Thursday, September 30, 2010

Wow where did the week go to?

I have been setting a blistering pace this week but getting to bed in the wee hours of the morning will take their toll if I keep that up. The trouble is once I get "into" something I have to keep at it. Today I did 10 hours straight on our business architecture and set-up. Additionally I had a number of conversations about our business cards which look great, our Letterhead which looks a lot whiter than I thought it would :-) and other design stuff.

Tomorrow I have the dubious pleasure of visiting the Dentist. My least favourite job of all time and yet, you know, I reckon that it is nothing much after what I've been through these past 4 1/4 years. I mean its not as if he is about to ram something up my nether regions - well I hope not. I've specified a check up as after 4 1/4 years we need to catch up on my medication and my situation and then he needs to see the recent damage. It isn't going to be a one off visit and will need some planning I guess. Anyway - will see what he recommends and then have to go and get some cash moved to pay for it all I guess :-)

I also realised that I wrote the Web Site specification last night too. Blimey I've been busy. We have now got to that point where almost everything is coming together. The research is mainly done, deliverables from 3rd parties are due this next week or so and the planning and background work has been worth it as we can get a proper move on towards finalising business plans and financial forecasts. All exciting stuff but tempered with caution with some of the rumblings on the economy... Let's hope that it isn't as bad as some say it is.

Well I had better finish off this, convert some more books for my Kindle - which surprises every day - I had a newspaper delivered on it this morning. As I turned it on, so the Newspaper arrived ready for me to read over my morning coffee. How cool is that?

Better steer clear of Garlic and Onions - I don't want to give the Dentist a hard time - hopefully he won't give me one then :-)

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Kindle Day

My Kindle arrived around 9 am which was great as I could get it booted up and charged, connected to my WiFi and downloading my first batch of books. I've been busy for days converting my existing books so they can go on and that was pretty painless.

The Kindle itself is great, brilliant technology and it sure helps not being backlit and makes it easy on my eyes. I'm just having it read to me whilst I do this - neat.

The business will take a big step forward tomorrow as we should settle the Logo and fonts to be used. Next week we hope that we will actually get to the delivery of the 60 second drill from our sales and marketing guy. He said it was hard - blimey - I could have told him that - I've been at it for 18 months or more :-) and 3 or 4 months now full time.

well this time I need to get to bed - leaving the converter running on a 50Mb conversion job. Some of my books are that large and a couple of thousand pages - it takes a fair amount of processing power to convert them.

Feeling a little jaded after hitting the exercise bike today and recording what for me are very low blood pressure readings. I did feel somewhat light headed as I finished and at 105 over 70 I was not surprised. I've started to lose weight again, just a pound down this week but my trousers are falling off my waist and I've noticed that some of the bulk around waist and neck have gone. I'm hoping to get back to a more regular regime but working the hours I do I am sure I am burning up calories just doing that.

To Tweet or to Twitter or whatever

Well I signed up for a Twitter Account today - mainly for the new business but suddenly got engrossed in the buzz that is Twitter. The business logos were flying around everywhere today and it got really amazing as we got more excited and animated about our logo, our mission statement and all that. Added to that - I managed to finish off 5 years accounts all in one day, get everything filed and sorted and lord knows, I can get that lot verified and sorted out. Here's the rub - I should have done them in June 2006 to start with which was just before I got diagnosed with "Der Big C". That can now be sorted - I knew I'd kept the record properly and once I sorted the paperwork out, verified it was correct and filled in the right columns the whole thing just clicked into place (balance sheets do just what the name suggests). I then ran that on and 5 years accounts were sorted.

I was frightened to hear how much unemployment is out there at the moment. A number of my friends are close to closing their businesses as a direct result of the spending freeze by the new Government. This moratorium is killing all the little businesses that actually prop up the bigger companies and it is really hitting home. Schools and Hospitals that were planned are stopped, no money for them. The arguments about the contracts etc., will go on for years but an industry looks to be lying in ruins from what I heard tonight. The trouble is, it is the people who voted for this Government that appear to have taken a pounding. I hope it isn't as bad as it was painted tonight but my friend, who I've know for getting on 37 years or so now is in trouble as well as his market has faded away. It is all the more worrying as he is one of the top in his field. Also saw my other friend who is hoping that his training next week leads to some decent employment. It appears to me to be the experienced people who are now deemed too old and to expensive are getting hit. I don't want to go there with that argument here but it is a spreadsheet manager's decision. I used to surround myself with older more experienced people because they'd protect me and give me sound advice and I'd get more out of them for less effort and I'd get less trouble on my jobs with an old hand doing it.

I'm glad I am out of that construction area business and in the IT world. Even that is seeing a change in dynamics but, I like to think that an old dog, such as I, can chart a way through all of that.

Do you know what? I feel like I am really getting back to my fit and healthy self at last. Having worked through those accounts and been quite busy with the other business stuff, I felt really good and massively confident and suddenly back on my game. I began to believe in myself again today.

Tomorrow is special (oooooppppps - later today it is late again!) as I get my hands on my Kindle from Amazon - I am really quite excited about the prospect as at last I will have something designed to let me read these technical books and journals without being connected to my laptop which being back lit and wide screen really isn't conducive to achieving that.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Long Post

Yesterday's was a long post - just a load of ramblings but it was a bit of a mind dump and probably needed to get it out of my head and onto - well - paper - albeit electronic paper.

Speaking of electronic paper I finally got my despatch notice for my Kindle which should be with me on Tuesday. Here's hoping that it actually does. It's an e-reading device and I am hoping that it is going to help me to read some of my existing ebooks - it is meant to be easier on the eye as it uses a display called e-ink which is completely different to backlit displays. It can be read out in the open. All of my technical books may then at last be viewable to me and easy on my eyes.

I've been quite good today and although I've been on my PC I have steered clear of work itself.

I have been looking at some of the accounts I need to get settled in the next few weeks. I'm pretty pleased that they are in good order but I need a little longer to sort them out for auditing. Hopefully they will come together as good as they look now. I've kept the records really well but it is ensuring that the balance sheets actually show the right figures when I bring them in.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

The biggest change

Is that what's important to me these days isn't important to my friends and family. Not that it should be of course, everyone has their life to live. I'm still not quite up to the bit where I want to do the world cruise or do some outrageous things. What will be will be and in the interim I am pursing my particular dream and seeing if this project will deliver a living for say the next 5 years which will kind of do me. If I can turn a few bucks, sick some of that away I have plenty of things Ii want to do and that will keep me amused for quite a while I hope - if I'm spared that time of course.

Now this all sounds a bit strange you may say? I was out with Flocky for a mid day curry - we were the only ones in the restaurant and the food was excellent and the service was of course exemplary. Now we are both, more or less, in the situation where our high flying crazy, work all hours, burn yourself out culture of work has resulted in the two of us taking a different view on life, work and all that. Whilst I may have come out of over 2 years in the Charity, I would never have lasted there because I come from corporate life where it's all about economies, smart ways of working, change and having really good productive people. So I've opted for something that at the moment is intellectually challenging and if we get finance will be physically challenging too. However, my choice and it could never be like the way I used to work years ago.

So trying to get back on track here. I find that so many people are getting stressed out working and taking it all so seriously (OK the market is bad, the economy is rubbish and the way work is these days is stressful enough). However, getting ill really does stop you and make you ask the question of whether or not you are enjoying this thing that takes so much of your time. Ask you why there are all the petty little things that go along with and all that. Is it all worth it? Are yo doing the right thing? Can you stop or alter your life and actually go and live a little.

I've been mulling just that - I'd like to go do something else, I'd like to spend some time with my family and friends but everyone is so busy that they really can't afford that time. It seems that the attitude that it isn't that important, that nobody died, that I tend to have is not the way non-cancer, non serious illness sufferers look at things. A bit like the terminally ill lung cancer patient continuing to smoke - sort of what's the point of giving up? Indeed! But there is the other view, a very personal one. The euphoria of surviving it - like me I know the years and months and almost the days and hours if I thought about it from first symptoms to here I am. The joy of living is suddenly a different thing. I suppose nothing, not even a close family member or friend dying actually prepares you for your ultimate destination? I mean it isn't something the average person thinks much about.

One of the guys in the Lodge, 62, wandering along the High Street, heart attack and was dead before he hit the pavement (side walk). That's it, there's no second chance, no goodbye, nothing. Walked out of the door, down the road and no one saw him alive again. I bet people were saying, I didn't get to say "so and so" to him blah, blah, blah. It is the nature of these things. They describe it as tragic. Everyone regrets something about a tragedy.

I feel the need to be doing things today so that if anything happens in the future there won't be regrets or what ifs but only me - no one else gets it (well probably not true - some people I know will get it - guess what we've got in common?).

A life lived. I doubt I could claim to have that but everyone makes a difference one way or the other. Sometimes you hear of these lives where people have done amazing things and I'm not interested in that either. I just want the remaining time I have left of which I don't know how much that may be to have some sort of meaning or celebration or experience to it. Given the circumstances behind my bladder cancer I'm not ruling out some other such occurrence before I turn my toes up. All I want to do is to spend some time doing enjoyable things but most of these are met by a reason it can't be achieved. A weekend away, a holiday or short break, a trip out somewhere. Something to do, somewhere to spend some time together. Oh well, maybe the answer is to go do it myself or find someone who fancies joining me on some of these things.

Well that all looks a bit jumbled up, I think it means the same as some of my earlier postings. You change, no one else does and you can't expect them to. They just need to get over it. Either that or I'm just changed so much that I'm not the person they knew before I had the experience. Whatever it is, it kind of shows that cancer does more than getting a broken leg or a heavy cold. I've come out of it changed in so many ways that I tend to forget how difficult it is for others to deal with my view of the world. It changes the dynamics of your relationships, your family life changes quite a bit, I know now that everyone was sh1t scared but they never told me - I suppose you wouldn't do that.

It has made me a much nicer person (some people would have difficulty remembering how I was before this all blew up) I'm not sure I liked myself very much in those days and yet I do feel that I was coming down with something for a few years leading up to diagnosis. I lost the job I'd always desired but that doesn't matter either now - it's all experience, stuff I bring to bear these days for helping people and whilst I still have a major problem with fools and idiots (I have a very low threshold for people who are stupid. Stupid and Ignorant really gets me going!) I get on with people a lot better and generally feel I've come a long way now to being a more patient, all around good guy.

I think it is difficult to articulate this without it sounding wrong but let me see if I can try it. A friend of mine told me that he didn't want to live on his own as he didn't want to die alone. How sad is that statement? I'm seriously considering whether that would worry me or not? I'm an INTJ I can go for days without needing to say anything to anyone if I want to. My public face and who I am are completely different and so I think it would work OK. if I need to see anyone there are coffee shops, pubs and all sorts of distractions. I think what I'm saying is that I just want to please myself and be selfish, do what I want to do, when I want to do it and not be held back by external forces and limitations that are not of my doing, not in my control and that, perhaps, may finally settle where I want to go and what I want to do. I'm as tired of my home life as I was of working at the charity. Like the place is full of nice people but the word dynamic just got cut out of the dictionary when they joined. Not all of them there are a couple of good ones there as there is here. I feel I should be doing more with my life than routine and imprisonment by factors outside of my control. By imprisonment it means that I naturally wish to involve people in my plans. I will, I notice, not do things myself if they cannot join in. Perhaps, I take control and just go and do them myself it may clear my head and my conscience too.

Thrash Thrash, Bish, Bash, Bosh

I am going to have some "ME" time today. I cannot believe the amount of work I've put in this week. Not all of that work has been productive (thanks to some flaky software).

I spoke to the dentist who can see me next Friday. I expect a damning report and multiple visits to be the outcome as to be fair, I've neglected a number of things as they just never made it to my list of things to get done.

I should be going to a large meeting this morning but to tell the truth - I just can't be bothered to go. I actually need to walk up the road and get some stuff for this cut tongue caused by a tiny sharp edge on my tooth! This meting, when it is down at Margate is good fun as we go for the weekend. Last year we came back from South Wales on the Friday Night and drove down to Margate the next morning. We had a good nigh out on the Saturday too. However, I can't say Bromley has the same draw for me and for the first time in I guess 10 years I haven't gone. Mind you none of my mates could make it and I'd be hanging around on my Jack Jones pretending to be Bill Nomates.

Flocky is at school this morning and so he and I may go out and have a curry at lunch time or perhaps something else. We haven't decided yet.

I still need to spend some time this weekend working as I have some accounts to resolve and get straight for Monday night. As usual time has caught up with me. It is almost the end of September - suddenly everything re-starts and I'm back to sorting out these accounts. If I spend some time doing them this weekend perhaps I can ensure that they are under tighter control this coming year. Finally we managed to move our classes of instruction tooa more reasonably priced venue and so the problems I've had balancing the books should go away this year. It is more the issue of negative balance sheets that are plaguing me actually making a loss for two years just messes the books up horribly. Everything comes back together this year so that will be a major improvement.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Oh No

I've done it again - it's Friday morning already and I'm sat here thrashing away at work and other stuff. I managed to find the bug in the software - it took hours and I wasn't best pleased when I found out it was another "feature" in Word 2007 that crashes my application or doesn't allow me to save properly when background saving (which is a default setting) is turned on. I like many users of MS products often use CTRL S every few minutes to save out work out of bitter (and twisted) experience.

My business partner just got back from a short break and he and I caught up a number of times today on the company business, logos, business plans and all that stuff. The problem then arose that I also had some other calls to make and so I made those, then Mrs. F. arrived and asked me whether I'd seen the letters that needed posting on the table? Ermmm - no - but I would have posted them if she'd have asked. Then she gave me the copies of the logo designs that her colleagues had critiqued - great. Then she asked me whether I'd rung the dentist. No I'd do it now - unfortunately they are shut - it was 6 pm and I'd been at it all day apart from a few coffees and some soup at lunch time!!!

Tomorrow - well later today actually I need to sort it out. The days are just blurring and I'm beginning to get back into 14 to 16 hour days - its good stuff as I'm just working on getting stuff out of my head and onto paper. It's incredibly exciting (to me) as things and ideas are crystallising and all the work we have done in the past three years is paying dividends. When I look back at the documents we produced before we actually incorporated the company - you can see that all that effort has paid off in spades.

The trouble is - it is like a Tsunami and the ideas just keep coming and my fingers aren't typing as fast as my mind is working and worse than that - it is coming out in sections but not a single document at a time - no not me - what did you expect? I am parallel working on the business plan, the finances, the marketing and sales plan and the competitive analysis. Well they are all linked but it just shows that things are hotting up and to add to that I've had to drop a line to the Tax man and deal with the Logo and arrange some meetings next week the whole day feels like a blur.

Right - off to bed.... Or Else :-)

Wednesday, September 22, 2010


Sharp edged broken tooth - sore tongue, difficult to eat or drink and what a wally I am, I didn't ring the dentist - when I remembered it was out of hours. Such has been my day that its just been phone calls, emails, all sorts of things happening. I got a fair bit done but had the usual PC woes, downloads that faltered half way through, programme updates that didn't - update that is and caused major fault on my PC requiring a re-boot. I must call the dentist tomorrow...

Mind you, it is pretty impressive that I've been bashing away despite all of this. I managed to go do some exercise after I realised what the time was.

Crazy days - damn technology - if the truth be know I ought to get a new PC sorted out at some point in time as this one is really struggling with the latest software. Ho hum...

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Stormed through the day but

Ooops - I need to get to see my dentist. I haven't been for ages and I've cracked a tooth and I know what that means so - best get an appointment for that.

Mixed reactions to the logos for the company - not unexpectedly really as there are so many to choose from and having an international audience throws a lot of spanners in the works as logos really are different to different cultures. Mrs. F. is taking them in for the Nursery School teachers to have a look at tomorrow. Both daughters chose similar logos but even they differed over their favourite. Luckily I have a foot in both camps as I like both of their favourites.

The web site design too got some admiring glances and we really are pleased with it so far.

I'm thrashing through the Business Plan and the Sales and Marketing Plan. I've had to switch away from MS Word as it keeps crashing (even though it assures me it isn't its fault and has repaired itself). I'm using Open Office which does what I want it to do and probably just as well if the truth be known. How anyone can put Office 2007 out in the wild and lose my ability to dictate to it I'll never know - apparently a 'feature' where do they get their ideas from - after having trianed my system to know my voice and to be happily dictating and then to upgrade so they can take that away??? Who thinks this stuff out - they walk amongst us and probably procreate too! Is there any chance for Planet Earth I ask myself?

I missed exercise tonight but for a nice reason. I have changed my Skype Handle to say "So you see, the best way to be happy, is to make the other person happy." — Dalai Lama

An old colleague and friend - we worked together 13 years ago on this huge Global Project that took me off around Europe for about 6 months or more, fired off a text and we exchanged pleasantries. He is a lovely guy, French Canadian and is now living in Paris (where he used to love) via Zurich. His boys are both 2 years older than my girls and have gone back to Montreal to University. He has the brain the size of a planet and was always very rude about my French :-) He said I spoke very slowly and deliberately and therefore sounded a "bit slow" by that I think he meant of low intelligence. It was very funny though when he realised that I understood French far more than I ever let on. Having both English and French as his language he absolutely adored Monty Python especially "Holy Grail" and it was funny to hear him mimic John Cleese "Your farther was an 'amster and your mother smelt of elderberries!" Brilliant such wonderful memories I learnt SO MUCH on that job, having to deal with people from all over the world. Happy days. Although they are much happier looking back.

The funniest thing was that they wanted a "Hard, tough, scarred Project Manager who knew his way around and would get things done!" Everyone wants one of those until you start ripping people new ar*eholes and then suddenly they don't like it. Mind you we got the job done, on time, on budget and the best specifications and designs they had ever seen, everyone learnt something good. Nearly everyone has gone on to bigger and better things too.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Exercise Nailed

Yes - finally I gave myself some time today to get back to the exercise regime and pounded out 5kM as an opener. I'm really struggling to keep my trousers on as well much to everyone's merriment I look like one of those kids with their underpants showing above their jeans belt.

Hopefully my new belt will arrive tomorrow as I broke my old one which I must have had for 20 years - good old trusty belt that was too!! There is a good 2" gap now around my trousers and jeans which is really encouraging me to greater exertion and a renewed vigour to get my weight right down.

We did have Sunflower Seeds in the larder (not pine nuts) along with Pumpkin seeds and now I've added mixed nuts, Brazils included which adds to my dried prunes, figs and apricots. For a treat I got some yoghurt covered raisins too - MMmmmm.

So things continue apace and the logos are in for the company and all is excitement as we work our way through them. There are insufficient hours in the day and I have lots of reading to do. I was completely daunted at one of the reports I need to work through as it is heaving it at over 125 pages. I've an electronic shelf full of these to get through all of which are market reports both of the UK, Europe, US and World markets. Additionally, all the Government papers and lobbying stuff about Digital Inclusion. It has to be done to back up the work we are doing.

I just need to find the 48 hour day that's all :-) I'm pretty good about things though, now I have my strength sort of back although nowhere near pre cancer days it has to be said, I am able to work quite hard at this but I do know my limitations and can tell when I've had enough and need to rest.

I'll be doing another hour and then calling it a day today as there are some things I need to clear up and as my PC was misbehaving I need to set some background tasks to work overnight whilst I am asleep.

Exercise still sucks but it least I am back on the case again. I just need to make sure that I get back into the habit!

Frustrating Technology Day

Again, I find that the technology just lets me down when I need it the most it is just a pain and I have been trying to do some research today and get to grips with the huge amount of data available. I need to convert this to read on my Kindle when that arrives and I have a PC Kindle reader so that I can get stuck into some of the technology reading I have to do. The converter seized up and needed a reboot but that took out the whole PC, then Firefox did something bizarre and I had to reboot once again. It is just such a nuisance that I can't just get on and get things done.

the stuff I am working on will actually cure that. Great excitement today as the first graphics have hit the email system - they all look great and our web site design looks pretty good too. Now to decide what we like and what we want to do. It's all great stuff and great fun. The journey is beginning to get really exciting now as we get identity and then we can really crack on with getting ourselves in front of people and releasing what we are about. All we need is a few £ Million, so if you have a bit of spare cash send it over :-) I've probably broken every rule in the book saying that so ignore it :-)

I'm having a bit more fun trying to get my 36 years experience into two sentences :-) A bit difficult I have to say - but it will happen, like so many things that we do, we just make it happen.

I'm wondering whether to have a 5 year survival party next year. Just go out and do something to record and celebrate the 5 year statistic. They measure this sort of thing when you look at survival rates so 5 years is a nice milestone to achieve and to celebrate.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

I need to share this with you

Oh dear, I nearly wet myself laughing at this post from Steve in the US. Those of you who know me understand my sense of humour (humor) can be black, surreal and downright silly, well Steve's post managed to tickle the funny bone and had me laughing until I cried.

It might be a Cancer survivors thing, we are allowed to laugh amongst ourselves and you can join the club if you've had cancer because you know that your doing it for the right reasons. I saw someone try and do it who had no link whatsoever and frankly it fell flat and wasn't funny. I don't suppose their audience actually got it either - you have to "do it right". Anyway, Steve hit the nail on the head with this post and whilst it sounds strange that something as bizarre as having BCG shoved into your bladder may appear funny. To those of us that have had it done, you have to take every opportunity to "joke your way through".

Consider my episodes and a few of the one-liners that happened. I take a pair of stress balls into the room so that I can concentrate on squeezing the hell out of those and keeping my arms and body still whilst they stick a catheter into me. Of course, your exposed from the waist down to do this and "David, you may want to give your balls a squeeze now!" wasn't quite what I thought she meant :-) How we laughed, her longer than I as I had a catheter and treatment going on whilst trying not to laugh too much. I remember explaining to one of the Urology Nurses that I felt certain that she had probably seen and handled my "wedding equipment" more times than my wife - well I'd find that a funny thing to say!

However, as I said, you probably need to be in the situation to get the joke. I managed to wear my "I'm Not Dead Yet!" T-Shirt last week as I found it again after it had got its way to the far end of the wardrobe... Not everyone gets it of course.

That's two weeks (or is it three)

Without exercise and I need to do something about that now. I've done nothing but work and so I've kept weight down through burning off through my own single mindedness here at the PC.

I need to do something about that - I've not put on any weight but neither have I lost any either. I want to lose some more and I'm only going to do that by burning off the excess. I still run my diet pretty much as it has been going and fruit, low fat foods and lots of fish etc are my main diet along with soup and no bread. Maintaining the weight is OK but I need to push to get back on track.

I'm the same weight as I was last week and for the past 3 weeks 223 Lbs.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Saturday - Work Day

I know - I said I wouldn't but we needed to do some tidying up, needed to knock out some eBay stuff, tidy my room, try and sort out if anyone wants this stuff on Freecycle and do some Lodge Treasurer's business too.

The day has shot by and now I'm getting my Kindle in a couple of weeks I have started to arrange my eBooks into some sort of order. I know where everything is but I've never catalogued them so I've been trying to do that and watching my PC crash with alarming regularity today. The worst day's work I ever did was upgrading to Office 2007 - it just seems to be unstable all the time and do what it wants not what I ask. I ran some diagnostics and repairs late this afternoon so fingers crossed it will be OK.

My business partner has just sent over the rushes for our new web site - they are great. Really impressed with his work - as always - he has a very good grasp of technology and can really bring things together. It was really exciting seeing it for the first time.

I need to do some resting tomorrow. It is MotoGP in Spain so that will give me a reason to sit on my backside after lunch and spend an hour or two just relaxing. Let's hope there isn't a repeat of the fatality of 2 weeks ago to one of the young riders.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Cracking Day

What a good day I've just had - the trouble is I can hardly stop working. I tried but the TV programmes are pants tonight. Maybe I should go and grab a DVD and watch that? That might do it and stop me working at this sort of speed...

Yes - I've completed the major document and I've got quite a bit done today so ought to go and relax a bit.

More Nuts

Brazil nuts that is?

Another report linking selenium to positive benefits for Bladder Cancer Sufferers HERE. I already have Brazil nuts whenever I can - not sure if I have any Sunflower seeds here - plenty of Pumpkin seeds and pine nuts but will need to see what else I have around the house.

New Day - Optimistic Cheerful Start

Good morning - feeling really chipper this morning, really upbeat and thoroughly enthusiastic and go ahead. Can only put that down to a number of milestones. I finished off a major piece of work last night and issued it to the committee, the wiki is completed and looking great and in just 6 months things have really come together. I know I was glum after they'd pulled my original document to pieces and lost all the formatting but now it looks great (even if I say so myself). There is something really satisfying about a job well done and I'm really pleased with it. It probably doesn't mean anything to anyone outside of Freemasonry but it is to do with raising money for the charities and is a manual about how to plan and execute a Festival.

The new business has started to become even more of a reality with its logo and artwork, web site, business letterhead, business cards etc getting nearer to being finished. We only await out "copy" of our 30 and 60 second drill, 2 minute picth and conversation piece to complete the picture (we are unable to currently describe what we do in simple layman's terms due to its complexity)

The sun is shining, the sky is blue, it's Friday, I'm healthy, I haven't put on any weight this week, in fact it looks like I may have lost a little bit and everything is well with the world.

In the US, Steve, who has been clear now for 27 months will commence his set of three BCG treatments for maintenance today. Steve makes me smile too, always has done, with the great super hero title of BioHazard Man :-). I'm sure we all wish him well and for there to be as little side effects as possible.

Yes - things look and feel good. I hope that I keep this happy for as long as possible!

Thursday, September 16, 2010

A Reminder to 4 years ago

Today we got our graphic designer in to start our branding exercise. We did a bit of reminiscing as I haven't seen him since just before I went in to have my operation - I kind of knew what it was. He was interested to see how I had got on because and I quote:-

"you were sh*****g yourself last time I saw you. You were in a right old mess!"

Well on reflection he wasn't wrong - I knew I was pretty ill and it was 2 days before my flexible cystoscopy which actually diagnosed it and in less than a week I had the operation. I've corresponded with him since but it was only today that we met up again.

I'm looking forward to working with him as he is really creative and I hope that his work gets us moving forward as a business - we need to start to get some traction and this is the first real step.

Didn't go

Well I didn't go and have mixed feelings but I am certain that it is the right decision not to for my own well being rather than anything else.

Met a nice chap last night who seems interested in joining Freemasonry and so had a long chat about it and it was nice to hear someone who finds modern life throws up challenges and was looking for something different which we certainly are. Left him to go take on board all we said about it and see how he feels later - no pressure on him - he can think it through with all the facts.

He was harking on about how petty people can be. A bit like I wonder how or why anyone would want to find my insignificant little blog and then post a spam message on the comment field knowing full well that I would probably kill it off. I'm amazed that people actually spend their time on forums trolling and baiting people and if I'm not mistaken, I'd consider that there is some sort of industrial espionage going on on some of these public discussion sites. I'm looking into an Amazon discussion board having just ordered a Kindle ereader. The discussions are generally quite readable and interesting and then every now and again you can see something that is blatantly wrong. I thought one about some person buying one and losing their eyesight was so bizarre and stupid that everyone would realise it was a troll baiting the group. It was obvious to me that it was someone paid by or employed by a competitor firing off bile in order to rubbish the product. Rather than everyone ignoring it or reporting it they gave it credence by answering it.

So what is my point I hear you ask? Well if these people are acting alone what on earth can their sad little lives be like? If they are getting paid for it, it is a sad indictment on society that anyone should be employing shoddy dirty tricks like this.

I went in to one of my old email accounts yesterday as I hadn't received any emails for some time. A "new improved spam system" meant that many of my emails were locked into the close to 3,600 emails I found in there!! It would have been nice of them to tell me...

Rant over for this morning.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Turning to whether to attend the funeral or not

Tomorrow - well in a way that has all been taken away as our graphics man is turning up tomorrow to do our logos etc. I was talking to a friend of mine today who Flocky Bicep and I bumped into outside Costa Coffee. I was saying how I really don't like attending funerals and I'm not sure that I'm properly equipped. Indeed I heard another of our members died last night at his computer of all things. The medics say he passed away peacefully just sat at his desk.

Both of these guys were quite old (late 80s and 90s) so it is to be expected, they weren't tragic deaths, sad but not due to something other than old age and nature.

However, I think there is always a reminder to me of what I stared at 4 years and 2 months ago. I don't think it is a "fear" of death as such but the fact that you stared into the jaws and pulled back out. It just gets me inward looking and why go there if you don't have to? Both guys will have a god send off - so many people will be there and not having me there won't matter a jot.

Anyway - I didn't even enjoy writing that. I can't easily explain it but I just feel it in the pit of stomach and I'd just be pants at trying to keep it all together - I'd probably be grieving for myself psychologically!

I sound all screwed up and yet I don't think I actually am....

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Determined, Angry, Driven

I am really in the driving seat this week. I found the jerk I met last week gave me the necessary energy and strength to kick some butt this week and I made huge progress in some key business areas.

I wish I could bottle all this energy and store it - somehow it drives me on and on and makes me work late and won't let me stop even though I'm tired. I just have lots of drive but I am acutely aware that I have little long term stamina to keep this level of effort up for more than a few weeks!

I need to be very careful about the effort I'm expending. It is all well and good putting this in but I must be aware that I'm not yet fully fit to endure it. I need to work out a reality check point to make sure that I don't overdo it as I am doing right now at close to midnight having been up since 7:30 and working since 8!!!!

Note to self: You know you are doing it - stop when your body tells you to and not when your brain thinks it should. You KNOW it makes sense :-)

Monday, September 13, 2010

A Difficult Decision

A friend died last week and the funeral is this Thursday. I knew him well enough to enjoy his company and I hope he enjoyed mine. We laughed and swapped stories and he was the most interesting of men. He had been treated by the same consultant as me - as I said last week he made me laugh calling her the "Willy Doctor".

I was corresponding with a friend of mine today and suddenly I found myself backing away from wanting to go to the funeral. I've been to a number but only one or two since I've been ill. One was dreadful, my friend's young still born son - I can't even tell you how messed up I felt about that especially as his other kids were around the grave etc. I can only though say that I've found myself backing out of this as I'm not certain that I can actually last the course. A lot of people will be there, he was a very popular figure and I'm sure the place will be rammed full of people. I'm not sure I'd actually be good in a crowded place either come to think of it.

I've been having some terrible dreams both waking and sleeping ones and bad thoughts again these past few weeks. Had some horrible ones about things happening to my kids too. Probably just the normal sorts of things but I've been really funny about things and whilst I can only guess this is the old post traumatic cancer fatigue stuff clicking in again, it does come in waves like this, something sets you off. Your subconscious is a powerful thing and you programme it at your peril.

I can't imagine that going on Thursday will do me any good whatsoever and I suppose in the overall scheme of things it shouldn't but I feel bad not going but know I'd regret going there the way I am.

Actually I've never liked graveyards - ask my mum! Ever since her father's grave stone fell on her leg :-) No really it did!! Also when I was a young Chorister - I had just sung Faure's Requiem Mass with the Choir at Rye Church (someone called it a Cathedral but I doubt it was) - at the interval there was the most enormous thunderstorm and just outside the vestry door in the lightining and thunder was an old flat gravestone with bubbles coming up from it where a puddle had formed over the top. Spooky :-) :-)

I really can't attribute either to my not liking funerals - I mean who likes them? But more so now I tend to get quite overcome with it all and the things is that in the last 4 years or so, death actually does have a different connotation for me than it did before. I'm not saying I stared it in the face but I think I gave it some serious contemplation and was pretty much respectful of the fact that it may be one of my options. I think I talked about walking along a path with many signposts and seeing which one to take. Realising that perhaps it didn't matter which one you took as they may all lead to one destination (which of course is the inevitable journey's end). But then there were other paths and at that time, really early on, I had no idea which one and its branches I'd be travelling along. It's a bit like a giant game of snakes and ladders but sometimes you can make your own luck or get to choose the numbers on the dice to miss the snakes, but not always.

Anyway - that's enough rambling on. I don't think I will go even though a bit of me says I should. If I don't feel up to it mentally what am I trying to prove? I might try and get a moment to myself and perhaps walk up to the local church and have a bit of quiet time and see if that will work it out for me.

System Crashes

What the hell is wrong with software today - three crashes this morning and all whilst I was doing important work too. Word even managed to save my file with nothing in it at all..... What a pants piece of software that is.

I have made a concious effort to get a run at the work I have been drafting for weeks in mindmaps and scraps of paper only to have half a morning's work wiped out through some software glitch. It really is annoying as I now have to do that all over again and I was in a great flow, now I'm just angry and frustrated - not the way I want to be when trying to do some serious business documents.

It feels like a conspiracy because both PCs are playing at it today.

I've been Giving some thought to the post I made about how you feel about coming through the dark periods and things continually getting better but with an ever present threat (Clear and Imminent Danger) of a recurrence of your Cancer. There's a completely new level of stress that exists that I'm aware of and I've never really said much about it. This Cancer is different because whilst you may not have it, you are still constantly observed because it can come back. That to me really is the crux of this. Every time you go see your Specialist there is the very real chance that they'll tell you your Cancer is back. Whilst that diminishes (The Law of Diminishing Returns maybe) it is still there every time you go and see them.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Static Weight

For the third week in a row I am static on the weight loss although I reckon that I should be a couple of pounds lighter as my trousers are noticeably slipping off me these days.

223 Pounds but that is after breakfast as I forgot to go and weigh myself before which I normally do. So perhaps a little less. This week I noticed how much I lost as on Friday I went out and could actually comfortably fit inside my waistcoat - which I haven't been able to wear for well over a year and my trousers of my morning suit were loose too. My jacket could actually be done up as well.

I was most impressed with that! Winning a huge tin of chocolates in the raffle has inserted temptation into the household but I know they will be eaten by the chocolate fairy when I'm not looking so I will get away with just one or two before the tin is empty. I realise that for 2 weeks I haven't actually exercised and I need to get back into the habit again. That's pretty important as I must break the cycle of working into the early hours of the morning. It is a reaction to knowing I have to start really pulling all my research together and getting stuff documented and 3 months in - now is the time to get things really motoring.

However, I need to balance that with exercise and although I am still feeling good and eating well, I need to tackle getting another stone off my weight and sitting on my backside isn't going to do that!

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Messing with your brain

I'm struck with the fact that I'm in a good position at the moment and probably wont need to be examined until December or January. I'm also feeling a lot better about myself especially because I have finished having to have operations that knock me about and also that affect my mobility.

I do however get some horrid thoughts occasionally and not all my dreams are nice. The worst stuff is actually not to do directly with me as such. I think I have pretty much resigned myself to whatever cards I am going to be dealt with now. I am wary that I am clear at the moment but that there is a distinct possibility that my cancer will recur. No it isn't that and it isn't the fact that it may be more severe as there is also a way out of that. I do worry if it does recur that I will have to have more operations and more treatments and these are challenging things without doubt.

I tend to be more concerned about or dream or think about how other people think about me and the way I am. For example some people don't "get it" that I am funding myself to try and get this venture off of the ground. They probably see a massive risk and yet I don't see that. I see that it is doing something that needs to be done, a journey that needs to be taken and a challenge that needs to be set and tested. If it goes wrong and doesn't work then I will have at least given it a go and will have some regret if it doesn't work but it wont be the end of the world as we know it.

In working for the charity for the last 2 and a bit years, I've satisfied some part of me that needed to give something back. I have no idea if it runs as deep as being thankful for being alive or it was a survival mechanism realising that I wasn't fit enough to return to the high octane life I led before cancer.

I also get some very dark and nasty stuff going on in my brain about how things will turn out. I see some disintegration of my current way of life. In a way, there's a willingness to perhaps chuck it all in and go live somewhere with a simple life, doing simple everyday things and just enjoying life. The trouble is that perhaps only I would be the person wanting to do that. Ambition is still there and the want to do things but there is also a nagging to drop everything I'm involved in and just go on and enjoy my life, in my way and satisfy myself. I doubt that would happen though but never say never.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Off out for the afternoon and evening

It is the first meeting of the season for me and I am off with Flocky Bicep to Surrey where we are guests of one of the Lodges there. I'm no longer an official guest but got an invite "for old times sake" which is nice. I am looking forward to it as there is a re-enactment of a 1795 ceremony and I haven't seen one of those in years.

On a down note, an old friend died on Tuesday night and we just heard today. He was in his 90s and I've known him for about 25 years. He was the one who coined the phrase about my Consultant (whom he was also variously under treatment for various things) as the "Willy Doctor". He was a gentle man a real one, the type you don't meet very often. He was active right up until last year. I am quite proud being appointed as his successor as Chaplain of two of the Lodges he was Chaplain for after he became ill. It is a sad day for everyone who knew him. He had a long and fulfilling life and I'm lucky to have known him.

I have no doubt that his funeral next week will be over subscribed.

Did I get to bed early last night? No of course not there was bound to be something that kept me up!! When will I ever learn. At least tonight I should be able to get home and just go to bed... That's the plan.

Thursday, September 09, 2010

Great News from Across the Pond

Indeed great news as Steve K has had a further clear following a flexible scope and now has a further 3 BCG Immunotherapy sessions to come starting next week on a weekly basis.

The anxiety you go through just before these regular check ups is difficult to describe. The last thing you want to hear is you've had a recurrence - even a little one like mine! So it continues to be good news and I'm delighted for him as possibly only a fellow sufferer can be. you wouldn't wish it onto anyone else.

I have decided that I WILL GO TO BED EARLY tonight. I need to stop my brain spinning with all this business stuff somehow.

Must stop doing the night shift

I ended up getting to bed at 1:45 in the morning such was the need to get on and do more research on what this guy had said to me yesterday. As it was I think we realised that this guy was one of those "corporate" types who had a lot of senior level experience and who used an almost intimidatory manner to talk down to people.

He will not feature in our team as their is no "I" in team etc. Certainly both of us coming from Cororate backgrounds (which he knew) didn't take to him at all.

Anyway, it made me do some reality checks which is no bad thing I suppose.

I'm off out tomorrow to my first Masonic meeting of the new season. It should be nice I hope to get out and about and not to be doing anything this year! well apart from being the Treasurer that is.

Wednesday, September 08, 2010

Customer Service

Railways. We get half way in to London and the relief crew aren't there so we wait, wait, wait and then they cancel the train and we all have to get out - outside the station another train is queuing. We get on that but it can't go because there's some train ahead on the tracks (our previous one) waiting to get into the sidings. This is just utter bollocks guys. What kind of business could run that way? 40 minutes late - 40 minutes and I decided to take the slow train for a bit of scenery as I was early!!!!

A friend was sharing the journey with me which was kind of OK but he has some issues at the moment and I had to be civil and talk through it with him - well listen to him. And so I didn't mention to him that I was meeting some other friends for lunch as - basically - he is strapped for cash but eventually I had to tell him and it was embarrassing all around.

My business partner and I then headed off for a meeting with a guy who we thought might be useful to our business progress. He was but not in the way I felt he may have been - it was an uncomfortable ride. I had to go for a beer afterwards and my friend needed a trio of coffees. I can't say that I enjoy confrontational people and this guys was being awkward (that's such a difficult word to spell) on purpose and that was meant to push us and make us react. Interestingly we weren't going for it but it was interesting as there were a few interesting things that he said and did which were give aways that it was an act. Things like he had actually read what we sent as we heard some of our hard worked and hard won phrases played to us and we hadn't mentioned them. We learnt loads - but I'm not certain I could work with this guy on anything more than a dragon's den scenario.

Thank goodness for a lift home - I was emotionally drained by the first travelling conversation and then the adrenaline from the second meeting made me tired - got back ate something and got back on the straight and narrow. Will need some sleep tonight to sort out what all that meant this afternoon :-)

Steve is scheduled for Judgement Day on Thursday (tomorrow) not today as I originally thought. Positive thoughts for the right result....

Tuesday, September 07, 2010

A Grrrrrr Moment

Earlier today - you can't believe how tedious and little some people can be. Or at least I can't - I have a very very very low threshold for stupidity, jobs-worths and other petty minded oxygen wasters. It was a shame that I wasn't actually "there" but I thought my email of "done" was pretty good and about the shortest email I've ever written.

I was out late last night and I am out tonight again and Wednesday and Friday!!!! This week looks pretty bad for trying to lose weight or just about do anything else really.

However, tomorrow, I need all your fingers, arms, legs, toes and anything else you can cross together with positive vibes and prayers and everything else because it is Judgement Day for Steve over in the USA.

Thoughts too for the family in New Zealand who are still getting powerful aftershocks of up to 5 on the Richter Scale with a 6.0 predicted soon. Having only lived through what I thought was an earthquake (it was a tunnelling machine working under a building in Milan) I can quite understand the apprehension and worry of the real thing. The funny bit about Milan? I was the only one in the office who didn't know what was going on having flown in for a meeting. Suddenly in the 6th floor board room the whole place started vibrating badly. I said should we get under the desk or go outside which proved very amusing to my Italian hosts...... However, it was here that I heard for the first time the phrase "No Problemo" and that made my day - bless you Arnie!! Perhaps Arnie can help me with my Anger Management problem above? "I'll be back!"

Lifelites Promotional Film

I was with the CEO of Lifelites yesterday - here is a video of the great work they do in Children's Hospices in the UK. I'm really pleased one of my ex-customers has agreed to sponsor them to the tune of £5,000 this year. They need all the cash they can get of course. if you know of a Trust that is predisposed to give to children's charities - perhaps this one may warrant their attention? They are always looking for corporate sponsorship too so - don't be shy.

Tired out

Not surprising as I got home about 11 last night - or was it later? I can't exactly remember. One of "those" nights. Went out for a drink after work and it ended up being a bit of a session. Luckily it was Monday so no crowded trains or much else to worry about and daughter kindly came and got me from the station which was good as it was pretty miserable weather.

Not sure what I was thinking but I really didn't need that and it was a spur of the moment thing, I was actually coming home early until then :-)

This morning, I'm pretty tired I have to say - not a great thing when I am also due out tonight for a beer with my school chums too.

Sunday, September 05, 2010


Mmm, well yes - no movement this week, not surprising I suppose given that I haven't exercised since my escapade of lifting a shed - what was I thinking :-)

So that is OK - it just means that I MUST get back to exercise this week and also, I am guessing the large meal on Thursday and an impromptu beer and a curry on Saturday night didn't actually help. L was up at Hyde Park doing the Women's 5K challenge along with tens of thousands of others. This time she was running for a Children's Leukaemia Charity. She even saw herself on national TV which emitted a squeak of delight. I'm please that the girls are embracing doing something for charity. The bonus must be to enjoy doing it.

Thoughts this week must turn to Steve K in the US who has had a long period off from the attentions of the doctors but needs to go for a poke and peek this week. So everyone, concerted effort for positive vibes for Wednesday for a positive outcome - a positive outcome being a negative showing - which is a long winded way of saying that we all hope, wish and pray for a clear inspection.

I have a busy old week this week, I am up to London tomorrow and Wednesday and then off to Guildford on Friday. The business venture now becomes more intense as we have gone over halfway. We now need to "step up to the plate" and really accelerate our efforts.

I was listening to some music over the weekend and I'll leave this blog entry with this rather nice piece of music.

Saturday, September 04, 2010

New Zealand

An Earthquake - they didn't tell me they had those there - apparently they get circa 20,000 a year but not normally noticeable - like Iceland then. Good news is that the family are shaken and stirred but all alive and well. Luckily for a 7.0 no one was killed, a couple of serious injuries. Glad that they are all well, interesting that "totally powerless to help the children" in the middle of it was one of their comments. Nature actually IS Awesome (please note kids and people who use that word) Awesome power is Earthquakes and is not to be used for the latest gadget, for goodness sake :-)

So - it is Saturday - I promised myself not to be sitting here and not to be doing work - I now pronounce judgement on myself "FAILURE!!!!" :-)

Hopefully my Nephew will come over and buy me a beer this afternoon. That will be nice.

Friday, September 03, 2010

Week over

Thank goodness this week is out of the way. The dustmen told us they were coming Saturday, they put it on the web site too (as Monday was a holiday) and they turned up today, a day early and didn't collect anything as we hadn't put it out. At times like this I often wonder "Is it me?" The simplest of things isn't it - someone must have worked out that everything would be a day late, they published that but didn't tell the guys who do the work who have probably wondered why no one has put anything out for them and got away with the fastest round ever.

It makes you surprised that more things like this happen. A bit like my train with the heating on during a lovely summer day? These people walk amongst us - it's terrifying that they are completely inept at their jobs so what are they like left in the wild. Bring back natural selection or de-selection in their cases!

I had a "funny moment" earlier on today. It happens occasionally and it was the of the morbid kind, about how close it had been and what would have happened if things had been slightly different or they hadn't caught it quite when they did. These sort of day dream moments aren't that common but they can pull you up with a bit of a shock. I think, it had something to do with seeing some photographs of my girls when they were younger and recollecting some of those "great moments" that only children can bring, looking back they are just wonderful and joyful memories and treasured moments. Things like their excitement at telling you what they had been up to, showing you a picture carefully crafted at school just for you, throwing themselves at you, giving you a surprise cuddle and all that sort of thing.

It is in those moments that the enormity of what I've been through sinks in and also, in a bizarre twist of fate way, the agonies they have had to endure and the fear that they (although they have never said it directly) had when everyone knew what I had. The girls were only 16 and 12 at that time.

So, one to watch out for, it has to happen, you need to rationalise sometimes but you can't keep the reality of your situation suppressed all the time.

I'm reading a blog at the moment where things have started to get pretty much into the serious situation. A year is the prognosis. This after many years of up and down problems. The blog is a useful reminder to me that "there but by the grace of God go I" and I try and remind myself how lucky I am that things are like they are, under some control.

I was also reflecting on how much happier I have been recently. I am surprised how much lighter I feel now that the threat of full blown operations has been lifted. I must go and see my optician and my dentist. Another waking dream is when they ask me why I haven't been along and the answer goes along the lines of - "Well, I wasn't sure if I was going to be alive long enough for new glasses / fillings etc and thought I'd save the money!"

I enjoyed watching Avatar again tonight. That takes you off somewhere else for a short while and has just set me up for a nice pleasant weekend. I hope not to be doing any heavy work. I have only just recovered from the shed lifting from last week.

Thursday, September 02, 2010

Do I miss going to London?


It was a typical journey - the heater on the train was on - blasting hot air into the carriage. The usual walk into work, the usual people doing their usual jobs. "When were you last here?" they asked - "I think it was 8 weeks ago!" I replied and nothing changes, things go on as they ever did. I managed to spook my opposite number by showing him the Wiki I had built. We have almost completed our project and they are only about a quarter of the way through theirs. I enjoy a gloat and spent some time savouring the moment.

We did our business and I went on to the Lunchtimers meeting and took the Chair as Vice Chairman with the Chairman absent - that was my job. If voted in at the November meeting I will be lucky enough to preside, next September at the 100th meeting.

I am back up to London on Monday and Wednesday first for charity business and then our new venture on Wednesday. Hopefully the guy we are going to meet will be able to work with us to raise sufficient funding for us to get off the ground and go forward. Exciting times...

Wednesday, September 01, 2010

Jazz and Beer - but not too much

I'm out tonight for some Old Speckled Hen beer and the Jazz evening. I don't know about you but I enjoy live music? What I cannot abide is why so many people just talk over the top of such great musicianship. I was a pretty handy trumpet player in my day and not bad at guitar but no rock star and I know how long I practised and how difficult it was - for me. Many people are, I suppose, more gifted and perhaps find it easier to play but they shouldn't be talked over when playing.

A lot of people probably treat it as a social but do what I do, speak between songs.

Anyway, I'm sure I will enjoy it.

No exercise for a few days - lifting that shed has seized me up a bit so I'm walking rather than getting on to the exercise machine. It just feels a little gentler to do that and I don't want to injure myself or go on the machine until I feel fit enough not to damage some area that is weak or recovering.

London and work in the morning and pleasure in the afternoon tomorrow. A morning preparing for the committee meeting next Monday and then to Lunchtimers for a relaxing lunch and afternoon. As no one wants to go out in the evening, I will dash off early and miss the traffic. Looking forward to this one as I will act as Chairman. I become Chairman in November but having already done 3 meetings this year standing in I should know what to do during my year in office.