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The Gold It's in The...

Blogging tunes: Grateful Dead - Giants Stadium - East Rutherford, NJ - 6/17/91

So here I am back at  UCSF.  My doctor said I'll probably be here for three weeks: another round of chemo and the requisite recovery period.  The strange thing about the start of this stay is that I feel great.  The first two rounds saw me feeling pretty much like crap at the start.  Hopefully that means this round will be a lot easier on me.  But I don't want to jinx it, so forget I said anything.

This is going to be a long one, so if you don't have the time, close the tab, and come back some other time.  If you do, put on some tunes, and settle in.  I recommend the Grateful Dead show from 6/17/91 at Giants stadium -- that's what I'm listening to.  Jackson, did you bust it out, yet?  To all readers, if you want a lovely soundboard version of this epic show, let me know and I'll get it to you -- it sounds incredible.  Otherwise, you can stream a decent audience version from  I'm not going to get into why this show is so special -- you can read the reviews at the aforementioned link.  I will say, once again that the Bose QC-15 noise canceling headphones are the absolute bomb.  My roommate (yes, I'm in a shared room -- for now) currently has 4 visitors and they are really gabbing it up.  But I don't hear a word of it.  Thanks again, Sam/Lucy/Adam/Mary.  If all goes well, I'll get transferred to a private room tomorrow or Thursday.

I arrived at the hospital right around 2pm PST.  By the time I got admitted and got up to my room, it was too late to get a PICC, so I got stuck (pun intended) with the normal two-or-three-day peripheral IV. No fun. They are going to start my chemo tonight through the PIV and then I'll probably get the PICC tomorrow.  For one week of chemo, you might think the PICC is overkill, but if I don't get it, they'll have to stick me every morning when they draw my labs (usually at 5am!).  I'd rather have the PICC, then I can practically sleep through the daily blood draws.

Floyd was sad to see me go, but he actually has a clue what's going on now -- Daddy has "loo keeee mee uh" -- and he knows I won't be in the hospital all that long.  Heather, the kids, and I had a fun day, nonetheless.  In the morning, she took the boys to the playground, while I wrapped up some work stuff and packed up all my gear.  Then we drove to our favorite Vietnamese restaurant in San Francisco -- a little hole in the wall mom and pop shop called Evergreen Garden.  We used to eat there just about every Thursday when I worked at Doppelganger.  While some of the menu is hit or miss, the Pho is as good as it gets, IMO.  We always get Pho Tai, Vermicelli with beef or pork, and fresh Spring Rolls.  Soooo good.  Here's a picture of Cindy (one of the owners) with Orion:

Before hitting UCSF we stopped off to see Autie Laura (and use the potty).  Floyd has been jumping around like a monkey lately, and he found a great place to jump at Laura's: from the ottoman to the chair:

Heather and I have been IM'ing (bbm'ing actually) while I type this.  She just uploaded the cutest video of Floyd.  It's a message to Donna.  Sorry, Keith.  I still have one connection at GDP, I wonder if he has Donna's contact info...

To my delight, he's really getting into the Dead.  Early on, he latched on to Fire on the Mountain, and he'd always ask for that song.  Now he usually just asks for "77 with Donna" -- he's got no clue that those numbers represent a year, of course.  So you (deadhead types) can imagine how the conversation goes when he says, "I wanna hear Standing on the Moon from '77, daddy!"

Before I go on, I want to give a shout out to the First Connection program from the LLS.  Through it, I got to talk to a few really cool people (you know who you are) who have already undergone what I'm going to be going through this Spring.  It was extremely comforting, not to mention informative, to talk to people who have been through it and come out unscathed.  So thanks FC folks.

A little more on my health: in the last 3.5 weeks, I've put back on 15 of the 25 pounds I lost over November/December.  I have been eating everything in sight, and it's working.  I eat whatever I want, whenever I want.  In the morning, I chow two huge bowls of cereal, and by 10am I'm ready for another meal -- not a snack, I'm talkin' a full plate.  Taste buds are 100% (for now) so anything goes.  Butter?  Slather it on.  Fatty Chinese duck?  I'll eat a whole order and then have a bunch of moo-shu to boot.  We'll see what happens with my taste buds this time around -- I'm hoping it won't be as bad.  Speaking of which, the nurse just came in to start my first dose of chemo.  Here we go again.

Closer to home, I've been getting a lot of piano time in lately and Floyd's really getting into it too.  Now, when I play, Heather and I will sing, and he'll grab his drum or his little xylophone and bang away, trying to play along.  Or sometimes he'll just sit quietly on the bench to my right and play notes in the upper registers.  Sometimes he even plays on his own too.

The iPad is also proving to be immensely useful with the piano.  It's certainly easier to manipulate than a heavy songbook.  Sometimes if I want to play something I don't know, I'll just search  for it online then I can zoom and scroll as needed.  No more printing!

Of course, half the time, the charts on the internet are wrong, but sometimes there's enough to go on.  All I'm looking for is chords anyway -- I don't need the sheet music.  Guitar tabs are overkill, but as long as the chord symbols are there...

In addition to the piano, the office is finally reasonably usable.  I have two machines driving the same two monitors, so regardless of which one I'm using, I have the screen real estate I need.  I can also do one of each, since they are configured to use different primary monitors.

But all this stuff is really second fiddle to all the outside time I've gotten with Heather, the kids, and friends over the last week.  The weather in San Rafael (and SF of course) has been amazing for the last week or so.  Sunny and low 60s every day, mid 40s at night.  I know, just what the Philly and Boston folks want to hear, right?  Well, we've taken full advantage, hanging in the backyard, going to playgrounds, walking the neighborhood, and even doing a little hiking.

This is the trail head just above the Dominican campus.  It's very mellow climb up to this clearing with a gorgeous view of the surrounding area.  On Sunday morning, we went on a nice little hike.  Click the pic for a bigger version.

The trail goes much higher, but we haven't gone up too far.  I had absolutely no problems hiking and Floyd had a ball.  It's amazing that we found a house where we can walk to town and walk to a trail head.  Marin kinda rules.  Here's one more pic.  Whodathunk Floyd would be so happy hiking with mom and dad?

Heather and I discovered the trail on Friday afternoon when we were exploring Dominican campus.  On the way we saw something that some of the Massachusetts blog readers will appreciate... Camp Doodles!

Friday was just an awesome day all around.  It was our final "date day" before I had to come back to UCSF.  Before our stroll through Dominican we walked into town to check out the local Vietnamese place.  We had to see how their pho and vermicelli stacked up.  The service was weird and they were playing Christmas tunes of all things, but the food was pretty good.  It wasn't Evergreen but I think we'll go there again.

After our walk, we picked up the kiddos and continued our date day with an early happy hour dinner at the Broken Drum -- a brew pub and grill in downtown San Rafael.  We had seen the "Happy Hour" and "Kids Eat Free!" signs earlier in the day and got sucked in.  Warning: the food at this place was horrible.  The beer was quite good -- I had the IPA and Heather had the Pale ale -- but the calamari was disgusting, the wings were more like toes, and the nachos were just so-so.  Their idea of happy hour was to give you half portions of apps, and just charge you half.  Huh?  How's that supposed to make me happy.  To their credit, the service overall was pretty good and they didn't charge us for the calamari when I told the waitress how bad it was, but man... how can you have a brew pub with good beer and have such crappy food?  Oh, and you only get a free kid's meal when you get a grown-up meal.  Of course, we just ordered apps (no "meals") so we had to pay $4 for Floyd's corn dog and fries.  Ironically, I think the corn dog was probably the best thing we were served.  Some local yokel at the bar told us that they heard that management was going to fire the kitchen staff and re-invent the menu.  I hope they go through with it.  I've been meaning to call them and tell them about my experience, but haven't gotten around to it.  Maybe tomorrow.

Other outside adventures included numerous trips to the playground.  There's one literally around the corner from our place, so it's easy to walk over there and play ball...

... or just hang out with Mommy.

At the other playground, you can go down a slide...

jump like a monkey...

or go on a swing.

On Saturday morning Floyd's swam with Heather:

while Orion and I watched:

then we headed home for a little BBQ.  Uncle Dave, Auntie Laura, and Auntie Na-Na came over and even ScottieD trekked up from the peninsula.  Yes, he wore a Steelers shirt.  Also, my good friend, college buddy, and yeP! bandmate, Jackson was in town.  Brown and I went to Whole Foods and got some sausages, peppers, 'kraut, and roles, and we had a mellow afternoon just chillin' in the backyard.  Of course, I forgot to take pictures -- duh.  Anyway, here are a couple pictures of the yard for those who haven't been to our place:

In the evening, Jackson and I did a bunch of work in the garage and then Heather, Jack, and I watched The Social Network.  It was pretty good, but not quite as good as I thought it'd be based on what I'd heard about it.  It would also be nice to know how accurate the different parts were.  Anyone got insights?

OK, it's getting late.  I gotta get some sleep.  Before I go though, a few closing items.

"jg will kick its ass" caps and buttons are now available from cafepress (Thanks, Benji, Carolyn, and Sophie)  So if you're interested in getting any jgwkia loot, click here.  To be clear, there are no proceeds going anywhere, this is just loot for the sake of loot.  Prices are cost.  I kinda like the caps.  ima have to get me one of those black ones.

Shirts may or may not be coming in the future.

Next, I'm working on a secret project during this hospital visit!  This outcome of this project will be a present for a very special blog reader.  Heather is the only one who knows what I've got in mind.  I'll keep y'all (somewhat vaguely) updated on the status and then we'll all get to see the results when it's done.

Lastly, if you are easily offended, stop reading now, but if you're a fan of The Onion, and you don't mind a little classic, old-school, tasteless, philly-style baseball humor, check out this video about this little girl who's battling cancer and gets her wish.

I will kick its ass,



  1. great post, will get by to see you in the next few days. Keep up the positive thoughts!

    Would love any updates on the match if you have any.

  2. Sean Parker insisted he is nothing like Justin Timberlake's portrayal, then let a reporter from Vanity Fair follow him around and document how he is basically the same:

  3. Thanks so much for the interesting, informative post! Awesome! Love the photos! :)

  4. Great post BoM. Sorry I can't be there this week. If I were, I'd have FTG listening to top 40 and 80s rap! Hope the three weeks fly by. dg

  5. Listening to 6/17/91 (my first live show, thanks to you!) now!! Fantastic quality. Thanks a ton. :)

    Good luck with this round.. It was so great to see you H, F(T), & O and how well you're doing. Fun BBQ too - your prace is beautiful. I still think you should cut down those trees in the back, tho.. you know.. for more space.

    Keep bloggin' man.. You will, without a doubt, kick its forkin' ass.


  6. Love the post JG. Pretty fantastic that you got such great weather while you were out (makes it sound like you were in jail ;), and that you got such awesome quality time with the fam. I'll have to check out Evergreen. BTW, is it Heather's influence that dresses Floyd so stylishly? What a cutie in the paper boy hat! I'll be out of town for the next week and a half, but would love to come by for a visit sometime. You allowed to have visitors during the chemo? -mg

  7. Yes, yes, the driver cap is all Heather. I wasn't into it at first -- I wanted him to wear Philles/Eagles/Flyers caps all the time, but I can admit when I was wrong. The driver cap is a winner. Problem is, it's getting too small for him. Maybe we should hold a "bigger driver cap for Floyd" contest. Think I should post a separate blog entry?

  8. Good luck with this round of chemo dude! We're thinking of you here in Nu'mtin. You will kick its ass!!

    I've been meaning to comment here for a while....... We've been checking in to see your progress and you have been in our "good thoughts" (the agnostic version of in our prayers).

    Awesome stuff with the piano! Very cool to see Floyd getting into it. I've been trying to get Griffin interested in playing music and got him a jr. drum set for xmas. He likes to bang on it but the whole practice thing is "going to be a while" ;-) .

    Love the pix of your new joint! Looks like a beautiful place man - nice going!

    Gotta well my friend!

    Kick its ass.

  9. @Amanda: Ohhhh, that's YOUR Eric? Cool, I mailed the link to my only Dead contact and thought *he* had passed it on to Dennis, but now I see that the mail to my contact bounced. So thanks for setting that up! And now that I know who he is, I'll send him a nice message on Facebook :)


  10. I'm holding out for the "jgDIDkia" loot!

  11. Loved this post. So much in it - lovely seeing you so connected and being able to positively blog about all this awesome stuff. Go you!


    how about this email for Donna, its pretty recent, most likely its 1 step away from her at worst :

  12. Eye(s) opener... volume increasing... Pantera screaming... on the way to camp doodls

    missing u!!!!

    dd & scottie


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