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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,