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Thursday, December 15, 2011

I See Trees of Green

Blogging Tunes: Grateful Dead - 1972-04-08 (remaster)

Life is full of dichotomies. For the Landers' family, life has taken a devastating turn and will never be the same. Yet the very same week that I attended one of the most incredible memorial services ever and shed more tears than I have since my own diagnosis more than 13 months ago, I am having the highest energy week since my transplant. I feel profound sorrow while popping with a new level of energy.

If you haven't seen it, here is Patrick's obituary from the SF Chronicle.  As mentioned, there is a fund set up for Patrick's kids. For more information about that and for all subsequent Landers updates, please see:

The memorial service Tuesday at AT&T park was unbelievable. It's not my place to go into detail here, but let me just say, that I have gained a tremendous respect for the Giants organization. They did this thing right. Also, knowing that Patrick got to experience the 2010 World Series win takes a little bit of the sting out of the NLCS for me. Just another reminder how Patrick and I will be forever tied: I was diagnosed the day after the parade, which I actually attended. I was sick, he was partying. Nuts.

I will share one photo of the big screen at the Park (which flickered through the camera -- click it for hi-res.) It was surreal to enter the lower level, and sit with 800+ people and a couple dozen seagulls, in an otherwise deserted stadium strangely setup for football:

Patrick Lander Memorial Service at AT&T Park

As I mentioned, I'm having a high energy week -- hopefully, I've turned a corner. My counts are continuing in the right direction, and my team is extremely pleased. I'm down to 0.35mg of the Tacrolimus and will drop to 0.3mg next week. Platelets are up to 130, and everything else looks good. I still have cold/numb feet, but I'm learning to just deal with it. I also have quite a bit of muscle soreness, but again, nothing I can't handle.

I'm going full-tilt at work, usually leaving the house at 7:30a and returning at 7p on a typical day. When I first went back to work, I'd be in bed by 8:30p every night. Yet, here I am at around 9pm, blogging away. And I still want to watch the third period of the Flyers/Habs game.

Heather and the kids are doing great. Our good friend Eyan did a photo shoot a couple weeks ago at China Camp. I have this picture spanning two 1920x1200 monitors at work:

Floyd likes 'em up in the zone - click for super-hi-res

Here's one more of the whole family:

Heather, Orion, me, and Floyd  - November 26, 2011

We'll post the best of the best (with honors) to flickr at some point. Speaking of movie quotes. Don't forget to watch Trading Places this holiday season. And look at that "S" car go!

One last tidbit: last night there was a pajama holiday party at Little Arrows (Floyd's pre-school). There were a ton of kids and parents there -- the place was literally jam packed. Some guy with a guitar printed a bunch of Christmas tunes with chords and lyrics and the two of us totally rocked out while dozens of parents sung along. It was killer. After the holiday tunes, we jammed out a few classics like Cripple Creek and a wonderful three-chord Dylan tune I didn't know. Lots of good vocals backing us up. I forget how fun it is to jam with people who can play. I see another band in the future. Just a matter of time.

Kicking more ass every day,


Thursday, December 8, 2011

And My Friends They Come Around

Blogging Tunes: CFL All-hands webcast

I really don't know how to write this blog entry.  When this craziness first started for my family last November, it was all about us.  I was the center of a screwed-up universe where we didn't know if I was going to live or die. During my battle and throughout my continued recovery, I have gotten deeply involved with the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society and have met (and am working with) some incredibly strong people fighting their own incredible battles.  My universe has expanded and it seems that I have found a mission of sorts.

This is a picture of me and one of the most amazing fighters I met this year.  It was taken just before the Light the Night walk in San Francisco.

jg and Patrick

The fighter is Patrick Landers and it is with deep sorrow and pain that I reluctantly report that Patrick lost his battle with Lymphoma on Monday due to complications following his bone marrow transplant.  He is survived by his wife Christine and his two boys: Aidan and Ty. Words cannot express the emotions I feel as I write this, but I guess this will have to do: not fair; sad; pissed off; sucks; hate cancer; not fair; sorrow; not fair; anger; not fair; fight.

Over the next several weeks, we expect some kind of Landers Foundation to be created through the San Francisco Giants.  We hope that you will play a part.  Oliver Demuth and I will lead the charge.  If you are interested in contributing, please visit this blog often for updates.  I will post updates related to the Foundation as well as info on how you can help Christine and the Landers family.

A Note about Light the Night. For the 2011 walk, the San Francisco Giants Love for Landers team raised over $85k for Light the Night, blowing away second place who raised $58k.  For more information about Light the Night, please visit: main site | san francisco chapter

Not in a kicking mood,


Sunday, November 27, 2011

If the Sun Refused to Shine

Blogging Tunes: Peter Gabriel - New Blood

So has it really come to this?  Has life returned so closely to normal (no!) that I can honestly go an entire month without posting?

While it is certainly true, from a macroscopic level, that "no news is good news," and while my Doctor used words like "terrific" to describe how I'm doing, there continues to be plenty of challenges with my recovery. I just have so little time to do anything other than work, work, work, family, family, and sleep.  Oh and watch the occasional season-ending football game. Way to go, Beagles.

So this update will be short:

  • my counts are good
  • going back down to 0.4mg Tac
  • clinic visits down to one every three weeks
  • still as fatigued as I was 3 months ago, but somehow working the Salesforce pace

By the way, I am hiring.  Here's what I posted on LinkedIn: CCE is hiring in San Francisco and Dublin. Our team is growing as fast as it is brilliant. Come join the hottest team in the entire R&D Organization. Contact me for details. San Francisco link: Dublin link:

Anyway, back to the update:
  • still need 8.5 hours of sleep (minimum) to function
  • neuropathy (in hands and feet, worst in feet) still a major PITA
  • various muscle pain/strain on the lightest of activities
  • family is great

But all this means squat compared to the sh*t that some of my friends are going through. Patrick, Abigail, Gilly, I think about you guys every day. I know you're going to fight your way through this.

If anyone reading has a few extra prayers to spare, please think of may PAG gang. They need your positive thoughts more than I do right now.

Happy Thanksgiving to all. Remember how good we have it. Every day is a gift. Except maybe for Andy Reid. For him, every day is a cheeseburger. :)



Tuesday, November 1, 2011

His Hair was Perfect!

Blogging tunes: - Groove Salad

Ahhh-ooooooooo!  Werewolves of San Rafael.  So much has happened since my last update -- most of it very good, some of it not so great.  I will provide a medical update, share some highlights and a few pics.

On a personal note, trick or treating in San Rafael last night was awesome.  It was a balmy 69 degrees after sundown, and it seemed that everyone in town converged on the Gerstle Park neighborhood. Fortunately, Eyan got some good pics of the fam. Also some of the houses were absolutely spooktacular -- didn't get many pics of these.

Oh, and all you NorEasters who are sick of us left-coasters hazing you about the weather out here, you can kiss my skinny white touchas! :) The hazing will never stop (until the big earthquake hits, then the tables will be turned.)

Floyd's tiger outfit from last year still fit him, and Orion wore Floyd's old Monkey costume.

H and O

Hobbes - I mean, Floyd

Ryder, Sarah, Heather, and Orion

Spooky House

The other big event was the LLS' Light the Night walk in San Francisco. There was an amazing turnout and overall the LLS raised close to $500,000 from all the teams and walkers. The top team was "Love for Landers," sponsored by the SF Giants raising almost $85k. Salesforce came in 2nd with $45k. Most of the company matches aren't counted yet, so I bet we'll get up to $60k. Thanks to everyone who contributed!

$45k in four weeks!  Not bad!

Patrick Landers works for the SF Giants and has already been through hell in his battle. His "Day -8" was yesterday -- how crazy is that -- so his transplant is coming up in 7 days.

And then we will execute on our plan for a killer LLS/Giants/Phillies event.

Patrick's story here:
Final Salesforce numbers here:
My numbers here:

Donations are still being accepted on all pages. On a lighter note, I did a tune with the Cheeseballs before the walk.

Hop in my Chrysler, it's as big as a whale!

The news on my condition remains very good. I had a minor setback this weekend though. My fatigue level was just insane. Honestly, it felt like I had regressed three months. I spent most of Saturday and Sunday in bed -- not Sunday night though :)  Wooooo Iggles!

I was pretty beat yesterday when I saw my team... my doctor thinks it was just fatigue or maybe I was fighting something, because the counts look good. I'm running myself a bit ragged at work, so I guess I need to slow down a bit -- easier said than done. Other than the pace, work is awesome. It's so great to be making a real impact on the success of a great company and to be on a team where you love everyone you work with. We'll see how it goes.

The other thing that's driving me nuts is my feet. They feel like they are all puffy -- they're not -- and they are always much colder than they should be.  It's currently 69 degrees in the garoffice but I'm soaking 'em in warm water. I mean, really. Soaking my feet? Aren't you supposed to be like 80 years old for that?  Before I go to bed, I put a heating pad between the two blankets down by where my feet are going to be so that area's all warm. Oy vey. At least it didn't snow here ;)

Maybe I shouldn't have said anything. Sunny and 75 tomorrow, but it's gonna cool down and rain later in the week.

Little Arrows gigs continue as well. Today was really fun, and no, Matty, I didn't record anything -- kinda wish I had.  I lost myself in Standing On The Moon, and played a rockin The Last Time among others. One of the kids -- ironically, named Harmony -- took to giving me big bear hugs during many of the songs. Good stuff.

There's so much more, obviously -- life with two kids under 4 is crazy, as many of you know -- but I gotta call it a night. Go Eagles, Go Flyers.

Full recovery bound... no matter what,


Friday, October 14, 2011


Blogging tunes: talking to Rob on the phone

My lifelong pal, Rob "Big Nose Bob" Spike thought this was worth a quick blog update, and he's probably right. Good article in yesterday's SF Chronicle about the work we are doing at to raise money for the LLS:


Continued ass-kicking for all,


Thursday, October 13, 2011

I Have a College Pal Who...

Blogging tunes: none (at work)

Quick update on a few things.

Turns out I did have a little graft versus host disease.  This is actually a good thing.  My doc put me back up to 0.5mg/day for the Tacrolimus and it went away.  So now we have a threshold for the gvh.  We'll try to go back down to 0.4 again in a month or so.  The goal is to slowly taper, but if gvh shows up, we gotta bump up the dosage to compensate.

The big news is that we're plugging away at our goal to raise $100k for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society's Light the Night walk!  As of today, with seven days to go, we're at 20% of the team goal.  Clearly we still have a lot to do.

$20k raised as of 10/13/2011 - 5:30pm

As noted in the last post:

If you want to walk with us, just sign up here:
To sponsor our Team, go here:
If you want to sponsor me, go here:

Want to get people to fund raise but don't know how to motivate them?  Now you can share my story!  Just point them to this video: -- this is the video version of the deck I presented at the Light the Night kickoffs at Salesforce.  If you haven't seen it, check it out:

jg's battle with leukemia from Jay Gee on Vimeo.

OK, that's it for now.  Gotta catch a Ferry.  Now that the family is back, I gotta get home at a reasonable time.

And, yes, I'm over the Phillies debacle and the Eagles stupidity.  Here's a great picture a friend sent me:

Sometimes ya just gotta laugh.

Kicking its ass,


Thursday, September 29, 2011

In the Light You Will Find the Road

Blogging Tunes: - Groove Salad

Heather, Floyd, and Orion have been in Massachusetts for the past 9 days -- the house is strangely quiet.  I miss them, but I don't miss the chaos.  Solitude is therapeutic sometimes.

So I've pretty much been focusing 100% on work.  It's really amazing to be back.  I feel like I'm picking it right back up and accomplishing a lot.  I've also been heavily involved in this year's annual Light the Night Walk -- The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society's annual big fund raiser to fight against blood cancer.

In fact, I'm Captain for Team Salesforce this year.  I'm trying to raise $100k by getting scores of people to walk and fund raise.

Want to walk with us?  Click here!

I've been doing these kickoff prezos, telling my story, and rallying the company to support the LLS. I've never really had a cause before.  Now I have one.

Light the Night Kickoff at Salesforce on 9/29

In case you're wondering, anyone can join our team -- you don't have to be a Salesforce employee.  You just have to walk 2 miles (flat, easy, super inspiring, fun for the whole family) and raise a little money (it's soooo easy -- you get your own personal online fundraising page with a URL you can mail to your friends.)  Here's a short video of what it's all about.  C'mon, watch the first 60 seconds of it.  Kareem's in it!

If you want to walk with us, just sign up here:
To sponsor our Team, go here:
If you want to sponsor me, go here:

Other than gearing up for the MLB postseason, there really hasn't been much besides work. One fun thing: pcal came up to hang last Saturday and we went to the Marin Pinball Expo. We played a bunch of different games for a few hours.  Of course, they had my favorite machine ever, Earthshaker.  It was on the end of a row, so you can see the side art:

Head for the shelter!  Oooo! Gimmie shelter!
The High Speed wasn't in good shape, but the Cyclone ("Riiiide, the ferris wheel!") was. Surprisingly absent were Pinbot and Taxi -- two of my other favs.  More than half the floor were sported way old games (from the 50s and 60s).  It was cool to see the history, but I really didn't care about playing those.

I also rode about 9 miles on Tuesday -- round trip to Little Arrows to play piano for the kiddos. It actually wasn't bad, and I made good time.  It was hot though -- I think morning/evening rides to/from the Ferry are going to be doable soon.  Maybe next week.

That's it for now.  Go Phillies.

Ass, meet foot.


Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Workin, workin' on the Buildin'

Blogging Tunes: Grateful Dead - 1972.04.07 London

Blog post frequency should improve, but the posts will be much shorter. The better I feel, the shorter the posts will be. That means you don't want to see a long post after this. :)  My time just got a whole lot shorter.

Yes, today was my re-first day of work.  I left the house at 7:36, had to literally run across the Ferry parking lot to catch the 7:50 Ferry to SF.  The stitch on my right side (from the little skin biopsy they took yesterday) didn't like that very much, and I ran out of breath pretty quick.  By the time I was at the crosswalk to enter the actual terminal, I heard the "last call, all aboard" over the loud speaker. I think I was the fourth to last person allowed on... *just* made it.  Tomorrow I'll leave at 7:33 and things will be easier.

First day was great... Even though I wasted some time getting my new workstation configured and dealing with some HR/benefit mishigas, it was really productive.

I took the 5:50 back to Larkspur, and after some chinese food, watching the first period of the Flyers pre-season game, and doing some more work, I'm already exhausted.  This needing 8.5 - 9 hours of sleep is for the birds, but what can I do....except keep this short and go the f*ck to sleep?

Yesterday, I drove Heather and the kids to the airport for a super-early morning flight to Massachusetts. They're gonna be there for two weeks visiting Gramma and new cousin Sebastian while I focus exclusively on work (well, not exclusively... we got baseball playoffs comin' up, football Sundays, and of course, my health.)

Bye, family!  I'll miss you!

Byyyyeeeeeeeee!!  Don't forget to write!

After dropoff, I headed back to SF but I still had an hour to killl before my appointment at UC, so I met Dave, Laura, and Maisy for a morning walk with Buster.

Whatchu lookin at, Uncle John?

It was warm and clear (for a change), so the walk up to Tank Hill was wonderful.

My appointment was good, and my counts are continuing to improve. We think I might have a little GVHD -- which is actually good news -- in the form of a skin rash.  They did a little biopsy and we'll know in about a week.  The 4:15a wake-up call, the airport drive, the walk, and the UC appointment emptied my tank, so I went home to rest before my Little Arrows gig.

Not gonna post full setlists, but the gigs have been fun.  Last week, one of the kids was sick, so Kari asked me to keep it really mellow.  I played all slow songs including Why Worry, Stella Blue, and Wish You Were Here.  This week, inspired by one of the new kids, Rhiannon, I played some Fleetwood Mac. yeP!, you guessed it, Rhiannon and Don't Stop Thinkin' About Tomorrow.

Tons of other stuff, of course, but I'm outta gas. Stay tuned for more soon.  Last thing, Gaurav posted some pics of his visit.  Here's a cute one of Orion and Saavi:

Orion and Saanvi

The rest are here on this flickr set. Great pics, ustaad!

Tired but kicking,


Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Time Doesn't Wait for me, it Keeps on Rollin'

Blogging Tunes: Linas Jazz (

Where do I begin when I haven't written in three weeks? To start, let's just say that no news is good news.  The less there is to report about my health, the less I tend to write. Looking at the last couple months, my posts have really trailed off -- I guess that's good.

I actually was going to write sooner, but my appointment with Dr. Damon last week was canceled onaccounta he was stuck on the East Coast (Thanks, Irene.) So I'm going to see him this Thursday -- I won't really know more officially, until then.  Unofficially, my strength continues to increase slowly but surely.  I still need to sleep a lot, but the naps are totally gone. My hair is growing like a weed -- no idea what I'm going to do with it. My weight is still hovering around the 144-147 range. Doesn't matter what I do, I can't seem to gain. The thing that concerns me most is the chemo-brain. It's real, and I definitely have it a little. For example, a couple weeks ago, I wrote a check where the numeric amount didn't match the written amount. Who does that? And that's just one example, there are more. Hopefully it will subside over time and won't affect me at work too much.

* And yes, I'm still planning on returning to work on Wednesday September 21st! *

Speaking of work, last week was another huge milestone: three days in San Francisco (one in the office, two at Dreamforce.)  I got to see so many friends and colleagues -- too many to name. It was very empowering to be part of Technology's greatest trade show.

Moscone West for Dreamforce '11

The keynotes were fantastic, the sessions were great (I especially identified with the second annual UCSF track) and I had several exciting interactions with customers. Even got some cool chotches for the kids! Last year I was on 11-Long getting chemo during Dreamforce. Let's just say it's better to be there live.

On Thursday night, Ustaad Atul invited me out with his team for apps and drinks.  I recently got all food restrictions removed, so I was ready -- I must have downed a dozen oysters along with some fabulous steak tartare and lamb sausage from Bluestem. Great eats, but it was even better to see everyone.  Yo, mg!

Support Managers and jg (with red heat lamps)

On the family front, we've mostly just been doing our thing. Family walks are the new activity. We used to just put both kids in the double stroller, but Floyd needs to walk more, so we've been enticing (bribing?) him to walk, and it's working. Since we're less than a mile from downtown and even closer to Trader Joe's, we try to walk on the weekends as much as possible.

Orion loves the Phil and Ted's

We also set Floyd up with a little music corner in his room. Previously, I had my old Roland Alpha Juno-1 hooked up to the living room stereo, but of course, whenever Floyd wanted to play, Orion would invade his space and all hell would break loose.  Now that Orion is in his own room, there's much more space in Floyd's room, so I hooked up the Juno and the ART effects unit to my old Cambridge Soundworks speakers and got him all set up. That Juno is a tank -- I can't tell you how many times I've dropped it over the years. Astounding that it still works.

Floyd's Music corner

Floyd isn't the only one who got his music situation squared away.  I finally set up my Kurzweil and Hammond on the South wall of the garoffice. Always nice to be able to play along with tracks, use headphones, etc. Here you can see the corner: one monitor visible at the end of the desk, my desktop machine, the music rack (synth and juice goose), my lappie, Phil the red-legged Phillies monkey, and the Kurzweil and Hammond XB-2.

Southeast garoffice corner

We've also been really fortunate to have so many great friends come to visit! First it was my former co-worker, Tennille who brought homemade frozen spaghetti surprise -- hadn't seen her in years. You look great, T. Then, my ol' high-school pal Misha came to visit. I know I sound old, but it's pretty cool to see someone you haven't seen in over 20 years. Misha, her husband, and their three kids hung out all afternoon with minimal tantrums and meltdowns. :) Beautiful family, Mish! Then yesterday, Gaurav, Stuthi and beautiful, spirited Saanvi spent the afternoon with us -- and they brought Zante's!! YUM!  Move North, my friend!

So much other stuff going on -- these are just some of the highlights.  I guess things really are starting to return to normal.

On the baseball front, whodathunk the AL West would be the only compelling race in the first week of September? I hope that one stays close -- TEX/LAA play each other in the last series of the season, so maybe there'll be some excitement down the stretch.  Everything else is locked up: AL East div winner doesn't matter except for ALCS homefield -- similar for battle with PHI/MIL for NLCS home field I guess -- but I can't remember a year where both wildcard races were over this early. Closer to home, I knew the Beltran acquisition would be bad karma for SF, but even I didn't think Los Gigantes would freefall like this.

Bottom line? Arizona is for real and so is Milwaukee, but it's championship-or-bust for the Phillies. When you assemble a team like this, anything less than a parade is a failed season. On a lighter note, here's some more fun with numbers from a Phils/Nats game a couple weeks ago:

All twos (but no man on second)

A couple parting thoughts:

1) A hearty Mazel Tov to Lou and Ariel who got married this past Sunday in New York. I was bummed that I missed it, but Lou actually set up a webcast of the ceremony. The audio was basically non-existent, and the video was pretty lo-res, but it worked! I could see the procession and everything. Congrats Lou and Ariel!

Phils on TV; wedding webcast on laptop

 2) Goofy pic of the day.  Floyd in a basket!


UPDATE - Wed 9/7/11 - I have been politely reminded that I haven't posted the Little Arrows setlists of late.  Here are the last three weeks. Good thing I write these down:

8/23/11 - Little Arrows Piano Enrichment
Hello Song
The Monkey & The Engineer
Wilson >
Africa >
Light >
Scarlet Begonias >
So Far Away
Ramble On Rose
Runaway Jim
Goodbye Song

8/30/11 - Little Arrows Piano Enrichment
Hello Song
Aiko Aiko*
Mike's Song >
Piper >
Crazy Fingers >
Uncle John's Band
Trick Of The Tail
Ocelot >
Fire On The Mountain >
Good Times Roll 
Goodbye Song
* with Musical Chairs game

9/6/11 - Little Arrows Piano Enrichment
Hello Song
Me & My Uncle >
Big River
Strange Design >
Free Four >
Uncle John's Band >
China Doll
Blow Away Jam >
Back on the Train
Us And Them >
Any Colour You Like >
Brain Damage >
Eclipse >
Goodbye Song

Continued ass-kicking and complete-game shut-outs,


Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Gonna Take a Lot to Drag Me Away From You

Blogging Tunes: ARI@PHI (ESPN); Baseball Tonight

Short outline-form update.

Health Update:

  • Energy level up from last week -- I feel pretty good -- probably 70%
  • Still need 9+ hours of sleep per night
  • Hickman Line removed last week -- I am no longer a Borg
  • Radiology appointment tomorrow (kidney stone / lythotripsy follow-up)
  • Increasing conditioning very slowly: mostly daily walks
  • Still taking Tac, Acyclovir, VFend, and Magnesium Oxide... oh, and flowmax
  • Weight is up slightly, but not quite where it needs to be: 147lbs, need to get to 155.
Got a big-ol' steak after my Hickman Line was removed

Work Update:
  • Official return-to-work date set for: Monday September 19, 2011
  • Planning transition and priorities for September
  • Hoping to attend a day or two of Dreamforce

Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS) Light the Night Update:
  • Light the Night fundraising has begun. The San Francisco walk is on Thursday October 20, 2011.  Note that 10/20 is Game 2 of the World Series (see mlb playoff schedule). If I can miss a game to walk, you can donate on my behalf -- and yes, I'm saying that the Phillies will be in it.
  • You can sponsor me by donating on my LLS LTN fundraising page by clicking here
  • Please forward the above link to anyone who you think might want to donate

Music Update:

OK, can't really do this section in outline form. The big news is that we took Floyd to his first Phish show (in Golden Gate Park) last Friday (see: setlist and reviews).  We actually saw The Original Meters and MGMT too.  We got there pretty early and set up our area well back from the second speaker stacks.  The Meters were pretty good and MGMT was interesting, but Phish stole the night with two rockin' sets.

Floyd had an amazing time, stayed up for the entire show (til 10pm) and then promptly passed out in the stroller as we were walking out.  The pics and movies tell the whole story:

Early on, the Stomp Rocket provided hours of entertainment for Floyd

Great view of Trey and boys from daddy's shoulders

Tens of thousands way up front -- we were fine back here

Floyd dances to Axilla I

Floyd dances to Mound

We got visits from Auntie Na Na and Jason, Jmomo, and Adam K. from Salesforce. Thanks for stopping by, everyone.

Spending all day in the park was another big test. I definitely needed to sleep in a bit on Saturday, but I wasn't nearly as wrecked as the previous weekend -- a great sign for handling a "full day."

This show has been playing non-stop on Floyd's iPod since Sunday -- his new favorite song is Suzy Greenberg.  Setlist wise, I think I would have rather seen the Chicago run, but hey, I'll take what I can get.

In other music news, I've played two Little Arrows gigs since the last post.  Here are the setlists:

8/9/11 - Little Arrows Piano Enrichment

Hello Song >
The Thin Ice >
Bathtub Gin >
Ship Of Fools
Scarlet Begonias >
Fire On The Mountain
Throwing Stones
Russian Lullaby
Goodbye Song

Lots of Dead in honor of the anniversary of Jerry's passing.  RIP Jer.  

8/16/11 - Little Arrows Piano Enrichment

Hello Song >
Good Times Roll* >
Suzy Greenberg >
Africa* >
Mike's Song* >
A Trick of the Tail
Mississippi Half Step >
Goodbye Song

*First Time played

I'm using this weekly gig as an opportunity to learn a bunch more songs (and not just play all Grateful Dead). The Toto song kinda came out of nowhere when my pal, ejsphilly mentioned Tuesday morning that he'd been playing around with it. After looking at the (barely usable) chords on the internet, listening to the tune, and talking with Rob M, I think we have a pretty good chart now.  You can find it here if you're so inclined (use narrow margins so it will fit on one page.) Also, Rob transcribed the melody of the solo:

Hurry boy it's waiting there for you...

A couple cute pics before I sign off:

O entranced by an excavator

The boys painting in the backyard

Once again, please make sure to visit my LLS LTN fundraising page!

Its ass is beaten and bruised,


Monday, August 8, 2011

You Know Its Gonna Get Stranger

Blogging Tunes: Grateful Dead - 3/22/90

Thanks to Tripp for finding me a version of 3/22/90 -- been looking for this show on .mp3 for years.  I had a condensed version of the show from The Grateful Dead Hour on analog way back when, but never found the complete show til now. Thanks again, Tripper.

I could probably write my longest blog entry ever given all that's happened this week, but I'm going to try to keep it pretty short.

Health update: this past week was a big test. I'm starting to seriously plan my return to work, and I need to really be sure I can handle the load. What I'm finding is, after a full day or two pretty-full days, I'm pretty much drained the following day and have to keep it pretty mellow. This doesn't bode well for working 5 days a week. In my condition, commuting to work, working all day, commuting home (and I'm not even talking about biking to the Ferry), and tucking in the kids would not be sustainable for five days right now.

Will it be doable in 3 or 4 weeks? What about if I work from home a couple/few days a week? I'm not sure. I really felt great the week before last, but last week my energy was quite a bit lower. Maybe the lithotripsy procedure took more out of me than I thought it would. The other complication is that I developed a stye under my right lower eyelid. Hopefully some warm compresses will take care of that.

The big test was last Thursday and Friday. On Thursday, I had a work meeting and then spent a few hours in Golden Gate Park at the Salesforce picnic. It was cool, foggy, and windy, but it was great to see everybody. I was on my feet for a couple hours, so that was tiring. At home, after family time, I stayed up to watch the first game of the Phillies/Giants series, so I wasn't in bed til 10:30p. That's a pretty full day and a late night (these days), but nothing too crazy.

Friday, I drove to UCSF (free parking) and MUNI'd downtown to meet a friend for lunch. We walked several blocks to Chinatown, then I walked several more blocks back to One Market. The last time I walked the streets of downtown San Francisco like that, the Giants were having their World Series parade. That was November 4, 2010 -- the day before I was diagnosed with AML. I can happily say that whereas on 11/4/2010 I couldn't walk more than a couple blocks without being winded, I felt absolutely fine physical walking on Friday. Emotionally and psychologically, it was really strange -- it's hard to explain, but I almost felt like I was in the Matrix or on the holodeck.

When I got to Salesforce for my first of two meetings, I was pretty beat. I guess if I wanna go to R&Gs for lunch, I might be taking a cab in the near term. After two meetings, and a walk around 7L and 8L to see friends and co-workers, I was pooped.  It was 4:30p, and I was totally ready to crash. The problem? I had 8th row seats for the Phillies/Giants game (thanks, Raffi!) -- so I had to get a second wind.

Short version of the rest of the night: we MUNI'd to the park and walked to the 21st Amendment.  I drank a few beers, powered through an awesome game, got a lift back to UCSF (thanks, Brandon!) and made it home by about 11:30p. Raffi's sign made it on TV (the Philly feed.) Unforch, the only person who got a pic of it got a low-res shot. I guess it's better than nothin. Thanks, Blob!

Raffi and his Slingbox sign

The sign says: Hey MA, tell POP to fix my Slingbox. I can't miss any more of this incredible season.  P.S. Send Scrapple. (The P.S. didn't make it on TV, but apparently Sarge was talkin' about the sign.)

Update: Raffi sent me a higher-res image. It's darker, but you can see the sign much better. Click for full-rez:

Higher rez sign shot

Brandon and Shannon after the game -- he loves it!

THAT's a full day, right? So the question is, how would I feel Saturday? A year ago, I could get up pretty early do whatever I had to do, and do it all over again. Now? Not even close, bud. Saturday was totally about resting. No way in hell I could do another full day. I got up around 10:30a. Don't worry, my awesome Mother-in-Law, Diana, has been in town, so Heather had help getting the kids out to swimming.

A friend came over, and we walked into town for brunch, so at least I was able to get a walk in, but I don't think I did much but sit in my chair for the rest of the day. We definitely get more odd looks for wearing Philly gear in San Rafael than we do in San Francisco, but I guess that makes sense.

ill Meggie at T&J's in SR.

Sunday was another reasonably full day. Dave, Heather, Floyd and I went to brunch at Momo's and then the series finale at AT&T Park. The Giants finally won a game, which kinda made it alright with everyone. The Phils won the series so we were pretty satisfied (and honestly, was anyone really expecting Oswalt to outpitch Timmy on his first game back off the DL?) I imagine it would have been a lot harder getting out of there had the Phils swept.

Momo's: What's going on here, Uncle Dave?

The brunch at Momo's was actually really good. I didn't expect much, but the bloody was decent, the mocha was fine, and the eggs bene were great. I'd go back. Floyd was extremely well-behaved too.

jg and brown watching... something.  Floyd eating a peanut.

Mommy, Daddy, and Floyd in front of AT&T Park

Everyone loved Floyd's broom -- even the Giants fans gave  us props.

On Sunday night, Heather, Diana, and I watched Unknown (Liam Neeson.) Some of the reviews said it was predictable, but we thought it was great. Another "full day" was complete. So how did I feel this morning? Tired. It wasn't quite like Saturday -- maybe because I only drank water at the game. I got a nice walk in and helped Heather garden a bit, but I also took a two hour nap.

So I dunno, September 1 might be a little soon, but we'll see how it goes the next couple weeks. We're taking Floyd to Outside Lands on Friday, so that'll be another test.

Oh yeah, the Tuesday setlist from Little Arrows.  Here ya go:

Hello Song
Joy ->
Trick of the Tail
Hey You ->
Breathe ->
Time ->
Breathe (reprise)
Maxwell's Silver Hammer
Oh! Darling
Half Step
Goodbye Song

I wonder what I'll play tomorrow.

Last pic -- the new kitties -- they are so affectionate and playful. We scored!

Bandit still tries to nurse. Skye won't have any of it.

Its ass continues to be kicked,


Saturday, July 30, 2011

Hello to Scott... So Glad to See You. Hello to Mary... So Glad to See You Too

Blogging tunes: none (in UC surgery waiting room and forgot my etymotics)

Quick health update and then we'll get to the fun stuff.  My appointment with my team this morning was good. We're gonna completely stop the IV Magnesium, which means we can finally remove my Hickman line. That will get scheduled for sometime next week or the week after. Apparently, they just kinda pull it out. Not really looking forward to the experience, but the result will be great -- I will finally be de-borgified.

My energy level continues to increase. I am taking longer walks, bike rides (more on this below) and sleeping less. I feel pretty confident that I'll be able to return to work soon. Based on my energy level this coming week (and how I do at the two Phillies@Giants games next weekend), I'll talk to Benji and HR, and make a decision about the actual date. Even before my transplant, I had September 1st in my sites. That's exactly 5 months from transplant and 4 months ahead of schedule. I'm going to do everything in my power to make that happen.

As I type this, I'm sitting in the pre-op waiting area at 505 Parnassus -- waiting for my lipthotripsy procedure (to bust up my kidney stone.)  I doubt I'll be able to finish the blog before I get called for pre-op prep, but I'll write as much as I can. It is friggin freezing outside. Probably 55 degrees with 20mph wind. No, I do not miss the city at all.

Shifting gears, two of my oldest college friends, Scott and Mary Beth, visited us yesterday afternoon and evening. Scott and I met at UMass Freshman Orientation, and wound up rooming together Freshman year. He introduced me to the Grateful Dead in the fall of '88 (and took me to my first show: Foxboro '89) and my life hasn't beem the same since. :) Mary Beth lived on our floor (in Pierpont) and so began their relationship. Hard to believe that was over 20 years ago.

As usual, it was gorgeous in San Rafael, so we loaded up the boys and walked (strolled) into town for the weekly Thursday night Farmer's Market on 4th Street. In addition to tons of fresh produce (of which we bought none) there were all kinds of food stalls, live bands, merchandise, and amusements for the kids like this big bouncy house:

Floyd in the bouncy house (shot through the mesh wall)

It was fun for five minutes ($2) but Floyd could not get enough of this huge air filled slide. He probably did it 15 times -- good thing it was only $0.50 a slide.


Heather took a great video of one of his descents:

Floyd Slides Down video (HD)

Stupidly, we didn't got any pics of all of us, but here's one of Scott and Floyd from the ice cream place:

Scottie (in his jgwkia cap) and Floyd

After we got the kids to bed, Mary and Heather went to Target while Scottie and I hung out and caught up. When the ladies got back, Heather convinced me to play some songs on the piano:

Strange Design*
Back on the Train
Standing on the Moon#

*Heather's favorite slow Phish song these days
#yeP! played this at Scott's wedding back in 1995

*** RED ALERT! Bloggis interruptus! It's lipthotripsy time. More tomorrow ***

Saturday July 30th
Blogging Tunes: Charlie Hunter - Natty Dread; MMW - Shack Man

Big thanks to Rob Woollen for driving me home from UC last night (sweet ride, dude!) Man, am I groggy this morning. The procedure was an apparent success, but the general anesthetic really slams me -- even the next day.  I'm very tired, a little sore in the kidney area, and have a bit of a sore throat -- I guess they put a tube down there. I don't remember anything. I think I was out just from the sedative they gave me.

Now I just need to take Flowmax and hope to pass the fragments without complications.

Anyway, back to the pictures and videos: check out this little video of Floyd whacking the whiffle ball. Right now it's all arms -- i.e. he's not stepping into it and getting the full body power. But this is a damn good swing if I do say so myself. He's a regular Hunter Pence, this kid!

Liner back to the mound - view in 720 full screen

In other news, Tuesday's piano set at Little Arrows was fun.  I got there a little earlier than usual, so I played for a good 70 minutes or so.

Hello Song#
Monkey & The Engineer >
Free Four
Two Little Kitty Cats#
Ramble on Rose*
Scarlet Begonias >
Light >
Fire On The Mountain
Us and Them >
Any Colour You Like >
Brain Damage* >
Looks Like Rain*
Goodbye Song#

*Kari on backup vocals
#From Music Together songbook 

Speaking of two little kitty cats, we adopted a young cat (Bandit) from the Milo Foundation and are fostering his mom (Skye.) We're definitely keeping him and hope to keep her if they get along. In case you're wondering, they were already named when we got them. Floyd was bummed after Elvis died, and we really thought it would be nice for the family to have a pet. A dog would be way too much work at this point, so a couple cats sounded like the right move. When you have two cats that get along (a male and female is usually best -- like Elvis and Sonora: pic1 | pic2) it can bring some sweet, loving energy into the house.

Skye and Bandit are chilling in their kennel right now. Lemme see if I can get a pic...

OK, that was an adventure. I did manage to get a couple pics and a video, but it took me another 20 minutes to catch 'em both and get 'em back in their kennel.

Skye - mellow mom

Bandit - the energy ball

The garoffice, Floyd and Orion's "new" rooms, and two cats -- the place is really coming together.  Now that the office is completely contained in the garage, we were finally able to move the crib out of Floyd's room and into the other room. We also got rid of the changing/table dresser. Floyd's room seems huge, and Orion has his own space. Pics soon.

Quick thoughts on my Wednesday bike ride. I rode about 5 miles and felt about 10x better after it vs. my first bike ride back in June. I rode up the #5 bike path, exited to Lincoln Ave at the top of the hill, and rode down the hill to Ranch Road up to the base of the driveway of house that a friend of mine may purchase.

Baytree road in Los Rachitos, San Rafael

It was a killer hill just to get up there and another on to the actual house -- I chose not to ride up.

Big arse hill driveway

Oh, remember the Camp Doodles discussion from the Lieby story?  Here's a sign:

Maybe Floyd will go here in a few years?

The weather is so nice for walking and biking. Lest there's any doubt about how crappy SF summers are compared to SR (unless you live in the Mission, Potrero or South Beach) here are your current ten day forecasts:

Click to see the numbers: highs around 14 degrees higher in SR -- lows the same.
And yes, I'm doing this to try to convince some friends of ours to move up here -- you know who you are. :)

One last thing to mention before I go lie down -- no, I'm not going to talk about Pence, Rodgers-Cromartie, or Asomugha -- you can read all about that on Instead, I want to share a quick story about a pretty inspirational man we met while dropping off the dry cleaning earlier this week. We had a ton of stuff to drop off, and while Heather was talking to the woman at the store, this older gentleman who was waiting saw my cap and commented on the upcoming Phils/Giants series -- Giants fans who want to gloat about the series win in Philly would do well to wait a week (if not a couple months) til we at least see what happens in SF.

Long story short, the guy mentioned that he grew up in Cleveland (and was a Tribe/Browns fan) but had lived in Bay Area (and now Marin) for 60 years. I said something like, "you must have moved when you were little, how are you still a fan of those teams?"  He said, that he moved when he was in his 20s.  I was floored. He said, "I'm in my 80s, young man," or some such. Now this guy looked like he was in his 60s -- and he was in great shape. Turns out he plays tennis, bikes, the whole nine.

Given the state of health of some folks I know in their 80s, it was really cool to talk to a sharp, friendly, guy in his 80s who seemed to have 20 or 30 years in the tank. His secret "exercise and moderation." Doesn't seem all that hard. Really encouraging story.

OK, I lied -- that wasn't the last thing. This series of Orion pics is:

Yes, I'm trying to be cute


This stuff isn't staying on my tray for long.

Its ass is kicked,