The Ancestor’s Tale – R. Dawkins (plus) The Road To Reality – R. Penrose

Was at a meeting this morning in the centre of Belfast so I popped into Waterstones bookshop to pick up a copy of Roger Penrose’s “The Road to Reality“. Got that okay. We will get to that presently.

Sitting proudly in the Just Published section was Richard Dawkins “The Ancestor’s Tale“. So I got a copy of that as well. All I can say is “Wow!!”

First impressions; this is a beautiful book. The production quality is superb. It’s 528 pages long. Between A4 and A5 in size, hardback, excellent paper quality. All that’s fine and dandy but “what about the content?” I hear you cry.
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The Darkness live

Brilliant!!! Went to see The Darkness at the Belfast Vital04 festival in Belfast Botanic Gardens on Monday. They were excellent.

All the hype is true. These guys are the real deal. They are tight as a unit, can actually play their instruments well, have good rapport with the crowd and bash out the songs with gusto. All in all they put on a show which is, lets face it, what you want at a bloody concert.

They played most of the songs from their debut album and those from the EP available on the Apple iTunes store. Love on the Rocks with no Ice was the last one played and it went on for ages! They also played one new song. “This is the awkward moment bit” as Justin Hawkins put it πŸ™‚ Another few albums worth of material will fill out the live set nicely. If you get a chance to go see them then take it.

Latest checkup

Had another post treatment check-up today. This was the 4th since the radiotherapy finished. Got the usual check-up as reported previously. Oncologist checked for lymph node swelling in neck, abdomen and groin. Nothing untoward to report πŸ™‚

Also got the results of my CT scan confirmed. Nothing out of the ordinary found. Blood was taken the check for beta-HCG and AFP protein markers. I was told that my check-up frequency would now go onto a 6-month schedule with chest x-rays on that time-scale as well.

So much rejoicing again.

One Year Post IO CT Scan

I had a follow-up CT Scan last week.

Got a call from my Oncology consultants Secretary today to say that the scan was clear. Much rejoicing πŸ™‚

So thanks to science and modern medicine it looks like my adventure with TC is not going to stop me annoying the crap out of people any time soon!

The Knife – The Knife

Got the self titled album from the Swedish band The Knife recently. I heard them first on the Jonathan Ross radio show on BBC Radio 2. He played a song that I was sure was by BjΓΆrk. It sounded very like her style. When it had finished however he and Andy Davies (The Ultimate Sidekick) said it was actually a song called Parade by The Knife. It took a few weeks to track down a copy of the album but I finally got it from Amazon UK.

I love it. There are some excellent tracks. Apart from Parade I especially like Kino, I Just Had To Die, I Take Time, Bird and Neon. You can listen to track samples at the iTMS.

Well worth a listen if you like BjΓΆrk. In fact, well worth a listen even if you don’t.

3rd Post RT check-up

Had another check-up today after the radiotherapy last year. Nothing untoward to report πŸ™‚ The oncologist checked for lymph node swelling in my neck, abdomen and (surprisingly) ankles!! Nothing found. Blood was taken to check for beta-HCG protein markers. The check box for AFP markers was not ticked this time. This is to be expected as seminoma tumours don’t release AFP. In fact only about 10 to 20% of seminomas release beta-HCG markers. Mine were never raised.

The check-ups have occurred approximately every two months since the radiotherapy. I was told today that I would be going onto a four month check-up schedule. A CT scan was also ordered for sometime in the next few weeks. This was ordered not in response to any symptoms but rather just because it’s been a year since my last one. I expect it to be negative!!

So happy days πŸ™‚ Is it okay to use the C word?

[C word = cured]

How easily we slip back into bad habits

As I wrote in a previous entry when I was away in New York and Toronto I walked lots and lots over the week and discovered it is really good exercise. I lost weight and felt really fit. When i got back I made a point of going for a long walk at least once a week. Really enjoyed them. Over the last few weeks I’ve failed to keep this up. Have noticed a difference. I don’t have as much energy and have felt tired more often. I definitely feel better when I exercise. There’s a surprise πŸ™‚
Was reading a neuroscience book this afternoon and felt really drowsy. I know what you’re thinking! A neuroscience book would put anyone to sleep πŸ˜‰ Actually the stuff in the book is really, really interesting and was not the cause of the sleepiness. If I had stayed there reading I would have been impersonating a nodding dog in no time. So I forced myself to go for a walk. Good call!! Did 5 miles listening to solo Roger Taylor tracks on my iPod.
Feel really refreshed and alert after getting back. So will have to force myself to do more exercise in the future. it does make you feel better. it also makes it easier to learn new stuff as well. Like neuroscience for example πŸ™‚

2nd Post RT check-up

This week I had my 2nd check-up after the “zapping” last year. It is only about 2 months since the last check-up so I was surprised to get the appointment letter just before Christmas. Apparently the check-ups will be every 2 months for the rest of this year.

I got the same examination as I did last time. The doctor checked for lymph node swelling in my neck and abdomen. Nothing found. Blood was also taken to check for AFP and beta-HCG markers. I was told I would get a CT scan at the 18 months after surgery timescale. This will be about December of this year. I’m happy with this. I had pure seminoma with no indication of spread. No need to go though a CT scan and get another dose of x-rays at the present time if not needed!

So happy days πŸ™‚ as far as I’m concerned.

The Soddit – A. R. R. R. Roberts

This, as the title and author name suggests, is a spoof on J.R.R. Tolkein’s book, The Hobbit.

I loved it. It is very funny. The story follows the journey of Bingo “sac” Grabbings as he is dragged off on an adventure, by Gandef the Wizard and 12 Welsh dwarfs, to the Only Mountain, inhabited by Smug the Dragon. Bingo’s travelling companions are very reluctant to discuss the reason for the journey…

The story Adam Roberts has spun in The Soddit does not follow the one in The Hobbit completely. This is good in my opinion. This is a very funny book and it’s a good story in its own right. It had me laughing out loud many, many times. You don’t need to have read Tolkien’s original in order to enjoy this book. Excellent stuff.

His Dark Materials – Phillip Pullman

Just finished the 3rd volume of this. All I can say is I’m glad I’m finished it. If I hadn’t bought the whole thing at the same time from Amazon UK I probably wouldn’t have continued.

But since I’d bought them anyway I decided to finish. I agree completely with the views expressed in the books about religion, churches, the need for people to be nice to each other and the need to respect the environment. But as a story the series just didn’t grab me and draw me into the Universe Pullman creates. I’m sure that the philosophy outlined in the series will be new and enlightening to many people who read them. This can only be a good thing. The more people who think for themselves and judge the world based on reason and evidence, as opposed to on faith and dogma, the better.

For this reason I’m glad the books are a success and are selling very well. It’ll be a while however before I take them down from the bookcase to read for pleasure.