Friday, June 27, 2008

it is done. kinda.

soooooo. chemo's over. hip hip. seem to be on the upward swing healthwise too. that's nice. so i guess now we just move on as if nothing ever happened. yes. quite. current plans are to have new pet scans in late september, so essentially there's not a lot of factors actively keeping me in this city. i'm thinking the very end of july for my departure. there's a room and a job still waiting for me in melbourne, so you know, maybe we can forget the last 7 months actually happened? that would be nice. probably tough though.

there's a lot of uncertainty still hanging in the air with regards to future treatment (if necessary), future surgery (if necessary) and future maintenance regimes (if necessary. probably necessary. also experimental). keeping a reasonably large, and fairly aggressive tumour inside your body is a fairly sub-optimal outcome, irrespective of its apparently comprehensive response to treatment. which obviously helps, but it's hard to know exactly how the next five years are going to play out. from all reports a relocation to melbourne is a handy move, because it harbours the peter maccallum institute - reputedly australia's premier cancer research facility. and the peter mac institute has on staff a man named david thomas, who is apparently australia's premier sarcoma specialist. and that means potential clinical trials. and clinical trials could mean better non-surgical options. which would be nice. then again, wilhelm could simply remain forever dormant and i could emerge from this entire episode with little more to show for it then some light nerve damage, a bit of radiotherapy related muscle scarring, and a rather irritating inability to lie on my right side without putting my arm to sleep. actually, that last one is a little frustrating. but you know what? if that's it, i think i can deal.

so, anyway. next friday i've booked myself in to have the (now relabeled) cyst on my vocal cords removed. as my first surgical procedure in 8 odd years, i'm rather excited. the procedure itself takes around twenty minutes, so i still don't need to spend a night in hospital, but the operation will leave me unable to speak for five days. well, not unable to speak so much as not allowed to speak. how very zen. zen by force. as all zen should be.


1. napping: as a self-proclaimed 'nap ninja', this handy guide filled me with sweet, slothful vindication. when i am king we shall all take siestas.

2. the edward gorey alphabet: a rather grim take on the children's alphabet, courtesy of the ever-macabre, now dead (and therefore more macabre?) edward gorey. so cool.

3. bubble wrap: this should ease the anger

4. cuteness OVERLOAD: two videos that verge on the sickening, but still remain absolutely, incontestably adorable. sooooooo lovely. these will make your day appreciably better.

sesame street abcs

boy chased by horde of puppies

5. j.k. rowling on failure and imagination: harvard got j.k. rowling to deliver their commencement address this year. the result is a beautiful set of musings on the necessity of failure, as lensed through her own personal catastrophes.

I am not dull enough to suppose that because you are young, gifted and well-educated, you have never known hardship or heartbreak. Talent and intelligence never yet inoculated anyone against the caprice of the Fates, and I do not for a moment suppose that everyone here has enjoyed an existence of unruffled privilege and contentment.

However, the fact that you are graduating from Harvard suggests that you are not very well-acquainted with failure. You might be driven by a fear of failure quite as much as a desire for success. Indeed, your conception of failure might not be too far from the average person’s idea of success, so high have you already flown academically.

this idea of a beneficial failure is one that i hadn't necessarily canvassed all that closely until recently, but as with so many points of interest it now seems to be cropping up everywhere. also worth checking out is this transcript of a recent episode of radio national's 'ockham's razor', featuring mark dodgson of the centre for technology and innovation in queensland talking about the links between failure and discovery.

Successful individuals and firms fail all the time. As Humphry Davy, the famous 18th century chemist, inventor and President of the Royal Society said, 'The most important of my discoveries has been suggested to me by my failures'. And as Henry Ford put it, 'Failure is only the opportunity to begin again more intelligently'.

I want to argue that failure doesn't get the credit it deserves. If you want to understand success, you must appreciate the ubiquity of failure, and if you're not regularly failing, you're not trying hard enough.

and now to summarise in audience friendly format via a slightly pat 1 minute video on famous american failures:


6. requiem for a day off: this is quite close to the coolest thing i have ever seen. and i know i say that pretty much every blog post, but this time i mean it. if someone can dazzle me with a better movie mash-up, i'll be impressed.

Monday, June 16, 2008

i am older

if my parents had really wanted me to stay on with christianity, they would have given me this colouring in book.


what an oddly non-momentous birthday. not that i'm offended by 23 per se, but i think circumstance has conspired to render the day itself somewhat of a non-event. i had dinner with the family on friday, my presents were sorted weeks ago and as far as celebrations go, i'm holding off for a while so that i can mash it in with leaving perth and finishing chemo. which, taken together, probably demand at least one drink. possibly more. speaking of which, last chemo is on wednesday. what an odd thought. just as i was warming up into my role as the semi-inspirational social invalid too. putting the can back into 'cancer'. and such and such. i take no responsibility for the 'cer' part though.


1. photobombers: the people who treat it as their god-given duty to insert themselves into the background of photo opportunities. is it wrong that i quite enjoy doing this? the last two are the best.

2. bert and ernie learn the drums: i love this. so much. and i don't know why. seriously, the more you watch it, the better it gets.

3. david byrne, dizzee rascal and fatboy slim filmclip: my little contribution to viral video campaigns. still, cute concept piece, even if the song itself is pretty functional.

4. new york times double dose:

first up, an awesome piece about practical ways of cutting down your meat intake. times like this i always remember the (possibly valid) statistic about the average Western adult having 5 kilos of semi-digested meat lining their digestive tracts at all times. tasty. i think i may go veg again when i return to melbourne.

second, a profile on the fifth avenue apartment whose architect transformed it into a full blown mystery house, replete with complex ciphers, hidden panels and accompanying book. when i have kids i'm so putting secret rooms in my house for them to discover as they grow up... although i can't help but feel the whole fritzl incident may have tarnished the 'secret rooms' concept somewhat.

5. manic cat: awwww, he just wants a family to love him. there is something glorious about the timing in this video.

6. is google making us stupid?: and now that you've perused my scattershot meanderings, here's an exceptionally well-written article exploring the ways in which the internet is beginning to change the way our brains operate. it really makes me want to start reading again...

Monday, June 9, 2008

the time we have spent

i've been back in perth for six and a half months. what an insane thought. enough time to cycle through two seasons, a relationship, new friendships, old friendships and an assortment of events and passions. as well as 4 months of chemo and 6 weeks of radiotherapy. time flies when you're having fun. and now all of a sudden the prospect of a return to melbourne, and a return to the rhythms and patterns of real life loom enticingly in the middle distance. second last chemo on wednesday, the final one the week after.

i was quite enjoying to solidity of my life before i left melbourne last november; my friends were plentiful, uni was done, summer was encroaching, and for the first time since 2005 i was spending more than 4 months in the one place. and then another kink in the traveller's lifestyle, although more pseudo-homecoming than further travel. i still haven't unpacked some of the boxes that came back with me. given the running of time, their chances of being unpacked look slim. more tape and back on the plane, good sir.

it gives everything an odd sheen, transience. that constant process of negotiation as to how far you embed yourself in the world around you. i've had fun, certainly (what an odd thing to say), but i think there's always been a sliver of my mind keeping me aloof. possibly moreso than normal. i think for my own benefit as much as anything; it helps to keep this as a minor inconvenience, a trifling incident in an increasingly ascendant life.

i hope i haven't inadvertently spurned any of you in the process.


1. this video is wonderful for reasons to numerous to mention. well, one reason really.

2. the 50 best pun store names: personally, i think number 50 is the best. well, that and 'william the concreter' - something about the historical references...

3. bankrupt offices: from phillip toledano, the photographer who brought you phone sex - the book, comes another gorgeous investigation of the dimly lit areas of our society. this time he surveys the remains of bankrupt offices. haunting and evocative.

4. italian spiderman. speaks for itself really.

5. musical-visual intelligence test: no, i didn't realise there was such a thing either. apparently i'm rather good at it though.

6. the internet ruins humour: a great (and thankfully quite funny) piece on something awful about the propagation of internet memes and the destruction of humour.

7. visuwords: this is pretty awesome. visuwords is a graphic dictionary/thesaurus working off princeton's 'wordnet'. type in a word and then watch the system generate all it's associates and derivatives with the appropriate relationship to the central concept marked by colours and shapes. makes more sense when you're there.

and done.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

my legs have lost quite a lot of their hair

sometimes i hold off posting because i have so little to report. not this time.

although my legs have picked up some distinctly hairless patches. they are smooth and itchy.



1. sensible units: type in a measurement and have it converted into real world equivalents. i weigh as much as 12 cats. here's the proof.

2. DIY album:

1 - Go to
The first random Wikipedia article you get is the name of your band.

2 - Go to Random quotations:
The last four words of the very last quote of the page is the title of your first album.

If you want to do this again, you’ll hit refresh to generate new quotes, because clicking the quotes link again will just give you the same quotes over and over again.

3 - Go to flickr’s “explore the last seven days”
Third picture, no matter what it is, will be your album cover.

Put it all together, that’s your debut album.

well i lucked out. i present to you:

'Mine Are Still Greater', the debut album by the unfortunately monikered I Could Sing of Your Love Forever (or ICSYLF to their fans)

i presume it's meant to be inspirational. or christian. or both.

3. dark energy destroys physics: well, that may be overstating things, but still, the ny times has just published a very interesting (and accessible) piece on the search for the mysterious mass/energy presence which accounts for almost 80% of the universe yet cannot be detected or accounted for under any of the models currently available to science. weird.

4. mister nice hands: oh good, i'm 5 again.

5. free idea factory: a bunch of artistic types put up all their excess ideas for free public consumption and adoption. it would be nice to see them opening the channels of submission a little more, but still it's a cool little concept.

6. japanese video trilogy: the best thing about the japanese is the way in which you can never really be entirely sure whether any particular piece of television is intended as parody or not. try your hand at these.

a) card crusher

b) learn english while exercising

c) inochi

in case you're wondering, the answers are: a) serious; b) serious; and c) i have no fucking idea, oh jesus what in god's name is happening, i want it to stop, why won't it stop

japan. interesting place.