Tuesday, 29 January 2008

Fact or Fiction?

I have to say through sheer tenacity the Christian's are winning... I'm now in conversation with no less than three highly respected Christian ex-colleagues on the benefits of talking to Jesus (thanks for a great lunch, and your prayers Markus, and I look forward to our next get together).

The big problem I have with talking to devout Christians (or devout anything) is that they are biased. Where can I find an unbiased assessor of religions?

That said, I see no harm (and potentially a great deal of benefit) in talking to Jesus and the Abrahamic God to ask for some guidance with my faith. Until now it has been a one way conversation, but I promise to try a little harder and report back.

If I knew the correct forms of address for Buddha's help and the correct Hindu deity (probably Shiva), I'd give that a try too. Please feel free to fill me in on these or other (popular) religions.

I have just read Phillip Pullman's "His Dark Materials" trilogy, an epic work of fantasy fiction whose key subjects are growing up, the dangers of organised religion and killing God. Touching on Angels, Witches and Daemons in between and leading to a concept of the soul being released into a common consciousness (I think) he calls dust. It's interesting that I find a work of (originally children's) fiction contains more to think about than much "real" religious literature.

And a lovely quote from the author:
"I don't know whether there's a God or not. Nobody does, no matter what they say. I think it's perfectly possible to explain how the universe came about without bringing God into it, but I don't know everything, and there may well be a God somewhere, hiding away.
Actually, if he is keeping out of sight, it's because he's ashamed of his followers and all the cruelty and ignorance they're responsible for promoting in his name. If I were him, I'd want nothing to do with them."

p.s Random music connections during the writing of this post I've had Amazing Graze, Chopin's Death March, Arcade Fire's Antichrist Television Blues and Tom Wait's Altar Boy (but I'm not sure that is significant)

Avoiding Boredom

The problem with blogging is that often it is is hard to find something to write, as most days are just involved with the boring due diligence of normal life. So what to talk about?

I could could tell you about looking for a family holiday for this year with the family all around us on Sunday. Or how about working on a new business architecture for Insurance with our head Office in San Francisco by Video Conference on Friday.

Or perhaps I should tell you about the three days last week spent in Nice talking to our sales crews in Software Development for Financial Services (a necessary but by almost by definition boring subject). And that would lead to talking about infinitely more interesting new people I met from Nigeria, Russia, South Africa, Egypt, Czech Republic, Finland, Turkey and other countries, oh and then the great meal we had in the Le Grand Balcon in Nice on Wednesday.

Or perhaps I should just tell you how beautiful a Nice sunrise is at this time of year....

.......Just bring on the Boredom while I can handle it.

Sunday, 20 January 2008

Back in the old routine

It's funny how I'm getting back into the old routine even after something as drastic as Cancer caught me out. It's been over five months since my diagnosis and I am still here and mostly healthy.

Yeah sure, five days a month I have to take some pills that that make feel bad and I have the occasional seizures, and I have a new hobby (the blog). Home life is pretty much as is it used to be with all the usual family ups and downs. Even my work life is starting to build up again (I'm off to Nice for three days this week work related).

I should, of course, be ecstatic about this, but there is a part of me that feels I should be living my life differently now, making more more of what I have left because I know that anytime my health might fail.....but hey isn't that is true for all of us.

Cool: I enjoyed my life before and I'm enjoying it still.

Tuesday, 15 January 2008

Goodbye Mr. IT

I opened my e-mail box this morning to find the sad message that one of my more recent colleagues died on Sunday. He was the guy who looked after our local office IT infrastructure.

I know he had been ill for a while and I guessed it was fairly serious but it came as a severe shock to hear of his death. I don't know exactly how old he was, but he was way younger than me much adding to the shock. No one deserves to leave us that young.

Bye mate, we'll miss the great job you did and the humour with which you did it.

Will Smith is Legend

Went to see "I am Legend" with the family last night. The film stars Will Smith. I like Will Smith movies because he tends to play in the kind of movies I like (Mostly Sci-Fi). This was no exception, but this time Will deserted the usual Hollwood Happy Ending which came as a bit of a schock.

It's a story that has been done many times before. Scientists find cure (cancer this time) cure turns sour in some way and causes Zombies. Hero has to cure the cure while avoiding and hacking Zombies. Worth a watch to see New York in such a beatifully rendered unkempt fashion.

28 Days later did it better without spending anything like as much (I'm guessing) on an unkempt London.

Monday, 14 January 2008

Chasing Daylight

The effects of this last session of Chemo went on longer than the last by an extra day or maybe two. I guess that is down the increased dosage. I hope I get used to this. Interesting though I've had no seizures for 10 days now, the biggest gap since September, so I hope that is a positive sign.

On Friday I had a great lunch with a colleague I haven't seen for a long time. After talking the usual state of health stuff we had time to talk about Enterprise architecture and some of the work we've both been doing for our respective firms.

He brought me a book which I had not seen before called "Chasing Rainbows" It's written by Eugene O'Kelly (or rather a ghost writer, almost literally in this case) who until May 2005 was the CEO and Chairman of KPMG US when he was diagnosed with late stage brain cancer (in fact he had 3 golf ball size GBM tumours). This is the story of the the 3 months he had to live and how he dealt with it. This is one of the few books of this type I can recommend (I read the book in just a couple of sittings). I got a few tips out of it, and perhaps more importantly some confirmations of my own thoughts. My only complaint is that it reads like a US business book. i.e. it repeats itself too much.

Thanks for the present Frank.

Monday, 7 January 2008

Chemo Cycle 2

My 2nd post radiation chemo cycle started on Saturday. I'm now on the maximum dosage of 400mg for the 5 day "on" period, and this will continue for the other four cycles too.

We started to take down the Christmas decorations as tonight is Twelfth Night (at least in our tradition), but didn't have time to get them all finished, so we left the lights up but turned them off.

On Saturday, Carol and I went to friends for dinner. These are friends who we can discuss anything with, so we covered the whole set of politics. religion and sex at some point. A favourite subject with us nowadays (as you can imagine) is death and the afterlife. Sad to say, we didn't come up with definitive answers, so I guess we'll have to wait and see :-)

Tried to settle down to some work today but finding it difficult to concentrate, so gave up after a couple of hours and sat down to write this blog entry....which obviously takes up much less concentration. I've also lost my apetite today and I think I need a snooze now.

I'll let the Rabbit report on any updates in the world
p.s. Thanks to Lyn for the only rabbit greetings so far

Wednesday, 2 January 2008

Ian's Internet Rabbit

The strangest Christmas gift this year (thanks Carol) is my Internet Rabbit. It's a French product (of course) which connects to sets of of Internet services like e-mail alerts, RSS feeds and weather feeds. So what is so special about it?

It is a 20cm high rabbit call a Nabaztag that using Wireless Networking provides information through a loudspeaker (it will vocalise RSS feeds, e-mails and play internet Radio feeds), ears that move (indicating its state) and 4 multicoloured lights which which can be be programed to do all sorts of thing, at the moment my lights indicate the weather forecast.

It also has a microphone that you can use to deliver commands. Press the button on it's head and say "weather" to get tomorrow's weather for your region. We're supposedely going to get snow. It also has an RFID reader in it, but at the there do not seem to be any applications for that yet.

Go to the "My Friend has a Rabbit" at www.nabaztag.com and feel free to send me messages at iansnab.

The whole thing is rather buggy at the moment, and it remains to be seen how useful it it will become (when the community writes more stuff for it), but its already good fun.

Tuesday, 1 January 2008

Welcome to 2008

Had a great holiday season with the family and friends, and now we all need to look at how to get rid of the extra few kilos we've added over the over the next few days while finishing up the last of the food (a fine balance)

We were helped a little by helping our younger daughter move to a new flat during the last week.

Over the last few days I have been feeling a bit anxious. I'm finding it a little difficult to find words when I want them and I'm making mistakes while I type. I'm hoping it's just temporary and due to the usual seasonal stresses and Kayleigh's move. But I must say I've never felt like like this before and the last couple of seizures have been more severe than for a while.

Anyway here's thanks for the great presents this year and all the best for everybody in 2008.