Archive for Family

Workout Log 27 Oct 2012

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , on October 27, 2012 by spinoza1111

No, need to try: 20 minute free dance with weights first thing as of old.

“Just because you have [insert really horrible terminal disease] doesn’t give you any rights”.

“It’s not all about you: [said to someone with [insert really horrible terminal disease such as The Galloping Crud]]: you are selfish.”

“I’m scared to fly to China.”

Hmm, cue my sister, like Eleanor flipping Roosevelt, tap-dancing on this BS like an Irish dancer. Listen!

Workout Log 19 August 2012

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , on August 19, 2012 by spinoza1111

Edward G. Nilges, “Mama Kanumba at the beach”, 2005

20 minutes water dancing with a friend at Hung Shue Yuen beach first thing (at 9 AM, however). Beautiful day!

Listen! I am a grandfather for the children have been born and that is a hell of a great thing. I shall do what the doctor says so that seven odd years from now I can buy the granddaughters books such as Pride and Prejudice and Anne of Green Gables and other books for girls in addition to more generally popular books such as Shakespeare.

This is because my grandmother sent me books. I had this student a while back, wonderful girl whose favorite words were “family and book”. I used to buy the new grandling’s father books in San Francisco at this “Clean, Well-Lighted Place for Books” near the opera house. Being able to sit with a damn book for a while is to me pretty much what civilization is all about, whether you’re reading, as I have read, Kant in Paris, or Orwell in Burma, dammit. Kids who READ may not be any better behaved than kids who do not. But kids who read are more civilized, which is different.

Is a family a book?
Yes…some of the pages are wrinkled, once wet,
Long ago, with tears,
Oops some of the pages are stuck together!
Secret things and words were said behind doors and in email
But I swear ro God I did not mean to hurt I just did
Being able to construct sentences that go on and on
And just do not seem to care.
But it is a lie, I will say until the day I die,
That I did not love you. It is a lie.

Well, the kids are alright. Everything else is in a desk drawer marked “Baby, I don’t care.”

Let us go on…

Wow hanging out with people really is great. A dinner last night with another (cf for example that 1980s flick MY DINNER WITH ANDRE) can be a spiritual experience unless of course it’s just a drunken brawl.

Of course, there’s nothing wrong with drunken brawls, I would hasten to add. I have had more than my share of drunken brawls. Like Falstaff and Justice Shallow i’ th’old play (Henry IV Part II) I have heard the chimes at midnight. Hell, chimes at midnight are for pussies in Chicago, we’re talking about industrial strength drinking where you systematically demolish a Chicago Tribune news paper kiosk in the pale light of dawn on general principles including the universally acknowledged fact that the Chicago Tribune is for pussies.

Or, you wake up butt naked in a fountain in Mexico City, with your last memory being of ordering a Martini at the Drake Hotel in Chicago.

[Note: the newspaper kiosk destruction c’est moi: the Mexico City fountain is the experience of a friend who shall of course remain anonymous.]

But I digress, or, as my long-suffering editor at Springer-Apress scrawled in an electronic annotation in my book, “yeah, you digress.” The company of another, especially one who’s smarter than one, makes life worthwhile once the charms of Jugende undt Schonheit, Youth and Beauty, have faded.

Every Man In His Tumor

The tumor pushes aside nerves creating a little pain, I am always somewhat aware of it; I shall go to the cancer center on Wednesday. If it creates any complications such as continuous pain which is not the case I’ll hit the ER at Queen Mary, but as of now, it’s just there.

All I can do is make the appointment on 22 August. They have new scans, and I need to elect the next step, which is an expensive injection or a more dramatic treatment, about which I will post when the time is right.

Every man in his tumor, to paraphrase Ben Jonson. But no, this is serious, I understand. All I can do is the next right step, and not give up the fight.

I decided to wait to buy my airline tickets to my health spa week in Thailand until Wed and after I make my appointment. This isn’t because I am not going. I probably won’t merit ICU or hospitalization under any scenario. But I need to decide on the return date after getting an update on my cancer.

Adorno, in his 1960s lectures, said we do not know what “freedom” is because to him, as a uniquely gloomy marxist, economic difference is unfreedom even for the wealthy. There is a lot in this but post-diagnosis I have a different sense of freedom.

I feel in fact free since the worst, perhaps, has happened leaving me sort of blinking in the light and going WTF. I can do whatever I wish. No more teachers, no more books, no more child support, job interviews. Not with the same necessity although of course I still have to work.

Picture what will be, so limitless and free. – The DOORS. Listen!

I am not making light of trouble. My father never understood how I’d make light of trouble and I wish he had. I could never help him out of his black moods. Mom could, though.

Cancer cells weaker than normal cells and homeopathic doses of vitamin C may help. But these holistic therapies are never properly tested. I have long been aware of that Nobel winner Linus Pauling who outside of his discipline believed that Vitamin C could “cure” cancer. But I have to believe what Dr Lam said to me clearly in June, your cancer is incurable. That is the scientific knowledge, the “justified true belief”.

Not “terminal”: we do not use that word. I might get shot by an angry husband or be chased off a cliff by a wild tribe of savage jungle women on Koh Samhui. Not even fatal, not necessarily; as a philosophy major I know that the only necessary truths are those of math. But serious, yes, serious. Dad I know it is and I am doing what I can!

My dinner mate last night told me that when Stephen Hawking was diagnosed with his disease, the doctor pulled that “you only have ya de ya months to live” shit on him. But Hawking had a purpose in life above and beyond personal gratification and so, he’s still with us, and pulling down one million quid per lecture. Hawking is one of my heroes.

For me to reject what we scientifically KNOW, or the POSSIBILITIES raised outside of science by homeopathy and holism, would be to enter a demon haunted world and spend every penny I have on booze and whores in Wanchai. And then I’d be a corpse, maybe with one of those little toe tags like we have in the USA. And what then? Some free public cremation, Up In Smoke? The US Consul notifying next of kin, ho hum, ain’t no dead white man storage in this town, sonny boy. You see a SIGN say dead Gweilo storage?

Ashes to ashes…funky to funky…we know Major Tom’s a junky….

Screw that.

I have also sorts of notes I make on the fly on the computer in Word outline form. I shall print them out and take them to the Cancer Center at QMH on Wednesday. They consist of questions about new treatments and “phenomenological” notes about how the lump feels on a daily basis.

I work out eat right and get rest. I practice the piano every day to restore my ability to play Bach, because Bach is eternity, Bach is Adam and Maiden, Bach has what Spanish dancers call the magic…the duende!

Listen!

And that is all I can do. That is all she wrote.

Reading My Merck Manual

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , on July 3, 2012 by spinoza1111

Listen!

Plorans ploravit in nocte et lacrimae eius in maxillis eius non est qui consoletur eam ex omnibus caris eius omnes amici eius spreverunt eam et facti sunt ei inimici.

ALEPH

I confirm that my type of prostate cancer is incurable. This means that it will kill me in x years. UNLESS I get shot. In other words, it’s incurable but not fatal, or vice versa.

x they say is <= 5 for most people. But I am not most people, none of us are the median. I might go in a month, I might live until 93. All I can do is defend my strong immune system, like the last Emperor of Byzantium, no country for old men, until the end.

It's quite possible that my holistic friends are right. We ALL gots cancer we ALL got weird cells doing strange things. Our center, our soul, the Tree of Life as it were is the immune system which recognizes friend or foe. My center, my soul, is somewhere in the sunlight of the hills. It's the overall pattern of my body, not some hangnail of a cancer. And I like to think that in 1981 I started using this body well. But God is not mocked, and I sowed the black angel when I smoked. All I can say now, is I have no food for thee at this time, in this now. I'd like a Snarfburger and my organic holistic cooking is awful, but I must make a stand. Plus there's always this joint: Prasad’s vegetarian curry may be a cure for cancer in itself..

Hopdance cries in my belly for two white herring! Croak not, black angel, I have no food for thee. – Shakespeare, King Lear

BETH

Actually I worry more when I read about pregnancy. Because of the grand-daughter twins. And then I worry about the lack of jobs in Chicago for their father. And then…I read about how small local farms in Northern Illinois are starting to make significant money as people in towns like Evanston find in “farmer’s markets” food that’s better and cheaper. Perhaps used bookstores will come back to Evanston’s downtown. Nothing like finding a good used book for cheap.

I just worry about how babies “present” and how they emerge. Sometimes they come out not knowing their asshole from their elbows and this worries me. But both my sons came out proper in the old style.

Night thoughts on a diagnosis

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , on May 25, 2012 by spinoza1111

Listen! 

Foulant la boue sombre, vont les képis blancs, and I make no excuses for using a military model. This is a serious matter and I need to get squared off even to surrender and let go.

The GP I have been seeing said “I do not have good news”. I’d noticed two lumps on my shoulder which are, according to Dr, lymph nodes, so I had a test on Wednesday. At this point this appears to be a metastasizing form of lung cancer, she said. 

 
However, I now must see an oncologist at Queen Mary, using our public option and my HKID, because her diagnosis is ONLY preliminary. Although I have been a heavy smoker I have recovered by using Nicotine Gum (nicotine is not a carcinogen, just addictive). The Xray did NOT show a lung tumor. The doctor, who’s very good (she’s worked on Mick Jagger) is a GP who doesn’t consider herself qualified to fully diagnose this problem.
 
The tumor MAY be located in my spine which since March has been acting as if I have a herniated disk with considerable pain. The cells in the swelling are the product of a carcinoma but we need to find their source. Circumstantially this is the lung since that’s the closest organ but we don’t know. Going to Queen Mum is the key here, as is renewing my right to stay in Hong Kong, which expires on 5 June.
 
I probably will be inpatient and in a multi person ward which will be mostly Chinese guys. That’s cool, I can learn more Cantonese. 
 
I could go back to the states but would then lose my father’s legacy at the billing rates obtaining there. Far more important, and apart from the fact that one wants to see one’s children, I have a “family” here of close friends which I never had as I traveled around the US taking different jobs so that my children could grow up in a community I’d wanted to live in.
 
I’d prepaid for three months in Sicily in an arts studio and I bought airline tickets. I have traveler’s medical insurance. Depending on what they say I may still go.
 
But right now I am trying to stay positive and force myself to eat a bit more. I’d self-disciplined down to ideal weight but shed too much while acting in Glengarry and recently through depression induced by sciatic pain. I have sworn off soda and replaced coffee with tea. I also plan to eat far more fresh vegetables especially leeks in memory of Fluellen.
 
My spiritual response. Well, first of all, I cannot drink over this. I mean, it’s absurd. I was walking to the Cultural Center in Kowloon through the trees and spring blossoms, and listening to the St Matthew Passion. I thought, well, I could just go to Wanchai and booze it up with losers from all parts of the world, and pay some long-legged beauty to bone me.
 
For Man is free.
 
But I thought, that’s fucking nuts. I was looking at the blossoms, really seeing them, seeing God all about me. God or nature, deus sive natura where Sprinoza used the Latin word “sive” instead of the more usual vel (inclusive or) or aut (exclusive or), and “sive” means, the one or the other, ask me if I care, Baby. Is the St Matthew Passion religion or art? Ask me at this point if I care, sugar.
 
GE Moore said in response to “idealism”, the world exists independent of my will, I mean, get a clue, the distinction between my mental contents and reality (the reality, interestingly enough, that shall persist after I die) is not only obvious it is the ground of our ability to reason and more importantly, communicate knowledge and love: to be able to love another is to believe that she exists separately from you and isn’t something you ate.
 
Likewise Moore said in response to question “the goodness of the good” that it’s pretty darn obvious what’s good: conversation, Bach, zydeco, friends, Giselle, dancing alone or with others, and of course babies. If you relabel the good as the bad systematically you’ve either done nothing or you’re fucked up and cannot be trusted. You’re a gork on a gurney at County, babbling of private wants and rages. In the name of my father I have always preferred to engage hospital staff in a classy fashion, talking to them civilly and as an equal.
 
Now the problem here is that although I am facing mortality with what seems equanimity this may shatter at any time; my serenity is a daily reprieve. The loss of another affected me more, both my first love in 1968 and my wife in 1981. I dealt with this poorly, by never, after 1981, loving anyone new. 
 
I dunno. There’s something missing here. I love my kids, but shouldn’t I be on a plane to Chicago and not Italy? What manner of man am I? Do I know myself?   
 
I cannot decide all this tonight. I have both Stilnox and new pain meds that are stronger so I am hoping for a quiet night. The sciatica’s out there but behind a legal and prescribed codeine fog. Ah those little Anodynes:
 
The Soul seeks pleasure first
And then, release from pain,
And then, those little Anodynes
That deaden suffering
 
(Emily Dickinson)
 
I need to be careful with medication, for I suffered terribly from Demerol withdrawal in 1978 and drove my wife nuts. I do look forward to coming home from work, in pain, and watching ER on DVD (it’s a reassurance that today’s medical science gives me options that weren’t given to Bette Davis in Dark Victory), popping a Stilnox and retiring, hoping for joyful dreams which I have been having, like Richmond before Bosworth.
 
O thou, whose captain I account myself…
 

Night thoughts on a diagnosis

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , on May 25, 2012 by spinoza1111

Listen! 

Foulant la boue sombre, vont les képis blancs, and I make no excuses for using a military model. This is a serious matter and I need to get squared off even to surrender and let go.

The GP I have been seeing said “I do not have good news”. I’d noticed two lumps on my shoulder which are, according to Dr, lymph nodes, so I had a test on Wednesday. At this point this appears to be a metastasizing form of lung cancer, she said. 

 
However, I now must see an oncologist at Queen Mary, using our public option and my HKID, because her diagnosis is ONLY preliminary. Although I have been a heavy smoker I have recovered by using Nicotine Gum (nicotine is not a carcinogen, just addictive). The Xray did NOT show a lung tumor. The doctor, who’s very good (she’s worked on Mick Jagger) is a GP who doesn’t consider herself qualified to fully diagnose this problem.
 
The tumor MAY be located in my spine which since March has been acting as if I have a herniated disk with considerable pain. The cells in the swelling are the product of a carcinoma but we need to find their source. Circumstantially this is the lung since that’s the closest organ but we don’t know. Going to Queen Mum is the key here, as is renewing my right to stay in Hong Kong, which expires on 5 June.
 
I probably will be inpatient and in a multi person ward which will be mostly Chinese guys. That’s cool, I can learn more Cantonese. 
 
I could go back to the states but would then lose my father’s legacy at the billing rates obtaining there. Far more important, and apart from the fact that one wants to see one’s children, I have a “family” here of close friends which I never had as I traveled around the US taking different jobs so that my children could grow up in a community I’d wanted to live in.
 
I’d prepaid for three months in Sicily in an arts studio and I bought airline tickets. I have traveler’s medical insurance. Depending on what they say I may still go.
 
But right now I am trying to stay positive and force myself to eat a bit more. I’d self-disciplined down to ideal weight but shed too much while acting in Glengarry and recently through depression induced by sciatic pain. I have sworn off soda and replaced coffee with tea. I also plan to eat far more fresh vegetables especially leeks in memory of Fluellen.
 
My spiritual response. Well, first of all, I cannot drink over this. I mean, it’s absurd. I was walking to the Cultural Center in Kowloon through the trees and spring blossoms, and listening to the St Matthew Passion. I thought, well, I could just go to Wanchai and booze it up with losers from all parts of the world, and pay some long-legged beauty to bone me.
 
For Man is free.
 
But I thought, that’s fucking nuts. I was looking at the blossoms, really seeing them, seeing God all about me. God or nature, deus sive natura where Sprinoza used the Latin word “sive” instead of the more usual vel (inclusive or) or aut (exclusive or), and “sive” means, the one or the other, ask me if I care, Baby. Is the St Matthew Passion religion or art? Ask me at this point if I care, sugar.
 
GE Moore said in response to “idealism”, the world exists independent of my will, I mean, get a clue, the distinction between my mental contents and reality (the reality, interestingly enough, that shall persist after I die) is not only obvious it is the ground of our ability to reason and more importantly, communicate knowledge and love: to be able to love another is to believe that she exists separately from you and isn’t something you ate.
 
Likewise Moore said in response to question “the goodness of the good” that it’s pretty darn obvious what’s good: conversation, Bach, zydeco, friends, Giselle, dancing alone or with others, and of course babies. If you relabel the good as the bad systematically you’ve either done nothing or you’re fucked up and cannot be trusted. You’re a gork on a gurney at County, babbling of private wants and rages. In the name of my father I have always preferred to engage hospital staff in a classy fashion, talking to them civilly and as an equal.
 
Now the problem here is that although I am facing mortality with what seems equanimity this may shatter at any time; my serenity is a daily reprieve. The loss of another affected me more, both my first love in 1968 and my wife in 1981. I dealt with this poorly, by never, after 1981, loving anyone new. 
 
I dunno. There’s something missing here. I love my kids, but shouldn’t I be on a plane to Chicago and not Italy? What manner of man am I? Do I know myself?   
 
I cannot decide all this tonight. I have both Stilnox and new pain meds that are stronger so I am hoping for a quiet night. The sciatica’s out there but behind a legal and prescribed codeine fog. Ah those little Anodynes:
 
The Soul seeks pleasure first
And then, release from pain,
And then, those little Anodynes
That deaden suffering
 
(Emily Dickinson)
 
I need to be careful with medication, for I suffered terribly from Demerol withdrawal in 1978 and drove my wife nuts. I do look forward to coming home from work, in pain, and watching ER on DVD (it’s a reassurance that today’s medical science gives me options that weren’t given to Bette Davis in Dark Victory), popping a Stilnox and retiring, hoping for joyful dreams which I have been having, like Richmond before Bosworth.
 
O thou, whose captain I account myself…
 

Health note

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , on May 24, 2012 by spinoza1111

In addition to a herniated disk I also have a large amount of swelling which my doctor attributes to lymph nodes and a high ESR (erythrocyte sedimentation rate) which can indicate a variety of conditions, some bad, some not so bad. I went in for a test yesterday and will get the results tomorrow. More detail will be available on my Facebook page (Edward Nilges in Hong Kong).

Do not rescusitate? To honor my father I am “resuscitate me or die, motherfuckers” since I have a lot of unfinished business both in art and with my kids. As Billy Blanks (he of my TaeBo workout says) you have to walk through the fire.

One doctor concerned about my weight loss. I THINK it’s because I have long learned to be temperate around food, and the low salt content of even Western style food here in China has acclimated me to just enough. Unlike Steve Jobs in his cancer, I feel hungry and don’t get nauseated when I chow down. I am “hot” as they say but I also need to remind myself that pride goeth before a fall.

My Pole star is Kant and science. I do not know what lies beyond but I have long learned that being good to one another is something that skepticism cannot easily question and remain, in fact, a healthy and enlightened skepticism. Christ was on target on the Mount and left his story for us to know is all I know.

The anguish is in the proposition which is certain, that for any meaningful scientific statement such as Borges’ “the true story of my death”, s, its probability P(s) lies between certainly false (0) and certainly true (1): 0<P(s)<1. Whereupon we can rejoice and be serene as was Kant, striving to complete Der Kritik, or Spinoza on his last day on earth, deus sive natura.

I will keep this blog informed as to what happens. Remember that I love drama and being the center of attention, but always tell the truth.

I dreamed last night a happy dream: I took my son to a platform for the observation of the sun and higher and higher altitude which also had a “virtual reality” way of seeing how it is to breathe at higher and higher levels. I bought him a souvenir of our visit.

We must bear all

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , on July 23, 2011 by spinoza1111

There it is, as the Emperor said in Amadeus. I will make requests that are disregarded and ignored concerning family affairs. I am “the one who did not show up at his father’s funeral” because it’s now a moral fault to not have a Visa card or to send hypercorrect emails requesting that a gift be treated as a loan so I could make it back in time.

However, I need “restraint of tongue and pen” in this matter. What I said in “A Note on the Mercy of the Night” here in this blog still applies. What John Bunyan said in Grace Abounding to the Chief of Sinners still applies: I must venture you all with God.

Edward Said said it best. One can choose to be a disobliging old gentleman, to write music like the Grosse Fuge or Four Last Songs, as long as one is willing to put up with incomprehension.

I do expect too much of people. I’m like Miranda, o brave new world, that has such people in it. I thought my fellow students at Roosevelt to be budding geniuses. I thought my wife a queen who would be recognized and celebrated as such as an actress and writer.

I’m like the guy in that song Black Ribbon Band. You put your hair in a black ribbon band, or wear a simple circlet ’round your head and I’m putty in your hands. To me you’re the queen of the land, and next thing I’m transported to Australia ’cause you’ve made me an accessory, ba da bing.

So come all you jolly young fellows
A warning take by me
When you are out on the town me lads,
Beware of them pretty colleens
For they feed you with strong drink,
‘Til you are unable to stand
And the very next thing that you’ll know
Is you’ve landed in Van Diemens Land

Her eyes they shone like diamonds
I thought her the queen of the land
And her hair it hung over her shoulder
Tied up with a black velvet band

Perhaps I expect too much of myself. My IQ? 120. I find Mensa people creepy: I find people acknowledged as “highly intelligent”, especially in my former profession of software, to be mostly thugs with cash registers instead of hearts.

And there it is. In a society of anger so free-floating, like the plastic that gyres in the Pacific consisting of all the crap we’ve thrown away, people will insist on laying “our debts, our careful wives, our children rawly left” upon the King, or his mirror isomorph, the scapegoat.

“We must bear all: o hard condition” (Shakespeare Henry V).