Which Is Better, Online Or Offline Shopping

Which Is Better, Online Or Offline Shopping

The growing need for the unique customer experience has made many e-tailers to go beyond the average customer needs and provide in-store like experience for their esteemed customers. There is still a huge chunk of the population that shops offline and gets the ultimate happiness to socialize with friends and spend time outdoors together, walking through the countless steps of shopping arcades is not only a physical activity you are aware of what is going around the world. Experiencing something before buying is always a pleasure for the impulsive shoppers, offline stores are always in vogue to check out the latest designs that are in trend.

Trying out the new products live on you is always better than having it on someone else, well with all the benefits of shopping offline is great yet there is a huge shift in the way people shop, ordering your favorite outfit, shoes, or even kitchen utensils or daily vegetables ,you name it and you have them at your doorstep. Well the full review of both the ways of shopping escapades, makes us wonder the lesser time spent on online shopping is beneficial as you tend to spend lesser amount while going store shopping you end up buying stuff that may not be of great use.

The attention to detail is always lacking in online shopping experience, the personalized treatment from the salesperson and attendant who pick the choicest garment according to your personality is a great way to get the appreciation and awe form your friends, while in the online mode you tend to pick the look good garments rather than the feel good. For your immediate purchase needs, a visit to the store nearby is always helpful. The endless wait for your favorite cosmetic to arrive makes one feel so reluctant and helpless that you tend to lose patience.

There are better ways to make full use of the online shopping, the offers are more and so are the varieties that the stores add on to their web page for the customers to try out the new and innovative ways to shop. Online forte is useful in many ways right from trading online software platforms like Crypto Code and another user interface that will provide the customers the best out of the rest. Returns are a know pain factor in online shopping and the wait to get the refund is no more than victory over a battle.



What To Take Care Of When You Invest In A Stock?

What To Take Care Of When You Invest In A Stock?

Are you a beginner in stock trading? Do the terms online trading and software scare you away when you want to trade? Relax, you have reached the right place to be a happy trader. Here we give you a full review of how to be careful when you begin your trading journey and avoid being dumb.

  1. Never buy a stock on margin: this type of an action makes you borrow money from your stockbroker as it the last-minute decision, also your broker will charge an interest and he can charge you to pay the balance with no notice about it. Sometimes, the broker would have the rights to liquidate your entire account to validate this debt amount. You will be completely wiped out in such situations. Hence avoid buying on a margin.
  2. Don’t buy stock without reading the 10 K: this means that you need to know completely about the financial performance of a company so that you can positively attempt to buy from there. This is basically the balance sheet and income statement which has the mention of the profit and loss of the company. When this process tends to be ignored with laziness and ignorance, a huge loss is awaited in the future.
  3. Don’t trade too frequently: buying and selling as and when you see an increase and decrease without focusing on the factors that come along with these changes will make you unsuccessful in the long run with continuous loss of money. Understand the market, wait for the right time and pounce on the huge profits.
  4. Never get caught by greed and be fearful: never forego your basic human values and ethics for the sake of money. The stock market is a race, and when you play fair you go for a long time else you are sure to face bad consequences which can make you hate the stock trading entirely.
  5. Understand the derivatives that you trade: put huge effort to be aware and educate yourself about the derivates which you want to trade The unknown derivatives cannot be traded to make profits. Hence focus the time and energy on learning first and then playing your game.

The stock market is challenging and new every day, so be aware and alert to everything that happens in it, even the slightest change can offer you large benefits. Thus, be clear of what you want to achieve.



Mistakes To Avoid While Investing

Mistakes To Avoid While Investing

As we all know investing is nothing but putting in money on some valuable assets expecting a very good profitable return. Most of the people start investing money only for their future. There are some common mistakes most of the investors make and let us have a look at it and hope it will help many new investors and prevent them from getting unnecessary losses. We can even find out more number of investors fail because of their mistakes.

  • Investment is for our future lives and so it is better to understand what it is and how it will be in the future, before investing money in it. This is the most important mistake usually done by everyone. They all start investing money without knowing anything about it. This should not be the case and it is good to make research about it before investing a large amount. For example, if you are going to invest money in the stock market, then it is our responsibility to look after the price changes and how the price inflation and deflation affect our future profits.
  • Patience is a much-needed one in investing and we cannot predict when we will get profits and losses. As there is a proverb, slow and steady wins the race, the investors who have patience will definitely get profitable returns one day. When investment is made on trades, it is necessary to follow the price changes in the trade market. The trades should be sold when the price is high and the investors should come forth to buy trades when the prices are low. So, patience and focus are very essential for investing and many of us are lagging behind it.
  • Over-investing is yet another mistake usually done by all the investors. When the investor gets profit once in their life, then they will start investing more an more money on the same asset. This is not at all recommended as the prediction of price changes in the markets is really hard. It is better to avoid over-investing in one asset again and again.
  • The investors should never allow their emotions to interfere because once we get profits on an asset, then automatically our greedy mind will come over there to invest more money in it. This should never happen in investing and it is good to do investing like a gameplay parting away all the emotions.


Thus come to the conclusion that the investors should think twice before they choose where to invest and how much to invest and this will help to yield a great return.

How to Store Digital Wallets Safely

 How to S1tore Digital Wallets Safely

As the phase of digitalization gains momentum, there is a great emphasis to move towards a cashless economy. Securing the transactions safely is the need of the hour, as the volumes of digital-based transactions are increasingly occupying the digital space, there is still a few pondering thoughts of people to use e-wallets, as the first question to cross the mind is how safe is the money in the e-wallets?

Security Awareness

As we protect the cash from the hands of fraudsters, there is an extremely awareness need to secure digital transaction and calm the misconceptions about the how risky the online transactions are. The requirement to increase the safety of the online transaction has been voiced over by experts and the users every time when there are reports of misusing the sensitive data and credential of users.

  • just like the check payments and other cash withdrawals are secured in numerous ways, so is the requirement to use the smartphones for making digital payments
  • as the smartphones are replacing the PC there has to be more awareness in using the e-wallets to make payments, as the risk of malware and virus attack is more on the smartphones
  • safe practices while using phones and educate oneself about the web of threats is important,
  • as we move towards a cashless economy, cybersecurity is by default important, securing the digital footprint of the assets has been a flourishing area of different business models designed specifically for users of smartphones
  • using a safe network for accessing through phones and PC is important, read more about Ethereum Code using wifi in public network and making financial transactions are risky
  • downloading the digital wallets form the official website is safer than using proxy servers or mobile links that could possibly have virus or malware loaded
  • it is better no to check the save card box on the internet while trading online in Ethereum Code software as the account could get compromised
  • beware of phishing scams, avoid replying to anonymous emails and links that promise a lottery win or ask for the bank details
  • using a password management tool is advisable to store and create a complex password, with multiple authentications for devices and e-wallets

The strongest link could be to educate and understand the importance of digital security of the money loaded in e-wallets. The security and safe use of the digital currency and wallet currency will bring about a sea of changes on how the dependence will grow in the future.

Start Saving Now To Secure Your Future

Start Saving Now To Secure Your Future

For all the people who are below the age group of 30 years, securing the future financially is the last thing on their mind.  The stress of meeting the day to day expenses, it is quite difficult for everyone to think about future savings. However, working towards attaining a financial security does not mean you need to exercise self-deprivation.  You can achieve financial security having a fair share of fun yourself.  Do not create too much stress on yourself by being too serious about securing the future. Below mentioned are a few ways one can secure their future by starting in the early stage of life.

Ways to have a secured future

Have your share of fun- Leading a happy and successful life is all about finding the right balance between work and family. Similarly, striking the right balance between the current life and future life is also quite important. You need to decide first how you have to spend your old age and what will be your spending in the future compared to the today’s spending.   Accordingly, you need to plan your future without comprising the today’s expenses.

Become a financial planner – Successful people are always goal-oriented.  All the people who have planned for their future have been able to amaze more wealth than people who have not planned.  You should always be on the lookout for additional ways to earn income and where to invest those incomes wisely so that it will grow in future.  One of the best ways to invest and earn money is through trading in cryptocurrencies using ethereum code software.  You can read more about Ethereum code here to learn about how it can help you to double your money.

Set the short-term goal to attain the long-term goals- Life is unpredictable. Anything can change between today and 20 years from now.  For young investors, it is a tough task to plan so far into the future. Hence, instead of setting long-term financial goals, you can set a series of short-term goals. It should be precise and measurable. Once you keep achieving the short-term goals, you need to keep making new ones.  The continuous setting of the goals and achieving them will make sure that you are able to reach the long-term goal.

Be financially literate- Try to learn basics about the financial planning as it can help you a great deal in saving and growing your money.  Take some time out to be knowledgeable in the financial area.




5 Steps to Create a Marketing Plan

5 Steps to Create a Marketing Plan

To get success in the business you have to constantly do the marketing to promote the business products. In this technical skills are involved. You have to follow the simple steps and find out more to create a marketing plan to get success in the business.

What is the marketing plan?               

You have to understand well about what is meant by the marketing plan in order to get success in promoting the business. If you take the large corporations they will be having the marketing plan with nearly hundreds of pages but for the small business, the marketing plan will be present in the handful of pages only. Within that pages, you have to include all the information no matter whether it is in length or the short. The span of the marketing plan should be for the one year. It is enough period to attain the goal and the objectives of the business.

Steps to create a marketing plan

  1. Know your business

You have to give an overview of your current business plan and also about the internal environment and the external environment. Do you have to give the information about how long you are running the businessman what is the business structure? Whether you are conducting the business online and what are all the products and the services offered by your business? All these information you should provide.

  1. Determine the target market

The target market is the key element to have to effective and the successful marketing plan. You have to enlist everything about your customer. Demographic information and about their behaviors and the decisions also you have to include in the marketing plan.

3.Analyze competitors   

There will be competitors in the business world who is doing the business in a similar way as you are doing. It shows that you should work harder to stand out in the business field. You have to get know more about the competitors business and it will help you to make changes in your business to differentiate among the others.

  1. Set goals

You have to set the goals relating to the marketing plan to increase sales and to increase the market share.

  1. Outline strategies

To reach the objectives of your business plan you have to outline the strategies. From this, you will get the idea about the need for your business and the goal is realistic or if there is any need to adjust.





















The Four Different Phases Of Any Market

The market follows these four cycles. Be it any asset class that you wish to invest in, knowing these four market cycles let you take an informed decision.


The accumulation phase on the Ethereum Code review, as the name suggests is when the market participants accumulate stocks or any security into their portfolio. This phase occurs after the market bottoms out. During this phase, the smart investors feel that the market has bottomed out and they thus start to buy the security at a cheaper price to add to their portfolio.

The markup phase

This is when the market had been flat for quite some time but has now started to move up. The smart players are trying to get into the market. The major buyers at this level would be the Chartists who are able to see some clear indications in the market trend. This could include seeing that the market is making a higher high and the direction of the market changing. The media is conservatively pointing out that the end may be done

Now the market has started to move up as there is a clear indication that it is making higher lows and higher highs. The smart investors are sitting on profits. The retail investors, however, could spot the bullish move a little late but they now want to be apart of this market. Logic is overshadowed with greed.



This is the third phase when the sellers start to dominate. The market is flat and the market sentiment is slowly shifting from bearish to neutral.

The bullish move is almost to an end and the market has mixed sentiments now. The market is mostly flat and trading in a range. This is an emotional time and the investors have mixed emotions of fear and greed. Valuations are very high. The sentiment is changing but what needs to happen is big news that can impact the negative move strongly. Once that happens the market starts to move down.

The market down phase




This is the last phase of the cycle. The investors who are still holding on to their positions are in a bad state. Most of them are holding on because their investment has fallen down to more than what their purchase price was. They wait for abuy sign but ultimately give up hope and sell their investments for a huge loss.


Consequences of False rumors

Consequences of False rumors

Rumors have their own positive aspects.  They make everyone alert and stay safe.  But false rumors have their own consequences:


False rumors create so many difficulties for the traders.  It results in incurring too much cost due to inflated price and demand.  The common man is subjected to hardships because of cost inflation.


False rumors create so much volatility in a market like unstable price movement, sudden fall in demand etc.  This result in a heavy loss for all the participants in the financial market.  With the wide usage of the internet, social networking etc. the impact of false rumors are felt across nook and corner of the world.  Sometimes it affects even those who are not directly related to the subject matter against which a rumor is widespread.  Sometimes genuine business houses fall prey to rumor and perish.  Sometimes rumors go the extent of shaking the stability of governments.  Such huge losses will affect growth, employment and peaceful living of the people.


Rumor creates unwanted fear in the minds of people.  This will ruin the enthusiasm of entrepreneurs, investors etc.  False rumors prevent people from taking reasonable risk.  Hence the fear prevents investors from encouraging new projects/ideas.  This will certainly affect growth and prosperity.  For example, the false rumor on Crypto Code Scam has created unnecessary panic in the mind of people.  This will prevent many from reaping the benefits of cryptocurrency trading.  So much of benefits like the instant settlement of transactions, avoidance of risk related to physical money etc. are lost because of the false rumor.  Since cryptocurrency trading losses will impact financial status, the fear aspect is natural.

Steps should be taken towards alleviating the fears.  Recognition and authentication of cryptocurrency usage will certainly remove the fear.  Once cryptocurrency becomes widely accepted people will start tasting its benefits.  In this world, where, many Ponzi schemes operate, it is the responsibility of every government to take solid steps to strengthen cryptocurrency.  By enhancing and developing features of cryptocurrency it can be made much safer and easier to use.  Once safety and usability are strengthened the world will start using it more and more.  This will certainly make the rumor disappear.  It is so unfortunate that such terrific rumor is delaying the prospects of a good source of huge income.  Hence it is high time to spend much research to set up a methodology to eliminate false rumors.  Technology is a boon with which this can be achieved.



Finance and Rumors

Finance and Rumors

Rich or poor, educated or Illiterate -Everybody needs spice to be added in life.  Rumors had always been favorite mass media since olden days.  Perhaps there were not so many media of communication in those days.  Sorumorstraveled at a slow pace.  With the latest technology, rumors travel faster than anything nowadays.

Even MNCs have a grapevine.  Rumors create thrill and excitement and invoke interest in everyone.

Let us see how rumors affect financial market:

Price: The reason behind lightning hike of a product’s price will be a financial humor.  Expectations of further price hikes tend to push the prices further.

Demand: Rumors on expected scarcity push the demand up for a product.

Performance:  Rumours about internal happenings and performance of companies always drive share prices crazy. Also rumors on the poor quality of products, services etc. lead to fall in sales and prices.

Rumors on bail-outs, mergers, acquisitions had always been the reason for market volatility.  Sometimes rumors create losses and tarnish the image and credibility once for all.  Since the source and authentication is difficult to verify it is always tough to disprove a rumor. Also, it is very difficult to stop the spreading of rumor.  It highly depends on the end receiver to think and verify the authenticity of such information.  But the thrill of rumors makes the receiver to totally forget about verification.  Most people tend to believe rumor than authentic correct information.

Some rumors act bring good things out.  For instance, Crypto Code Scam is a rumor.  It brings out various good aspects of cryptocurrency trading app called Crypto Code.  The app has an inbuilt trading bot.  It is simple to use.  The user has to open an account by depositing 250USD and start trading in cryptocurrency.  The app uses blockchain technology and hence the user’s personal and financial data are safe.

It is a good thing that rumor on crypto code scam is gaining so much popularity that it has brought so many online debates.  Even those who do not know about cryptocurrency are showing so much interest in it.

Surely this will make cryptocurrency as a popular medium of exchange.  Slowly the world will take strong steps towards authenticating its usage.  This will contribute to more research and investment in strengthening cryptocurrency.  Any minor drawbacks will be removed slowly.  One day cryptocurrency will totally replace physical money.  At that point, the whole world will reap the benefits of cryptocurrency like cost reduction, faster settlement, avoidance of conversion costs, fake money etc.




Role Of Stock Traders And Stock Investors

When it comes to stock markets we all hear the words like stock trading or investing in stocks. These words may sound same to those who are not aware of the stock markets terms. Even though stock traders and stock investors operate in the same market, their role and tasks can be very much different than each other.

Stock Traders: They are people or entities that are involved in the trading of stocks or equity securities or buy and sell or exchange of some other financial entities. Stock traders can work for themselves as well as they work for someone else. They may also operate as investors, agents or speculators.

Stock Traders gain their profits by trading in short-term ranging from a less than hours to weeks, taking benefit of the price fluctuations. Most of the stock traders are full-time professionals but they can also work for part-time.

Stock traders are usually interested in markets where the commodity trading happens. So when traders are buying commodities like what they are actually looking to gain profits from the small price fluctuations occurring because of supply and demand. This is the reason the traders usually focus on:

1) Price pattern: Stock traders study the price history of the commodities to estimate the future prices. This might be risky and difficult to calculate as there could be huge historical data available. The trading software like the Crypto VIP Club can process the historical data efficiently. Check out this review to know more.

2) Supply and Demand: Traders gain the profits by observing the changes in prices with changes in supply and demand.

3) Market Emotion: Traders make use of techniques like fading where they bet their trades against the other traders after a major move in the market.

4) Trade Support: Traders also get the help from the market makers (another type of traders) to make liquidity faster.

Stock Investors: Investors are the market members that make use of fundamental analysis to make their decisions. Investors usually trade in medium to long-term and practice buy and hold methods instead of earning profits from small term price fluctuations. Investors usually treat the stock shares as a percentage in the actual company instead of just looking at the prices. Because of this, the investors look for below points before investing.

1) Value: Investors look for a company’s share that will produce good value.

2) Success: Investors look for companies that show the possibility of success in the future based on the financial strength and cash flow of the company.

Investors and traders even though work differently, play important roles in the financial market. They also in some ways depend on each other while trading, forming two broad groups in the market.




Crypto Vip Club- Product Features

Crypto Vip Club- Product Features

One can always look for good investment opportunities.  The investor has to consider various aspects like Rate of returns, the risk involved, liquidity etc.  An investment may offer huge profit but the investor might have to wait long term for returns.  Sometimes the investing option will have easy liquidity but the returns might be taxable.  An investment which offers good returns is linked with high market risk.  All these factors are to be considered while investing.

Not all the investment options will have the combined advantages of all the above factors.  The investor has to clearly read understand the prospectus document about the investment.  If such a document is not available then a thorough investigation from all acquaintances, known sources are essential.  Detailed analysis of full review available in various websites can also be taken into account.  There are various Ponzi schemes available which attract investors by giving false information and promising unbelievably high returns.  Hence investor should clearly and carefully research before proceeding to invest.  In most countries, though the redressal system and courts of law are available for resolving investor complaints and protecting investor interests, the investor has to be careful upfront rather than regret later.  ‘Caveat emptor’ is the famous saying which when translated means ‘Buyer beware’.  Hence prudent and clear decision making is vital for reaping the fruit of a good investment.  Nowadays apart from conventional modes of investment, there are also modern avenues like cryptocurrency trading.

There is numerous cryptocurrency trading software which claims to be 100% automated.  But crypto VIP club software does not even require the user’s browser to be open and connected to the internet.

The software was founded by Andrews King pioneer in the field of crypto.  Let us see the other features of the product one by one:

This software does not need to be downloaded.  One can open an account and start trading by depositing 250USD.  The user can select their own currency in which he wants to trade.  The software uses ethers as exchange method.

Round the clock friendly customer support is available.

Since the user can set a limit and decide on the amount of risk on daily basis there is no fear of huge loss.  Most other trading robot software is paid according to the lost amount of the users.  Hence comparative risk involved is low here.

The Software is based on advanced mathematical algorithms and good profit assured.


Factors Which Should Not Be Ignored While Investing

Factors Which Should Not Be Ignored While Investing


Right from childhood days man has the desire to save money.  But the desire comes into reality once he grows and begins to earn his income.  Many think that during the initial years of youth, there is absolutely no need for saving money.  One can purely enjoy life by literally spending all the amounts earned. Of course, only during youth life can be enjoyed without limit.  But the habit of savings must start early.  According to the full report of financial experts, savings should start from the first month of earning.  At least 10% of the income must be set aside and invested so that it can multiply and help during days of trouble.

A young person will have many forthcoming years of assured income and capacity to earn.  This implies that he can also have a high-risk appetite.  Any loss can be made up in the forthcoming years.  But young people always have the risk of dying too early or living with a disability.  As age advances the capacity to earn reduces.  At one stage when earnings stop, the individual has to manage his expenses only from his savings. The old person also has the risk of living too late where practically the medical expenses will be huge and income would become nil.   So right from youth one has to plan for assured income during old age.

Nowadays pensionable jobs have reduced.  So, it is the entire responsibility of the individual to make sure that he gets a steady flow of funds to meet the expenses throughout his lifetime.  He has to ensure that income flow is available even after the earning phase of life.

The investment pattern will be different based on the stage of life of an individual. Young and just married individuals can invest in high-risk investments.  Couple with young children has to invest in long-term plans so that financial availability is uninterrupted to support the education of the child.  Old people nearing retirement need to invest in pension plans.  They also should have sufficient health insurance back up.  This will be useful to meet the medical expenses which occur frequently due to advancing age.

Young people who are tech-savvy can do online trading as an additional source of income.  There are new investing modes like cryptocurrency trading.  One can use software like crypto VIP club and can easily become an expert online trader.



The Bull Run Can Run For How Long?

The Bull Run Can Run For How Long?


Continue reading to know for how long the bull market could run. The stock market is in a bull run and the decade, in fact, has been very good to the buyers in the stock market. The earnings of companies are high and also are the GDP growth. The investment seems to favor the bull run. The inflation and unemployment rate is also very low.


But we all know one thing. The bull market does come to an end. When you look at past data and what the market has done in the past, it is very easy to analyze the market. But what the market is going to do in the immediate future is something that many are not able to figure out. The bull market, however, has to end.


The yield cure

The yield curve is considered to analyze the market. This is the relationship between the interest rate on the debt in the short term and the long-term debts. The debts that are about to mature in the near future should have a lower rate of interest and those that will mature in the far future should have a high rate of interest. This is because the buyers have to be compensated for inflation and the increase in risk. The further in time the buyer is capable of getting his principle the more is the inflation compounding.


The yield curve when normal is suited for the banks who would be borrowing in the short term and lending for along term.


The relationship, however, does not work out when the long-term interest rate is very low. The long-term rates are also not in control. When the long-term yields are low then this means that the investors are skeptical of the long-term growth and they are now ready to accept low yields for the bonds that are safe for the long term.


The bank could also increase the short-term rates. When the short-term rates are higher than the long-term rates then this is called an inverted yield curve.


What is the yield curve doing now?

The yield curve is now towards flat and it is headed towards inverted. When the yield curve gets inverted, then this is followed by a period of recession. When that happens, the bull market would come to an end. So when you see an inverted yield curve get prepared for the bull market to end.


Firms That Implement Anti-Takeover Tactics

Firms That Implement Anti-Takeover Tactics

Killer Bees

The companies or individuals who will assist in avoiding takeovers of other firms. The killer bees will consist of:

  • Accountants
  • Tax specialists
  • Investment bankers
  • Attorneys

They avoid a takeover by forming and implementation of strategies that are present for anti-takeover. Continue reading about taking overtrading. The implementation will make the company that has been targeted look unattractive or the acquirer will find it is very difficult to be acquired as the acquirers will be pushed to pay high costs or by dilution of shareholders of the acquirer.

In the year of 1980s, there was a craze of a hostile takeover where killer bees were implemented a lot and as the name suggests they perform an action on behalf of a company that is under the threat of a hostile takeover. In order to prevent the hostile takeovers, all the types of strategies and methods are employed. There is also the inclusion of a defense known as shark repellents where the company is made not much attractive or less profitable to the acquirer which is similar to poison pills and suicide pills in which case the firm would be made bankrupt on purpose.

Form of Defenses

There was another strategy known as a Pac-Man defense which was inspired by the vintage arcade game which used the mechanism of eat-or-be-eaten was used. In this tactic, the tables would be turned by the targeted firm on the acquiring firm when takeover bidding would be done by the target firm. There is a trap where a provision would be passed by the target company which will prevent all the shareholders who own stake which is more than 10% from converting assets that are possible to be converted into voting stock. This will be preventing huge shareholders from obtaining votes just enough to push the board of directors to agree to the merger.

Greenmail was another tactic that was largely famous in the year of 1980s. In this strategy, the target firm will purchase back its shares that have been acquired by the raider recently at a much more price. The stocks are brought at the expense of the shareholders. In return, the raider should agree that they will not be attempting to take over the frim again. The completion of acquisition can be made very expensive by making use of whitemail where a huge number of shares are issued at a much lower price than they are in the market.

Help! My Insurance Company Has Gone Bankrupt

Help! My Insurance Company Has Gone Bankrupt

The harsh reality of life is that it is you who always has to bear the consequences of nonpayment of bills, rentals, and premiums. But what about a situation if your insurance company goes bankrupt and the status of your funds is in limbo. I for one always make it a point to find out everything about the company that I invest it, be it Crypto VIP Club about which I read the full review before trading in it or the investment company I choose to put my extra dollars in. Hence, always go with a well-known company only after checking its rating.

What to do when your insurance company goes bankrupt?

While you might know about the bankruptcy later, the State Insurance Commission will be aware of the insurance company’s monetary status and will try to bail them out. But in the event the company cannot be rehabilitated it has to be liquidated in accordance with the court’s order. In such a situation, your insurance coverage will continue as the State’s Insurance Guaranty Association will take over the policy claims of course within the state’s coverage limits.

BE responsible and check the rating of your insurance company

There are several well-known websites like Moody’s which rate each insurance company based on its performance. The rating will determine which company is risky and which is a stable one. Companies that receive A++, AAA are preferable while those with D and CC are weak and best avoided. But again, the rating must not be your tipping criteria, because each company follows a different rating criterion. Always find out from your agent if the company has been downgraded or do research online.

BE prepared but don’t panic

Take heart in the fact that just like you have an emergency fund for the rainy day, all insurance companies to have reserves funds by rule of law. The actual return varies from state to state but it is most often within 8% to 12% of the total revenue. The reserve amount is determined by the number of policyholders, the amount of payout and the revenue they hope to get from the insurers. Thus, in the eventuality that the insurance company goes bankrupt, you can be assured that you won’t be unpaid. And another important point is that insurance companies can be reinsured which spreads the liability to other companies and is not limited to a single company.

It is not every day that insurance companies go bust. Most of the times these wobbly companies are taken over by more financially stable and often bigger group and hence your investment is always safe.

Five Benefits of Business Valuation

Five Benefits of Business Valuation

Using the resources for gaining the complete knowledge of the valuation of the business is the prudent way to use the funds. It is necessary to establish a stock price for the business transactions such as buying, selling, estate planning or raising equity or other purposes./there are several common approaches to value the business in terms of understanding the market value in the present economic and business environment.

  • a market approach is done to understand the worth of the company against other similar businesses, it is also useful for estate planning and gifting
  • buyers who are interested in the net worth take the income approach from the financials of the company to understand quickly how they are positioned in the market, taking them

. the source  form the discounted future returns/earnings

  • the cost approach too is another method to understand the replacement cost of the assets however it is a lesser approached model to assess the fair market value

Benefits of Valuation

  • It is significant to know how the accurate value of the company’s assets to consider beneficial to sell only a portion of the business and still make a good profit. the valuation process gives the specific numbers which is useful for the owners of the business to obtain the insurance and how much to reinvest in the existing or new business, funding minimally and making a good profit from Crypto CFD Trader and retaining the goodwill of the company
  • In case of selling the business, a valuation has to be done in order to negotiate a higher selling price. Professional valuation firms advise the business to value the business two to four years before contemplating the sale
  • value of the business using simple means such as the assets, the stock value, and bank balances is just a primitive understanding, there is much more to it, as the growth of the business in the phase of five years prior and other factors which are complex
  • seeking additional funds from investors requires a lot of forecasting, budgeting and analyzing the net worth of the company even before taking the proposal to go public, the valuation projections have to be provided, and is necessary for the additional funding for the business
  • the valuation of the business acts as an important catalyst in the event of buying, acquiring and merging between two companies in a profitable manner, as most of them look to acquire as little money as possible.



Reviewing The Crypto VIP Club

Reviewing The Crypto VIP Club

It is a common thing to doubt the efficacy of products and services that are newly introduced in the market. However, investors cannot be blamed for doing this because there are too many things that either rob people of their money or harass them so much that they feel apprehensive about trusting a new product ever again. This is what is probably making people suspicious about the Crypto VIP Club. The trading robot was created by Andrew King and it has suddenly gained steam in the trading world. Let us find out about its efficacy in this full review.

Is the founder real?

This is a common question that you will come across on a number of websites. Other products and companies that have probably not been able to make much news in the market have been spreading rumors about this trading system and its founder. The official website of the trading system features a video that is promotional in nature. A handful of people have pointed out that the voice in the video is not of the founder. This is not a reason to doubt a trading system that has simply featured a video in order to promote and present its significant points.

Some people have also asked if the founder’s image is for real. The image of the founder that is available on the official website is in no way a stock photo. It is a real picture of a real person and that is what upholds the trading system as real and authentic. The entire system has been checked and approved by professional traders who have been trading for a long time and they are all of the opinion that the system is genuine.

Things you did not know

The crypto trading robot will give you direct access to several important cryptocurrencies. These cryptocurrencies are Ethereum, Bitcoin, LiteCoin etc. The market leader among these is the Bitcoin and the Ethereum follows on close heels. The trading system makes use of Ethers as its main currency. The major benefit of this currency is the fact that customers can get smart and easy contracts without any hassle.

Approval from reputable companies

The trading robot has been approved by a host of reputable companies. The stamps of approval have come from places like CNN, Financial Times, Forbes etc. This further proves the authenticity of the trading system. If you are looking for new ways to make money, you could try your luck with the Crypto VIP Club trading robot.

Different Ways To Earn Bitcoin

Different Ways To Earn Bitcoin

Many crypto traders are having belief that by investing in the digital currency of Bitcoin, in today will reap a huge amount in the future. By means of Bitcoin exchange you can own your bitcoin and this is considered to be the most popular way. Some bitcoin supporters will hold the Bitcoin for the long time horizon whereas others will keep the Bitcoin for the short time to get profit and they will sell the Bitcoin as soon as they find the opportunity in the market.

The principle such as Buy low and sell high is applicable to this Bitcoin also. There is a number of ways to earn own the Bitcoin which is considered to be different from purchasing them on Bitcoin exchange. Now we will see about the options available to earn Bitcoin.

1) Mining                                                            

The process by which Bitcoin comes into the circulation is called the Bitcoin mining. The mining process refers to the solving of the computationally related problem to find out a new block and this block is added to the blockchain and thereby receives the reward of a few Bitcoins. Generation of more and more Bitcoin results in the difficulty of the mining process. To overcome this problem new software has been developed called the Crypto VIP Club software.

2) Receiving as payment

The other method to earn Bitcoin is to accept the Bitcoin as the payment for the shares or services which is sold or purchased. Even on an online business also bitcoin can be accepted easily. You can add it as an option in other ways such as credit card, net banking, etc for the payment. For online payment of bitcoin, it requires coin base bitpay to accept the payments.

3) Job for Bitcoin

On regular basis also you can earn Bitcoin by doing the job in Bitcoins. This method has certain limitations and also not popular. Websites are also providing digital currency payment job. Another job board is called coinality which provides a job as a freelance for the payment in the Bitcoin.

4) Interest payment

This is the interesting option to earn the Bitcoin, by lending to someone. Bitcoin can be lent in different ways such as by lending it to someone known or through a website where borrowers and lending will have contact or to websites which act as a bank in which for your bitcoin deposits interest will be obtained.

There are other ways are available to earn Bitcoins by means of Tips, Faucet, Arbitrage, etc. The growth of the digital currency is increasing in the world through exchanges, casinos, etc.


Sail In The Cryptocurrency Ocean With Crypto VIP Club

Sail In The Cryptocurrency Ocean With Crypto VIP Club

One can easily compare the cryptocurrency world with an ocean and the traders in it being the sailors. Cryptocurrency is being developed and it is spread like a big ocean. It keeps bringing new coins and the trading mechanism is getting stronger. The vastness is a point to be noted. The network and the encryption knowledge is increasing in a manner that is beyond our expectations. It is under a good professional system. It is our interest and knowledge that will save us in a big way.

When you consider the ocean and sailors, a sailor cannot definitely control the ocean. But, it is quite easy for him to control himself. He can learn about the ocean, its depth, its vastness and its movement. There are many good currents and weather patterns that govern the oceanic movements. A sailor if he learns the tactics well and organizes his knowledge, he can survive the ocean. Over a period of time, he gets himself educated and gains a lot of experience. The sailor will know when to start and accomplish his sailing operation and how to sail as well. He will also know when not to sail. This applies to cryptocurrency world as well.

As explained above, cryptocurrency world is like an ocean. Trades are sailors. Like the real sailors in the ocean, one has to understand the cryptocurrencies, their underlying foundation, its features and the encryption knowledge. We have to understand their claims and their strength too. They are, however, prone to fluctuations in price. This is quite acceptable. It is up to the traders now to choose the best time to trade and the best option to trade. We will have a lot of money and the time to invest. But, the trading has to happen safely.

To facilitate this thought we have the auto crypto robots. Crypto VIP Club is one of the best in its kind. They have many features that enable the users to navigate throughout the system and use the best opportunities. We have the Crypto VIP Club software developed very recently and there are many users who have been making consistent and stable profits day by day. They have received optimistic reviews and feedbacks from all the clients. A good sailor will use his intelligence and sail cautiously to successfully proceed in his aspirations. A good trader also must do the same.


Minting money by trading shares

Minting money by trading shares

Everyone wants to earn money and many people resort to online trading of shares. But just jumping into the market without any proper study or understanding of the market, you will end up losing all the money you invested.  Hence, if you are into trading of online stocks or currencies, you need to follow certain rules to maximize your earnings and minimize the potential losses.

Rules to follow

Don’t commit all the cash in one go- Since it is a fast-moving trading market, there will be many opportunities coming up all the time. So, you should have money in hand in order to take advantage of all the opportunities that come along the way. Even when you are trading in cryptocurrencies this rule should be followed. If you don’t have time to trade in both the markets, then you can choose to trade in cryptocurrencies through the trading software crypto CFD trader.  All the information about the software can be found on this website.

Have a proper plan- You need to have a proper plan in place before you begin the trading process. You need to have pre-determined points wherein you need to cut the losses or take the profits.  Once the plan is prepared you to need to ensure that you stick to the plan. There are many people who get carried away during the trading and forget all about the pre-set plan and face loss later on.

Find out the events which move the markets- You need to research the market to find out which all events move the market.  You need to have an eye on your trading position as well as on all the events happening around the world.  Keep yourself fully informed by reading through the financial publications and political news.

Diversify your portfolio- You should not only concentrate on investing in blue chip shares but also invest in stocks which are of low key too. You should diversify your portfolio and invest in more than one sector like manufacturing, pharmaceuticals, automobile, etc. Once you diversify your shareholding, any events that affect a particular sector will not cause any impact on those shares that are of a different sector.  Hence you will not suffer a total loss in worst scenarios. But you need to be updated with all the sectors happenings and events.

Once you are able to follow the above-mentioned rules, you will be able to trade in shares without any difficulty.


Limitations Of Federal Direct Loan

Limitations Of Federal Direct Loan

Before applying for these loans it is always a good idea to know about few limitations that the Federal Direct Loans have despite all the various advantages they have. If the students come under the graduate students, they are not qualified for subsidized Federal Direct Loan. The federal government will pay the interest on the loan taken by undergraduates who meet the criteria for income qualification and qualify for Direct Subsidized Loan, they will not give the option to graduate students. In this case, they are eligible for only unsubsidized loans. In this case, graduates can do trading to get extra cash through the automated trading robot.

The rate of interest is high for graduated applicants. The charges applied for graduates is quite high than the undergraduates. The charges for the year of 2015-2016 for grad students was 5.84% and for undergraduates, it was 4.29%. The rates for these loans is fixed to 10-year Treasury note, but still, the graduates need to pay high charges for interest rate than undergraduates.

The loans that are given are limited. The limits of dollar for Federal Direct Loans are different and depend upon a lot of criteria, applicants whose needs cannot be covered by these limits will have to look for other option to support them. Along with Federal Direct Loan, they will have to depend on other sources like private loans that have interest charges that are considerably high.

Loan limits for people who are dependent are low as well. Suppose the student is undergraduates and applies for Direct Unsubsidized Loans and says that they are depending on the tax returns of their parents and guardian are allowed to borrow lesser amount than students who are independent and file their tax returns on their own.

Comparison of what dependent students and independent students can borrow from Direct Unsubsidized Loan.

  1. The loan is offered annually and for the first year which is known as freshman year, the dependents can get $5,500 from the Federal Direct Loan whereas the independent students can get $9,500.
  2. For the second year which is known as the sophomore year, the dependents will be rewarded $6,500 whereas the independents will get $10,500
  3. For the third-year and any other years that follow which is also known as a junior year and senior year, the dependents will get $7,500 and independents will get $12,500.
  4. During cumulative dependents will get $31,000 and on the other hand, independent students will get $57,500.

The Essential Elements To Consider While Investing A Stock

The Essential Elements To Consider While Investing A Stock

A trader doesn’t become a successful trader in his very first execution of a trade. It takes time, even a decade to become a successful trader. And, being successful doesn’t mean earning a constant return without any loss. A trader is said to be successful in trading when he has an explicit knowledge about trading methodology, the type of stock to invest, where and when to invest, time to enter and exit trade etc. Many factors need to be considered to become a successful trader. With the invention of the automated trading robot, it is now easy to become a successful trader within a few years of trading experience.

Although the trading methodology, analysis, and timely execution determine your profit, the primary factor in investment lies in choosing the right stock for investment. Majority of investors fail to choose the right stock for investment. The impact of this action results in a loss. Every investor must execute proper research before investing in any stock. One must think beyond before entering and executing the trade. Let us learn the essential elements to consider before purchasing any shares.

1) Information: Never purchase a share if you don’t have overall information about it. Some stocks may be new to the market and lack information. In such scenario, do some groundwork to find out the future value, the growth, the product the company deals, marketability of the product, the services offered and the total number of employees. With the help of search engines, it is easy to find any information about any company. Moreover, most of the data is made available to the public on the company website. Read about them and have clarity before investing in any share/stocks.

2) Price-Earnings Ratio: Commonly called as P/E ratio is the ratio of the price per share to the earnings of the company. P/E ratio of a company can be found by comparing the market price of the stock to the past earnings. When the P/E ratio is lower, one needs to give a thought about investing in such a company.

3) Beta: Beta represents the volatility of the particular stock. It explains the rate of movement or the price fluctuation of a share over the specific period. In general, this period would be 4-5 years. Higher Beta represents more price fluctuation resulting in higher risk and vice versa.

Besides the above, the other element that an investor needs to consider is the dividend that the company promises to pay to every investor, the chart history etc. It is essential that an investor analyze all the above elements before investing to earn a decent return.


How The Trend Of Electronic Trading Followed?


The ever-growing demand for immediacy services by the bond market investors and the market participants immense methodology of seeking ways to decrease the trading cost and elevate market liquidity, all these led to the evolution of this new way of the electronic trading scheme.

In accordance with this review, there occurred an immense growth in the respective use of such electronic trading platform schemes in the bond markets along with the advancing and emerging markets. However, the equity markets still offer a low level of electronic trading activity.

The survey of industrial trading estimates suggest that the digital mode of trading has accounted for

  • Nearly 38 percent of the dealer-to-client trading volume
  • Accounted for almost 14 percent of the cash in corporate bonds
  • And mostly 76 percent in the foreign exchange readily for the spot trading type

Challenges faced by the present platforms

  • It has been a common observation that the currently existing electronic platforms where typically used for some standard small capacity trading transactions while it can be operated for a good number of orders that forms a match on the regular basis.


Both the platform providers and the central counterparties have acquired all those instruments that were previously traded and bilaterally, risk-free too. This includes the swaps trading of futures and other related clearing derivatives CCPs scheme. Whatever so, for the existing majority of corporate bonds, the dispersed overflow would bind to work against the electronic platform use.


  • The high-volume trades conducted by the firm investors also seem to be affected potentially on prices and is less suitable for trading on these platforms and hence require a dealer intermediation for negotiating the trading blocks in the equity markets.


The property of transparency is the main requirement and may limit the willingness of financiers and other dealers to do electronic trading that may reveal their trading strategy and portfolio positions. This has further resulted in the new trading strategy exploration that may split these transactions into small units to minimize the trading operation on the electronic platform.


As already stated, the electronic platforms never disclose the participants’ identity that may create distress in supporting market liquidity during the financial stress period. But the real firm investors depend on the voice-brokered trading during the economic crisis as these dealers might accommodate the clients from whom you can expect ancillary revenues from future business and thus contributes to the market liquidity.










How Socially Responsible Is Your Corporate?

How Socially Responsible Is Your Corporate?

You may be a good entrepreneur in formulating business strategies to maximize returns and beat the competitors. Have you thought about how well governed your firm is or how socially responsible your corporate activities are? By social responsibility, the implication is not getting active in social welfare activities or non-government organizations on a full-term. It rather points to the management decisions and production processes practiced in the company without hindering the social balance. For example, a large-scale mining company is being socially irresponsible by indulging in illegal mining on preserved natural areas.


Adopting Item Response Theory (IRT) in your business

Using an IRT system of assessment in monitoring employee and employer behavior within the premises and while at work is aimed at finding the following facts:

  1. Is there a difference in opinion on business matters between any of the members? If there is, what are they and how do they affect the overall productivity and other members?
  2. Is there a change in the behavior of the members of the firm over a time-frame or between two phases? Can any specific reason be pointed out?
  3. How can the firm be compared with its counterparts and are there assessing indices effective?
  4. Is the company management considering the valid inputs received internally and externally and are they accommodative for flexibility?


Consider an illustration. Ethereum Code is an entity offering altcoin mining services to individuals and groups. If there is any legal change in coin transactions, it the company taking appropriate measures to seal adverse issues? Are the users of the software aware of changes in the platform’s settings or design or asked opinions about it? Is there any kind of miscommunication between the pool miners or is someone taking a backseat in response to ‘is it a scam’ news? The IRT model finds answers to all these questions and produces a statistical report on what are actions to be initiated for maintained the goodwill of the entity.


Depending on how many data cells are there in each assessment, the computer programme frames a matrix of binary entries and blank cells and the company scores a performance line by giving truncated or normalized values to the absent cells. The models are capable of comparing different firms and estimating their dynamic behavior over a time period.

If the company is willing to make any changes in any of the projected flaws, the same is picked up by the model and a new performance line is created.

Create A Conducive Environment In Your Company By Statistics

Create A Conducive Environment In Your Company By Statistics

Statistics may be a tough topic to crackle without deep mathematical and logical knowledge. The arrival of software tools have led to a revival in the situation and increased the reach of the statistical application to the behavioral side of the business. Business is a field of money numbers but played by human attitudes, that of the employer and the employees.


How the two-way interactive system can boost the business morale

The smart assessment pattern designed and experimented by our in-house corporate facility is capable of simplifying the tensed and nerve-gripping business environment in a firm, especially during the closing of financial years, and strenuous target-oriented projects. The work may be too demanding for all those involved that bothering about torn down morale or loss in efficiency does not come in the open picture unless the project closes and results are analyzed.

The same can be carried out in a much work-friendly environment by handing over the complete assessment scale to an IRT-enabled computer system. Five minutes of interaction from each member is enough to create a vast report that can showcase every loophole left by the work, who are the lagging legs, where did they actually lag and why, what can make up for the lag and how efficient is the assessment.

It is quite possible that the lag is actually due to the inability of the supervisor to manage the workers and not because of the inefficiency of the workers. No one can be accused or blamed or and no one can keep grudges over anyone.

A pool mining activity is rightly supported by the Ethereum Code and if one miner fails, it disrupts the entire chain, but the software focuses on finding a valid reason and to work on it instead of allowing reviews like ‘is it a scam-we show you’ to blow out the pipe. The platform is interactive in an intelligent way to accommodate for such incidents. Then why should big on-site firms like us lag behind in becoming smart?

The prototype models are out in the high-end market now and can be made available in other segments on request. Contact us to get the model now and run a free trial for one month. We will expect you with the results and are confident that they will not disappoint both of us. For further descriptions, brochures, design details, and demos, please contact our relationship manager or visit our facility.

The Psychometric Benefits Of Item Response Function

The Psychometric Benefits Of Item Response Function

The new generation statistical model of Item Response Function (IRT) has revolutionized the way exams are conducted. Earlier, competitive exams were conducted once in a year after turbulent preparatory announcements and background work. After the exams, the test-takers had to wait for months to finally get a rank list and then the wait continues to the interview call. Ever since the ITR has overtaken the job of conducting and assessing exams, a GRE or GMAT exam is not giving as many nightmares as before. This is just one side of the multifaceted model.

Meet the other faces of IRT

The psychometric importance of the model has led to many innovations in dealing with behavioral science studies. The results of these studies can be put to use in several areas.

  • The results of exams and entrance exams that focus on the attitude and preference of the test-takers also offer the applicants the advantage of reviewing themselves on how well they have fared in comparison to others and how foolproof the exam they have conducted is.
  • Applying behavioral results, a high level of transparency to these tests and that is one of the reasons why cracking them is seen as a prestigious achievement.
  • The same model can be adopted for routine assessment of students in educational and research institutions. Since it is a kind of two-way system and education is no longer about getting high quantitative scores, the tool provides a two-way interactive system in which the students can assess themselves and also understand how they are assessed.
  • The test patterns can analyze the previous questions and according to the difference in the approach of each test-taker, scale-up or scale-down in the level of complexity, construction, and topic choice can be made for further sessions. When exam banks over a period of years can be compared, it can bring out the transformations achieved by intellectual efforts and how monumental the exams have been or can be.
  • For software platforms using interactive social environment like the Ethereum Code, IRT can improve the integration of the mining or trading groups and also keep a continuous modification track of the software. Voices asking for ‘is it a scam’ clearance get shut automatically with such intelligent algorithms.
  • Coming to business, employers depend on performance assessment of their employees for all good and bad business decisions and employees depend on the same assessment for their livelihood and professional satisfaction. ITR is the ideal way of meeting both the demands and even combining both for the human business to reach new heights.

Are you a New Bitcoin Investor? Ensure to Read These Guidelines

There has been no dearth of investment ideas for individuals all across the globe. From floating their money in the real estate to buying some substantial stocks, we all have been active ever since to make more money without being a part of any kind of menace. These fruitful ideas have made people more knowledgeable and interested in trying out new ventures also so that they get to cherish the benefits of them and share the experiences with their close ones. One such undertaking that has been doing extraordinarily well in the finance market for a couple of years is that of Bitcoin.

Investors are fearlessly investing in online signal trading software such as Bitcoin Code and are enjoying all the advantages it could offer them on their invested capital. They no more worry about the rumors and myths like is the Bitcoin Code legit and are freely being a part of their schemes like a truly wise and experienced businessman.

However, there might be some individuals who do not have any knowledge of this favorable industry at all. Well, if you are one of them and wish to try your luck in this business, then go through our 5-step guide to brace up and give tough competition to those investors who have been in this industry for years.

Steps to follow for safe investments in bitcoins:

  • The primary thing to consider not only while investing in bitcoins but in all kinds of schemes is to have your research and homework done appropriately. If you miss out on your knowledge about the current trends and deals, you might end up cracking a negative deal.


  • Make sure you consider all the pros and cons of this investment and stay prepared for all kinds of situations. Check your financial backup and do not invest more than your affording capacity. This will gradually backfire.


  • Never make the mistake of investing your entire capital in one single scheme. Distribute your money adequately and finance your business in a way so that your entire money doesn’t get flushed in case the scheme doesn’t work.


  • Instead of placing your bitcoins in exchanges, it is advised to store them in the In case of hacking, at least your bitcoins will be unaffected and so would be your investment.


  • You have to be prepared for unexpected fluctuations in the bitcoin prices. Avoid making short-term bets and keep the bitcoins for long so that there is no major harm to your investment when the market drops temporarily.

Adopt this form of online investment only after gaining complete knowledge of its workflow and step on the path to success for a profitable experience.


Ethereum code-blockchain technology

Ethereum code is an open software platform used for enabling developers to build and deploy decentralized applications. It is based on blockchain technology. Ethereum was developed by a cryptocurrency researcher and programmer. It can be transferred between two accounts and also it is used to compensate mining nodes for the computations performed. There is a machine called Ethereum Virtual Machine, which can execute an international network of public nodes.

Ethereum was divided into two separate blockchains.

  1. A new version called Ethereum(ETH)
  2. The original version called Ethereum Classic(ETC)


Ether is basic cryptocurrency which provides a distributed ledger for the transactions in the operation of Ethereum. It is also used for paying the transaction fees and the computational services on the ethereum network.

Characteristics of ethereum code:

The validity of each ether is provided by a blockchain. The blockchain is nothing but the continuously growing list of records. Here, the records are called Blocks, which are linked and protected using cryptography. Ethereum usually operates the accounts and balances in a way called state transitions. State indicates the present balances of all accounts and extra data. There is a wallet named “Cryptocurrency wallet” that stores the private and public keys or addresses which are used to send or receive ether. Ethereum addresses are denoted with the prefix “0x” which is commonly used to identify a hexadecimal digit.

Difference between Ethereum code and bitcoin:

Ethereum code and bitcoins are not similar. It has some differences between them. Let us take a close look at those difference.

  1. Currency issuance:

Ethereum will create three new ether every 15 seconds, whereas, bitcoin creates 112.5 new bitcoins every 10 minutes.

  1. Currency cap:

Ethereum has no cap for currency production, but bitcoins can produce only 21 million bitcoins.

  1. Creation of block:

Ethereum creates new block every fifteen seconds whereas bitcoins can create new block every ten minutes only.

  1. Scripting language:

Ethereum has a scripting language known as Turing-complete and the programs are written in this language are called “Small contracts. While bitcoin has a scripting language that is very limited in the functionality with only some operations in it.

  1. Cost of transaction:

Ethereum cost is generally called “gas” for the use of storage on the blockchain and a bitcoin cost is based upon the size of the transaction.

  1. Size of the block:

Ethereum blocks are capped by the size of the gas whereas blocks of bitcoins are limited to 1MB in their size.

  1. Account types:

Ethereum code has two types of account, one for fund of users and the other for holding the code of the computer. Bitcoin has only one address code of its own.



Here is a list of reasons why Ethereum code cannot be called a scam

Are you shy of trading online?

Have any of your trading adventures left you high, dry and shy?

Almost a third of people whom I choose to ask why they have left trading never to come back to it again tell me that it is because the field is full of scammers. There are scammers who are heartless and spineless. Robbing the trader once will not do for them. They need to change their avatar again and again and scam the poor trader who burns a hole in his pocket by repeatedly investing money in his trading account while the crook software gobbles up his investment is seen laughing himself riot to the bank.

If you are a victim of similar circumstances or you know someone who is, we truly empathize with you.

But have you ever read more about Ethereum Code or heard of a state of the art automated trading robot called the Ethereum Code?

Umm before you dismiss it as another sales talk or think that I am pitching in to lure you to the software, let me make it clear: I am not!

Here are five good reasons why this particular software is not a scam:

1.      Marc Weston, the founder and the developer of the software is a real person:


The developer of the software is a man of flesh and blood and not an imaginary character. Nor is he an actor who has taken up a fictitious name only to create the video for this software. A reverse search on Google has categorically confirmed that a person with that name and looks indeed exists.


2.      The program only assigns reputed and licensed brokers to its traders:


Once the trader funds his account with the basic investment, the software assigns him a broker. Ethereum Code only assigns brokers who are licensed and regulated by various regulatory bodies such as CySEC and FCA.


3.      It is state of the art advanced auto trading robot:


The software is made of sophisticated algorithms and that is what makes this one a highly desired one among the traders.


4.      It has wonderful features:


The software has loads of features that helps it achieve solid results and that is what makes the trader come back to it again and again and not run away from it or from trading per se fearing that it will gobble up its hard earned cash.


5.      It gives out consistent profits even if very little:


The software may be able to generate very little profit but it is known for helping its traders achieve unprecedented amount of independence financially and prosperity that is not just outward but also inward.


Try this one now. I assure you that you will never regret it!



In-depth analysis of Ethereum code

More and more crypto robots are being introduced in the market which clearly states that the cryptocurrency market is becoming quite popular. Ethereum code is the newest addition to the automated platform which is accessible to the users. Marc Weston is the creator and also company’s CEO.  Many people have started trying out this software are quite content with it. However, most of the users opt for the autopilot mode so that they don’t have to deal with the transactions manually.  Marc Weston claims that the Ethereum code is authentic and reliable and all the people should make use of it and get registered right away.  Marc Weston was an accountant in one of the global software organization.  He decided to change his profession and changed his path to building something on his own. He wanted to achieve success and also at the same time make all the people gain access to the world of cryptocurrency.

If you would like to gain in-depth knowledge of the system, you should check this out.

Using the Ethereum code

The team behind the Ethereum code is focused mainly on delivering customer satisfaction.  All the operational work of the system is done automatically; hence the members don’t have to personally conduct trades until and unless they wish to do. Then they can opt for the manual mode.

The autopilot mode of the crypto robot is a blessing for the people who do have any prior experience in the online trading field.  The process of registrations is also easy and quick. The users are required to fill out the form that is provided on the website. Soon after it gets validated and processed, you will be taken to another page where you need unlock the account and activate it. To finish this step, the users have to invest an amount which is set by the industry. This amount will be used for your trading.  Now all you have to do is to just log in and change settings to suit your preference.  All the work will be done by the software and you don’t have to even keep checking also. The robot is designed in such a way that it is competent to make wise decisions. It conducts trade only if the market is favorable and is totally biased from human emotions.  No human emotions play a role in the robots decision-making capabilities. Hence, all the transactions would be fair.



Life has been pretty good to me. Blessed with a job I like, a wife I can’t love enough and my passion for writing that lets me tell the whole world everything the way I feel. I really am not sure if I could have asked for more. Of course, not to forget the big black flurry creature sitting by my feet, drooling all over the carpet. This little guy has been with us for over 7 years now and he has become part of the house hold.

Many days I sit outside on the porch gazing away into the distance wondering how else my life could have been. I have not had much time to work out and get back my fitness. My wife has been hinting at it as my paunch is showing a little. But frankly, I am not really worried. I know she will love me no matter what ans will stand by me through everything.

However, I have not been feeling too good lately. There has been some stomach issues which has affected not only choice of foods but also the quantity consumed. I have undergone quite a few tests and walked up quite a few doctors’ steps. I am yet to receive a concrete answer or solution to my problem.

In the meanwhile, I decided to take a few days off, to let the stress go and see for myself if this could be a stress induced discomfort. My family friend who is also a doctor has advised me to undertake a few extensive tests and am not really too keen or happy with his suggestion.

No it is not the fear of needles or blood; it is just the fear of what they may find out from those tests. As long as you are oblivious to what is happening to your body, you can ignore it, give some feeble excuse for a reason and carry on with life like always. However, if you go to a  doctor, the entire equation changes.

You have the tests, then the results, and then secondary consultations with the experts, etc, etc. it just goes on and never ends. You may get an answer to your problem eventually but then, it is just too much of a hassle and you get insecure about your health after all those battery of tests.

I am in a similar position too. I thought I may be prescribed something as simple as Hondrocream for your joint pains, but the doctor wants me to do a number of tests for my pain.

Heroes: No#2. Neil Armstrong

No.2 in an occasional Series

It’s long been a given, that the next installment in my series on personal heroes would have to be an astronaut. The only reason I chose to put Babbage in pole position was to avoid the blindingly obvious.As I sipped on my cup of Eco Slim, I was wondering who it should be….

The dilemma was always which one. Well the events of recent days, and the general Internet hum at the passing of Neil Armstrong has rather forced my hand in the matter. As well as being easily the most famous member of the astronaut corps – certainly to the man in the street – Armstrong was also, superficially at least, one of the least interesting. Quiet and reclusive, had Neil survived his heart surgery of a few days ago, I might easily have chosen one of the lesser known members of that elite but rapidly shrinking group of Apollo moon voyagers. Again to avoid the obvious.

The unfortunate event of this great astronaut passing away has been the fortunate reason why he is being featured here and written about, for all my readers to read. He is one of the greatest men, no doubt, but I have my own list of choice, to choose from. Someone who did venture into the unknown space, yet mark their presence in people’s minds, that didn’t involve a flag?

Perhaps the wise-cracking and fun-loving Pete Conrad, who laughed and joked his way to the moon and back on Apollo 12. Or maybe the gruff and stoic Frank Borman, a largely unsung hero who commanded the audacious and hugely dangerous first circumlunar voyage, in an unproven Apollo spacecraft, riding the lightning atop the then un-flown 2.5 million kg flying bomb which was the Saturn V launch vehicle.

Most likely I would have gone with Gus Grissom.  One of the original Mercury Seven, Grissom was a veteran of Mercury/Liberty Bell 7 and commanded the Gemini III flight. As NASA’s most experienced astronaut with a reputation for a cool head in a crisis, Grissom was the natural choice to command the very first Apollo mission, and had he not perished in the horrific launch pad fire that also claimed crew mates Ed White and Roger Chaffee in January of 1967, he would almost certainly have gone on to be the first man on the moon.

Neil Armstrong. The Unlikely Hero.
1930 – 2012

But here we are in the southern spring of 2012, over forty years after that hot July night where I sat on the shag-pile rug in front of a black & white TV and watched history unfold. Of the twelve men who walked on the face of the moon in those few short years between 1969 and 1972, and with Armstrong’s passing, I think only five are still alive. It’s a sombre thought that after just a few more summers, there will be no-one left alive who will be able to describe for us what it was like to make that journey and walk that walk.

It seems to be one of the great ironies of life that those who find themselves thrust into the spotlight, the blinding glare of public scrutiny and adoration, are often those least well equipped to handle that attention. Neil Armstrong was certainly such a man. To describe his as quiet and self contained would be an understatement. Unlike many of the other early astronaut candidates, he wasn’t a fighter-jock. He didn’t buy into the rock star lifestyle. He didn’t race a Corvette along the dusty roads of Florida’s East Coast. He didn’t frequent the hotels and cocktail bars of Coccoa Beach a short drive from the The Cape, where wide-eyed young women were queing up to catch themselves a spaceman.

More likely than not, you would find Neil back in his spartan quarters, studying an engineering textbook and planning an early night. In a more media savvy age, NASA would have realised that the first man they chose to send to the moon, would overnight become the most famous human on the planet. They would no doubt chose someone with the appropriate skills and attributes, and carefully groom and prepare him for the circus which was coming to town.

But this was the sixties. I don’t think it ever even crossed their mind. All eyes were on the goal, and although attractively cloaked in the warm, fuzzy “We came in peace for all mankind” NASA disguise, this was still, to all intents and purposes a military operation. There was an enemy to be beaten, and as Gagarin’s recent fall from grace (and eventual suspicious death) had demonstrated before, individuals were expendable. I’m not suggesting for a moment that Armstrong, was deliberately thrown to the wolves, but it’s well known that he, Aldrin, and several others of the group struggled to adjust to their new found celebrity status, and a return to life on planet earth. And nobody, least of all NASA seemed much interested in helping or supporting them.

So why did they pick Armstrong? Well quite simply, he was the safest pair of hands they had at their disposal. Crews were assigned to missions many months in advance, so there was always going to be an element of uncertainty – the Apollo program was a carefully planned sequence of cause and effect, each mission objective had to be completed successfully before the next step could be taken. Although Apollo 11 was ear-marked to be the first landing attempt, if any of the proceeding missions had been unsuccessful, then that task would have fallen to a later flight.

There is, I think a common perception, because of Armstrong’s rather serious, aloof nature and studious engineering background, that he was somehow less of an action-man than some of his more gung-ho compadres. Nothing could be further from the truth. A born aviator, who earned his pilot’s licence at 15, Armstrong was all about action. About getting the task done. As a young navy pilot flying combat missions over Korea, or later as an elite test pilot flying top-secret x-planes at Edwards Air Force Base in the Mojave Desert he approached dangerous, high-risk situations with a cold, analytical methodology which brought him safely out of close calls where pure adrenalin and testosterone probably wouldn’t have. Even before being selected as an astronaut, Armstrong flew to the very edge of space on several occasions as test pilot of the experimental X-15 space plane.

Edwards, and NASA folklore record several instances of Armstrong’s “ice-man” attitude to danger, most notably where he saved the day – as well as his and fellow astronaut Dave Scot’s skins – by manually wrestling their Gemini spacecraft out of a deadly, out of control end-over-end spin only seconds before they would have otherwise have blacked out.
On another occasion, flying the notoriously hairy and unpredictable “flying-bedstead”, a jet powered contraption designed to mimic the difficult flying characteristics of the Lunar Module, Armstrong lost control of the vehicle.

With admirable calmness, he steered the plummeting machine to a safe trajectory, then ejected only feet from the ground before the aircraft crashed in a mighty fireball. Armstrong landed a few hundred feat away, carefully gathered up his parachute, and cross but unhurt, walked back to his office to write up an accident report.

There was a phrase doing the rounds amongst the clean-cut, cigarette smoking, ex-military types who populated Cape Canaveral in those days. “You sir, are a steely-eyed Missile Man.” It was the ultimate compliment you could be paid. There were few more steely-eyed than the shy but fearless Neil Armstrong.

So, while not exactly Mr. Charisma, Armstrong was in every other respect, the perfect choice to command the first landing mission. And I truly wonder if anyone else could have pulled it off. Because Apollo 11 is revered as such a historic and successful flight, most people who weren’t directly involved, have either forgotten, or never realised just how close to disaster Armstrong and Aldrin really came. It could have so easily ended very differently.

The final decent to the surface was designed to be largely automated, with Landing Radar steering the LM to a pre-selected landing site that had been determined to be safe. When the craft pitched forward towards the later part of the descent and the crew got their first clear view of the ground, it became apparent to Armstrong and Aldrtin that the rocky landscape rushing a few hundred feet beneath them did not correspond with their charts or simulation training. They were overshooting their planned landing area and heading into a heavily cratered and boulder-strewn wilderness. Armstrong assumed manual control of the craft’s attitude and began searching for a clear area large enough to put down safely. On several occasions the cabin, and Earth-Moon comm’s loops were filled with blaring electronic alarms, as the onboard computer became overloaded, and to add to the pressure, they were rapidly running out of fuel.

“Twenty Seconds” called up Mission Control. That was twenty seconds of gas left in the tanks, including the twenty seconds they needed for a safe abort. Time was up.  After that Houston just shut up. It was totally out of their hands. It was all up to Armstrong now.

On the tape recording there is a deafeningly long silence as Armstrong picked his way amongst the craters and car sized rocks. It seems to go on forever. Finally Aldrin reports “kicking up a little dust…” then “contact-light!”

There is another long silence…

Then Armstrong’s voice comes over the crackling com. “Er… Tranquility Base here. The Eagle has landed.” His voice is bloodless and dead-calm. Not a hint of emotion or breathlessness.

Or is there.

I’ve listened to those words so many time over the years, and again now. And I think if you listen carefully there is something about the way he says “The Eagle has landed”, something about the subtle modulation and inflection in his delivery, that is more than just a missing pilot reporting in. An engineer laying out the facts.

Is that pride? An iota of excitement even. I’d like to think so.

Goin’ Down Slow


Music, it has its own way to calm you down or rile you up. Pop in your favorite track and that traffic jam will not bother you anymore.

For those who are yet to discover the joys of this wonderful world, there are quite a number of genres to experiment with.

My foray into this world started when I was in middle school. Trying to be one of the “cool” kids, got me listening to and paying attention to the tracks that were played on the radio, or when my dad used to play one of his favorites from the everlasting classics.

What started out as a means to gain attention, soon turned into a passion and quite frankly, a slight obsession. Of all the genres I was exposed to, the blues is what caught my attention. the experiences and struggles of the singer or song writer were so beautifully expressed. It was poetry with a catchy tune. And the repetition of those lines only made it easier to understand and remember the lyrics. (when you have to stay cool, you need to know the words!)

After a point in time, people around me considered to be well educated and informed in this genre. I had listened to so many songs of this beautiful music; I didn’t realize I was turning heads with my knowledge.

Of all the great singers who ever expressed themselves so beautifully via their blues, Wolf was one that earned the name of the greatest Blues singer ever. He earned this name for a reason – his voice!

Tonsillitis is something that derails many singers, but not this guy. His voice became what it was due to the severe tonsillitis that affected him as a child. Born a black, thrown out of home and raised by an uncle who physically abused him by constantly whipping him with a leather plow lone, this guy had seen it all and experienced it all. Perhaps this experience is what lent the soul to his voice.

And then came the mix.

Blues were changed to blues rock. This attracted more people and more of the younger crowd who wanted a bit of both worlds. But as the tracks increased and gained popularity, the original form of blues was, perhaps forgotten?

Many did not know what the original blues were or what the old classics were. So I decided to compile a list of the blues that made an impact on my mind. Something like the Belas Dicas, an experienced beautician would give for her clients.


Circumstances seem to call for a good blues. And this is a VERY good blues which sum it all up rather succinctly.

Over to you Wolf…


Bad news travels fast

I’m sitting here eying up a large paper parcel. My latest haul of drugs from the Island pharmacy. When I picked them up this morning the girl behind the counter quipped that I’ve just about cleaned them out. It certainly looks that way. I’m pretty sure I hold more inventory than they do right now.

For the first time, my personal pharmacy stash features “pain relief” of a more exotic nature than just plain old Paracetamol. Codeine. Morphine. Just the words send a chill through my bones, but I am beginning to feel the need for them.

This is no longer an invisible disease, as it was for the forst few months. The tells are starting to reveal themselves. People still greet me with rave reviews of how well I’m looking, which I accept gracefully, if with a tad of carefully concealed irritation. My cancer is starting to reveal itself in various ways, some subtle, others more obvious. Some the direct consequence of the disease itself, others the legacy of the various treatments I have undertaken.

What started out as totally invisible was then “discovered” in my body and I did my best to keep it a secret, simply because, I wanted to avoid all those questions and pity glances. However, as time passed by, the disease decided to show itself to the world and declare its claim on me and my life. It was like how your sweaty feet, sometimes wins the odor was despite using layers of Fresh Fingers.

I have numbness in my feet and toes, a permanent side-effect of the chemotherapy, as is the intermittent tinitus in both ears. My voice is croaky and unreliable as a result of an enlarged cancerous lymph node on my upper chest paralysing the nerve which controls one of my vocal chords. (There’s a good story attached to how they managed to give me most of my voice back – I was almost totally mute for some weeks – but that will have to wait for another day.) I also have a persistent and unrelenting cough, probably related to the vocal chord business, but exacerbated by the recent course of radiation therapy.

More recently, I have developed deep, nagging pains in my back, chest, and belly. A minor irritation at first, they are now constantly present reminder of my slowly deteriorating condition, and keep me awake at night. It’s getting to the point where Paracetamol just isn’t cutting it any more. I went to the doctor this morning to get something a bit more shall we say, industrial.

I should mention, that I went for a long scheduled CT scan yesterday afternoon – the first since finishing chemo several months ago – mainly to monitor the tumour, and to see what positive effect the radiation therapy has had on the errant lymph nodes in my chest. We have a meeting set with The Prof. next week to get the results. The wait for scan results is for us, the most stressful part of the whole exercise, and we have been hunkering down for a long anxious wait until next Wednesday’s showdown.

So I was totally unprepared when I skipped into the island surgery this morning to pick up a few scripts and have a routine kick-of-the-tyres “take two of these and call me in the morning” session with Doctor Dave, when he brandishes a sheaf of papers in his bony, freckled fist and announces, ‘I have your scan report. Have you seen it yet?’

‘You can’t,’ I said, shocked. ‘I only had the scan at four o’clock yesterday. That must be an old one, these things usually take a few days to processes.’

‘Not in the private sector they don’t. That’s what you’re paying for. This just came through. Do you want the news now, or do you want to wait?”

“Wait.” a little voice said in my head. The coward’s voice.

“Um. Yeah. I guess…” I heard myself saying quietly, without conviction.

“Well, there’s chapter and verse here,” he says, leafing through the document, but I’ll just give you the Summery.” He pulls his chair alongside mine and leans into me as if reading a bedtime story.

“Since the last CT scan, there are new and enlarged supraclavicular and mediastinal and nodal metastases, new uper abdominal and retroperitneal nodal metastases, and new liver and pulminary metastases.”

I feel the hot burn of adrenalin wash through me. “Shit, that doesn’t sound good.” I finally announced, with what in retrospect was admirable understatement.

“No it doesn’t” says Doctor Dave.

“So it’s in my liver and my lungs?” I ask redundantly and helplessly.

“Looks that way.”

Dr. Dave does what all doctors do in these awkward, uncomfortable situations. He snaps into a flurry of pointless but smehow essential activity – making notes, dashing off prescriptions, listening to random parts of my body with his stethoscope, basically anything to fill the uncomfortable void where the dead guy is sitting.

I stumble out into the winter sunshine and go home to break the news to Jo.

She cries.

I cry.

We cry together.




Big Black Dogs And Little Black Dresses

Black is an universal color. Be it for partying or mourning, this color is a wardrobe staple. Any girl is sure to have one of two of those little black dresses. In our home, the black represented our bundle of naughtiness, our 7 year old lab. He is full of energy and always foraying the yard for something or the other.

It is one of those days where we have to get ready for a party. This is an important party as one of my friends is announcing his engagement. So like any other girl, my wife decides to put her best foot forward in her little black dress and it has my attention immediately. But this little dog of ours or should I say, the big dog of ours has decided not to leave us alone and take up all out space and attention.

Though this cancer has me bad and the chemo has been draining me physically and mentally, I never miss the chance to appreciate the Mrs. I have tried a number of Sztuczki Zdrowia but I still feel tired most of the times. It is instances like this that makes me smile and appreciate every minute I have with my family.

Lost in all these thoughts and mesmerized by that beauty checking herself out in the mirror, I failed to notice this little black dos creeping back into our room without any noise. And out of nowhere I see him jump up on our bed and start licking my face, so that my attention is all diverted back to him. Well, I comply very grudgingly, because I know there is no other way out for me.

After a little licking and cuddling session with my lab, he decides to go back to the garden and dig more of my bushes out. I take this as a welcome break and rush to get ready as we were getting late and I wanted to spend some quiet time with my lady before we hit the party. The drive is not a short one, so I guess we will have quite sometime for ourselves.

As I get ready trying to figure out what I can wear to look decently good enough next to this beauty, I am taken back to the day we announced our engagement to our friends and family. I was so excited that my girlfriend had said a yes to me and I just couldn’t wait for her to decide on a date yet.

A live report from the front line.

Hi everyone. I know from the phone-calls and texts that everyone is keen to know the results of the recent scan. Long story short. They weren’t great. We went in hoping for the best, but prepared for the worse, and I suppose what we ended up with was somewhere in-between. In spite of eight rounds of chemo, the cancer has continued to grow, although thankfully it hasn’t spread. Just taking a few quiet days to adjust to the new reality. Jo and I are going away for the weekend to gather our thoughts and regroup. Guess you could say we are a little down but not out.

It is after all, the natural course such news takes you. You know it is not going to be great but you have this small ray of hope burning somewhere deep inside. You hope the doctor will give you a bright smile. You hope the nurse will hand you the report with her sunny disposition. But, the reality is always different and somehow never fails to pull you down.

The doctor did not look too happy.. perhaps he was glad the cancer has not spread to other areas, where the chemo can be of no help. Perhaps he was putting up a brave face to ensure I don’t crumble on the inside? Well, after 8 sessions of chemo, it is natural to get those hopes up.

Jo and I, though know the cancer is going nowhere, had plans. We had the “if and when” plans. These were the plans that we make up in the pretext “if the results are great”. As per these plans, we would go away on a week long holiday, to celebrate and not just rethink. We would sit up and watch the stars and try to find constellation formations.

We planned to wake up before sunrise and enjoy the beautiful colors and the birds chirping. Then have a cup of nice coffee instead of our usual health conscious Chocolate Slim and talk about our younger days where we would laugh with a snort, when our parents told us, watching sun rise can be a great way to start your day. Little did I know I may not live long enough to enjoy all that like my parents did, at old age.

Jo has been very supportive and understanding. She is the pillar I lean on. I just wish, our “if” plans had worked out and I had the chance to enjoy the sunrise and the stars with her, without having to worry on the inside. She is one who loves to live on the edge and experience everything to the fullest, without a worry in her heart. If the plans don’t pan out, she always has a backup and it turns out to be even more fun.

Instead now we are going away, to think about what we are going to do next and how we are going to cope with this result. Not something we are looking forward to, but let’s get real, we have to address this sometime or the other and we decided to do it right away.

I will try and write at more length over the next day or two. Thanks for your patience and understanding. Linds.

Shake vigorously for twenty seconds


First, apologies for being offline for so long. To be honest, I really just haven’t felt like writing. Or doing much else for that matter. I have not even been having my regular cup of Eco Slim. I think the chemo is finally catching up with me, and the last couple of cycles have been a bit tougher. Nothing dramatic, just an accumulations of minor ailments and irritations, the details of which I wont bore you with, and a general malaise which is debilitating and a little unnerving. Some days I feel quite chipper and energetic, others I just mope from bed to chair to couch.

Any road up. This is the end of a busy week. Assessment with the Oncology Dept. on Tuesday. Round eight of chemo – the last for now I’m pleased to report – on Wednesday, and yesterday?

Well yesterday found me sitting on a bench on busy downtown Queen Street. It’s 11.30am exactly. And I am undertaking a tricky self administered medical procedure according to my precise instructions sheet, prior to having the much anticipated CT scan in exactly two hours time.

Stage One. Add contents to  water. I empty what I guess to be 150ml of mineral water out of the plastic bottle we just bought at the convenience store across the street – I need 450mls apparently. No more. No less. I carefully tear the corner of the glossy paper sachet I’ve brought with me, and slowly pour the sweet smelling white powder into the neck of the bottle, carefully shielding the opening with my other hand, as the autumn wind threatens to whip the precious dust away.

I don’t want to risk any of that precious powder flying away, as it may reduce the quantity and affect the proportion. Yes, am not very fond of this medicine but I have learnt to accept that I have very little choice in this matter. So, I decide to abide by the instructions to the Tee.

Stage Two. Invert bottle and shake vigorously for twenty seconds. As I shake away stupidly like a cocktail waiter I watch over Jo’s shoulder as a guy sidles up to the rubbish bin a few yards up the street and starts rummaging around with a long arm and a practiced precision. He never actually looks into the bin, just standing with his gaze averted across the street at nothing in particular. In a few seconds he has retrieved a McDonnalds paper cup, and a plastic pouch of rolling tobacco, neither entirely empty presumably. He seems satisfied with his score and moves on.

Stage Three. Allow to stand for five minutes. My attention is drawn back to the rubbish bin where I watch in fascination as a smartly dressed chinese (I’m guessing) women in her forties (guessing again) expertly hoiks up a chesty gob of snot and saliva and spits it with military precision into the receptacle. It was done with such elegant timing and accuracy that I’m sure I’m the only person who even noticed her deft maneuver.

One person who certainly didn’t, was vagrant contestant No.2 who quickly moved in for a quick fossick. Bad move. He quickly withdraws his grubby, and now glistening hand as if it’s been bitten and gives it a vigorous shake before wiping it on the rim of the stainless steel. Wary but apparently undeterred he moves in for a second prospect, this time with the delicate touch and steady hand of a surgeon. He threads his way past the muck and mucus and retrieves some small treasure which I can’t identify from where I’m sitting, and slips it into his baggy pocket before sauntering off wiping his hand again on the leg of his crumpled pants.

Stage Four. Drink Barium Meal. The small amount of powder seems to have expanded exponentially. My mineral water has magically congealed into a thick gloopy white emulsion. I unscrew the cap and give it an experimental sniff. It has the unnatural saacharine sweet scent of cheep candy.

I take a small swig. Hmm. Well it’s not terrible. I think they were probably aiming for Banana. Close, but no cigar boys. Actually the texture is more disturbing than the taste. A third Milk-of-Magnesia, a third McDonalds Thick Shake, and a third wallpaper paste.

I chug my way through the rest of the bottle. It slides down in wet lumps like cold gravy.

Stage Five. Dispose of bottle responsibly. I consider dropping the bottle into the aforementioned bin but I cant bear the thought of ruining some poor buggers day so slip it into my bag instead.

Two hours later we are at “Starship”. Auckland’s children’s hospital, next door to the main “grown-ups” facility. With the best will in the world, starship is a bit of a stretch, even for the vigorous imaginations of the under twelves. The building is approximately round and has a lot of windows, but there any resemblance ends abruptly. Don’t ask me why I’m here, they have CT scanners, and presumably a vacancy this morning. I feel a bit of an imposter amongst the cheerful bright colors, boxes of toys and cartoon posters. Every conceivable surface is covered with teddy bears and soft toys of every size and species. We’re taken through the paperwork and the inevitable “It-probably-won’t-but-don’t-blame-us-if-it-all-goes-horribly-wrong” speech and I sign at the bottom of the page.

I’m fitted with a lure in my right arm and I’m ushered into a changing cubicle where I drop my clothes and shoes into a plastic shopping basket and rummage through the pile of gowns for one in an adult size. The trick here i’ve discovered by experience is to find the one that still has the necessary tape ties still attached to keep the damn thing done up. Im out of luck today. I emerge in my t-shirt and skiddies, and the open gown flapping in the breeze like a batman cape.

I request a quick comfort stop and slip into the toilet where I make my next tactical blunder. After taking a pee and washing my hands with the antibacterial napalm soap I glance in the mirror to discover with horror a small but unmissable wet stain on the front of my shorts. I have obviously neglected to shake vigorously enough. No way I’m going to pass this off as a careless splash of water. Bugger. Light grey. What was I thinking? I experiment with pulling down the front of my t-shirt as far as it would stretch and try and wrap the useless gown around my waist. Oh fuck it. What the hell. I’m sure they’ve seen worse.

A couple of minutes later I hop up onto the scanner couch with as much dignity as I can muster. “Please open your gown and raise your arms above your head Lindsey” says the operator. Oh great! I can feel my t-shirt ride up to reveal my shame, and I close my eyes as I’m injected with “contrast”, a dye that apparently makes my internal portrait that much more attractive.

I’m helpfully informed that when the dye enters my blood-stream I will feel a hot flush through my body – and might feel like I’ve wet myself. “Although you probably won’t..”

‘Too late for that lady’ I think to myself.


Temporary Fault

When you are watching the TV and suddenly you lose signal, what do you do? The natural step that follows is, you wait for a while to see if the service will resume like before or if the signal will be restored.  While only few have this patience, many tend to fiddle with the remote or the antenna itself, to get a good signal. They are suddenly the technical experts who know which angle is the right angle to get the signal.

For many of these people who just can’t wait to get their TV back on, a message that reads – “Normal transmissions will be resumed as soon as possible. Do not adjust your set.” should be displayed. This will remind them to be patient and stay put in their seats.

My case is very similar too. With so many tests and chemo sessions becoming a part of my routine, I have forgotten what life was before the dreaded news was delivered to me. I don’t remember my cancer free days. I don’t seem to recall how I woke up each morning and how I went back to sleep at night. All I seem to remember are the nauseous feeling that wakes me up, after a round of chemo and the pain and agony I go through when it has been a few days since my session.

What is normal?

Is waking up late on a Sunday morning normal?

Is forgetting to sleep on a Saturday night and partying till you don’t remember where you are, normal?

Is having a cup of Eco Slim and expecting instant results normal?

Is going for a swim in the sea with your friends normal?

Is it normal to get perplexed to hear the word “hospital”?

If it is so, then my life has been far away from normal for as long as I can remember. I can still sleep in on a Sunday morning, as I don’t have anything else to do. But the pain and the discomfort does not let me.

I can still jump into the sea and swim to my heart’s content with my friends, but the chemo sessions have left me pretty dry and tired. Though I may look all cheery on the outside, I don’t always feel quite like it on the inside.

Well, what has gotten into me? This is not the normal me? Where did the sunny happy go lucky guy vanish? How did the disease stricken guy take over? Guess it is time I sign off until the happy me comes outside. Writing and reading about him is always so much better.

“Normal transmissions will be resumed as soon as possible. Do not adjust your set.”



The Etiquette of Cancer



“How are you?’

A pleasant way to start a conversation be it on the subway or with a neighbor you run into across the hall. A way to strike up a conversation with someone, you are meeting after a long time. Or sometimes, just a means to fill in the uncomfortable silence, or the lack of anything meaningful to say. It’s an innocent enough question, but one I’ve come to dread.

Here’s the problem. After six months of being in the cancer club, I’m starting to loose track of who I have told and who I haven’t. It’s not that I’ve made any great secret of the fact, quite the opposite. In most respects the more people who know the easier it is for me, but it’s really not that much fun telling people. Particularly people I know and like. I suppose I’ve been a bit lazy and relied on word of mouth. Bad news usually travels pretty fast in my experience.And lets face it, you are a bunch of gossips.

So here’s the thing.

When someone says “How are you?” I’m not sure if they’re really saying:

“Hi, I heard all about the (whispered) ‘you-know-what.’ Dreadful business. How’s the treatment going? How’s the family holding up? Where does it hurt? What’s chemo like? Can I see your scar? How come your hair hasn’t fallen out? Is there anything I can do? etc. etc.”


“How are you? By the way before you launch into a lengthy and potentially embarrassing answer, can I just point out that this is an entirely rhetorical question, I am blissfully unaware of your current medical predicament, and frankly only ask because it is the socially accepted way to greet someone I haven’t seen for a while. I have no real interest in the minutia of your probably tedious and uneventful life, so why don’t you just say “Mustn’t grumble” and reciprocate by asking about my wife and kids, and where we went for the summer holiday.”

You see the problem?

The potential for awkwardness here is considerable. Do they know or don’t they? Are they just not mentioning the elephant in the room out of politeness, or because the haven’t spotted it yet?

To take the easy way out – “Never been better thanks!” seems disingenuous, and rather goes against the grain. On the other hand just blurting out “Fine thanks. Apart from the small matter of the Stage Four Eosophigal Cancer that could put me in the ground any day now. What ‘you driving these days?” seems crass and rude.

Actually I did say that just the once. I’m not proud of it. It was at a party, and it was to someone who I don’t particularly like, who was drunk and just wouldn’t shut up. So when he finally stopped talking about his tawdry, awful life, took a breath and another swig of his Bacardi Breezer and enquired after mine. I told him straight. It certainly shut him up, but using my disease as a weapon was a low trick. I’ve resolved never to do it again.

So, what to do?

Well I find the pre-emptive strike works well. “Hi! How are YOU?”

“Absolutely bloody terrible. Life is hardly worth living?”

(In a cocerned tone.) “Really? I’m very sorry to hear that. Has one of your major organs failed? Has your homeland been overun with fundamentalist Islamic extremists? Or maybe one of your children has a crack habbit and joined the Mongrel Mob? Don’t tell me you picked up Necrotizing Faciitis from a dirty teaspoon?”

“No but the traffic on the bridge was an absolute bitch. Forty-five minutes to get to the city off-ramp. Some wanker spilt Eco Slim tea or coffee on my Armani shirt, and I’ve lost the key to my locker at the gym.”

“Oh! you poor lamb. I see what you mean. How do you go on? Life can deal us some cruel blows sometimes can’t it? What you need is a nice cup of tea and a lie down.”

A Short Lesson in Perspective

Many years ago, when I first started to work in the advertising industry, we used to have this thing called The Overnight Test. It worked like this: My creative partner Laurence and I would spend the day covering A2 sheets torn from layout pads with ideas for whatever project we were currently engaged upon – an ad for a new gas oven, tennis racket or whatever. Scribbled headlines. Bad puns. Stick-men drawings crudely rendered in fat black Magic Marker. It was a kind of brain dump I suppose. Everything that tumbled out of our heads and mouths was committed to paper. Anything completely ridiculous, irrelevant or otherwise unworkable was filtered out as we worked, and by beer ‘o’ clock there would be an impressive avalanche of screwed-up paper filling the corner of the room where our comically undersized waste-bin resided.

On a productive day, aside from the mountain of dead trees (recycling hadn’t been invented in 1982), stacked polystyrene coffee cups and an overflowing ash-tray, there would also be a satisfying thick sheaf of “concepts.” Some almost fully formed and self-contained ideas. Others misshapen and graceless fragments, but harbouring perhaps the glimmer of a smile or a grain of human truth which had won it’s temporary reprieve from the reject pile. Before trotting off to Clarks Bar to blow the froth of a pint of Eighty-Bob, our last task was to pin everything up on the walls of our office.

Hangovers not withstanding, the next morning at the crack of ten ‘o’ clock we’d reconvene in our work-room and sit quietly surveying the fruits of our labour. Usually about a third of the ‘ideas’ came down straight away, before anyone else wandered past. It’s remarkable how something that seems either arse-breakingly funny, or cosmically profound in the white heat of it’s inception, can mean absolutely nothing in the cold light of morning. By mid-morning coffee, the creative department was coming back to life, and we participated in the daily ritual of wandering around the airy Georgian splendour of our Edinburgh offices and critiquing each teams crumpled creations. It wasn’t brutal or destructive. Creative people are on the whole fragile beings, and letting each other down gently and quietly was the unwritten rule. Sometimes just a blank look or a scratched head was enough to see a candidate quietly pulled down and consigned to the bin. Something considered particularly “strong,” witty or clever would elicit cries of “Hey, come and see what the boys have come up with!”  Our compadres would pile into our cramped room to offer praise or constructive criticism. That was always a good feeling.
This human powered bullshit filter was a handy and powerful tool. Inexpensive, and practically foolproof. Not much slipped through the net. I’m quite sure architects, musicians, mathematicians and cake decorators all have an equivalent time-honed protocol.

But here’s the thing.

The Overnight Test only works if you can afford to wait overnight. To sleep on it. Time moved on, and during the nineties technology overran, and transformed the creative industry like it did most others. Exciting new tools. Endless new possibilities. Pressing new deadlines. With the new digital tools at our disposal we could romp over the creative landscape at full tilt. Have an idea, execute it and deliver it in a matter of a few short hours. Or at least a long night. At first it was a great luxury. We could cover so much more ground. Explore all the angles. And having exhausted all the available possibilities, craft a solution we could have complete faith in.

Or as the bean counters upstairs quickly realized, we could just do three times as many jobs in the same amount of time, and make them three times as much money. For the same reason that Jumbo Jets don’t have the grand pianos and palm-court cocktail bars we were originally promised in the brochures, the accountants naturally won the day.

Pretty soon, The Overnight Test became the Over Lunch Test. Then before we knew it, we were eating Pot-Noodles at our desks, and taking it in turns to go home and see our kids before they went to bed. Sometimes, we had to resolve to the use of Detoxic, to ensure our digestive systems were working fine. As fast as we could pin an idea on the wall, some red-faced account manager in a bad suit would run away with it. Where we used to rely on taking a break and “stretching the eyes’ to allow us to see the wood from the trees (too many idioms and similes? Probably.) We now fell back on experience and gut-feel. It worked most of the time, but nobody is infallible. Some howlers and growlers definitely made it through, and generally standards plummeted.
The other consequence, with the benefit of hindsight, is that we became more conservative. Less likely to take creative risks and rely on the tried and trusted. The familiar is always going to research better than the truly novel. An research was the new god. The trick to being truly creative, I’ve always maintained, is to be completely unselfconscious. To resist the urge to self-censor. To not-give-a-shit what anybody thinks. That’s why children are so good at it. And why people with Volkswagens, and mortgages, Personal Equity Plans and matching Lois Vutton luggage are not.

It takes a certain amount of courage, thinking out loud. And is best done in a safe and nurturing environment. Creative Departments and design studios used to be such places, where you could say and do just about anything creatively speaking, without fear of ridicule or judgement. It has to be this way, or you will just close up like a clamshell. It’s like trying to have sex, with your mum listening outside the bedroom door. Can’t be done. Then some bright spark had the idea of setting everyone up in competition. It became a contest. A race. Winner gets to keep his job.

Now of course we are all suffering from the same affliction. Our technology whizzes along at the velocity of a speeding electron, and our poor overtaxed neurons struggle to keep up. Everything has become a split-second decision. Find something you like. Share it. Have a half-baked thought. Tweet it. Don’t wait. Don’t hesitate. Seize the moment. Keep up. There will be plenty of time to repent later. Oh, and just to cover your ass, don’t forget to stick a smiley on the end just in case you’ve overstepped the mark.

So. To recap, The Overnight Test is a good thing. And sadly missed. A weekend is even better, and as they fell by the wayside, they were missed too. “If you don’t come in on Saturday, don’t bother turning up on Sunday!” as the old advertising joke goes.

A week would be nice. A month would be an unreasonable luxury. I’ve now ‘enjoyed’ the better part of six months of enforced detachment from my old reality. When your used to turning on a sixpence, shooting from the hip, dancing on a pin-head (too many again?), the view back down from six months is quite giddying. And sobering.

My old life looks, and feels, very different from the outside.

Perhaps am not alone in this assessment. Many people have their own idea of a person’s life, without knowing what really goes on, on the inside. Some even envy the lives of their friends and colleagues, without realizing, their lives are much better. Now that am out of that life, am able to have a different perspective of my old life.

And here’s the thing.

It turns out I didn’t actually like my old life nearly as much as I thought I did. I know this now because I occasionally catch up with my old colleagues and work-mates. They fall over each other to  enthusiastically show me the latest project they’re working on. Ask my opinion. Proudly show off their technical prowess (which is not inconsiderable.) I find myself glazing over but politely listen as they brag about who’s had the least sleep and the most takaway food. “I haven’t seen my wife since January, I can’t feel my legs any more and I think I have scurvy but another three weeks and we’ll be done. It’s got to be done by then The client’s going on holiday. What do I think?”

What do I think?

I think you’re all fucking mad. Deranged. So disengaged from reality it’s not even funny. It’s a fucking TV commercial. Nobody give a shit.

This has come as quite a shock I can tell you. I think, I’ve come to the conclusion that the whole thing was a bit of a con. A scam. An elaborate hoax.

The scam works like this:

  1. The creative industry operates largely by holding ‘creative’ people ransom to their own self-image, precarious sense of self-worth, and fragile – if occasionally out of control ego. We tend to set ourselves impossibly high standards, and are invariably our own toughest critics. Satisfying our own lofty demands is usually a lot harder than appeasing any client, who in my experience tend to have disappointingly low expectations. Most artists and designers I know would rather work all night than turn in a sub-standard job. It is a universal truth that all artists think they a frauds and charlatans, and live in constant fear of being exposed. We believe by working harder than anyone else we can evaded detection. The bean-counters rumbled this centuries ago and have been profitably exploiting this weakness ever since. You don’t have to drive creative folk like most workers. They drive themselves. Just wind ‘em up and let ‘em go.
  2. Truly creative people tend not to be motivated by money. That’s why so few of us have any. The riches we crave are acknowledgment and appreciation of the ideas that we have and the things that we make. A simple but sincere “That’s quite good.” from someone who’s opinion we respect (usually a fellow artisan) is worth infinitely more than any pay-rise or bonus. Again, our industry masters cleverly exploit this insecurity and vanity by offering glamorous but worthless trinkets and elaborately staged award schemes to keep the artists focused and motivated. Like so many demented magpies we flock around the shiny things and would peck each others eyes out to have more than anyone else. Handing out the odd gold statuette is a whole lot cheaper than dishing out stock certificates or board seats.
  3. The compulsion to create is unstoppable. It’s a need that has to be filled. I’ve barely ‘worked’ in any meaningful way for half a year, but every day I find myself driven to ‘make’ something. Take photographs. Draw. Write. Make bad music. It’s just an itch than needs to be scratched. Apart from the occasional severed ear or descent into fecal-eating dementia the creative impulse is mostly little more than a quaint eccentricity. But introduce this mostly benign neurosis into a commercial context.. well that way, my friends lies misery and madness.

This hybridisation of the arts and business is nothing new of course – it’s been going on for centuries – but they have always been uncomfortable bed-fellows. But even artists have to eat, and the fuel of commerce and industry is innovation and novelty. Hey! Let’s trade. “Will work for food!” as the street-beggars sign says.

This Faustian pact has been the undoing of many great artists, many more journeymen and more than a few of my good friends. Add to this volatile mixture the powerful accelerant of emerging digital technology and all hell breaks loose. What I have witnessed happening in the last twenty years is the aesthetic equivalent of the Industrial Revolution in the 19th century. The wholesale industrialization and mechanistation of the creative process. Our ad agencies, design groups, film and music studios have gone from being cottage industries and guilds of craftsmen and women, essentially unchanged from the middle-ages, to dark sattanic mills of mass production. Ideas themselves have become just another disposable commodity to be supplied to order by the lowest bidder. As soon as they figure out a way of outsourcing thinking to China they won’t think twice. Believe me.

So where does that leave the artists and artisans? Well, up a watercolour of shit creek without a painbrush. That one thing that we prize and value above all else – the idea –  turns out to be just another plastic gizmo or widget to be touted and traded. And to add insult to injury we now have to create them not in our own tine, but according to the quota and the production schedule. “We need six concepts to show the client first thing in the morning, he’s going on holiday. Don’t waste too much time on them though, it’s only meeting-fodder. He’s only paying for one so they don’t all have to be good, just knock something up. You know the drill. Oh, and one more thing. His favourite color is green. Rightho! See you in the morning then… I’m off to the Groucho Club.”

Have you ever tried to have an idea. Any idea at all, with a gun to your head? This is the daily reality for the creative drone. And when he’s done, sometime in the wee small hours, he then has to face his two harshest critics. Himself, and everyone else. “Ah. Sorry. Client couldn’t make the meeting. I faxed your layouts to him at his squash club. He quite liked the green one. Apart from the typeface, the words, the picture and the idea. Oh, and could the logo be bigger? Hope it wasn’t a late night. Thank god for computers eh? Rightho! I’m off to lunch.”

Alright, it’s not bomb disposal. But in it’s own way it’s dangerous and demanding work. And as I’ve said, the rewards tend to be vanishingly small. Plastic gold statuette anyone? I’ve seen quite a few creative drones fall by the wayside over the years. Booze mostly. Drugs occasionally. Anxiety. Stress. Broken marriages. Lots of those. Even a couple of suicides. But mostly just people temperamentally and emotionally ill-equipped for such a hostile and toxic environment. Curiously, there never seems to be any shortage of eager young worker drones queuing up to try their luck, although I detect that even their bright-eyed enthusiasm is staring to wane. Advertising was the sexy place to be in the eighties. The zeitgeist has move on. And so have most of the bright-young-things.

So how did I survive for thirty years? Well it was a close shave. Very close. And while on the inside I am indeed a ‘delicate flower’ as some Creative Director once wryly observed, I have enjoyed until recently, the outward physical constitution and rude heath of an ox. I mostly hid my insecurity and fear from everyone but those closest to me, and ran fast enough that I would never be found out. The other thing I did, I now discover, was to convince myself that there was nothing else, absolutely nothing, I would rather be doing. That I had found my true calling in life, and that I was unbelievably lucky to be getting paid – most of the time – for something that I was passionate about, and would probably be doing in some form or other anyway.

It turns out that my training and experience had equipped me perfectly for this epic act of self-deceit. This was my gig. My schtick. Constructing a compelling and convincing argument to buy, from the thinnest of evidence was what we did. “Don’t sell the sausage. Sell the sizzle” as we were taught at ad school.

Countless late nights and weekends, holidays, birthdays, school recitals and anniversary dinners were willingly sacrificed at the altar of some intangible but infinitely worthy higher cause. It would all be worth it in the long run…

This was the con. Convincing myself that there was nowhere I’d rather be was just a coping mechanism. I can see that now. It was’nt really important. Or of any consequence at all really. How could it be. We were just shifting product. Our product, and the clients. Just meeting the quota. Feeding the beast as I called it on my more cynical days.

So was it worth it?

Well of course not. It turns out it was just advertising. There was no higher calling. No ultimate prize. Just a lot of faded, yellowing newsprint, and old video cassettes in an obsolete format I can’t even play any more even if I was interested. Oh yes, and a lot of framed certificates and little gold statuettes. A shit-load of empty Prozac boxes, wine bottles, a lot of grey hair and a tumor of indeterminate dimensions.

It sounds like I’m feeling sorry for myself again. I’m not. It was fun for quite a lot of the time. I was pretty good at it. I met a lot of funny, talented and clever people, got to become an overnight expert in everything from shower-heads to sheep-dip, got to scratch my creative itch on a daily basis, and earned enough money to raise the family which I love, and even see them occasionally.

But what I didn’t do, with the benefit of perspective, is anything of any lasting importance. At least creatively speaking. Economically I probably helped shift some merchandise. Enhanced a few companies bottom lines. Helped make one or two wealthy men a bit wealthier than they already were.

As a life, it all seemed like such a good idea at the time.

But I’m not really sure it passes The Overnight Test.


Oh. And if your reading this while sitting in some darkened studio or edit suite agonizing over whether housewife A should pick up the soap powder with her left hand or her right, do yourself a favour. Power down. Lock up and go home and kiss your wife and kids.





Last Tuesday I had my regular assessment meeting at the Cancer Unit prior to starting my fifth cycle of chemo. It’s become quite routine now. It’s like part of your Frumusete Sanatate. We pitch up at the reception desk where the relentlessly cheerful Mrs. Buckwheat checks me off on her list and hands me a clipboard with a Biro attached by a string umbilical, and form CR2666.

Jo takes a seat in the waiting area and I kick off my shoes and step up onto the electronic scales. 84kg’s. I’ve put on weight. I note it down in the box on the form.

CR2666 is an interesting document. It’s also known as The Quality Of Life Assessment Form.

It’s pink naturally.

Some genius graphic designer gave it a nanoseconds’ consideration and naturally assumed that I would find this calming and friendly. That I would be soothed and reassured by it’s comely hue and feel positively disposed toward spending five never-to-be-repeated minutes of my rapidly evaporating life answering its questions.

“One of the important aspects of the assess and follow-up clinics, is to find out whether the treatments are working, and the affect (sic) the treatment has on the patient’s life. This form, filled out by you the patient, gives the doctor a good indication of how you are feeling.”

He could just ask “How are you feeling?”

At the top of the form, under the white sticker with my name, patient number and bar code (Yes I have my own bar code), there is a matrix of attributes and possible responses arranged from good to bad. For example Energy: normal / slightly reduced / tired / exhausted, or Mood: normal / a bit low / depressed / miserable and Pain: none / mid / moderate / severe.

Next is the most interesting and perplexing part. The Overall Quality of Life line. This tales the form of a single black line that traverses the entire width of the page. At the left end is printed one word. TERRIBLE. at the opposite end another word. WONDERFUL. My task this afternoon is to mark with an X the point on the line which reflects my current state of mind.

Now. The temptation is to make my mark as close to the WONDERFUL end as possible, but that would only serve to illustrate that I haven’t really grasped the true gravity of my situation, or just that I am seriously over-medicated. To stray anywhere into the left hand side is to prematurely admit defeat and is therefore philosophically unacceptable. One afternoon a few months ago I did watch a thin young asian woman put her cross over the word TERRIBLE with a trembling hand. Then she underlined it three times. It broke my heart. This only leaves a small window of opportunity about three-quarters of the way along the like, which is where I choose to plant my flag. Optimistic but realistic. Positive without being naive.

buoyed by the positive affirmation of the QOL line, I move on to the altogether more practical and sinister PAIN REGIME. The choices here are none, occasional, regular, non-morphine, and the final chilling option, morphine. After morphine, there is nowhere else to go.I know this from watching my dad’s slow morphine fueled slide into babeling dementia. Morphine takes away the pain. But it takes away just about everything else too. Including dignity and tha ability to say goodbye when the time comes. It’s an expensive ticket. And it’s striclty one way.

I’m not frightened of dying. But I am afraid if pain. I circle none emphatically and move on.

The last question is “How do you feel since your last treatment?” My choices here are: much better / a little better / the same / a bit worse / much worse.  This will be the fifth time I’ve filled out this form. So far i have circled the same on each occasion. Maybe not entirely truthfully, some weeks are better than others, but if I feel sick it’s more to do with the treatment than the cancer. My big secret fear is that if “they” think I’m in decline, on the slide, not responding in acordance with their expectations, they may give up on me.

What if they decide no amount of medications or treatments are working on my cancer? What if they decide I am a hopeless case and decide to move on to other patients who have answered the same form as expected? What if I lose out my only chance of hope?

And that really would be TERRIBLE.


Of Islands and Granfalloons


Now that I come to think about it. It was inevitable that I would wind up living on an island. Not necessarily this island. But some island. As inevitable as the results of using Hair MegaSpray regularly.

I was born by the sea in the West-Country of England, and apart from my student years in London, I have never lived more than a stones throw from the shore. I read somewhere long ago that the further inland from the ocean one travels, the more uncivilised the world becomes. I think I believe that, although the residents of Mogadishu or beach-front Gaza may beg to differ.

Islands have always held a fascination for me. I’ve visited and explored quite a few, ‘though not nearly enough. In Scotland the craggy black gabro peaks, pristine beaches and aching loneliness of the Inner Hebredean archipelago – Skye, Eigg, Rhum, and Islay among them . The beautiful island of Arran where I climbed the Sleeping Warrior to the summit of GoatFell to look out over the  Kintyre peninsular and the Firth of Clyde and was eaten almost to the bone by flies and sheep tics. More recently I travelled to Norfolk island, a vanishingly small outcrop of rock, history and tough humanity barely a couple of hundred feet above the crashing waves of the South Pacific a thousand miles from anywhere at all and home to most of the descendants of the Bounty mutineers.

It’s the notion of a closed, self-sustaining system that attracts me. Cosmologists will tell you – if you can stay awake long enough – that the universe, or more accurately space-time is curved back on itself by it’s own weight, it is in three dimensions (four if you include time), what a paper mobius strip is in two dimensions. At the same time infinite but closed and therefore knowable. Like an island it has one surface and one boundary. Set off in any direction, and you will eventually arrive back at your starting point. This is enough to drive many folk, (Jo included) to distraction and dementia. They call it rock fever here on Waiheke. This is how islanders are differentiated from mainlanders. The ability to construct a meaningful and fulfilling existence from limited resources – both geographical and spiritual.

To be an islander is to be something at least. An islander will tell you if he is honest that he feels special. Chosen. Privileged. Even a little superior. Geographical separation, even if only a few kilometres engenders a powerful sense of identity and belonging. They attract more than their fair share of shamans, sharks, sociopaths and shipwrecked souls it’s true, but that only adds to the appeal as far as I am concerned.

This elevated sense of worth and belonging is of course, like most aspects of our ‘reality’ largely an illusion. Just another label. A Granfalloon* as Vonnigut would say. After all a continent is just a big island, and from an astronomical perspective what is the earth, the pale-blue-dot if not an island in the void. Walk in any direction, and eventually you’ll find yourself back where you started. If you don’t get shot, raped, robbed or blown up along the way.

Somehow the notion “further you move away from the ocean, the more uncivilized it gets”, does not really apply to the above mentioned uncivilized activities. Whether you are close to the shore or are deep in the city, one always has to be careful and watch out for their own safety. But when you are on the coast, life gets more interesting and simple.

Stick to the coast that’s my advice.

* * *

*In 1963, Kurt Vonnigut wrote a novel set on an island. San Lorenzo is a tiny barren Caribbean atoll with no natural resources, and no industry. It’s inhabitants live merge lives in hunger, poverty and without hope. The self appointed ruler Bokonon, a British Episcopalian Negro from the island of Tobago whose real name was Lionel Boyd Johnson invents a religion, designed as all religions are, to salve the peoples suffering, and distract them from the grim and pointless awfulness of their existence.

Much of Bokonons scriptures are in the form of calypsos.

I wanted all things
To seem to make some sense,
So we could all be happy, yes,
Instead of tense.
And I made up lies
So that they all fit nice,
And I made this sad world
A par-a-dise.

Cat’s Cradle is a satire on the tension between science and religion, the rational and the irrational, and of course mankind’s breathtaking talent for fucking things up royally. It’s very funny.

And depressing.

According to Bokononism by the way, a Karass, is the group of people you will interact with knowingly or otherwise throughout your lifetime, as part of god’s greater plan – in as far as he has one. in the extracts from the books of Bokonon which Vonnigut chooses to share with us, you get the distinct impression that God has pretty much lost interest in humans and moved on to other projects.

If you find your life tangled up with somebody else’s life for no very logical reasons that person may be a member of your karass.

A granfalloon, is a false karass. That is an arbitrary collective formed by humans, but of no meaning or relevance to the way the universe operates or god gets things done. Examples of granfallons include race, nations, islands, political parties, families, quilting circles and pop-groups.

If I was going to subscribe to a religion. I think Bokononism would be near the top of my list.
Just above Jedi Knight. Here are the opening verses of the First Book of Bokonnon. And the whole of the Fourteenth Book.

The First Book of Bokonnon

Verse I: All of the true things that I am about to tell you are shameless lies.

Verse II-IV: In the beginning, God created the earth, and he looked upon it in His cosmic loneliness.

And God said, “Let Us make living creatures out of mud, so the mud can see what We have done.” And God created every living creature that now moveth, and one was man. Mud as man alone could speak. God leaned close as mud as man sat up, looked around, and spoke. Man blinked. “What is the purpose of all this?” he asked politely.

“Everything must have a purpose?” asked God.

“Certainly,” said man.

“Then I leave it to you to think of one for all this,” said God.

And He went away.

Verse V: Live by the lies that make you brave and kind and healthy and happy. [ frontispiece ]


The Fourteenth Book of Bokonon

[ A short book with a long title.]

Title: What Can a Thoughtful Man Hope for Mankind on Earth, Given the Experience of the Past Million Years?

Only verse: Nothing.



Life’s too short for…

I was thinking about that old, multi-purpose expression “Life’s too short” the other day. You know, life’s too short for drinking bad wine, life’s too short for standing in line, life is too short for worrying about Hair MegaSpray, life’s too short for _____________________________(Complete as appropriate.)

When life suddenly turns out to be shorter than you could have reasonably anticipated, this tired old cliche takes on an whole new piquancy. So here, apropos nothing at all, is a short and incomplete list of things that my life is now officially too short for.

Watching Cricket

Easily the most bewildering and pointless of all sports. (And it’s a rich and varied category.) How can you play a game for five whole days, and come up with a draw? Are they having a laugh?

Complaining about the weather

An ancient and traditional British pastime. I have discontinued this practice for two reasons. One. It clearly doesn’t work. Two. As Lou Reed observed, every day above ground is a good day, rain or shine.

Worrying about whether Mitt Romney or Newt Gingritch
wins the Republican nomination

I mean really. Who gives a shit? In 1999 the Grand Old Party spent a whole year carefully sifting and vetting its vast caucus, examining and evaluating the relative merits of a wide field of potential candidates to select the brightest, most learned and erudite, world-wise and all-around attractive individual to contest the presidency of the most powerful nation on earth. They had 92 million Republicans to chose from. They came up with George W. Bush.

Untangling string

Long Standing Family Feuds

Come on. I know you are both reading this. Grow up and get over yourselves. Whatever perceived slight of injustice that occurred years ago is not worth dividing an already shrinking family. Sons need mothers, and mothers need sons and grandsons. One of you swallow your damned pride and pick up the phone. One day soon it will be too late, and you will be left to repent at your leisure. Don’t make me come over their and sort it out…

Checking for Testicular Cancer
or worrying about my prostate

I mean come on. How unlucky can you get?


Yes I know it’s selfish and irresponsible but I’ve decided to leave saving the planet to those with more disposable free time. Peeling labels off milk cartons, washing out tin cans and sorting plastics is no longer a personal priority. Sorry.


Deriving any illusion of self worth from squandering hours each day flaunting your numerical prowess over these irksome puzzles, only serves to illuminate your insecurity and utter lack of imagination. Why don’t you go and get a life while there is still a chance?


These are those infuriating tests you have to endure when filling out registration forms or buying things on the internet. CAPTCHA apparently stands for Completely Automated Public Turing test to tell Computers and Humans Apart.
They usually take the form of having to decipher a random set of characters and numbers such as “egwhile strum23″ which have been distorted and otherwise defaced to render them almost unreadable. I hate these for two reasons. Firstly I deeply resent the fact that I am having my humanity tested and judged by a machine. Secondly. I can’t read the sodding things and it often takes me several hundred attempts to guess the right answer. There is nothing I want from the internet this badly. From now on I refuse to be subjected to this egregious indignity.

Trying to prove to a machine I am not a machine and am in fact a human being capable of reading and writing with proper coordination, is a bit too much to ask for. After all, all I wanted to do was access a certain page on the internet, the search engine listed as a result for my search!


Did I mention bloody cricket?

Taking off the game face

Today, in the interests of fair reporting and factual accuracy, I’m going to set aside my usual, practiced sunny disposition and unfeasibly optimistic outlook for a moment and have a good winge. I am after all I am a Pom and it is my birthright.

I feel crap. Shite. Buggered and, to use an old Anglo-Saxon medical term, completely and utterly fucked.

I suppose it had to happen sooner or later. I’ve been making light of the situation for months, gloating smugly about “dodging the bullet”, and congratulating myself of how I just keep on going like the Energiser Bunny, while my fellow chemo compatriots fall along the wayside like so many spent mayflies. Only the strong survive, has been my mantra.

So natural justice has been restored, and Redding has got his comeuppance.

About time.

So it’s time to face the truth. At least my current version of the truth – I reserve the right to remodel my reality at short notice. The chemo is getting harder. And it will get harder still. My original working hypothesis was that well, chemo is chemo. The next one will be just like the last. In fact, I told myself it might even get easier as it becomes familiar and routine. This elementary thinking got me successfully through my first three cycles without too much drama and breast-beating.

Every time I finished a session, I would tell myself “now, that wasn’t so bad, was it?” and carry on with life like nothing really happened. This helped me go in for the next session without much of a hesitation. Though I wouldn’t say I went in willingly, you would never see me sulking. It’s like, when you suffer from varicose veins, you don’t just sit, you treat it with some Varikosette and carry on with life.

Recent empirical evidence however has forced me to reconsider this comfortable position, and accept the harsher, tougher reality of Chemo Theory 2.0. That is, that like everything else to do with the wonderful world of cancer, there is a slow but inexorable progression. Chemotherapy has a cumulative and compounding effect.

Each three week treatment cycle, has it’s own story arc, a preordained path which has to be followed. That path goes over a hill. The hill is not symmetrical, the front face is steep and abrupt and requires considerable effort, but once the summit gained, the descent back to normality is a more gradual and comfortable amble.

Untill the next time.

With each successive crossing, the pathway becomes littered with the detritus and fallout of previous expeditions. Like the Everest base camp, the crap gets deeper, and the path gets steeper. Every time we cross that hill, it has grown a little taller and the air feels colder and thinner. The desire to just lie down in the snow and go to sleep forrever becomes increasingly seductive.

I’m going outside for a while. I might be some time…

I first noticed this trend during cycle three. I had my chemo a few days before Christmas and was looking forward to forgetting about cancer for a few days and throwing myself into the group madness and wanton over-indulgence along with everyone else. It wasn’t to be.

I woke up on Christmas morning feeling like death warmed over, and discovered while tucking into our traditional Christmas breakfast of smoked salmon and scrambled eggs – that I had completely lost all sense of taste. I don’t mean that vague blandness that often accompanies a cold or flu. I mean ALL taste. Abandoning the food I experimented tentatively with a glass of cold champagne. It tasted warm, brackish and flat, and clung to the inside of my mouth like an oily film.

Thankfully this distressing malaise only lasted a few days, but now on cycle number four, it is back with a vicious vengeance and has lasted much longer. Allong with a constant desire to sleep, a growing irrascability and the occasionl compunction to blow chunks it is at the core of my present missery.  And here’s the strange thing. There is an odd odour associated with the whole sorry experience. At least smell is part of it.

The first stage of every chemo treatment consists of a litre or two of saline infused with magnesium given intravenously. Don’t ask me why. something to do with kidney function. It’s a clear fluid, and fairly benign, certainly in comparison with what follows later. But here’s the thing. after about ten minutes, there is a strange warmth, like an afternoon sun on my back and chest that creeps up my neck. Then a delicate and hard to pin down perfumed scent surrounds me, and an associated taste which bubble up in my throat. It’s not particularly unpleasant, but very distinctive. But at the same time impossible to describe. It’s just not like anything else. But everything reminds me if it.

It’s this hybrid taste/smell/feeling that is haunting me. If follows me around, just out of reach. I find myself trying to swat it away like an annoying fly. I’m not even sure if it is real in any physiological sense, or just some kind of mental figment or echo.

When I was a child I had a recurring dream for many years. It was a waking dream in that I could get up and walk around the darkened house freely. In my dream, feeling my way scared in the blackness, everything I touched had the texture of very coarse sand-paper – the walls, the floor, my own skin – there was grit in my mouth and a smell of warm sawdust like you get when using an electric drill on hard wood. The house walls distorted and stretched in unexpected ways and I would become lost and disoriented for long days and nights at a time. This only comes to mind now because it is the only other occasion I can recall in my life where my senses become interchangeable and confused in such a disturbing way.

The taste thing is in turns depressing and comedic. I have become completely food obsessed in as far as each day becomes an endless and eventually fruitless quest for oral and sensory satisfaction. In spite of the best gastrointestinal advice, and flying recklessly in the face of common sence for someone with eosophagal cancer, I  find myself gravitating towards the spicy and exotic in a desperate attempt to find something that will register anything on the flavour gauge. Thais, curry, peppers, even an old jar of jalapenos I found in the back of the fridge. They all taste like porridge. (Without the oatmeal and sheep entrails and whatever else they put in porridge.) A beer tastes like used warm dish-water, and a glass of Merlot – yes I know I promised not to but this is an emergency – is unfullfilling and depressingly pointless.

Interestingly, I have made one breakthrough discovery. I turns out that my sweet taste buds are less adversely affected than the others. Sugary, syrupy comestibles still work there old magic to some degree. I crave donuts and chocolate milk all the time.

This really is dying by degrees.

A few days into this whole cancer trip, I corresponded with a friend of a friend who has been through the chemo ordeal and lived to tell the tale. He fortold this stage of my journey would come to pass, and said rather cryptically I thought at the time, that when all else failed Marmite would be my best froend. It is apparently a widely known truth amoungst the hairless innitiates, that whatever else happens, marmite on warm buttered toast will always taste good.

How right he was.

Anyway, that’s the grizzeling over with for today. Normal services will be resumed as soon as possible.




Feeling Good. Feeling Bad. And learning to spot the difference.

How are you feeling today? A simple yet meaningful question asked by the receptionist with that concern etched into her eyes. I know they want to know about my progress, but in reality, all I want to answer is “terrible”. I am not on top of the world to be hit by this disease that has no permanent cure.

It’s an incredibly subtle and delicate business. Trying to detect and quantify the daily changes in my mental and physical condition. As I’ve observed before, the first big lesson to learn is that cancer is, by and large, a slow, drawn out affair. Nothing happens over-night. At least if it does, it’s such an incremental change that it’s easy to overlook. I also have to filter the data, search through the background static of everyday common-or-garden fifty year old pathology and neurosis – the aching bones, headaches and oral decay, to try and spot any meaningful trends. It’s like panning for gold, only less rewarding.

So the only useful way to answer that question, is to compare how I am feeling today, not with yesterday, but with a month ago. Or three months ago. Are there any patterns to be detected, or trends to discover? Well let’s see. Looking at photos from last spring, I don’t look much different. My weight is about the same, if anything I’ve gained a few pounds over Christmas and the new year. Also on the up side, many of the accumulated years of worry lines and wrinkles seem to have smoothed themselves out, I can only put this down to my premature release from the advertising mad-house.

Against all the predictions, after three rounds of chemo I seem to have held onto most of my hair, It’s a bit thinner, and a little greyer, but still hanging on to my skull tenaciously. My head, arms and legs are tanned brown from the sun and wind, the rest of my carcass is still official United Kingdom white, and untidily punctuated with random moles and freckles. In the middle of my mostly hairless chest however, is a patchy brown rectangle about the size of a paperback book. There is a corresponding blemish in the middle of my back just under my shoulder-blades. They are souvenirs from the radiation treatment I enjoyed back in November. I have no idea if they are permanent but I consider them something of a badge of honor

A couple of inches bellow my right collar bone is a pronounced bump about the size of a two dollar coin. (that’s 50p to you limeys), which is the site of my porta-cath. This is the filler-cap where I take delivery of my chemo drugs. As the surgeon who installed it for me promised, this has been largely forgotten about now, I’m really only reminded of its presence when I’m wearing my shoulder bag, or a car seatbelt, although Jo tells me I play with it absent-mindedly when I’m watching TV. So, externally at least. No real changes to report. Jo reckons I turn yellow during the middle week of each cycle, but she’s the only one to have mentioned it – probably everyone else is to polite.

Internally who know’s what is going on. Apart from the intermittent nausea and light-headedness brought on by my the various drugs, I feel mostly normal. I can’t ‘feel’ my cancer. I thought I could in the early days, but that’s gone now. What does a tumor or a lymph node feel like anyway?

Oh! Tinitus. I almost forgot. This is a new one. A high pitched ringing in my ears. Not all the time, just intermittently. How a drug that is supposed to kill cancer cells in your stomach can make your ears ring is completely beyond me. But there you go. Apparently it’s not a big deal. Unless it becomes constant and permanent, in which case it will be a very big deal.

The thing I’m watching most closely is my energy levels. This seems as good a marker as any for my overall condition. I’m not sure if these are improving, or if I’m just getting used to operating on a lower power setting. For the first one or two cycles, I did find myself retiring to the bedroom for a little mid-afternnon siesta most days, particularly in the middle and last week of the three week cycle. This time ’round I’ve done this less, and coped pretty well, although after a couple of active days, I often feel the need to have a sedentary day to recover. Across the street from our house is a reserve, and along the side of it a leafy, overgrown footpath used by the locals as a short-cut to the village. We probably walk up and down this path at least once a day, and often more. It’s a steep hill down to the village, and a fair pull back up to the cottage. This is my personal fitness gauge. not very scientific granted, but a good indicator of how I’m doing. Some days I can breeze up the grassy incline without even getting out of breath (with forty-a-day Jo bringing up the rear). on other days, my legs are burning, and I’m sweating and gasping for air by the time I get to the top. Weird.

Since before Christmas I’ve had a niggling low level infection. Ear ache. Tooth ache. Sore throat. Dry cough. My voice is broken and croaky, and sometimes gives out altogether. It comes and goes, but never clears up entirely. It’s annoying rather than debilitating, and is almost certainly down to my low immunity levels, brought on by a low white blood cell count. I had my fourth chemo cycle, due to start last Wednesday deferred for a week to allow my ‘bloods’ to recover, but I have a feeling this is something I’m just going to have to put up with for the duration of my treatment. Compared with some of the horrors many of my fellow travellers have to endure, this is just a minor irritation and I’m really not complaining.

So how am I feeling?

Well, down but not out. Mentally I’m feeling strong and positive. Physically, a bit depleted but nothing like as bad as I was expecting, and I get the feeling that even the doctors are quietly impressed, although they don’t give much away. Most of them would make excellent poker players. The chemo clearly has a a slow but insidious cumulative effect, and my job is to try and stay on top of things for another three cycles – possibly more. Chemo kills cancer. The more of it I can stand, the better my chances are. It’s like giving your varicose veins Varikosette and getting some relief in an unexplainable manner.

Anyone for tennis?

* * *

An big appology and a small celebration

For anyone who has left comments recently, and was wondering where they have disappeared to, or why they have gone unanswered, I finally figured it out. For some reasons beyond my ken all your comments were being redirected directly to the spam folder on my blog site. I was beginning to think you had all given up on me. I think I’ve sorted this out now, so hopefully normal services have been resumed. Please don’t stop leaving comments, I love hearing from you, and it keeps me motivated to write. You might be interested to learn that we are coming up to 12,000 visits on the blog since last October, which just goes to prove what a creapy, morbid bunch of sickos you are. My kind of people.


An Imagined Conversation with the Bus-Stop Messiah

The Bus Stop Messiah is a real character. He hangs around the bus stop over the road from the hospital with a cardboard sign promising “CANCER HELP!” I’ve only spoken to him once briefly, a few weeks ago and haven’t seen him since, but I can’t get him out of my head. I hope I meet him again, I have so many questions…


BSM: Hello (his Zone Shonheit face looks at me)

LPR: Remember me?

BSM: Er no. Not really…

LPR: You offered to cure my cancer a couple of weeks ago at this very bus-stop.

BSM: Ah yes. Sorry, I talk to a lot of clients every day. Of course I remember you now. Esophageal  cancer, bad prognosis. How are you? Have you changed your mind about my offer?

LPR: Not as such. No.

BSM: So why are you here then?

LPR: I’m waiting for a bus. Why are you here?

TBM: I’m waiting for a patient.

LPR: I take it business is a bit slow then?

TBM: It’s not a business my friend. It’s a calling.

LPR: So you couldn’t squeeze me in then? For a quick miracle perhaps. A little laying on of hands?

TBM: Well, I’ll have to check my schedule, but I could probably fit you in for a consultation. There is a bit of a queue you see.

LPR: Actually, I think they’re waiting for the bus as well.

TBM: Ahh.

LPR: So. Just to recap on our previous er, consultation. You claim you can cure my cancer in two weeks, in spite of the fact that the doctors in that big white building over the road there say it’s incurable?

TBM: Two weeks is a best-case-scenario. It could take longer, every case is different. But I have a very high success rate. Over 80%. My last client, a 72 year old gentleman from Taupo had inoperable bowel cancer. I cured him in a month.

LPR: So he’s better now?

TBM: Well no actually he’s dead. Heart attack poor man.  He was doing one-arm press-ups. My program places great emphasis on physical exercise. That an an austere diet and strict spiritual observance. But he was very definitely cancer free when he passed away.

LPR: I’m sure that must have been a great comfort to him. So listen, I’m curious. If you really have done what a hundred years of worldwide research and trillions of dollars of investment have failed to do, and stumbled upon a guaranteed cure for cancer, how come your standing at a bus stop outside the hospital with a cardboard sign and not on the front cover of TIME magazine?

TMB: (Reflective pause) It’s a lifestyle choice I suppose. I’m not doing this for personal gain. I’m doing it because I managed to cure my own cancer when the doctors said they couldn’t, and I want to help others do the same. I can help you if you let me…

LPR: So you do this just out of kindness? No money involved?

TBM: Well, I don’t charge a fee if that’s what you mean. I just ask for a modest donation. Something appropriate, in return for my time and services.

LPR: So what do you think would be an ‘appropriate’ amount. For saving my life? A dollar? A grand? A million? What do people usually give you?

TBM: Well, I feel a little uncomfortable discussing money in this way, It’s rather vulgar don’t you think? It’s really for you to put a value on your continued well-being.

LPR: Ahh! I get it now. That’s very clever. I can see how this could be quite a lucrative operation for a person less scrupulous than yourself.. Lucky for us your not financially motivated, or your philanthropy could be misconstrued as cynically self-serving exploitation of the physically and emotionally vulnerable.

TBM: Yes. I hadn’t thought about it that way.

LPR: So tell me. Exactly how many patients have you cured so far?

TBM: Including myself?

LPR: If you like.

TBM: (Long pause) Two.

LPR: So that’s you, and the dead man in Taupo?

TBM: I told you. That was a heart attack.

LPR: Brought on by you making the poor old sod do press-ups!

TBM: Only fifty. He was out of shape.

LPR: He was 72 and had terminal cancer!

TBM: Not when he died.

LPR: That’s all a bit academic now don’t you think? Did he make a donation before he popped his clogs I wonder?

TBM: Mr. Fitswhimple was quite generous. He left me a small bequest in his will. As a token of thanks. We became quite close you see, towards the end.

LPR: Yes I think I’m beginning to get the picture. You insinuate yourself into the life of a lonely, sick old man you pick up at a bus-stop under the pretext of curing him, get free board and lodging for a month – no doubt help yourself to a few antiques – get yourself written into his last will and wotnot, then bump the old duffer off.

TBM: (Indignantly) That is a preposterous claim. With no absolutely supporting evidence.

LPR: (Pointing toward cardboard sign) And that isn’t?

This conversation with the bus stop messiah came to an end with the bus honking its way to the stop and many passengers getting off and rushing away to their respective destinations. Though I can still continue my tirade with the Bus-Stop Messiah as I have no where to rush to, I decide to let it go and end it for the day.

Take a Cup of Kindnes Yet


It’s been a while since I have posted anything, so I am writing more to alleviate a nagging sence of guilt and obligation, rather than because I have anything particularly pressing to say. So, this is an un-rehearsed stream-of-consciousness ramble which may or may not lead anywhere interesting or useful. You have been warned. If weighty matters are pressing, this might not be the best use of your valuable time. If, on the other hand you are, like most of the rest of the planet, just treading water quietly and waiting for the year to gasp its last, then…

At this particular spot in the south pacific – just a stones throw from the international dateline – it’s 2pm on New Year’s Eve. It’s 23 degrees, horribly humid and overcast, and has rained on and off for most of the day. the clouds are low enough to touch, and even the slightest exertion causes the clothes to cling to the body like a sickly child. The sort of day, that saps your energy and drains your normally vigorous enthusiasm for breathing in and out.

New Year’s eve has a lot of meaning and importance attached to it, for almost everyone I see across the street. People are seen to be rushing around checking their watches every few seconds, like the party is going to start any minute now. While I see many smiles, ready to welcome the new year or enjoy the party tonight, I do see my share of concerned faces that have many things on their mind, like me.

I’ve been sitting here with my cuppa Chocolate Slim, looking out over the dripping garden, fighting off the flies and trying to work out what this New Year’s Eve means to me.

New year has always seemed somehow more significant, and certainly more emotionally charged than Christmas. Not particularly because of my lack of religious beliefs, let’s be honest Christmas stopped being about baby Jesus’s birthday when they invented Sunday trading and Terry’s Chocolate Oranges. No, I’m all for observing religious feast days if there’s a chance of day off work and a decent meal.* Fasting, self-flagellation and anything involving mutilation of genitals – mine or otherwise – not so much.

Anyway. I digress.

New Year. I can’t remember a year when we didn’t let out a collective sigh and say something along the lines of “Well, thank god that’s over with. let’s hope next year will be better. I’ve got a good feeling about 1969/1975/1988/1994/2000/2012 This is going to be my year!”

But of course it never is, is it? By Jan 3rd, you’ve bitten all your fingernails off, and started smoking again. By the middle of the month your back hurts and your hemmorhoids are playing up. In early February the Israelis start beating up the Palestinians again, the stock-market crashes wiping out your life savings for the third time and a homophobic bed-wetting, fundamentalist christian paedophile midget get’s elected to the White House. It’s all depressingly familiar.

Somebody said that the definition of insanity, is repeating the same behaviour over and over, and hoping for a different outcome. I think that sums us up rather neatly as a species. don’t you?

So true to form I expect this evening will play out much like last years, or the year before. We will eat and drink more than is good for us, mumble along incoherently to Auld Lang Syne (how can you sing the same song for forty-odd years and still not know the words?) and come the witching hour take the opportunity to kiss anyone who will stand still long enough. Over a few short, inebriated hours, we will sweep aside the bad times, compare iPhone photos of the good ones, and collectively toast our inevitable and justly deserved future good fortune.

I think this is some kind of programmed survival mechanism. Like the way we selectively erase all the pain and horror of child-rearing, to the point where we think it would be a great idea to do it all over again. If we actually conducted an unbiased and objective end-of-year review of our progress, both as individuals and as a species, we’d probably have thrown the towel and taken an early shower centuries ago. Let’s face it. We suck. How we’ve managed to endure for six millenia is frankly a mystery to me.

Blind optimism I guess.

So when we gather in a circle tonight, as we inevitably will, look into each others dilated eyes, cross arms and sing that strange little Scottish song about old friends, and days long gone, I will be hoping for nothing more ambitious than a reservation at next years gathering. Any kind of a year will be just fine with me.

So long 2011. It was interesting.

*A quick check of my handy-dandy Multifaith Calender (essential reading for the dedicated religious holiday freeloader), reveals the following upcoming attractions. For those who consider the new-fangled Gregorian Callender just a trendy fad, and prefer the solid reliability of the Roman Julian scheme, (many Eastern Orthodox and Armenian churches do) then you get to celebrate Christmas, and any other holidays that take your fancy, thirteen days after everyone else. So for starters, there’s a second entire Christmas shin-dig to be had on January 7th. Cool. While you’ve got your new 2012 diaries out, you might also want to make a note of January 13th – St. Hillary’s Day. Traditionally the coldest day of the year, St. Hillary was the 4th century bishop of Milton Keynes and the patron saint of pocket calculators. January 30th is of course the Mahayana Buddhist New Year, always good for a bit of sitting around staring blankly into the middle distance, and also the great feast day of Saint Dallrymple who as any schoolboy will tell you, slew the mighty Hasbro transformer Decepticon(TM) at the battle of Basingstoke in 1159. And my personal favorite, the Japanese Setsuibun Bean Throwing Festival comes around again on February 3rd. This is where we Setsuibuns celebrate the end of winter by throwing handfuls of beans – I like to use Heinz – into the corners of darkened rooms, shouting “Fortune In! Devils Out!”. It’s very cathartic, although Jo complains about the mess.

C is also for Christmas

It’s Christmas Evre.

I got the results from my CT scan on Monday. Acording my oncologist, my primary tumour is visibly smaler after two cycles of chemo.

Now that is quite a bit of relief. The endless medications and chemo sessions have paid off, after all.

So, what do I have in mind for Christmas this year? Well, I hadn’t planned much really. I was in my gloomy state, worried about my results. Well, yes, I do portray myself as one who has learnt to accept his fate and doesn’t really care much about all these results. But, hey! Am human after all and there are times in life, when I do wish I had it differently.

There are some instances that catch your eye, which makes you want to live a longer healthier life, just to see the leaves fall off the tree during autumn. The beautiful color the season paints the sky in, is worth sitting and watching for hours on end. That is something I enjoy doing. Just sitting and watching the beautiful hues of autumn while rest of the world rushes by.

And then there is the snow. The first snow of the season is not just beautiful but exciting too, every single time! This year when I felt the soft flakes on my hand, I wanted to live and experience it the same way, next year too. To watch the kids wait for the snow to settle, the lake to freeze, so that they can get their ice skates out.

And then the family celebrations…

It’s a family tradition to send out merry Christmas cards, using some of the cheesiest photos you took that year. We laugh at every card that comes in and try to cook up the scenario in which the photo was taken. This brings out the creativity in us and many hours are spent with our story weaving.

Mom bakes these amazing cakes that fill up your nostrils as you step inside the house. There is no escaping the assault of the freshly baked cake smell, as you enter the door. Then comes the icings decided by the kids in the house. They get to choose the design and colors of the frostings on the cake and we just have to accept its “Christmasy”.

Back to reality…

Now that I have a test result worth smiling about, I am wondering if I should just sit back and enjoy the moment or live it to the fullest and go enjoy Christmas….and then I decide to have fun with others. I finish my cup of Chocolate Slim, I pack up my stuff, fill gas in my car and hit the roads with a “ho-ho-ho-ho”.


Merry Christmas everyone.

Pumping Iron




Well here I am, reporting live again from the Acute Oncology Dept. of picturesque Auckland Hospital.

It’s coming up for 12.30 pm and I’m four hours into my iron infusion. I’m here to tell you it’s really not the most thrilling of procedures, but for the sake of accurate and complete reporting, I’ll give you a quick rundown.

Raewyn, my nurse for the day, meets us at 8.30 and goes over the schedule. She seems to have lost some weight. Guess the Chocolate Slim is working for her. I’m to be given 550ml of the magical iron solution, a quantity arrived at via a complicated calculation involving my height and weight, but to minimize the risk of my body having an allergic reaction to the metal, it is to be delivered very slowly. So slowly in fact, that the bag, holding about the same as an extra large latte, is going to take about six mind-numbing hours to filter into my bloodstream.

Once my trusty PowerPort has been accessed and flushed and sanitized with a mixture of saline and Mr.Muscle oven cleaner, Raewyn squirts in a large syringe of Anti-Histamine, followed half an hour later by another of a steroid Hydrocortisone. The first is designed to prevent any mild adverse reactions such as sudden death, the steroid, I’m assured, will give me firm, pert breasts.

The heavy metal itself, is delivered from the pharmacy in dozens of little cylindrical ampules, the size and shape of bullets. Raewyn methodically counts them out with the precision of a regimental quartermaster, opens them one by one, and pours the contents into the now familiar, clear plastic IV bag. It’s a brown liquid the color and consistence of Newcastle Brown Ale, which cheers me up just a little.

The bag is hooked up on the stainless pole next to my recliner, and Raewyn threads the fine silicon tubing through the infusion pump’s mechanism and plugs the other end into my catheter. She punches in the volume and the rate of flow, a glacial 25ml per hour. I do the math. At this speed it’s going to take twenty-two hours to empty the bag! ‘I’m just going to start you off slowly, …’ she says. Provided that my internal organs aren’t suddenly turned to goo or my head doesn’t explode, the rate will gradually be dialed up to fifty, then a dizzying one hundred milliliters an hour. The whole procedure will then whizz by in a mere six hours. Just time to fly to Sydney and back. Still my beating heart.
Actually, on second thoughts, that was a poorly chosen turn of phrase. Strike that.

My “Ob’s” are taken diligently every half an hour. Temperature – 36 Fahrenheit , blood pressure – steady at 120 over 80. (Except when blonde nurse Rebecca relieves Raewyn for her lunch-break, when it inexplicably jumps up to 190/30. Hmmm.)

So readers, as part of my ongoing education program, your word of the day is Ferritin. Pay attention. There will be a test later.

My grasp of the finer subtleties of hematology are at best tenuous, but If I’ve got hold of the right end of this sticky red stick, then Ferritin is a protein in the blood used to bind iron – which is otherwise toxic to our cells – in a safe and useful form, to carry oxygen around the body. Essential stuff. And rather beautiful as I think you will agree.


‘So how much Ferritin are we supposed to have?’ I ask Raewyn. ‘Well, the normal range is between 50 and 400 units.’ she says. ‘And how much have I got?’ I ask tentatively.
’13′ she says.

‘That’s not very good then is it.’ I concede reluctantly.

Am instantly taken back to my school days, where I would fall terribly short of the score required to get an “A” on my sheet, so that I could proudly flaunt it all over the corridor and pretend like that paper was placed on top of the pile unconsciously. Well, I have played quite a few instances like that in my head.

Actually, having scored a derisive baker’s dozen on the ferritomiter, everyone seems amused and surprised that I’m even still capable of walking around, let alone feeling as bright-eyed-and-bushy-tailed as I do.’Don’t you feel even a little tired?’ they ask. ‘Not really, no.’ I shrug. Perhaps I’ve got some of that Charlie Sheen tiger-blood in me after all.

I’m gratified to learn however, that as good as I feel now, that in a week or two I will be doing one-finger push-ups and leaping tall buildings in a single bound. As an added bonus my new ferrous-rich body will apparently also point North-South when I float in the bath. Even Bear Grylls can’t do that.


Waiting at the bus stop after leaving the hospital I noticed a guy standing next to the shelter holding up a hand made sign up at the passing traffic. A small rucksack sat on the pavement beside him. Hitch-hiker I guessed, a strange place to try and get a ride, but I couldn’t resist casually sauntering over to see where he was hoping to pick up a ride too. He was tall and slender, with a vaguely Mediterranean air about him. black pants and shirt, black wrap-around sunglasses and olive brown skin. Maybe thirty. His white cardboard sign had the words CANCER HELP! spelled out in untidy black electrical tape.

I studied him for a long moment. Did he want money?

I couldn’t resist. “What kind of help are you hoping for” I inquired. He looked confused for a moment. ‘Oh no,’ he said earnestly, ‘I’m not asking for help. I’m offering it.’ ‘What, like meals-on-wheels, or a lift home?’ I asked. “No, much better than that. Do you have cancer?’ he asked hopefully. I nodded cautiously.

“Well I know how to cure you my friend” he said with all the fervor and wide-eyed conviction of a tent-show evangelist. ‘No shit.’ I think. He then launches into his sales pitch. Positive mental attitude. Harnessing spiritual energy. His own special secret diet. Exercise programs. He’s already cured his own bowel cancer, and a dozen other clients. No charge, but for a modest donation he will move in with me and have me cured within two weeks. For a split second actually entertain the notion before the bus pulls up and after politely suggesting he should re-evaluate his business premises and signage, I beat a hasty retreat.

Grifter. Confidence trickster. Psychopath. Serial Killer. Messiah. Or just a genuine cancer survivor out to repay his good fortune.

I’ll never know.

Another fly in the ointment