Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Full contact hockey.

 Well, here's an invitation which I will probably pass on.  -CH

-------- Original Message --------

Subject: Friday night Lights Hockey

Date: Tue, 31 Jan 2006 10:41:14 -0600

From: russell mcdowell

Friday, March 24th, Pepsi Ice Midwest will be hosting a one time only, Friday Night Lights game played by regular NHL rules for any player of any skill level that is 18 years of age or over.  That's right, full check, 5 minutes for fighting, no game misconducts (unless warranted under NHL rules).  It's time to put your money where your mouth is.  The faint of heart need not apply.  

General game rules:

* Three 20 minute stop clock periods.

* Full check.

* 5 minutes for fighting, then back in action unless a game misconduct is warranted under NHL rules.

* 20 players per team.

* Ice clean between 2nd and 3rd periods.

* 2 ref and 2 linesman system for officials.  

If you are interested in testing your mettle and seeing how you would play under the same conditions as the NHLers, this is the game for you. This is a one time only offer, so if you pass now you may never get the opportunity to play contact hockey again. Cost is $20 per player, you will not be rostered until you pay.  Teams will be evenly drafted out and players notified well in advance of game.    

Please call or email to get signed up or for any questions. Russ 913-568-<omitted>

Vietnamese Noodle Soup

I have a stack of books which I have partially read.  Not that they are bad, or even mediocre, but I have to switch between books to keep from being bored with one or the other.  I prefer non-fiction. 

I'm about 75% through Natural Cures 'They' Don't Want You to Know About by Kevin Trudeau.  He's a paranoid freak on some points, but I can't disagree with him too much.  Some drug companies are insidious with the marketing, and what big company isn't more worried about making money than the absolute health of their customers?  I'm not naive about that.  I'm pretty sure that most medical doctors do a lot of guessing.  I'm also sure that if you mostly eat food that comes from boxes and cans loaded with artificial flavoring, sweeteners, coloring, preservatives, and chemicals they don't cover in organic chemistry class, there are health consequences.  He's not wrong about that.  I can vouch.  It's almost impossible to avoid a lot of acidic foods, however. 

I always think twice about the side effects of over-the-counter stuff.  Alleve will destroy your stomach lining.  But everything is all about the dosage.  How much of any toxin can your body handle without any negative effect?  Even Vitamin A can cause ataxia and may even make your hair fall out if you took even five times the RDA for a period of time.  We bombard our liver with tons of bad stuff already without adding to the problem by overdosing on vitamins.  I did notice that food companies add B vitamins to even crackers and such to make you more hungry.  Insidious.  Why is there sodium in Coke?  Makes you more thirsty later.  Insidious.

He's right about antibiotics, too.  I have experienced negative side effects of antibiotics, even months after taking them.  If you kill all the good bacteria in your intestines, you have to replace it or foul things happen.  Yogurt with active culture is good.  I take Kyo-Dophilis caps that contain millions of bacteria. . . especially after drinking gin or vodka.  If the good bacteria aren't there to help you digest your food, they are also not there to compete with the bad bacteria.  Yeast from beer and bread can get on top of you and cause chronic indigestion and heartburn. Candida is one of the bad ones.  Giardia is positively terrible. 

Kevin goes on about the toxicityof the chlorine and flouride they put in our water and how much you absorb through your skin or by breathing shower steam or swallowing toothpaste.  If you know how bad that stuff is, you start actively avoiding it. 

My initial reaction is that Kevin is a nutcase, but I don't underestimate the marketing and lobbying power of the food and drug companies.  He absolutely hates the FDA.  There is a rule/law that says only a drug can cure a disease.  That's to keep people from selling something that is a drug as if it were food to avoid regulation.  Oranges are the cure for scurvy, but it's not a drug.  Where do you draw the line?  I dunno, but I know that some of the "dietary supplements" and "herbal remedies" on the market are certainly in the realm of drugs, despite the claims that they are not intended to "cure or treat any disease."  I think you can overdose on anything.  I also think that too much regulation can skew and corrupt any industry.  I agree with him that the drug industry is one of those.  Medical doctors are the gatekeepers and they are bombarded by drug company propaganda.  So, who can you trust if you can't trust your doctor to come up with the best cure for what ails ya? 

I love it when doctors recommend a kind of food to cure something.  One time I was put on a banana, rice, applesauce, and toast diet for a few days.  Problem solved.  Broccoli, spinach, and red meat can cure anemia.

I think the answer to being healthy is to exercise enough to sweat out the toxic stuff, drink plenty of pure water, avoid sugary bad stuff, and eat a variety of healthy food.  I'm keenly aware of which food makes me feel bad (certain Taco Bell items qualify here), and which ones make me feel good (Vietnamese Noodle Soup is mighty fine.). 

Speaking of Vietnamese food, I actually like pigblood soup.  It's coagulated pig blood cut into cubes like tofu, and added to noodle soup.  It's great, if you can avoid thinking about what it actually is.  Even better once you've come to grips with what it really is and like it anyway.  Tripe?  Tolerable, but not my favorite thing.  Chitterlings?  I'll pass.  Escargot?  Yuck, man.

Sunday, January 29, 2006

Feminal emergency

While clicking through a list of bizarre products available on the internet, I found the Feminal, a portable urinal for women. <shudder> I got a mental picture of a Large Marge trucker mama with this thing wedged between her thighs letting it flow at 70 MPH on some remote stretch of interstate highway. I don't disapprove, but why the two for $24 special price? Because women tend to go to the bathroom in pairs? One for the car and one for the boat? Mother/daughter special? I also pictured an inconsiderate chauvinist type driving on a long trip and pulling one of those out from under the seat when his wife asks to stop for a pee break. I'm thinking this is a terrible gift idea and something a lady should buy for herself based on a very specific need. A private pilot?  An avid golfer and coffee drinker?  I digress.

Saturday, January 28, 2006

Poker gravy

The uniqueness award today goes to the characters at the Texas Hold 'Em 3-6 kill table at Harrah's. Yeah. I took their money. I took money from the talker to my left. I took money from the drunk old man to the left of the dealer. I took money from the striped shirt guy who smirked when he was bluffing. I took money from the guy in the denim jacket who couldn't catch a break. I think if some of those people hadn't gone broke and left, I could have sat there and made my mortgage payment. Once you know how to calculate the odds of winning each poker hand in your head quickly, you can outplay most folks. Plus, I had a read on over half of them. One guy would shift his eyes to the side if he had good cards. One guy would toss his chips with a frown and put his hand on top of his cards if he had a nice hand. The guy to my right virtually showed me his hold cards on every hand when he was peeking at them. Easy gravy!  The other side of that coin is that my pocket queens wouldn't hold up when someone would play pocket aces with no pre-flop raise.  <shrug>  It was kinda psycho.

Friday, January 27, 2006

MSG, bad. Gym, good.

Before dinner I grabbed a snack and learned that Triscuits give me an MSG headache.  Last night, I was craving sushi, so I went to Jin's to grab some carry-out.  I had seaweed salad, octopus salad, edamame, some very delicious salmon/tuna/yellowtail nigiri, and a salmon and cream cheese roll.  After all of that, I got hungry again and I ate a bowl of flax flakes and the last of my milk.  I was starving, because I had done a leg workout and had nothing to eat all day but a bowl of soup, crackers with peanut butter, and those darned Triscuits.  Kraft and their MSG.  My junk food tolerance is almost nil these days.  I have candy in my house since Christmas which is virtually untouched, except for the fudge.  I polished that stuff off immediately.

Also, I have discovered the power of Cytomax.  If Gatorade is 80's, and Powerade is 90's, Cytomax is the 21st Century!  16 ounces of that stuff and I can do my workout and still have enough energy for a full hour of hockey.  Imagine a sports drink that actually works without the insulin crash.  For real.

It has been another week full of night maintenance and strange network outages and even stranger work hours. I already have two nights planned for next week. I feel a little overwhelmed by work this week, but I've been given a pass to start delegating some of my responsibilities in order to lighten the load and gain ground. It's good to know that help is on the way. The gym is my respite. It keeps things regimented, and pushing some steel around is a great way to destress. Back and triceps today. Shoulders tomorrow. Curling and hockey on Sunday. Chest and biceps again on Monday, before community choir. Hockey on Tuesday night, before night maintenance.  Sorry, Rich, I'm probably going to miss your show. Legs on Wednesday, a nap, then more night maintenance. I'll sleep in on Thursday, for sure.  Maybe I'll catch up on American Idol and relax on Thursday.  This season has been hilarious so far, IMO.  Good editing.  I wouldn't watch it without the ability to fast forward past the marathon commercial breaks, though.  I watched a 2-hour special in 45 minutes.  Everyone needs a DVR.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006


See what I have to deal with every day on the way home?  http://www.kcscout.net/snapshots/M070EBC-20.jpg  <-- There's a nasty snarl there where everyone getting off of I-435 onto I-70 eastbound merges onto the already congested I-70 and it goes from 4 lanes down to 3.  My lane is usually going 20 miles an hour or less, if it's not at a full stop.  The good part about that is I only have to travel about a mile in the really heavy stuff after I get onto I-70 and my exit has its own lane, so as soon as the slowpokes merge over, I have a clear shot.  I've been known to drive on the shoulder there, but I try not to make a habit of it.  It's slightly easier than taking surface streets and dealing with the nutty stop lights and speed traps on this side of town, though.

Yesterday, I did an abbreviated shoulder workout instead of the usual chest/bicep workout to make time for community choir.  I got recruited because they needed more bass/baritone types.  I have to say, Haydn's "The Creation" is not the easiest.  He switches from major to minor every couple of bars in some spots, and sometimes more frequently than that.  The rest of the bass section had already practiced it three times and I jumped in and sight-read most of it for the first time.  It was rough, but that's what rehearsal is for.  It was fun, nonetheless, and more productive and social than watching cable.  So, tonight, it's chest/biceps. . . then drop-in hockey at 8:40.  I'm glad my night maintenance tonight got canceled.

Extreme Combat

I've seen King Kong now and completely dug that movie.  Check your brain at the door, because it proceeds like a comic book series.  The beginning was compelling, the middle was like five action movies in one, and the ending was a fine example of anthropomorphism and tragedy.

Saturday night, I found myself in Westport again.  I originally went for Mediterranean food a la Jerusalem Bakery.  I have frequent cravings for the buffet there.  There was an announcement on the radio about cage fighting at the Beaumont Club.  Since I had been to see fights there before, I knew where to stand for a good view, and I happened to be in the neighborhood.  The place was crowded.  The matchups for the first few bouts were bad.  They lasted under a minute.  No knockouts, just submissions.  Later, though, I was impressed by the local Jiu Jitsu fighters.  In one particular fight, however, one of the fighters was being choked and he didn't tap out, he blacked out.  He woke up a few minutes later and was able to stagger out of the cage, but I think if he were experienced, he would have known when to tap out.  There were two title fights at the end which were excellent.  Both ended in three rounds with submission victories, but not before a lot of punches were thrown and several impressive takedowns.  I'll definitely be going back on March 11 to see more. www.adrenalineextremecombat.com

Ohgr, whose electronic music is retro and edgy, when entered into the artist or song field on Pandora.com yields a lot of music which appeals to me. 

Thursday, January 19, 2006


Last night I went to Westport to see my brother's band play an entire show.  Shaggy Green Carpet started the show off. . . an hour later than I thought they would.  They are a young and highly talented progressive rock group from Lawrence.  The room was good.  The crowd was slight.  Their cover of Rush's Tom Sawyer killed.  When The Duo Trio got on the stage it was getting late, but I caught most of the set.  I was particularly interested in hearing their cover of Primus' Too Many Puppies.  I would put it in the top 3 songs they played.  Then I went to work.  At 1am.  It was a long night and then around 5am things started breaking.  I would say at one point we had about 9000 customers offline because a technician plugged a PDU into an overloaded UPS.  Shortly after we fixed that, another router crashed and took down 3000 other customers.  THAT is why we do the work in the wee hours.  But working split shifts takes its toll.  I'm feeling zombified today.  I didn't shave, so I look the part.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Amateur night at the Bottleneck

I woke up around 8-ish when the sunshine hit my face. I sweetened my French Roast coffee with a packet of Swiss Miss Hot Cocoa Mix to make it mocha. . . and that's the only reason I'm cognizant this morning. I went to Lawrence last night to see my brother's band play an abbreviated set at the open mic night at the Bottleneck, which is a prerequisite for getting booked there. It was free entertainment. They were preceded by some kind of goth metal band and succeeded by a rap group, both of which were pretty tolerable. I was just out too late for a school night.

Saturday, January 14, 2006

Mmm. Bacon.

I saw Bacon Shoe.  It's frumpy looking white boys doing hip hop, but the vocabulary is clearly college level and the subject matter clearly junior high.  Oh, and a guy in a jumpsuit with a big furry mascot head cooks bacon on stage.  It's comedy.  Odd, but highly entertaining.  The smell made me want a pancake.  I'm told the ex-girlfriend was in attendance, but I didn't see her and she probably wouldn't have recognized me in the crazy costume I had on.  The cover charge was cheaper that way.  I don't often wear my leopard print fuzzy collar shirt, a blonde wig, 70's shades, and a pink tie.  In fact, never.  I high-fived someone in a monkey suit and danced next to a woman who was riding a mic stand hobby-horse-style on the stage in front of a backdrop which featured some freaky dolphins jumping up out of the sea.  When's the last time that happened to you?  They were recording a DVD.  I hope I'm on it and completely incognito.

That was a fun end to a tough work week, which featured too much night maintenance and not enough consecutive hours of sleep.

Well, Benchmark Home Furnishings is going out of business, so I went out there to see what kind of deals could be had.  I have new tables in my living room and a brand new and very comfortable leather sofa, which would normally cost over a grand, but I got a nice deal.  The old living room furniture is in my recently vacated basement apartment. 

For the past few years, I've put off fixing up my house to invest in rental properties.  In reality, that has been a good move.  The properties I have bought have appreciated significantly, and my tenants pay late, but they pay late fees.  It's nice gravy.  Now, my new living room furniture is going to force me, aesthetically, to buy new carpet or put down some kind of hardwood laminate.  I have a bonus coming in February and hopefully a fat tax refund <fingers crossed>.  I'm still recovering from the bathroom remodel, which was pretty exhaustive, but once I found what must have been years and years of water damage, it had to be basically rebuilt.  I think I'll sell some stock and clear the debt.  While investigating the possibility of new flooring throughout, I pulled up some of the carpet in the basement and found more asbestos tile.  I need a plan for covering that up permanently, because I know it would cost a small fortune to remove it.  The shower insert in the basement is cracked.  I should take it out completely and tile that, too. If I get the basement back into good shape, I'll need to rent it again to recoup the cost.  I had thought of replacing my stove and putting the old one downstairs, to create a kitchenette down there so I could charge more for rent.  I just need a stack of cash right now for a good cause.  I'm still paying back a 401k loan, which I used to buy a rent house back in May.  I never considered a second mortgage or a home equity line of credit, because I hate paying a dime more interest than I have to.  I do, however, think it's time for a cash-out refi.  Tuesday I'll ask my mortgage guy if I can get the same or better interest rate on the new loan.  If not, I'll sell my second vehicle, but now that the roommate has moved out, it's definitely time to spruce up the place.  And maybe I'll fix the front doorknob, while I'm at it.

Thursday, January 5, 2006

It's alive!

My roommate who has been AWOL since mid-November emerged from "some legal trouble in California", which I call prison, to retrieve his things and pay his December rent.  So, he and his brother just left with a truckload of stuff.  Apparently, he and his ex agreed to let his daughter come back to Kansas City with him, until he showed up to pick his daughter up, then the ex and her cop friend got in his face to tell him what a bad father he was.  I'd say he got ambushed.  I'd be mad, too.  California is a long drive.  <shrug>  I had surmised that since he wasn't answering his cell phone for over a month that he was either in a coma, dead, in jail, or sold into slavery.  I assumed that if he was dead, his brother might show up at some point for his things. I had actually considered starting to auction some of his stuff on eBay to make up for the missing December rent, but an ultimatum on a cell phone voice mail isn't exactly a legal agreement.  He's gone missing before for shorter periods, but usually he'd leave a note.  This time, he just disappeared and his dog went unfed for a couple of days before his brother came by to get her while I was at work.  I just need to turn the entire downstairs into a disco and have a huge party, I think.  Actually, having a basement apartment with a separate entrance and driveway is ideal for guests who would like to come stay with me.  I just need a few days warning to hide the disco lights. :-) 

I have access to a sauna at Bally's, but I think it would be absolutely luxurious to own even a small one.  They're 50% off if you order them in the winter.  Tax refund?  http://www.nationalpoolwholesalers.com/sauna_kit_direct_import_2_person.asp#page

Wednesday, January 4, 2006

From bad to great.

It was a roller coaster day.  I woke with a headache and was > < that close to calling in sick.  Then, I realized that I had collapsed on the couch after arriving home from lifting weights then playing hockey with little more than a milkshake and later a glass of milk and a piece of chocolate instead of dinner.  I took some drugs and went to work. . . in slow motion.  I ate crackers and peanut butter and got some caffiene and things turned around.  I have to remember to hit a drive thru in between work, the gym, and the rink on Tuesdays going forward.  I not only fell off the healthy eating wagon, I fell off the eating wagon.

Speaking of drugs, I got my blood test results today.  The anti-retroviral therapy works.  I take a Truvada and a Viramune in the morning and another Viramune in the evening.  My HIV viral load is 647 copies per ml, which is a far cry better than 420,000 four weeks prior.  My CD4 count is 564, which is more than double what it was.  I did the Snoopy dance walking out of the doc's office.  My immune system is on its way back to normal strength.  I want to reach a CD4 count over 850 and an HIV viral load of "undetectible".  They assured me it's possible if I do not miss a dose of the meds.  If the virus is allowed to replicate out of control it could mutate into an untreatable strain.  Luckily, since the virus responded to the treatment, I don't have a mutant.  That means long happy years for me. . . and lots of pills from now on.

I recently learned that there are 61 countries which have regulations restricting my travel and 15 countries to which I can no longer travel because of my diagnosis.  Well, 14, actually.  The USA is one of the countries which will not grant visas and commonly denies entry to HIV positive travelers.  I understand restricting people with something like tuberculosis, unless they're coming here for treatment.  HIV isn't transmitted randomly or in public.  This law must be some kind of holdover from the 80's.

Monday, January 2, 2006

Is it baseball season yet?

Well, the Chiefs season is over. The game yesterday had some great moments, but the Bengals seemed to be avoiding injury with their B team on the field. I guess, since we have no hockey or basketball, "Go Royals!" The arena with no team seems to be coming along. I like the layout. http://www.yourkcarena.com/images/media/dadt6.jpg I hope the box office is indoors. Nobody likes to stand in line outside in the elements at Kemper. I predict a number of homeless people accumulating under that overhang at night. http://www.yourkcarena.com/images/media/dadt3.jpg