Monday, January 19, 2015

Best Not Mess With Mr. Inbetween

TUMOR HUMOR: A lawyer finds out he has an inoperable brain tumor. What’s more, it's so large they have to do a brain transplant. His doctor gives him a choice of available brains - there's a jar of rocket scientist brains for $10 an ounce, a jar of regular scientist brains for $15 an ounce, and a jar of lawyer brains for the princely sum of $800 an ounce. The outraged lawyer says, "This is a ripoff - how come the lawyer brains are so damned expensive?" The doctor replies, "Do you know how many lawyers it takes to get an ounce of brains?"


Thursday, Jan. 1 – 7:06 p.m.

Chemo really cut in hard. Sick all day yesterday and today. Happy Effing New Year.

Friday, Jan. 2 – 8:52 a.m.

Feeling a little better but not great. Then everything started going downhill around 4 a.m. Spent the time between hurried visits to the John and lying in bed, exhausted, but unable to sleep. Listened to audiobooks. Chemo finally relented somewhat – enough to take my morning medication and write this note. I think I’d better grit my teeth and prepare for the long haul on this.

Sunday, Jan. 4 – 11:26 p.m.

Hallelujah! First good day!!!!

Monday, Jan. 5 – 8:36 p.m.

Another good day, although to Kathryn’s consternation, my weight has once again plummeted. Down to 145 and change. My sweetie has vowed to fatten me up to the 150s before the tenth chemo session beings next week. To cap the day, I managed to score some cool presents for my grandson, Ryan, who will be joining the mature ranks of the ten-year-olds on the 12th of this month.

Tuesday, Jan 6 – 1:35 p.m.

It was a decent night as nights go and when I woke up this morning I felt well enough that I was actually pleased to greet another day. Good breakfast: cream of wheat with bananas, apple sauce and peach yogurt (Greek), mixed in, topped off with a hot protein drink. That oughta get the day kick started.

Saw a great movie last night – The Wipers Times - thanks to Netflix. It’s a true story about a group of British soldiers fighting in the trenches during WWI putting out a satirical newspaper that became immensely popular - to the consternation of the Brass.   

Wednesday, Jan 7 – 7:32 p.m.

Had a decent morning so was rather surprised when the chemo devil jumped me about 1:30 or so. Curled up in a ball in bed until it was “safe” to come out. Feeling a little better tonight. Hope it keeps up.

Horrible news from across the Big Pond. Terrorists killed the editor and staff of the French satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo.

Je Suis Charlie!

Thursday, Jan. 8 – 9:31 a.m.

Wishes came true – had a truly peaceful night. Feeling fine this morning. Planning a small outing with Kathryn a little later. Hope it keeps up.


Sinking spell in the afternoon. Felt delicate during the evening, but was well enough to enjoy a British miniseries on Netflix.

Friday, Jan. 9 – 12:46

Difficult night. Slept until after 10 this morning, which was a good thing. A little bit of a downer when I realized that the whole chemo thing begins again next week. But, wait, Cole. Only three more sessions left. Two and a by God wakeup!

Saturday, Jan 10 – 5:42 p.m.

Decent morning. Rocky afternoon. Yech! Do you hear, me? Yech and double yech!

Sunday, Jan. 11 – 3:44 p.m.

Feeling a little better today. In fact, I felt well enough to attempt to catch up up on my social media obligations. Noted a brand new chemo patient complaining about her first session. Said when she got home all she could manage was a little pizza. Became deathly ill. Ate something similar the next day. Wound up in the hospital. Hmm. So much for pizza being Nature’s Perfect Food. Even though it comes with its own vegetables: mushrooms, onions and pizza sauce.  Who would have guessed, right?

First thing I learned is to never eat anything you really care about in the early days following chemo. The food will taste so bad you’ll never be able to eat it again. Just the thought will tickle your gag reflex.

The chemo diet calls for bland, blander and blandest. Nothing fried. No sauces. No spices. No dairy products. No beans. No vegetables that haven’t been cooked to death. Nothing from the produce section that isn’t boiled. (Your immune system is shot and the produce section of your average supermarket is crawling with germs.) On the first day the safest thing to eat is mashed potatoes, with maybe a dollup of plain Greek yogurt for protein. Chicken/vegetable broth will make you feel really good. So will blueberry soup. (Click this link for the recipe.) Toast with melted soy cheese is also a winner. Another thing: Your body needs all the protein it can get to fight the cancer. Six ounces of fish or chicken would be perfect. Toast with melted soy cheese is also a winner.

I drink a protein supplement every morning: two scoops of Syntrax whey protein isolate in eight ounces of soy milk.

Avoid sugar. Also, avoid red meat and pork products. In fact, avoid anything fatty. If you don’t, your new home will be your bathroom.

A good desert that also has a lot of protein is any of the Ben & Jerry frozen Greek yogurt deserts. If all else fails, stick to the BRATT diet for a few days. It consists of the following: Bananas, Rice, Apple sauce, Tea (decaffeinated) and Toast. Also, the toast should be white bread, not wheat, or any other of the healthier varieties. It goes against everything anyone has told you in the past, but when you are undergoing chemo treatments, Wonder Bread is your friend. Everything else will have you protesting at both ends.

Monday, Jan. 12 – 7:46 p.m.

First off: Happy Birthday, Ryan!!! Love, Grandpa & Grandma.

My grandson’s tenth birthday proved to be a fortuitous omen. Turned into a damned good day. Felt well enough to enjoy a visit with my brother, Drew. That always cheers me up.

Had a late afternoon nap and now I’m getting ready to enjoy a peaceful Monday evening – starting with The Antique Road Show. Maybe we’ll meet some new zillionaires tonight.

Tuesday, Jan. 13 – 10:55 a.m.

Went into the IV clinic at 9:30 a.m. to get my port set up to begin tomorrow’s tenth chemo session. Sigh… Also had blood drawn for tests. Hoping like blazes they don’t call me in for a blood transfusion, which would put off the chemo treatment for a week.

It may sound weird – as if I’m looking forward to being poisoned. But at this point, with only three more treatments to go, I want to get on with the damned thing.

And so I wait near the phone – fingers and toes twisted into pretzel shapes.

Wednesday, Jan. 14 – 2:37 p.m.

The call didn’t come, but that was the last of the day’s good news. Very bad night. One of the side effects reared its ugly mug, to join its sisters. (I think of them like a witches’ coven, stirring up a pot full of poisonous curses.)

I’ve mentioned before that chemo causes you to lose feeling in the bottom two fingers of your hands. Actually, it does have some feeling – a numb kind of tingling. Last night the tingling became full blown pain.  

And then I was sick this morning ON THE WAY TO CHEMO, which usually does not bode well. However, a double dose of cookies finally cut in and by the time the session was done I was feeling better.

Came home, ate some of Kathryn’s magic hot blueberry soup, watched an episode of “Breaking Bad” and now I’m typing this. When I reach the end of this sentence I’m going save the document, put the computer to sleep and then I shall stagger into the bedroom and join it in slumbering spirit.

Thursday, Jan. 11 Thru Sunday, Jan. 18 – 00:00 - 00:00

Too sick to write, much less think.

Monday, Jan. 19 – 1:21 p.m.

Martin Luther King Day. Remembering when I first heard the news of his assassination. I was standing in the kitchen of my apartment in Venice when I caught the shouting on the TV set in the next room. Went to see what was happening… and the whole fucking roof caved in on me. Damn. Damn. Damn.


The past several weeks – and especially the past few days – have not been kind. But so what. As they say, life is hard then your toe of your boot meets the rusted bucket.

Didn’t sleep at all last night. But the bucket remained upright, so that is the good news.


With the deadline hanging over me the past month or so, I pushed myself to vote for the Oscar writing awards – Best Original Screenplay and Best Screenplay Based On Material From Another Medium.

Every year around this time I’m deluged with DVD’s and scripts from the various production companies pushing their wares for Academy nominations. The security, as you might imagine, is tight. Everything is delivered via Fed-X or UPS and you have to sign for it. The DVD’s have special watermarks with my Screenwriter’s Guild ID, so if a pirate is busted with one of them they know where it came from: Moi!

During the brief times I’ve felt well enough, I’ve made it my duty to see the movies and read the scripts. As it turned out, 2014 was a pretty decent year for drama. It was also a year when many of the two hundred million dollar blockbusters didn’t pan out, with box office being off quite a bit. In other words, a good year for art but a lousy year for business.

For obvious reasons, the movies I favored tended to be about real life people fighting to overcome tremendous obstacles. With chemo poisons boiling in my belly, I suffered along with Louis Zamperini in “Unbroken;” Alan Turing in “The Imitation Game;” Cheryl Strayed in “Wild;” and the Shultz brothers in “Foxcatcher.”

The writing in those films was superb. So was the acting and filmmaking in general, but as a (self-proclaimed) wise producer once told me, “Allan, a great actor, or director, can make a bad script better, but they can’t make it good.”

Watching these movies and reading the scripts did more than just entertain me during difficult times, they also helped me “accentuate the positive, eliminate the negative, latch on to the affirmative” and never, ever fuck with “Mister Inbetween.”

Anyway, I happily chose five films for each of the two categories and clicked the WGA “submit” button to send them on their way.

Stay tuned and I’ll let you know if I was a movie picker hero or a goat.

(Here’s a treat: Listen to Bing Crosby – backed by the Andrew Sisters – sing “Accentuate The Positive.” You just have to click this link.

And now I’m going back to bed to catch up on my sleep. When I wake up, I’ll post this.

Then it'll be one and a wakeup.

Here's where to get the paperback & Kindle editions worldwide: 

Here's what readers say about Lucky In Cyprus:
  • "Bravo, Allan! When I finished Lucky In Cyprus I wept." - Julie Mitchell, Hot Springs, Texas
  • "Lucky In Cyprus brought back many memories... A wonderful book. So many shadows blown away!" - Freddy & Maureen Smart, Episkopi,Cyprus. 
  • "... (Reading) Lucky In Cyprus has been a humbling, haunting, sobering and enlightening experience..." - J.A. Locke,


THE HATE PARALLAX: What if the Cold War never ended -- but continued for a thousand years? Best-selling authors Allan Cole (an American) and Nick Perumov (a Russian) spin a mesmerizing "what if?" tale set a thousand years in the future, as an American and a Russian super-soldier -- together with a beautiful American detective working for the United Worlds Police -- must combine forces to defeat a secret cabal ... and prevent a galactic disaster! This is the first - and only - collaboration between American and Russian novelists. Narrated by John Hough. Click the title links below for the trade paperback and kindle editions. (Also available at iTunes.)


A new novel by Allan and his daughter, Susan

After laboring as a Doctors Without Borders physician in the teaming refugee camps and minefields of South Asia, Dr. Ann Donovan thought she'd seen Hell as close up as you can get. And as a fifth generation CIA brat, she thought she knew all there was to know about corruption and betrayal. But then her father - a legendary spymaster - shows up, with a ten-year-old boy in tow. A brother she never knew existed. Then in a few violent hours, her whole world is shattered, her father killed and she and her kid brother are one the run with hell hounds on their heels. They finally corner her in a clinic in Hawaii and then all the lies and treachery are revealed on one terrible, bloody storm ravaged night.

BASED ON THE CLASSIC STEN SERIES by Allan Cole & Chris Bunch: Fresh from their mission to pacify the Wolf Worlds, Sten and his Mantis Team encounter a mysterious ship that has been lost among the stars for thousands of years. At first, everyone aboard appears to be long dead. Then a strange Being beckons, pleading for help. More disturbing: the presence of AM2, a strategically vital fuel tightly controlled by their boss - The Eternal Emperor. They are ordered to retrieve the remaining AM2 "at all costs." But once Sten and his heavy worlder sidekick, Alex Kilgour, board the ship they must dare an out of control defense system that attacks without warning as they move through dark warrens filled with unimaginable horrors. When they reach their goal they find that in the midst of all that death are the "seeds" of a lost civilization. 

Here's where you can buy it worldwide in both paperback and Kindle editions:

U.S. .............................................France
United Kingdom ...........................Spain
Canada ........................................ Italy
Germany ..................................... Japan
Brazil .......................................... India


Venice Boardwalk Circa 1969
In the depths of the Sixties and The Days Of Rage, a young newsman, accompanied by his pregnant wife and orphaned teenage brother, creates a Paradise of sorts in a sprawling Venice Beach community of apartments, populated by students, artists, budding scientists and engineers lifeguards, poets, bikers with  a few junkies thrown in for good measure. The inhabitants come to call the place “Pepperland,” after the Beatles movie, “Yellow Submarine.” Threatening this paradise is  "The Blue Meanie,"  a crazy giant of a man so frightening that he eventually even scares himself. 

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