Tuesday, November 29, 2005
I'm getting a lot of AIM spam today and making good use of the "warn" button. What will AOL do when every possible combination of letters and numbers is exhausted by these IM spambot scripts?
Tomorrow I start taking powerful and expensive antiviral drugs which may give me a rash and diarrhea. The HIV diagnosis itself never really stressed me until my most recent blood work came back showing that I had 419,000 copies of the virus per milliliter. The doc says that's a lot of strain on an immune system. The goal is less than 50 copies per mL. My CD4 cell count has increased from 235 to 264 per cubic millimeter over three months. Then, in mid-November it went the wrong direction to 246. The doc wants it above 300. 800 is the low end of normal. If the virus kills off too many CD4 cells, a simple pneumonia could kill me. When my number is up, so be it, but I'm not going to worry about something which I cannot control. I'll simply remain determined to live well. I'm going on the ART (antiretroviral treatment) meds, including Truvada and Viramune. So far, without meds, the only symptoms I've seen are some skin blemishes which the dermatologist said was common staph and some redness which they decided was a reaction to an antibiotic they put me on. I'm seeing the best available doctors. I've been eating healthily and working out. I'm getting stronger and keeping a positive attitude. The less I dwell on it, the better I feel, and that's that. I'll know if the ART meds are effective by mid-January. Unless I have a bad reaction to the drugs and have to switch regimens, that'll be the next update on the topic.
Wednesday, November 23, 2005
In the meantime, I found an eclectic music site to keep me entertained. http://aurgasm.us
Sunday, November 20, 2005
Well, Vegas is mostly the same, but I'm here with my brother and sister-in-law and we're having a ton of fun. The impetus behind the trip was to see UFC56, and it did not disappoint. I saw some exciting fights replete with blood and some brutal knock outs. Our seats were decent.
Despite acres of slot machines, all I get out of playing them is slightly older and slightly less than break even. It can be relaxing to zombie out in front of the slots, but I can't fathom why you would in a place like Las Vegas where there's more to do than you can accomplish. My shift from playing blackjack, primarily, to playing poker has also been a positive thing. Poker is more profitable and fun. I've played at Bally's and at MGM Grand. While MGM Grand's poker room is nicer, the play is tighter. I enjoyed playing in the soft games at Bally's and taking money from the beginner players there in the low limit Texas Hold 'Em games.
Our journey from our hotel took us to the Monte Carlo, where we simply got onto the train to Bellagio where we had pastries and crepes for breakfast. The poker room there had higher limit games. I was amazed to see players with triple my annual salary in chips in front of them. Then we went to Bally's for poker (I won. . . a lot) and then lunch at Ortanique. We walked around in the Paris casino and did not stay. The poker area was the same as Bally's. The next stop was the MGM Grand, where we played poker (I lost a few bucks) and watched the fights. We took the monorail back to Harrah's and checked our comps. Lisa had enough slot points to buy us all dinner. We selected Bambaleo, a Mexican restaurant in the Rio. We took the shuttle there and I had the best guacamole I've ever had. It had bits of jalepeno in it. Zing! The poker room at the Rio looked entirely too serious. We proceeded to the Palms and watched the hipsters standing in line for the clubs. The people watching there on a Saturday night is phenomenal. It's Sunday, and we slept in. Time to start again.
Wednesday, November 16, 2005
Tuesday, November 15, 2005
After work I went by Wal-Mart Supercenter to grab a gift for my nephew's ninth birthday and found myself in the electronics section playing Call of Duty 2 on X-Box 360 until I was nearly late for the birthday dinner. I snagged a very cool General Grievous vehicle toy and action figure. The birthday boy requested burgers, and they were delicious. I can't recall ever grilling burgers during snowfall, but watching snow fall through the grill smoke is a strange sight. He also requested chocolate cake. Also delicious.
Last night, the nephew and I went skating at the Crown Center Ice Terrace and they had Christmas music blaring on the loudspeakers. Mid-November is a bit early for Little Town of Bethlehem. I had promised him hot chocolate, but we stayed until they closed. So, we went to the 42nd Floor of the Hyatt to Skies, which is the rotating restaurant at the top. The first time he stepped off the elevator and saw the big windows, his eyes bugged out and he gasped and froze. I thought he was going to faint. After the host showed us to the lounge area, he was fine. We had hot chocolate, cheesecake brulee, and vanilla ice cream. We stayed up there for an hour and the thing had rotated about 180 degrees til we were facing the downtown skyline, which looks great from up there. Since the floor is the only part that moves, the art, the view of the city, and the lighting gradually, constantly changes. After the sugar buzz started, we were goofing around and leaning against the glass, but since the floor is moving under you, your feet are going left as your forehead gets pulled to the right by the glass, which adds to the dizzying sensation of leaning against a window 500 feet above the downtown streets. Good times.