52% intelligent. 9% modest. More monkey than bear.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

there are more questions than answers....

OK. Bear with me here. I've been meaning to do this for ages..... I was going to bury it in my archives somewhere, but I thought that would be silly. This is probably ridiculously conceited of me, but there you go.

Anything else you think I should add?
Frequently Asked Questions (April 2009)

-> Why SwissToni?

Good Question. The quick answer is because it’s a pseudonym I chose in haste when I originally set up this blog (which I had no idea would last this long), and now I’m kind of stuck with it. I’ve used the name on and off as an internet alter-ego since about 2000 when I was inspired by the Fast Show character of the same name and the comedy moustache I was wearing in my profile pic at the time.

And no, I don’t have any connections with Switzerland and my name isn’t Toni.

I sometimes answer to the name “Tim”, but you can call me ST if you like.

-> What are the WTs?

Well, not to beat around the bush, but the WT's is what I like to call my Multiple Sclerosis.

The WT’s are the “Weirdy Tingles” and refers to the symptoms of numbness and loss of sensation that I have had (to varying degrees) across my body since June 2005. Since then I have been seeing a couple of neurologists and trying to get some kind of definitive diagnosis. Initially they thought it was something called Transverse Myelitis – I had a lesion (or sclerosis) on the lining of my cervical spinal cord. This lesion has damaged the surface of the myelin sheath that protects my spinal cord. This damage is disrupting the passage of nerve signals down my body, resulting in numbness, pins & needles, and a loss of power across my shoulders and down my arms.

As of April 2009, this diagnosis changed when my neurologist decided that my symptoms had moved on, and another MRI scan subsequently revealed that I have another couple of lesions, tipping me into a new diagnosis of Multiple Sclerosis. Unlike TM, this is something that most people have heard of, and something that has a number of preconceptions. For me, it is what it is, and there's not a whole lot I can do about it. I'm about to start something called "disease modifying treatment", which means I'm likely to start injecting myself once a week with some drugs that are hopefully going to slow down the progression of my condition. Well, there is no cure, so we might as well do what we can, eh?

Still, I don’t really like to dwell on what might happen to me in the future - every single case of MS is different, apparently, and it does not automatically follow that I'm going to end up in wheelchair, and so I try to focus instead on where I am today. My physical capacity has been a little reduced and I am forced to do some specific exercises three times a week to stop the muscles of my upper body from wasting… but basically I can still do all of the things that I used to do: I run, I swim, I cycle, I play football.... I was training for the London Triathlon in 2005 when I first started experiencing symptoms, and I'm hoping to start doing triathlons again some time soon.

It’s not so bad. I just like to whine about it from time to time.

As you might have guessed, I've written about this loads. To read the whole sorry story from the beginning, then you need to start here, then go here, here, here, here, here, here, here, and here .... that should keep you going for a bit. Do be sure to check out pictures of my brain though. That's kind of cool.

Click here for all the most recent posts tagged for "WTs".

And that's more than enough about that.

-> What’s with the song lyrics thing?

You mean why are all my post headers song lyrics? I don’t know really. I think it’s because I’m really bad at thinking up interesting and original headers of my own. I always try to pick a lyric that is relevant to the post, and I try not to use the same lyric more than once.

I like it and it amuses me, anyway.

-> What’s an Earworm?

Sadly they are not an invention of mine, although they are very much a feature of my life. "Earworm" is the literal translation of the German phrase “ohrwurm” and is a very descriptive term for a tune that gets lodged on your mental jukebox. You know when you catch yourself singing a song and you have no idea why? That’s an earworm. Apparently some people are more susceptible to these than others. I’m very susceptible.

Every Friday I publish a list of the “Earworms of the Week”. Originally this was a countdown of the top ten tunes that had been buzzing around my head in the last week, but now it has been expanded to include lists by other bloggers too (“Guest Editors”).

The only rule really is that every list of earworms should be tunes that have been genuinely stuck in your head in the last week. I’m not interested in lists of the really cool music that you currently dig because that’s not what earworms are about. Part of the joy / madness of an earworm is that you have pretty much no say what songs stick or how they get into your head. You might be listening to Mozart all week but can’t stop earworming Crazy Frog or Westlife. That’s just the way it goes. I don’t care if you list songs, ringtones, jingles or whatever… the only qualifying requirement is that they have been stuck on your internal jukebox.

-> How do I get to be a Guest Editor?

That’s easy. Just email me at swisslet AT gmail dot com and ask me. I’m not precious. The more the merrier.

-> What’s the Earworm Podcast then?

The podcast is an occasionally downloadable file of as many of the songs in the current Earworms list as can possibly be found. You can get it here. I don’t actually have very much to do with it at all. It’s put together by a Mexico based friend and blogger. You can subscribe to it through google or iTunes if you like, and it generally makes a really interesting 35 minute listen. I’m not entirely sure how legal it is to distribute music like this, but the intention is only to introduce you to new and interesting music. If you hear anything you like, I imagine that you will want to buy it, right?

-> Who’s C?

C is my beautiful and long-suffering partner of some 10 years or so. As of June 9th 2007, she became my wife too. Lucky girl!

-> What do you do for a living?

I spend a good proportion of my life working in a reasonably well paid but eternally frustrating job as an IT Consultant. I don’t really like to talk about it much as, in the grand scheme of things, it’s just not very important to me. And no, I’m not that kind of IT geek. I have a Masters degree in Medieval History, dammit! You’d be surprised how relevant the deposition of Henry VI in 1461 really is in the modern retail environment…

-> Do you write anywhere else?

Yes, from time to time I contribute to the following blogs:

Cheer Up Alan Shearer - a football blog run by LB
The Art Of Noise - music talk
The Auditorium - more music talk
Reader Meet Author - creative writing. Sadly neglected by me.
Post of the Week - Does what it says on the tin. I'm on the judging panel (now defunct)

Mainly I'm here though.


I’ll add more stuff here as it occurs to me. If you really want to know something though, just drop me a line or comment it below.



  • At 6:00 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    What did you think of Robbie William's Rudebox album? And should I get a tattoo?

  • At 8:07 pm, Blogger Cat said…

    In keeping with the comment above, and adopting the Mystic Toni theme, should I go to the blogmeet on Saturday? And am I destined to forever be the spinster of this parrish?

    (Or will I buy me a magic eight ball?)

  • At 9:38 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Huh. All this time I had thought the WTs stood for Wiggley Tingles.

    Cat, though I am not Mystic Toni, I am confident that you are not destined to the the spinster of any parrish. You, my dear, are amusing and lovely and you have a gorgeous spring coat. Eventually, you'll find a gorgeous man to match.

  • At 10:14 pm, Blogger Statue John said…

    This is all very good, but I think you missed a trick in not calling these Frequently Unanswered Questions (FUQ).

  • At 11:30 pm, Blogger swisslet said…

    rudebox? Never listened to it, although I thought the single was interesting but ultimately shite.

    Tattoo? Well, I've got one and I love it. Would I recommend it? I found it an extremely positive experience, but I'm sure it's not for everyone.

    Blogmeet? Yes. Absolutely. Spinny? Hardly.

    FUQ? Maybe.


  • At 11:24 am, Blogger Cody Bones said…

    What's your Golf Handicap?

  • At 8:09 pm, Blogger Poll Star said…

    Perhaps the Song Lyric Titles came from covering every spare scrap of envelope with lyrics on any correspondence about 15 years ago.

    Great days, crazy nights.

    BTW have spent 20 mins skimming your blog, and bar the broken finger have no idea what is going on with you!

    See you for a cake in a week and a half.


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