Dave (Personal)

  • The “early senility” phase
    dave with another Valiant

    I don’t know about everyone, but for me, chemotherapy was like getting senile far ahead of my time. The effects seem to be sticking with me, too. Early on I started to lose focus. In the past I’d been fairly high-strung, but could dive into something and stay there, which is handy if you’re coding or writing. I’ve had two jobs where I replaced (or was replaced by) two or three full-time people. At Allpar, I do a good deal of writing, all the editing, a bunch of photography, the occasional video, all the business-end work (including tax returns and my own pension), and nearly all the tech work — which, in a world of ever-changing Web technologies, is nothing to sneeze at….

  • How not to save money at work

    Early in my working life, I saw that “traditional” approaches to cutting costs usually didn’t work. My micro-level experiences may be valid at a macro level. One cost-cutting story comes from my time as a temp, at a cheap (and I don’t mean frugal) outfit that made huge sums in investment banking. The bankers usually got high salaries, with bonuses in seven digits, but they were ill-tempered and always conscious of the costs of their temps. The going rate for skilled Manhattan computer jockeys was around $16-$22 per hour, if you could type at least 80 words per minute with minimal errors, and be skilled at Word for DOS, which everyone seemed to use though Windows had been out for a long time and our printers were…

  • Getting to keep my memory

    I returned from Memorial Sloan Kettering (yes, it’s named after two GM leaders) with good news: I can stay off the chemo unless I get bad scans or blood tests. There’s no sign of cancer returning. I also signed up for another research project, but that doesn’t really require much from me other than some blood, and I give that to so many people that when I see a stranger with a needle, I start rolling up my sleeve (oops, wait, I’m getting my memory confused with Keith Richards’). The bad news is that I need to get scans nearly twice as often, and I’m back on MRIs, rather than time-and-money saving CAT scans. Oh, and blood tests twice as often….

  • Reducing anxiety, my way
    dave with another Valiant

    I’ve always had issues with anxiety, but it seems to me that I don’t have much reason to be stressed out these days — not rational reasons, at least. I have reasons to be anxious and reasons not to be, but rationally, it’s internal — it’s the way I’m wired. There are ways to get around it. Pill-pushers (as some annoyed psychologists refer to psychiatrists) can prescribe all the generic Xanax you want, but I haven’t run my life with pills, and don’t intend to start now. Cognitive psychology, while slow, works wonders. When you find yourself on the train of anxiety provoking thoughts, distract yourself. Learn to detect and then deflect it. Freudians may think that’s bad because you’re shoving it…

  • Quick cancer update

    Today I left home at 9:30 am, returning at 2 pm, to see an oncologist who is more of an expert on my particular weird kind of cancer than most. She will be consulting with someone from Sloan-Kettering (a decidedly GM-funded institute), but so far it appears that I might be able to cut back on my once-dirt-cheap, now exceedingly-expensive “performance dis-enhancing” drugs. We can only hope… At the last, I’d like to take less of them. Side effects are memory loss, lack of focus, diarrhea, hot flashes, fatigue, and some other things I can’t remember because of the memory loss, and I seem to have struck every single side effect on the list. Also, did I mention that, since Bristol-Myers Squibb…

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