You may have recently read about a new book called The Enlightened Bracketologist: The Final Four of Everything, out just in time for March Madness. The book is a collection of brackets each based around a specific theme. The contributors use a series of head-to-head matchups to determine top songs, moments in history, top marital disputes, etc. They encourage readers to use bracketology to determine favorites and make decisions, and they even provide a blank bracket. One contributor and his wife used bracketology to determine their favorite name for a boy when they were expecting. They caution that you can't worry too much about "'seeding." Unlike basketball, there are no numbers and statistics to help you determine which of your top 32 favorite chick flicks should be paired in the first round. Just list them randomly, or create "regionals" (sub-categories of 4 or 8 or 16 used to group items in the first round) and trust that your favorite is going to win in every round and end up in that final spot.
I can already see that this could be a fun little time-waster for this group, especially since there is also a website: www.dailybracket.com. Not only can you browse and comment on other brackets, but you can create your own as well. Let the games begin.
Saturday Night at the Bookstore
Two middle-aged women were smoking pot in the women's bathroom and someone put one of the customer computers into DOS mode and typed F*** You all the way down the screen.
Tomorrow is my 30th birthday, and I'm still really looking forward to it. Somehow, my hair seems to have gotten the memo about this milestone because over the last few weeks I've found many new, longer, thicker gray hairs all over my head. In honor of my 30th birthday I've actually purchased gifts for each of you. More to come on that...
The initial printing of book 7, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, will be a record 12 million copies. That is a fact, but on the rumor and speculation side of things, there are reports that the book will top 700 pages and that dear Harry will not live to see the final page. Also, watch http://www.scholastic.com/harrypotter/ and http://www.jkrowling.com/ for information about the Knight Bus National Tour and the rest of Scholastic's "There Will Soon Be 7" marketing campaign.
Robbie (my 26-year-old brother, for those that don't know) starts chemo on Monday. He will be doing three 3-week cycles that will end May 15th. Jenni graduates from college on May 13 and their wedding is May 26. The wedding is going forward as planned but the honeymoon might be postponed as Robbie as probably isn't going to have much energy for traveling. Or for other honeymoon-ish activities.
The official description of his cancer is stage 4, grade T3 testicular cancer, exactly what Lance Armstrong had. The tumors that remain in his lymph nodes have just about doubled in size since his surgery less than 3 weeks ago. He's got quite a bit of pain right now from the tumors - they are pressing on his internal organs and sitting on a pelvic nerve. Oddly enough, Robbie actually said that he can't wait for chemo to start because his pain should be almost completely alleviated by the end of the first week.
Using only chemotherapy, the cure rate for this cancer is 90%. The doctor said that if you had to get a certain type of cancer, you would want to get this type because testicular cancer cells are very receptive to chemo. It actually works to Robbie's advantage that his cancer is so aggressive, because it leaves the cells more susceptible to the chemo. Weeks 1, 4, and 7 of his treatment are his "on" weeks. He will actually go to the cancer center every day from 8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. and be hooked up to an I.V. the entire time he's there. The rest of the weeks are his "off" weeks and he'll only have to go in for one 1-hour treatment each Tuesday. The doctor said to expect that he'll lose all of his hair (which isn't a huge difference from how he wears it now). Other possible side effects include: change in appetite and food preferences (maybe he'll start liking veggies), lots of nausea and vomiting, fatigue, high risk of bleeding, kidney damage, nerve damage to fingers and toes, hearing loss, and lung toxicity (he'll have to stay as far away as possible from all cigarette smoke).
Robbie and Jenni also found out that it is pretty likely that even before starting the chemo he is already sterile. Still, they are taking steps to deal with fertility issues now and Robbie will be making a couple of "deposits to the bank" before chemo, including one at 6:00 a.m. Monday morning. Ugh. Poor guy. Whatever barriers we had with talking about these things in our family just a few months ago, they are gone now. Anything is fair game.