Thursday, July 24, 2008

Exploration on Hold...

I feel so irresponsible. I thought I was clear in my post that my doctor was attentive, and knowledgeable. I like that I have seen my scan, and have a baseline understanding of what I was looking at.

Me: Uh, doctor, what is that?
Doctor: That is your brain.
Me: Great!

With a diagnosis of slit ventricle syndrome, I have to say I am reading articles, and wondering if this could have anything to do with my problems. I have to take it all a day at a time, and be grateful we have a scan that shows conclusively that for now no surgery is necessary. (I will ask my doctor if she agrees with my interpretation of her remarks). slit ventricle syndrome discussed here.

I have suggested, but never meant to imply that surgery was in the offing for me. Snipping for answers is a scary proposition, especially when my general health does not seem to be in a decline. So, I have to say that I am not going into surgery!

My coworker sent mer a picture of a trephaned skull with a piece of tape below it indicating that the skull was mine. Cute. I write about this just to get warmed up to the idea should it all come to that. I am not in a position to take on exploratory surgery and hospital stays. For now, my most trusted advisors and I are in agreement. I have to make arrangement for m ore medical coverage if I want to explore this more.

I thank all the visitors here for the wonderful blessings and greetings.

But, one of my other coworkers did say that we could get a clamp, and another pressure valve, and do the procedure ourselves. I was impressed. He came up with the exact solution, as my doctor.

All we need is a couple days off, some dry erase markers, a good straight razor, a can of shaving cream, and the clamps to attach to my shunt. I do thank one medical student in Ireland for sharing with me the excitement involved in doing brain surgery through the mouth. God bless you, but I am partial- in this day and age of body piercing and tattoos- that I would have the opportunity to experience the bone drill experience one more time! Let us sit back and wait.

If ever there is a time to lighten up, it is now. I trust my advisors. I will proceed as we come to a conclusion.

As for Bahasa Indonesia/Melayu instruction, I have found innumerable resources, including online dictionary which I downloaded for free, and free language instruction podcasts which I listen to regularly.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

The Issue of My Journalistic Integrity

Years ago, I owned a toy robot called 2-XL , and this robot was designed to ask questions, and help me stay creative while learning fun facts. In the decade in which I received this toy, I eventually learned that my 2-XL was only a robot shaped 8-track tape player. I loved the tapes. I loved answering the questions, while inspired by the interactive nature of this exciting toy.

The eight track tape design was ideal for the robot's quiz model, because in order to answer a question, you pressed one of four buttons. The track you selected would make it possible to know whether the answer you selected was right or wrong. But, around thirty years later, I can still remember some facts I learned listening to that funny robot's voice, entertained as I was keeping my mind active.

One fact is that I remembered was that almost a year before I was born, Apollo 11 astronauts landed on the surface of the moon, making them the first men to ever walk on the surface of the moon. It was when I was playing with my 2-XL, I learned that the date of this occurrence was July 20, 1969. I am thinking about this, in part, because today is the thirty ninth anniversary of the landing. Also, being a regular user of the Internet, I was relaying a story I received in the email years ago, and was tickled by the humour in it. I relayed the story to a person I know just this evening. I will show a variation of the story here:

It seems when Neil Armstrong walked on the moon, he not only gave his famous "One Step for Man", etc. statement, but followed it by several remarks. It ended with "Good luck, Mr. Gorsky." Over the years many people have questioned him as to what the "Mr. Gorsky" statement meant.

Two weeks ago, while answering questions following a speech, he finally responded, since Mr. Gorsky had finally died and so Armstrong felt he could answer. When he was a kid, he was playing ball. His brother hit a fly which landed in front of the Gorsky's bedroom window. As he leaned down to pick it up, he heard Mrs. Gorsky shouting at Mr. Gorsky:

"Sex you want? You'll get sex when the kid next door walks on the moon!"

(I edited the story to make it more acceptable for my blog. I hope no one minds...)

Well, sadly, as I am compulsive in passing along unverified stories, I am becoming compulsive in checking popular tales on News to me, and maybe to no one else, the story is a populkar one, but is a fake. The story as told is quite funny, but never happened. Check here, and decide for yourself. Link: .

I have not received my next tests, and my next adventure into the hands of a competent neurologist have yet to happen. My neuro-surgeon said we are not ready to cut into my skull. We shall see if there is more top discover in the next chapter of this adventure. Thank you, everyone, for your comments on this. I will save the drill bit if they decide to crack open my skull again. I guess that is all for now.

Thank you for reading.

I am pondering the observation of my doctor who stated that the ventricles in my brain are virtually non-existent I am reading on this and there does not seem to be answers until they test me more... Stay tuned

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

It is Just Extra Plumbing

I remember being twenty years old, and visited the car mechanics to have a brake job done. In that time I dropped off my car, and had already settled in my mind what was wrong with my car. I knew how much I should pay for the repair, and startled at the conversation I had with the man in the office, white shirt and tie, with a mess of keys hanging from his belt. He looked down a lot, spoke fast, and wanted me to prepare for anything.

He told me as they test parts of my car's braking system, all manner of things could give out....” It could be the , um, the master cylinder.” When I came back, hours later, my simple brake job had jumped up three hundred dollars, and I felt cheated.

One thing I know: cars seem unreliable. I know also that as long as I remain unclear about the operation of my car, the people called upon to repair them would leave me feeling paranoid...

My journey continues. I went to see my neurosurgeon today.

The frustration I based on an expectation. I face my culpability here. Humans have expectations. Borne of the earth, we learn to build, share, love, thrill, and anticipate. I believe that my nature can be found in this. So, though I admit my guilt, I do not feel guilty.

My expectations involve anticipating delays. I expected no answers. I expected that delving into this investigation I would doom myself to a hell of empty answers, years of doctor visits, and limited therapies. I working limited hours at a limited wage in northern California. It is a challenge to want to address this. I would love a broken bone, a breathing problem, anaphylactic shock, scaling skin, or muscle spasms. I want anything where the problem is obvious, the cause is obvious, and the path of discovery is clear cut.

I am not dying here. Some degree of my quality of life is affected, but the fact is I do not know what the price tag is on the adventure ahead. The price tag is the sum of the money spent, the time spent, the comfort lost as it is all weighed against the possibility of improvement or full recovery. I am holding off on any such analysis, as I take the advice of people close to me in my life.

The neurosurgeon came in to see me, and she started asking me lots of questions. She did not think my problems minor, and listened carefully to all my concerns. It is amazing how familiarity bred in my heart a calm that comes from knowing the basis of my doctor's history and practice. I calmed down once I learned she trained at Stanford. I learned that she practiced in San Jose. I learned that she knows, and has worked with every neurosurgeon that has treated me since 1970.

As a part of the education process, I have shared a bit about what hydrocephalus is, and what problems have manifest in the management of my shunt in the past fifteen years. She showed me something that astounded me. In my years since my last shunt revision, my great fear had always been that it would break, and I would experience the inter cranial pressure that forced me into the emergency room over thirteen years ago. She showed me how when she applied pressure to my valve, it stayed depressed, and opened slowly.

She told me that the spaces in my brain, my ventricles, are not only not dilated, but are in fact non-existent. My shunt could drain too well, and could create less pressure than I might need in my head.

She told me calmly that I will see a neurologist first, and have some tests done before she would do the exams she would consider.... No trephaning for dollars today. She said her next investigation will come with adjusting my shunt, and that would involve surgery. From here I will have to keep you posted...

Thank you for reading.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

As For the Issue of Money

I sit in the Redding library, and have for the first time ever, completed an application to get online use of PayPal services. I think my being goaded into the tech world is wild, and I have endured a certain level of criticism. In my blogging, I accept that twenty-three year olds across the globe effectively use html, and accomplish alliances with those that do; they create blogs with stylish layout, multiple links, and copious amounts of pictures to entice readership.

I want to say I dedicate myself to my tech minimalist lifestyle, though the demands of my own communications quickly force me to advance my own techie knowledge to accelerate my own ability to share information, quickly, and cheaply across the globe, with a minimum of effort on my part.

I have had friends who shared with me that as a man who looks for more money, more resources, I should consider getting online sponsorship for my blog. Sponsorship in blogging is an intersting concept, and I have sat watching public television, wondering : what would sponsorship do to me, and to my website. Can I be assured that the friendships I make, the information I share, maintain its integrity when I look to outside sponsorship in my blogging?

So, I had to reach here to some serious reflection on the world of sponsorship, and I look to Mike Myers, who here, in this clip expounds on the challenges inherent in "selling out."

Regarding the day of my birthday. I embroiled myself in a wonderful conversation with a friend online, thrilled to enjoy Redding when the smoke in the air seemed lighter than usual.

I chatted in a Redding coffee house with my bahasa instructor. I felt sad as to the fact that my conversation came to an abrupt end when she disappeared into a deep sleep without telling me. This tells me much about my ability to maintain a person's interest. Sad, having no idea what happened, I disappeared into a Japanese restaurant to eat my sorrows away.

Caveat emptor. Beware any Japanese restaurant that would give you a fortune cookie. I finished my bento box. I opened up my fortune cookie, and read the little paper inside. It read : For better luck, you have to wait till spring. Anyone getting superstitious today?

Terima kasih, Salamat kaayo, Gracias, Gracie, Danke.
Thank you for reading my blog today

Monday, July 7, 2008

Maybe I know where Hamlet went Wrong...

That depends on what your definition of the word is is. -President Bill Clinton

To be or not to be, that is the question. -William Shakespeare

To be conscious that you are ignorant is a great step to knowledge. -Benjamin Disraeli

I wake up everyday, and sense how much of my life is challenged in a way by the declarations I have made, the opinions I hold, the feelings I have about people; as well, I believe I can manage my world better by classifying, directing, and making new boxes, or models of things. This idea comes forth in my heart as I believe a clarity can come in my heart with one single linguistic twist.

People I love, people I respect, counselors, former lovers, friends, and authors long dead have impressed upon me the value of language in my life, and the way language shapes my world view. With words, I can build myself and my world view to where nothing can stop me from achieving my goals. With words, I can limit my capacity for growth, change, wonderment, excitement.

With the acknowledgment that linguistics is just another branch of psychology, the view held by Noam Chomsky, I have to understand that language has the ability to enlarge my world, or the world to tear it apart. When I take ideas in my brain, and place them on paper, speak them out loud, or blog them to this great world of ours, I create the terms of my own development. I have read enough, seen enough, and experienced so much in my own life to know the truth of this.

One basic idea in English class was the differentiation between these verbs that show action, and these verbs which show being. The verbs that show being interest me, because these verbs create an almost mathematical relationship between the subject, and the predicate. The main idea, one I have retained since childhood, involves pronouns. One class of pronouns, called the nominative case pronouns, works on the idea that the originator of the idea, holds a basic knowledge of the nature of the subject. Pronouns indicated in the use of the “to be” verbs often are referred to as nominative case pronouns. Nominative means that the pronouns name the subject, declare the subject, or perhaps even define the subject.
Yes. I said the verbs declaring being interest me. I feel excitement while thinking about them. The possibilities that culminate in the belly of these seemingly minor declarations seed my mind with a desire to wrest control over my destiny. These declarations make it possible to codify humanity, exert an almost Godlike grip on all the aspects of my life. I can decide the nature of weather, the character of people, the nature of all aspects of behaviour, and taste the satisfaction of sharing my judgments with the world.

The other class of pronouns discussed involved objectification. For anyone who has said “I do not want to be objectified” I would say that this is actually a more stable language structure. I can have moments of shakiness, thinking my grasp on the world may actually rest on these declarations, that my indiscriminate use of the “to be” verbs could actually undo the tapestry of life I work so hard to create. I think the excitement comes in knowing many people have seen the value in this, and have evoked the movement that can bring greater happiness, fulfillment to our lives.

What is this idea? (Did I just say that?)

E-Prime started in the mind of a man named Alfred Korzybski in the 1930's, and has built up a following ever since. E-Prime is based on the idea that our happiness, our effectiveness, our functionality as a society, is based on learning to abolish our use of the “to be” verbs.

I know few people that have listened to Neil Diamond belt out the song “I Am, I said” without feeling at least a pinch of anxiety. The song is careless and filled with treachery. I support the looking at E-Prime as a way of reworking language, a way of reworking my life view. It may seem frivolous, but I think of this as a game, one in which I get to rethink how I phrase things. Just the simple question "how are you?" is a loaded weapon, an enticement into a subtle trap. You answer with a declaration of "I am ..." and you are off to the races. I am here to liberate you, to share with you the joys I have found.

My room mate studies language systems, sensory modalities, submodalities, and how so much of our world can be shaped by language systems. In Neuro-Linguistic Programming we see how impoverished language models limit existence. Possibilities open up to people who speak consciously.

I want to dream bigger dreams, a live a bigger life. I opened this blog in December quoting Ken Kesey about chasing mystery in life. He said that those who chase life's answers lose out. I believe maybe I can learn from that. I will continue to chase the mystery in my life.

Thank you for reading.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Kado Untuk Keith..... Realized (What is Kopi Luwak?)

"Quality is like buying oats. If you want good, clean oats, you have to pay a fair price. If you are happy with oats that have already been through the horse , well, those are a little cheaper."

-found on a plaque in the House of Pizza, downtown San Jose

I was thinking how wonderful it is to have a birthday, and to know I am alive one more year... No... not my birthday, yet. I was also reading about Mary Wollstonecraft, and Rosalind Franklin two heroic and gifted women both dead prior to their thirty-ninth birthday.

I posted my birthday present, en route and tracked online so I knew daily where this package was from the day that picture was taken.

I already spoke of my impatience with not knowing. I listened as I was told that this box was in Asia, when it was in Anchorage, Alaska, and wshen I was told this package-sent by Federal Express- had arrived in Redding, California.

Well, as I have been indulged with encouragement from my new friends and readers in Malaysia, Indonesia, and Singapore, I am thrilled to continue my study of the Malay language. With regular lessons, my knowledge of Bahasa Malayu and Bahasa Indonesia is growing fast.

Minuman hangat:

I have a most delicious assortment of beverages, prepared hot, enjoy the spiciness of ginger, crystallized sugar, and dutch processed coklat(or chocolate).

Chewy ginger candies, spicy, and quite addictive. I have a coworker that told me how to prepare my own ginger candy, a process of simmering pieces of ginger root in water mixed with equal amounts of sugar and water.

I think having the candies given to me is easier. Perhaps that is why I have not furthered this investigation.

And I enjoyed my birthday card, my heavy assortment of beverages, my candies, a tshirt, and a gorgeous map of the Indonesian archipelago, my roommate received from his mother a movie, The Bucket List, and played it.

(I will not want to suggest in my package I received kopi luwak kopi luwak , for I do not have a discerning palate capable of appreciating the subtilties of coffee that markets internationally for fifty USD for three ounces of coffee beans)

It was while watching the movie, that I heard Jack Nicholson refer to his beverage as Kopi Luwak from Sumatra. He holds a demitasse cup before him as he sips from the most expensive coffee in the world. I scrambled through my birthday present, and unfolded a map of the Indonesian Archipelago. I looked at the long island of Sumatra and knew that somewhere in that island is where the coffee gets its unique harvesting due to the lives of a small creature.

The Asian palm civet(Paradoxurus hermaphroditus),a small animal the size of a house cat, is what makes Kopi Luwak the highly sought delicacy that it is.

These creatures indigenous to the Philippines, Indonesia, and parts of Malaysia love coffee beans . They eat them, and they do not digest them well. After they pass from the small toddy cat's bowels, they are collected off the ground in these villages. From the digestive tracts of these small mammals, kopi luwak is marketed as green coffee beans at an amazing price of fifty USD for three ounces.

I can proclaim my desire for perfect coffee, complain about the travesties done that cheapen the value of good coffee, but in the end, I just do not have the discernment necessary to appreciate the value of a coffee cured in the intestine of a toddy cat. I suppose I will remain partial to whatever Safeway is selling at six dollars for the thirty-three ounce cannister.

As for the spicy ginger treats I have received, they delight me immensely.

Thank you for reading.