Tuesday, October 20, 2009

This Blog Has Moved

As of right now this blog has moved to it's own new web site and server on Squarespace.

You can find me here from now on:


Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Cancer free... maybe... probably...

Back in July I had my latest PET scan. Here in France they send the results to your doctor(s). As he hadn't contacted me I've called my ORL a couple of times in the past weeks to try and get the results. No reply.

I know he will tell me, like he did last time, that "if there were any problems we would have contacted you immediately and reacted". But, he just doesn't understand that, I actually need the reassurance. He has no idea how we cancer survivors eagerly await those simple words "there's nothing" just to let us know the damn things haven't come back somewhere else in our body.

I think quite a lot of cancer victims/survivors feel a bit out of touch with their body. They don't know how these things got in there and once they've gotten them out (hopefully) they definitely do not, under any circumstance, want them back. That's why we go through these tests. That's why we go through these scans. It's not just because the doctors tell us to.

It's because we want someone in the medical profession to simply look at a test and/or a scan and then say "There's no cancer in you".

It doesn't matter if they add the "right now" modifier afterwards. It's a wonderful feeling, every now and then, to know that at any given moment there is no cancer in me.

Waiting for my doctor to return my calls...

In the mean time keep following me on Twitter to keep up with the day-to-day trials and tribulations of my life: @dcefrance.

New F*©k Cancer T-Shirts

Some of you may remember the F*©k cancer shirts I found back in June 2008. As you may remember I thought it was a great idea and I ordered a bunch of the shirts. A year and a bit later and quite a few e-mails back and forth and I still never received the T-shirts I ordered and paid for.

Recently I saw a whole new batch of T-shirts with cancer-related phrases on them. I decided to make my own. The Internet is truly wonderful when we live in a time when you can design your own T-shirt (text, fonts, size, placement, images, ...), pay for it online and have it delivered to your home in a couple of days.

This is my first try and I am so pleased with it I am probably going to make some more real soon. As you can see the front says "CHEMO GRAD 2005" in a font which reminds me a bit of both the military and high-school. It fits how I was feeling when I made the shirt. I am also obviously proud to have survived chemotherapy and the year is a healthy reminder.

It is really difficult to take a picture of the back of a T-shirt. You have to set the webcam on timer and try and sit, or crouch, right. It ain't easy. The back says "F*©K CANCER" in the same font and precisely where I wanted it (a bit high on the shoulder, right between the blades). Just in case people didn't understand the front of the shirt they'll definitely get the back... if they or I turn around.

I promise I'll take photos of any other T-shirts I decide to make. This is too much fun!

Scarface.... 4 years later

Here's a picture of me and my scar 4 years after the surgery. The goal is still to show the evolution of the scar which may be of interest to others who may, unfortunately, have to go through the same type of procedure:

September, 2009

The photo below shows my scar last year which was, of course, 3 years after surgery. It comes from my blog entry of December 19th, 2008. It doesn't look, to me, like anything has changed in a year. Even my office looks the same. The scar may be a bit browner but it's hard to tell as last year's picture looks so red. It's perhaps faded a tiny bit more. I still get the same brief spasms of pain and blockage when I sit in the wrong position. But I get over it pretty quickly as I'm more used to it now.

December, 2008

The photo below shows my scar the previous year which was, of course, 2 years after surgery. It comes from my blog entry of October 2007. Not a lot had changed since the previous year. The scar is perhaps a slight bit faded and a bit more brown and less red.

October, 2007

I think there was much more evolution and change between years 1 and 2 than between the later years. But it gets better all the time...

I didn't take any photos the first year. But below is the photo from right after the bandages were taken off. It comes from my blog entry of September 26th, 2005.

September, 2005

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Still (throat) cancer free!

I wish I could find the time to update this thing properly.

I remind you if you want to keep up with me then follow me on Twitter:


I took the afternoon off today as I knew I had my semi-annual appointment with my ENT (ORL in French) doctor. I took my Xanax an hour beforehand, as usual, and was ready for my appointment at 17:30. I took the métro as I knew I would be drowsy afterwards.

The appointment went very well in all aspects of the term. Even though he numbs my nostrils with some sort of local anesthesia the procedure is still rather horrific as he shoves a camera tube up each nostril and down my throat. But it's actually worse when he does his manual checks in my mouth and throat by shoving his gloved finger down my throat and pulling on my tongue. All of this actually went better than usual and I only gagged a couple of times. I still don't look at the images of the inside of my throat which he projects on a big screen. But it was all definitely easier.

He is very happy with the insides of my throat, my mouth, my tongue, my chest and so forth. Obviously the happier he is the happier I am. Everything's healed quite well and there is nothing to worry about.

He checked out my blood test results and everything was normal there as well.

We talked a bit about my intermitten neck pain and he recommended swimming and stretching, again, and this time gave me a prescription to see a kiné for some massage sessions. I'm probably more likely to see the kiné than I am to actually take the time to swim.

As he was so pleased with all my exam results the rest of the news was all good. My next semi-annual visit (in 6 months) will be my last semi-annual visit. After that I will see him one year later which will mark the 5 year anniversary of my surgery and treatment. I will be going for a PET scan within the next couple of months and he and I will both get the results. If all goes well then my 5-year anniversary visit should actually be my last internal throat checkup. This gives me something to hope for and work towards. No more throat checkup visits? I couldn't hope for more!

For those of you who may be interested here are my previous visits up to now:

Monday, January 05, 2009

Some things just don't change

I don't know why... but I wanted to read where I was at this time last year. I thought I might write something inspirational for 2009. It turns out I hadn't written anything at the beginning of last year (200) and so I went back a year to my first entry for 2007:


I became very depressed reading this entry. Nothing has changed. I don't seem to have learned anything or advanced at all in two years. I'm still relatively healthy and I'm still relatively happy. But I still have absolutely all of the same problems, weaknesses and self-destructive habits I had 2 years ago.

I still have a lot to learn and it's time I changed something...

Friday, December 19, 2008

Scarface ... 3 years later

I should have done this back in September or October but I forgot...

Here's a picture of me and my scar 3 years after the surgery. The goal is still to show the evolution of the scar which may be of interest to others who may, unfortunately, have to go through the same type of procedure:

December 2008

The photo below shows my scar last year which was, of course, 2 years after surgery. It comes from my blog entry of October 2007. Not a lot has changed since last year. The scar is perhaps a slight bit faded and a bit more brown and less red. It certainly still hurts every now and then and if I sit in the wrong position it could spasm me in to a very strangle looking posture as I struggle to stretch it back...

October 2007

I think there was much more evolution and change between years 1 and 2 than between last year and this. But it gets better all the time...

I didn't take any photos the first year. But below is the photo from right after the bandages were taken off. It comes from my blog entry of September 26th, 2005.

September 2005

It's rare that someone actually asks me about the scar. The vast majority, outside of the medical profession, assume it was some sort of an accident and every now and then I get someone who thinks I was in a gang fight or I was mugged and I so want to invent some amazing story of saving my wife and children from a violent criminal and sacrificing my beautiful neck in the process. Unfortunately I always tell the truth about my scar. If it's a very young child who asks I explain I was very sick and the doctors needed to open me up and take the bad stuff out as quickly as possible. Anyone else gets the quick response of "throat cancer" with perhaps a mention of 2 surgeries, radiation therapy and then chemotherapy "la totale, quoi" (in French) or perhaps "the whole nine yards" (in American). Unfortunately some people, who don't yet know how much I can talk, will ask for more information or details and find themself in a biographical lecture which can last several drinks and sometimes a whole meal! I can sometimes be the guy you see people walking away from at a party...

Now that I've got the scar, and it ain't going anywhere anytime soon, there's so much I can do with it. Give me an eye patch and I can make Johnny Depp look effiminate!

PS: Just for the hell of it here's a straight-on photo of me today:



Wednesday, December 17, 2008

It's gone... and I don't miss it.

Today’s the day I’ve been waiting for for months… actually years. When they put this thingin my chest back in October 2005they said it would probably be removed 2 or 3 months after the end of treatment. It’s three years later and they’re finally removing it.

I had my special shower last night with the special red liquid soap (Betadine) and again this morning. I get out of the shower smelling like a hospital and the shower itself smells like an operating room for a couple of hours. I had a normal breakfast as instructed and puttered around the house for an hour killing time. I took the taxi to the clinic, went through the front doors and it hit me.

I hadn’t been back to the Clinique Hartmann since the end of my treatment. There was never a good reason I could come up with for returning. Now I had a good reason to be there and I didn’t want to go in. I had to go down to the chemotherapy department to fill out my file. As soon as I hit that down-sloping ramp (to allow wheelchairs and stretchers down) to chemo I started feeling nauseous. The smell of the chemo chemicals hit me and the atmosphere was like a stab to my chest. I was actually feeling sick and wanted nothing more than to get the hell out of there. I looked at all the other patients in the waiting room. I tried to remember what it was like. I had, and have, completely forgotten the experience. I didn’t want to remember. I didn’t want to realise that three years ago I was one of them: sitting in that uncomfortable chair waiting for my name to be called so they could do to me whatever they wanted. I, like almost everyone else there, would let them do anything and everything it took to get the cancer out of my body. I was in “fight mode” and “survivor mode” focused on one and only one thing in my life. Now it seemed like it had seemed before I had cancer: the sort of thing that happens to someone else.

I luckily was out of there pretty quickly and on my way to the 4th floor for the pre-op preparations. I know the routine: take all your clothes off, put on the ridiculous blue gown which never closes properly, add a silly looking white shower cap and to complete the clownish images add a couple of paper slippers on your bare feet. As we’re in December this time they threw in a blanket which I got to wrap around my shoulders in back which, in addition to providing a bit of warmth, provided a bit of cover as I knew I was going to be paraded through the waiting room and a few hallways before hitting the operating room on the fifth floor. While waiting in the wheelchair and on the stretcher I had a lot of time by myself to think. I had almost completely forgotten all that I had been through and it was coming back in memory flashes like someone suffering from post traumatic stress nightmares. I talked about it with Desney much later and explained that I thought it was like childbirth. You forget what it was like because you need to. You need to forget in order to move forward. I imagine that if women really remembered every detail of childbirth there would a lot of families out there with only one child. I had wiped out practically all of the memories of treatment, fears and side effects in order to move on to the next phase of my life. I needed to forget in order to imagine life after cancer and forget life with cancer. If I couldn’t completely envision life after cancer then I could not make it real. Now that I feel as though I am actually living life after cancer I can safely remember. I actually went through quite a lot. Looking around at all the others in the waiting rooms hurt. I know all too well what they are going through and what they are going to go through. It sucks. Many, unfortunately most, of them are probably not going to be as lucky as I am. Although looking around made me remember what it was like I feel good that it felt completely foreign to me. This was no longer part of my life. It was part of my past. But lying there and looking up at the ceilings I kept trying to tell myself that I have got to start appreciating what I’ve got and not taking it all for granted as I did before cancer and as I certainly have been doing recently. Easier said (to myself) than done.

I was finally wheeled in to the operating room and I had a pretty good idea what I was in for. The bright white lights above me, the surgical tools all around me and the nurse with the mask across her face. This wasn’t going to be like removing a splinter from my foot with a pair of tweezers. I started trying to remember everything I had ever learned about sophrological breathing. Not that it helped any. But it was at least something to work towards. The surgeon was actually quite a nice guy. He joked around a bit with the nurse as they debated whether or not to shave my chest around the area. He felt it would be easier for removing the bandages afterwards. She felt he was doing it because he was jealous as I have some hair on my chest and he, apparently, doesn’t have any. Luckily I had a nurse who likes a bit of hair on her men’s chest and they didn’t shave me. They bantered amongst each other, as they swabbed the area around where they were going to cut, about men who have themselves completely shaved and waxed and such these days. Definitely not the nurse’s type of man. I liked her more and more. The doctor said he was going to do all that he could to make this hurt as little as possible. I started to like him as well. But, as he said, there is no easy way to get the local anaesthesia in to the body. The injection of the anaesthesia itself is “uncomfortable”. I learned, already many years ago, that the French medical profession’s use of the word “uncomfortable” is such an incredible understatement that it would be like referring to a heart attack as a hiccough. As he kept talking I wanted to yell, scream and strangle him. Instead I just lay there looking away with tears swelling in my eyes. Then it was over. He had actually used the stuff correctly throughout to such an extent that when he did something to me and asked if I felt it I could honestly reply “Non”. He said that no matter what I should let me let him know if anything hurt at all during the whole procedure. I was in love with this man. He said he was going to open the same original scar so as not to create a second one and to make things easier. He had already cut it open and I didn’t feel anything. He then started working on the “chamber” part of the thing to be removed. He was having difficulty getting it to leave my body as my body had firmly attached itself to it. He asked how long it had been in there. At this point I didn’t think what I thought later: didn’t he look at my file before starting to open me? Wasn’t this sort of thing mentioned somewhere on all those sheets of paper. I said “il y a 3 ans” (3 years ago). He was surprised. He said it’s rare that they are left in so long as it’s usually a matter of months. My immediate reflex was to sit upright, look him straight in the eye and say “Yeah. I know. Right?” Instead I just lay there as he and the nurse worked on getting the thing out of me. It took much longer than he thought it would. The nurse said it was obviously quite happy in my chest. I mentioned that the feeling was not mutual and she giggled. I wanted to take the 2 of them out for drinks and hug them close. Just to add a bit of suspense to what is obviously a very routine procedure to them the doctor mentioned that with a chamber that’s been in so long he had to be careful to get the tube out with the chamber. Sometimes the chamber comes off leaving the tube still in my chest. Then they would have to knock me out, open me up completely and go find the tube which goes right to my heart. I shuttered at the thought. The thought passed as he grabbed the tube at the same time and said everything was fine. Next thing I knew he was talking about stitches as he started his sewing. He had to redo one of the stitches as he had pulled on one of my chest hairs instead of the thread at one point. A few stitches later he pasted on the bandage explaining what would happen afterwards and he was saying his goodbyes. I thanked him over and over again. “Merci” just seems such an insignificant term in situations like this. The nurse started cleaning me up and then I was jumping in to the wheelchair and on my way out. I thanked the nurse over and over again while being wheeled out.
I got downstairs where I was allowed to redress myself. No medication this time. No surprise injections in the stomach, or anywhere else for that matter, this time. When they said I could go home on my own I was overjoyed.

I got back to the reception, an area I still know so well, and called a cab. I got home relatively easily and put myself to bed. I slept for about 3 or 4 hours later and got up to see how I was feeling. I wasn’t doing bad. I spent the rest of the afternoon/evening laying on the couch, propped up on one side, watching television with Alexandra. I can’t possibly imagine how she could be watching this movie (Bratz) for a third time. But I was still pretty groggy so it didn’t really matter.

I was able to eat dinner without any problems and I was actually hungry. I rented a relatively silly tax-shelter movie (Flight of the Phoenix) on the Apple TV and then off to bed.

The bandages are pretty cool as I can shower with them and I can take them off myself in 8 days. My calculations put Christmas Day as the day I take the bandages off. The stitches are self-dissolving and should disappear by themselves. He said if there are any left after 2 weeks I can pull them out myself with a tweezer.
My whole upper right side is sore and hurts. But I just keep saying to myself this I nothing in comparison to what I’ve been through and pain is relative. This ain’t even a 4 on a scale of 1 to 10. I keep telling myself: “I’ve been through chemo. I know what 10 feels like”.

For once a medical procedure was actually easier and less painful than I had expected. If only they could all be like this!

I will soon be getting used to the fact that I no longer have anything implanted in my chest. Yet another lingering factor of cancer has been removed. Time for me to move on and live my life without cancer. I will probably forget all over again. But it’s wonderful that I can forget!

PS: It's my mom's 69th birthday today. How many men my age have a mom who's got a video on You Tube? Check it out. She makes me proud every day.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Out damn spot!

I am all excited! Once upon a time (10/10/2005) they surgically inserted a catheter in my chest in order to inject me with chemo chemicals. It probably depends on the chemicals they use. I had Cisplatin and Fluoro Uracil. The catheter stays in one's chest permanently during treatment and for some time after. I have been asking when they will remove it every six months for 3 years now. My general practitioner and my ORL finally agreed that now is the time.

I just called and booked the surgery (17/12/08) and I am so excited. The reason they haven't removed it before is that there is always a risk that the cancer will come back, either in the same place or elsewhere, and after all of the radiation theapy I had I would not be able to go through that again which leaves just chemotherapy. They obviously don't want to remove the thing and then have to put it back in sometime later. The fact that they now say I can have it removed means that somewhere along the line they don't think the cancer's coming back any time soon.

I'm not looking forward to surgery, as minor as this may be in relation to all I've been through, and I am certainly not looking forward to going back to the Clinique Hartmann (where my original treatment was carried out). But I am really looking forward to finally getting rid of this thing.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008


As most of you have seen I go through long periods during which I either don't have the time or the interest to update my blog. This is yet another one of those periods.

It is even less likely that I update my full blog as I continue to update my microblogs quite regularly. The ability to upload very short updates to Twitter and photos to Flickr either through my computer or through my iPhone means I update those services much more often and regularly than my full blog here.

To follow my life on a moment to moment basic check out my Twitter page at:


If you use Twitter yourself obviously you can follow me as well by adding me from there.

Twitter allows for photo links and location links now which works quite well with the new GPS and localisation functions on the iPhone.

I tend to upload my photos on Flickr as they happen and you can therefore find my photo updates regularly on Flickr here:


PS: For those of you who may read my latest Twitter tweats for the first time please rest assured: I was released from the hospital after 24 hours in intensive care and I am doing fine now. I may have to learn how to relax a bit better in my day-to-day life and I probably either need to exercise more or relax more... I'm not sure which at the moment.

I have to admit that the cornorary stuff was probably the second most frightening medical experience in my life which puts it pretty high up in the fear meter. But in comparison to cancer this was all relatively simple and endurable.


Thursday, July 31, 2008

I'm bald! But I asked for it!

It looks a bit shocking... but that was, in part, the goal. Those of you who know me well will remember about 5 years ago when I had my hair dyed platinum blonde over the summer. I quite enjoyed the effect. However my family, especially Desney, didn't like it at all and made me promise never to do it again.

The next thing I could think of was shaving all my hair off and I was contemplating that in the summer of 2005. Then it looked like the decision was going to be made for me. As you all know I was diagnosed with cancer at the end of August 2005, operated on twice in September and started treatment in November. It was one surprise after another and one, of the many, was that I was going to be having full cycles of chemotherapy. I expected to lose my hair at that time. I had psychologically prepared myself for it. I had planned that as soon as I would notice it starting to fall out I would just shave all of it off rather than going through it in stages. For whatever reason I never lost my hair. The rest of the side-effects of chemo were enough without that as well so I was not overly disappointed. However I remained curious.

It's been 3 years now and I dediced I finally wanted to see what it would look like. I'm now healthy, not too pale and currently overweight. I thought it would look different now than when I was sick and going through treatments. But there's only one real way to see what it would look like, and what my head looks like, and that's to do it. So I decided that this time I would have all my hair shaved off, I would go bald and it would be on MY terms.

I'd say it's about 99% shaved off. My hairdresser found a bunch of brown spots along my hairline at the bottom above my right ear and she didn't want to go any further. I now have to get those looked at which allows me to go through some more paranoia worrying whether I'm now to go from the pleasures of throat cancer to the joys of skin cancer or something similar.

In the mean time my head if much cooler in this hot weather than it was before and it takes me seconds to dry my head in the morning.

Like everything else... this too shall pass.... and sooner than I think my hair will be growing in enough for me to no longer be considered a skinhead and just somebody with stylishly short hair.

Friday, July 18, 2008

CANCER FREE!!! Still...

It's become almost routine. After treatment finished it was every 3 months at first, then it was every 4 months and now it's every 6 months. The less often it is the more confident "they" are that the cancer isn't going to recur too quickly in a state which requires urgent treatment. As I've been through it so many times now, and with the extra help of Xanax, it's become much easier than it first was.

Today was therefore my twice-yearly visit to my ORL for my throat, thorax and chest area exam. For the gory details of the exam read one of my previous posts... this time it went relatively well. I felt fine after the exam with simply a sort throat, sore nose and the absolute need to sleep. I drove home in a state which some may have considered to be too drowsy and slept for a couple of hours...

No matter how grueling the exam may be it always feels worth it when we sit down at his desk afterwards and he says "Tout va bien" and that he hasn't found anything. That was what the entire experience was all about and that made it worth it!

We talked a bit about the pains I get when I turn my neck to far to the right or sometimes if I am sitting in a sort of angled position for too long. He checked out my scar and found a few hard bits which he explained are due to the radiation on top of the scar tissue and are normal. He recommended massaging it more often and to do "soft" sports (swimming in particular) and stretching (yoga, ...) which would work the neck area gently. He was also a bit curious about my thyroid, without any real explanation, and asked me to get a blood test before we meet again.

My next appointment with him will be in 6 months. He's also now moved the PET scan to every 18 months rather than annually. I assume that's good news and means that he's optimistic. That means my next PET scan would be in February or March next year a bit after our next appointment.

For the moment I know that my entire throat area and upper-chest area are completely free of cancer and everything is evolving as it should. I can sleep a bit better than usual tonight.

F*@K CANCER indeed!

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Dr. Horrible

I've been waiting for this for a while now. I first found Felicia Day by accident when I found The Guild webisodes by accident. Following her on Twitter I found out about...

Dr. Horrible which I have been reading about for weeks. Now it's finally gone live. Act I is available now, Act II on the 17th and the final act on the 19th... and then... it'll be gone!

So watch now as this, and The Guild, are good strong signs of one of the future major directions in how we obtain entertainment in the future.

Friday, July 04, 2008

Graduation Day

Today was a stressful and emotional day and ended as probably one of the proudest moment of my life.

Today was Jessica's graduation day. Her last day at Lycée. In our rather peculiar and unique situation we have created an artificial graduation day where the OIB (Option Internationale du Baccalauréat) students get a fake diploma while they wait until October to receive their official French diploma. The teachers deliver the diplomas at the same time as they deliver the file with the students' detailed Baccalauréat results.

A discussion as to how the whole French Baccalauréat system works could take days. For those of you interested in how the whole OIB process works and how the French Baccalauréat works I recommend reading through the OIB Handbook published by ASIBA. The grading process is ridiculously tough and made up of a 20 point system. Most subjects are obligatory and each subject has a weighted value (coefficient) used to calculate the overall Bac grade. French for example can be worth 4 points for the Scientific Bac (S), 4 points for the Social and Economic Sciences (ES) Bac and 9 points for the Literary Bac while math is worth 7 points for the Bac S, 5 points for the Bac ES and 2 points for the Bac L. However French, Math, Science (Physics, Chemistry and Earth Science), Philosophy, History/Geography and, of course, English are all obligatory as well as a second foreign language. It's rough and long... they spend 2 to 3 weeks with a few days a week of exams which last 4 to 5 hours each.

The grading system is equally grueling and probably incomparable internationally. Although grades are given based on 20 a 20, or a perfect grade, is extremely rarely given as well as grades in the 18 to 20 range. The Bac grades are then broken down in to simply passing one's Bac (obtaining the Bac is all most French students require to go to university in France) with a grade of 10 to 11.99, a "good enough" (assez bien) note of 12 to 13.99, a "good" (bien) note of 14 to 15.99 or a "very good" (très bien) note of 16 and up. These mentions are very important for students applying to foreign universities as well as those applying to universities requiring a detailed application. To somehow provide an idea as to how difficult these mentions are only the top 25% of the country obtains a mention assez bien, only the top 8% of the country obtains a mention bien and only the top 2% of the country obtains a mention très bien. I don't believe that the UK university admissions officers really understand this... yet.

As you may remember when you read through our adventures in the month of March this year we visited the 3 universities which Jessica had received an offer from. She had applied to 5 but York replied with an offer which required a mention bien (top 8% in the country), Warwick replied (late) with an offer which required a mention bien including a minimum of 13 in math (one of Jessica's worse subjects and in which she had never gotten over 10) and Sheffield required a mention assez bien (top 25% of the country). We therefore knew that Jessica not only had to get her diploma but she also had to get at least a mention assez bien to be able to go to university in the UK at all next year.

To summarise: If she got assez bien she could go to Sheffield, if she got bien she could go to York or Sheffield and if she got bien including at least 13 in math she could go to Warwick or York or Sheffield.

Ever since Jessica went through the awful exam process of 3 weeks we've all spent about 2 weeks of stressful worrying, during which time we could not do anything, waiting for her results.

Today was the big day. I had been to the OIB ceremony many times over the years as the President of the British Parents' Association. But this was the first time I was there as the parent of a graduating student. It was a stressful, emotional and wonderful experience. They read off the students names in order by mention. They read all of the très bien first. There were 5 très bien in our class this year was revolutionarily wonderful (a first). There were 8 bien in our class this year and I shouted "woo hoo!" when they read the name Jessica Erb to come get her diploma with mention bien. She sat back down and looked over her diploma and then started looking over her grades. She made signs to Desney and I, who were sitting with the parents, that she had 13 in math!

To summarise: Jessica graduated with her Baccalauréat, with her OIB, with a mention bien (placing her in the top 8% of the country) and with a 13 in math!!! She also happened to get a perfect grade (20 out of 20) in her English orals which only one other child in the school had achieved. It is now completely up to her as to which university she wants to go to. She can choose, without negotiation, where she wants for whatever reason she wants. Desney and I were overjoyed and I spent the entire evening so overwhelmingly proud I didn't know how to express it.

The four of us went out to an absolutely wonderful Italian restaurant in Clichy (La Romantica), to celebrate, and Jessica was rewarded with graduation presents including the 32 GB iPod Touch I had promised her if she got mention bien. I had purchased it weeks ago as I am an eternal optimist and positive thinker. The meal was wonderful, the evening was wonderful and life is good. Jessica went off to (well-deserved) party with her friends afterwards...

Tuesday, June 17, 2008


Once upon a time, about 10 years ago in 1997, Jazzman magazine interviewed me to talk about my then web site Jazz in France. It was one of the prouder and happier moments of my professional life. I have treasured my copy ever since and I have a framed copy on my wall.

I was trying out this wonderful new picture service (PicLens) and I searched my own name. I then accidentaly found out that Jazzman magazine now has its own web site: http://www.jazzman.fr. They have an archives section and in there I found the issue with my interview back in '97.

Just a bit of fun and discovery on the Internet....

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

F*©k cancer!

What a brilliant idea!!! I absolutely love it!

I came across this by accident, like so many other things on the net, and what a discovery. Check out the link for the full story. These folks make T-shirts which say f*©k cancer on the front and with two types of backs: either a Survivor back with a Cancer Free Calendar countup of numbers to display the numbers of years one is cancer free or a Supporter back to honour or remember someone special.

I've ordered myself a bunch of survivor t-shirts and I can't wait until they arrive and I can proudly wear the exact thought which goes through my mind several times a day, generally when I cough or have to drink water yet again, expressed in precisely the correct two words. I promise to put up a photo of myself proudly wearing my shirt when it arrives!

Yet another minute, or two, of fame!

Our listener's group on Facebook for my favourite Tech radio programme (Digital Planet) is getting more and more publicity. This time it's from another radio programme on BBC World Service called Over to You.

They interviewed the presenter of the radio programme, the producer of the programme and some strange American in France who claims he started this listener's group.

If you hurry, as I don't think the show stays online for more than a few days, you can hear the programme here:


TO OTHER THROAT CANCER SURVIVORS: I am trying to be humble here... but honestly... check out that Yank's voice... really not that bad two and a half years after months of radiation therapy and 2 full cycles of chemo! Even if I do say so myself... then again... if I don't say it who else would???


Thursday, May 22, 2008


As many of you may have noticed I find it difficult to find the time to update this blog regularly.

However I microblog quite often using Twitter. I tweat from my computer using their web site or, more often, Twhirl. I tweat from my iPod Touch using Hahlo 3 and from my HTC Windows Mobile phone using their web site. Although I have a lot of fun posting up microblog entries (tweats) every now and then I actually enjoy more reading the Twitterers I'm following:

  • iJusine: probably the first Twitterer I started following as I believe I found out about the service on her blog.

  • My favourite Tech podcasters: Cali Lewis, Veronica Belmont and Leo Laporte

  • My Favourite Tech podcaster!!! Gareth Mitchell of BBC's Digital Planet.

  • Recently discovered webcaster Felicia Day of The Guild

  • My personal friend, David Barber who doesn't post nearly enough!

  • But... my favourite twitterer has got to be my latest addition: Diablo Cody. I recently saw Juno when I was in New York. I loved it! I then bought and read her book, Candy Girl which was an incredibly easy read and had the same dialogue I had grown to love from Juno. I love her voice and she writes the best tweats ever... I actually look forward to them.

If you're a twitterer and you're interested in following me you can always find me here: