Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Guidance the light that lets you see the way

I have had the opportunity several years ago to meet with a real professional photographer. Photographer might even be limiting. He shoots, designs and writes in still and multimedia (audio/video). Perhaps "artist" would be more fitting. I have mentioned him before. But his guidance is why I am writing about him again.

Over the past few years, we haven't really conversed much except for a few meetings we would both attend. We both got busy then time got the best of us. Because of him being a photographer, I valued his opinion of my own pictures. I think, luckily, he hasn't really seen any of my work. In my not so humble opinion, it's just not all that great. The desire is there, but the effort has been lacking.

Lately, we have been sending emails back and forth. He lightly critiques my blog and I am truly thrilled to get it. Because I can't dedicate a tremendous amount of time to some elements of the blog, I won't incorporate everything he suggests, but I will take into account what he offers.

A few items are actually part of what I expected in the course of the project and blog. I was already planning on changing the look and feel of the blog. Right now, I like that fact that the blog is simplified. There isn't a whole lot that I can do with it. Or else I will become too focused on the minute details like the perfect color and combinations of the font size, and links, or formatting of the tables etc. If I wanted to do that, I would have just made another web site. But, blogger has given us access to the CSS and HTML, we can make some changes. Over the course of time, I will be experimenting with some changes as I get an opportunity. As you can already see, I have changed the background and font colors.

If you don't like what you see, let me know.

One of the other changes that will be more difficult to incorporate will be the stories. I have been putting very small tidbits of information about my subjects. Initially it was by design. I try very hard to not identify the people that entrust me with their stories and images. Perhaps too much? Hence their only ID is an initial and in some cases I get an image of them in their work place. The last few people have been very generous in their time. I have had really nice conversations with them as we share our lives in a relatively short amount of time. Unfortunately, I can't always remember everything they tell me. I am planning on getting a voice recorder so I can actually record what we say. This way I can cull more accurate quotes, or references with greater detail.

This is where David has challenged me. To write with more detail. More from the heart. To dig deep within. Either he sees something in me that I cannot. Or he has a skill and an opportunity to take part in this project that will help solidify his role as an ARTIST.

Sooner than later, I will attempt to change the entries a bit. I will probably still do the regular links as I do often. I feel it's important to be able to share with all of you, what I find interesting. You can either glean tidbits from those links or be able to actually see, hear and feel what I feel.

How many blogs can say that?

I will then try and do a weekly "personal reflection" post. Something I can really put out there. The bulk of the blog will still be links and banter. But it will increasingly become the deeper stories of the people I interact with.

I was looking on the OPTN site and notices we are a few hundred away from hitting 95,000 people waiting for an organ. According to the numbers posted yesterday. The number of people dying each year waiting for an organ is actually over 6,000 closer to 7,000.

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

The key to fitness

I have a fatty liver and my doctor told me to begin a diet and exercise routine start losing a good amount of weight, so I stopped by an exercise equipment store on the way home. There, I met "R". He showed me a few bikes. All they had in stock was an incumbent bike. I was hoping for an upright. Their prices were a little more than on the web but not enough to not buy one from them. I just want to find the right one. Especially for that price. It could end up being an expensive coat rack.

As we talked I brought up organ donation. He winced a bit. He had been, but the last time he renewed his drivers license he removed his donor status. It was totally understandable to me. He felt that at that time, several people seemed to get organs that didn't seem to fit the needy category. It really soured him on the organ donation.

We talked a little bit about it and I think he might re consider it when his license is up for renewal. You can see his portrait on the One-A-Day-2007 flickr page.


After you read some of these storiess, I challenge all of you to post a comment.

Not for one, but for ALL of them

Each day, about 77 people get the organ transplant that gives them a second chance, but 19 others die waiting for a donated organ. -

Where it all comes from

For those of you that know me, know that when I take hold of something I take hold if it. If mantra is true:
Recognize the talent.
Challenge the mind.
Motivate the heart.

While I have been crusading for organ donation, there is a small still voice that is omnipresent in my mind, and heart.

Some of you will be (or currently are) dismayed that I don't mention Jesus, Christianity or the truly beautiful concept of His forgiveness and the love that God has for all of us.
No, I don't mention that too much. Why? It's not on my heart right now. Do I believe it. ABSOLUTELY. Should you? Why wouldn't you?
The small still voice isn't the Holy Spirit. It's a friend of mine that has silently given me motivation in more ways than I can ever say. I will ID her as "D". She know who she is.

.tears are welling up now.

I see her as a strong courageous woman. She has risen to certain levels of endurance and persistence. She has overcome some very difficult obstacles emotionally, physically and I am sure spiritually.

Why do I tout this person at such a high standard?


Not just because of what she goes through. But how she dignifies herself. She would probably slap the you know what out of me for exalting her like this, but I had to say it. It has been laying on my heart. I am very sure it won't be the last time I mention "D" either.

If you want to help. You can participate in an MS Walk this spring. For those of you in the beautiful North West go here to the Greater Washington Chapter of the National MS Society. For those of you everywhere else go here to the National MS Society.

Dream a little dream

I have an opinion.

It's really difficult to share some of my thoughts on the blog because this blog is supposed to be all about organ donation, my life as a (former) donor and (as I was labeled) a crusader [for organ donation]. I seem to digress all too often. The reality is I am sure most of you don't really want to know my daily musings and thoughts, but you still come back. I hope. It’s sort of like a train wreck. You shouldn't watch, but you want to see if there is any carnage after it's all said and done.....Plus, my life is really pretty boring. I have to fill in the space with web fodder and heart felt stories to keep you coming back for more, MORE, M-O-R-E ! !

I read this article here from MSNBC/Newsweek and the subject is, unfortunately, probably something that happens more often than not. To summarize, it's about a man with a very sick child and his insurance is hitting its max lifetime amount. The child is only 3 years old. There have been movies about this same situation and I am sure there are books and all sorts of stories. Plain and simple though, as a parent, you want the worlds resources available for your child.

A thousand years ago or even 100 years ago most health problems ended with death. Today, we can't stop death, but prolong life. At what cost? This child, like mine, is priceless. Out of the trillions that insurances are getting in premiums, I can’t imagine this child bankrupting the insurance company. But in all reality, to me, it says that there are thousands of people that are in this same situation. Tens or hundreds of millions need insurance. Millions probably don’t have it.

My son and daughter both spent time in a NICU at birth. My truly a dream come true. (That story at another time). We went through some intense medical situations that, if we had gone without, would have resulted in a slow and painful death for my daughter (according to the surgeons). Today and forever, we monitor visually and verbally how she is doing. She will never be rid if what ail's her, but we can be assured things are much, much better. Looking at this angel from God's own heaven that graces my existence, you would never know of her past.

Would I trade some of the painful experiences knowing that my daughter is doing so well right now? Absolutely not. We also know that her future was very bright because of good health care/insurance. Without it…… dream would have died.

Quote of the day.
"private insurance is about making profits, not keeping people healthy. " - Nathan Wilkes

Monday, January 29, 2007

Items of interest

In the pursuit of the organ donation awareness project, I will get the comment like "if I get hurt, they will let me die so they can have my organs" or "special people get preferential treatment so it's unfair".

While I cannot say unequivocally that the above statements are true or false. It is the goal of organ donation (backed by laws and ethics) to create a level playing field. Since everything is run by humans, and we humans are not perfect, I can only assume there are a few cases of human judgement being clouded in the case of a potential donor or recipient getting to the top of their respective lists sooner than they would have otherise expected. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to find cases both for and against both situations.

Regardless. There are just under 95,000 people waiting for organs as of today.

I found Josh's blog on Becky's blog. Then I ended up on Walter Payton's web site where it mentions his liver failing from PSC and eventual cancer. It is my understanding that he died of cancer, waiting for a liver. It is reported in a few places that Walter was offered special status. But he refused it. While

Friday, January 26, 2007

The longing

Since I have been doing the organ donation awareness project over on flickr. I have thrown myself headlong into my past.

In my profile over there to the right. Near the end it mentions me being introspective and retrospective. It's painfully true.

I am very aware of my past and how much I enjoyed the majority of it. I learned early on that I am not athletic. But when I played softball, some of the opposing teams recognized that my squat legs could motor me around the bases really fast. (I had to compensate with speed because of my poor hitting skills). I also am not a looker. No GQ for me. All the looks were passed on to my sister and brothers. Am I smart.....well, I do have an opinion on everything. A self described “jack of all trades, master of nothing”. And as painful as it sounds, I do have a good personality. (ack) As a friend, I am (self) rated to be a good one to have.

The results of my pshch eval (during the appointments for donating my liver) could explain some of my past (and now present). Even though the Dr said I was "boring" (no smoking, drinking, drugs, elicit sex etc) I couldn't help to look up my past then compare and contrast with what I heard from the one hour "session".

In high school I was, like most people, attracted to the opposite sex. I dated quite a bit, but never with anyone in my own school. It only took me 20 years to realize this. Or perhaps accept it. Actually, I did date one girl from my school. But there was an age difference and it didn't last much more than a week or two. I tried dating a few other girls in some of my classes, but those didn't work out either. So really, they can't be counted.
My inventiveness made up for my somewhat low self esteem. I would often eat free when a new person came into our group of friends. We would go out to eat and I would bet someone a hamburger or milkshake that I would ask the waitress (or some other unsuspecting girl in the building) out on a date. It was a win/win deal for me. If I ask this stranger at all, I get the food item. If that same person actually took me up, I got a date and the food. It never happened more than a few times with most people in our group of friends. Some times when I was low on cash (which was often), I would ask “a friend” for a loan, they would make me work it off by getting me to ask someone out on a date…….the things I would do for friendship and a meal.

With this current project, I have no choice but to approach strangers. It's a fundamental requirement of the project. I seem to seek out attractive people. I'm not sorry about it at all. But with this project, I am keenly aware that there are so many people in this world. It's truly on a different level. It happens when I sit in a restaurant, get gas, shop for tortillas or buy a magazine. I end up watching the patrons. I observe the staff. I see the struggles with trays, crying kids and food orders and all the other events. I am an observer. When I look at all of these people and really see their faces, I look at how the light casts a shadow across their nose. How colorful their eyes are. What would they look like in a bowler hat or some other accessory? How about if they lean up against the brick wall? All these thoughts flood my mind with every person, hundreds of times a day.

I could probably be classified with an obsession. Perhaps even an unhealthy one. But even as I struggle with my “issue” I battle with the demons with every stranger I approach brings me back to high school. I approach many, hoping for a few. Will they allow me an opportunity to capture a fraction of a moment of their time in a photograph?

When I walk away……without a portrait, a flood of memories return. Feelings. Emotions. Thoughts. As my heart returns to the slow beating of normalcy. It was a rush. I rejoice in the fact that another person is thinking about organ donation. Good, bad or indifferent. It’s not my call to change a mind. Even though I know that some invariably will. That part is the foreseen inevitability of this project. And I know it.

I still long for the portrait.

Very creative photos

Here is a blog with some incredibly creative pictures. All are work safe. Some may leave you scratching your head. Most are obvious.
Creative photos by Chema Madoz | - a lifestyle blogzine

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Bitter and cold

[I re read this post the next day and had to edit it for grammar and continuity.]

The snow blew in to the region today. Quite literally.
We have been having flurries for about a week. For some reason it never seemed to accumulate. Very strange indeed. Yesterday however it actually snowed enough to finally cover grass in the yard and a little bit more. Today, it continued to snow then the wind came in and caused little snow drifts. Something like the buildup of frost in your freezer. Really.

So, after driving at about 5 miles an hour, I made it to a point in the highway where the cars picked up speed to normal cruising. I eventually made it to town and stopped by the grocery store to pick up some tortillas, mac and cheese and egg noodles. The whole while, I was looking at the other shoppers, hoping to make eye contact with someone. All for naught. Nada.

I headed back outside and the wind was ferocious. It's already under 20 degrees and the wind is at about 15 miles an hour. I won't do the math, but it was bitterly cold out.

I made it to the car, tossed in my bag and started the beast up. Across the lane of the parking lot was a person bundled up in a parka with the hood up. I thought I could saunter over there and talk about the organ donor awareness project. I watched the snow blow horizontally and decided to sit in the car for a few more minutes. But then the more I thought about it, people are waiting for organs. In many different situations.

Then I thought about me, sitting here in the car just can't compare to the pain and suffering a person has with a failed liver or kidney.

I got out and headed over to the vehicle to strike up a conversation.

Damn it's cold.

As I approached, I tried to call out over the howl of the wind so as not to startle this person. It didn't work. She saw me about the same time that I called again and was a few feet from her. She jumped a bit. I felt bad. Not a good first impression.

"Sorry". I said. "I tried to get your attention". I offered my card and quickly explained my project as my lips began to freeze. She had a parka and hood. The wind kept blowing her hood down as she struggled with the balance of keeping it up to see me and keep it over her face to stay warm.

Me, I had a cotton jacket of sorts and my new oneaday2007 ball cap. Not dressed for the occasion.

In our short conversation she was an excited donor. Even to the point where she was going to donate her body to science.

At that point, I thought I was going to get a nice portrait. I was already thinking about it in my bead......her slender face and electric smile, framed by the hood of her parka. The snow blowing would have been a tough picture, but a neat shot.

But when I mentioned a photo release, to legally allow me to use the images, her expression changed slightly and I knew I lost the shot. She backed out.

I understand. She also said she didn't have much time and her husband was waiting for her. I really appreciate the time she took especially with the weather being what it was/is.

While I am disappointed, I accepted the fact that I did get to talk to her. Its just that I really like to take pictures.

This project has a double life. It is challenging me to perform a long term project that I have to work at every day for a year. It's also a project that if executed properly, will spread and hopefully begin to have a life of it's own. The portraits however are beginning to intrude and are clouding my overall goal of organ donation awareness.

Even though I was able to talk about the subject of organ donation with her I was still really bummed because of the lost portrait opportunity.

Am I, losing sight of the forest for the trees?

I got a call today

We were looking at a house this afternoon and an unknown number showed up on my phone. Being the really really [sic] nice guy that I am, I answered it. :)

I had a wonderful talk with a woman from CORE, the Center for Organ Recovery and Education. She has gone to the blog and wanted to give me some words of appreciation and encouragement. She also sent me an email which I will share with all of you.

Hi [ ],

It was so nice to talk with you. I’m very excited about your project and can’t help but think of the impact if more people had your level of commitment. We had a living kidney donor over the summer who was one of those people that warms your heart and leaves you reinvigorated. He doesn’t have a wife or kids, and he works as a cab driver in West Virginia. This man decided to take a one-month hiatus from work to donate a kidney to a complete stranger. With more than 69,000 people awaiting a kidney nationally (more than 2/3 of the total list of transplant candidates), his donation was a lifeline for a woman in kidney failure. He saved her life. Within days, he was out of the hospital and recovering at home. Living kidney donations are recovered laproscopically, so his recovery was relatively short. He is very humble and doesn’t want media attention or some big event in his honor. He just wanted to give one person a second chance. That’s exactly what he did.

[ ], please reply with your mailing address so I can send you some goodies. You are an inspiration!

I cannot tell you how incredible this phone call was and what it meant to me on so many levels. Having an organization call and tell me that what I am doing is causing excitement and then using a word on the level of "inspiration" really very humbling.

She also mentioned in our phone conversation that they know of THREE people that have donated altruistically. That is, to a stranger. I thought what I was doing was pretty cool. But for someone like the person above, THAT is incredible.

I had mentioned legitimacy in a past blog post. Our conversations don't make me a gosling under the wing of mother goose so to speak. But again, having organizations like CORE and American Liver Foundation of Western PA allow me to continue to pursue my project is very rewarding. It has also given me access to resources that I may not have had otherwise.

Both CORE and ALF of WPA are sending me some information as well as some SWAG that I can give to the subjects of my portraits.

More net stuff

In my prior life as a webmaster I always put security and safety items on my web pages. Most security is experiential. Eventually, as you spend more time on a computer and on the internet, you learn good and bad habits and things to be aware of.

I remember last year getting an email regarding a web site called being full of adware and other nefarious items. I had already been to the site and didn't remember seeing much. Perhaps in it's infancy they could have been. I really don't know.

But now, I recently came across a site that you can enter a web site and it will show you info about that site. It is from a security and antivirus company McAfee so it should be legit. LOL the analysis results page will show you the site you entered and the links from that site to other sites as well as other "stuff". While it doesn't appear to be all inclusive, it is a good place to start when you have a site you aren't all too sure of.

How the web should be

This post from the Seth Godin blog was really neat. But being in a technology field, it would appeal to me. For many and especially the luddites, this is a horrifying concept.

Informative page for living donors

The site is somewhat plain, but the information is good.

Reality check

I know most of you are probably wondering why you actually spend time coming to the blog and reading about items that "I" think are interesting. Well, as of yesterday at least 4 or 5 of you have been coming regularly a few times a week. Kind of like an AA meeting, but with out having to admit you have a problem right...?

I have always been enamored by the ability of the Internet to be able to take you to another place. Yes, it's sort of an escape, but not really. I try, well usually, to write very personally. But sometimes, okay, most of the times, it short and concise. Not always very descriptive. The few times I expound, it's a rambling mess.


I love passing on links to blogs and pages that are usually related to organ donation. After all, that is my mission here at CausalEffect. Eventually, I am going to tag and label all my older posts so someone "new to the blog" can read about my experiences of my three days of appointments to see if I was a viable live liver donor. I say "new" with trepidation (?) because I know everyone is sharing the link here to the blog, right, RIGHT?

I refer to Becky a lot (her and her brother Joe (in Chi-town) are always linked in the column to the right). Ed is also permalinked.

Here is a link to Jill, who strangely enough is also from Chicago (where Joe lives). She had a liver transplant in May 2006. Follow the TinyURL below (or the link above) to the month of May when she had the transplant to see what she went through. I have read the whole months worth of entries, but I still want to share it. The full link is too long to post here so I am using TinyURL to create one. ((It's safe))


Sometime between about 5 and 7 pm, I got my 1,000th visit on the blog.

Thank you. This project is something that I hope will help thousands of people. With that in mind, let's look at the numbers for the week.

Waiting list candidates as of today 6:23am
All 94,789
Kidney 69,771
Pancreas 1,746
Kidney/Pancreas 2,396
Liver 16,952
Intestine 234
Heart 2,850
Lung 2,848
Heart/Lung 135
All candidates will be less than the sum due to candidates waiting for multiple organs

Transplants performed January - October 2006
Total 24,444
Deceased Donor 18,791
Living Donor 5,653
Based on OPTN data as of 01/19/2007

Donors recovered January - October 2006
Total 12,400
Deceased Donor 6,750
Living Donor 5,650
Based on OPTN data as of 01/19/2007

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

So close

After work today we headed out for a family dinner at a Japanese restaurant. They sit 8 to a grill (large griddle) and the chef takes center stage. It's a fun place since they chop and flip the food in front of you. If you get something with onions, they will separate the rings and make it into a volcano and light some oil or something and it caramelizes, flames and smokes. It's quite entertaining.

I was the last to arrive and there was already a couple on one end and the rest of our family across the other short end and the long side. I sat next to the other couple.

They were younger than us. A little quiet. Then I show up and ended up paying more attention to them than my own family. I have to say, I was hoping I was going to be able to get them to pose for a portrait.

We talked about their jobs in the social work field and recycling industry. Both were quite intriguing. I had a nice conversation with them and was happy they were willing to reciprocate.

My son was taking some pictures and they asked about photography. Since the subject was breached I mentioned that I was doing a project for organ donation awareness. One was a donor and the other wasn't.

To me, there was a bit of tension in the air at that point. I had to reiterate that I don't care about the decision. All I want to do is bring about an awareness and elicit a conversation. I tried to talk about other subjects, but it's tough. I sometimes get tunnel vision when I want something really bad. Like a portrait. But it's very important to see the forest for the trees and not press too hard for a portrait.

Dinner was about done and we finished with some small chat. Then as they were getting ready to leave she said she would keep us in our prayers but would have to pass on the photo.

While I was bummed. I felt I had a nice conversation with someone I would have never met otherwise.

Someday, some of the people I meet will actually call me or email me to have a portrait taken. Until then. It's business as usual.

More musings from a pro

Sometimes this blog and what I read about myself skirts very close to vanity. But I try to look through the reflection of myself and remember that it's really not about me, but I am about it.

David Farmerie is a Pittsburgh photographer. His credits are numerous including: The National Audubon Society, The Nature Conservancy, The University of Pittsburgh, Carnegie Mellon University and The Natural History Museum.
He mentions me on his own blog heretitled "Note from a friend" Jan 19

Pennsylvania residents

You can now sign up to be a donor online in the state er, commonwealth of Pennsylvania. or here is a TinyURL of the same site

Here is a link to Washington states DoL site

Ch, Ch, Ch, Changes

Okay, I tinkered with the template and layout.
There will be some more changes as I figure out what the heck I am doing.
Leave me a comment let me know how I'm doing.

To find an older post, you can see the archive view has changed. Scroll down and on the right you will see the posts. Click on a year, then it expands the month then you will see the post.

Upping the opportunities

I lost 83 thousand spots in one month. After a few additions, lets see where I end up in a couple fo weeks now.
I added a Technorati link/widget/???

Monday, January 22, 2007

Take em when you can get em

Like everyone else, we're finally getting some winter weather. Tonight wouldn't have produced anything, but I stopped by a store to pick up a couple of calendars for the kids. We are going to follow the trend my aunt set for her kids. We are giving our kids their allowance for the whole year in one lump sum and the calendars will help them set up a budget by seeing monthly when they will have expenses like birthday's, parties, and vacations. They will also be able to put down the items of what they spend and see where their money is going.

WHAT!!! You ask?

With the kids only getting a few dollars a month, it was easy to spend it on small menial items but harder to save since it would take months to cover anything of any value to them. When I gave them each a large sum before Christmas, they were covered for the rest of the year as well as some extra. BUT, they had to pay for all their own snacks, toys, and other items. Pretty much EVERYTHING. It was pretty amazing how they stoppped asking for a smoothie, or McDonalds hamburger or even a milkshake for dinner. (We covered the meal and drink, but extra food like desserts or milkshakes were their responsibility). Their attitude towards money changed drastically for the better.

Thank you Aunt "T".

Back to the regular scheduled programming:
As I walked out of the office supply store, I saw a guy throwing salt and thought what a tough night to do it. But it had to be done and I was thankful for the salt. The snow was blowing and a bit wet and very crusty so it was kind of on the slick side.

I slowed and thought about asking for a picture, but he was very busy and I didn't want to throw off his schedule. I put my bag in teh car and noticed he was done on the sidewalk and was heading abck to his truck. So I walked very quickly, leaving my car unlocked hoping to catch him before he sped off to another site.

"Excuse me" I said....trying to speak over the radio and rush of traffic nearby.

I quickly mentioned my cause and tried to hand him a card. He wasn't too excited about my card. But I asked him to take it. As cold as it was, I did get through to the point of the project and asked if I could take his picture(You can see it here One-A-Day-2007). He agreed to a few pictures. I was able to get two pictures before my brain was cold enough to have difficulties talking. We ended up talking about my issue with the hemochromotosis diagnosis and my desire to bring about awareness for organ donation. While he was not a donor, he was "for it".

I thanked "A" for his time and we parted.

Photog notes: I had my camera set for manual and a slow shutter speed. When I fired the shutter, it took F O R E V E R to finish and I was terrified that they would be over exposed and totally lost. But luckily (as opposed to skillfully) the slow shutter speed, with the fill flash (and honestly I don't know the aperture) they turned out great.

At least in in my mind.

I like the double exposure look. You can also see snow flake trails coming down. I was really pleased with the look of these shots.

The High Price of Keeping Dad Alive

This article was in the Wall Street Journal over the weekend. It's available now, but given the WSJ wants money to view it's content, this article might not be available for long. Not my decision.

TinyURL to the article

You can see Mark's own words here

What they think

While Becky and I post back and forth every so often, her words about me and the blog are touching. She is another motivated donor that helped me confirm my decision to donate as being the right thing to do. Check her blog out and BOOKMARK it. She has some good links to follow up on. You can also see her Saturday Jan 20 2007 post about me. (shameless self promotion)

Anyone have a tissue???

It's a wonder-ful life

I haven't been to the site for a while. You can see his pictures of the actual liver donation surgery. Yes, from inside the operating room. and see the pictures of his nephew and how well a liver recipient is doing.

Do you want to be a donor or you already are but really don't know what it entails? You can read my whole blog, specifically from Nov 15, 16 and 17 2006. OR, I will steal this page Given the path, it may change so I am posting the content here:

* Statistics, Information and Diagrams are from Why not use what’s already available! *

Qualifications for Living Donors

In order to qualify as a living donor, an individual must be physically fit, in good general health, and free from high blood pressure, diabetes, cancer, kidney disease, and heart disease. Individuals considered for living donation are usually between 18-60 years of age. Gender and race are not factors in determining a successful match.

The living donor must first undergo a blood test to determine blood type compatibility with the recipient.

Blood Type Compatibility Chart

Recipient’s Blood Type Donor’s Blood Type
A A or O
B B or O
AB A,B, AB or O

If the donor and recipient have compatible blood types, the donor undergoes a medical history review and a complete physical examination.

The following tests may be performed:

  • Tissue Typing: the donor’s blood is drawn for tissue typing of the white blood cells.
  • Crossmatching: a blood test is done before the transplant to see if the potential recipient will react to the donor organ. If the crossmatch is “positive,” then the donor and patient are incompatible. If the crossmatch is “negative,” then the transplant may proceed. Crossmatching is routinely performed for kidney and pancreas transplants.
  • Antibody Screen: an antibody is a protein substance made by the body’s immune system in response to an antigen (a foreign substance; for example, a transplanted organ, blood transfusion, virus, or pregnancy). Because the antibodies attack the transplanted organ, the antibody screen tests for panel reactive antibody (PRA). The white blood cells of the donor and the serum of the recipient are mixed to see if there are antibodies in the recipient that react with the antigens of the donor.
  • Urine Tests: In the case of a kidney donation, urine samples are collected for 24 hours to assess the donor’s kidney function.
  • X-rays: A chest X-ray and an electrocardiogram (EKG) are performed to screen the donor for heart and lung disease.
  • Arteriogram: This final set of tests involves injecting a liquid that is visible under X-ray into the blood vessels to view the organ to be donated. This procedure is usually done on an outpatient basis, but in some cases it may require an overnight hospital stay.
  • Psychiatric and/or psychological evaluation: The donor and the recipient may undergo a psychiatric and/or psychological evaluation.

The decision to become a living donor is a voluntary one, and the donor may change his or her mind at any time during the process. The donor’s decision and reasons are kept confidential.

Risks Involved in Living Donation

All patients experience some pain and discomfort after an operation. And as with any major operation, there are risks involved. It is possible for liver donors to develop infections or bleeding, and or the liver may be injured.

Living donation may also have long-term risks that may not be apparent in the short term. It is therefore important that the benefits to both donor and recipient outweigh the risks associated with the donation and transplantation of the living donor organ. In addition to potential individual health concerns, it is possible for negative psychological consequences to result from living donation. Living donors may feel pressured by their families into donating an organ and guilty if they are reluctant to go through with the procedure. Feelings of resentment may also occur if the recipient rejects the donated organ. Living donors must be made aware of the physical and psychological risks involved before they consent to donate an organ. They should discuss their feelings, questions and concerns with a transplant professional and/or social worker.

Positive Aspects of Living Donation

Living donation has several advantages:

  • Living donation eliminates the recipient’s need for placement on the national waiting list. Transplant surgery can be scheduled at a mutually-agreed upon time rather than performed as an emergency operation. Because the operation can be scheduled in advance, the recipient may begin taking immunosuppressant drugs two days before the operation. This decreases the risk of organ rejection.
  • Transplants from living donors are often more successful, because there is a better tissue match between the living donor and the recipient. This higher rate of compatibility also decreases the risk of organ rejection.
  • Perhaps the most important aspect of living donation is the psychological benefit. The recipient can experience positive feelings knowing that the gift came from a loved one or a caring stranger. The donor experiences the satisfaction of knowing that he or she has contributed to the improved health of the recipient.

Costs Related to Living Donation

Health insurance coverage varies for living donation. If the recipient is covered by a private insurance plan, most insurance companies pay 100 percent of the donor’s expenses. If the recipient is covered by Medicare’s end-stage renal disease program, Medicare Part A pays all of the donor’s medical expenses, including preliminary testing, the transplant operation, and post-operative recovery costs. Medicare Part B pays for physician services during the hospital stay. Medicare covers follow-up care if complications arise following the donation.

The Transplant Team

There are many people at the transplant center who work to make a transplant successful. Each person on the “transplant team” is an expert in a different area of transplantation. The transplant team includes all or some of the following professionals:

Clinical transplant coordinators have responsibility for the patient’s evaluation, treatment, and follow-up care.

Transplant physicians are doctors who manage the patient’s medical care, tests, and medications. He or she does not perform surgery. The transplant physician works closely with the transplant coordinator to coordinate the patient’s care until transplanted, and in some centers, provides follow-up care to the recipient.

Transplant surgeons perform the transplant surgery and may provide the follow-up care for the recipient. The transplant surgeon has special training to perform transplants.

Financial coordinators have detailed knowledge of financial matters and hospital billing. The financial coordinator works with other members of the transplant team, insurers, and administrative personnel to coordinate and clarify the financial aspects of the patient’s care before, during, and after the transplant.

Social workers help the patient and their family understand and cope with a variety of issues associated with a patient’s illness and/or the various side-effects of the transplant itself. In some cases, the social worker may perform some of the financial coordinator duties as well.

Going the wrong way

Technorati has my blog ranked 1,626,267. Ummm, that's like a whole lot worse than a month ago when I was at 1,538,965. I've dropped 87, 302 places.

That sucks.

Good Monday mourn

Freudian slip, perhaps not. This article mentions that Jan 22nd is a tough day for the Brits. Perhaps for all of us. I can attest to my feeling this weekend but I was going to blame it on my dang computer. (No, it's not a Mac, but I pondered the thought.....really) they are just too expensive for me right now.
Hit this link,2933,245465,00.html for the Brit's blue blah study article.

Do you know how to be happy?

On the iPod:
Rob Zombie, Phil Keaggy, Aerosmith, Blink 182, Santana, Avril Lavigne, Blues Traveler

Saturday, January 20, 2007

Sometimes, it just happens

We headed up north to a new mall. Well, it's been open for more than a year, but it's about as far away from our neck of the woods as you can get in this sprawling metropolis so it's new to us.
We sauntered around the mall then rounded a corner of "the neighborhood" (sections of the mall as they call them), I spied some plain baseball hats. The only reason I noticed them is because I have had three or four custom hats made for myself already. So, they stood out like a beacon in the night to me.

I stopped in, and looked at the hats trying to find just the right one. "J" was setting up another order for a different customer but offered quite a bit of help. Especially when one of the hats made my melon head look even bigger..."um, no that one doesn't look good" "It's too big". I was thankful for his honesty.

After I picked out just the right one, we were setting up the order and he asked what was going to be embroidered. I decided to write it out myself since verbally repeating it might be a bit of a pain.

As I was writing it, he was reading it and asked what it was about.....

Weeeeellll, let me tell you......

I asked if he was an organ donor and although he looked a bit nervous he was able to say he wasn't. Which really is absolutely fine. I made sure my project is NOT about changing minds. It all about awareness. Only he, or you or anyone can change their own mind regarding organ donation. All I am doing is talking about it.

We finished setting up the hat order, picked out the font, size and thread colors. I was taking pictures through the process and I found out he was a documentary filmmaker while in high school. So when it came time for the photo release, he was no problem at all. He has had other sign them too.

It was nice that I didn't have to deal with the details.

We went off to finish our rounds around the HUGE mall and hit a Red Robin for a late lunch.

After lunch I stopped by to pick up the hat. Unfortunately, there was a problem with how the hat was sitting on the equipment when it was getting embroidered. It skewed the text bad enough that I wasn't too happy with it. Since they have a guarantee, they offered to do it again. But they were backed up and asked if I could stop by tomorrow....Um, well I live about an hour away and it wouldn't really be worth the drive. To their credit, they fit my hat in to the order stream between other hats. I got to see the hard work it takes to custom embroider a hat. Lineing the seams up and making sure everything is just right is a tough job. Each one of the employees stepped up and made sure it worked right.

Unfortunately, for some reason the hat still skewed when it was about halfway through the process. Again, they did a few things to try and make the hat turn out right. While it's not perfect, I am happy with the results of my "Lids". I saw first hand the hard time they had. I appreciate their work to make it right.

They bagged up my hat and threw in the first run too. While I didn't ask for it, they offered it and I was appreciative.

So, hopefully, I can give back some more business when soccer and cheer leading start this fall. I would really like to give the cheerleaders custom headbands this fall. Maybe the same for soccer.

"J" did say, that after listening to my own story about organ donation and some of the numbers he was second guessing his decision. He might change his mind when it comes time to get his license renewed. You can see his picure here

Friday, January 19, 2007

Up to your ears in ponder

This is from (National Library of Medicine and the National Institutes of Health).

Public attitudes and behavior regarding organ donation.

Organ transplantation has been the subject of much attention; unfortunately, relatively little has been published about public attitudes toward organ donation. To better document public perceptions on organ donation, a telephone survey of a nationally representative sample of 2,056 respondents was conducted. We found that nearly 94% of the population had heard about organ transplantation, but only 19% of these people carried donor cards. The results indicated that people are somewhat more likely to donate the organs of a relative who had just died (53%) than they are to donate their own organs (50%). People were most likely to donate kidneys (50%) and least likely to donate skin (40%). Most respondents (58%) felt that next of kin should not be able to override a person's desire to donate organs as signified by an organ donor card. Few people (7%) supported the concept of presumed consent. We conclude that while the public is supportive of organ transplantation, it is not overly enthusiastic about organ donation. Awareness of this paradox on behalf of the public may actually facilitate organ donation.

KIE: A telephone survey of 2,056 persons was conducted to ascertain public attitudes toward organ donation. Although 94% of the respondents had heard about organ transplantation, only 19% carried donor cards and only 28% of the others said they were willing to carry one. More persons (53%) were willing to donate a relative's organs than their own (50%), and people were more likely to donate kidneys (50%) than other organs. Only 7% supported the concept of presumed consent to donation, and 58% of those polled felt that relatives should not be able to override a person's wish to donate as signified by a donor card. The authors conclude that people are very supportive of organ transplantation but are not as enthusiastic about donating organs. Further study is needed to determine whether greater understanding of the concept of brain death would facilitate donation of cadaver organs.

PMID: 3999296 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]

If you can't donate you can give

In some of my research I obviously come across many web sites. Here is another one. It focuses on the enourmous cost of transplants. I thought I would pass it on.

More neat stuff

I was reading Dooce that sent me to AlphaMom that sent me to Uncommon Goods that brings me back to causaleffect for your enjoyment.

Some of you may not have any problem talking at the table at dinner, breakfast or when ever. But I still thought this was a neat idea. They are called Table Topics. Plastic cubes with conversation topics. Tey cost $24.00 each and are in 6 topic versions. I might have to pick a few up.

It's a roller coaster ride

I checked my email this morning and received a really nice message. I will post a slightly edited portion of it here:

This is proabably the best insight to how everyone feels when I approach them. It's like wearing someone slese shoes for a few minutes. So youhave all ehard my side of the stories. Here is the view from "B".

Hi [causaleffect],
If you couldn't tell from the subject this is the woman from [BandN]. I'm sorry i never introduced my self, my name is "B". I just have a natural reaction to put my guards up when talking to a stranger and not give out much information. But i came home and had to check out your website, and i have to let you know that i think what you are doing is great. I respect it so much, I would like to be a part of it. I'm sorry I didn't want my picture taken at the moment because I was intimidated at first. Although I eased up I was still a little unsure because its not everyday I get approached by a stranger who wants to take your photograph. You never know nowadays, so I was just being cautious. I hope your not offended.
I now wish I didn't decline your offer now that I can see your project/page first hand. You definitely caught my interest though with your project. Its just weird because like I told you I wanted to be a bone marrow donor because of my sister, whom is in remission from Leukemia. I always thought about it, but i didn't even know where to get started. Now that you informed me that I can donate other organs while I'm still alive, I'm even more intrigued.
I really want to know more about all this and hopefully one day help someone in need. It would be awesome if you are able and willing to help me out with information on donating. And I would love to help you out and be a part of your project! Thank you so much for making me more aware and talking with me. Please write me back when you get time, I would really appreciate it!!!
Just incase you can't see my email address.. it is []
Thank-you again, "B"

I replied to "B" and told her that the photos are secondary to the message. The awareness of organ donation is what it's all about.

If she would still allow me to take her portrait, then it would be a nice little rose on the icing on a 365 day cake.

Needless to say, this message helped clean the feeling from yesterday. But there is still a for lease sign in front of our ice cream store.....


Things to ponder

I tried posting this last night but blog*spot (Blogger) was down for maintenance. Damn, I missed that memo.....
FYI for all of you that do come to the point that blogger is not available, I am mirroring (copying) this blog over on wordpress I know it's a lot of web sites. But that's what favorites and bookmarks are for right......

Here is
another blog I ran across.

Read farther down about a trend being reported in Hawaii. I guess it might be paradise, but at what cost?

This link almost brought me to tears.

Something Georgia is trying (the post not the site)

Another donation site but has differing numbers than what I get from the OPTN site

In an attempt to be balanced. Really, I have offerend so many pro donation links this one link that may offer an opposite stance isn't really balanced, per se.

I will say, I am not 100% sure the mission of the above web site. I think it is pro life in essence and organ donation MAY not be something they support. Again, I offer it as a "on the surface" opposition.

In my attempt to be legitimate (see an earlier blog post) I feel that everyone is responsible for their own decision. This project for me is to elicit conversation. A verbal awareness. No matter what the decision might become, you must talk to your family about it.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

In a handbasket

I guess two good days a week are all I am allotted. [sic]???

I headed out after work to see if I could find someone I could talk to and get a portrait for the project. I have taken my camera to lunch twice but haven't had opportunities for any pictures and of course I get ribbing form my co workers. "What's in the suitcase?", "You moving out?", "Are you coming back?" blah blah blah. I can take that kind of stuff.

So, I figured I would hit B&N again to see if JPG was on the shelves and see if there was someone I could talk to about the project. I wandered around quickly, looking for the mag, a photo business book and other misc items that might catch my eye. Alas, nothing. The employee said JPG the magazine isn't a regularly carried item. Bummer. I guess I will have to get a subscription and wait another 6 weeks to get it. It's already a bi-monthly publication so I am jonesing for issue #9 already.

So there I am heading from the magazines to the computer section and I happen across a woman browsing books. It is a book store after all.

I offer my card and I actually get to see her eye to eye. Once word. Stunning.

Normally I may observe someone for a minute or two then approach them. She was random as I was walking by. I offered her my card and immediately I could see the trepidation.

Uh oh, a stranger....

I quickly informed her about the One-A-Day-2007 project and asked if she was a donor. With enthusiasm she replied with a "yes". We talked a bit more and I offered her my history, and brought her current regarding my desire to bring about awareness as well as my clean bill of health. Regarding my Hemochromotosis, that is.

As we talked, I noticed a small swarm of employees busily restocking books right next to us. Funny, they never seem to be doing that until a few people are chatting together. Maybe it's me. I am sure that being a corporate store, they are a bit stuffy and protective. I accept that.

If I follow every rule, I will, as a photographer, never get the picture. I have to push the envelope. The project in it's essence is difficult for me. But the eventual outcome, will hopefully, be worth the effort.

Back to the story. As we talked, she felt more at ease but questioned the need for a picture (as opposed to just straight conversation). It was a question I didn't expect. Ever. Well, I am a photographer and it's what I thought of using as a medium for the project. There ya go.

She eventually declined the photo opportunity. But I implored her to keep the card and stop by the site and link to the blog. Perhaps someday, she will offer a few minutes of her time for a portrait.

I never did get her name. But that's not important. It's the message and a bit of hope for the nearly 95, 000 people waiting for an organ right now.
Especially for the 5,000 that may die this year while on the list.

So, I was pretty bummed regarding that result. I headed home, with another empty day. As I neared home, I see a sign in front of our local seasonal ice cream stand. The business is for lease. To me that means they aren't going to open this spring.


One of the highlights of this town is the Frosty Delights store where we will literally walk down the hill and across the street in a summer evening and have an ice cream treat. My daughter will be heartbroken. It will be akin to losing a family pet. I hope they are just feeling out the options. But last fall, they mentioned several times about selling. We just didn't think it would be so soon.


I love this idea

Textbooks for school is a RACKET. I love Virginia's idea. or a TinyURL here.

Legitimacy, how, who and when

Legitimacy is something that I have contemplated for some time. But now as I am in the throes of my One-A-Day-2007 organ donation awareness project, I think of it more often.

As the "Scooter" Libby trial begins in Washington DC, there are two bloggers that have access to the trial alongside 98 other "traditional journalists". Here is a link to the Washington Post article or a TinyURL of the above link.

How can I compare? Well, granted my project isn't at the level of a white house scandal. But I do hope that this awareness photo project brings about a positive effect. The effect can only happen if people actually talk about organ donation and of course that is what the scope of the project is all about.


As I approach people, I am sure one of the first things that pops into their minds is "why am I being bothered?" Secondly, "is this guy for real?" Then, it's probably "how do I get rid of him?"

They are standing there, nervous, with a business card in hand with a bunch of words and a long URL to a web site. Why did I use a free site? It was there. Why two sites? It's what I wanted to do. Was it a good idea? In hindsight, perhaps not. I am sure most people will not see a www causaleffect com address and think, HUH?! Others, don't care or notice.

How does this tie in with legitimacy? Well, where does legitimacy come from? Peers? The industry? Who? Who has the power to legitimize something? When do you know you are legitimate? Does something come in the mail like a belt buckle that says "You have arrived!" wear this hat/shirt/belt buckle/whatever with pride.

I hope site hits will help. I know it's silly, but having more people view the blog and photos on flickr and sharing the story will spread the site. But since it's not a good joke, get rich scheme or really funny YouTube video. I'm not sure how to go viral.

I guess stay the course and let time take care of it.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

It's easy givin it's tough gettin

Here's an article about signing up for various web sites, accounts and services. It written by a journalist that signed up and tried to cancel these "services".

It's an interesting read for sure, not at all surprising, but interesting.

The things you find

Okay, I'm sort of on a roll. Really, I am unfortunately getting away from the focus of 'this' blog that is organ donation. But I see things and I have to share. It's who I am.

I was on a MySpace page of one of my classmates. As I was perusing the page, I saw a familiar face. It was my cousins wife. I checked out her myspace page, then her artistic page, which of course can be seen here Both she and my cousin are very talented in so many ways. It was really neat to see her wonderful works. Again, it has been so many years since we have been in the same room. Possibly even 15 or 20 years. It can't be so.....but alas, it could have been that long.

It's kind of a shame if you ask me. But that is life as we know it. Hopefully, the internet can bring some of us closer with web pages and the rare email message.

Those of you that stop by, leave a comment. I would love to know what your up to.


The excitement is building

Yesterday was an incredibly great day. No, I didn't win the lottery, but I will play tonight.

I was able to get two portraits for my One-A-Day-2007 organ donation awareness project. I was also able to talk to three other people last night. One really nice thing about living in a small town is that I actually have regular communication with our council president the mayor and the founder/owner of a consulting business that has clients across the country. Three people that I find fascinating and full of guidance and insight. I sat and listened to them discuss all things business, customer service and such.

Why was I doing that....because I am part of a small group of dedicated people that are trying to revitalize our down town area. It's a pretty neat thing for sure. We have had a few $500.00 donations and a $40,000 grant to purchase a run down train station. Why? Well, it's the last train station standing on an old abandoned rail line that runs through town. Once it is restored, it will be a crown jewel so to speak in the efforts to get this area up and getting better.

After our meeting, I gave them my card with the flickr web site on it and a short explanation of the project goal(s). "J" kind of off hand said that I seem to always be into something. That was a crappy paraphrase, but it was a tremendous compliment. Thank you, "J". Sorry I couldn't quote you more accurately.

We have some momentum gaining in the revitalization process. Our 501(c)(3) is in the pipeline and we are just waiting for the.....government to do it's thing.....sigh.....

Other excitement include my 20 year reunion comming in August. I didn't think it would be this cool, but getting touch with a few people from high school, after 20 years is pretty fun. But I have ALWAYS been one to look back. I had such a great time in school. I'm not living in the past, they are just really good memories. Some of the people I am in contact with aren't even people I spent time with or hung around. But now that we are all adults and many with kids, we up. We realize what the important things are. I am sure once the reunion commences, there will be the normal clicks, but that's human nature. No biggie. There will always me memories. Hopefully good ones.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

The good doctors

While at my appointment, I was able to share info about my organ donation awareness project. One of the doctors, ("T") was already aware of the project and offered himself as a subject. Of course I was thrilled to comply. The other doctor, while observing, was kind of roped into it by me. See their pictures here

But "L" was an absolute great sport. Both are donors, which would have been expected. I really hope this "experience" with me today will garner some sort of dialog between them and others they come into contact with. Either by sharing the web site or better yet, use it as a soucre of inspiration and perhaps share the story with others if they feel that it can help.

"T" has given me some references to other people in the area of organ donation. "L" was kind of brought into the fold so to speak. But again, I think she was keen on the potential and perhaps surprised to the depth that I immersed myself into this sort of thing.

Really, the project isn't about changing minds or hearts. It's about bringing about awareness. A need. A dialog.

Ponder this (again)

Recognize the talent.
Challenge the mind.
Motivate the heart.

It's a good day

Last week I got a message from our 20 year reunion committee. It was pretty cool. Then yesterday I got an email from a person from high school that I hadn't talked to in...well years. Some people you will never forget. This was one of those people I doubt I will ever forget. Thanks for the message "N". It brightened my day.

There are about 50 on the list of found classmates. They only have about 400 to go. Wheeeeeeee.

The reunion committee members are doing a really good job. The web site is up and a few features will be added by the end of this month that will help bring back some memories. I can't wait to see them.

Secondly, but it should actually be first. I came back from my Dr. appt today and last months blood work came back with a DNA confirmation. I DO NOT have Hemochromotosis. It was something that was pretty troubling with the original diagnosis. Especially since having that, would mean phlybotomy (giving blood) for the rest of my life. Depending on the amount of iron im the blood. The symptoms/issues with Hemochromotosis is damage to the heart, liver, pancreas and other vital organs. But, if I lose some weight and eat better, (as we all should), things will go just fine.

So, a blast from the past. A good prognosis of the future. It's a good day.

Monday, January 15, 2007

Good things come to those that wait

Although "K" doesn't fit the "absolute total stranger" mold I have set for myself in shooting my street portraits. I asked her for a picture on Friday but she had some personal business to attend to before we were able to set aside a few minutes for a shoot.

I was willing to wait.

Today I was rewarded with a golden smile and wonderful poses. The results show. I had a tough time picking the ONE picture to post. I actually had 5 that were really, really good. Then I narrowed it to three. Then had to pick the one that I feel showed her personality the best. You can see the portrait of "K" on

In the two weeks I have been doing the One-A-Day-2007 photo project, "K" is the first that has some personal experience in organ donation. Her roommate in college had a family member that needed an organ transplant. She was able to see, and experience, the stress, grief and daily events that a family will undergo while waiting for an organ.

I feel "K" experienced something with her roommates parent needing an organ that will live with her the rest of her life. Hopefully, this project can reach out and elicit conversations regarding organ donation with everyone that comes to this blog and the photo blog.

If you are an organ donor. You really need to talk to your family about it.
If you are a beliver in Christ, it should be no different. Be proud. Stand up for your beliefs.

mac guy v Bill gates

In the wake of the iPhone announcement last week, here is a funny blog entry with Bill Gates having a conversation with the mac v PC commercial mac guy. (Actually it's their pictures, but you will get the gist when you read it.

Inspiring stories

Since I usually don't get to be home for the Nightly News, I have been getting the podcasts for the following day. On Friday's Brian Williams has a "Making the difference" section that I think is pretty neat.

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Cool beans dude

A couple of things to cover.

First, I want to thank "S" for her time with me for the One-A-Day-2007 organ donation awareness project. You can see her picture there. She thinks, it's "a very humanitarian thing to do". "Just not now, I'm using them". Nothing quite like a southern girl is there.

I have mentioned before, that I find something common in many of the people I meet. "S" is no different. As we chatted, Neither of us are "from around here". She still has a beautiful drawl and I pronounce my consonants. (I might not be able to spell them, but dang it, I can say them). She is form the south. And I am from "the" Northwest. Not even close right.

Her aunt lives in some city in Washington. Perhaps I have heard if it....."Kennewick"?


Small world.

Which leads me to this. I jsut got an email regarding our high school reunion. Pretty cool if you ask me. I loved the first one, can't wait for the second one.

Friday, January 12, 2007

An evening at B and N

I missed a couple of days of taking portraits for the One-A-Day-2007 Project. Then today, I had someone set up for after work. Yeah, it was kind of a "scheduled" shoot. But "K" and I will be able to make some time on Monday.

So off I go after work. I headed to Barnes and Noble to see if the latest edition of JPG the magazine had hit the stands yet......I has not. I already know none of my submitted pictures made it this issue. But I want to see those that did make it.

Then as I wandered through the aisles, I saw a guy sitting on the war books. He was pretty intent on his book, but I felt a need to ask him if he I could take his picture.

Like most, he was skeptical. But after about an hour and a half of talking about Buddhism, LA traffic, books, travel and the deeper meaing of life, I was able to get a great portrait of "G". I have to say, I normally only get a few minutes with people I approach. But after I left this time, it was pretty nice to be able to give some of my time with him as he was gracious enough to give me some of his time. You can see his picture here.

Next week I have an appointment with my liver doc. I am sure he will be disappointed that I haven't lost any weight but I do have something lined up on just that. More details this weekend. It's a pretty neat deal.

I haven't mentioned the OPTN numbers lately. So I will drop them here.

Waiting list candidates as of today 11:41pm
All 94,790
Kidney 69,695
Pancreas 1,752
Kidney/Pancreas 2,405
Liver 17,027
Intestine 232
Heart 2,838
Lung 2,860
Heart/Lung 137
All candidates will be less than the sum due to candidates waiting for multiple organs

Based on OPTN data as of 01/05/2007

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Something to look forward to

My brother sent me a link to a site of a guy that makes "six figures" from his blogging. Or maybe it was an article about a person making six figures. Either way, here it is

Come on people, start hitting the blog, like everyday, put me on your own blogs send it in an email address like the bad jokes and free hamburger at Wendy's. Mention me and link to me from your MySpace accounts. If you don't have one. Start one. :)

Once I hit the rich and famous level, I will promise to visit. And even pay for dinner.

The calling

I just read an article on about the 1st Brigade, 3rd Infantry being sent to Iraq for the third time. The first of any division in the Army being sent for the third time. Read it here.
While MSNBC is, in my opinion, usually derogotory regarding anything Bush has a hand in. This "read" different. The quotes from the soldiers in the article all pointed towards they all believe in what they are doing. Some references to them re-enlisting in order to complete the job were included.

If the soldiers believe, why then can't the American public believe in them and support them?

This truly troubles me.

Terminal news

On the iPod: Blink-182, The Beatles, Bob Marley, Avril Lavigne, Blues Traveler, Santana, Mark Farner, Phil Keaggy (damn he can RIP), Mylon & Broken Heart, Metallica, Billy Crocket,

I left Chi town yesterday and spent some time in O'Hare with the goal to get three portraits. Remember, I "promised?" to get more pictures of guys. So, the three portraits were suppose to be guys. I would have settled for 1:3 or 2:3 and of course the 3:3 would have been great.

I sat down for lunch and tried to make small talk with an older woman but she was much more interested in her paperback book. Then there was a guy in the corner that looked like he really wanted to be there, rather than where he was getting ready to go. A couple with a very small child sat slightly behind me and obviously had no time to deal with anything but their little boy.

I finished my chicken sandwich and headed back out to the mass of transiting people.

As I headed back to my gate and sat down, I couldn't help to see a man and a woman talking up a STORM. Let me tell you. I can talk. But this woman took hold of a person sitting on the same bench as her and SHE CAN TALK! WHOA nelly! I was trying to listen in but it was a firestorm of topics. All I got out of it was the man was possibly a pro bike racer ALA Lance Armstrong. I wanted to really try to get a picture of him, but I really didn't get an opportunity. The woman, an airline crew, was on 110% until she headed to the bathroom. Then the guy picked up his phone and texted someone. But the time he was done, the girl came back and started up as if she had never left.

While it's nice to talk, I think this guy was actually tired from it all. Then his girlfriend came in to the picture.....I had to stick around for this.....

The airline crew woman had heard so much about the guys girlfriend, she went right into it with her about their lives together and job, school etc. You should have seen the face if the girlfriend. THAT is what I should have taken a picture of. It was a who is this and why does she talk so fast to me and how did she know about my life.


An announcement came up for a gate change. Of course, I'm in O'Hare. So I headed over to the F terminal. I was hoping to start up a conersation with someone else heading over there but I didn't seee anyone that fit the description.

As I made it to the gate, there was already a mass of people getting ready to leave. So I leaned against the wall and was gaining the nerve up to talk to the young man next to me. Then his number had been called and he headed to the plane himself.

I am beginning to feel like a kid at his first dance. It sucks. I remember it WELL. It did suck.

Shortly after, another guy rolled up and leaned on the wall next to me and said hi. So we started to chat. He was from Canada and in manufacturing, but I wasn't really able to get to the point to ask for his picture. Then my number came up. Well, to board the plane anyway.

I am really intimidated with talking to men. Regardless of the goal for the One-A-Day-2007 photo project. I am just plain intimidated.

So our plane started to board and I headed to my own cattle call.

I figured my last chance would be to hope that a man sat next to me and I could have done a portrait right there in the seats. Well, wouldn't you know it. There are 72 seats on this plane. I am in one, leaving 71 and the guy that sits next to me is an employee of the direct competition to the company that I work for. He is the VP Of product Management and one of the FOUNDERS of that particular company.
While the "pretend spy" in me wanted to ask all sorts of questions. I didn't think I would have been able to pull off the facade for long. The biggest issue is that other company and my company aren't exactly friendly, I could forsee a lawsuit at some point and that's not quite worth it right now. They don't pay me enough.

Strike three. No pictures for me on day 10. My average is pretty dismal. About like the hits on the blog, they just aren't there. I'm goin gto have more NoPhoto photo's on the site than actual photos.


Wednesday, January 10, 2007

I am crying right now

It's after 1:00 am and even though I should be sleeping, I was browsing a web site that inspires me photographically. Then I decided to log into one of my email accounts and there was a message.

Nice work on the photo, your skill not the subject. I am impressed by your passion and drive to take on this project. Good luck in your effort. I plan to talk with my family this weekend about completing the back of my driver's license. Best to you and yours this year, J.

I am really crying because this message from "J" just touched my heart in a way I could not have expected.

Thank you....."J"

You got a problem with that

Well, no. Not that I know of.....

It seems that I have an inordinate amount of women in my photo project.
It also seems that I don't have enough guys. DUH!

"Why is that?", I ask myself.

I answer, "It's because there seem to be more women working where I visit frequently. And those jobs are more than likely customer service jobs."
Hint: I am a customer and they are doing a very fine job of helping me in what ever feeble task I am undertaking.

"What are you gong to do about that?", I say.

"Probably not much", I answer.

Besides. I am more comfortable talking to women than to men. Especially when it comes to asking them to take their pictures. I will try to balance it out. I promise. Soon. Really. I will TRY super hard to get more guy pictures. Maybe even tomorrow.

That's why things happen

We will probably never know. But tonight, after work, we headed to dinner. Well, another co worker and I did. Then since we are staying at the same hotel and she went to her room and I off to mine to consume some Baskin Robbins ice cream. Yeah, I know, I shouldn't be eating it.

Too bad.

Only thing keeping me from my bucket of pleasure is a small little swipe of my card. Hmmm, another swipe of my card. Okay, turn it around. swipe my card again. and again. and again.


Walk down to the desk to get it coded again.
My ice cream is melting.

The clerk took my card, asked my room number then told me I had been checked out of it.


Then before my ? stopped echoing off the walls, I spied my suitcase behind her chair. "Hey. that's my bag."
Well, yes, it is. "You were only confirmed for one night." Well, I wish someone would have told the airlines and the customer I was visiting. They all seem to think I will be here until Wednesday.

"We have a smoking room."

Uh, no thanks. But I will check it out just in case it's one of those smells like potpurri smokers.

It wasn't. But since she sprayed it with fru fru smelly spray. At least it only smells like smoke when you inhale. YUCK!

I stayed in the lobby until I could find another hotel.

I drove to my new one night stay. I went in and the clerk took my info and sent me on my way. I returned right after. Since she did say to ask if there was anything I needed.

Come to think of it, I do need a picture......

"H" is an organ donor. But just not right now, since she is using them (her organs that is). She is also a blood platelet donor for chemotherapy patients.

THAT'S WHAT I'M TALKING ABOUT! It's little surprises like that that help motivate me to keep on, keepin' on.

She was also the only person to see the flickr page and blog page before I took their picture. But I think she would have let me anyway. Very pleasant person and I appreciate her time and trust. See her picture here

Monday, January 08, 2007

High's and lows

19:45 hrs
There isn't much here in Plano Illinois now, but it looks like the place is growing very fast. Give it a little time, and it looks like Plano and Yorkville will be really nice.

I went to a restaurant here that had a now open sign up. Even on the night of the college football championship game, it was essentially empty.
Inside was a very nice modern rustic design. Exposed stones, wood floor and a fireplace in the corner of the pub. I didn't see the dining area, but I assume it would be as nice.
The menu was decent. I decided on Atlantic Salmon and a baked potato. It took a while for it to arrive but the waitress was pretty attentive.
When it arrived it looked good in the dimmed lighting. As I cut into the baked potato, you could feel it was sitting in a luke warm oven for quite some time
but never actually got cooked and they finished it off in a microwave. Oh, yuuummm. Then the salmon had so little color I thought it was a white fish.
The seasoning they had was good, but that's all I could taste. But I got lots of chances by chewing on the rubber sold as salmon.
At least the water was clear. I will give them one mulligan in that they had a birthday party with a party of 20 or so. So the lateness of my food can be attributed to that.
But if it's the BCS championship game I would have thought they would have enough kitchen staff to cover a few more people than extra. I think my food probably sat under the heat lamp
for way too long. It just messed up the potato and salmon.

Once I was done, I was walking out and noticed the girl at the front with little to do. So, of course I asked if I could take her picture for my organ donation awareness project.
She was tentative at first, but I explained the reason for my self initiated project. She went ahead and agreed. I think I got about 5 pictures of her that were nearly incredible.
She had just had some pictures done recently and her poses were perfect. Great head tilt. She flashed the smile and held it. I was actually intimidated by her composure.

Then the manager came in. She of course was on the defensive right off the bat. Understandably. It's her place. She took the business card from my hand and wanted to know what I was doing.
I explained, knowing full well that it wasn't gong to end in my favor. She went on to say that this isn't something that should be happening and that the subject was a minor
(which she wasn't) and this is a place of business.

Well, I know it's a place of business, that's why I just spent $25.00 on something passed off as food. How else will I take pictures of people in my course of daily activities unless I
actually visit businesses.

I conceded. Packed up my gear and walked out. I feel sorry for the girl. She was put on a spot and I am truly sorry for that. This photo project isn't supposed to create confrontation
but invariably, it will. The manager had a right to protect their employees and business. I appreciate that. But after getting a couple of really good pictures I cannot and will not use them.

Thank you for the time, sorry for the fuss.


13:00 hrs
Being in an airport is just a target rich environment. There are tons of people that are just waiting.
I didn't get anyone this morning before my flight out of PIT. Heck, I didn't even want to be awake, much less hustling for a picture.
I'll try later after I get to town after work today.

Time to go

06:00 hrs
[banter, neat stuff, travel]
I finally made it to bed around 2am. My alarm was set for 4:30 am.
I actually got up when the alarm went off. I guess I should treat it as a nap rather than actual sleep.

My flight to Chicago was okay but a little bumpy. On the iPod, Avril Lavigne, Giant, Aerosmith.
I found a program that will allow me to put my LEGALLY owned DVD's onto my iPod. The registration won't accept
yahoo or gmail addresses. So I am waiting for a reply from their support to see if I can still buy it.
I have used it in trial mode (it puts a BIG TRIAL MODE across the screen). It takes about 45 +/- minutes to convert a DVD and depending on the length
about 500-800 MB in size. Unfortunately, I will have to re do the 5 or 6 I have already done.
My list includes (but is not limited to) Blazing Saddles, Airplane, Mr and Mrs Smith, Monty Python Search for the Holy Grail and Seinfeld Live on Broadway.
I have a bunch more, but that's all I want to do for now since I have to re do them.

Sunday, January 07, 2007

Cuz it's good for the neighborhood

We went out for a family dinner tonight since I wasn't going to wait for dinner to cook itself and I was heading to Chicago tomorrow.

At the restaurant there weren't many opportunities from first glance. After we ordered, I decided to ask one of the wait staff if I could take her picture. She was incredibly attentive and gracious with her time. But the low light and the speed at her movements was almost too much for my camera. I really don't like shooting with a flash, especially in a confined space like a restaurant. But it seems that I had little choice.
She had finished taking an order and was entering it in their system and I headed back to catch her in the act so to speak.
We talked a little about the donation process, what brought me to this project and about flash photography. Then as I understood it, she had asked generally about actually donating to someone. Which would be called an altruistic donation. Where you donate to who ever can use what ever you can donate as a live person. Which would be a liver, partial lung and a single kidney.

"T" since you do "believe it's a good thing to do". Please check out my links here on the blog or send me an email and I can point you in the right direction of you still want more information.

You were so gracious in your time and were really at ease in front of the camera. I truly appreciate it. The rest of you can see her picture here