April 28, 2006

Today is a Stinker

Whew, today is not going well for me in the health department. Maybe I worked too hard on web content (not on this site) yesterday. I think the more likely culprit is the temperature drop, though. Another 10 degree shift in a succession of them. Well, it's just one day. I'll have to find some ways to kill time that don't overload my mind or body.

Posted by Andy at 04:09 PM to the Health category | Comments (0)

April 27, 2006

Onward and Upward

Today ended better than it started, which is not new to me particularly. I kept everything extremly low-key and look forward to my first 3rd day after radiation since this whole thing began. We shall see if tomorrow will bring any noticeable improvement, particularly in the nausea department.

Posted by Andy at 12:58 AM to the Health category | Comments (2)

April 25, 2006

I'm Realigned

I had my biweekly osteopathy appointment today, which was fortunately timed right at the end of all of this radiation stuff. I am quite tired of course, but hopefully this will help right the ship over the next week.

I am disappointed that I have not displayed any super powers yet. I have a mild case of ESP going, though. Maybe that's just the beginning, or maybe I have to get a Professor X-style wheelchair before it all kicks in. If we do this aquarium/museum thing as planned, we might just find out!

Posted by Andy at 10:16 PM to the Health category | Comments (2)

April 24, 2006

Not Wilderness Bound Yet

I spent much of my day today hanging out with Amanda Bange. We celebrated the end of radiation hostilities at the Cheshire Crab. Unfortunately, this favorite haunt has changed their menu for the worse by removing what I would call their signature "crab in a blanket" dish among other things. The help says it's going to expand again very soon, so I am holding out hope. We almost got jipped out of $10 in paying the bill, which happened once before... I don't know if it is bad luck or if this place is going downhill fast. Let's hope it's the former.

Anyway, Amanda had lots to relay about her goings on, and I in turn had lots to discuss on how politics can be aggravating. All in all, lots of wholesome fun. We are planning a Pizza Hut pizza and Passions day pretty soon, too. Want in?

Posted by Andy at 11:14 PM to the General category | Comments (0)

Zap x20

There was some waiting involved in today's treatment, but now I am done for good and planning my retreat into the wilderness, never to visit a health care facility again! Ha ha! I would like to thank Dr. Oh, nurses Candy and Trish, and all seven members of the radiation staff who did the actual zapping each day.

I expect it will take a while for me to get back to "normal", but that will give us the time to plan the trips I discussed some time ago. Designated coordinators, start your planning... Now!

Posted by Andy at 03:41 PM to the Health category | Comments (9)

It's Almost Over

As has been our system over the past month, I got an IV and massage treatment today, the last day before my last radiation treatment. I also got out to Kevin's place for a birthday party he threw for his fiancée, Debra. I won't know till tomorrow if I got away with this one or not, but hopefully I will.

You may have noticed how I have become less talkative over the past couple of weeks. I've already gone through the emotion phase and the clear mind phase. I think this is the "dead" phase. I'm fairly well out of gas, so odds are you won't be getting much exciting content out of me for a while. That is assuming I ever had any exciting content on this site, of course. Maybe I should have written these radiation logs in a cliff-hanger format...

Posted by Andy at 12:12 AM to the Health category | Comments (2)

April 22, 2006

Random Thought

It just occurred to me that all of the pictures in my wallet are from high school. It makes sense since that was the last time I was particularly in command of my own destiny, but it's still kinda weird. Do any of you people I know now have pictures I can put in there? If so, send 'em at me.

Posted by Andy at 11:52 PM to the General category | Comments (5)

Spirited Away

I cannot recall whether or not I have discussed the topic before, but I have never particularly liked or understood anime. I've tried a number of series and at least parts of some movies, but there is always a pervasive sort of senselessness that I can't evade. I'm sure it's just a cultural thing, but I still can't seem to crack it. At least not until Spirited Away.

This movie is a gem. It's as good as the old Disney classics, but in a very different way. Unlike many of the made for tv anime series that to my eye feature animation that I have jokingly said consists of still frames held in front of a camera at times, Spirited Away is fully animated, though of course in a different artistic style. What really drew me in was the story, which has an innocent quality to it that lets you explore what's actually going on and the main character at the same time. You essentially learn what she learns as she learns it, and it allows you to understand her predicament all the better.

So, give it a try, even if you hate anime. If I can like it, odds are you can too. If you've had your fill of exploding heads and animation fit for an R rated movie, you'll be pleasantly surprised to find that not all anime contains either, and that in fact, some of it has a quiet wisdom about it that is great for kids and adults alike. In fact, I particularly recommend this movie for those of you who have kids, because it can entertain them and teach them good values at the same time. I haven't seen that combination for quite some time.

Posted by Andy at 11:26 PM to the TV and Movies category | Comments (5)

Tired and Bored

Yes, it's the double threat! I'm happy to not have to get treated today, but my body hasn't figured that out so much. I have a couple of movies from Netflix to pass the time, but for some reason don't want to watch them. I must be trouble.

Posted by Andy at 05:42 PM to the Health category | Comments (0)

No Way

I taped Brandi's debut appearance on the NBC soap, Passions, today, and just finished watching that tape. (Watching = fast forwarding everything but her appearances.) I think she is a mermaid. I can't prove it, but it sure looks that way.

Posted by Andy at 12:25 AM to the TV and Movies category | Comments (0)

April 21, 2006

Zap x19

Whew, treatment #19 is out of the way. I had to wait a fair bit beforehand because the radiation folks were having trouble with getting pictures to turn out properly on a woman who went in ahead of me. I feel sorry for her. She must have had to keep her arms over her head in the little mold thing for a good half hour or hour. I'm surprised they didn't fall off.

I'm home now (obviously), and really tired and nauseous. Fortunately I get two days off, and then go back for just 1 more treatment. At that point I think I will move to the wilderness and never see another medical facility as long as I live.

Posted by Andy at 03:15 PM to the Health category | Comments (0)

April 20, 2006

Wedding Crashers

After a Netflix drought spanning, what, almost a week I guess, I finally got to kick back and watch Wedding Crashers. I had read or heard mixed critical reviews, but a lot of my friends seemed to like the movie, and I have had good luck with other films featuring the same actor core. The movie started slowly, but I was laughing pretty hard by the end, even while I was simultaneously offended by some of the content. If you can get around the near-total lack of morality, give it a try. If you're not sure, put it back on the shelf.

Posted by Andy at 11:45 PM to the TV and Movies category | Comments (0)

Zap x18

Today was fairly routine timewise, and though I still feel rather lousy, I am doing better than yesterday. I think I will be up to a late afternoon walk around the circle. It's too nice out not to at least try, and the trees are just stunning right now.

Posted by Andy at 03:37 PM to the Health category | Comments (0)

April 19, 2006

Killbury Eggs

I just tried to eat a Cadbury Egg (I love 'em), but it tasted faintly like metal. Did one of you plant a lethal egg near me or should I sue? Maybe both!

Posted by Andy at 11:40 PM to the Food category | Comments (1)

Zap x17

Today was fast, but wow am I sick. 3 to go.

Posted by Andy at 03:08 PM to the Health category | Comments (0)

April 18, 2006


The Orioles lost by 14 tonight and I was without a Netflix option, so I turned to HBO and a little animated film called Robots to while away the hours. I'm too tired to write out a full review, but I can say that this film is mediocre. I laughed some, but also found some jokes to be either tasteless or forced. The characters were cute, but without a solid plot behind them, their antics fell a bit short. See it if ya want. It's not terrible or anything. Just not great.

Posted by Andy at 10:59 PM to the TV and Movies category | Comments (0)

Zap x16

Contrary to yesterday's waitstravaganza, I was treated as soon as I walked in the door today. Most of my time was actually spent on the table, because they had trouble lining me up properly. I feel like I could help them, but they're not so much wanting to hear from me during that process. Regardless, I was in and back out in 15 minutes today.

Unfortunately, I am not reaping the benefits of the short wait in terms of how I feel. My nausea and fatigue are both pretty hefty right now. It's probably the Easter backlash doing most of that work still. Netflix isn't coming through for me right now, either. I haven't had a disc for a while now. I hope something didn't get lost in the mail.

Posted by Andy at 03:48 PM to the Health category | Comments (0)

April 17, 2006

Complain Complain

I think I'm having more skin trouble from the magic marker than from the radiation treatments. You'd think there would be some kind of skin-safe version that would yet remain reasonably permanent. If there is one, Tate doesn't have it.

We got back an insurance claim today. Carefirst paid $0 for one of my appointments with the urologist. I don't know if they've paid anything else or not, but I think this says worlds about our health care experience. If cancer isn't good enough, maybe I should start inventing new health problems to get their attention. I've been thinking for years that I might have whooping cholera...

Ok, I'm done complaining. I think I'll watch some baseball, and 24 in a few minutes. I hope this week's episode isn't in full soap opera mode. Ok, now I'm done complaining.

Posted by Andy at 08:46 PM to the Health category | Comments (0)

Zap x15

Whew, today was a long one. Despite calling ahead to check the schedule not 25 minutes before my appointment, I arrived to a 3 or 4 person backup and didn't get in for at least a half hour. Monday being "doctor day", I had to wait longer on the other side of my treatment, and didn't get out the door till 4pm. I think one lady had an emergency situation that threw off the timing of the whole operation. I hope she's ok.

Feel free to call up/stop in/email... you know the drill. I am without any Netflix movies today, and am out of energy as well. Here's an idea to get you started: Leave a comment and talk about what you did over the Easter holiday? How many people were involved in your celebration (or non-celebration maybe), and what did you do?

Posted by Andy at 04:53 PM to the Health category | Comments (0)

April 16, 2006

Happy Easter

I know that my Redeemer liveth, and that He shall stand at the latter day upon the earth. For now is Christ risen from the dead, the first-fruits of them that sleep.

Job 19:25, I Corinthians 15:20

Posted by Andy at 03:21 PM to the General category | Comments (0)

April 15, 2006

Uneventful Day

The weather shift set me back a little bit today, but all went well aside from that, I'd say. For reasons unknown, my being sick to my stomach has mitigated my orthostatic intolerance slightly, so I was able to walk around the circle again, and spend some time out on the pier as well. I'm missing the tennis courts, but will hopefully get back on them in a few weeks or a month, depending on how recovery goes.

I have many movies to choose from tonight, but have latched onto The Ten Commandments, which should only take 7 hours to air with commercial breaks factored in. Besides, that Charlton Heston is dreamy. :)

Posted by Andy at 09:04 PM to the Health category | Comments (0)

April 14, 2006

Zap x14

I think I am adapting to the fatigue component of my treatments. The last two weeks, Friday was brutal, but this one seems not all that different than the other days of the week. We picked up a snowball on the way home this time so that I might take in my weekly allotment of sugars and essential food colorings.

Our nurse friend who does the IV and massage work is coming by in a short time. That seems like a good way to start the radiation-free weekend, especially with Easter right around the corner.

Posted by Andy at 02:57 PM to the Health category | Comments (1)

April 13, 2006


Happy almost-Easter everyone. I'm going to do something I should have done a long time ago on this site and provide an Easter wallpaper image for you to use if you so choose. To apply it to your desktop, first click the link above, then right click on the resulting image and select Set as background from the menu. Depending on the browser you use, this could instead read Set as wallpaper or something else with a similar connotation. If the image appears too large or small for your screen, send me a comment and I'll add more instructions.

On a related note, I have a tough decision to make this year on account of my ongoing health situation. Do I kick my butt and go to my church's Easter service in the morning, or do I get myself to the family gathering in the afternoon? I really don't see how I can manage both. My thought is to read the scripture on my own and get to the reunion, but I welcome your input on this matter. If you have other ideas, I'm happy to entertain those as well.

Posted by Andy at 11:47 PM to the General category | Comments (3)

Outside = Great

I was able to get outside more than I expected today. After some recoup time consisting of a Star Trek/Food Network/political reading combo, I took a walk around the circle. Everything is just gorgeous this time of year. Any time of year really, but right now, every day is different and that is special.

After a Battlestar break, I got out there again for some quality pier sitting and spiritual reflecting, and was called out one more time when dad told me of a bird sighting around the corner by the boat yard. On their walk, they spotted a small flock of cedar waxwings, a bird that doesn't really live in these parts.

I have probably made my final daytime trek out for the day, but what a great one it has been. Maybe I should top it off with some Coca Cola Blak.

Maybe not.

Posted by Andy at 07:07 PM to the General category | Comments (0)

Zap x13

My appointment today, while not quite as fast as yesterday, was still a pretty painless affair. I had time to read about one paragraph in my book before being taken back. Nothing wrong with that.

It sure is beautiful outside. If I had a recliner-type chair out there I'd spend much of my day on the pier I suspect, but I will have to settle for a shorter stint a little later in the afternoon or evening. As for the rest of you, take the opportunity to enjoy this beautiful day. Take a few breaths and appreciate what you have. I'll join you.

Posted by Andy at 03:07 PM to the Health category | Comments (2)

April 12, 2006


I've been signed up with MySpace for a few months now. It's a useful tool to meet people with similar interests or who live in your area, but it comes with an advertising price tag, particularly if you have kids who are interested in the service. I just sent the MySpace crew the following message:

I am emailing simply to voice my displeasure at the advertising content displayed on nearly every page of your service. While I am a 28 year old who can handle the bombardment of sexual imagery, I know many who sign up here are young teenagers who do not share my life experience. Why should they be subjected to constant soliciations to join dating services that clearly promote physical relationships.

I thank you for your time,

Andy Mosmiller
Posted by Andy at 03:48 PM to the General category | Comments (0)

Zap x12

I was in and out the door today as fast as I think is possible. The same lady that wanted to blame me for yesterday lectured me a bit more today about being on time, which was irksome considering I was one whole minute late before being waylaid by the nurse to see if everything was going smoothly. That conversation must have lasted at least another one minute. Yeesh. Still, treatment was as painless as possible today. I'm not gonna let this minor nuisance blind me to that fact.

As for the rest of the day, I do believe I will watch some more Battlestar, maybe task my Pikmin to retrieve some more valuable objects, and possibly take a walk or sit outside for a spell. I think I'll start off by getting angry at the latest in the political arena, though.

Posted by Andy at 02:25 PM to the Health category | Comments (2)

April 11, 2006

Zap x11

My experience at Tate today was less than stellar. Given my problems recently with long waits, I called ahead to see if they were on schedule. I was informed that they were in fact a half hour behind, so I went in a half hour later than usual. Once I arrived, I had to wait quite a while for an older woman to be treated first, and once I got into the room, I was chided for being late and informed that, had I arrived on time, I would have been taken right back. When I informed the crew that I had called ahead and been told to come late, one of them said, "don't call ahead," despite the fact that everyone has told me to do exactly that. Somewhere along the line, someone at Tate dropped the ball, and I took the blame. Not happy. I stood up for myself, but I now have no clue what procedure is actually the correct one.

I had originally planned to follow through on a new blood work order tomorrow after my treatment, but decided to get it done today given the fact that my schedule was already thrown. I was lost in the shuffle there for about a half hour before someone realized I had signed in and was waiting.

Once I was out of there things went more or less as expected. I got my osteopathic treatment in Annapolis and grabbed some steak at the nearby Outback before coming home. I do believe I shall pop in some Battlestar Galactica to finish out the evening.

Posted by Andy at 10:02 PM to the Health category | Comments (0)

Long One Ahead

I have both radiation and osteopathic therapies coming today, which means I won't be back here writing about either until probably 9pm. If you're reading, say a little prayer if you would to help me get through it all ok. See you on the other side.

Posted by Andy at 01:53 PM to the Health category | Comments (0)

The Three Caballeros

I finally saw this film today, and to think that it only took 18 years to see it again. It was cute. I don't entirely know what it was about it that kept me coming back time and again as a kid, but it was a fun trip down memory lane for sure. The film has some very clever/adorable moments, including a penguin vacation short and another featuring a flying donkey. I remembered one scene from childhood, with this crazy little bird popping his head out from various sides of the screen. It's more exciting if you're 10, but I'm glad I picked this one up.

Posted by Andy at 12:38 AM to the TV and Movies category | Comments (0)

April 10, 2006

Zap x10

Today was a long one. My appointment was scheduled for 1:45. I got out of there at 3:40. Apparently the radiation team had to move someone ahead in order to compensate for another treatment that person had just received or something. Monday is also "doctor day" as I have previously mentioned, so that kept me in the building longer as well.

The bottom line is that I am extremely tired. On the positive side of things, I found out today that I have to get the original 20 treatments, not 25 as I had assumed from the order to treat for 5 weeks. Apparently Dr. Oh was factoring in my starting on a Tuesday, thus requiring bleed-over into a 5th week. That means I'm at the half way mark today. Woo!

Posted by Andy at 04:39 PM to the Health category | Comments (0)

April 09, 2006


I don't feel so well today, but it's because of sleep issues, not radiation side effects. It happens sometimes. On the bright side, I was able to take a walk (and a few pictures) around 6 without incident.

The mail failed me this weekend so I was Netflixless. I played the extras from the last Battlestar Galactica disc that's still here, but they were rather bland and uninteresting, sorta like watching a promotional ad for the show. I keep forgetting I have Pikmin 2 sitting in the Gamecube not 2 feet away. I'll have to get back to that.

Posted by Andy at 09:05 PM to the Health category | Comments (0)

April 08, 2006

Mmmm, Pizza...

In recent years I have lost my taste for most of your run of the mill, family restaurant-type places, like Fridays, Ruby Tuesday's, and others, but I still love the grease-factory that is Pizza Hut. Give me a pan pizza with sausage, green peppers, maybe onions, occasionally ham, and I'll do ok, even when I have an upset stomach apparently.

I started this post before I went to get some pizza out of the oven, in fact, and am finishing it after eating two rather large pieces of pan pizza with some of the toppings I listed. Upset stomach or no, it was great. The only problem is that we're now out, so I can't repeat this any time soon. Oh well, rarity makes it all the sweeter.

A little secret for those of you who like to reheat pizza. Pizza of all types freezes really well whether you make it at home, get it out, order, whatever, but the important part in getting the most of it is to reheat in an oven, not a microwave. If the pizza you have isn't sloppy, even reheat it right on the rack. Trust me, you won't be disappointed.

Posted by Andy at 11:01 PM to the Food category | Comments (0)

'Nother Relaxing Day

Today has been a really good one. From a health perspective, I have experienced a significant drop-off in nausea today, which is a welcome reprieve, and am otherwise about the same.

Even better, Amanda Olear (formerly Lesher for those who would know) dropped by for a couple of hours in the afternoon, and we were able to catch up on what amounts to about 10 years of info. Score one for the website on this one. Amanda's sister Kim happened upon it and passed info about my current health issues along, which led to a comment and email contact. In any case, it was great to see you today, Amanda. I look forward to the possibility of a long-lasting renewed friendship as well as the opportunity to infuse croquet and similar events with fresh blood. :)

Amanda headed out as Rhonda Kidd (the Trager massage and IV-giver) came in, bringing with her a full carry-out Roadhouse steak dinner for me to eat after treatment. Yep, that's the kind of people we're dealing with here, folks. Can't beat that. Oh, I should mention that the folks are out of town today seeing a Broadway play. I'm sure dad is thrilled. Hehe. I am thinking of selling the house while they're gone.

Now I'm stuffed with meat and fully content to while away the rest of the day from my Reclining Command Center™. I'm out of movies for the weekend unfortunately, but baseball season has resumed and the Orioles can't be declared out of the penant race for at least a couple of months yet. Feel free to give me a buzz to check in and help me pass the time. Stop in if ya want. It's all good.

Posted by Andy at 07:09 PM to the Health category | Comments (2)

April 07, 2006

Chitty Chitty Bang Bang

Yep, I'm blogging this in the middle of Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. Nope, it's not a Netflix movie, it just happens to be on. I haven't seen this movie since I was a kid, but it's great. It's what I call a "gratuitous musical", and was made seemingly just to be silly. Dick Van Dyke stars, and to my surpise, a fellow by the name of Gert Frobe (Goldfinger from James Bond) plays the villain.

My only beef is that the movie was obviously cut somewhere to meet the time and commercial limitations. The professor and his kids dropped off Ms. Scrumptious at her estate, but she was back in the car with a different outfit after a commercial break. Ok, this set of commercials is almost over. Back to the action.

Posted by Andy at 09:31 PM to the TV and Movies category | Comments (0)

Zap x9

Today's zapping marks the completion of one-third of my total radiation treatment plan. Fridays are definitely the worst in the week, but I can look forward to two days off to reset the clock a little bit. As for right now, I think I'll put on a Battlestar Galactica episode and forget I'm alive.

Posted by Andy at 04:25 PM to the Health category | Comments (0)

April 06, 2006

I'm a Punk Teenager

As any of you who have been reading for the past few weeks know, I signed up for Netflix and have been watching movies and DVDs of shows at home since. This week I've been watching Battlestar Galactica episodes in order to catch up to the current season. (Turns out it's a pretty good show.)

Here's the funny part:

On Sunday, mom got off of the massage table in the middle of her treatment to come downstairs and ask me to turn down the sound while I was playing one of these DVDs. Apparently my computer's subwoofer was shaking the upstairs like a low-slung car pumping out rap music at 80 decibels. Yep, that's right. I'm a no good punk teenager.

To be honest, the sound wasn't even that loud. It just carries upstairs because bass does that with solid objects. Now I have to be careful to turn down my bass levels before starting DVDs in order to avoid the wrath of my parents.

I hope they don't ground me. :)

Posted by Andy at 08:26 PM to the TV and Movies category | Comments (1)

Zap x8

There were a few people in front of me today, so my treatment didn't happen till about 2:00. While I would of course prefer to be in and out of there, I did get the chance to a few more chapters of Mere Christianity, a C.S. Lewis classic. Go buy this book if you don't have it.

I am finding that I feel a fair bit worse just after treatments now. It kind of crept up on me, but it's definitely the case. I've been muddling through well enough, though, and am in generally good spirits. My mind is clearer than it often is, which is almost the entire ballgame with mood for me.

Posted by Andy at 02:54 PM to the Health category | Comments (0)

April 05, 2006

Fear the Lady Turtle!

The lady Terps won the women's national basketball championship last night, defeating Duke in an overtime classic. I do not watch women's basketball at all, but I watched this and it was great. To be fair, I also watched their previous two games, which were also great. The women's game has progressed significantly in the past few years, and I sujspect I will be watching far more lady Terps games next year and beyond.

Posted by Andy at 06:51 PM to the Sports category | Comments (0)

Another Card Link...

... of the Orson Scott variety. I've plugged Orson Scott Card before on my site, but it bears repeating that he writes some excellent content, political or otherwise. The article I link for you today, entitled Freedom of Religion: For Everyone, Everywhere, deals with the case of Abdul Rahman and the implications of Sharia law.

My only contribution I have already made in this post, published about a week ago.

Posted by Andy at 03:48 PM to the Politics category | Comments (0)

Zap x7

Today's 1:45 treatment took no time at all. I'm a little shaky right now but if every day goes as quickly as today, this time slot will be great by all accounts. I also met up very briefly with fellow Chesapeake High School grad Joe Lex, who works up at North Arundel very near where I get treated daily. All we were able to do was shake hands and say hello today, but I'm sure we'll figure out something more substantial before too long.

On another note, fellow Vocal Ensemble member Brandi Burkhardt just landed a role on the daily soap, Passions. How fun is that? I am not exactly a soap opera watcher, but I will have to check out a few of these once she appears on screen on the 21st of this month.

Posted by Andy at 02:38 PM to the Health category & TV and Movies category | Comments (3)

April 04, 2006

Zap x6

As promised, today was indeed "picture day", as long as by "picture" you mean "x-ray." My wait today was the shortest since my second time out, though of course the x-rays took a bit of time to complete once I was in the room. Tomorrow I go in at 1:45, which could be tricky for me given my complicated morning routine.

I had to deal with a little bit of tachycardia before heading in, which just goes to show that I'm probably as tired as I'm claiming to be. I had to do some tedious and unexpected website repair in order solve some hidden issues with a few of the category and monthly archives, so that didn't help either. The site is now completely fixed as far as I can tell, so that's good. I'm gonna add some new CSS to pretty up long quotes on the site in a minute or three, and I'll probably refrain from working too hard for the rest of the night.

On a related note, I had initially titled this post "Zap6", but the "sup" (superscript) tag is not allowed within a title. Do any of you know how to get around this restriction?

Posted by Andy at 06:31 PM to the Computers category & Health category | Comments (0)

Are Facts Obsolete?

I know some if not all of you reading will look at this title and relate to the topic while simultaneously proceeding with trepidation as you await to discover what "facts" in particular I am choosing to declare worthless. Well, you can relax, as my motives for writing this post lie elsewhere.

Before proceeding, read over Are Facts Obsolete? by Thomas Sowell. If you are short on time, this quote summarizes the article nicely:

What is more frightening than any particular policy or ideology is the widespread habit of disregarding facts. Former House Majority Leader Dick Armey put it this way: "Demagoguery beats data."

No doubt there is a measure of truth to those words, but if you ask me, they grossly oversimplify the situation. The larger problem is not the disregarding of facts, it is our collective inability to reasonably sift through a mountainous heap of them to attain anything resembling truth.

Representatives for opposing viewpoints are eager to debunk data presented by the other side, but only rarely do they succeed fully. The truth of the matter is that most of the time, the data is in fact factual within the context created by the method and purpose of its collection. Consider, if you will, gun control. Pro-gun control advocates can cite cases where violent crime is higher in neighborhoods with a higher proportion of guns to citizens, while those who support gun ownership can do much the same in reverse, rolling out examples of high crime rates existing in regions with tight gun restrictions. The thing is, they're both right!

Unfortunately and perhaps unfairly, it falls to us to determine the context of each data set. How many factors were considered when constructing a particular study? What region of the country received closest attention? Over how much time was a study completed? Rarely will two studies match identically, or even match closely enough to be considered a fair comparision. In truth, we may not even possess the means to complete a completely "fair" study that factors in every conceivable contributing factor to whatever is being examined.

I feel perfectly justified in arguing that our supposedly impartial media owes us as much of that context as is possible to acquire. When citing a study, a reporter should be required to give the audience a sense of the purpose of, and target group examined with that study. When referencing a poll, a journalist should be obligated to list at a reasonable sample of the questions asked by the pollsters, and to supply information regarding the demographic(s) to which the poll was administered. This is the data the public needs to find something closer to actual truth.

Sometimes the news does list a few key poll questions in its coverage of an issue, and ya know what? Almost every time, I find myself saying, "well, of course that's the answer they were going to get with that question." A great many polls are overly direct, presumably in order to save time (or occasionally to skew results.) Perhaps others are better constructed, but the bottom line is that the public needs as much information as possible to make this determination.

If we hope to understand an increasingly complex world, we must be willing to ask increasingly complex questions. Regardless of divided national opinions, truth is waiting to be found if we know where and how to look, or in many cases, demand the best from those who do.

Posted by Andy at 02:23 PM to the Politics category | Comments (1)

April 03, 2006

Out of the Loop

As the years pass, I find myself feeling increasingly out of the loop, regardless of what loop happens to be in play at the moment. If I'm not careful about how I approach it, I can wind up feeling stupid or small. That is partly why I try (I may not always succeed, but I do try) to fully explain most of the things I write and say so that a wider audience might understand what it is that I am saying a bit better.

Sometimes this intent cannot be achieved because too much information is required ahead of time. For instance, my tennis post from earlier today only makes sense if you passingly understand the structure of a tennis match. My post would self-destruct if I explained that while attempting to illustrate my point. Sometimes, though, it requires me to suck up the "I feel smart because I know things you don't" instinct. It is worth it, because accessibility is important for all of us, and the more each of us knows about anything and everything, the better off we all are as a result.

Posted by Andy at 11:27 PM to the General category | Comments (0)

Zap Zap Zap Zap Zap

I have a week's worth of radiation treatments behind me now. Today involved some, but not excessive, waiting, and a followup checkup with Dr. Oh just afterwards. Apparently Monday is "Dr. day", and Tuesday is "picture day" every week.

Dad didn't have time to put on the planned pork roast after that, so we ate at Lista's before coming home. I think it's weird that I felt that I could handle Mexican food better than other available options, but that's how it happened. I went with the Mole Pablano again, figuring that this might not be the best time to be experimenting with new dishes, and was not disappointed.

All in all, a tiring but reasonable day. Think I'll cap it off with some combination 24 and NCAA basketball finals action. :)

Posted by Andy at 08:59 PM to the Health category | Comments (0)

Equal Pay for Unequal Play

The French Open announced recently that equal prize money will be offered to both the men's and women's champions for the first time in its history. On the surface this is certainly a great thing. After all, women deserve equal treatment in any workplace.

What usually flies under the radar is that, in the major tournaments, women tennis players are on court for approximately two-thirds the amount of time as men due to the fact that women play 3-set matches compared to 5 in the men's game. Some would further argue that the competitive depth on the women's side is not on par with the men either. While true, I find the second case to be less relevant than the first, simply because we cannot expect women's tennis to achieve equal depth without the promise of equal pay.

The issue of court time, however, bothers me. Everyone recognizes the inequity of paying two equally qualified business-people the same sum of money when one goes home three hours earlier than the other. Why do we treat tennis differently? Male tennis players are subject to far greater risk of injury, must train harder, and dig deeper in order to find success at the highest level.

My comments might make me appear to be against women's rights in some capacity, but that could not be farther from the truth. I am all for equal pay for men and women in sport or otherwise. I just think those benefitting from said equality should have to earn it on relatively equal terms. Why can't a woman play a five set match just like a man? This commonly accepted restriction seems more sexist to me than the more noticeable money issue.

Feel free to prove me wrong. I am open to criticism.

Posted by Andy at 03:47 PM to the Sports category | Comments (0)

April 02, 2006

Beautiful and Relaxing Day

I got another nutritional IV and Trager massage treatment today, finished up the rest of the Battlestar Galactica miniseries, walked around outside a little, and sat on the pier. My cold tolerance has been sapped away over the past few years, which has prevented me from visiting my favorite spot as often as I would like. I am looking forward to a great many more pier-sits in the coming months.

The pier always brings out the emotional and philosophical parts of me. Faith, love, joy, pain, truth in many forms. Moments of beautiful solitude weave them all together.

I have said for years that a tree in summer is beautiful to behold, but only in winter do we see all its branches. Well, early spring does its best to show it all, with tiny buds promising verdant greenery amid the geometrical complexity of a season just ended.

Those of you who know me now know the tree in winter, with all its finery stripped away to better survive the cold. I hope that this current storm might be the last for a while, and that I might find the strength to form buds that contain the promise of a brighter future.

Posted by Andy at 06:53 PM to the Health category | Comments (0)

April 01, 2006

Good Recoup Day

The problems of yesterday definitely bled into today, with the exception of the somewhat more intense nausea I had felt. Lucky for me, Mei came down in the afternoon and hung out till pretty late, so I didn't notice. We started off with a test run of Pikmin 2's two-player battle mode. Much emotional scarring occurred as planned.

We spent the rest of the day watching Battlestar Galactica, specifically the miniseries that started off the new version of the show. After a Pizza Hut pickup and chow-down, we tried out some anime (the name escapes me), which looked interesting but was confusing due to us jumping in half way through. Mei headed out after we strategically missed the ending of said anime by talking through it. Oh well. Hopefully it'll be on again in a few days.

Thanks for coming, Mei! The difficulty of the drive is certainly not lost on me, and it means an awful lot that you'd make the trip anyway. I have already planned that you and Heather will be the first to benefit from my rent-a-pult™ once I get a prototype built.

Posted by Andy at 11:42 PM to the Health category | Comments (0)

Great Game Product

Wizards of the Coast is producing a great new rpg product that a lot of us D&D players won't be able to live without. Check out a news bit at this address. If you like this product, also be sure to check out this one, by Malhavoc Press.

Posted by Andy at 03:25 PM to the Roleplaying category | Comments (2)