Japan Part San: The Nara Period

There are sort of two ways of approaching the main draws of Honshu (Japan’s “Big Island”): go full urban and experience the modern city life, or try to capture the Japanese ancient history side of things. Luckily, MG and I allowed ourselves time for both, and I’m glad, because the two experiences could not possibly be more different.

Having already survived the neon/cherry blossom jungle of Tokyo and then escaping into the snowy wilderness north of Nagano for a few days, we’d gotten a sense of how Japanese country life is alive and well, but not in that quintessential, “former capital of Japan from 710 to 784” kind of way. So we headed south to Nara.

As I explained in my previous post, I knew before we arrived that there was some sort of wonderful park in Nara where friendly deer roamed freely and ate out of people’s hands. And since I’m a sucker, that’s one place I simply had to see. Turns out that Nara, while indeed very ancient, is a pretty big city these days, well-traveled, and by no means undiscovered. The hotel I had booked was a little hard to find, and once we were settled, a lot overpriced. It was already dark after a long day of train travel, and we were only in town for one night. Why did I make us come here again? I felt bad.

All was not lost, for Nara marked the first OKONOMIYAKI!!!! (emphasis mine, emphasis necessary) dinner that MG and I had. Okonomiyaki is often described as a Japanese pizza or pancake, but it’s more like a savory omelette stuffed with meat/fish/cabbage, and covered in Worcestershire-type sauce/mayonnaise, which sounds disgusting but is just the opposite. Okonomiyaki is a fatty fatty culinary delight, and also a fun word to yell at high volume over and over, preferably in a residential area.

The next morning we checked out of our hotel, stored our luggage at the front desk, and went off in search of the deer park.

The deer are not hard to find. They’re adorable. They have little mouths and tiny teeth and eat very delicately out of your hand (vendors are scattered everywhere selling rice crackers to feed the deer, which they love, though I suspect they’d eat just about anything).

They’re also really used to humans and tend to swarm you once they’ve spotted rice crackers in your hand. A couple of the dudes kept head-butting me, which might have been similar to murdering me with a trident had their antlers not been cut within the last year - apparently this happens as part of an annual festival so that the male deer don’t stab people to death over rice crackers. Instead, little furry antler stumps. Adorable.

The largest Buddha statue in JapanNara’s park is full of more than just deer; its temples are the main attraction. We picked a few to focus on, and as we made our way through hoards of tourists (it was conveniently a Saturday) I had to remind myself that that’s how these things go, we aren’t going to get Japan’s biggest Buddha statue all to ourselves, roll with it, embrace our touring peers, because here we all are, in an awesome place. And we did and it was great.

Next, MG and I hunted down the Harushika brewery for some sake tasting in a old, beautiful part of Nara. It was supposed to be 400 yen for 6 tastings, but we didn’t realize that until after we’d already tasted everything, and because of the language barrier we couldn’t seem to explain to anyone that we owed them money. So we bought a big bottle of the sake we liked the best and drank the whole thing in 24 hours. I’m calling it even.

Sake tasting in Nara

In hindsight, Nara really needs more than a day if you truly want to get a feel for the city and not rush through history. But that’s all the time we had before hopping on a local train into Osaka, and I think we did ok for our first stab (haha, get it? DEER ANTLER JOKE!) at taking in a Japan of yesteryear.

Sorry these updates are trickling in so slowly, btw. I’m drawing the whole thing out specifically to torture you. Hope that’s cool.

Japan Part Ichi: Tokyo Drift

I’m several days into a 16-day Japan trip, and thought you might like to hear about what I’ve been up to. If so, you’re in luck!

MG and I got off the plane at what would have been about 10 pm in San Francisco, except that in Tokyo it was 2 pm the following day. I was already hitting the wall as we waited in world’s longest customs line. After grabbing our luggage and wandering in circles at the airport for several minutes, we figured out how to get where we needed to go and boarded a rapid train from Narita airport into Tokyo.

Narita airport is a lot farther away from the city than you’d think… the train ride was a good 90 minutes to Tokyo station, and the first 45 minutes were mostly spent zipping through farmlands and making stops at smallish suburban outposts. MG and I mostly stayed silent, looking out our respective windows and taking it all in. I’m all too familiar with this time zone fatigue, knowing that it’s only going to get weirder for a while as my body fights to get on schedule as I slowly go insane and that pretty soon I’ll need to start figuring some things out - important things, like I NEED A SHOWER SO BAD WHERE THE EFF IS THIS HOTEL - by gesturing wildly to someone of whose native tongue I only speak several words (because I listened to Devo as a kid and also went through a phase where I taught myself to count to ten in as many languages as possible and Japanese was one of them…this is the type of activity that ‘only children’ like me come up with when they’re out of ideas, btw).

Thankfully, our hotel was a simple metro transfer and a couple shorts blocks down a narrow street in Akasaka, a neighborhood alive with both Japanese restaurants and international cuisine. I say simple because as soon as we arrived at Tokyo station and started studying a subway map on the wall, our expressions gruesomely contorted by confusion and exhaustion, an old man appeared out of nowhere and pointed us in the right direction (this was just the first of several instances now that folks have offered us unsolicited help or advice, simply because they’re being friendly. Japanese people have a reputation for being overly nice and polite… very true. Someone will notice I’m holding a camera and offer to take our picture. I won’t even have made eye contact. Amazing).

The hotel was nice… corner room with huge windows, great shower, and a heated toilet seat (which I now understand is commonplace in Japan, but you can imagine my oohing and ahhing upon first sit). The bed was wider than it was long, and the room came complete with a foot massager that I enjoyed immensely but ended up bruising MG’s huge American feet to the point that he’s been hobbling around for days since. Japan is built for small people. My people.

We ended up eating our first meal at a small noodle soup house down our street, which was simple and delicious and way too much food. The place was packed and nobody else seemed to have a problem finishing their portions. How are people eating this much pasta and sodium in one sitting on a regular basis and not obese, we mused.

Speaking of genetics, Japan is an incredibly homogenous country, which I assume has to at least partially factor into Tokyo’s crazy fashion sense. I’ve never seen so much color and offbeat outfits and crazy hair in seeming attempts to stand out from the crowd, on the subway as much as in and around Harajuku, Tokyo’s “cosplay” (costume play) scene and overall tragically hip shopping area. Which definitely exists, by the way… Gwen Stefani was telling the truth.

Adjacent to Harajuku’s fashion hub lies Yoyogi Park, where we headed to check out the cherry blossoms on our first “full” day in Tokyo, which just so happened to fall on a Sunday, which just so happens to be the day of the week that thousands of people swarm into the park with bottles of champagne, kegs of beer, food, wine, and boom boxes, throw down plastic tarps, and start partying under said blossoms. Young and old, babies, grandmothers…I’ve never seen so many enthusiastic/drunk picnickers. Kind of an exaggerated dichotomy between the serenity of nature and long bathroom lines. And lots of garbage.

Let’s talk about garbage while we’re on the subject. In general, Japan is very clean and there’s a lot of emphasis on better-than-average sanitation and sterilization, which I’m a big fan of in theory. Except that this translates into disposable items being disposed of REALLY OFTEN. For example, every single day when making up our room, the hotel staff supplied both of us with new toothbrushes, sealed in plastic. Every day for four days! That’s ridiculous. Or let’s say it’s raining outside and you walk into a department store - there are tube-shaped plastic sheaths provided at the entrance to stuff your wet umbrella into while you shop, then trash on your way out. You get the idea. Anyone for whom recycling is a way of life will find Japanese rituals like these a bit unnerving.

Tokyo’s metro system is faaaantastic. The trains run often and on time. They’re clean. They cover every inch of the city and are easy to navigate. I’m not sure if the rumors about people being stuffed into cars and women getting groped during rush hour are true, but I never rode in an uncomfortably crowded car… in fact, most of the time I could snag a seat. Although I did notice that during morning commute times, cars on either end are designated “women only”, so maybe I’ve just been lucky.

Before our trip started, MG and I had been joking about doing the Tokyo “Lost in Translation” tour - getting a drink at the New York bar in the Park Hyatt, getting lost at Shibuya crossing, singing at a karaoke bar, etc. - but we actually ran right into a traditional wedding procession at the Meiji Temple on our second day, which was magical.

As for eating, besides one misstep after a long day of walking where we ended up at an Italian-themed joint slurping up seafood pasta in cream sauce with chopsticks (it was actually really good, just not what we were looking for), the food in Tokyo has been outstanding. Freshest sushi ever. Excellent ramen. Lots of soups with rice and fish and tofu and a shitload of salt. I keep overdoing it and going into post-meal food comas. One night we took the metro to Roppongi and ate dinner at the restaurant where they shot the O Ren Ishi fight/bloodbath scenes from Kill Bill Part 1. Well, actually they shot it in a replica of the restaurant because, according to MG’s research, the owner didn’t want Tarantino making a mess in there. Regardless, the restaurant looks exactly like it does in the movie and as Kill Bill fans we thought it was kind of the coolest thing ever.

We spent our final day in Tokyo (for now anyway, we’ll be back there for three more days at the end of our trip) doing some touristy things: taking in the cityscapes from Tokyo Tower, getting a drink in the observatory of the Metropolitan Government building, and marveling at the cherry blossoms in Shinjuku Gyoen, which made Yoyogi Park look like amateur hour. I took roughly 5 million photos of cherry blossoms within an hour, though it’s impossible to really get a sense of how beautiful they are in photographs. Blossoms everywhere, in whites and pinks, falling everywhere like snow.

Yesterday we took a Shinkansen (bullet train) from Tokyo to Nagano, where we transferred to a local train that took us up into the mountains along Lake Nojiri, where we’ve been chilling far away from civilization the last couple days. Well, except for the wifi part. Whatever, it’s 2010.

Springing forward

It’s that time of year in San Francisco where the weather can go any which way… sunny and hot, rainy and muggy, foggy and windy, or a combination of all three scenarios within any four hours. Which is one of the main reasons I live here. The unpredictability of how it will all end keeps things interesting, like relationships, or this

Other things I love about San Francisco (a not-at-all complete list):

  1. You can wear jeans anywhere. If a venue is a no-jeans place, it’s probably one of those douchey, dress to impress B&T clubs anyway. Now, I completely understand that it’s nice to put on something besides jeans when you’re in the mood, totally get that. But listen here and listen good: jeans can be made plenty dressy, people. I own jeans that have set me back over $200, and I know that makes me psychotic, I’m acutely aware that I will most likely never own a home because of my frivolous, compulsive, sickening behavior, but it also means that I WILL WEAR JEANS IF I SO DESIRE, THANK YOU VERY MUCH THE END. So, SF works for me in that respect where other cities do not. Mad/psychotic props. 
  2. Day drinking: not frowned upon. Encouraged. Applauded, even. 
  3. Victorian architecture. I had a friend (originally from the Bay Area, as I am) tell me the other day that she’s “kinda over” Victorians. I don’t get that at all. The longer I live here the more I appreciate the color/uniqueness/detail of it all. 14 foot ceilings, bitches! Gold crown moldings! GOLD! 
  4. It’s-Its - if you live in SF and have never enjoyed a mint It’s-It, then you either moved here within the last three years and have lazy local friends, or are some sort of weird person who claims they don’t like ice cream. I don’t believe you, btw. 
  5. Eucalyptus trees - which are not native to Northern California, a fun little trivia nugget a lot of folks (even Californians) don’t know… they were brought in from Australia back in the 1850s and planted far and wide, thought to be great sources for timber. Turns out they’re shit for timber and don’t fare well in fires or storms. Still, I grew up among eucalyptus trees. They’re beautiful, they smell great, and, imported or not, have been fragrantly abundant in San Francisco parks a lot longer than any of us have.
  6. Food! Glorious food! San Francisco is a culinary mecca. You will eat well here. Even those who preach about how SF is so dirty and full of hippies will still agree with me on this point. 
  7. Proximity to wine country/dense redwood forests/idyllic beaches/snowy mountains/and so on. I’m not saying a lot of other cities aren’t also in close proximity to the whole nature thing, but I think the Bay Area has everybody beat in terms of a 3-hour drive radius. And I’ve been to a lot of cities. If you think I’m wrong, let me know… but I don’t think I’m wrong.
  8. In general, the residents of this city will not look down upon you for using your iPhone/Android/Palm-hahaha just kidding, good one Sarah/smartphone in mixed company. Yes, there are a few restaurants who uphold the whole “we reserve the right to kick you out for using your cell” policy, which I tend to support because they’re talking about those assholes who talk loudly on their phones. That’s not who I’m talking about. I’m talking about nerds checking into location-based apps, updating social network statuses, etc. The gadget-gazers. The people who consider themselves social butterflies but go out of their way not to actually have to make phone calls. My people. 
  9. I’ve heard both women and men complain about how hard it is to meet that special someone in San Francisco. I don’t really understand what the issue is. In my humble but also extremely intelligent opinion, this city is chock full of attractive souls doing fascinating things and being generally nice to one another. Everybody’s cute and happy and wearing jeans. Don’t count on meeting Mr(s) Right in the bathroom line at McTeague’s and I think you’ll be ok. 
  10. Did I mention this

Tomorrow the weather is supposed to be a high of 68, which may or may not be the case come tomorrow. Ok with me, SF. Do your worst.  

This Week in FUN - hibernatin'

Wanted to update everybody regarding This Week in FUN, the weekly show I do with my BFF Martin Sargent on the TWiT network each week. If you’re a fan of the show, the following probably isn’t going to make you happy, but if you hate us and think we’re the devil’s spawn (thx for the emails, btw, I absolutely adore being compared to Satan, best compliment ever), this will probably make your night:

TWiF is going on hiatus!

Here’s why - as many of you already know, Martin started his new rockstar job this week, which is awesome… and has also severely limited his free time to do things such as shooting TWiF on Friday afternoons. It’s totally probable that in time we’ll figure out how to carve out the necessary amount of time each week to restart the show, but at this point, we can’t say exactly when.

We’ve also been contemplating the future of TWiF with Leo and his team ever since the show had to switch gears in October, when I lost my driver’s license and was unable to drive to Petaluma to shoot the show in person. Netcams are great and all, but the overall quality of the show has suffered, and as a result, so have our viewership numbers. Because of the way TWiT is set up and because my hands are tied, it makes sense not to continue with a less than stellar product, for us and for you.

So we’re going dark for a bit. Hopefully we’ll resurface sooner than later. I love you all and I can’t tell you how much I appreciate your support. If I could bake a cake that showed how much I appreciate your support, it would be the BIGGEST CAKE EVER, SO BIG OMG SO BIG. SO. BIG. 

I hate saying this, but… stay tuned. If you have any great ideas or wisdom to share with us in the meantime, here’s the place. God save the Queen.

2010: A New Hope.

I meant for the following post to be written before 2009 ended, but since I’m still asking myself what year it is and walking in circles, I figure I’m still within an acceptable time period to participate in the whole year-end blog nonsense. And I’m way past due to write something here anyway, partly because I haven’t since November when I basically said life was peachy and let’s ride off into the sunset, and partly because formspring.me is dumb.

You know what else is dumb? 2009. What a shit year, amirite? Ok, that’s not completely true, but I wouldn’t put it at the top of my list (1990, for example? Great year. Top 5. I went to the Washington Monument!)

For a brief but dreadful part of 2009, I was afraid I was going to die, and although I’ve experienced the process of death from very close range in the past, I’ve never felt as though my own time could be up any second. That was a pretty heavy time period for me psychologically, and I spent too much of it being overly anxious about relapsing, popping lorazepam at the encouragement of my neurologist only to become dependent on it to sleep through the night, and feeling disappointed by a few people I cared about that didn’t (in my eyes anyway) end up being very supportive. Let’s just say I felt lost and alone at times, blah blah.

Then my brain got better and I was really really happy and full of a renewed lust for life, which led me to do some impulsive things, like fly to Paris for eight days without enough seizure medication to last me because I was in some sort of you-can’t-kill-me-I’m-unkillable mania and forgot to refill my prescription, which forced my mother to have to visit my neurologist’s office, pick up my drugs, and smuggle a few days’ worth via FedEx (in order for it not to be seized at French customs, she listed the contents as “plastic toy” and you can imagine the looks I got at the FedEx office in Paris when I picked it up. Whatever, France, all your fashion models are topless, lighten up). Paris was maybe the BEST WEEK EVER.

Thanks, Mom. You were already the best mom to ever walk the great Earth, but now you’re the best mom who throws French laws about transporting prescription medication to the wind so that her daughter can ride on the back of strangers’ scooters and dance on Parisian tables without worrying about ending up in the hospital unconscious and convulsing. Badass.

If anyone from the French government is reading this, I’m totally kidding.

But by getting “better” my life hasn’t exactly returned to how it was before, which has been a difficult transition for me into this new year. Even though I’ve come to tolerate my medication pretty well and it’s become part of my routine, it still makes me feel slow and dizzy and I find that I’m pretty much useless unless I take it right before bed and sleep off the worst of it. I also still can’t drive. I expect to be able to sooner than later, but the DMV paperwork to get your license back in situations like mine is ridiculous. Also, I own a Saab, which just makes the whole thing funnier.

Oh, and the infectious disease specialist that I said I was going to see in my previous post? A real pro, loved her. What she told me - and I think if anyone knows this, it’s her - is that if for any reason I stop taking my seizure meds, that due to the residue in my brain, the likelihood that I’ll suffer another seizure hovers around 50%.

50%? Those are not good odds. I have to take this medication for the rest of my life? Huge bummer. But it’s worth it if it means I’m cool and can soon manhandle the Saab through the streets of San Francisco like the champ that I am. Still coming to terms with that.

All of it aside, I’ve stumbled into this new year a changed woman, at least on the inside. Trite but true. I’m really interested to see how things play out where I can flex this newfound love for everything because I welcome it all, including a free trip to Japan that I earned over 10 years of miles accumulated on shit flights on United (winky face, United!!). And get out your barf bags, but once again I need to thank you all for your undying (really) support throughout all of this. Never have I felt more loved, and I mean that.

A highly condensed version of things I wrote to myself to strive for in twenty-ten:

  1. Get back into a regular excercise routine, shell of a woman. YOU NEED MUSCLE.
  2. Let it roll off your back (that’s how I’m saying ‘don’t sweat the small stuff’ in 2010, shut up it’s totally better)
  3. Live your life forward, not backward
  4. Love and be loved
  5. Go on a date with Jennifer Aniston (where the f was she in 09?)

That’s pretty much it. Happy New Year, universe. Happy to be here, happy to know you all.

Also? I detoxed off lorazepam on my own and no longer take it to calm myself down or fall asleep. Stay in 2009 where you belong, shithead. I DON’T NEED YOU ANYMORE!

Sarah Lane's Tumor Ruin: All Signs Point to No

I got some good news today. Really great news. The kind of exceptional news where afterward your only real choice is to throw some Daft Punk on Pandora, put the headphones in, and just start skipping down the street, smiling at everyone. (I actually did that, btw. If you saw a small, maniacal, skipping woman wearing super cute green/pink Pumas on Fillmore today between Clay and Page, that was me, dawg! And I was smiling at YOU.)

I had my 5th MRI yesterday, the one that was supposed to tell me if my parasitic nightmare and ensuing slightly embarrassing overshare (um, sorry, btw, wow) was all worth it, and if the neurocysticercosis had filed for bankruptcy and foreclosed my house.

And guess what? I met with my new neurologist today, and we went over yesterday’s scans in detail, and…. it looks like my tumors bought in the height of the market, and they thought they were really scoring, and then the bottom dropped out of their neighborhood, rendering them yet another statistic in this national recession of fallen property values.

But seriously, between the radiologist’s and neurologist’s notes, I was told there was “progressive reduction”.. indicating that not only had my tumors already diminished, but that they are expected to continue to.

O, happy, blessed day. Seriously. You don’t get that kind of news every day. I don’t, anyway.

The next step is to meet with a highly specialized infectious disease doctor (I guess they have those and these people spend their entire lives researching people like me, which is rad) and make sure that she doesn’t think I need another round of Albendazole/Prednisone, just to make sure the killers are really truly dead. I guess my particular disease is one that’s still being figured out and the treatment options modified regularly.

Basically I got the best news I could possibly get at this point. If the parasite in my brain that manifested into the tumors that gave me an epilepsy is truly dead or soon to be dead, then if I’m lucky (and I don’t need to be all that lucky since the odds are 80% in my favor), the resulting brain scar tissue from this whole ordeal will stay in my brain, but cease to cause me further issue.

Obviously the whole thing will be closely monitored. For example, I still get the headaches I started getting before my seizure, and that always worries me a little. My neurologist thinks it’s likely residual pain from all that radiation I went through. If anything in that department gets weird, I’ll get looked at. But at this point, I’m considered “on the mend”.

I can’t believe it, and yet I can… because as insignificant and brief my ordeal has been in the grand scheme of human suffering, I consider the entire experience a gift to a vain, materialistic, silly woman like me who really needed a little perspective. It worked, UNIVERSE! GOT IT! I love life and I love being here. It’s all very obvious to me now, and if it’s always been obvious to you, then I’m so happy to belatedly be in the club.

Jill Bolte Taylor & me: we're like THIS

Sup Internet! Sarah’s brain here. Feeling shitty after a loooong bout with anti-parasite medication and steroids. What up y’all?

Just kidding, it’s not really my brain talking, it’s just me (my brain doesn’t get talking rights anymore, stupid thing doesn’t even work). I don’t want to make this sound too dramatic, but Prednisone? Horrible steroid, makes people go completely insane. I know this because I’m one of those people. For example: I had a tantrum, directed at my own mother, in the street. A street with a lot of people walking around and noticing. A tantrum. You think to yourself, “oh haha, she’s just calling it a tantrum but that only happens with babies and toddlers”…. I. HAD. A. TANTRUM. I actually had several if we’re keeping track. I was only on the Prednisone to combat the Albendazole I was taking in an attempt to kill my parasitic tumors, so… you know. It just felt unfair overall.

Today was my last day on Prednisone (I had to spend five days tapering off because apparently just stopping cold turkey would make me devour a birdhouse and then cry about it and then maybe punch an elderly person), and I couldn’t be happier. I hope I never have to take that drug again. It gave me equal parts mania, despair, confusion, hunger, nausea, and a lot of tears. The kind of situation where you can tell yourself that it’s the drugs, it’s not you, but the thoughts in your head are still there and cannot quite be ignored. Scary. A lot of friends and strangers have come forward with their own Prednisone stories… people take it for asthma, lupus, all sorts of things. Sounds like some people tolerate it pretty well, and others don’t.

Real quick for anyone wondering, I have yet another MRI on Monday morning to see how things look upstairs after this whole radiation/steroid treatment, and if my tumors are 1) smaller, 2) unchanged, or 3) worse. I’ll let you know either way. I think I said a few weeks ago that I didn’t want my blog to become a wasteland of medical details, but hey. At least I’ve got something meaningful to write about. And it makes me feel better to share all of this with all of you, so I’ll keep at it, and you can stay along for the ride as long as you like, until you start vomiting (and you will eventually, I assure you).

I did something sort of weird today, and against my better judgement I’m going to share it with you. If it seems narcissistic or crazy or otherwise just really bizarre and unnecessary, could you do me a favor and just chalk it up to me being a narcissistic, crazy, bizarre, and unnecessary person who is on way too much medication and may not be thinking completely lucidly? Thanks in advance.

So. I watched a particular TED talk at the insistence of a dear friend who knew I would get a lot out of it. He kept insisting that I watch, hammering it home, annoying me about it even, because he knows me and knows that people are always sending me links to “world’s most amazing video” and often times I just don’t get to it. You know how that goes. You say you’ll watch “world’s most amazing video”, but you end up not ever getting around to it, and it doesn’t matter because there’s this other video you did watch involving a cat who eats with chopsticks and SOMETIMES WE JUST HAVE TO CHOOSE WHAT TO DO WITH OUR TIME, AMIRITE?

This is the video I watched: a speech by a crazy smart brain scientist named Jill Bolte Taylor who had a very unique experience that is not at all the same experience that I had, but that still spoke to me in ways that would never have been possible before I had a seizure and realized how fragile our brains (and our lives) actually are.

So, this friend I told you about? The one who knows me well enough to know that maybe I wouldn’t watch this amazing video because I might get caught up in, I don’t know, registering for Gowalla or some stupid shit like that (no offense to Gowalla, really, but I did actually register for that today)? I wanted to prove to him that I did indeed watch the dumb video he sent, and because we’re Internet nerds who do things like save chat logs to prove each other wrong and take screen shots of websites that have errors and laugh and feel superior and such, I decided to record myself watching the video to send to him later so he’d have proof that I really did watch.

Here is that video. The first couple minutes are cut off, but maybe you’re really creative or stoned and want to try to match up the video above with my reaction video? If neither, don’t worry, I captured the audio which I think captures the essence of what I’m trying to convey.

 

I was very moved by this woman, this stranger, this person who I could have never heard of or seen or known existed and been totally fine. Totally fine meaning possibly dying of a brain tumor, but you get my drift. But I think it’s worth it, and as I’ve had a lot of downtime lately and been experimenting more with video and life and the organicness (is that a word?) of it all, I just feel like I’m ok sharing my actual experience with you, here, now.

Not ok? Narcissistic/crazy/bizarre/unnecessary? Well then forgive me Father, for I am drugged. It has been 33 years since my last confession.

Getting proper healthcare is utterly baffling. It really is.

In my already exhaustively exhaustive (I’m exhausted) play-by-play of my brain activity within the past four weeks, there is one part of the story I’ve neglected to mention. I know this doesn’t seem possible, because I have mentioned every detail that could ever be applied to any story, anywhere, and I also added links. But this particular detail might apply to you more than the rest, or just interest you, because by golly it involves HEALTHCARE and INSURANCE, two of our favorite things!

When I had an allergic reaction to Dilantin, the anti-seizure med from hell, and was switched by my neurologist to the infinity more pleasant Keppra XR, I still needed my insurance company’s approval to cover the cost as part of my insurance plan (a good one through Current TV, btw). It would have probably taken a day or two to push through, but because of what the neuro considered a very timely situation, she started me on Keppra XR right away. How? The office had a drawerful of samples that some rep from the manufacturer had left for people like me to try out. I took a week’s worth.

But then my insurance company denied me coverage for Keppra XR, apparently because they didn’t feel there was enough research to prove that the XR (“extended release”) version was that much more beneficial.

Here’s the thing about extended release medicine if you’re not familiar… having a drug release the good stuff more slowly and over a longer period of time can really help overall stability and “coverage”… especially when I have barely enough short-term memory to remember to take multiple doses of anything. Or drink water. Or blink.

So the doctor’s office appealed my insurance company’s rejection with what I imagine was a stern doctor’s note about how my condition is unstable complete with medical records and just put the damn thing through we’re already started here kind of stuff.  By this time, I had run out of Keppra XR samples, but my doctor’s office had more in the drawer! Another week’s worth! Crisis averted.

And then my neurologist’s appeal got denied. I was basically freeloading off the drug manufacturer because my doctor gave me free samples of a drug that worked well for me and my insurance company basically told us all to eff off. Now, mind you- this does not mean I wouldn’t have been able to BUY Keppra XR myself, I mean, I have a prescription, but it’s hundreds of dollars per month.

The doctor’s office announced the tragic news to me but nobody over there seemed all that upset or worried (there were still more samples in the drawer, and my doctor was going to call someone over at the ins. company directly). But, you know, these processes always take forever. There are archaic practices still in use, like FAXING and HAND-WRITTEN PRESCRIPTION NOTES THAT USE ROMAN NUMERALS, NOT EVEN KIDDING. I just felt very bounced around in a loophole. And Keppra XR is not like some fun, “woohoo I scored” kind of drug that people really want, by the way. Its highlights include confusion and walking into walls, and not having seizures in the street.

Then I got a call from some very nice gal at my insurance company (is it weird not to say the name of the company, btw? This is post is not meant to drag anyone through the mud), who informed me that although my Keppra XR coverage had been denied, and then its appeal denied, that I still had the option to file MY VERY OWN PERSONAL APPEAL! Because I’d probably come up with a more harrowing jungle story about escaping a wild pack of porkworms than my neurologist did? Because I even know a single ingredient inside a Keppra XR? Not sure. But I filed an appeal anyway. This is roughly how it went: “I can do that? Even after …. ok, yes, yes I would. Consider me appealing. Do I need to tell you any… alright then you have a good day as well. Thank you?”

Four days later I got approved. I got approved for refills through 2099, to be exact. I’m not paying for Keppra XR for another 90 years, mothereffers! Can anyone even play that much mah jong? Both my doctor’s office and my insurance company called me to tell me the good news within the last hour. Virtual high fives!

Do you see how many insane ways this story is insane, though? I mean, WHAT. IS. GOING. ON. behind the scenes back there? Are these companies so large/mismanaged/confused that I, Sarah Lane, have 11th hour 2nd appeal powers above my own medical team? This whole dumb saga turned out well for me, but I don’t actually know how. I do know that many of you who’ve left me emails/comments/tweets/nice thoughts are no strangers to the this world of approvals and denials, but I certainly am, and am just baffled.

Also? I start tapering off my Prednisone tomorrow so let’s all hope Sarah the Hulk tapers off too. I tore up an entire mahogany dining set while writing this blog post.

Sarah, the Goddess of Brain Tumors (part 2)

Well. A lot has happened since I wrote that long, rambling, sort of embarrassingly dramatic post about having a grand mal seizure. I probably wouldn’t have bothered with a follow up - because quite frankly, I’m so sick of talking about brains, how brains work, how brains fail us, why brains suck and are ugly, etc, that the next neurologist I meet at a dinner party I’m going to glare at the entire time, just because – but I knew I had to bite the bullet because 1) a lot of you really, truly care about me and my health and have told me so, and because I value your support I feel that I owe this to you, and 2)  I’m on so much medication that I’m basically a drug addict at this point and if I don’t write it all down YESTERDAY, I’ll probably forget that the entire incident and ensuing medical bullshit details ever happened. Which could actually be awesome, I’m not sure why I’m not doing that.

So remember that epilepsy medication called Dilantin that I was prescribed to keep future seizures away? And how I said that the list of side effects was side-splittingly funny? Well, one of them is a potentially life-threatening allergic reaction which I developed within several days, because I’m just cool like that. Me and Padma Lakshmi! At my first appointment with my new SF-based neurologist, she took one look at me and “we need to take you off Dilantin. We need to take you off Dilantin NOW. This is not good.” Shitty first visit to a new doctor, but I appreciated her honesty and concern.

So now I’m on another anti-seizure medication called Keppra, which is like swallowing 1500 mg of rainbows every day compared to Dilantin. I don’t feel 100%, I still forget easy words and have walked into several walls, but for the most part it’s very tolerable. I’m suppressing normal brain functionality though, and that makes me uncomfortable because anyone who knows me at all knows that I consider myself the wittiest person currently walking the Earth, and would rather die than be thought of as dim or unfunny. Maybe slightly less vain.

Since my initial seizure and treatment at Marina Del Ray Hospital, I’ve had 2 more MRIs and a bunch of yummy blood tests, but the diagnosis has kinda changed a few times. I originally had neurocysticercosis, then after a better MRI scan they thought it looked like ganglioglioma, a slow-growing tumor that isn’t necessarily malignant, but will continue to give me seizure problems until removed. (THROUGH BRAIN SURGERY, BTW. I mean, the only thing cooler than me having brain surgery would be me becoming a rocket scientist.) Anyway, after a third MRI there appeared to be some more swelling/scar tissue around the area, which is bad, and two additional, smaller tumors, which is also bad. The good is that now it really looks like neurocysticercosis and I no longer have several brain specialists with 4500 medical degrees from the world’s most prestigious institutions giving me conflicting information. It’s the parasite! Excellent, so we all agree! SO PUMPED!

Tomorrow I’m starting a course of anti-parasitic medication designed to shrink/collapse/kill/stabthroughheartwithstake my neurocysticercosis tumors. (You are taking a shot of Jameson every time I say that word, right?) It’s called Albendazole and it’s kind of like a radiation treatment, killing the bad stuff but killing everything else too and ravaging my immune system. I’ll need to be very careful about being anywhere I’m susceptible to infections or diseases. Like H1N1, for example. You know, that flu that kills people. And might be living in the public restroom where I work.

I’m considering wearing one of those little germ masks, just to be an asshole.

Here’s sort of a weird twist to this genius plan: I also need to take a side-effect happy steroid called Prednisone to minimize the additional swelling in my brain that will arise from taking Albendazole, the very drug that is supposed to kill my unwanted brain colonies. Apparently parasites will rage against the machine when attacked, and with enough disruption I might have another seizure. The other day when my neurologist was explaining all of this to me and kept needing to refer to various notes and diagrams and I was sort of crying because, I don’t know, SHOULDN’T SHE HAVE BEEN BORN WITH THIS KNOWLEDGE AND NOT HAVE TO LOOK THINGS UP, she sighed and said “I’m sorry Sarah, but understand, this case of yours, it’s very unusual. I mean, I’ve got a Pacific Heights practice and all, I don’t see stuff like this very often,” and we both had to laugh. It’s true, she works in a richie-rich neighborhood and regularly treats patients who didn’t sleep under a bunch of filthy camel blankets in the Thar desert in 2007 by choice. I like to think she’s secretly thrilled that Sarah Lane, world-weary street urchin, came along and gave her something to believe in.

I also met with a neurosurgeon, just to cover my bases and stuff… and the consensus is that opening up my skull should not be our first plan of attack, because – and you’ll really love this- since the tumors are in my right temporal lobe and I’m left-handed, I actually store more important data in that area than a right-handed person would… you know, like THE ENGLISH LANGUAGE and HOW TO TALK… so operating in that area is all the more risky. Left-handers really deserve Halliburton’s money for our troubles or something.

So, that’s where I am in my little journey. You literally know everything I know. And I definitely don’t want this blog to turn into this boo hoo place where I can only talk about what’s wrong with me, so don’t be too put off if you’ve come here looking for tech tips or pictures of me in my 7th grade cheerleading uniform. Once this passes, we’ll all go back to being ourselves and I’ll be wittier than ever and you will LAUGH AND LAUGH AND LAUGH AT/WITH ME.

Please think good thoughts over the next couple of weeks as I add some hardcore drug interactions to my already impressive juggling act. I hope this stuff takes. I want this to be over so, so badly, and despite the cool factor I don’t actually want brain surgery. I just want to be me again and to be happy to be part of this wonderful life. And to bathe in Lorazepam regularly….It’s like impossible to get pissed about anything on that stuff. Amazing.

I had a grand mal seizure. Want to hear?

So. I had booked what sounded like a pretty neat job… I didn’t know much more about it than that I’d be participating in an “expert panel” for MSN in the tech/gadget arena in Palos Verdes on October 12/13th, and my birthday actually fell on that first day, so I thought, well, huh, I’ve agreed to be working that day anyway, so why not fly down to LA for the previous weekend and see all my friends?

The MSN folks had arranged a car service for me, so as I descended down into baggage claim from a pleasant, wifi-enabled 1.4 hour flight, I saw a jovial older British guy with the ponytail holding my “LANE” sign (obviously at that time I had no idea he was British or jovial, but now it’s stuck in my memory). Anyway, nice guy. Led me to a Lincoln Towncar and didn’t blink an eye when I asked to be driven into Venice instead of straight to the hotel in Palos Verdes (where I’d been put up for the weekend by MSN). See, I just wanted to have brunch in Venice first. That’s all I wanted to do! Couple hours tops, two days before actual work. Slight chance of shopping. Slight!

So Venice resident Damon Berger (the future person to save my life, though I didn’t know that last part yet) and I walked two blocks from his brand-new kickass little bachelory beach bungalow to Abbot Kinney Blvd, the hipstery granola beautiful people main drag. We took our time choosing a place (which was nothing new, because we’re both picky about our food/service/sun exposure in our own ways) and settled on an organic/German/everything brunch spot called 3 Square.

We sat outside along the edge of the East/West wall at a 2-person table, just out of direct sun. Now here’s where everything gets fuzzy, because I remember certain things I said over the next five or so minutes, some of which were actually heard and have been backed up on official record, and some refuted for total inaccuracy/whimsy/fake language not recognized by any linguistics expert, anywhere. I remember asking to add mushrooms to an otherwise mushroom-free omelette, and was later told that I commented on how good bircher muesli was (it was an item on the menu). I remember the former but not the latter. Basically this is right around the time where things were falling apart upstairs. Keep in mind it was 11:30 am.. nobody was partying.

At this point, the really truly last thing I do remember is Damon looking across the table at me in a very concerned way and asking me if I was ok. “Sarah, are you ok? Seriously, are you ok?” And I heard him, and I saw him, and I couldn’t answer him. I could NOT stop whatever was coming. And that’s when I blacked out.

I’ve been told that at this point my entire body began convulsing, my eyes rolled back into my head, my mouth bled from where I had bit into it, and my lips turned blue. I guess that means I wasn’t breathing… blue lips? It wasn’t cold outside. Damon grabbed me and had someone pull my chair out from under me, brought me to the ground, and yelled for someone to call an ambulance. Apparently it arrived within about five minutes… good thing we weren’t dining in South Central. Damon would later tell me that he was convinced I was having either a heart attack or a stroke and dying right then and there, in his arms, and that it was the scariest moment of his entire life. I’m terribly grateful not to remember this part.

What I do remember is waking up in the back of an ambulance, an EMT to my left, Damon to my right. Now, this sounds really crazy and stupid but my initial thought was that I was being kidnapped, because when I begged to be let go they tried to hold me down and soothe me and keep in mind that I had no idea what had happened at the restaurant. I was in the back of a van and a strange man wanted to put a needle in my arm. I believe I kicked him. (EMT guy, I’m sorry I acted so badly with you, I know you were just trying to help. Keep on keepin on.)

I was admitted to Marina Del Ray Hospital, a place that I never knew existed, even though I lived less than ten miles away for two years. Kind of a small-town, kitchy feel to the place, and I say that with no disrespect- the kind of hospital where you don’t feel lost in the sterile shuffle of modern medicine. I was completely doped up for my 2.5-day stay, so forgive my swiss cheese memory, but I do know that the first IV drip I got was phenobarbital, the MOST WONDERFUL DRUG IN THE UNIVERSE, and also the #1 anti-seizure medication prescribed to dogs. Yay trivia! This is a little embarrassing to admit, but after four hours of intervenous intergalactic planetary space flight, I spent the rest of my hospital stay trying to come up with reasons why the nurses should give me more phenobarbital. (They never did, because they are mean, cruel nurses and only out for themselves.)

First test I got was a cat scan, which was a piece of cake… sort of like a mini-MRI. I think the next one was my actual MRI (which I was particularly sedated for, since I had heard it was a really claustrophobic experience… totally fell asleep in there). The third test was an EEG, which was a series of wires and suction cups attached to my scalp. I’ve never looked uglier…fact. There may or may not be a few iPhone pictures to back me up, but just take my word for it. 

Anyway, so yeah. 400 tests, strong drugs, really nice nurses, and some not-that-horrible hospital food. Besides the circumstances under which I was there, I really think it could have been worse. My hospital roommate was Mrs. Jimenez, who had literally had BRAIN SURGERY several times already. A lovely woman with a great family, and I hope she gets better.

I’m now on a drug called Phenytoin (brand name Dilantin), which I take three times a day and has one of the worst list of side effects I’ve ever read. You guys, it’s almost funny it’s so bad. This is anti-epilepsy medication, which nobody really thinks I have, but is my best overall seizure suppressant until I get a clear diagnosis and better treatment options with a local neurologist here in San Francisco. I hate it and I hate the way it makes me feel. I feel slow… not funny, not smart. I am not legally allowed to drive a car. Plus, I’m not supposed to drink alcohol, which is ONLY THE ELIXIR OF LIFE, NOTHING BIG.

They think I might have cysticercosis, likely contracted during my year traveling abroad. It’s pretty gross. I’ve actually tested negative for it already, but they also think I have something called a blood-brain barrier, which might cause me to test inaccurately in tests such as these. BECAUSE I NEED AS MUCH OF A CHALLENGE AS POSSIBLE WHEN IT COMES TO MY BRAIN.

So that’s where I am now. I have my first neurology appointment here in SF on Tuesday, and we’ll go from there. Think positive! I also just wanted to thank everyone who’s called me or written me or bought me beautiful flowers (McCloskey), sent various notes of support and encouragement, etc. I hope I can get back to all of you, but just know I’m reading everything and really appreciating the love. 

A quick but heartfelt congratulatory note to my cousin Martin and his beautiful bride Rebeca, who are getting married in Boston on Saturday in a gorgeous, joyful ceremony that I’m devastated to have to miss. A match made in heaven if there ever was one!

New site, new rules (part MCXIV)

Well… how do you like it? I’ve got a few tweaks/additions to make yet, but all in all I’m thrilled with how it turned out. A huge, massive monument-size (think Burj Dubai) thank you to my friends at Squarespace for helping me make my new design a reality. Krystyn, Kris, Dane, Erica, and the entire Squarespace crew have been the BEST PEOPLE EVER, and I can’t thank them enough for helping me build the next generation of sarahlane.com. Does anyone know how to say “thank you x infinity” in CSS so that it ends up crashing Firefox? If so, please send via my contact link and I’ll start spamming them.

A word on the new design: my old site was perfectly functional and I liked it a lot, but it was pretty static if I didn’t actually update the blog itself regularly, which I didn’t. These days I spend so much time on a multitude of social networks that I wanted sarahlane.com to reflect my overall activity, rather than appearing neglected all the time. Please note that I don’t intend to stop posting longer form content here, quite the opposite. I love to write and a spiffy new site is just what I need to kick myself back into TMI overdrive. I’m simply reinventing myself as a realist, which I think is very mature of me. Matronly, even. Geriatric.

So… how do you like it?

BTW, Martin Sargent says I look like a muppet on the landing page, which is one of the greatest compliments a friend has ever given me.

 

Go on, inspire me.

Lately I've been in search of design inspiration for a future web show of sorts that I'm putting together at Current Tech, which is very exciting for a few reasons:

  1. I'll get to do more of what I love most... talk about the stuff I'm passionate about!
  2. Current gets to experiment with new avenues of video, like LIVE and STREAMING!
  3. We all have more reasons to participate in the Current Tech community and hang out together!
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Hello! Helvetireader!

Sorry for my radio silence. I have no excuse. Actually, I was in the middle of writing a "top 10 reasons why I suck" post, but something felt too familiar about it. So I did a little search and found this post from August, 2007. AT LEAST I AM CONSISTENT, PEOPLE.

Consider this my 900th entry back into regular blogging! To be honest, I'm in the middle of yet another obsessive compulsive blog redesign, so there's a lot going on behind the scenes even if I seem like I'm an absentee blogger. I want to better integrate all the other posts/photos/videos/tweets/etc I clog the internet with every day, so that sarahlane.com is more of a big mashup, rather than a ghost town for weeks on end. So, you're up to speed. Oh, and please send me any fabulous design ideas if you have 'em!

In the meantime, I came across something wonderful in my Tumblr dashboard this morning (via joelaz). You know how nobody's ever been as obsessed with anything as the world seems to be with the Helvetica font? And who can blame us, right? Helvetica is smart and clean and reminds us all that text is beautiful! Well, now you can use Helvetica to make Google Reader prettier.

Helvetireader is a userscript for a variety of browsers that  simplifies Google Reader while also Helvetifying it. I'm going to give it a week to see if my Google Reader usage can be salvaged (I've all but abandoned it lately and could use a fresh coat of paint, as it were).

If you're using a browser that doesn't support userscripts, or just want to tweak the look of Helvetireader, you can download and tweak the CSS file. If you go this route and are happy with the results, post your stellar work in the comments!

This Week in FUN: big news!

Hey, have you heard the good word? This Week in Fun is an official podcast, and we have you to thank. Thanks!

Q: What do I do if I haven't done anything yet?

A: Excellent question!

Subscribe to the series here (don't worry, back episodes will be added ASAP) : TWiF: http://twit.tv/twif

Or click the image below to subscribe via iTunes:

As of this blog post date, we're #25 on iTunes Top Podcasts, which is pretty freaking awesome.

To all those who watch our live stream every Friday at 3 pm Pacific, don't worry, we're still live and direct! It's just that if you can't make the time, you can download the file and listen at your leisure. Oh, and video is 100% on the way. Audio's just the beginning. Great news all around.

Thanks to everyone who's supported Martin and me thus far (especially Leo and the TWiT team who help us do our thing every week... you guys are the best).

25 Random Things About Me

If you're a Facebook user, you've likely been tagged in a note from a friend listing off random things about themselves and asking you to do the same (it's kind of an epidemic, really). But because so many of you aren't my Facebook friends yet, I figured I'd cut-&-paste my contributions here.

**I (lovingly) stole Veronica Belmont's idea of cheating on the rules of this exercise by not tagging anyone. So many people have tagged me that I got overwhelmed, but I still want to play. Below are the rules I'm rebelliously not following:

FACEBOOK RULES: Once you've been tagged, you're supposed to write a note with 25 random things, facts, habits, or goals about you. At the end, choose 25 people to be tagged. You have to tag the person who tagged you. If I tagged you, it's because I want to know more about you.

(To do this, go to “notes” under tabs (+) on your profile page, paste these instructions in the body of the note, type your 25 random things, tag 25 people (in the right hand corner of the app) then click publish.)

1. When I was a kid, I thought I hated lasagna and wouldn't eat it for years. Bizarre.
2. My eyes are green, but they sometimes look hazel or gold. Bright green if I cry.
3. In 3rd grade I wrote a mean thing in another kid's yearbook and got in trouble. I was trying to be clever, but he was really hurt and I still feel bad about it to this day.
4. I'm the youngest member of my family who still has the "Lane" surname.
5. I have an obsession with symmetry... for example, the way eggs are arranged in a carton.
6. I'd rather be funny than pretty.
7. I love going to expensive open houses and imagining where I'd put all my things.
8. I can't decide if I love beer or wine more. I think it's wine. I think.
9. As an only child, I have to remind myself that it's not always my way or the highway.
10. I love rainy, cloudy, windy, stormy days. They have personality.
11. I find it very challenging to get through a novel these days because I'm always online.
12. I need 8 hours of sleep per night in order to feel amazing.
13. I love performing on TV, but public speaking frightens me.
14. I'm not crazy about the color blue.
15. One day if I'm really lucky, I'll have an outdoor hot tub among redwood trees.
16. Sometimes I wonder if my wanderlust will ever let me truly settle down.
17. I'm extremely jumpy. I don't know why.
18. I hate it when people ruin The National Anthem with showoff vocals.
19. I was a cheerleader in junior high.
20. My favorite feature is my long eyelashes.
21. I'm uncomfortable playing team sports. I think it's fear of failure/letting people down.
22. I make my bed every day.
23. I have a hard time saying no.
24. My most prized possessions are photographs of people I love.
25. Pizza toppings should always include artichoke hearts.

I feel the need to point out that while I enjoyed this Facebook exercise immensely, I've been making random lists about myself for YEARS and categorizing them under "Lists I Made" here, on this very blog. Peruse the category archives, and enjoy! Or just feel sorry for me and my oversharing problems. I'm totes cool with either.

Merry Christmas, Internet

My grandma had this photo taken as part of a Christmas series for my parents in 1981, and I remember my mom not liking it as much as other photos of me. "Too girly," she said. This is the same woman who refused to dress me in anything pink as a child, which resulted in two things: 1) I looked quite a bit like a boy until about 1981, and 2) I love pink and am still building websites specifically designed to show her exactly who's not the boss of me. 

 

 

 

We should be singing and dancing.

You may or may not have seen this before, but it sums up how I feel about life rather succintly:

Every time I get down about not having enough money or being in the right job or having the kind of success I thought I'd have by this age, I try to remind myself that my life is happening, right here, right now. And so is yours. And come to think of it, we should probably take a really long trip to Tanzania. THOSE WILDEBEESTS AREN'T GOING TO PHOTOGRAPH THEMSELVES, PEOPLE.

I Miss Moujan.

Not that we aren't still friends, because of course we are... but now I don't see her every day, and that makes me sad. Mouji is one of the funniest people I've ever met. She also made this little daily croissant thingie in the toaster oven that smelled so good and made me want to sit in her cube and sniff the air while she ate it. I'm pretty sure if I had done that I would have made her horribly uncomfortable, but she would have let me and even smiled a tiny little smile, because that's the kind of person ol' Mouji is. If you never had the pleasure of watching some of her insane popSiren skits and monologues, you really should (Rev3 hasn't taken 'em down yet, why not?)

Thanks.

The outpouring of love I've received over the last few days here, on Twitter, Facebook, my inbox, and beyond is really incredible, and the loyalty that people have shown me is just amazing. I actually hate the word "amazing", but in this case it's actually the best choice. You're all amazing and I'm honored to have your support. I promise to keep you updated on my next move, whatever it may be.

For now, I'll be posting lots of stories, videos, pics, and links here, and I hope you'll stop by regularly.

Love,
Sarah

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"Look Ma, I'm a Free Agent", A Short Story by Sarah Lane

As of today, I no longer work for Revision3. Something about the "economic downturn"? Have you heard anything about this? I've been looking it up all morning but Google searches are coming up empty. Hardy har.

Anyway, a few things:

1. I won't be co-hosting The Digg Reel this week after all. Too bad, because I was looking forward to it. My apologies to everyone who was set to tune in after I promoted it on TWiT yesterday.

2. popSiren has been canceled. I'm going to try not to get too sappy about it, although those who've watched me on TV over the years know that I have a history of crying. :) I do want to quickly thank some of the folks who made it one of the best experiences of my career: Heather Frank, Moujan Z: Twitter Hater, Mauricio Balvanera, Josh Villegas, Brett Putman and the studio crew, Jessica Corbin, Dr. Kiki Sanford, Neha Tiwari, Eden Soto, our fabulous interns (with extra special thanks to Kelly Sutton and Jeff Zimmerlin), the Revision3 production, web, tech, and sales teams, and anybody else that I ungraciously and inadvertently left out. I owe you all a drink - except Moujan, whose self-destructive latte habit I will no longer support. Also thanks to Martin Sargent and Jay Speiden for making the Cul De Sac a delightfully inappropriate place to occupy a cube.

3. Revision3 has been a wonderful experience. As always, life goes on. I'm not sure what I'm going to do next, but if you have any ideas, let me know (unless it involves anything topless or circus-related... been there done that).

Here's my LinkedIn profile, my Twitter feed, and I promise to be extra-active on my variety of other social networks (under FriendFeed Links down the right-hand column of this page).

And she lived happily ever after.

The End.

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