cancer

i watched charlie rose last night, who did a special inspired by the fortune magazine issue titled “why we’re losing the war on cancer (and how to win it)”. i’ve had the magazine sitting around for the last week or so (got the subscription by trading miles) and i intend to read it on the way into the city.
it was an interesting panel. the head of memorial sloan kettering, and the head of the national cancer institute on the side of the cancer treatment establishment. clifton leaf, author of the fortune article and andy grove, chairman of intel. both men are cancer survivors.
andy grove spoke very passionately about the need to dismantle the established framework for fighting cancer, and rebuild it with a completely new structure. with an emphasis on early detection and prevention, rather than palliative care directed at measurable goals such as shrinking the size of tumors in end-stage patients. the establishment doctors were very uncomfortable and defensive.
my father died of colon cancer. had his condition been discovered a year earlier, there is a very high likelihood that he would still be alive. yet the vast majority of resources in cancer research are directed at caring for people who are dying anyhow. to this day i question the value of this pursuit, because the buying of time in cancer patients, with few exceptions, involves the three fairly barbaric treatments that have been used for decades: slash, burn, and poison. (scalpel, radiation, chemotherapy).
prevention is a tricky one. tobacco is the most widely known carcinogen, yet i have many friends, and a brother, who continue to disregard the direct connection between this activity and one of the most excruciatingly painful and debilitating forms of disease and death. even i make a calculation of risk before sneaking a smoke, and then dismiss it as statistically insignificant. booze moved quietly onto the list of known carcinogens several years ago, yet you don’t really think of it when you enjoy your cocktail. yet if we see a pregnant woman with a “strong” island ice tea, our reaction is one of horror and alarm. hmmmm.
early detection and biomarkers are where resources need to be funneled. andy grove is right. but the money seems to go towards developing expensive, last-ditch treatments for desperate, dying people willing to spend any amount of money to stay alive.
ok, now i have to go to work.

delusion

occasionally one must delude oneself that they will meet someone in the near future. this is the only way that a single bachelor can be prodded off his ass to clean his apartment.

love

i was reading this article that bret sent me this morning, and there was a link to jennifer charles’ band elysian fields in the story. i was reminded that she is my current favorite female vocalist. i saw her singing in lovage, with dan the automator and mike patton, at slim’s a few years ago.
if you’re going to listen to this siren, lash yourself to the mast.

playing around

the piano and the guitar were competing for my attention all night. i ended up putting some new beauty marks on the sg. not out of frustration, not like drunken target practice with the bb gun, just more like carelessness.
i was loving both of them. the piano was feeling slightly sad, brooding pseudo-intellectual barfly, and the guitar just felt like rocking. i capped the night by playing through some tom waits on the kurz. i miss my steinway upright. i miss having people gather around the piano at four in the morning right before passing out, and singing some song together that makes everyone feel like you’ve just shared a lifetime. i’m not even bothering to try to describe this longing accurately, because i can’t….it’s a distillation of countless nights spent playing the piano in some living room, usually with two or three crowded onto the bench, sharing an experience that feels so intimate and authentic, there is no way that even a cynical bastard like myself could argue a shadow of doubt into it. fuck. i miss times like that.

the point of confusion

today was yet another great day on the water. tiffany bozic and alberto hernandez joined me cruising around angel island, up raccoon strait, and then back in through the center of the bay. i’m pretty sure that i have found, not the sea of confusion, but rather the point of confusion, and it lies to windward of angel island. the wind and waves of the pacific ocean come whipping through the golden gate, and the first obstacle they hit is angel island. even on a perfect day like today, the boate becomes very disoriented in that rare bit of water, where the ocean always seems to roil like thousands of large fish are rising to feed, and the wind shifts in the most unpredictable ways.
after pulling into the marina right at sunset, we went to a barbecue over at tiffany’s friend manny’s place. he makes surfboards, as in, really amazingly cool ones. alberto and tiffany took some cool photos.
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public transpo

ok this guy’s comment pretty much sums up my position on cars/public transpo in the bay area. the truck has been rather well-behaved lately, it must have sensed my displeasure with it….that’s how it has remained in the family since 1973. citroens, mercedes, bmws, volkswagens, yellowstone touring busses, citroen/maseratis, even dkws have come and gone in that time, to say nothing of the motorcycles…..but the toyota hilux has true longevity, not only in a mechanical sense, but a spiritual one as well. (until it starts fucking up again, at which point i will be talking about taking it to the scrapyard).

tropical winds

i don’t know to what we owe this unbelievably good weather. if this is evidence of global climate change, then i am going to buy an s.u.v. and do my part to keep days like this coming. today was just like yesterday, except there was an excellent breeze. alberto and kin were along, and we got a bit of a late start, but then tacked our way out to alcatraz and then back. i held a perfect wing-on-wing (main to port, jib to starboard), all the way back to the marina, and we flew. alberto brought his pouch of gauloises, a tobacco for which i have a certain weakness, so i rolled a couple and enjoyed them. we got back into the marina around 6:30 and headed over to the mallardacus (club mallard) for a relaxing cocktail on the upper polynesian deck afterwards. today was, i believe, the best sailing weather i have experienced yet.
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embarking at 12:30

hopefully the wind picks up this afternoon….but with this weather, who cares. kin convinced his boss of the merits of a weekday afternoon sail. alberto was just going to spend the afternoon drooling on his new g5, figuring out what to do with that dual processor horsepower. me? i’m taking along the general corporation law division of the california code, and i.r.s. instructions for form 2553. just in case i feel guilty. maybe i’ll take a nap and tuck it under my head for a little osmotic research……

t rex

i’ve got the headphones on and t-rex cranked. i think phil summed it up best when he and i were sitting here last night and “the slider” came on: “what a fuckin rock star” that’s about the size of it. mark bolan. pure rock. read the lyrics. they don’t mean a damned thing. and you listen to it, and it doesn’t make a difference. you still buy into it. unlike say, lenny kravitz. i’ll listen to his stuff, and most of the time i can just go with it, but sometimes he’ll sing a couplet like “we’ve got to love….and rub-a-dub”, and it’ll stop me in my tracks (somebody left a kravitz cd in the office the other day, and i popped it in my walkman). it’s like you get into a groove, yer going with the whole sexy vibe of a burning rock riff, flipping yer feather boa back over your shoulder as you adjust your top hat and bug-eyed shades, you’re almost about to climax, and then lenny sings that line. riffus interruptus. there are about 4 such lines in mama said, while i’m singling out lenny.

but not marc bolan. he sings about chicks in new york carrying frogs, and i just think….well, i don’t think. that’s the point. if you must sing really stupid lyrics, either sing them unintelligibly, or die before i get around to reading the lyric sheet. because the words of the dying are always looked on as truth. if cobain were still around, he’d probably be as damaged and lame and swollen-headed as courtney love. marc bolan would be hanging out with gary glitter in some brit prison.

ok i am officially rambling. i should be doing something other than just sweating and typing. and appreciating pure rock stars.

opening day

jud and sam joined steen and i out on the bay for the official opening day of the sailing season. we missed the parade of boats over near the city, because the wind was calm and the weather hot. in other words, it was the perfect day to cruise around with absolutely no agenda or destination. (i am not peppering this entry with salty languge, i shall leave that to steen over on the boate…) around two in the afternoon, i went below and configured the cushions into the double berth, and took one of the sweetest two hour naps i have ever had. normally i cannot nap in the afternoon, but the heat and the gentle motion of the boate underway were the ideal conditions for lulling me into one. i am going out tomorrow and tuesday as well, if i can find people without day jobs to go with me. it’s supposed to be in the nineties both days.
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