went to the hospital.

The weirdest thing that happened at the hospital was I got a call right before I went in telling me I got a job at AT&T. I was all "Great! Listen, I can't talk right now because I have to go irradiate myself." But that was cool, since I knew one of the people I had interviewed with, and her husband had successfully fought off leukemia. So she wasn't going to be scared off by this.

When I made it through the protective bureaucratic shielding and made it to radiology, I was terribly disappointed. I was just sitting in a big open space that also housed the MRI machine. Got a bunch of FAQ-type info sheets, and then a nurse just walks in with a lead container. I was expecting a lead-lined bunker and a bunch of shambling lead aprons, but no. Inside was a little glass vial, when the nurse told me to remove and then tip both tablets into my mouth and swallow. A little water, and I'm done.

I was escorted out to make sure I left. Had to take the stairs in case the elevator got stuck and someone was trapped with me. And they didn't want me wandering into the place where they keep newborns and, I don't know, rubbing myself down with babies while I'm radioactive. I can still do it when I'm not "hot."

From that point on, it was an experiment in punctuated equilibrium. The four spurts of activity are evidenced in the four previous videos, and the rest is a haze of reading, DVDs, and PlayStation. (Mad love to my friends Carrie & Tim Iwan and Becky & Dale Selby for having excellent timing with the late birthday presents, and to my sister Laura for the surprise Chevy Chase DVD that helped keep perspective. Not that that perspective has been obvious the last few days.)

I'm finishing up the last of the double-washing of the clothes and sheets and all. Maria came back Sunday night and I've retrieved the dogs.

So for the moment, I'm done with treatment. I've started taking the synthetic hormone pills. I have a full-body scan on May 4 to see if there are any lingering concerns. But unless something we don't know about now turns up, I'm pretty well uncancered. I hope. I'm confident enough to think of myself as a survivor now instead of a patient.

Speaking of which, any of you in the Atlanta area, please join us on May 8 for Relay for Life. I know it's opening night for the new Star Trek movie, but life is sacrifice. Skip opening night for this, and we'll all find a time to go later in the weekend.

If you're not in Atlanta, check that link and see what's happening in your area.


Sunday, April 26, 2009

Radiation Treatment, The Last Word

You guys will vouch for me, right? I was here the whole time...

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Radiation Treatment III

Okay, maybe control of time and space is a new symptom...

Friday, April 24, 2009

Radiationating, Day 2

Sorry for the reduced quality. Pulling video off the camcorder is a huge pain, so this was recorded on my laptop's webcam.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Radiationizing, Day One

The dogs are gone, Maria's having a big party somewhere, and the toilet is wrapped in tin foil!

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Radiation Treatment Time!

Thursday morning is the big day! I get my radioactive iodine at about 10am, after dropping my dogs off, drive back home, and sit there alone until Sunday! PAR-TAY! If I was a beer drinker who gave a crap about the NBA playoffs or the Stanley Cup, this would be AWESOME. Why can't we have done this during football season?

As it is, I'll probably sip a Diet Coke and watch Rachel Getting Married. Anyone who has a problem with that can come over and give me a hug. Don't wear any lead.

I'll check in to let you guys know firsthand what being a biohazard is like. But after this is over, I should be CANCER FREE and no longer able to wheedle Maria to make me dinner. And I'll have to find something else to blog about.

See you on the other side!

Sunday, April 19, 2009

On Skepticism and Distractions

Been awhile since I wrote. Mostly been working and waiting for the onset of the nefarious symptoms I'm supposed to get without a thyroid gland. So far, nothing of note, which tells me that the whole thyroid thing is overrated, based on my extremely scientific survery of 100% of the thyroid patients in this immediate house. Maria has more symptoms of hypothyroidism than I do. I mean, skin's a little dry, but we guys are only happy if we're scratching SOMETHING, right? Some other mild symptoms, but nothing I really need to bring up.

OH! Time for a completely unrelated commercial break!

Remember, if you don't get the stuff with aloe, you might as well get sandpaper.

Welcome back.

One key to not going crazy thinking about the KANSIR thing is to stay distracted. One thing I've done is become a Major Force in the skeptical movement. We're a group of people who are busily promoting science, common sense, and evidence-based reasoning when making decisions. You know, things like "say, the rates of autism are clearly unrelated to the number of childhood vaccines babies get, so let's vaccinate against polio and hope for the best" or "hey, any magician worth his salt can do what those psychics are doing, so maybe there's a trick to it and I shouldn't give someone like Sylvia Browne $700 to talk to me for 20 minutes on the phone about my future love life." Wacky stuff like that.

How did I become a major big-name famous skeptic?

You have to show you have a sharp mind and a gift for communicating. You need to understand as much as you can about the non-scientific claims you are refuting. You build up a reputation as one of the go-to people, get invited to big-time symposiums, write books, develop a web presence, and generally become one of the most hated people on Earth for the people peddling the nonsense you are arguing against. (Yes, I'm thinking about you, John Edward.) This is an awful lot of work.

But I don't have time for that crap.

Your other option is to write a positive review of Phil Plait's latest book and hope he mentions you on his blog. That guy is a King Maker. (Really, go buy his book. You'll love it. Then tell him you learned about it from Famous Skeptic Christian, and that he should totally introduce me to Jewel Staite.)

How do you know when you're a big-name famous skeptic?

That's easy. When you have ARRIVED, you will get email from David Mabus.

My fellow big-name famous skeptics reading this are right now nodding little rueful nods, while the rest of you are shrugging confusedly. I have been there.

This is Eric Mabius, who stars in Ugly Betty. This is not the same guy.

David Mabus is an online crusader, or e-Nutball, who has amassed a huge list of elite skeptics like James Randi and myself. Every few weeks, we all get an email that contains gems like this:
In the capitalist totalitarian period, “conventional” opposition to the prevailing form of life is impotent and ineffective. The revolutionary forces which were to bring about freedom are assimilated to the all-embracing system of monopolistic controls.

I have used *UNCONVENTIONAL* methods to wage war against the CAPITALIST SYSTEM.....

Concerning this NEW ATHEISM: An *aggressive* ideological product of one-dimensional capitalist society which is completely blind to the real issues and problems of the day.

James Randi is now in the PROCESS of terminating his challenge. Guess why. Why does it take *two years* to terminate something which was never real in the first place?

James Randi would *obviously* refuse to pay for something which represents the TOTAL NEGATION of everything he believes in and stands for. This little *no-name* runs around attacking everybody and everything which does not conform to his ONE-DIMENSIONAL SCIENTIFIC view of the world. This stinky old man needs a bath.
This goes on for pages. He drones on about Nostradamus a lot, too, which is not the normal sign of someone who's got it all together. He's from Canada, so I don't understand why he doesn't have ready access to the pharmeceuticals he urgently needs.

Despite the near-universal frustration and pity everyone on his list feels whenever we hear from him, the first time his name shows up in your inbox or blog comments, you cry a little tear of joy. You have finally arrived.

What do you like most about being a big-name famous skeptic?

The easy answer would be all the fast cars, cheap drugs, and loose women. But honestly... well... no, I think that's probably it. The cars, drugs, and women. I was going to say something about intellectual and ethical satisfaction, plus the feeling of community. But come on.

And it all works! Being involved with local and national skeptics organizations has totally distracted me from my medical weirdness. That'll be handy, as I'm just a few days away from my radiation treatment.

More later!