Tag Archives: Spam

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New Facebook Scam


(no, this not about RCH4…)

Do NOT accept any Facebook friend requests from a “Rodney Frisard”. I did, and he immediately started a conversation asking if I had “heard the good news”. I said that I had “been there done that with the whole Jesus thing” (note to others: Please don’t evangelise to me as I really have already been there and done that and am not interested in religion outside of sociopolitical discussions). He responded by telling me some story about how the UN was giving “us” money to combat poverty, and he “noticed my name on the list” when he was supposedly signing his documents for $150,000. Obviously this is a total scam along the lines of a 419 or lottery email scam. When I said I would not be giving my social security or bank information, he deleted the conversation.

Do not give out any personal information to this or any other new “friend”. I don’t know if this is limited to Facebook, but remain vigilant. Beware.

Transcript below:

“Conversation started Saturday
Rodney Frisard: 10/1, 8:57pm
hello,how are you doing?

Eric Valor: 10/1, 8:58pm
all things considered, quite well.

Rodney Frisard: 10/1, 8:59pm
glad to hear from you,hope you heard the good news?

Eric Valor: 10/1, 9:00pm
not to be rude but been there done that with the jesus thing.

Rodney Frisard: 10/1, 9:01pm
About the money grant offer?

Eric Valor: 10/1, 9:04pm
how much to whom from who for what

Rodney Frisard: 10/1, 9:05pm
the united nations are helping us with some grant money this days,they said the money is to help eradicate poverty and maintain a good standard of living, i got $150,000 from them and i also saw your name on their winning list when i was signing my document with them,hope they have contacted you as well?

Rodney Frisard: 10/1, 9:06pm

Eric Valor: 10/1, 9:10pm
and a nigerian prince wants to share $40m with me…

Rodney Frisard: 10/1, 9:10pm

Eric Valor: 10/1, 9:12pm
I have been around the internet since before it was the internet. I have seen all these scams before.

Rodney Frisard: 10/1, 9:14pm

Eric Valor: 10/1, 9:18pm
all you need is my social security and bank account information
not gonna happen.
anything more before I block you, report your profile, and make a very public blog post with international distribution?

**You cannot reply to this conversation.**

[at this point the person deleted the conversation and ran away]

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A Boost For Joost

“There are two things people take for granted every day: Time and health. When you lose those, then you wake up.”
— Joost van der Westhuizen

In 1994, Nelson Mandela became the first black President of South Africa. That same year, South Africa also hosted the Rugby World Cup. In that tournament, the home team, the Springboks, overcame considerably unfavorable odds and decades of international isolation (due to the government’s policy of apartheid) to win the Rugby World Cup. This is widely considered one of the greatest moments of South African sporting history and was the basis for the 2009 film Invictus. On that team was a young scrum-half named Joost van der Westhuizen.

In 2003 Joost retired from rugby. By then he was a superstar of South African rugby, having more caps than any other South African player. In 2011 the rugby world suffered a blow with the news that Joost had been diagnosed with ALS. Rather than retreat from the world, Joost decided to make a difference in the lives of people also coping with this dread diagnosis. He formed the J9 Foundation to educate the general public and medical practitioners about ALS, grow ALS research in South Africa, and to aid other South African PALS.

Joost’s story has been made into a documentary called “Glory Game“. In addition to the trailer, you can read about the movie here. The film has done well in South Africa and is now going to be shown first in Vancouver, British Columbia, on April 10, 2016 and in Los Angeles, California, on April 15, 2016. I urge all my friends in those areas to go see it. I have seen it and it’s simultaneously hilarious, upsetting, and uplifting. It shows the courage and determination which made Joost van der Westhuizen such a force on the rugby pitch. I am proud to call him and the Director of the film, Odette Schwegler, my friends.

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Oh, Holy Nerve…

All I Want For Christmas Is My Phrenic Nerve

sung to the tune of:

Everybody pauses and stares at me
My breath is gone as you can see
I don’t know just who to blame for this catastrophe!
But my one wish on Christmas Eve is as plain as it can be!

All I want for Christmas
is my phrenic nerve,
my phrenic nerve,
see my phrenic nerve!

Gee, if I could only
have my phrenic nerve,
then I could wish you
“Merry Christmas.”

It seems so long since I could say,
“Sister Susie sitting on a thistle!”
Gosh oh gee, how happy I’d be,
if I could only whistle (thhhh, thhhh)

All I want for Christmas
is my phrenic nerve,
my phrenic nerve,
see my phrenic nerve.

Gee, if I could only
have my phrenic nerve,
then I could wish you
“Merry Christmas!”

Happy Holidays to PALS around the world!
blue nerve xmas

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Doggone It!

As my readers might know, I have a PEG tube for feeding. I also have a little dog who is more like a 5-year-old in a dog suit. She is quite devious, even having learned how to stomp the foot lever that opens the lid on the trash can.

For the past few months, ever since I stopped using medical formula to correct the diabetic condition it created, I have been giving her a few tablespoons of my meals. Last Friday, I was working on some email while lunch flowed into me. Out of the corner of my eye I noticed some movement and realized it was the rolling stand from which the feeding bag was suspended.

I didn’t feel the earthquake that must be responsible for the stand rocking back and forth and nothing else seemed to be moving (especially my computer which is suspended from the ceiling). A quick mental inventory revealed I wasn’t on any drugs that I was aware of. Motor neuron disease doesn’t involve hallucinations.

I didn’t feel possessed…

Suddenly I felt a tug on the feeding tube and heard the tell-tale clicking of canine toenails on hardwood. That little thieving pooch was chewing the tube trying to get more of the clam chowder I had shared 30 minutes prior! I swear she knew that I couldn’t do anything to stop her. But I also knew that, being 17 years old, she is a little hard of hearing. So rather than ring my call bell which she can hear and knows means trouble for her, I made my computer call in my caregiver on the sly.

Busted doggie!

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The Cost of Breath

Despite having a “fatal illness”, with a little technology and someone to keep an eye on me for the inevitable adjustments, I can live until age draws the final curtain on the story of my life. My quality of life remains high regardless of my current certain physical limitations. There is nothing wrong with my mind: I am still as intellectually productive as ever.

Nothing would please me more than to earn my own keep (and I am not alone in this desire), but people classified as terminally ill don’t appear to be considered viable members of the workforce. So I volunteer my time to raise awareness and try to understand relevant research, sharing what I learn with others (a part of my previous career and the genesis of this blog). I find this work fulfilling and it keeps my opinion of my quality of life quite high, focusing on accomplishment rather than loss. Those close to me can attest that I can get cranky between projects when I have nothing to do so I try to stay busy. As I am quadriplegic I must use a computer system that tracks my eye movement to approximate the use of a mouse. With this computer I write and respond to email and online chat offering technical advice and answering questions from other PALS, scour the Web for research information, create videos to promote awareness, created a website (with coding assistance from a friend far more skilled than I), and play with my home computer network among other projects.

The decision to vent or not is a highly personal one with many factors contributing to the decision. I chose to live on a vent for a few reasons. First, I had finally recently achieved real happiness in life and didn’t want the dream-come-true to end so soon. Second, I saw some hope on the horizon with the state of research into the disease and possible ways to overcome it and I still hold this view more than ever. Last, and important to my perception of quality of life, I still had a contribution to make to the world and I have only grown more intense in that belief. I am simply not done living, with all which that experience entails.

But my every breath now comes at a price. Because I cannot move to assist myself I must have an able-bodied person within hearing distance of any alarms or signals from my equipment. The skill requirements aren’t high and can be taught in a weekend, but nevertheless someone must be alert and on duty 24/7. Family is often preoccupied by the demands of daily living, volunteers are few and far between, and government assistance is non-existent for people in my condition. The one factor which should NOT be involved in deciding whether to live on a vent is the cost of attendants. Medicare will not provide for in-home attendants. There are even very few institutions which will take people on mechanical ventilation and hospice is not an option due to the vent being a life support device. With the enormous wealth floating around our for-profit healthcare system it is astounding that no insurance (not even my high-end corporate policy) will cover the cost of attendants. So my only option, given my desire to live, is to become a beggar on an offramp of the information superhighway. This is terribly humiliating to me.

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Interesting things happen to one’s body due to ALS. One of the most trivial effects I have noticed involves my fingers. I am quadriplegic so my hands spend all their time on a (relatively) flat surface. Grasping or any voluntary flexing of my fingers has been nothing but a memory for years. This allows the skin to tighten and smooth a bit.

You know those little wrinkles over your knuckles on each finger? I don’t have any anymore! I noticed this during physical therapy a few weeks ago and wondered what these little keratin-tipped bony alien hotdogs were doing at the ends of my hands. Truly a sausage-fest.