Thursday, May 29, 2008

Completely Bald White Guys Musical Addendum

Michael Stipe

(Special nod to my homeboy from back home, Scott, for pointing out this omission. R.E.M. has always been one of my favorite bands and the exclusion of Stipe from the initial list was my bad.)

CBWG Pros: Tons of good songs. An increasingly snappy dresser. Friend to Mario Batali, whose food looks tasty. Has Mike Mills on harmony.
CBWG Cons: Weak-tea political content. "Elliptical" lyrics frequently mush. Long flirtation with questionable makeup choices.

Billy Corgan

CBWG Pros: Siamese Dream still mostly stands up! Of course, he had hair when he recorded that one.
CBWG Cons: Creepy little megolomaniacal troll. "Poetic" lyrics about as awful as awful gets. Zwan?

That guy from Midnight Oil

CBWG Pros: Midnight Oil was apparently a pretty big deal in their native Australia. I do like the one song I know about everyone's beds burning. Also, this guy is apparently now the Australian Minister for Environment, Heritage and Arts!
CBWG Cons: Can't think of any. This guy looks like a contender!

Wednesday, May 21, 2008


So that's me with a bald dome and rockin' a couple of cancer accessories on my wrist. The one in yellow is your classic Lance Armstrong LiveStrong bracelet. But what, you may wonder, is its fellow in orange?

That's right, baby! My beloved pal Jared created and ordered these for me. And they're quickly becoming a sensation, I tell you!

Well, I won't say "sensation" (though I just did), but some have asked me how they can get their hands on one of these hot, hot bracelets. Here's the deal: Jared and I can order a re-supply, scaled to how much demand there is out there.

$3 will get you your very own "Luciani Strong" bracelet. That three bucks covers production, shipping, and a modest donation to the Testicular Cancer Resource Center.

How to pay? Well, you can pay through PayPal. Or you can just shoot me an email stating your interest and your intent to pay with cash next time you see me.

As soon as the bracelets come in, I will try to distribute them as effectively as possible. "As effectively as possible" will probably be still somewhat haphazard.

I ain't winning no bike races. If "Luciani Strong" means anything, it means muddling through in a pleasantly average way. Celebrate your own commitment to the pleasantly average by ordering your bracelet today!

Holy Moly, I Miss Alcohol -- Not in An Alcoholic Way, You Understand, But Just An Epicurean Way


So, one of the classic things about chemo (so I was told and so I am discovering) is that you temporarily lose your taste for certain things, including foods and beverages you once considered a dear, dear part of your regular diet. For me, the most distinct loss has been my taste for things alcoholic.

I've tried a beer or two since the chemo began. They didn't upset my stomach ... they didn't taste bad ... but that warm, contented feeling that usually accompanies a quality beer during its passage down my throat and belly -- gone, at least for now.

Mixed drinks, too.


Monday, May 19, 2008

Completely Bald White Guys Addendum I

NB: Patrick Stewart/Jean-Luc Picard does not qualify for the list. Although almost completely bald, Stewart has a visually prominent C-shaped tuft:

It's a judgment call and a little arbitrary. But I vividly remember Stewart's ear-to-ear ring o' hair from watching TNG. It was like a visual counterpoint to Geordi LaForge's sweet wraparound eye thingie.

Professor X

(Stewart shaved his tuft in order to play Prof. X. -- thus, the character qualifies, but Stewart does not.)

CBWG Pros: Psychic powers to the extreme. Provides a way for nerds to understand why Martin Luther King, Jr. was important.
CBWG Cons: A bit of a scold? Also: can't walk.


CBWG Pros: Interestingly, Play is actually a pretty great album to listen to while you're getting chemo.
CBWG Cons: Weenie.


Well, I am strapped in for another long week: Monday through Friday, 5-6 hours per day. Once I get done with this long week, there is only one more!

The Neulastia shot did its job (relatively painlessly in my case, I should add), knocking my white blood cell count back into a healthy range.

I dropped a few pounds, probably due to the stretch when it hurt to eat (when I, thereforetherefore, didn't). But I've been eating much more lately.


Completely Bald White Guys

I am now completely bald (it looks pretty good) and, somewhat predictably, many people have told me that I resemble Lex Luthor. Not an unflattering comparison -- after all, he is brilliant and fabulously wealthy, not to mention a natty dresser, albeit megolomaniacal -- but the frequency of its invocation reminded me that there are very few pop-cultural touchstones for Completely Bald White Guys (CBWGs).

So, journey with me as I try to select my own personal CBWG icon. Please help me out with anyone that I might have missed!


CBWG Pros: Rich! Ambitious. Seems to be competent in whatever disciplines a given plotline requires him to be competent in.
CBWG Cons: Frequently foiled. Rendered as bumbling, vain, and ineffectual in silver screen adaptations.


CBWG Pros: Rich! (Richer than Luthor, even, according to the Forbes Fictional 15.) A benefactor to humankind.
CBWG Cons: Emotionally dominated by irrepressible moppet. Expensive research or philanthropic projects often fall prey to sabotage. No pupils.


CBWG Pros: Rad name. Anticipated both Vin Diesel's baldness and hard-to-pin-down ethnicity.
CBWG Cons: Fabricated exotic biography. Also, died of cancer (lung), which is inauspicious.


CBWG Pros: Was apparently awesome at blackjack. Those Player's Club International ads made him seem pretty slick. Kojak was good at solving crimes.
CBWG Cons: Died of cancer, goddammit!!


Let's move on.


CBWG Pros: Rebounds, mid-range shooting.
CBWG Cons: Personal fouls. Can't get it done on the road.


CBWG Pros: Authoritative presence in courtroom. Sweet man-child nature.
CBWG Cons: Target of John Larroquette's barbs.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

The Hair's Starting to Go

Yup! In the shower today, I noticed that my hands were covered with sheddings. At the current rate, I'd give it another five days or so.

I am starting to move into the phase I was warned about, where chemo starts to feel like the world's most prolonged hangover. My stomach and throat are inflamed, so it kind of hurts to swallow. I've had a headache for about three days. And Monday's bleomycin shot wiped me the fuck out and sent me to bed for what must have been a good 14 hours.

Unfortunately, the blood test yesterday also revealed that my white blood cell count has gone in the turlet, so today I went back to the clinic for a shot of neulastia. Neulastia makes your bone marrow go apeshit and produce white blood cells like crazy ... which has the unfortunate side effect of making your bones throb painfully. It hasn't started happening to me yet, so we'll see.

Ain't we got fun?

Saturday, May 10, 2008

I Have Not Seen the New David Mamet Martial Arts Movie "Redbelt," but I Imagine It Contains Memorable Scenes Like the Following

MAIN GUY: "I don't fight for money."
SOME KIND OF SHADY GUY, PROBABLY RICKY JAY: "Fight, fuck. You hit. People. In the face. In the balls. You think your ungreased palm hurts less a mother slamming on some poor fucker's nose?"

MAIN GUY: "I told him I don't fight for money."
MAIN GUY'S WIFE OR GIRLFRIEND OR WHATEVER: "$30,000 isn't money, it's money. Money isn't money if it's $30,000. It's $30,000, it's -- fuck!"
MAIN GUY: "We don't need it."
MAIN GUY'S WIFE OR GIRLFRIEND OR WHATEVER: "We don't need $3,000. Everyone needs $30,000."

TIM ALLEN, WHO I THINK PLAYS A BIG FIGHT FAN OR SOMETHING: "All I have is 'wow' -- I mean, the things you did in there, the way you picked them apart. That kind of speed, how you read them."
MAIN GUY, WHO JUST BEAT UP SOME GUYS: "Don't fight anyone who can fight himself."
TIM ALLEN: "You gotta -- look, you have to show me just one thing, just ... when he was coming up behind you --"
MAIN GUY: "The fist never strikes the body. The body strikes the fist. The body strikes the fist."

In any case, I hope it's as good as The Edge:

One day everyone will get over Glengarry Glen Ross and realize that that was Mamet's true masterpiece.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

On Testicular Implants

So, this is old news, but when I had my left nard removed, I opted (in keeping with my longstanding interest in symmetry and balance) for the implantation of a saline-filled prosthetic to take its place.

Unfortunately, the only way to test-drive a prosthetic testicle is to actually have one implanted, and once it's in there, getting it out is a serious bother. I've now spent three weeks with the new guy and have begun to form some opinions.

POINT FOR: It's doing a fine job in terms of "passing." It looks quite credible, and I seriously doubt anyone could tell the difference from five paces. (It helps that very few people of any sexual orientation -- except for, I imagine, a limited set of anatomical connoisseurs -- really choose to spend sustained time in contemplation of the ballsack.)

POINT AGAINST: I am only guessing, but I think this implant weighs at least twice as much as the all-natural testicle it replaced. Now, testicles not weighing very much to begin with, you'd think the difference would be negligible. However, when crucial parts of your body, after more than a dozen years of persisting comfortably in a certain arrangement, have to stretch to a new one ... well, use your imagination.

IN CONCLUSION: I am happy I opted for the fake ball, but please consider all the possible factors when you make your own decision.

Monday, May 5, 2008

Week 2 of 9

Weeks 2, 3, 5, 6, 8, and 9 aren't bad ones ... just a Bleomycin shot on Monday, along with some lab work to check on my blood count. Then my body gets the rest of the time to build itself back up for the tiresome five-day weeks.

My blood counts today were looking pretty good: white blood cells in the south side of normal range, red blood cells only slightly below average.

Side effects? I'd say the most pronounced one at the moment is the weird feeling of my skin stretched too tight over my skull. That and a general fuzziness. My thoughts are kind of sloughing around like syrup. It's a bit like being drunk, but without the euphoric rise in energy.

I wish I had something more interesting to add at the moment but -- ahhh, you know what? I'm pretty glad I don't have anything more interesting to add at the moment, as "interesting" at this point would tend more toward the ill than the good. I am blessed to be boring.

Perhaps when the bleo fog lifts from my brain ... tomorrow, mayhap? ... I will say something amusing.


In the meantime, I find that Hercules and Love Affair is very agreeable to my spirits. Yours too, perhaps?


Friday, May 2, 2008

One Week Down!

One week down.

Acid reflux in check.

Minor fatigue ... a few aches and pains.

Only 8 weeks to go, and only two of them all-dayers.

Let's go, team!