Rambling On

Anthony R. Cardno's Fiction and Commentary

Archive for the ‘relay for life’ Category

As promised, today we reveal the front and back covers for The Many Tortures of Anthony Cardno. Bear Weiter (who is also an author in the anthology) donated a load of hours formatting the book, designing the interior (which includes artwork by his lovely wife Marlyse Comte) and creating and tweaking the covers.  I cannot thank him enough for his encouragement and his help over the past two months.

I also have to thank Michelle Moklebust and Lee Bloom for the photography on which the cover and interior illustrations were based. On Easter Saturday, we spent a good four hours and took several hundred photos — close-ups with all kinds of facial expressions, as well as “marionette” style photos for a possible different cover idea — so that I’d have a ton of material for Bear to work with. Michelle (also an author in the anthology) and Lee are to me, and while we worked, my niece Renee, Michelle’s son BJ and her nephew and niece Jake and Amanda laughed at us, offered ideas (especially Jake) and talked Doctor Who and other geeky fun.  Thanks to all of you.

And now, without further ado … the front cover:

 

TMToAC-Front

 

And the back cover:

TMToAC-Back

 

UPDATE:  The book is now available in print form from Amazon. Kindle edition is coming forthwith, and the print version will be available via Barnes & Noble and other outlets soon as well (and non-Kindle ebook format should follow shortly too).

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Hello, friends and readers.

You may have noticed things have been a bit quiet here on www.anthonycardno.com for a while now.  I’ve been taking some time away from interviewing and signal-boosting for actors, singers and writers in order to concentrate on my own writing. I’ve been working on some new short stories (and submitting them to markets), I’ve co-written a song (with at least one, and possibly two or three more on the way), I’ve been attending to personal and family life matters, and I’ve of course still be on the road for my day job.

I’ve also been editing the charity anthology I’ve mentioned here before.  The project has finally come together and is in the final stages before release, so it’s time to start making some announcements.

THE MANY TORTURES OF ANTHONY CARDNO is a gathering of 20 short stories and two sets of song lyrics, in which the main character is, well … me. Or some variation of me. The stories range from science fiction to literary and hit pretty much all points in between. In them, I’m an egotistical actor, a beleaguered husband, a scared young boy, an orphan, a randy college student, an alcoholic, a serial killer, a nice guy in the wrong place. In every single story, the authors find a way to tweak one of my real personality or physical traits to give us these alternate …. Multiversal, if you will … versions of me.

This isn’t just a vanity project.  All of the authors donated their words to this project, to help raise money for the American Cancer Society’s Relay For Life, which focuses on providing support to cancer patients and their loved ones. I’m a cancer survivor, as are several of the other authors in the book; most of the rest have first-hand experience with a loved one’s battle with the disease.  And of course, just this past month we lost Jay Lake to colon cancer.

It’s my pleasure today to reveal the complete Table of Contents for the book, which will be available in print and e-formats within the next few weeks. About a week from now, we’ll also have the reveal of the cover, being crafted by the fantastic Bear Weiter.

So, without further ado: The Table of Contents for THE MANY TORTURES OF ANTHONY CARDNO:

Foreword: I’m NOT A Nice Guy! by Anthony R. Cardno
Introduction: Who IS Anthony Cardno? by Brian White
Temperance by Christie Yant
Anthony Takes The Stairs by Eric S. Bauman
The Antics of Anton Ardno (A Todd Gleason Crime Story) by Joseph Pittman
I Have A Question by Neal Bailey
The Bar at The End of the World by Sabrina Vourvoulias
With A Flick of the Wrist by Michelle Moklebust
Scarred by Damien Angelica Walters
The Hand of God (A Davi Rhii story) by Bryan Thomas Schmidt
The Old Suit by Bear Weiter
The Optimist by Kaaron Warren
The Story Teller by Dennis R. Miller
The White Phoenix Feather: a tale of cuisine and ninjas by Mary Robinette Kowal
The Ballad of Anthony Cardno by Barry Mangione and the Musical Geniuses
Why, Anthony, Why by Frank Dixon
When The Waters Recede… by Day Al-Mohamed
The Chase by Jen Ryan
Three on a Match by Steve Berman
Brutal and Simple by Adam P. Knave
The Zombie Shortage by David Lee Summers
With Dust Their Glittering Towers: A Fly-Leaves Story by Christopher Paul Carey
Canopus by Anthony R. Cardno
Cold Statues by Jay Lake

I’m flattered by how many authors were willing to donate their work to help raise money for ACS, and I thank all of them once again. I’m particularly humbled to be presenting what I think is one of the last stories Jay Lake wrote before his untimely passing; he created this story for me in the midst of heavy chemotherapy over a year ago.

Check back next week for the cover reveal, and after that for news of the actual publication date!

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Donnie Reynolds is the director of LAKESIDE, the documentary about a year in the life of author Jay Lake and his family as he continues to fight stage iv metastatic colon cancer. LAKESIDE is being crowd-funded through a Kickstarter campaign which, with 20 days left, has reached the initial goal but we are hoping will reach the stretch goal that will allow for a world premiere of the documentary at Lone Star Con this year in San Antonio.  Donnie is, as you’ll see, as passionate about telling Jay’s story, and telling it clearly and honestly, as I am about letting people know how they can help Jay through this struggle.

LAKESIDE movie poster

ANTHONY: Hi, Donnie. Thanks for taking a few moments out of what I know is a hectic shooting and travel schedule to chat. Probably the most important question I can ask is: Why this documentary, and why now?

DONNIE: Jay Lake has one of the most interesting life stories I’ve ever heard.  After his successful treatment for stage iv metastatic colon cancer in 2011, it seemed like a good time to tell it.  The timing worked out well for me and Jay.  After his cancer returned several months into filming, that answered for us the “why now?”.

ANTHONY: How did you initially connect with Jay and learn his story?

DONNIE: My wife actually introduced us at a writers workshop in Austin, Texas.  We were living in south Florida at the time and were considering Austin as our next home.  I am a huge fan of Jay’s ROCKET SCIENCE and have been enjoying his novels and short stories ever since.

When my wife decided to attend a writers workshop in Austin where Jay was teaching, I knew I had to go.  Jay had previously lived in Austin and he showed me some of the cool places around town as I asked him about his life story over the course of the long weekend.  Months after that weekend, we ended up buying a house in the same Hyde Park neighborhood he had lived in years earlier with Susan and Bronwyn.

ANTHONY: You’ve been filming Jay and his family intermittently for a year now, right?  What’s the process like, and how do you capture honest footage without being intrusive? How do you avoid having the camera affect the outcome, so to speak?

DONNIE: We shot our first frames in April 2012.  The process has benefitted from willing participants.  Everyone we’ve filmed was initially nervous or even dubious about what we were doing and their role in it.  But that soon passed.  The family has grown accustomed to cameras rolling, and even start to consider film needs (I almost cried with joy when Jay’s step-mother, Jody, asked about “continuity” after changing clothes) like lighting and audio.  The family has starting quoting my catchphrase “I’ll fix it in post.”

ANTHONY: The journey has been, I know, emotionally exhausting for all involved. Has there been any point where you, Jay or his family have thought “no, this is too difficult, we can’t finish this?” Any point where Jay’s privacy has been more important than “getting good footage?”

 
DONNIE: As far as quitting, the Lakes never considered it.  If anything, their resolve strengthened as things for Jay have gotten worse.  It is me as director and camera operator who has had difficulty not throwing in the towel.  Remember, when we started filming Jay was in great shape, and I have interviews with each of his family members (other than his brother, Michael, who is on the other coast) happily declaring how great it was that the pre-cancer Jay was re-emerging.

For me, it has been difficult sticking a camera in the faces of people distressed over dire news and events.  The emotional burden of telling such an important story is, at times, nearly overwhelming.  There have been two moments over the last year that I seriously wondered if I could continue.  That’s where a strong wife comes in.  Without her support, I don’t know that I could have continued.  Filming the day Jay got the news that his cancer had returned so aggressively was incredibly painful as I stood in the background filming– unable, through my own tears, to tell if anything was in focus.  I could write a book and make a documentary about that single day.  And that great, devastating footage could only be obtained by a documentary filmmaker.

As far as family privacy, the film is benefitting from the incredible trust the family has with us.  We have hours and hours of footage that we will never release outside of the Lake family.  I think it’s important to record life as it happens, but this is not an expose or reality tv show in which we have any desire to show bad, compromising, or humiliating footage of anyone.  I have complete control and I am not that kind of filmmaker.   We have footage that we intend to use that shows flaws and failings in people, we’re not going to wash over that aspect in this film, but we are not interested in hurting people.  So, we shoot everything we can and trust our ethics and morals to keep us honest.

ANTHONY: Do you feel that so-called “Reality TV” has tarnished the good name of the “documentary” field? How would you respond to those conflate the two when they are in fact so very different?

DONNIE: I think “Reality TV” has largely been debunked for what it really is.  I do not think it has really tarnished documentary films as a genre, though it has unfortunately influenced many filmmakers.  The big positive influence reality TV has had on the public is that it has introduced audiences to non-fiction story telling.  When reality television  became an insidious genre is when it started to borrow fiction techniques, specifically “raise the stakes.”  This was was all predicted by Paddy Chayefsky in his Oscar-winning film NETWORK.  Chayefsky died of cancer in 1981 and your question is awfully “meta” for me.

ANTHONY: In the LAKESIDE Kickstarter video, you talk a bit about the equipment you’re using to film Jay’s life as cleanly and unobtrusively as possible. Can you tell us a bit more about the cameras you’re using, and also what you’re using to edit footage and put the whole thing together?

DONNIE: We have to use a variety of cameras to film this as we have.  Our prime camera is the Sony PMW-F3.  This is the same camera that the film SAFETY NOT GUARANTEED was filmed with.  The glass consists of three prime lenses (35mm, 50mm, 85mm) and one zoom (18-252mm).

Our second camera drops dramatically down to the Sony NEX-7 with Sony glass.  It is a wonderful, small, mirrorless camera in the same basic class as DSLRs used by many independent filmmakers.  The video image is quite good but it suffers from two fatal flaws as a main camera: it overheats within minutes; and the sound is not great despite the brilliant Sony hardware.

Our other two cameras (not including occasional iPhone video) are a cheap, off brand hd camcorder (I think we paid about $250 for it) and the GoPro Hero 3 Black Edition.  These cameras provide us with shots we could not obtain otherwise.

Coincidentally, each of these cameras (including an iPhone 5) contributed footage to our first trailer.

We have two main audio devices: the F3 itself (beautiful uncompressed audio) and a ZOOM H4n.  We employ two Sennheiser wireless lavs that are extraordinary and flawless.

We are editing on multiple Macs.  That choice was made so we could use Final Cut.  We are using the latest version (FCPX) and, after a learning curve, we love it.

We have 2 LED light boxes for use when we need them.

Jay Lake on Chemo Eve

ANTHONY: With 24 days left in the campaign, the Kickstarter for LAKESIDE has already exceeded your initial goal of $18,600. You added a $40,000 stretch goal, which I think is entirely reachable with the time you have remaining. Tell us about that stretch goal, please.

DONNIE: Our initial goal provides us with two important opportunities: the ability to continue amassing an incredible amount of raw footage in Portland; and the basics of what we need in post-production (especially sound editing).  But that does not give us everything we want to be able to do with this film.  There are many important aspects to telling the full story of Jay Lake and we would love to film as much of the genome sequencing (that may save his life) as possible.  We also want to include a short technical segment that will require some graphics and animation to explain the medical “stuff.”  Before that, we would like to bring in a specialty sound lab to salvage the audio from some early video diaries we had Jay make while we were back in Austin.  It is great footage of Jay alone with his thoughts, but the first few days of this filming had many technical flaws that we didn’t know about until Jay was able to upload the footage to us.  It has since been corrected, but those first three sessions are almost unusable form an audio perspective.  We also have the problem of scoring the film.  If possible, we would like an original score ( I would love to hear “Bronwyn’s Theme” the way I’m hearing it in my head during editing).  The power of a good score is hard to explain, but think of Jaws or Star Wars without the music!

We will use every dollar to fulfill those desires.  Above that, if we reach the stretch goal, we would like to rent a theater during WorldCon in San Antonio and have an advanced screening of the film for Jay and his daughter.  To be uncomfortably frank: Jay may not survive to see the theatrical release of this film.  We couldn’t think of a better first showing of the film than with Jay and his friends and fans in attendance.  The organizers of LoneStarCon 3 (hosts of WorldCon this year) have already given us a panel slot to discuss the film and we would love to proceed that with a special screening and Q&A session with me and Jay.

I was initially not comfortable putting up a stretch goal when we had put so much effort into the new budget.  But then, after the counsel from film and Kickstarter vets, I decided it was worth asking for even more help.  I spoke with Jay before pulling the trigger.  He was touched and very supportive of publishing a stretch goal.

(new backers have slowed down since meeting our initial goal, so I’m not sure if we’ll make the stretch goal)

ANTHONY: We’ve talked a bit online about how hard it is to edit a year of Jay’s life down into documentary format. What are your plans for all of the extra footage you’ll have, especially regarding his hopefully-upcoming Whole Genome Sequencing procedure?

DONNIE: This film started as and continues to be about a year in the life of Jay Lake.  That basic narrative has not changed.  However, when life happens, we must each act accordingly.  It would be a dereliction of duty to film this story in real time and ignore the very real educational aspects that following a cancer patient through treatment can have for others struggling through the same issues– either directly as a patient or as one of the collateral victims of cancer.

The story also continues to evolve.  The whole genome sequencing is something else we could not have anticipated last Spring.  With extra funding, we’d like to shoot footage and interviews covering that (interviews and shooting in California).

We have many stories we could tell as a result of this process and while we discuss it from time to time, we are spending all of our focus on THIS film.  We have already announced on our Kickstarter that we will include an extended version and a “making of” DVD to backers at the $60 level or higher.  We suspect there will be plenty of footage for additional, educational videos but, for now, we are focused on telling Jay’s whole story.

We are already sweating what to leave in and what has to be cut.  But cutting is a good problem.  If we didn’t face that problem, it would mean we did not have hours and hours of great footage.  We could make a mini-series out of this!

ANTHONY: That being said, have you considered actually approaching a cable outlet to create a mini-series version after the initial movie release? 

DONNIE: It’s been a growing thought as we capture more and more good footage.  Our priority and our focus continues to be on making the best film we can.  That being said, however, there is a lot of storytelling we can do with this material.  After this film is cut, we’ll take an honest look at it.  I wouldn’t be surprised if we have more than a dozen hours of great stuff we can’t squeeze into a single film.  And then twice that amount of merely “good” footage.  This has been a very eventful year in Jay’s life.

ANTHONY: Even though it feels a little off-topic with this interview, I’m going to ask my usual closing question because I think Jay would appreciate it (and perhaps be disappointed if I didn’t ask it!): What is your favorite book, and what would you say to someone who has never read to convince them that they should?

DONNIE: Flow My Tears, The Policeman Said by Phillip K. Dick.  I think it is overlooked by readers.  It is dated, but that’s one of the things I love about it.  I enjoy the movies made from his stories, but this book is a fun and exciting read.  It deals with, in an interesting way, a type of identity theft. How cyberpunk!  I think it has that classic age of sci fi flavor but speaks to issues that we face today with our online lives.

Making a 5,000 mile round trip every month has allowed me to enjoy several unabridged audio books and podcasts.  We actually purchased the film rights to Keffey Kerhli’s GHOST OF A GIRL WHO NEVER LIVED after hearing it on Escape Pod driving north from Austin.  Filming on that is slipping because of our attention to Lakeside, but we hope to shoot it this fall.

Other top listening votes for 3 days in a car recently:

READY PLAYER 1 by Ernest Cline

FUZZY NATION by John Scalzi

REAMDE by Neal Stephenson

ANTHONY: Thank you, Donnie. I hope that as the film progresses through post-production and on to release that you’ll stop by to keep us updated.

You can find out more about LAKESIDE and get production updates by “Liking” Waterloo’s page on Facebook, by visiting the Waterloo Website, and by following @LakesideMovie on Twitter. You can also show support by viewing, “Liking” and sharing the movie’s IMDb Page, and show financial support by donating to the movie’s Kickstarter campaign.

The money from the Kickstarter goes to fund the movie’s production and post-production work. If you want to help Jay Lake directly, there is a crowd-funding project where the money, as it comes in, goes directly to Jay’s Whole Genome Sequencing costs, and then to help Jay defray costs his disability insurance isn’t covering. Here’s the link for the Acts of Whimsy Fundraiser.

 

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Quinn, Jan and Liam Dube

Continuing Canada Week, today I’m rambling on with The Brothers Dube. Liam, Jan and Quinn are not only a tight and accomplished power trio, they are also committed to charity work — helping to improve impoverished conditions in Haiti and raising awareness and funds for breast cancer research at home. In the short time I’ve known of them, they have moved high on the list of today’s young performers who impress me because they’re doing more than just performing. We chatted via email about their recent musical releases and charity work.

 

ANTHONY: From looking at your videos, it looks like you all play multiple instruments. So what do you each play, and who plays the most different instruments?

LIAM: bass, guitar, drums, piano

JAN: banjo, bass, guitar

QUINN: piano, mandolin, ukelale, drums

ANTHONY: You write your own music, clearly. What’s the songwriting process like? Is it always a collaboration between the three of you? Do you ever collaborate with anyone else?

JAN: We collaborate with each other, we usually come up with some riff, chords… the music… then we come up with the lyrics and melody. We collaborate with others as well, we’ve written with Valdy, the Odds, Shaun Verreault (from Wide Mouth Mason), North Easton (My Favorite Tragedy)… Mike Goyette, and our producer Kaylen Prescott (oh and dad!).

ANTHONY: I feel like I can hear some country influences in some of your songs (like “One”) and then on others there’s a very RUSH sound. Who are your major musical influences?

JAN:  The country influence comes from our liking of southern rock bands like Lynyrd Skynyrd, Big Sugar, Big Wreck… while the Rush stuff comes from our taste in prog rock like Floyd, Phish, Rush and Zappa…. But we also like straight up rock and roll like Led Zeppelin, Foo Fighters, Nirvana, Rage Against the Machine.

LIAM: we hear from some people “in the music business” that “kids aren’t into rock anymore”… we think that’s not true. kids like whatever they like… if it sounds good to them, they like it… it’s not like music can be boxed anymore… so we think rock is as alive and well as any other kind of music…

ANTHONY: Let’s talk about my favorite song of yours, “One.” Tell us the story behind writing the song, and the message the song conveys.

JAN: The song was written with the goal of explaining how we believe that our Mom (Michèle) is still with us in a different form than physical “Cuz we are One” means you are still with us no matter what. It’s pretty deep, and we don’t often talk about it, but when we were young and she died… our dad told us something important. He asked us to think about a sugar cube, and all the ways we’d describe it… we thought of it being square, shiny, hard, white, rough… and then he asked us to imagine dropping it into a glass of water, and stirring it around, and then asked whether the same ways we described it before were any good… he helped us realize that even though the sugar cube as we KNEW it is gone, it’s still actually there, in a different way, and we can KNOW this, know that the sugar cube is ONE with the water, just like our mom is ONE with everything in the universe…. pretty deep maybe but that’s ONE for ya (just listen to the words)!

ANTHONY: You started performing to raise funds for cancer research, right? Which cancer charities do you support, and how can people help?

LIAM: Breast cancer… but then we saw orphans in Haiti and started helping them because they also lost a parent, and in some cases BOTH… we now raise funds for two causes Little Brothers and Sisters Orphanage Gena Heraty Fund, and the KANPE Foundation… we are now focused on getting into schools and showing kids that you can change the world through art or anything you are passionate about. We call it the ART-IVISTS SHINE SHOW and we want to bring it to a school near YOU.

ANTHONY: Tell us about your recent trip to Haiti and what you did while you were there.

LIAM: We went to Haiti to see where and how our funds were invested… and film a documentary on where kids there were living, what their lives were like, what they were doing.

ANTHONY: Your videos include a lot of concert footage. Do you tour a lot, and if you do, how do you balance the touring and school?

JAN: We share school time with touring and with the studio… we stay on top of our school work and get it out of the way as soon as we can and make sure we’re in good standing at school so that they can continue to support us (Ecole Secondaire Catholique Garneau TOTALLY supports us, it’s awesome!)

ANTHONY: Your videos also include a lot of hockey-playing. What’s everyone’s favorite positions to play?  And who is your favorite team?

LIAM: Defence, Buffalo Sabers

JAN:  Goalie, Ottawa Senators

QUINN: Right Wing, Montreal Habs

ANTHONY: What other sports do you guys enjoy playing?

JAN: Megastar (it’s our own invented game) / leftovers batting (we bat leftovers at the cottage) / street hockey / frisbee / soccer / easter egg hunting

 

ANTHONY: I have no idea what Megastar involves, but I’ll admit “leftovers batting” sounds like a lot of fun. Your newest song is “I Kinda Like It,” and I admit, I more than kinda like it! How fun was the video shoot?

QUINN: Burning stuff is always fun when you’re a kid… so that was ALOT of fun… we have other ideas for videos too that we’re working on… that was a perfect day…. started snowing those BIG PUFFY snowflakes and we ran for the equipment, set up (thanks to our busking experience) and just started shooting right away.

ANTHONY: Quinn, burning stuff can be fun as an adult too. There’s a reason I love campfires, and it’s not just the songs and ‘smores! “I Kinda Like It” came out in March. Any other new music on the way?

JAN: LOTS. Got a full album under construction… we’re taking our time and want to make sure that we’re happy with absolutely everything.

ANTHONY: And my usual closing question: For each of you, what is your favorite book, and what would you say to someone who hasn’t read it to convince them that they should?

LIAM: The Making of Pink Floyd The Wall – you find out about all the things that were happening behind the scenes.

JAN: Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle – it will change your entire perspective of life.

QUINN: I can’t remember, it was a French book, and you should really read it if you need a book to read that is easy to summarize, for people that aren’t completely advanced like me.

ANTHONY: Thanks, boys! Looking forward to the new music!

You can follow each Dube brother, as well as the band as a whole, on Twitter: @liamdube  @jigdube  @QuinndubeDube   @brothersdube  You can also find them on Facebook  and at their own website.

Then of course there’s their Youtube channel, the most recent video posting being an acoustic version of “One” that I’m going to share right here:

And since the Brothers have just announced an IndieGoGo campaign to raise money to take their ARTivism concept on the road to schools across Canada (and perhaps the US?), I’m editing this post to include the video for that. If you can, help the boys out!

 

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Ye Olde Signal-Booster, Me!

I promise, for those who are missing them, the interviews will be returning. I’ve got a guest post from author Bryan Thomas Schmidt (@BryanThomasS on Twitter) coming up on the 30th, and I’m finalizing interviews with The Brothers Dube, Zach Mills and Mira Grant for the near future.

Tonight, though, it’s all about signal-boosting for friends and their projects/causes. I’m thinking about making this a weekly or bi-weekly thing.

 

First: if you have not yet gone to Youtube and checked out THE GROOVY PROJECT, well … here’s the short version. Students and faculty at the Madison-Oneida County Board of Cooperative Educational Services schools in central New York State wrote and filmed this anti-bullying, pro-acceptance video. Their initial goal was to try to go viral and get one million views in a twenty-four hour period. They hit over 10,000 in 24 hours, and over 13,000 within 32 hours. I’d like to see the momentum not die on this. Check it out below. Click through. Spread the word. It’s never too late to get it to go viral, right?

 

Second: We all know how much a fan of short stories I am. I write them, I read them, I talk about them all the time. There are three genre short story magazines currently engaged in Kickstarter projects. I’ve donated to all three, and I’m hoping my readers who love quality speculative fiction (science fiction, fantasy, horror) will donate even a couple of bucks. Or if you can’t donate, spread the word.  Here are the links:

NIGHTMARE —  new horror mag edited by John Joseph Adams (he of Lightspeed mag and a dozen excellent anthologies), needs just under $2,000 in pledges with 15 days to go. John is a wonderful editor, and I’d love to see him get this project off the ground to compliment Lightspeed magazine. You can also find him as @johnjosephadams on Twitter.

FIRESIDE — looking to fund their second issue and beyond. I backed the first issue & became the main character of “Temperance,” a story by Christie Yant. If #2 gets funded, my pledge nets me a main role in a story by Damien Walters Grintalis. So please, folks, ensure my streak and help fund this thing. Needs $4500 in pledges with 20 days to go. On Twitter, find @firesidemag and @talkwordy for more info.

CROSSED GENRES – okay, they hit their initial funding goal within the first day (meant to cover book publications over the coming year), but they’ve add a stretch goal that I think is great: reviving the magazine they started out with. So they can still use help getting to that stretch goal and beyond. On Twitter, find @crossedgenres or @metafrantic for more info.

Third: Speaking of writing. My friend Dennis Miller’s book ONE WOMAN’S VENGEANCE is now available in audiobook format! Go listen to it!

Fourth: Speaking of listening: my good friends The Dalliance are about ready to release their new album, BIRTH LOVE DEATH. It’ll be out everywhere on May 29th, but you can get copies before everyone else if you can make it to the Album Release Party on May 27th at The Room, 3 Production Drive in Brookfield, CT 06804. Full show info can be found on the event’s Facebook page.  And if you can’t make the May 27th show, there’s another release party on June 9th in Elmsford NY. The second event also has a Facebook Page! Tell them Anthony sent you, and I’ll see you at BOTH events!  Also, if you don’t know who The Dalliance is, well, they conveniently have a website! And their on Twitter as @thedalliance.

Fifth: Speaking of Touring, my buddies in Burnham are on the road again over the next few weeks. I’ll be seeing then on June 8th at The Raidant in Nutley, NJ, but there are three other gigs in the tri-state area in June. Twitter? @burnham

Sixth: Speaking of June, please don’t forget that although I won’t be physically at the Mahopac NY Relay For Life on June 2nd, it’s still a cause worth donating to. Here’s my personal donation page. And here’s an explanation of why I won’t be there this year after a run of 5 years straight.

Seventh: Speaking of fundraising, please remember that throughout the summer, The Shoe Crew is collecting new shoes to donate to the charity Shoes That Fit. They have a number of events around Southern California over the next few months, and if you can’t be there, they have ways for you to make a monetary donation. Check out their Facebook page for more info. Twitter? @ShoeCrew2012

And Eighth: We started this post with a musical message about acceptance, let’s end it the same way. My young Australian friend Frank Dixon (@frankdixon12 on Twitter) has written an inspirational and empowering new song, “Better Than That.”  Here’s the video:

 

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I spend a lot of time on this blog promoting other people’s fundraising efforts – for charities, for project funding, for causes of all stripes. Today, I’d like to talk about my own cause: The American Cancer Society Relay For Life.

 

Relay 2010, Survivor Lap

My Livejournal, September 7th, 2005, at 12:58 am:

I was diagnosed today with colon cancer. It is a small mass, localized (CT scans show no spread to the chest or the rest of the abdomen) and it is OPERABLE. (I typoed that in an email, so I need to get it right here!) I will be consulting with a surgeon on Thursday to see what form of surgery is best suited. My spirits are high and I am not worried. I am thankful that I let the camp nurse this summer convince me that my frequent exhaustion deserved a doctor’s attention … that one visit led to catching the anemia and now the early catch on this cancer.

I have been blessed with several strong role models these past few years in terms of dealing with cancer. I could cry and rail on about “why me, the family’s been through so much already,” but the truth is acting that way would go against the memory of my Mother and Denise Barnoski, who both kept their spirits up until the last minute. It would also go against the example shown me by Karen Lichtman (kij66), who has been fighting breast cancer.

 

Until I went trolling back through all the cancer posts on my livejournal in preparation for writing today’s post for my website, I’d honestly forgotten just how much calm I projected in the face of that news. I recall the doctor calling me and saying “It is what we thought it was, let’s schedule an appointment with a surgeon,” and then getting off the phone with my friend Karen Puccio, sharing the news with her, and saying “But I don’t think I ever actually knew what he thought it was.” Which led to another clarifying phone call, and confirmation that he’d discussed it with me after the colonoscopy, but I was still so under the influence of the anesthesia that I didn’t remember the conversation at all. When the realization really hit, I wasn’t anywhere near as calm or composed as that journal entry made out.

In Memory of my mother, Rosemary Cardno

Almost seven years later, and so much has changed. My mother had died in February of 2005; my father followed her in 2007. Karen Jenkins (Lichtman) lost her fight with cancer about a year later. Other family members have fought, survived, succumbed. I’ve become friends with Jay Lake, who is still fighting the same cancer I had. My own cancer has, thankfully, not returned, but I feel cancer’s effects daily.

Every year but one since the summer of 2006, I’ve taken part in the American Cancer Society Relay For Life  at Mahopac High School. It’s a grand event, even when the weather wreaks havoc with the proceedings. The year that I missed the event due to work travel, the team I’m a part of was still there, and I did my walking in a state park somewhere in the Midwest, on my own.

cousin Crissy Hajkowski

This year, my team will not be at the Mahopac Relay. Our beloved and usually tireless team captains, my cousins Chrissy and Jimmy, have had a rough year and are just not up to the massive amount of prep work it takes to put our team on the site. No one else in the team has been able to step up and do what Chrissy and Jimmy do (the willingness is there, but the time is not). The same day I found out our team won’t have a spot at Relay I also found out about an 85th birthday celebration for a woman who has been like a grandmother to me for the past almost 20 years, and I’ve decided that everything happens for a reason – I am meant to be at Rosemary Pittman’s birthday party this year (no coincidence, I think, that she shares a first name with my mother. I think if they’d met, they’d have liked each other quite a lot.).  And so I was hesitant to ask people to donate money to an event I’m not actually going to be at.

But several trusted friends, when I asked, pointed out that the money is about the Cause, not the Event. Cancer doesn’t rest throughout the year. Cancer doesn’t care if we’re in Mahopac on June 2nd. So why should I rest, or care? While I’ll miss being a part of the Community that day, I will still do my best to support that community’s cause, which is so much my own. And just as RFL does, I’ll be celebrating life and birthdays, just in a different part of the state.

cousin Jimmy Hajkowski

So here’s my plea, the same as it is every year: Please donate to my page. Whatever you can muster in these tight times: $1. $5. Every little bit helps fund someone’s cancer care, or some lab’s cancer research. Every dollar works towards helping someone celebrate a birthday they might not otherwise see.  As one of those people who is grateful for every birthday he gets to experience, I thank you in advance for your help. And in the words of my young friend Sam Lant – if you can’t afford a monetary contribution right now, please consider tweeting, posting, emailing, and sharing the link to my page. Maybe a friend of yours that I don’t know is in a position to help.

And hey, if you’re in or near Mahopac NY on June 2nd – go check out the event. Spend some money at the team tents. Get your face painted, buy some jewelry or a book, purchase a Luminaria in honor of a loved one who has battled cancer. Watch the fabulous Mahopac High School rock band ILLUSION perform. Be a part of a great day, and know that I am there in spirit, and am doing my Walking elsewhere in solidarity.

 

Thanks for reading this post, thanks for sharing it, and most of all, thanks for being not only my audience, but my friends. Life is fuller for knowing all of you.

childhood friends Ruth & Peggy, tireless supporters of RFL

 

Here’s the link to my page: http://main.acsevents.org/site/TR?px=4976893&pg=personal&fr_id=36614

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Relay For Life

Posted by admin under ramblings, relay for life

I’m taking a break from the weekly Wednesday interviews to talk about something that’s important to me. Everyone has their Cause — the charity or event they put above all others. I have four that I support actively — the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (because of my young cousin Frank John LaPinta and his father); Multiple Sclerosis (because of several friends fighting it); and the Muscular Dystrophy Association (because Jerry Lewis is a hero of mine, and Tom Bergeron, Nancy O’Dell, Alison Sweeney and Billy Gilman are favorite folks of mine carrying on that good work). But My Cause is cancer research, and specifically the American Cancer Society.

A few weeks back I talked about losing yet another friend to cancer and mentioned my annual ACS Relay For Life event.

That event was this past weekend, June 4-5, at Mahopac High School in Mahopac, NY. Mahopac is my hometown. I was born in Astoria, but moved full-time to Mahopac the summer before second grade. For better or worse, that town (and the smaller community of Lake Secor where we lived) shaped who I am now. After my mother lost her fight with lung cancer in February 0f 2005 and I was diagnosed with my own colon cancer in September of that year, I started taking a more active role in the Relay For Life team my cousins Crissy and Jimmy Hajkowski (both cancer survivors themselves) had been running for a couple of years. Since 2006, our team has grown (exponentially, it seems). Even with all of my crazy work travel I have only missed one Relay, and it bothered me so much I vowed never to miss another.

This year, for the first time in a while, the weather held out. We had warm but not hot temperatures during the day under a slightly cloudy sky — perfect for lapping the MHS track. I did the Opening Survivor Lap, and then the Caregiver Recognition Lap, the Survivor Recognition Lap, and the Remembrance Lap in the later afternoon. All of those were emotional for me and for those around me. In between, I manned our booth selling copies of my book and donating the proceeds to Relay.

As sun set, the temperatures cooled a bit. A slight wind kicked up for a little while. The bleachers were packed for the Luminaria ceremony. The track lined with candle-lit bags in memory of those lost and in honor of those surviving and still fighting. The wind caused a few bags to ignite and it was sad to see them put out by the firemen on hand (but we all understood the safety factor). After the Luminaria ceremony, laps resumed — but much quieter, more reflective laps than earlier in the day.

My Mother's Luminaria

Over night, the temps dropped more and a few hardy souls (myself included) kept the laps going. At 4am, I was exhausted and so was my 13 year old nephew Vincent. We headed home. But between midnight and 4am I put a lot of time on that track, thinking of everyone I know who has suffered through this horrible disease.

I walked in memory of my mother and father, Rosemary and Raymond Cardno; of my maternal grandparents Vicky and Anthony Bukowski; of my cousins Matthew Cardno, Ginger Cardno, Eileen Callaghan and Lester Bishop Jr; of my aunts Terry Cornelia and Connie Callaghan; of Uncles Charlie Cornue, Frank LaPinta Sr and Ed Frey Sr.; of my dear friends M. Denise Barnoski, Karen Irene Jenkins, and Kristina Meyer; of my old neighbors Rita Paterno, Frank Cunningham, Alma and Rick Yarrobino and Meg Pennebaker; of George and Marion Hajkowski, Lou Miliambro, Charlie Commito, Patty Odegar, Bob Hagan, Seanie Nieves, Charlie Bondatti, Justin Salandra, Barbara Dorman, Bernie Castronovo, Henning Suerig, Prof. Randy Pausch, Jean Marie “Jorie” Scott, Juanita “Benny” Dyer, Gerald Edgerton, Frances Ng, Franklin and Janice Heiny, Debbie and Carol Stephens, Grace Uppstrom, Albert Ragozzine, Pamela Stuart Blakely, Heide Koch, Donald Cole, Wander Witter, Kathy Peterson, Patricia Sisco, Richard “Pop” Schlerf, John Schartner, M. Mulligan, Henry Cermak, Denis Fedorov, and Joe Connors. So many lost just to my family and the families of my friends.

I walked in honor of, and spiritually alongside, my Uncles Charlie Bukowski and Lester Bishop Sr.; Aunt Gloria Schneider; cousins Chris Tanner and Crissy and Jimmy Hajkowski; friends Ellen Przymylski, Christine Doyle, Denny Doyle, Liam Ollive, Christina Hagan, Jennifer Griffin, Janice Arnold, Teri Breen, Sheldon Pincus, Robin Deal, Kathleen Rankine, Jim McCleave, Jay Lake, Dean Sizemore, Chris Saunders, Lee Bloom, Carol Essig, Carol Little, Jeff Wentworth, Barbara Kocourek, Debbie Williamson, B. Burkhardt, Ursula Vucci and my mentor for so many years Nancy Bruno. And of course the hundred or so other survivors that were at Relay with me, most of whom I don’t know by name.

A few days before Relay, I came across a song on Youtube. Matt Johnson is a young performer out of the Dallas-Fort Worth area. He was a contestant on Disney’s Next Big Thing last year, and lately he’s taken to performing with just a guitar in front of a camera to share music with his fans. One of his new songs, “Not A Moment,” struck me as a fitting homage to those we’ve lost, and a reminder that Cancer (or Diabetes, or MS, or Cystic Fibrosis, or heart disease, or any of the Muscular Dystrophies) can hit anyone at any time. So we should take every chance to remember those we love, and to tell them we love them, until cures are found. Hopefully, I can get Matt’s video to embed. If not, please follow the link and listen to this wonderful song … and take a moment to remember the loved ones who are no longer here in person but are always with us in spirit and memory.

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