Early this morning, we were back at the University of Guelph for Maximus’s 2nd (of 5) radiation treatments.  Like the last time, it involved sedating Max and then targeting the tumor on the inside of his right cheek with an intense burst of radiation aimed at reducing the mass.  Every second week, he also receives what is called an “anti-cancer vaccine” designed to stop the spread of the highly aggressive melanoma.

Maximus - at this point, he has no idea what he's getting into.
Maximus - at this point, he realizes. Bummed.

As usual, we had to escort him in because he wouldn’t have gone willingly otherwise.  And, as usual, he cowered in a corner, trembling, until one of the staff members scooped him up and carried him off.  And, again, as usual, I felt terrible because he kept looking up at me with those huge pleading eyes, no doubt wondering what he’d done to deserve this.

We killed time on this trip by heading over to one of the big malls.  There I ate a gyro, perused some remaindered dvd’s, and accompanied Akemi on a stroll through a hat shop.  Time flies when you’re having… Well, time flies anyway.

Eventually, we headed back to the hospital where we found Maximus waiting for us – upbeat and happier than he’s been in weeks.  The mere sight of us had him scurrying about, tail wagging, barking excitedly.  I can only assume the doctor had informed him of the good news prior to our arrival.  Apparently, the radiation is having the desired effect and the tumor is shrinking.  A hopeful sign.

Maximus celebrates the good news!

Things have been so busy of late that I’ve neglected aspects of my life I’d once held dear: cooking, reading, and, most perhaps most importantly, my buddy Carl Binder.  Turns out I missed his birthday last week.  Fortunately, a friend was quick to remind me of the forgotten special occasion.  That friend being one Carl Binder.  And so, last night, we go together for a rare double date: Carl and Karen, Akemi and I.

Before heading out, Akemi preps Carl's present.
While waiting for Carl and Karen to show, Akemi and I pose for a pic.
Karen and Carl.
Yeah, that' s more like it.
Carl and his birthday present.
A handmade birthday card! How thoughtful. And Akemi made this one all by herself without the help of an assistant.
The cover. Me, of course, front and center. Flip the birthday heart to reveal a picture of Ashleigh.
The inside. Japanese style pose from Carl along with his birthdate and, naturally, a picture of Greedo from Star Wars. Above a photo of Carl surrounded by his friends (a seamless bit of photoshop places me there as well) accompanies the heartfelt message: "We like you Carl. Please live longer."
No doubt inspired by Trevor's birthday trademark, Akemi comes up with her own personalized version.
And, in addition to the card, yet another thoughtful gift. I hope he doesn't already have one.
We had dinner at Bier Markt. As I suspected he would, Carl loved it (although he did complain about the three block walk - this from a guy who supposedly runs marathons). We started with the house poutine and a wurst platter. Good eatin'.
Carl is delighted with his main: schnitzel! How prescient of Akemi.
For dessert, I went with the Belgian waffles and ice cream (two scoops). The dish of the night!

Our evening ended with Akemi knocking over and breaking a wine glass.  Mortified, she apologized profusely to the waitress, then turned to us and uttering the line of the night: “We go now”.

And we did.

The end to yet another memorable night in Toronto.

Thanks to everyone who has weighed in with their thoughts on the perfect douchebag car.  In answer to your question, sparrow_hawk, I do not drive a high-end black SUV.  I drive a high-end silver SUV only because I’m too lazy to keep a black one clean.  And, for your information, I chose an SUV for decidedly non-douchebaggy reasons: to shuttle my dogs to and from daycare, and to outmuscle assholes in smaller cars.

66 thoughts on “August 18, 2011: Maximus’s Radioactive Roadtrip II! Carl’s Belated Birthday Dinner!

  1. your news on Maximus made a decent day great. Glad to hear the fellow’s doing well. And a belated happy birthday to Carl!

  2. Happy Carl is back!! He must have been depressed because of his upcoming birthday and then you go and forget it too. Double wammy! But you more than made up for it with the dinner and masterful card by Akemi. Is there anything she cannot do?? So creative! I love the line, “We like you Carl. Please live longer.” Never quite heard that sentiment before in a card. I’ll have to try it…maybe…maybe not.

    And look at the big smile on Maximus’ face! Me too! Glad to hear the tumor is shrinking! Way to go little suger baby!

  3. Oh my gosh, your head looks like it is being served on a platter in that picture on Carl’s card!! Classic!


    Kick-ass. Go Maximus!!!!!!!!

    August 10 is his birthday? Hmmm.. That’s the day my mother died. I won’t be able to forget that next year for appropriate birthday tweets.

    Akemi makes better cards than Trevor.

  5. Whew! I’m relieved. I didn’t want to cast aspersions on your automobile – they are so hard to clean off.

    Great news about Maximus! He does look really happy – must have picked up on the “good news” vibes from his doctor and you.

    Happy belated birthday, Carl! I hope Joe picked up the check for your birthday dinner!

    Yum, German food! But a poutine and wurst platter? Really

  6. Yikes, if you want Carl to live longer, steer him away from enormous dishes of poutine! That thing looks like a delicious, artery-clogging disaster!

    Glad to hear the good news on Maximus. Poor little love. He looks really good at inducing guilt. What a tragic little ‘bummed’ face!

  7. Great post!
    Tumor shrinking! That’s AWEsome!
    And looks like a fun birthday night… creative card! Very nice.

  8. Now we know why Carl looked so sad in yesterday’s blog. Happy birthday Carl! I think Akemi has a future in greeting cards. “Please live longer” says it all. Watch out Hallmark! And I am soooooo glad that the radiation seems to be working for Max.

  9. Sparrow? What about Das? She started it! And yeah, outmuscling (is that even a word?) assholes in Mini Coopers is huge fun!

    Glad Max is doing so well! More kisses to him from all of us. 🙂

  10. Wonderful about Maximus! I’m very happy you’ve had some good news at last, Joe. Here’s hoping it’s the start of a new trend.

    And belated Happy B-day to Carl…should I be terrified that he and I are apparently the same age…?


  11. It’s good to hear some positive news about Maximus. Hope the little guy can make a full recovery.

  12. 1. {{{Huggles Maximus}}} You go, little guy! 🙂

    2. Love Akemi’s card!

    3. Carl is such a goof!

    4. “I chose an SUV…to outmuscle …smaller cars.”
    Yeah…I rest my case. 😀


  13. Happy dog! Check
    Delicious looking food I can’t afford! Check
    Hot guy, um, check-ish.

    We just decided to go to Leavenworth WA for Octoberfest this year – looking forward to the jaegerschitzel.

  14. @Deni: Actually, I was the one that started on the SUV’s. I’ll take full responsibility. But das expanded and embellished the idea, as she does so well.

  15. Great to hear that the treatments are working for Maximus! I hope that he keeps getting better. Also, a belated Happy Birthday to Carl.

  16. Happy Birthday Carl!!! sorry we missed it, hope it was a happy one.
    Terrific job on the card Akemi, how cute. I want those waffles, yum..
    Big hugs to Maximus.

  17. Wonderful news about Maximus’ tumor.

    I was beginning to wonder if Carl had forgotten how to smile – good to see that’s not the case. Happy belated birthday!

    Akemi’s card needs no assistant, (although Trevor does a teriffic job) she’s got a fantastic and unique style of her own.

    SUV eh? Makes sense with the dogs. I’m a sportscar person myself – one of those folks that you “outmuscle” on the roadway. Oh well.
    Nola S.

  18. Happy belated birthday to Carl! Looks like you guys had fun.

    And to all the blog regulars, I think we are almost at the end of hubby’s job search. He has a video interview with the CEO of a company and several others tomorrow morning (5th time talking with the company), and he has been told he is the leading candidate for the job. Yeah!!!! I will let you all know how it goes.

  19. That is great news about Maximus, I hope he continues to improve.

    I have some decent news myself, I got the job. It will be third shift, over night. I’m just glad things are changing, hopefully for the better.

    Before I forget, I was going to ask if there was any chance that we might get a Q&A with Mike Dopud?

  20. ((((((Maximus)))))) Tumor shrinking!! Good news! 🙂 Poor Maximus. I just hope he understands that these treatments will help him get better. Poor thing just looks so bummed. Joe, after each treatment, you should reward Maximus so he feels better about going to these treatements. May be take him to the park, or give him lots and lots of belly rubs. 🙂

    Love the homemade birthday card for Carl! 🙂 So sweet! 🙂 Wow! What scrumptious looking dinner Carl had.

  21. Hey Joe!

    Glad to hear the therapy is working and that Max is all smiles! Keep it up, 3 more to go!

    Curious, you going to be stopping by Fan Expo next week? With Michael Shanks and Lexa Doig in town, I was wondering if you would be stopping by the convention centre as well!

    All the best!

  22. Great news for Maximus, lil’ sweetie. How soon would the cancer vaccines begin to work their magic; right away or will it take time to see changes?

    I love German and Austrian food, especially the briney red cabbage and tangy salads; my mouth is watering.

    Akemi’s birthday card was wonderful, especially Greedo and “please live longer!”
    Tomorrow I’ll be on the hunt for a better grater so that I can perfect my potato pancakes.

  23. Happy bd to Carl!
    Wow, long tiring day moving daughter back to college (sniff sniff) and a few days now, oh wait, make that several days of internet issues, so bone weary—then I ready the good news on the radiation! WTG Maximus. Put a smile on my tired face.

    Well and this had me laughing out loud: ::::And, for your information, I chose an SUV for decidedly non-douchebaggy reasons: to shuttle my dogs to and from daycare, and to outmuscle assholes in smaller cars.:::: I missed if someone indicated you either ARE a douchebag or drive a douchebag vehicle. Non-dog folks have no brains. 🙂

  24. A smiling Max! A smiling Carl! An Akemi card AND schnitzel! What a lovely blog! Huzzah!

  25. yea to Maximus. Keep on getting better, buddy.
    Happy Birthday, Carl. You’re not getting older, but getting better.
    Love your card, Akemi. so pretty. Tell Trevor he is relieved of his card-making duties. akemi is a real artist in many ways.
    That supper looks great. I never thought of waffles for desert, but hey, sounds like a good idea.

    So Toronoto is not a complete bust. With such good friends around, that must make it a much more enjoyable situation.

  26. carl got PB cups for his birthday? lucky.

    those belgian waffles look good.

    good new on the maximus front!

    BTW that really was me ho commented on yesterday’s entry (about d-bag cars). i frelled up the e-mail, that’s why there was a different avatar.

  27. Booyah! Take that, tumor! This is what you get for being all “hey i’m just gonna be a useless piece of crap and sit around all day and completely not pay attention to how my cells are replicating”!

    Meanwhile, happy belated birthday to Carl!

    Uh oh, it looks like Akemi is moving in on Trevor’s totally-legit card-making business! Are they going to compete? Is Schnitzel Inc. going to crush Mallozzi Slavery Inc., or will it be the other way around?

    So much tension!

  28. Wonderful news…THANKS…yay for Maximus. Something we can smile about!

    @Akemi – the card is very nice. And, Carl is smiling!
    Good work.

    @Lisa R – hoping for the best!

    @ Echelon – way to go!

  29. Happy Blog & Happy Dog!

    That smiling pic of Maximus says it all. I want to hug him. If he’s happier than he’s been in weeks, he must be feeling much better. Terrific news! 😀 (Thank you God, for answered prayers.)

    Yesterday, f.t.l.o.B. wrote:
    Carl! It’s good to see you again. You need one of Akemi’s beautiful bento breakfasts to pep you up. Then Joe could take you to that German restaurant for lunch or dinner.

    Okay, that’s freaky. 😯 Was just reading the blog last night and being sassy, NOT in ANY way spying on Toronto. Promise! Who knew that Akemi would have something to pep Carl up and make him smile? Or that you all had probably just been to the German restaurant? It might mean we’ve been around the blog long enough to guess what you’d do next, Joe. Eek!

    Akemi, your birthday card was fabulous! And cute, and funny. You are so creative. You and Joe really should open a shop together someday. And by the way, killer shoes, too. 🙂

    Carl and Karen, way to photo-bomb Joe. That was great. 😀

    Joe, Bier Markt does look like a yummy place to fête a German friend. I love my Mom’s German potato salad. Sauerkrat with caraway & sausage is her specialty, too. Anyhoo, you do know how to feed people.

    HaPpY BiRtHdAy, Carl! What a nice photo of you and your wife. You have a warm smile! Hope you don’t reach out long distance and smack me, but this is a compliment… that picture of you really reminds me of a younger (and living) Roy Disney. (You’ve probably heard it before, since you used to work there.) But he had a kind face and twinkly eyes. We miss ya in the blog comments!

    Am still doing a happy dance for Maximus! What a good blog, Joe. Now I want Belgian waffles. 🙂

  30. That’s great news about the tumor shrinking. 😀 Thanks for keeping us updated.

  31. @Lisa R & hubby – let us know when the job goes through. First Echelon, then you… maybe a trend in the making? We can all hope!!

  32. Just finished an excellent OGN: Petrograd. (For those unfamiliar with the term, OGN means original graphic novel, or a book created solely to be published in the graphic novel format without appearing first as individual comic book issues.)

    Now, back to Petrograd. I’ve been looking for comic book stories that aren’t all magic, demons, and mutants. It hasn’t been easy. So when I saw this graphic novel listed on my comic shop’s website, I was intrigued, simply because it had the word ‘spies’ in the description. Spy stories usually don’t have magic, demons, or mutants in them. So I called up my comic book guy (Lord Jermaine of Acme Comics in Greensboro, NC!), and asked him to check it out for me. He gave it a good recommendation, so I got it, and I was not disappointed!

    This is a tale of British spies and the death of Rasputin, based on recent findings. Names (with the exception of the main character), places and events are all part of the historical record, making this an excellent book for anyone interested in Rasputin, his death, the Russian Revolution, or the workings of the British Intelligence. This is a fictionalization of actual events as opposed to pure non-fiction, but as close to reality as you can get, which is what I really liked about it. No magic, no demons, no mutants…just a really good, and exciting, read. The book itself is lovely, too – the size of a large hardcover novel, with heavy pages and a cloth-reinforced spine with gold lettering – an excellent addition to my library!

    And the main character wasn’t even an albino! (But he is British, so that means he probably is exceedingly pale…which works, too!** 😀 )

    (** Blame the Jersey Shore for my aversion to crispy, suntanned flesh. 😛 )


  33. Best card ever! I have to remember that homemade ones are so much better than store bought.

    Happy B-Day Carl! I love Reese’s too.

    Maximus! So happy to hear the good news.

  34. G’day Joe

    Go Maximus. Tough little guy, all cheering for you.

    Happy Belated Birthday to Carl

  35. Thanks for all the birthday love! @for the love of Beckett: I did get the Disney comparison when I worked there (but to Walt, not Roy), especially from the old-timers who actually worked with him. It was very cool (I’ve been a huge Disney fan since I was a kid).

  36. So, so glad to see Maximus smile and hear the good news. Paws crossed for more to come!

    Akemi – lovely work! I look forward to the entire “Schnitzel, Inc” line of greeting cards and stationery.

  37. ça fait plaisir de voir Carl aussi heureux! j’adore la carte que vous lui avez faite 🙂 !!
    J’espere que ça va aller pour maximus!!!

    Gros bisous!

  38. It is a good sign that Max is so happy to see you. He doesn’t seem stressed out at all! They must have good staff. I hope he feels great today as well.

    You don’t like hat shopping?

    The Binder’s make a cute couple.

    Have you ever eaten waffles with fried chicken? It’s a southern thing.

  39. That is great news about Maxius!!! Thank you for keeping us informed. Here is the tumor disappearing.

  40. Ponytail, BMc, and sylvia@ The interview went great!! It was with the director of operations, vice president of operations, and the CEO! The director, who would be hubby’s boss, said they all really liked him. He said he would call hubby later. We have found out that they are already checking his references! Yeah! And he told one of the references that hubby was the #1 candidate. I am going to be on pins and needles until we find out!!! Thanks for thinking about us.

  41. @echelon: congrats onthe job

    @LisaR Continuing to send good thoughts for a positive outcome there. Sounds VERY promising. Fingers and toes crossed for you all.

  42. So echelon got the job? Great!

    LisaR: I’ll keep my fingers crossed.

    Did anyone see the news on this case? http://www.wreg.com/news/wreg-west-memphis-3-guilty-pleas-entered-20110819,0,4150711.story?track=rss
    Such a mess and there are no winners. If these boys are guilty, they are getting away with murder. If they are innocent, they’ve lost 18 years. Either way, there are three little boys that are dead. So sad that they truth may never come out.

  43. @ Carl, wow, there is a resemblance to Walt Disney! Pretty cool that some of his old friends thought so, too. Just hadn’t seen photos of WD in a long time, until today. You could easily pass for a cousin! 🙂 If Joe & co. let you leave Toronto now and then, do you think you’d ever write for Pixar? Would love to see something you wrote for them.

    @ Lisa R, have been following your family story for a while. Sending best wishes for a best outcome your way! What was it that took you out to the west coast?

  44. Oops. Forgot to turn the faucet off and left the bold running. 🙂

  45. @for the love of Beckett: Thanks so much. Hubby has been unemployed for several months because he had surgery last fall. (except for 2 month contract job in the spring) I homeschool our two kids, and we got to the point where we couldn’t stay in our house. So, we came out here to stay with my parents. Seven people in a house has not been a lot of fun. I bet you can understand that I am glad about this job. Will keep everyone abreast. Thanks again.

  46. Happy Belated to Carl…

    Did you see the interview Jason Momoa gave to Movieline?

    Sorry don’t know how to do a short link…he does mention Atlantis…Great things are happening for him…so glad…

    I watched a youtube video of the Game of Thrones panel at ComicCon and someone mentioned that Khal Drago was huge when Jason came out…Seems like he put on more weight for Conan….

  47. Chiming in late with a whole bunch of (well-deserved) “@’s”:
    @Echelon: Congrats on the job!
    @Lisa R: Continued good luck to the hubby!
    @Carl: Belated happy birthday!
    @Maximus: Way to go buddy! (and @Max’s docs: Good work!)

    – KB

  48. Thank you for this post! You really make me laugh with your birthday and congratulation cards and I needed it, because I just wrote a letter myself, but that s*** made me cry.
    No matter. I’m ready for a new start.

    NICE CARD AKEMI!!!! :>

  49. Carl is 10 years and 1 day older than me!! I was born on 8/11. Tell him I hope he had a great birthday. So when is he starting his own blog?? or does he already have one? – Jennifer

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