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May 23rd, 2012
10:10 am

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Considering How Disappointed I Have Been..
http://www.isidewith.com/results/7007492

Candidates you side with...

85%
Barack Obama

I side with Barack Obama on issues of Science, Immigration, Social, and the Environment.

81%
Jill Stein

I side with Jill Stein on issues of the Environment, Science, Foreign Policy, Immigration, and Social.

80%
Gary Johnson

I side with Gary Johnson on issues of Domestic policy, the Economy, and Healthcare.

*** Throw in the obv litmus-test question about online poker, and I have a hunch Gary might move to the fore.... ***

55%
Mitt Romney

I side with Mitt Romney on issues of the Economy and Foreign Policy.

53%
Ron Paul

I side with Ron Paul on issues of Domestic policy.

-----
Reading Jill's wiki page, and it doesn't seem obvious to me that we are that much aligned. Maybe I'm such a closet liberal, I don't even know it myself. Shit, what if I'm gay, too?

Quiz here.
http://www.isidewith.com/presidential-election-quiz

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April 3rd, 2012
08:10 am

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Stem Cell Donation Followup
I mentioned this on twitter, but in case you missed it...

Regarding the procedure mentioned here:

http://walterzuey.livejournal.com/178527.html

I spoke with my NMDP caseworker last week and she had just received the 30-day update on the woman who received my cells. The graft has taken beautifully and she is due to be / has already been discharged from the hospital.

This is the best possible news.

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February 15th, 2012
08:56 am

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My Bloody Valentine's Day
"Doctors optimistic that George Clooney stem-cell replacement therapy will yield 'a great head of hair.'"



In 1993, there was a blood drive at my workplace, and though I had never given before, it seemed like a decent thing to do. Some smart-aleck coworker thought it would be funny to tell me that I was not to eat anything after, and I summarily passed out. A few months later, I went back to the blood bank to give, but I was so overcome with anxiety, I turned tail and left. I never gave blood again. I vaguely recalled doing something additional that day in 1993. Apparently the something additional was to consent to having my DNA registered in a bone-marrow donation database. (Did they know what DNA was back then? I'm pretty sure that sequencing the human genome was decidedly after the Seinfeld-was-still-funny era.)

Fast forward to fall 2011. A FedEx arrives from the National Marrow Donor Program saying


"You have been identified as a potential match for a 51-year-old woman in need of a transplant. The patient's doctor is trying to determine treatment options as quickly as possible. Please call immediately."


So I call. After saying yes I will help, the health assessment commences. They want to make sure you aren't transmitting diseases to someone with an already compromised immune system, so the questioning is quite thorough.

"Have you ever injected illegal drugs?"
"Have you ever been incarcerated for more than 72 hours?"
"Do you have a history of fumbleitis, butterfingers or dropsies?"
"Were you ever in the armed forces?"
"Have you had a tattoo in the last year?"
"Do you like movies about gladiators?"

The only thing that seemed to raise a red flag was that I was using a cream for proto skin cancer on my arms. I only had like a week left, and only mentioned it in passing, but for whatever reason that seemed to discourage them. A month later or so, I got another call asking if I was still willing and if I was done with the fluorouracil. I guess that means that in the interim they didn't find any great matches for the patient. I once again faced St. Peter, and this time seemed to pass. In late December, I went to a local clinic and gave them a couple vials of blood. They checked for HIV, hepatitis, those kind of things, and I was all clean. I was again asked if I was willing to do the donation. Speaking to the case manager, I learned a little more about the recipient. She has some uncommon form of leukemia and lives in a foreign country (northern European seems likeliest given my pasty white genetics). With this procedure, she will have a 40-60% chance of surviving. "40%? That sucks." "Well, without it, she's 0%." Guess that's pretty much a no-brainer.

The next step was an all-day visit to Mayo Clinic where I gave 18 vials of blood, got a chest xray, EKG, etc, and met with a doctor. It turns out that I'm in pretty decent health. Too many years of volunteering in college psych experiments compelled me to ask, "I'm not a placebo, am I?" Nope. I also asked that if there was a backup or if for some reason my stuff wasn't getting it done, would someone closely related like my brother be a possible better match? I learnt that there were ten genetic markers they use to assess compatibility. They try to find someone who matches as many as possible to avoid a rejection. (Because it's a bone-marrow replacement, the danger isn't that my stuff will be rejected so much as my stuff itself will be rejecting her body.) Of the ten genetic markers, I matched up with her on ... ten. So if I'm not a good match, no one is, thank you for playing.

There are two kinds of donation processes for someone needing a bone marrow transplant. One (the only one I had heard of prior) is to knock you out and suck the marrow right out of your hip. This involves hospitalization. The newer method is to use your stem cells to replace the donee's marrow. This is the one I did. (If they don't glean enough cells, they might hold the hip invasion as a reserve option, but apparently my counts were through the roof.) The first step is to induce the body to overproduce stem cells; the second is to grab those. So last Friday I got my first injections of a drug that compels the body to go into stem cell overproduction. The next three days a nurse would visit me in the morning, question me on side effects, check my vitals and then give me more injections. This obviously isn't a natural thing for your body to do, so there are a number of potential side effects. The doctors went over all these things with me beforehand to make sure that I was making an informed choice about the process. They also emphasized that I had the right to quit at any time in the process if it was becoming too much. Maybe a legal right, but aborting was a moral impossibility. The main symptom (for me, at least) is that it is the same thing as before you get a flu and you start producing white blood cells and your bones get all achy. Except more. The daily survey asked me to rate my pain levels for various body parts on a scale of 1 to 4. The worst part for me was whenever I sneezed, I felt like my bones were being yanked out of my back. I rate that about a 7. (I was offered the option of prescriptions for stronger stuff, but eschewed. I'm pretty sure mixing gambling and codeine qualifies you for some kind of Anonymous.) From what I gathered with a quick glance at the survey, answering even a 3 for any of the questions might be a fast track to stopping the process. I had already decided that there was absolutely, positively no way I wasn't going through with this. Even if they had to scrape me off the sidewalk to get me to the hospital, I was still going to do it, so ... I lied. All my answers came in as 2's. Whaddayaknow. If they actually intend to use this data for some kind of scientific assessment, I recommend they change the process so that the donors fill out the surveys themselves on a daily basis and remit them after the process is complete. And if you're somebody who found my blog in the future and are weighing doing this procedure, I say just do it. You'll survive. It'll suck for a very short period of time, but you'll survive.

On the fifth day (yesterday, February 14th), I went to Mayo at 7am, got more blood drawn to see how I was doing, got my last shots, and waited an hour. Then they hooked me up to the machine(pictured). It's about as complicated as a pool pump. Out. Filter. In. The filter is simply a centrifuge separating the components of your blood. From there the stem cells are processed in a local lab and SSTed to her hospital. They ran the equivalent of my entire blood mass 5 times. I was hooked up for about 5 hours. In parallel with my getting juiced on stem cells, her entire bone marrow was being vanquished(more the reason why I was committed). She'll literally be getting replacement cells fresh not frozen. As a bonus, I smoked three bowls at 4:20am just to give her a little AZ-THC sendoff. Just kidding. I think. One thing that I am told will happen is that my DNA might start taking over her body a bit, so I hope her friends and family are ready to get in touch with her new inner schachspieler. Nerd DNA. It's a good thing.

---
At some point during my all-day health assessment visit last month, I found myself seated in a waiting era with an elderly woman. While reaching to grab something out of her bag, she winced in pain. As I helped her, I asked, "arthritis?" "No.... Cancer. Cancer. Don't you have cancer?" Um, no. But my eyes were opened in that moment, and I couldn't help but notice all the people in that building who were really suffering and were just hoping TO LIVE. Friends and medical professionals all said something like, "what a great thing you're doing," but really I'm not doing anything. I'm just showing up. That's not false modesty; I really mean it. I'm just meat. The people who come to work every day and try to alleviate the suffering are the great ones. The guy who stayed up late for years going through medical school to someday come up with some of these ideas is great. Forty years ago, Nixon declared a war on cancer. I don't know who is winning, but I got to see the soldiers and the sergeants and the wounded who are still fighting, and what they are doing is great.


There are millions of people registered in the national database. That's great. There are hundreds of millions who are not. That's not so great. Half the people who need a transplant don't find a suitable match. And obviously with so few matches, there are going to be compromises sometimes on how many markers the doctors are willing to accommodate. Go register. Go to http://marrow.org/Home.aspx and learn about what is going on and what you can do to help. The odds of actually getting the call-up are currently 1/500, so it's mostly nothing. But 1000s of people are dying every year for the lack of the right person having registered. If you're not sure, just do it. No obligation. I understand that some people are only willing to do it for a brother or a cousin or a child or whatever. Sounds kinda monkey brain to me, but I have no illusions about the world. But right now someone's brother or cousin or child has tried all those and is waiting by the phone for the call. Could be you.

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November 18th, 2011
09:08 am

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Albums by Quintade, 2006-2010 Followup
October 2006, I posted my Albums by Quintade:

http://walterzuey.livejournal.com/77676.html

and somehow, five years have passed.

2006-2011

Honorable Mention

Cowboy Junkies - Miles From Our Home
Descendents - Milo Goes to College
Easy Star All-Stars - Radiodread
Jimi Hendrix - BBC Sessions
Michael Jackson - Off the Wall
The Jam - At the BBC
Judas Priest - Sad Wings of Destiny
The Killers - Sam's Town
Led Zeppelin - Physical Graffiti
Linkin Park - Minutes to Midnight
Meat Puppets - Up on the Sun
Persephone's Bees - Notes From the Underworld
El Pollo Elastico - Bantams
Alex Skolnick - Goodbye to Romance: Standards for a New Generation
Tool - Aenima
Warren Zevon - Excitable Boy
ZZTop - Deguello


10. Smashing Pumpkins - Zeitgeist
9. Flogging Molly - Within a Mile of Home
8. Galactic - Ruckus
7. Roger Clyne & the Peacemakers - ¡Americano!
6. The Faces - Five Guys Walk Into a Bar
5. Beastie Boys - To the 5 Boroughs
4. REM - Around the Sun
3. Housemartins - Live at the BBC
2. Jeff Buckley - Grace
1. Rolling Stones - Exile on Main Street

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August 8th, 2011
08:06 am

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Victor, part I
Sitting at a poker table, I couldn't help but be amazed by the number of young players who seem to view the entire universe through the portals of their iPads. I know better, but as always, I just can't help myself.

"When I was a kid, we didn't have these toys. We had to go experience reality in the face rather than through Apple-colored glasses."
"When I was a kid?! When I was a kid?! Haha! You mean the limit hold'em era? I'm pretty sure our era dominates yours, old man."
"Oh, I don't think so."
"It's a mathematical fact." He fires yet another under-the-gun raise. "We have the same planet by and large, give or take a few rain forests. But we have a host of other options. Since options by definition have a non-negative value, the surfeit of said options enables my generation's reality to lord over yours."

His math is correct. Time for a chop-block attack. Also might wanna throw in some geek talk to try unbalancing him by making him think he has underestimated the old guy.

"You assume the option pool is monotonically increasing, but there are options expiring all the time. Moreover, the homogeneity of the present-day option pool begets an imbalanced life portfolio." Self satisfied I am.

"Name one."

Dammit. I can't even think one step ahead. That used to never happen.

"Um..."
(!) "When I was a kid, I turned on the TV and watched a man walk on the fucking moon! If that even happens in your lifetime, you'll be grayer (if you're so lucky) than I am now." Picking up pocket jacks, I three bet him.

Score! He doesn't say a word and retreats to the cold comfort of his iLose. Mentally, I start doing a little Hitlerian jig, but am interrupted shortly therein as he holds up his iPad. The action is folded around to him.

"You mean like this?" He swivels the display before me. Thereon does Neil Armstrong step off a ladder and into botched-synonyms history.

"It's not the same. Live it was a total mindfuck."

"You mean you were on the moon when it happened?" He puts out a big four-bet.

"Um, no, I mean..." I mumble off while focusing on the chips he just threw into me. Meekly I fold my jacks. He shows 42o.

I don't say anything for a while, and the rest of the table seems quite happy with that.

Several orbits later, the sting had subsided and I had forgotten even what it was we were discussing, but then some other part of my brain took over and I blurted.

"Van Halen."

"What are you talking about?"

"Van Fucking Halen. I saw Van Halen May 7, 1984. Van Halen at the peak of their rock powers. David Lee Roth in the lead. Eddie was still just a blow monkey back then rather than the wino he is today. Place goes dark. Dah-nah-na-na-na-na. Dah-nah-na-na-na-na. Nah-na-na-na-na-na. Unchained!"

He starts tapping on his iPad.

"Haha! I was there this time." Apparently my brain was calculating one move ahead while I was sulking.

"You were in the band?"
"No, I mean I was there. Live."

"So you were a watcher. And instead of watching in the comfort of your living room, you were packed in like buckyballs with five guys' dicks rubbing up against you and the sixth hurling his Jack 'n' Koolaid. Honestly, I don't know how my generation handles missing out."

I briefly thought of pissing on his momentum by adding, "and passing the overcompressed, underconscious bodies overhead," but questioned whether that would really buttress my argument.

I remained silent for quite some time.

"Victor."

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May 16th, 2011
04:45 am

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My Answers 5/15
The key to a healthy relationship is good communication. My dearest wife, I promised to answer all your questions by May 15th, and if there's one thing I value, it's good communication to compliment my massive personal integrity. So with that in mind, I will now answer all your questions:

Is it true that when you drove our 13-year old babysitter home, you surreptitiously fed her two valiums, screwed her and then when she became pregnant you took her against her will to a Tijuana abortionist and immediately after the completion of the procedure while she was still massively hemorrhaging, you sold her to a gang of narcotraficantes for 4 ounces of low-grade Mexican Red which you then smoked ENTIRELY BY YOURSELF you bogarting bastard on the drive back home?

Since April 15th and the days immediately following, I have faced numerous challenges and hurdles to ensuring a smooth marriage and the orderly return of mutual satisfaction. Know that I have worked tirelessly to address these issues and have made significant progress on both fronts.

1.When are you going to fix the handle on the back gate?

- Long answer blablablablablabla. More info blablablabla. Here's more info blablabla.


2.Is it Valiums or would it be Valia?

- Well the Latin pluralization convention blablabla. Blablablabla. Bla Bla Blabla.


3. What about those Pro Bass Shop purchases made before April 15th?

- I am going to cancel any purchases and give you a credit. A very short time later, you will get the actual money back. Soon. Real soon.


4. you tell me I'll get the pending chargeback, but what about reimbursement for chargeback hits for Pro Bass Shop items that haven't and won't come?

- Because it's a transaction that never actually imaginarily happened, I have to go to great trouble to cancel out the imaginary transaction which means I have to make contact with the imaginary shipping department, which requires me to post an anti-imagitronic credit against the inverted transaction which then requires an imaginary override from their imaginary assistant manager who has a special key for the cash register, and he has been busy in Guatemala this last month trying to purchase the entire government there. These things don't come cheap you know. He offered $100 million. They countered $200 million, and it's taking him some time to raise the additional funds. By the by, there is really no reason why you shouldn't continue to have your paychecks deposited in our mutual account despite the claims by the bank that it has been frozen.

This is one of the reasons the final imaginary chargeback payments have been delayed. Probably the only one, I'm sure.


5. What about my jacket?

- Ah, here's a question, I can really, really answer. I mean, I really have answered them all, but this one, well, I can really really answer. Too.

Yes.


6. Why do some of your questions begin with capital letters and some Don't?

- We have confirmed that the inconsistent capitalization has happened. As far as we can tell it didn't happen in April, so that's a good sign. There is still an ongoing investigation into exactly what happened and how.


7. just noticed that there is a magnet on the refrigerator in the garage in our cabin up north that is tilted about two degrees to the right. not sure if I should serve asparagus or cauliflower with the salmon tonight. But if you can help me answer this one question, I'm sure everything in our relationship will now be all better.

- I'm looking into this.

====================================================

"Thank you, dear, for answering all my questions."
"Are we all better?"
"We're all better."

*SMOOCH*

http://forumserver.twoplustwo.com/28/internet-poker/ftp-answers-5-15-a-1038022/

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May 4th, 2011
08:57 pm

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2011 World Chess Championship Candidates Matches
For the record I like:

Kramnik > Radjabov
Aronian > Grischuk
Topalov > Kamsky
Gelfand > Mamedjarov

in the quarters:

Kramnik > Aronian
Topalov > Gelfand

and then Kramnik over Topalov in the final. (Dear God, please don't let the reverse happen!) Of course, Topalov already said he wouldn't play a Russian on Russian soil, but fuck him. He didn't have any problem playing a World Championship Match in Bulgaria. Fucking pussy and a crybaby.

Lines are posted here:

http://www.pinnaclesports.com/ContestCategory/Chess/World+Championship+Candidate+Matches/Who+Will+Advance~3F~/Lines.aspx

World Championship Candidate Matches: Who Will Advance?

Thu 5/5 Boris Gelfand vs Shakhriyar Mamedyarov
101 Boris Gelfand (ISR) 1.800
102 Shakhriyar Mamedyarov (AZE) 2.150

Thu 5/5 Levon Aronian vs Alexander Grischuk
103 Levon Aronian (ARM) 1.476
104 Alexander Grischuk (RUS) 2.920

Thu 5/5 Veselin Topalov vs Gata Kamsky
105 Veselin Topalov (BUL) 1.388
106 Gata Kamsky (USA) 3.350

Thu 5/5 Vladimir Kramnik vs Teimour Radjabov
107 Vladimir Kramnik (RUS) 1.442
108 Teimour Radjabov (AZE) 3.060

Well, looks like I like I picked all favorites. WRT the money lines, the one thing I'm sure of is there is no way I would lay so much on Topalov. He may be the "#1 seed," but he is at best the third best player there. His form is a complete unknown, whereas Kamsky is coming off a recent victory in the US championship, and seems to be playing with confidence. Kamsky outplayed him a couple years ago, but just had godawful trouble with the clock. Topalov is the better fighter, but Kamsky knows more about the game. Topalov reminds me of athletes who have one outstanding attribute, but when it withers, they go downhill quick, e.g. Shawn Kemp and his springy calves. Kamsky has the kind of game that could see him play at a high level for a very long time. So by no means is Topalov such a fave.

Gelfand over Mamedjarov is the closest, but it seems like Mamedjarov's visit to the top 10 has come from playing in less than elite events, whereas Gelfand has battled at the highest levels for twenty years. It seems odd that Kramnik and Aronian (the two best players here, clearly) have almost the same lines. Grischuk in his stride has a very good style for combating Aronian, whereas Kramink and Radjabov are just in two different classes.

Going just by the money lines, I like Kramnik and Kamsky.

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April 13th, 2011
09:54 am

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Solution to 2011_04_12 An Amazing Imaginary Escape

White to Play and Draw.

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April 11th, 2011
09:19 am

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2011 Feb/Mar Chess Positions

First, Some Warmup Positions


USATW, r3, Feb 20, 2011

Black just played Be7-b4.
White to Play.

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April 4th, 2011
02:45 pm

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The NBA Itself Drives the Big Market Migration of Talent
I recently came across the basketball-analysis site hoopism.com [1] Even though I love the site, the article that prompted me to blather was something I think is if at least not just wrong, completely missing the point. He argues that the best players will migrate to the big cities for the endorsement income. Below is my response.

--

"Boston, L.A., New York, Miami will compete each year for the title while the Clippers and Golden State incubate talent.."

This sentence refutes itself. To clarify, insert "LA" in front of Clippers. Also, it seem the Nets play in a larger market than the Lakers, yet the Lakers have been slightly more successful for, oh, all time. And the Clippers are a.. Okay, just.. The Clippers. Competent management would seem to be a nontrivial factor.

The natural evolution of the situation as described would be for teams to continue gravitating to larger markets, e.g. Kings –> LA market, Fort Wayne Zollner Pistons –> Detroit. (For the Sacramento Lachrymentalists crying about the gosh-darn unfairness of it all, I’ll append the Rochester Royals –> Cincinnati, Cincinnati –> Kansas City, etc…) But it is this same LA destination market that is the home of the Incubators. (Michael Olowokandi wasn’t so bad — he was just being incubated.) So obviously something more is at work here. Other owners can see that the Clippers are proof that a team doesn’t have to be good to make money. The equilibrium should occur when the major metro areas have multiple teams and less dense areas share teams (The Rocky Mountain Sun-Nuggets, e.g.). True parity will come when every basketball player represents approximately the same number of citizens. If this seems unfair because of historical biases, one need only ask oneself if we were to start from scratch would it be fair to bless the average citizen of Memphis with SEVEN TIMES as many NBA franchises as the average citizen of Chicago?

There is another factor which subverts the standard large-market migration endorsement income theory. While Amare Stoudemire might sell more shoes from NYC, his primary source of income is now taxed not just by the Feds, but (for at least his home games) by the state of NY and NYC as well. If the marginal tax liability for the entire Knicks roster doesn’t exceed the marginal endorsement post-tax income, it's certainly on the same order. If there were a true salary cap in place, the large-market tax consequences might actually reverse the great migration. Perhaps a future NBA finals will see the Cheyenne Sharks rumbling with the Juneau Jets.

The dominant factor driving the large/small market dichotomy is the soft salary cap. Having a luxury tax in place of a true salary cap really will amplify the advantages of the large market teams. In fact, you couldn’t devise a better system for promoting the large markets. I don't think that this is even a happy accident. The league tilts the playing field while simultaneously chirping about egalite. At the level of the team, the marginal payroll from exceeding the fake salary cap will surely wipe out the ancillary income that is claimed to be driving the great migration. A large market owner with the latitude to spread around $20M would seem to be a lot more appealing to a star (or perhaps even more so for the ACGreen-type vital role-player) than spending his "nights and weekends" doing ads for Whataburger. There is a natural experiment that completely blows the large-market ancillary income myth out of the water. It's name is Lamar Odom. The reason Lamar Odom is a Laker is not because he can now get more endorsements playing in Los Angeles than back when he used to play in, um, Los Angeles. It’s because the soft salary clap allows the Lakers to pay an all-star to come off the bench.

[1] This is the coolest data representation thing I've seen in some time:
http://hoopism.com/characters0910/ [2]

[2] My favorite is Rasheed Wallace

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