Monday, February 27, 2006

Mardi Gras Weekend.

I did not train on Friday, because I went to a party. I did not train on Saturday. I slept in, then did some cleaning, then did some laundry, then went to the store. I had a get-together at the house Saturday night, including watching some Kung Faux DVD which I had completely forgotten about.  It's basically 70's kung fu movies edited down to just the fights and plot points, then dubbed over by rap artists playing the characters with the ebonics laid on thick.  Funny stuff.  It's big on cable in the UK, but too harsh for the censors here.  Anyway, then I went to play poker at Harrah's until the sun came up. I arrived at the casino with $23. I put $20 in a penny slot machine until I hit a bonus and cashed out $65. I bought chips and played some 3/6 Texas Hold 'Em. I was up about $300, but lost $100 back before I decided it was time to quit. Then I slept. Then I played hockey in the afternoon. My team won 8-4. I grabbed a Vanilla Hulk Smoothie from Smoothie King, stopped by the grocery store for a few items, then played hockey again at 8pm. It was a very fast paced drop-in game. Playing against people who are way better than me indicated some weaknesses. I need to work on puck protection and shooting from my backhand side.  When I was first learning to play and going to Mike McEwan's clinics in Oklahoma City, he would have us pick a partner, grab a puck, and just play keepaway for about 10 minutes at the beginning of practice.  I learned more about puck protection doing that than anything.  But I need to brush up, I guess.  After all that I was craving pomegranite juice.  It's about six bucks for a 24 ounce bottle. . . which was empty before I even got it home from the store.  In all, I'd say it was a fun weekend.

Friday, February 24, 2006

Lewis Black is as funny as ever. This tour had two great opening acts. I was out too late, so I'm in 3 syllables or less mode. Good day.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Instituto de la Seguridad Social

I have a tenant who is from Mexico. She was born in Mexico. Everything I've checked is legitimate, but her credit is trash. She doesn't always pay her rent on time, but she does pay it when she says she'll pay it, and she has been working for a major travel-related company for a few years now. Her son is in and out, and I think he's in Iraq now.  Her daughter is in college somewhere on a scholarship.  These are really good people with really bad credit.  But her mother, who also lives with her, is Mexican.  She has never, to my knowledge, been legitimately employed here. But, she, somehow, for some reason, has a social security number. Here's the clincher:  She draws social security benefits and has never worked a single day in the U.S!! The Office of the Inspector General won't do anything, because, apparently, if you pay into the system with a bogus social security number, they KEEP THE MONEY. The Congress, I believe, keeps the thing on the hush, because illegal immigrants are paying $7 billion a year into the social security system. They are the bouy that's keeping the thing afloat. Personally, I'm outraged.  How much of that $7 billion goes out to illegals who are retirement age who have never paid a penny into the system, though?  Let's try not to think about Medicare for illegals; that might send me over the edge.  It has been illegal to employ these people since 1986.  It is now clear to me that we have a $7 billion reason to not enforce that law, and so it goes unenforced.  It's sickening when our own system undermines itself.  The SSA needs to be abolished.  It's a big mess.  Let me and a million other people who want to spend our earnings while we can to opt out of it and not burden the thing any further.  The thought of paying into a system that hands out free money to illegals of retirement age makes me want to vomit.  At least I get some of it back in the form of rent.

Monday, February 20, 2006


Friday after I had worked out, Adam D. and I grabbed some grub at Buffalo Wild Wings with my bro.  Then we dropped in at the Record Bar.  Jason, Courtney, Keaton, and Steve were there.  We arrived in time to see/hear the worst band in the lineup, then left to find that it had snowed about a quarter inch while we were inside.

After dinner at Sutera's Saturday night and much anticipation, Courtney, Keaton, Jason, and I saw NIN at Kemper Arena.  I think it was the best show they've put together in 10 years, including lights, sound, and song selection.  They got some mileage out of that chopped up Jumbotron and mondo sized projector from previous tours.  Imagine the pieces of that sliced up Jumbotron cut up into smaller pieces that look like MS-Excel bar graphs and arranged around the stage like shark teeth.  I appreciate the superior use of LEDs and video.  They haven't surpassed Skinny Puppy or Meat Beat Manifesto when it comes to incorporating video and graphics into the show, but I appreciate the arena stage scale of the thing.  I'd pay $50 to see it again.  At first, I thought $30 for a tour t-shirt was a rip-off, but after I saw the show, I decided to get one.  I might have been just as happy buying a knock-off shirt in the parking lot for $10.

I had made the mistake before of doing a leg workout too close to a hockey day.  I stupidly did quads on Friday, then hams and calves on Saturday.  That doesn't bode well for marathon hockey on Sunday.  I only rearranged my workout schedule because I thought I would be playing a tough game of hockey Thursday night.

I had left my hockey sticks at Jason's house Saturday to make room in the back seat of the Jeep for the concert trip and forgot all about them until it was time to go play hockey.  Luckily, I have a spare.  It's not my favorite stick.  It's a $20 cheapo wooden one which I bought on sale at Academy in Edmond, OK.  I positively hate the curve on it.  It took some getting used to.  To further handicap things, I had taken a slapper to the left skate blade and now the blade is in the holder kinda crooked.  It was stable enoughfor me to play on, but I kept catching a left inside edge when I would normally slide sideways. . . so, there were some interestingfigure skating demonstrations during my game.  My game was over by 8, and we lost.  We were kinda psyched out because they were playing a very defensive game at first and didn't even have a goalie for the first half of the first period.  After their goalie showed up, they started spreading out and we actually started playing in their end and scoring.  They were beating us at the 6-on-5 game with no goalie.  It was too little too late when we did rally and score 3 goals.

I then proceeded to Smoothie King on 135th (better than the one in Seoul, except I haven't spiked my smoothie since) for refreshment, and noticed the time.  I hadn't had enough hockey, so I proceeded to the drop-in game at the AMF Ice Chateau at 8.  It was only $10 and they extended the time, because they wanted the ice cut up for a broomball game at 10:30.  There was nobody on the bench.  After playing the ENTIRE two and half hours against some teenagers and 20-somethings and only a couple of water breaks and one faulty skate, I was beat.  My calves were really getting tight and my hip flexors were sore, especially since I had been favoring my right side.  By the time I got home, my calves were so tight, no amount of rubbing was helping.

Monday morning, I was crippled.  I could not flex either foot.  I applied a heating pad and stretched.  I called the gym and told my trainer I needed a recovery day, and cancelled my appointment with her.  I embarked on some unfinished projects around the house, like cleaning all the clutter out of the back porch and reducing the laundry mounds and piles of unopened mail, in anticipation of having a party here Saturday.  I'm looking forward to that.

Thursday, February 16, 2006


I didn't get to play hockey tonight, because a nasty recurring network problem recurred tonight just as I was packing my hockey bag.  It's not that I'm on call for network trouble or anything, but I'm the guy with the knowledge and skill to fix the problem.  The irony is that we had scheduled a fix for midnight.  But the network started melting down shortly after 7.  I got to see the first part of Everybody Hates Chris.  That show gives me big belly laughs.  I recorded it so I could watch the end.  It was little consolation for having to miss my hockey game.  I had to send an apology to Ric, because I took the last slot on the dark team and I still owe him $18 for the opportunity.

Friday, February 10, 2006

Crash crasher.

The moral of this story:  If you have a wreck on a busy interstate highway, move your car out of the traffic before getting out to exchange info or your car may be totaled or your passengers may be injured when your car is struck by oncoming vehicles.

Fight night dilemma.

A few months ago, I attended the Titan Entertainment boxing and MMA event at the Beaumont. Nine bouts of awesome boxing followed by some mixed martial arts fights, which didn't work as well in a boxing ring. Every time they went to the ground the guy on bottom would scramble to the edge under the ropes and the ref would bring them back to neutral position in the center of the ring lest they fall off the side. That was fine, because the matches lasted longer and the ring girls were sponsored by Harley Davidson and the leather outfits were super hot.

I also recently attended the Adrenaline Extreme Combat mixed martial arts event at the Beaumont which featured a few of the same fighters. I was impressed that it was a well-officiated cage fight with an actual octagonal cage. The cage girls were also super hot. It was amazing fun, but the announcer was this annoying blonde woman with the worst possible voice for introducing fighters and even worse for yelling over the loud hip hop and hard rock introduction music.  I did, however, see some great and memorable fights.

Titan has scheduled their professional MMA event at Memorial Hall on the exact same night (March 11, 2006) as the Adrenaline fights at the Beaumont.  I'm torn.  Why divide the market?  I'm not sure if I would rather watch TFC's inaugural professional MMA event with the Titan production value or subject myself to another gritty Adrenaline event at the Beaumont.  I want Dominic Brown to win the Adrenaline middleweight belt.

American Jujitsu is producing some excellent fighters.  I have no idea what gyms are represented or who will fight in the TFC event.  Such a dilemma.

Sunday, February 5, 2006

It's never THAT bad. Really.

My cousin attempted suicide this weekend. I can't really remember what it was like being 15, but I never stressed out that much. I've had good friends do the final deed for some pretty lame reasons, the most common being a bad breakup. When I look back, I just think what a waste of talent and personality, because every one of them was smart and talented and eclectic in some way. They didn't fit in, necessarily.  But, I tend to get along with misfits, so I may have a disproportionate number of acquaintances who are bipolar or have unbalanced brain chemistry.  Some of them self-treated by abusing drugs, which escalated their problems.  I can only hope that whatever the burden or shame that caused K.S. to even consider such an option, she can learn to deal with it or eliminate it from her life and move on. She *is* lucky. I want her to know that she has a very loving extended family who would more than gladly take her call and help her navigate her problems. 

By the time I was 15, I had been forced in school to read The Crucible by Arthur Miller.  That story is chock full of people doing extraordinary things under the duress of overblown problems to preserve their own butts or save the lives of others.  It shows the absurd evil of participating in your own demise or the demise of others.  Believe it or not, there's always someone who needs you or will need you.  I've always looked to people who have weathered worse problems than myself (i.e. Job), and decided that life is never THAT bad.  I can't imagine a level of pain which would cause me to not want to keep going.  I've never reached that threshold and hope not to.  I'm supremely sad for those who have and didn't get a second chance.

Remind your family members that you love them, because we almost lost one.

Friday, February 3, 2006

Deer in Traffic.

Yesterday was odd, because I had worked most of the night and slept in.  I missed an opportunity to see a house which I'm interested in buying, and rescheduled that for Saturday.  I did some work, bought a friend a birthday card and gift, worked out, came home to change and ended up crashed out on the sofa for a few winks before dinner. . . which turned into a 4 hour nap.  I time warped to 10pm and awoke to find that my cell phone had voice mail and I was 3 hours late for a dinner reservation at one of my favorite restaurants, Pot Pie, for the birthday get together.  So, I bounced, called the posse and joined them at the Record Bar for some intermittently groovy music, hip shaking, conversation, hugs, and so on.  I think we decided on the date when I should have a house party, if there are no conflicts.  February 24th or 25th, which is Mardi Gras weekend.  Hmm.  I'm thinking of a theme here.  We closed the place and we caught a tip from Aaron, a local musician, about a good upcoming show on the 17th at the Cup and Saucer.  Former members of Banshee?  Alrighty.   Three of us, including the birthday girl, ended up at the Dark Horse Tavern (aka Torres Pizzeria) listening to a guitarist named Justin strum and sing his version of some hip hop and R&B greats, but totally white-bread style.  Since he's there every Thursday and we caught the end of his set, I want to go back and catch more.  The crowd of college kids was surly and the help was unresponsive. Or vice versa.  At one point a guy asked us to help wake up "Ryan" who was passed out in the booth next to us.  I punched him in the leg and he became responsive, but I would say it was a borderline case of alcohol poisoning. A bum wandered in and sold Tricia a flower, which she wore behind her ear. Since we couldn't get service at the pizza counter, we went to Joe's Pizza around the corner.  It was approaching 3am at this point.  We sat on the stairs in front of what used to be Tizer's and discussed previous wild times.

After all that, I went to work.  I did some paperwork and prepared to go install a replacement router for one which is operating on it's last functioning power supply in Liberty, MO.  I decided that I was not cognizant enough to safely drive, so, again, I decided to catch a few winksunder my desk, where there is a comforter for just this kind of occasion.  And again, I time warped four hours to 8am when people started showing up at the office.  I guess, after burning the candle at both ends all week, my body was not capable of a short nap.  I read my email, rescheduled the router replacement for Monday morning, and went to the bathroom to put myself together (read: slick down the bedhead, shake the bar smoke smell out of my clothes, and brush my teeth).  I motored to the Sonic for a breakfast burrito, to a secluded place where I could change into fresh undergarments and shoes from my gym bag, and then to a videoconference meeting at the office building across the street from mine.  I put in my two cents, and mostly listened.  I admired my stubble on the video conference monitor.  Looks good on TV.

When I got back to my office, there were some tasks waiting in email and I went to Charlie Hooper's for lunch.  Fish & Chips.  Greasy and good.  I put in a full day at the office, including some time helping to fix a routing problem in Nebraska.  It was well after 5 when I left there.  I stopped by my brother's house to wait out the rush hour and ask my nephew if he would like to go ice skating.  Nope.  He's sick.  Drew has some kind of a cold and a fever.  He was happily sitting on the side of his bed eating chicken soup out of a plastic bowl and watching some silly cartoons.  I played hide and seek with the niece for about as long as I could stand it, then went to the gym.  On the way there, I was taking the mostly uninteresting exit off of I-435 onto I-70.  The SUV in front of me stood on their brakes and ditched to the right shoulder.  There was a deer running about 10 feet in front of my left fender in traffic as I also dodged to the right and came almost to a stop.  The car behind me skidded and leaned on their horn.  The car behind them skidded too.  They didn't see the very large white tailed doe as it bounded in front of me and off to the right toward the Royals Stadium.  Strange and harrowing.  I needed some adrenaline for my workout, I guess. 

Out of curiosity, I googled it.  There are an estimated one million white tailed deer in Missouri.  There are 2500 times more deer in Missouri than inthe 1920's, when they were condsidered endangered.  The top 10 counties for vehicle versus deer accidents are around Kansas City and St. Louis.  In 2001, there were 8100 car/deer collisions in Missouri.  There are between 400 and 500 car/deer accidents in the Kansas City metro area each year.  I believe it.  I see roadkill deer at least once a month.  I, personally, have nearly hit at least 5 deer in the past 5 years.  In some cases, I slowed down when I saw the deer beside the road, and it's a good thing.  When they get scared and run, they sometimes run into your path.  The herd of deer which I frequently see at night grazing around the parking lot of my office building are unshakable.  You can drive your car right up to some of them, and they will stand there and look at you like you're in their way.  I have been known to see just how close I can get.  Sometimes I get scared before the deer do.  I have been on the jogging trail near Independence Center Mall and literally jogged right past deer standing next to the trail as they watched me pass.  Unbelievable.  My most amazing deer encounter involved driving down Gregory one night and a deer bounded into the road right in front of my car.  I had no time at all to react, so it's a good thing the deer did.  It literally jumped OVER my car.  I saw it's head flash in front of my headlights one second, and saw it coming down in my rearview mirror the next.  And that is ALL I saw.

After my workout, I totally gorged myself with Chinese buffet food.  Hot and Spicy Chicken.  General Tso's Chicken.  (Who is General Tso and why is his courage in question?)  Honey Baked Chicken.  Hey, I need the protien.  I ate rice and broccoli, too.  And some fruit and some pudding.  $7.  I couldn't assemble the ingredients for that and would probably pay someone else that much just so I wouldn't have to wash the dishes.  In fact, I did.

On the way home from dinner, which is approximately two miles.  I saw no less than 3 toilets next to 43rd Street in front of two houses between Sterling and Pittman.  Surreal.  I guess it's time for six more weeks of winter and a good time to replace a toilet. <shrug>  Howdy neighbor.  Y'know they have a deal on toilets at Sutherland's.

Wednesday, February 1, 2006

Chop Tops

An acquaintance named Pete, who is an upright bass player and hockey goalie, opened a barber shop with quite possibly the coolest website of any barber shop. I haven't been there yet, but it might also be the coolest barber shop.

Cellular Biology 101

Cellular Biology 101 never prepared me for this, but I'm learning fast.  I read stuff like this:

It recommends a supplement to prevent some nasty side-effects, so I searched for the product.

Now I'm looking for a cheap source of Mitocnol, because it is a nutritional supplement not covered by my insurance.  But I have about four more months to find some way to supplement my intracellular uridine levels before I start noticing the effects of the mitochondrial damage caused by my NRTI.

The NNRTI which I use is called NVP.  Viramune is the brand name.  Nevimmune is the cheaper version of the same thing.
The NRTI combination I use is called Truvada.  It includes emtricitabine and tenofovir disoproxil fumarate.  So far, no noticable side-effects, except about once a week I might get a few itchy bumps about 30 minutes after a dose of the NVP that feel and look like poison ivy, but go away after a while.

So far, I have found one brand of Mitocnol called NucleomaxX.

What fascinates me most is that these ways to supplement normal respiratory function despite mitochondrial toxicity have all been discovered very recently.  What annoys me is that it's $100 for a 3 month supply.  I wonder if I couldn't just gnaw on a raw sugar cane and get enough of the extract?  hehe.