Monday, February 28, 2011

A Carnivore’s Guide to Cardiology: The Strangest Side Effect of All

September 28, 2010 was a momentous occasion: For dinner I had a slice of buffalo chicken pizza with real blue cheese. 

A mere seven months before; the only momentous thing about this would have been that it was only ONE piece.   However, the real big deal of this date is when I stepped on the scale in the morning, for the first time since junior high, a number lower than 180 stared up at me, hence the pizza reward.   (I also bought myself a Gremlins action figure; although since I bought action figures the year I was at my maximum: over 230, this is probably more of an addiction than a reward.)

On top of all that, my total cholesterol is now fifty points lower than my bad cholesterol used to be, and I’m feeling great, just hungry. (But then, I was always hungry, change there.) 

The reason for these startling changes is rooted in what can only be defined as a miracle:
I am, startlingly, able to eat vegetables.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Justice League Haiku

Last Son of Krypton
Truth Justice and Liberty
Up Up and Away

Dark Knight of Gotham
Endless nocturnal crusade
Hides grieving orphan

Amazon princess
Warrior pleading for peace
Truth personified

Fastest man alive
Scarlet streak through twin cities
Chasing destiny

Jade ring constructs shine
Unlimited willpower
Honest and Fearless

King of Atlantis
Lord of all beneath the waves
Ocean guardian

Shape shifter from Mars
The heart of the justice league
No longer alone

Unerring archer
Hot headed social conscience
Boxing glove arrow

Shrinking scientist
Travels along phone wires
Has a tiny chair

Winged warrior from Egypt
Retconned to be both

Sonic scream deafens
Pretty bird martial artist
Wears mother's fishnets

Gingold makes him stretch
Nose twitches for mystery
Sue makes him complete

Gnitsac slleps sdrawkcab
S'rehtaf cigam egaenil
sliat dna a pot tah

Elements transmute
Professor Stein shows the way
Flames atop his head

Android turns hero
Crimson wind contained within
Machine with a soul

Strange topic Haiku
Satellite based J L A
Why did I do this?

Monday, February 21, 2011

Dino Dan's Awakening

There’s a wide range of TV selections available to my daughter now.  Some are terrible remakes, and clunky attempts to copy a successful formula, but on the whole I’m kind of impressed.  I’ve seen quality comedy writing, excellent and varied music, fun use of guest stars, decent computer graphics, and superhero adventures that respect the source material.  Even the educational ones, for the most part, have valuable content and well thought out lessons. (I do miss the pacing of the New York based children’s programs from my youth, though.  In the time between Dora asking a question and answering it, you could fit three Electric Company sketches and still have time for Paula and Carole to race you down the mountain.)

Then there’s Dino Dan.  My daughter started watching this recently and it renewed her interest in dinosaurs (which is always good).  As a life long dinosaur geek, I was excited to see it. From the ads, I first thought that it was a live action series about a kid who liked dinosaurs, and had imagination sections using CGI to illustrate what the animals would look like in current surroundings, providing a useful size reference. 

When I watched the show, it wasn’t surprising to learn that it does suffer from a few common problems of current live action kid’s television.  The child performers all behave in that super emotional Grammar School play style, apparently taught at the Nickelodeon/Disney Channel School of Overemoting.  There’s also the often seen “Carnivore Discrimination”, where plant eaters are constantly rescued from the “big bad” meat eaters. (Every time Diego saves this week’s cute baby herbivore fuzzball or whatever from the predator, I say something like, “And then the poor hawk and his little babies died horribly from starvation.” This nets unhappy glares and thrown pillows from my wife and child.)   

Oh yeah…and the dinosaurs are real.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Up the Lake: Manhunt

Small Squad Tactical Deployment
Kids Running around in the Dark

Back in the days when there was still a large horde of kids Up the Lake, confined on the mountain for the entire summer, one of the main (legal) evening insanities was Manhunt.  Manhunt is a kind of team hide-and-seek, similar to Ring-a-leevio, and other childhood gang violence type pastimes.  When our mob played, it was always down by the lake, and in the surrounding tree and mud filled swamp (which we called “woods”). The looking team got one flashlight, and everyone else had to depend on their innate nocturnal vision.  This often resulted in any movement noted in the woods, be it human, animal, tree, rock, or hallucination caused from running into one of the other elements of the list, leading to the peaceful night air being split with the cries of, “bring the flashlight, he’s getting away!”  The rules were simple, if undefined.  One team hides, and the other team finds them. (Well, duh.)  When a hider is caught, he must wait on base until all of his team are caught, or until he is tagged by his own team mate, and is then free.  Considering the level of stealth required to move, unnoticed across an open beach, one would surmise that this would be a quiet game. One would, however, be outstandingly wrong.  The level of noise and activity on that beach could only be compared to what would occur if you opened all the doors in a lunatic asylum, put wasps in everyone’s strait jackets, and lit the place on fire.  Part of the problem came from a total lack of defining what “caught” was.  Originally, any contact or tagging counted.  This lasted an infinitely short period of time, and was replaced by the equally unsuccessful: “touch the person and say Manhunt manhunt 1-2-3".  As this was unanimously voted to be pathetically lame, it was finally replaced with the requirement that you have to stop the person from moving completely, pretty much beating them into submission. Then, they would gladly go to the bench that was base, lick their wounds and pass out.

Monday, February 14, 2011

A Carnivore's Guide to Cardiology: A Hole in Some of my Parts

There’s a major pothole in the highway of my cardiac exercise plan.  Here are the answers to the questions frequently put to me as I hobble by.

Q: What’s wrong?

A:  It’s very difficult to walk with this giant clunky boot Velcroed to my leg.

Q: Why would you wear such an uncomfortable thing?

A:  I have a high grade partial tear of the left Achilles tendon.

Q:  How did you do it?

A:  Mostly by being old and foolish. 

Q: How about an answer that doesn’t describe nearly everything you do?

Thursday, February 10, 2011

A Carnivore’s Guide to Cardiology: The Beginning

This is how my new lifestyle forcibly began, and how I told friends and family the news.

 “What a week I’m having” – Splash
“Your genes suck too kid” – Dad
Events leading to, on and after 2-19-2010

Executive Summary:  I’m OK.  I had no symptoms and am in good shape, but because of my family history I had early tests done that led to a stent, and new medications.   Combining these with my current exercise level and better attention to diet should be very strong preventatives.  The day after the procedure I did a half hour on the treadmill and felt great, so, really, I’m OK.

Presidents Day week was supposed to be pretty peaceful, my daughter was off, I had some vacation scheduled and my brother-in-law returned from travel. Therefore there were a bunch of family activities planned.  I had my physical the Friday before.  My weight was down a bit, and I’d been exercising every day, so I felt healthier than I had in a while.  Thanks to 40 looming on the horizon the next month, the doctor ordered pretty much every test known to man.  Instead of a normal vacuum tube, my blood test consisted of a small IV and a hand full of vials that deflated me like a Macy’s balloon on the day after Thanksgiving.  He also needed to find my prostate (I’m pretty sure that isn’t where I left it.) Then ordered an EKG which is where this all started.  There was a slight change in the waveform from when I had a pre-op one before my knee surgery.  Based on where I work, I was able to look it up and find out it looked like a “down slope in the S-T interval”.  When I used this phrase as an answer to, “What brings you here?” at the hospital, the tech’s said, “You’re an engineer, aren’t you?”  It’s nice to be recognized.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Superman casting: Like I needed something else to complain about...

With Middle East governments destabilizing, winter storms turning the gutters into leaking yet impenetrable ice dams, and a partially torn Achilles tendon in a boot that forces me to walk like RoboCop (as opposed to normally when I choose to walk that way), today  I’m going to complain about something serious: Hollywood’s use of Superman.

They’ve cast Superman for a new film, and he’s Henry Cavill an impressive looking relative unknown.  A fine choice as long as they used the, “Lois…there’s something I have to tell you,” scene from the original for his screen test…otherwise it hardly matters.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Up the Lake - Construction

Everything I Never Needed to Learn About Carpentry….
Wooden You Like to Know

Every single cabin Up the Lake was hand built, requiring the valuable carpentry skills to be passed from one generation to the next.   I was not what anyone would call a “fast learner”.  Just like everyone else, I started with my own coffee can full of discarded nails and pieces of scrap wood.  While my friends practiced various cutting and fastening methods, I hastily hammered my stuff together into a makeshift robot to play with (an early dawning of the inevitable geek hood).  However, through the years I have managed to learn (through bitter pain and necessity) enough to humorously pass on.