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Me and my Prostate Cancer
I went to my follow up appointment about my recently discovered Prostate Cancer. I got to listen to all the information you could ever want to hear about the prostate and the type of cancer I have. They couldn’t have done more without putting me in a theater, showing a short film and feeding me popcorn. I appreciate the doctors bringing me into their decision making process.
I traveled across town to the Atlanta VA hospital. It’s one of the best run VA hospitals I have ever seen. Add the fact that it sits next to Emory Hospital (from where they borrow doctors), it’s a perfect place for me to be treated. I can’t get regular insurance with my recent medical history. I was with Blue Cross, but they dropped me. My wife worked at a church and when she left, Blue Cross used this as a chance to get me off their books. (I was on her policy) I found out that churches are exempt from supplying Cobra and insurance companies are not required to maintain coverage. Since then, I have been using the VA and my backup plan and I have been very happy with their care.
OK, I have Prostate cancer. It’s not going away, but it’s very slow growing. They gave it a Gleason (not Jackie) score of 3. That puts it in the middle of a “1” to “5” scale. “5” being the worst. It’s only on one side and fully contained within the prostate. These evaluations are based on the biopsy they took in early January and are subject to change if I have surgery. There are side effects with all the types of treatments available, but all treatments have a 95% to 98% effective rate of totally removing the cancer.
At this stage I feel confident that I will get through this with only little pain and discomfort. I do have a high pain threshold, so don’t read too much into the pain level. I expect I will go with surgery, that way they can best see inside and assure me that they got it all (remember 98%). I will have to monitor the various tests for the rest of my life to make sure it doesn’t come back.
The one test that they use is called a PSA (prostate-specific antigen) test. Cancer cells are by nature unstable and die very fast, but replacement cells grow fast too. When the cancer cell dies it leave behind this antigen and it can be measured in a blood workup. The amount should be 0. When it is detected, the next determination is how much is it going up since the last test. I read somewhere that all men will get Prostate Cancer, if they live long enough. If you are getting older and or have a family history for prostate cancer, make sure your doctor is screening you for this type of cancer.
What can you do to make it harder for the cancer to take hold, or if you have it, lesson the effect? Help the immune system. Eat right, get plenty of exercise and control the amount of alcohol you drink. The exact amounts of these recommendations can be determined by your doctor or health advisor. There are many web sites that list the best types of food to eat. You only get this body for a short while, so it’s up to you to take care of it. Unfortunately, it begins to fail you before you are done with it. Take the best care of it, starting when you are young and it will last longer and be stronger.
Thanks for all the prayers. Who better to treat medical problems than the creator?

Holiday greeting
"I always pray for world peace", a line from Groundhog Day. How many days or years does it take to learn the important things in life? We don't get to re-live the same day over and over like Bill Murray's character, but we do get a lifetime to learn.
The key to learning our life's lesson is to slow down from time to time and look around us. Is there someone with a need? We don't have to save the world, but think what we would do if we only helped those we come in contact with. It can be hard to do at first. We have to take our eyes off OUR goals and OURSELVES for a short time. Once we learn how to do this we will find out that the old saying; "What goes around, comes around" is true. You may not see an immediate benefit to helping someone, of course they will, but you are planting seeds that will grow in time.
It may seem odd or even out of character for you to do this. Now is the perfect time. Everyone expects to see people helping people at this time of year. You will blend right in. If you are already comfortable helping others, this may seem too basic. This is not for you, but for those that don't know how to help. The Scrooge character, (another Bill Murray role), is a perfect example. There still are Scrooges out there and they usually have the resources to help, but not the will. If you know a Scrooge, pray for that person and be patient.
I only have a couple things to say to our faithful helpers out there. Continue helping, but be sure to recharge from time to time, or you will become less effective. We are all grateful for your hard work and know that if you don't see a reward down here, you will in Heaven. This is a simple call, help others. It doesn't say how much, but assumes you have the will and the means.

I wish everyone a Merry Christmas and a joyous New Year

We are Americans First
The elections are over(Applause). There are no more commercials, signs and billboards. I have my TV back and can now see adds for Viagra, breakfast cereal and new cars. You would think everything is back to normal, but what is normal. The election results show one thing, we are still divided. This can not be good for the country as a whole. There are strong feelings on both sides of the political isle. When we welcome new citizens to our country, they should attempted to meld with us first. The idea that we can be multi-cultural is inherently dangerous. We need to first learn about each culture before go off different directions. We should be taking the best from all cultures and put them together to form America. "United We Stand, Divided We fall"
I look at the red and blue map and it appears that the majority of the country is red, with the high population areas on the east and west coast staying blue. This amounts to rural vs city. There are definite differences between the two areas, both cultural and lifestyle. These differences should not divide us, we are still Americans. We need to learn about each other before we form any opinions. Never prevent people from talking. If they have something good to say you can learn from it. If they are talking trash, let them. Their audience will get smaller and smaller and they will go away on their own.
My advise (you knew it was coming) is to dislike issues, not people. Most people choose their point of view based on their environment and the input they get. I know that the people I have talked to were willing to discuss the differences calmly, as long as I stayed on the issues and did not attack them. Reasonable people can agree to disagree. Hate for people can never have a good outcome, most wars have been fought over this kind of hate. Be prepared to defend you beliefs with knowledge and not opinion. Allow people time to understand, knowing that some will never change. Who knows, they may be waiting for you to understand too. There are many beliefs from the past that we now find completely wrong. "The earth is flat or the center of the universe". Seems absurd now, but people were arrested for going against these beliefs.
We are a free America. We don't always do things right, but we do try to help people. We give to world charities more than any country in the world. We pay most of the cost for the UN. Right or wrong, we help countries in need (when asked) even if that need is military. Be kind to your fellow Americans, we all want the same thing. Life liberty and the pursuit of happiness. (That should be written down somewhere)

Taking Control - Thank you Leverage
I wanted to give everyone a recap of the past few months and why once again I am thanking the cast and crew of Leverage. What started my “problem” was when my step father passed away last November. I became responsible for my 87 year old mother. Here memory loss was worse than anyone in the family knew about and she couldn’t live alone. My sister took her through the main winter months, but she came out to Georgia to live near us in February. This was the most difficult time for me. I started focusing on her problems and began to let myself go. I stopped working out and began to gain weight. I lost focus on what I needed to do and became overwhelmed with her situation…I’m sure I’m not alone in this.
I got a break when I got to travel out to Portland for the Leverage “ConCon” convention. I made my first ever video of myself and sent it to the cast and thanked them for holding this convention in the midst of their busy filming schedule. They received me and the video with such warm and caring attitudes that I began to forget about my problems. They also helped to repair my memories of the “Hollywood” types I grew up around. These people were great and they didn’t act like they were better than everyone else. I could have been involved with acting and film making when I was younger, in fact my major was Theatre Arts. The people I was involved with in Los Angeles and Hollywood were shallow conceited jerks. I left that environment and career 30 years ago. I wish I had fallen in with people like I met at ConCon. I left Portland and felt rejuvenated for a couple months.
I still hadn’t fully gotten a grip on my problems, but I was thinking about them. Next I got the chance to return to Portland for Christian Kane’s music video. I fully expected to be in the video, but I was becoming painfully aware of my weight gain. I had been shooting more videos of myself, some for Leverage and some for my acting coach (I had started back with what I loved to do). I helped around before the filming started , but didn’t make it on camera. Again I was completely impressed by the people pulling this together. I stayed in the back at Dantes and watched as Tim Hutton directed, he’s great. The rest of the Leverage film crew filmed this really cool music video of “House Rules”, they make their work look so easy (but it’s not).
I remembered back to one of the Leverage ConCon panels when I think both Dean Devlin and John Rogers remarked that they were having fun again. I was feeling trapped in my “well paying”, but boring career I had created for myself. I wanted to have fun too. I signed up with an acting coach, joined the gym (complete with personal trainer) and began taking control. I am going to be an extra in a remake of Footloose this week, it’s filming locally. The direction I chose feels right for me, it’s never too late to take control and turn the ship if necessary. Everything we do in life requires effort, but if you love what you do, it’s not really work.
My mom is still living in an assisted living home near us, we go out to eat or have her over a couple times a week. Her problems are still there, but I’m dealing with them the correct way. I look to God and family (in that order) for strength and help coping. I’m in charge of my life and the direction. So the main reason I’m writing this is to encourage everyone to not lose sight of your goals with the problems that are out there. Change what you can, but accept what you can’t. Be good to yourself first, then be good to others. I hope this inspires someone to take control and make a bad situation better. Remember, your attitude CAN make someone feel better about themselves. Thank you cast and crew of Leverage for inspiring me.

Leverage - Season 3
The season 3 openers were way above the cut from the previous seasons. Seeing back to back shows also added fun to the evening. I have been in a room full of people twice to see these new episodes. I agree they were fans, but they were cheering, booing and laughing at the actors in the scenes. That has to translate to good ratings. Taking the team to international levels will give us more villains and exotic places, we have already seen a little of that.
I already know many of the guest stars, since we follow the shooting on Twitter and Facebook. This year will be full of great Guest stars. Richard Chamberlain will be in the next episode, that's so cool. Leverage also is being seen as a great show to be "seen on". When Leverage came out it was compared to the A-Team, now we have a re-boot of the A-Team in a movie. That's the influence of the show.
Be sure to watch the show and stay in touch with the fans and actors on Twitter and Facebook. TNT also has a forum where we discus the show in more detail.

Christian Kane Music Video - Portland
Christian Kane’s music video of House Rules

I arrived earlier than the extras call of 11 o’clock. I took a cab because the roads were blocked all around us because of the Rose Festival parade. While we were outside, we had a great view of the parade as it turned the corner around the Dante’s parking lot. I crossed the street after being dropped off and I saw Rachel Olschan walking at a distance. I waved and she spotted me, my pass past the security tape. She introduced me around and finally to Patsy, “Larry is here to help”.

I helped set up chairs, and miscellaneous chores before they found something specific for me to do. I was put in charge of getting the drink props ready for all the extras that were soon to arrive. We had empty bottles, glasses from the bar and cut lemon and lime slices. I’m now a bartender. We used plain water in the bottles (they were dark brown) and sparking water in the drinks, topped with a garnish. I got to work with Byron filling the bottles, we used a hose near by. Byron seemed to be their go to guy when ever they needed something. I could see why they trusted him to get things done.

A quick note: I will use Twitter names here whenever I mention someone (If they have one), since that’s the way we all know each other.

Rikkisixx arrived soon after I did and she was assigned to the prop bar too. The early morning fog was beginning to burn away and WE became the object of burning. There have only been 4 days in the history of the parade where it didn’t rain and today was one. Someone came by and gave us badges, ALL access badges no less. Now that the props were ready, I was assigned to guard the Actor’s food table. How did they know I was on a diet? They set up two tables, one on each side of a truck. The extras had chip and dip as well as iced water and drinks. The “actors” had fruit, sandwiches and cold drinks too. Let’s just say that the actors had better food, but nothing extravagant.

The extras started arriving and they were directed to the check-in lines. They were split up alphabetically and this part seemed routine. They were then directed to the chairs that we earlier set up. The covered awnings that were probably set up to stop the rain were used to stop the sun. Now we wait. I got to see a number of friends as they arrived. I couldn’t get too far away from the food tables, so I had to wait for them to find me. The first two I spotted were Colewagoner and Yusaku777. I don’t want to go any further trying to name everyone I saw, one because I’m over fifty and the memory is the first thing to go and two because I don’t want to leave any one out. Look on Twitter and search for hash tag #CKvid. You will see the pics posted and those that were there. Like I said we waited. The “Stars” started showing up. We saw Tim, Aldis, Christian and Steve, or at least I did from my vantage point. They all said “Hi Larry” as they walked by, but I could tell they were there for work.

I went inside before the filming started and got to see some of the planning. The overall Video was planned, but they were working out the details inside the bar. I managed to get to the back where they were watching this on a monitor. I’m probably not going to be in the video, since I made the choice to watch the behind the scenes stuff. Hiding in the back so that we were not visible to the camera when it paned around CK, were Rachel myself and others. We had some “Guest” appearances from Gerald Downey, Beth Riesgraf (who was walking around taking pictures the whole time) and right after take 2 as Tim was watching the take right in front of me, Jonathan Frakes brushes past me to look at the monitor. Frakes commented that this was awesome and then started kidding Tim a little. Aldis Hodge was walking around and in some of the shots giving CK a high five whenever they passed by each other. Gina was the only one from Leverage not here. She must have been dealing with the baby. We missed you Gina!

I want to point out that the technical team was on loan from Leverage (paid loan I assume) and they knew their business well. I could now wonder around more, but still stayed in back. I got to briefly talk to everyone, but the filming schedule had to stay on track. At one point I was standing next to CK when Beth called him over to take his picture, “This spot has good lighting”. After she takes a number of shots, she looks up at me and says “Larry, you’re next”. I walked over to the same spot and she took a number of pictures of me too!

I’m finding this getting a bit long, so to wrap up. After all filming was done, they thanked everyone. CK was extremely grateful to all his fans for showing up and helping with this video. They asked all the extras to exit out the various doors and cleanup began. I helped for a while, putting up chairs, collecting the props and some general trash cleanup. I went around and said my “Thank You’s” and Good Byes. I walked back to the Hotel, it was still a nice day.

There was a concert that night at Dantes for some additional filming and then finally fun. There was a great time had by all and we are waiting for the release of the final video, which they said would be a couple months. I have tried to be as brief as I could be and still cover the details of the fun we had, and of course the hard work. The fans endured the heat (one passed out), the crew simply had another work day and they work long hours.

Edited to remove spoilers :)