Monday, December 24, 2012

A magical video collection

Most of you have probably seen some of these videos, but I'll take causing even just one of you to think, be inspired, amused, or laugh.


A useless machine - advanced edition



Pretty useless as well, but impressive indeed.



What would you like to do if money was no object?



How Bad Do You Want It? (Success)



Penn Jillette: Don't Leave Atheists Out on Christmas


A very nice version of Silent Night.


It's ok to be confused.




These were video from others. Here are a few videos from me (mostly from traveling): from elephant parade in Loas, to Muay Thai fighting in Thailand, and more. Check out my channel to see all the videos.

I'm still working on the design. Feel free to share your thoughts, and ideas.

Friday, December 21, 2012

A magical photo album


I was thinking of redesigning my blog, and I wanted to start by finding a nice background - some scenery from one of the places I've traveled to. I'm looking through a bunch of pictures I have on my computer. Suddenly I'm remembered of so many fun days. It made me think that we all should once in a while, especially if we’re having a bad day, go through our photo albums. These albums usually contain pictures portraying fun times with family and friends filled with lots of positive energy.

I might play with the design of my blog for the next few days. Just letting you know.

Here are just a few of the pictures I've found:


One crab for me please. Fisherman's Wharf, San Francisco.

OMG we're going so fast. ATVs trip.

They only had one size, and NF usually means you get big heads.

Hampi, India.

Now that's artistic. I'm the 2nd from the left. Goa, India.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

I am no one

One of the reasons I'm able to so freely open up and share my thoughts, feelings, and other things from my life that for some might seem very private is because I am no one.

I don't think there is anyone out there that is following everything I say, gathers all of that information I give away, and saves it on their computer so that one day they can make some clip or write an essay about me in order to humiliate and embarrass me. Again, I am no one.

I'm not Michael Jordan, I'm not President Obama, I'm not Meryl Streep, and I'm not Barbra Streisand. I'm not some famous politician, athlete, singer, or actor who needs to watch out for what they say (to not piss off a group of people which in turn could hurt their income). I am just Ilan, and I am no one.

Putting it very roughly, 1% of the people in this world love me, 1% hate me, and 98% don't even know who the hell I am and probably will never know.

And if (and that is a big if for me and most of us) one day I will become someone, then I could simply say that the guy back then who said and did all these things isn't who I am today (the future's today...). I'm not saying that what I'm sharing here on this blog is stupid. I'm speaking in general; about all of us. If one of us does actually became some important figure one day, we could simply and easily argue that like many, if not all of us, we've had our share of bad decisions, mistakes, partying days, and being a dumb 20 something year old. I'm not just speaking about when we were younger. Even later in life we will keep making mistakes, and we will never know everything about everything.

So what's this fear of sharing that is striking so many of us?! What is this phobia about privacy?!

What is this obsession so many of us have about pretending like we're someone else the minute we step out of our home (or in these social media days, how we choose to portray ourselves online)?!

I bet many of us, while sitting in a classroom, had a question, but were afraid to ask because we didn't want to sound stupid. So we didn't ask, and instead hoped that someone else will ask.

Do you really think someone out there is out to get you?! I don't think there is anyone out there that is out to get me, and you know why? Because I am no one!

Do you really think someone out there is so pathetic, has no life, and want to humiliate someone like me or you that no one really knows about?!

Even if there is such a person, when they finally finish their project, their silly master piece, the "humiliation of Johnny," I'm confident when I say that no one is going to care. And you know why? Well, because Johnny, like you and I, is no one.

So speak up, share your thoughts with people, and don't be afraid to say something stupid because we all have done that at one point or another.

"Even a mistake may turn out to be the one thing necessary to a worthwhile achievement"
- Henry Ford


In my last post I pleaded for people to share my blog. I want to thank all of you who did. I hope those who still have some difficulty doing so will be able to over come it. I have seen a great amount of traffic. Over 500 visits in the 24 hours following the publication of that post. I'd like to send a shout-out to some of my awesome supporters around the world in: Netherlands, Ukraine, China, Russia, Korea, and more. THANK YOU!!

I've seen my doctor yesterday and things are stable. This new chemo pills I'm on appear to be doing the trick for now. Unfortunately I'm still losing weight (I'm about 59kg or 130lb), so my doctor prescribed some appetite stimulant. I think it is doing the trick already since I've been hungry all day now, and have eaten more than usual. Also it looks like I'm moving back to Israel where I will be surrounded by more and very much needed family and friends.

Thank you again everyone for sharing, reading, and supporting. Happy holidays.

Monday, December 10, 2012

A small act of kindness

A small act of kindness can save a life. A small act of kindness can have a huge positive impact. A small act in the form of sharing. Not the sharing of your feelings and thoughts for everyone to see, but the sharing of the feelings and thoughts of someone who has already made up their mind to open up their world for everyone and anyone to see. Please share my blog.

I’ll be honest, I’m very disappointed to see the difficulty so many of my family members, friends, and other supporters have with sharing my blog. I’m having a hard time putting myself in these people’s shoes in order to understand their difficulty (feel free to message me and explain your difficulty).


It seems that most people aren’t able to, so freely, open themselves up like I do, and share their feelings and thoughts with the world. I don’t expect people to share like I do. I understand it is hard, yet I’m struggling to understand why it is hard to share a link to my blog, especially when I’ve said what a huge energy boost I get when people share my blog.


I cannot see who reads my blog, but I do see the number of visits, the number of people who stop by my blog to read what I say, and it’s a wonderful feeling to know that people are reading. It might not mean much to other people, but to me it means a lot. Every single visit cheers me up. Every single visit adds gas to my tank, and helps me keep on going. It helps me keep fighting my battle against cancer. It is another way for me to see that people care, that people are in the stands cheering for me to win.


I can only assume some of the thoughts people are having, thoughts that are preventing them from sharing. Maybe they are thinking something like “I rarely go on Facebook,” “I never respond to anything,” or “it’s not just you, I never share anything anyone posts.”


Ok, but here I am being open and honest with you. Telling you what this simple act of sharing can do. What a huge impact it can have on my life. Every time you share you are filling up my gas tank, my energy (which is running very low) to continue fighting. It is a simple act of kindness with powerful consequences.


I’m not asking you to share your thoughts. I know it hard for many people if not most people. You don’t have to say anything. Just share a link. Don’t over think it. It’s not stupid or plain if you share a link without saying anything. I cannot think of anything negative that could come out of you sharing my blog. No one is going to laugh. No one will negatively judge you for sharing my blog. Just like you are uncomfortable saying anything, others probably won’t say anything as well.


They might read, maybe get inspired. Maybe they will even share my blog with their friends. Or maybe they will simply ignore, scroll down, not even see what you shared. Maybe because you did share, someone saw it, then they read my blog and got inspired. Maybe they had a bad day, and saw someone who had a worse day, so suddenly they’re not feeling so bad. Maybe someone who is reading my blog because of your simple act of kindness will have something to say. Something that will inspire me. How great will that be huh?! You didn’t have to say anything, but you were the connection. You brought me and this new reader together. And because of you we are all moving forward, towards something better, greater, happier. Think of you sharing as you voting for me to win the election (and by the way in this election you can vote many times). With your vote I will win. I will win, I will move forward, on to saving the world from evil, and it will be all thanks to you, thanks to your simple act of kindness. Please share my blog.


I’m home most of the day. It is what it is. I’m in a battle with cancer right now. There aren’t too many activities I can do or feel like doing outside these days. My body is very weak, it’s simply a part of the battle, a part of cancer.


Through this blog I’m in my way stepping out of the house, and when you share my blog, it’s like a person that I see outside too. Like another person in the movies to laugh with, or another person in the bar to high-five with when the 49ers score.


I know many people are afraid of this thing – cancer. I know many don’t know what to say or do. But I feel that sharing is easy. When you let your mind take you to thoughts like “what will my Facebook friends think about this post” you are missing the point. You are thinking about yourself, and forgetting your friend that is battling cancer.


I really can’t think of anything negative that can come out of it for you. Only positive. It’s you helping out another person who is battling cancer. You cannot take the meds and chemo for me (unless you want to lose hair and weight). But you can help me in my fight by sharing my blog. Who will make fun of you for sharing, for doing something so good, so positive?! Who will negatively judge you? No one! Don’t be afraid, don’t over think it, just share. Even if you don’t have time to read a post, you can still share it.


You can share a link and say absolutely nothing. Or if you want you can copy this: “this is my friend’s blog, he has cancer, and he is sharing his story with the world.” Or say something else. Maybe also ask your friends to share my blog with their friends. Maybe one of them will have something to say that will inspire me and all of us.


Please share my blog, thank you!


What else? Well not much has changed. My appetite has improved a bit, but not enough. I’m still losing weight, and I’m at a critical point where I cannot lose any more weight. My body is starting to go after my muscles. I’m still feeling weak. Still dealing with chronic pain. I have a CT this week after which I will know if the chemo pills that I've been taking for the past month are working.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Want to be in my clip?

תורגם לעברית בהמשך



I had an idea. I want to make a clip of people saying the word “cancer.” I’m not sure what will come of it. I think my main goal is to help people get over their fear from the word “cancer.” My idea for now is to show about a minute of people saying cancer. I want to capture their tone and facial expression.

So, who wants to participate?

Make a video of yourself. 30 seconds. Say the word “cancer” in any language you want. I only know English and Hebrew. Say it any way you like. But I think being natural, just being you, would be best. Maybe I’ll do more than just showing people saying the word “cancer,” so if you feel like saying more, go ahead. Maybe you can share what comes to mind when you think about cancer.

So if you’re interested here are some guidelines:
  • Say the word cancer a few times, and if you feel like it then say a sentence. Either do it spontaneous, or prepare what you want to say before. Don’t over think it, just be you.
  • Please try to keep the footage you send under 60 seconds (90 max). I'm assuming for most of you it will be under 30 seconds. I mostly concerned about you having to send a large file.
  • If you are using a smartphone please make sure you hold your phone horizontally.
  • Any language. If it’s not English or Hebrew, let me know what language is it.
  • Either indoor or outdoor is fine.
  • I will probably not use all footage, no offense. If the responds are great, I might not have room/time for everyone.
  • VERY IMPORTANT. How to film yourself: Zoom in and focus on your head, something like this:


Be prepared for this clip to be on YouTube for everyone and anyone to see. I won’t mention people’s names. So it is only your face that people will know.

I’m not sure what will come of this idea. As with many ideas I have, I get excited, I start working on it, and then fail to finish.

I will give about two weeks for people to send me their footage, and then I will start working on it. Send your files here.

Thank you.



חשבתי על רעיון. אני רוצה לעשות קליפ שבו אנשים אומרים את המילה "סרטן". אני לא יודע מה יצא מזה. אני חושב שהרעיון בגדול הוא לעשות קליפ שיגרום לאנשים פחות לחשוש מהמילה "סרטן". אני חושב שאני אראה דקה של אנשים אומרים סרטן. אני רוצה להראות את המבע על הפנים של האנשים והטון של קולם.

רוצים להשתתף?

תצלמו את עצמכם כ-30 שניות. תגידו את המילה "סרטן" באיזה שפה שבא לכם. אני רק יודע אנגלית ועברית. תגידו את המילה באיזו דרך שבא לכם. אבל נראה לי הכי טוב זה אם תהיו טבעים, פשוט תהיו אתם. אולי אני אראה יותר מאנשים שאומרים את המילה "סרטן", אז אם בא לכם להגיד יותר, לכו על זה. אולי אתם יכולים לשתף מה עולה לכם בראש כשאתם חושבים על סרטן.

מי שמעוניין להשתתף הנה כמה הנחיות:

  • תגידו את המילה סרטן כמה פעמים, ואם מתחשק לכם תגידו עוד איזה משפט. תהיו ספונטניים או שתכינו מה שאתם רוצים להגיד מראש. אל תחשבו על זה יותר מדי, פשוט תהיו אתם.
  • בבקשה לדאוג שההקלטה תהיה מתחת ל60 שניות (90 מקסימום). אני משער שלרוב האנשים תצא הקלטה של פחות מ30 שניות. אני פשוט מנסה שהקובץ שתצטרכו לשלוח לי לא יהיה גדול מדי.
  • אם אתם משתמשים במצלמה של הפלאפון שלכם, מאוד חשוב, להחזיק את הפלאפון מאוזן. אני לא אוכל להשתמש במשהו שהוקלט בצורה אנכית.
  • איזו שפה שבא לכם. אם זה לא עברית או אנגלית, תגידו לי איזו שפה זו.
  • אפשר לצלם בחוץ או בפנים.
  • אני כנראה לא אשתמש בכל החומר, שאף אחד לא יעלב. אם הרבה יגיבו, וישלחו הקלטות שלהם, לא יהיה לי מקום בקליפ לכולם.
  • מאוד חשוב. צלמו מקרוב, תתמקדו בראש, משהו בסגנון הדוגמא למטה:


תהיו מוכנים לזה שהקליפ יהיה בYouTube וכל אחד שרק רוצה יוכל לראות אותו. אני לא אפרסם שמות של אנשים. אז מי שרואה את הקליפ רק יראה את הפנים שלכם.

אני לא יודע מה יצא מהרעיון הזה. כמו הרבה רעיונות שיש לי, אני מתלהב, מתחיל לעבוד על זה, ולא מצליח לסיים.

יש לכם שבועיים לשלוח לי את הקובץ עם ההקלטה שלכם. אחרי זה אני אתחיל לערוך את החומר.

קבצים אפשר לשלוח לכאן.

תודה רבה.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

long over due update

It’s been a while (again) since I've last posted here. I update a bit more frequently on the blog’s Facebook page. You can go here, press the like “button,” and get more updates if you’re a Facebook user. Even if you don’t visit Facebook often I would greatly appreciate it if you go to the blog’s page and press the “like” button. For some of you it might seem like a fake cheap aspect of life (this whole Facebook/social networking), but for me it’s gas to keep going and fighting this battle. Every single “like” is more gas in the tank.

As always feel free to share my blog and it’s Facebook page with anyone you want, absolutely everywhere you feel like. You can share the blog with family, friends, strangers, anyone. If you've read some of my posts in the past, it should be pretty clear that privacy isn't much of an issue for me. And trust me, if there something that I feel is too private, I will simply not write about it.

So I got back from Israel about a month ago. I had a wonderful little vacation. I enjoyed spending time with family and friends very much. It was a well needed break and reward after almost 6 months of chemotherapy. Unfortunately things haven’t been good since then. The pain has come back, and it’s worse than it ever was.

I saw my doctor as soon as I got back from Israel to talk about the plan, how we are going to continue my battle against cancer. The plan was and still is to be on this new medication called Pazopanib. This new medication was recently approved by the FDA. It is meant to keep fighting the cancerous cells. It is some type of chemotherapy just not as aggressive on the body.

I had a chest CT so that we will have a start point before I go on the medication. The CT showed the tumor is stable, but looking at the measurements it seemed to have grown about 2mm (0.08 inch). Not much at all, but the tumor is already very large (larger than a tennis ball), so any small growth can cause dramatic changes. And in my case this little growth appears to be right where some nerves are.

The pain started coming back already in Israel. I think in my last week there I started taking pain pills. It got worse when I got back, and it just kept getting worse. The pain has been worse than it ever was. I might have had a day or a few hours with as much pain as I have now in the past, but it wasn't so constant. The pain has been so bad that I’m now taking more pills than ever. The pain is located a bit under my left shoulder, and more on the back side. The tumor also affects the blood flow to my left arm, so I also have pain there. More than the strength of the pain, it is the fact that it's constant, all day, and I mean all day. It really wears on me. It is very annoying. It makes it hard to do anything. It makes it hard to focus, and it makes it hard to just relax. I currently have 3 different pain medications. Some I take on a regular basis, and some as needed (which is often).

The Pazopanib (the chemo pill) is another pill I take on a daily bases. One thing annoying about it is that I cannot take it with food. I need to take it one hour after a meal, and then I cannot eat for two hours. Of the many side effects this medication has, one of the main ones is that it causes high blood pressure, so I have to take another pill to reduce my blood pressure. I also have to check and keep track of my blood pressure every day.

I don’t know if it is the pain, all the medications, or my mood, probably all together, but another thing I've been suffering from lately is loss of appetite. If you know me, can you imagine that? Me, not having appetite?! Me, not wanting to eat?! I've never thought I’d say that. I've lost a lot of weight, but I mean a lot. I lost about 10kg (about 20 pounds) in less than a month. I cannot remember a time where I ate so little.

I also cannot drink alcohol with all the medications. I’m not going to take any chances, and maybe just have one drink. No, I’m not going to be drinking at all (not that I’m much of a drinker anyways). Driving is also a problem because all these pain pills can cause drowsiness. So now I’m dependable on others to drive me around. I sometime feel fine to drive, but I prefer not to risk it especially if I’m with someone who can drive instead of me. Sleeping is another issue. Since obviously you cannot take pills while you’re asleep, after a few hours of sleep, the pain pills wear off and the pain starts to come back, and that wakes me up in the middle of the night. Then, ok, I can take more pills because I'm up, but of course it can take more than 30 minutes until the medication kicks in. Also, all these pills are causing me nausea, so much that a few times I've puked the little food I was able to eat.



I feel as if I’m drowning in a pool of despair. I thought and had hopes that things will be much better when I get back from Israel. I felt great after I finished the 6 long chemotherapy rounds. The pain was completely gone, the chemo worked well, the tumor was stable, I was eating, and I weighted I think 71kg, a nice healthy number for someone my size especially after getting so much chemo drugs. I thought I will be on this new chemo pill, maybe have to deal with some minor side effects, but life would pretty much be back to normal (at least what’s normal for me).

I thought I would be free to do pretty much whatever. Maybe go back to school, maybe find a job. Go back to working out in the gym so I can get stronger and healthier. If not school, then at least just learn something on my own, by myself, taking my time. Maybe work on some application ideas I have for smartphones. Something… anything... Instead I feel like I’m losing it. The pain is really drawing all the energy out of me. It’s hard to relax and focus on things. It’s hard to get up and push yourself to do anything (that’s one reason why it took me so long to finally write here on this blog).

The main idea, after starting the Pazopanib, was actually to move back to Israel where I felt I would have a lot more support from family and friends. Where I have adorable niece and nephew that I could charge up, fill my energy tank simply by sniffing them. But with all this pain, I guess it will be wiser to first see that I can control it. And also see how the Pazopanib medication is working. I’m probably going to have a CT in a few weeks. If there is no change then I will probably have some more chemo rounds. Not as long and drastic as the first ones. Just a one day, a few hours in hospital chemo, but it will still weaken me in the following two weeks.

Not being able to get myself to do more with my days is a wonderful recipe for thoughts. And in my case it’s mostly negative and distractive thoughts. Thoughts that are hammering me left and right. I feel like I’m stuck in this circle where I’m trying to push myself, to get myself to do more, to distract myself from all the bad things, the pain, the thoughts, the anger. Yet I keep coming back to the same point over and over again.

It feels like many people, friends and family, are in denial. Once again, I hardly hear from anyone. Maybe they are in denial about my situation, about the fact I have cancer. Maybe I should just get out there, and make it clear: I do not know if I’ll see tomorrow. I know it’s not easy to read these lines, but it’s harder to deal with what they mean as the person with the cancer, especially when you feel abounded by so many people. Perhaps they think something like “ah, it will be fine, you’ll get out of it, we will laugh about this a year from now.” But no people, this is absolutely not certain that I will be here a year from now. This tumor I have is big. It is very big. This tumor is big and in a very complex area involved with many main important crucial arteries, some that are from the heart to the brain. Even if this tumor was not cancerous it would still be life threatening because of it’s location and what it has done to all the arteries in the area.

Before all this pain started, this pain that created this wave of negativity, I was able to get some joy. The San Francisco Giants won the World Series, after an unforgettable playoff run. For those who don’t follow sport, I’m talking about baseball. In the first series (which is pretty much the quarter finals) the Giants were down 2-0 in a best of 5 series. They won the next 3 games, and moved on to next stage. There, they were once again down and behind. This time they were down 3-1 in a best of 7 series. They won games 5, 6, and 7 for a ticket to the finals where they faced the Detroit Tigers. In the finals (another best of 7 series) it was a completely different story. The San Francisco Giants won the first 4 games, sweeping the Tigers, and winning the title. It was the second title in the last 3 years. No one gave the Giants a chance to win it all. And that’s probably because most of the commentators are from the east coast. I guess all those commentators were stuck in some bubble.

As you can see my hair is back everywhere (and I mean everywhere).

Monday, October 8, 2012

Your uneasiness is making me uneasy

I have lots of material of what we could categorize as more serious deep subjects. Some of the material involves feelings and thoughts that might be too personal, some are ideas and thoughts about society (usually things I don't like about society), and some are strong and passionate opinions I have (like peoples' complains about online privacy, especially on FREE websites like Facebook).

I believe I said this before, when I have too much material, I get lost and overwhelmed. I don't know how to organize all my thoughts and where to begin. I also have a tendency to perfectionism in some areas of life, so that too might have stalled me. Or maybe I needed a good break from writing. Also, a lot of these thoughts are unfinished, with no clear point or conclusion (and I feel like they should have one).

I'm in Israel, in the kibbutz (which is celebrating its birthday today), sitting outside at my ima's front yard. I'm going over some of the many hand written notes (I think I have about 30 sheets with notes on both sides). I was thinking about sharing something else a lot longer that I've been putting off because it requires some organization (probably less than what I'm estimating). But as I was going over some of my notes I came by something shorter that I'd thought I start with. Hopefully it will get me going again.

I often feel that people don't want to hear about my life (mainly my health problems). I will avoid situations that might cause people to ask a, what might seem, private question involving my health problems. For example, I might be somewhere in public with friends, and I will notice some people staring or laughing. So I will pretend not to see those people. Sometimes I will notice my friends noticing those people. I will keep walking, looking the other way. I guess I don't want my friends to pity me or make them uncomfortable by having to deal with the situation.

I think that for too many people (friends, family, and others), it seems I'm not comfortable or wanting to talk about and share my health problems (even the small ones, like tears from my left eye which happen because the eye won't blink all the way). Sometimes it depends on the moment, and where I am. Maybe I'm at a loud bar watching a game, or maybe walking in the streets in a hurry somewhere. But more than not being comfortable, I'm just not used to people showing interest and empathy. It could be because I don't give them a chance to ask me questions. Maybe it is because they don't know how or are just uncomfortable from their own reasons.

I tend to get annoyed when friends, family, and other people who know me (not necessarily my health problems) get uncomfortable if someone, say a friend of friend, asks me a question that might seem to be too personal. So now I'm annoyed, and I'm not able to answer this friend's friend's brave question in a warm welcoming way. I'm too ticked off because my friend brought in some tension because of their uneasiness.

Also, I'm pretty sure that some people (usually people I just meet, like a friend of a friend) are uncomfortable around me (if it was the other way around, I might have been so as well). It's hard and frustrating having to make people feel comfortable. I'm quite the anxious person myself, so now I find myself having to make others comfortable and at ease?! Instead I usually tend to not even bother. Perhaps that makes me look a bit anti-social at times. Often I just wait to see who is comfortable to approach me.

This is about where this sheet of notes ends. I just now thought that instead of some conclusion I will just share an old post I wrote about some of my health problems. Problems that it would be nice if people, especially that ones I hang out with, will know and try to remember... http://www.ilanoflife.com/2012/06/some-things-you-should-know-especially.html

Oh also, my hair is slowly growing back. So far mainly my beard, it looks thin and diluted. Funny thing, last night I had a dream where at one point I was looking in the mirror and I had about an inch long hair on my head. I couldn't understand how it grew so much in one day...

The front yard

Friday, September 21, 2012

Update

I saw the surgeon, and like I anticipated, he said he doesn't want to operate at all. There are too many main blood vessels involved. Which made me think that even if the tumor is clean of malignant parts, it could still cause some serious damages. Instead of a surgery, I will probably go on this medicine called Pazopanib which is supposed to keep killing the cancerous cells. But before all that I'm flying to Israel to visit family and friends.

I went to see the team to beat, also known as the 49ers, take down the Lions on Sunday night with my brother. We had a good time. Alex Smith looked solid. If he keeps it up, he will earn the MVP. Next day, at a supermarket 5 minutes from my place, Vernon Davis was promoting... well I don't really remember I was excited to see and get an autograph from #85 (I think it might have been some chocolate milk drink).

pretty nice view right? (during pregame)

with 49ers TE Vernon Davis

Saturday, September 15, 2012

BOGO

What do you think when you read the following text? (it's a text message I sent to about 10 friends).

"Big special for Thursday night football (during the game only): buy one beer get one beer. All you drunkies come on down. Will the Packers be 0 and 2 or will the Bears be 2 and 0, find out tonight ONLY at the Matrix. Please forget to make ur picks in the league."

Some of you might think “wow Packers vs. Bears, that’s a big game, should be a fun night.” It is in fact the oldest rivalry in football (American). Thursday’s game was the 185th time these two teams played each other. If you follow sports maybe you also laughed because I was saying in other words “will the Packers lose, or will the Bears win.”

Some might wonder why I’m asking you to forget to make your picks (we have a pick’em league where each week you pick the winner of each game). I’m actually trying to remind people, in a funny way, to make their picks (I did not forget to write “don’t” before “forget”).

Yet most of you probably focused on the BOGO (Buy One, Get One). So did my friends to whom I texted this message.

The Matrix is a new small casino/card room 10 minutes from my place. They have a great bar with huge TVs and lots of them. I haven’t been out too much lately, you know, because of this whole cancer thing I have... I wanted to hang out with my friends, and watch this big game on the big screens.

Some of you might think “aahhh, you sneaky bastard! You mislead your friends to believe the casino is giving away free beer.” But no! I was just trying to be funny. Surely, if you read this text you might be thinking something like "ka-ching, free beer." But, I did not say “free” did I?!

I made sure not to write the word “free,” so that no one could accuse me of false information. And if anyone would take me too seriously, I could point out that I never said “free.” I simply said: you buy one beer, you get exactly what you paid for, and that is ONE freaking beer. HAHAHA. Yeah ok I'll admit, it was a little misleading.

I thought my friends would all get that I’m exaggerating and joking. However, I was curious to see if anyone would actually think it’s for real. I didn’t think anyone of my friends would fall for it. I mean, come on! I’ve never been or heard of a bar that has a “buy one, get one free” special on beers. I’ve seen many bars that have “happy hour” with discounted beers, but never “buy one, get one free.” I also don’t think any of my friends heard of such a special before. It looks like they’re lacking some basic critical thinking. When you read a text like the one I sent, you should be thinking to yourself “What?! No way, that’s too good to be true, he is probably just joking around.”

I gave other hints that the whole text is a joke. Most of them keep up with sports and for sure knew that the Packers, who lost to the GREAT 49ERS last week, are 0 and 1, and that the Bears who won last week are 1 and 0. So I was saying the same, later in the text message, when I said "Will the Packers be 0 and 2 or will the Bears be 2 and 0" which means in other words "heads I win, tails you lose." (Yeah I know I explained this at the beginning, I just had to throw in the 49ers, especially after they DOMINATED the Packers).

I kept going saying "Please forget to make ur picks in the league." Which is an unusual way to remind people something, right?! I was trying to be funny. Perhaps I was funny, but I only made myself laugh.

In my mind, as I was writing and coming up with this brilliant hilarious material, I was also acting it. I was pretending to read this text out loud like some commercial you hear on the radio only with exaggeration. Exaggeration that should have made it clear it's not real, and that I'm just trying to be funny. I guess it didn't work. Or maybe it did. It depends on what we are asking I was trying to achieve. Did I get people to show up? Yes. Did people get that I was joking? No. Did I actually want my friends the get that my text was a joke? hhhmmmm...

Things got quite funny come game time. I was already at the bar, and one by one my innocent friends (I think this is still the current status) came up to the casino's bar, and asked the bartender about today's special. I think most of them had a good laughed about it (some might have taken it too seriously, and won't trust what I say no more, haha). Some actually seemed a little hesitate to ask the bartender. Instead they quietly asked me first. This might mean that they suspected the text message was a joke, but they score no kudo points, for they still seriously asked me about the special. One actually replied to my text with an "lol."

So that was that. I wanted the Bears to win, but they lost. They lost and looked very bad, and that's after a nice win last week. This Sunday I'm going to see the GREAT 49ERS vs. the Lions with my brother. Should be a fun game. I'm predicting a Niners win by more than 10 points, say 27-13. Last Friday I had some scans, and then saw my oncologist on Monday. In short, she is very pleased with things. Though she still says I will need a surgery at one point or another. I will see the surgeon next week to see if he feels that it is now safe to operate. Last I saw him he wasn’t excited about doing a surgery at all, and was hoping the chemo alone could take care of things. If the surgeon says that he still doesn’t think it is safe to operate, I will go on a medicine called Pazopanib. It is a new medicine that is meant to keep killing the cancer cells. I might have to take it for a year. And if this medicine is doing its job, it probably means no more chemo.

P.S. if you didn’t laugh during this post please go look for you sense of humor in the lost and found.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Let's Make a Deal

I'm reading the book "Conversations on Game Theory" by Haim Shapira. There have been many books written on "Game Theory." I haven't read any of them, but I believe most of them talk a lot about formulas and equations. The book I'm reading is lots of fun and easy to read. It doesn't really talk much about formulas. In this book, Shapira brings up a lot of situations from everyday life among other situations. Tells you what would be the ideal thing to do (mathematically speaking), but then continues to say how things get complicated (and funny) when everyone follows the ideal behavior in these everyday life situations. I haven't finished the book just yet (just past halfway through), but if you can read Hebrew, I would recommend you get a copy.

One problem the book talks about is a well known one, at least by mathematicians, and that's the Monty Hall Problem. Some of you probably know it, but I'd like to share it anyways for those who haven't heard of it before.

It goes like this: You are a contestant on the game show "Let's Make a Deal." There are 3 doors behind one which there is a car. Behind each of the other two doors there is a goat. You pick one door, say door number 1. Now, the host, who knows what's behind each door, reveals one of the two other doors that you didn't choose, the door that has a goat. So now there are two doors left, the one that you choose at the beginning, and the one left unrevealed. One of them has a car, and the other has a goat.

The host now gives you a chance to switch doors, what do you do? Do you stay with door #1 your initial pick? Or do you switch to the other door left in the game? Remember, the host knows where the car is, maybe he is trying to make you switch to where the goat is so he can keep the car to himself (because his car was just stolen, and his wife might think he is cheating if he is late for supper...).

Well, there is a mathematical solutions to this question, which says that you should ALWAYS switch doors. And here is why:

Scenario 1: car is behind door #1. You choose door #1, and switch, you lose.
Scenario 2: car is behind door #2. You choose door #1, and switch, you win.
Scenario 3: car is behind door #3. You choose door #1, and switch, you win.

You have 66.6 percent chance of winning the car if you switch. Confused? Maybe this will help:



Of course it gets tricky a little because on those types of game shows the host usually offers you money or other prizes to make you switch doors. (check out these videos if you're still confused: video 1, video 2).

Tomorrow morning I go in for a PET scan, and I believe a CT as well. I will probably have the results within a few hours, and then I'm seeing my doctor the following Monday where let's hope the news will be that I can take time off and that for now we are just going to wait and see. But I get the impression from my doctor that she expects more will need to be done. Either a surgery, or more, less drastic, chemo.

Huh, looks like I never updated here on the blog after I finished with my last round of chemo. I did mention it on Facebook. I guess I didn't have much to say or didn't feel like saying much, so I only updated on Facebook. You can Like the blog's page here.

So it's been two weeks since I finished the last (scheduled) chemo round. I've been feeling good over all. Though I feel like I might be coming down with a cold tomorrow. My throat is a bit dry and soar.
I emailed my doctor the other day to ask if I can eat raw food again. Food such as boiled egg, which I've been craving lately, and sushi and medium made steaks which I've been missing longly. Yesterday I had me some sushi, and today some steak for dessert!

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

How AWESOME!!!

In these two videos below of the Griff Williams Show my ima's uncle, Wolfgang Neuman, is playing. He is the violinist on the far left (first row). You can see him and the other two violinists really put it on in the second video.

Wolfgang was an amazing person, smart and talented, with many fascinating stories. Unfortunately, back when he would visit us in the kibbutz, I was a lot younger. I didn't have much patience for stories, and my English wasn't too good either.

He once gave me a note in English saying "That which does not kill us makes us stronger." Now how fitting this great quote by Friedrich Nietzsche for me in these days huh?! My ima kept this note, but it is back in Israel. I wish I could scan it, and share here with all of you.

Wolfgang passed away a few years ago at the amazing age of 92!

I'd like to send a shutout to my grandma back in Israel who, on the 31st of this month, will be 90 years old!! By the Hebrew calendar she is already 90. And today they threw her a huge party at the hospital where she still volunteers! Her body is starting to fall apart, but she is still sharp as a tack! Mazal Tov Savta.

My grandpa on my father's side was 88 when he passed away, and his sister was 92. That's a nice average for our family. Looks like I'm sticking around for a while...



Thursday, August 23, 2012

The last chemo is the longest

The fewer of hours left, the longer they take to pass by. Time passes very slowly. All I can think of is sleeping in my own bed, sitting in my recliner, and being free off all these tubes. I'm getting the Red Devil drug this time which goes at very slow rate over 24 hours and that's for 3 full days. So even at night I'm still connected to these tubes. I've been taking anti anxiety meds these last two nights. I should be off and done with the Red Devil tonight, so hopefully sleeping will be easier without all the tubes still connected. Tomorrow I'll get the last drug and then some preventive meds. I should be home around 8pm. If only there was away to get these last meds at home... I can see the light at the end of the tunnel and I want to run towards it and break free. But I can't, I still have all these tubes connected to me chaining me down, holding me in this Stanford prison.

I hope for good results from the coming CT and PET scans. Results that will tell that nothing else needs to be done. Maybe a small surgery to knock out this tumor once and for all. But hopefully no more chemo, and if so at least not a chemo that will require an over night admitting because I won't be able to take it. I cannot wait to get back to life, back on track, wherever it was I was heading I've kinda forgotten. Let me just finish with this chemo, and be on my way thank you very much, enough says I!

Forgot to mention, thank you SF Giants, broom broom broom, down goes LA.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Final round

Tomorrow (Monday) I go in for the 6th and final round of chemo. Another week at the hospital, I hope to stay positive. For me it tends to be a roller coaster. As I was packing my backpack with some cloths and books I felt this "here we go again." It can get hard sometimes. I'm in the hospital for 5 days. Mostly just laying in bed, trying to sleep away the time. You don't have your corner, your desk, or your shaped to your butt cushion.

I'm getting the Red Devil chemo this time which is supposed to make you a lot more tired than the other drug I get. I get the Red Devil at a slow rate over 24 hours for 3 straight days. It's a bit annoying because I'm connected to these tubes in my chest even at night.

Sometime two weeks from today I will have a CT and PET scan that will give insight of the progress. I might have to do some more not as long and drastic chemos. Maybe a surgery to remove the rest of the tumor. Or nothing at all, that would be great.

SF Giants have some big games this week against the Dodgers (baseball). It's going to be 3 games of 2nd place vs 1st place which could change during the 3 game series to 1st place vs 2nd place (the Giants are a half game behind). I hope the Giants will cheer me up a little. The games are in LA, but it seems the Giants play better on the road, at least that's what it looks like lately.


I've been craving salad lately. I eat a big bowl of this salad as an entire meal.



Thursday, August 9, 2012

Randoms

I used to tie my shoes using the two loops method, that was back when I was a youngster. Then one day I started using the one loop method, it is way easier and faster.

I find that it's better to underline/circle/highlight with pink rather than red (just two colors I had on my desk). Pink is more pleasant, and welcoming.

Do you remember when you choose to be straight? No right?! That's just how you remember yourself, same things with gays. Gays should be allowed to marry period. Enough with this discrimination. It feels like Americans love to hate. I'm not good with history, but I know Japaneses where discriminated, Irish, Jews, and of course women and blacks too. So now that all those have equal rights supposedly, gotta pick on someone else... 
Think of all the money that letting gay marry will generate: weddings, parties, divorces, lawyers...

Hugs - "Any way you want it." Try out one of these awesome bean bags by Hugs. They offer free delivery. They are made in the US, so you're helping the economy more. And they are comfy. Check this video to see all the shapes and positions you can make with these great bean bags.




Can you feel it? NFL season is around the corner

”A man once told the Buddha, ‘I want happiness’. The Buddha said remove the ‘I’ that’s ego, now remove the ‘want’ that’s desire, now all you are left with is, Happiness.”

Windows Phone Apps

I've been stuck on one post idea. I'm still working on it, well maybe not, if I was I'd probably finished it by now. I forgot I said I would blog about anything, so here are some apps I use and like. These are Windows Phone apps, they might be available on other Android or iPhone as well, but why don't you have a Windows Phone yet?

Play The Hunt - A fun game to play with friends and family. If you are on a vacation or just going on a day trip.
Gas Buddy - Find gas stations near you. You can sort by price or distance.
Package Tracker - Track you packages. Get live updates about where are your packages.
Key Ring - Instead of carrying all those store cards. Key Ring makes the wallet lighter.
Notes - A simple app to type your thoughts and what not. You can then easily email the note. If you don't feel like typing you can record yourself with The Listener. I couldn't find one simple light app with both of these options.
Flixster - Find out movies showtimes near you and much more. Very nice design.
ESPN Score Center - This app lets you choose which teams you want to see score updates.
4th & Mayor - Check in to places. I mainly used it for restaurants because they have promos and deals like a free appetizer.
TuneIn Radio - Listen to radio stations from around the world. Lots of options. You should be able to find your favorite stations from back home.
Logic Games - Over 1800 puzzles. Some are similar to Sudoku, but there are lots of other fun and challenging ones. I've literally spent hours upon hours solving puzzles.
Some other games I play or played Football Kicks, and two more fun logic games. Bump Out, and Blocked In.


All my eyelashes are gone, and eyebrows are almost completely hairless.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

That was a delicious salad!

After last round of chemo, I felt very tired. I stayed at home a lot. I stayed for almost a week after I left the hospital. I had some fever, and mouth sours. This time I'm feeling much better. It is probably due to the differences in the drugs I get each time. The are three drugs I get. One drug I get each time, and the other two alternate each round. I started with Infosamide and Etoposide, and on the second cycle I got Infosamide and Adriamycin. The latter is also called "Red Devil" because the liquid is red. Red Devil is the one that makes me weaker and gives me mouth sours.

Monday I was out and about. Went to Big Lots! to look at recliners. They didn't have the one I wanted in stock at the store near closest to where I live, so I went to another location about 20 minutes away where they said they had one. When I got there I also saw a nice and good enough desk/PC chair, so I finally bought one. I was sitting on a folding metal chair with a thin pillow that didn't do much to make it more comfortable.

I made me a salad for dinner last night. I put in it sliced carrot, lettuce, green onion, orange bell pepper, tomato, cauliflower, cilantro, goat cheese, Parmesan Cheese, sliced roasted almonds, sunflower seeds, olive oil, and mixed black pepper. Came out very very good!


After the salad I ate some dark Ferrero. Yeah, the box was new, closed, and then...

Today I finally bought a painting easel, so hopefully I'll get back painting again. I didn't paint anything new from the ones I painted. Maybe one. The chairs are both great and comfortable. Maybe I'll post some pictures later this week with me posing while watching the SF Giants beat up another team on the road (they better start winning more at home). I'm also getting excited for football season. Less than a month away. GO NINERS!!!

Monday, July 30, 2012

Random pictures

Since I didn't finish the post I was talking about previously, I decided I'll take a break from text, and talk with pictures. I go in tomorrow for another 5 days of chemo. Round 5, one before last.

My nephew - he just woke up.

Golden Gate Bridge - Hard to get a sunny day at the bridge.

With my niece - NO! It's mine.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Quick update

I started writing a quick update in my Facebook page, and then I thought let's write a little more, and make it a post for my blog.

It's been a rough week. With each round you get more and more tired. I felt tired most of the time in this past week. In the previous 3 rounds I felt fine after 3-4 days. I had no problem going out to Starbucks, to eat, and to buy groceries. This time around I was just sitting at home watching TV throughout most of the whole week. Watching mostly Giants baseball (what a team baby yeah!) and shows about food and cooking. Also parts of movies. Parts because now that I have cable there are so many movies at the same time, so I keep switching when commercials are on or if I'm bored with one.

I had a little fever these past few days, luckily not high enough to rush to the ER. Some more serious and annoying mouth sores than before (it's one of the side effects). This week I'm supposed to have a CT scan that will tell me about the progress of the treatment. Then on the 30th going in for the fifth round of chemo. After that there should be only one more round.

Because I'm not doing much, I have too much time to think. And I've been thinking about negative things like disappointment with some friends. I finally decided to email and tell some of those friends instead of telling them in some imaginary conversation in my head. I got some quick responds which taught me good valuable lessons. I'm also waiting on some friends, and sadly it's been a few days. But lets focus on the those who responded quickly Ilan... I'm in the process of writing another post about this topic, what I learned and more. I hope to finish it in 2-3 days.


shrimp pasta I made two weeks ago