A bar too far

Let me set the scene. You are a few years shy of 40. Up to and including college, you were in fighting shape, and could throw down 30 or 40 dips then drop to the floor and do 50 or so push ups. You decide you want to humiliate yourself. What should you do?

I found that buying the Creative Fitness Door Gym was a great approach. Because, you know, I thought pull-ups would be a nice addition to my in-home workout. Works flawlessly as advertised. The only problem being I don’t work as advertised anymore.

Anniversary of Sinus Surgery

Yes, I had surgery last Valentine’s Day. It has been one year since I had my sinuses and nasal passages sliced and diced as well as my septum moved over a bit. Did it work? Let’s compare my health before and after. Prior to the surgery, I had averaged a round of antibiotics roughly once a month for two years. This past year, I’ve kept a log of all my illnesses. Here’s the list:

  • 2007-02-14 Surgery (okay, not an illness, but the starting point of the log)
  • 2007-03-30 Cold for several days
  • 2007-04-30 Very bad cough for several days
  • 2007-05-27 Bad cough for a 2 days
  • 2007-06-23 Cold for 2 days followed by bad cough for 2 days
  • 2007-08-28 Cold for 2 days
  • 2007-11-19 Mild cold for a week. Turned into sinusitis. Healed quickly with antibiotics.

What does all this mean? Put simply, I just completed my healthiest year in probably the past decade. I still got sick now and again, but there were two huge improvements. First, I didn’t get sick as often, and successfully fought off several illnesses. Second, I actually got better without antibiotics. Previously, I almost never fought off illnesses and almost all illnesses eventually resulted in some sort of bacterial infection (sinus infection, bronchial infection, strep throat, ear infection, had all of them numerous time).

Two other factors were in play, though both of them were present prior to the surgery and didn’t seem to improve my health. First, I finished off a couple years at a maintenance dose of immunotherapy for my allergies. Second, I started doing a sinus rinse a couple times a day (using this wonderful device). My allergies are very obviously doing much, much better, and the sinus rinse shows significant help when I start to come down with a cold. However, prior to the surgery it just wasn’t enough.

So, although the surgery made my top 10 list of worst experiences (please bear in mind that is a crowded list as I have had 10 other surgeries, some of them major, as well as spinal meningitis, malaria, blood poisening, staph infection, and other ailments), it has been well worth it. If you are capable of sleeping while breathing through your mouth (it turns out I cannot in any meaningful sense), it would be a significantly easier experience though still very unpleasant.

Hot Ladies Talk Money with Bald Dudes

Jon Stewart breaks down the media’s coverage of the economy for us. Content Warning: a few needed beeps are missing.

Asymmetric Warfare Revisited

Perhaps I misunderstood the nature of my enemy. Turns out the warfare is a bit more symmetric than I had thought. That picture did not represent the war won as I had hoped, but merely a successful battle. For what it’s worth, I’ve won two more battles in the past couple days. Strangely, with each victory I feel more and more like I’m losing.

Asymetric Warfare

Here’s the thing about asymetric warfare. No matter how many battles you lose (and I’ve lost a few to this little guy), one win and the war is over.

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Very Big Deal

In April of 2007, the warzone-disguised-as-an-alley behind our house was blocked off and work gradually proceeded on replacing it.

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I am happy to report that today they moved the blockade just past our house, giving us access to our garage for the first time in 9 months! Thankfully, I was optimistic (for no apparent reason) and reorganized our garage over the past month to ensure we’d be able to fit both cars in it the moment the alley was accessible. For those of you who don’t know me that well, this is a Very Big Deal.

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Speaking of garage organization, one of my goals in this house was to not store anything in the attic. I’m not a big fan of the out of sight, out of mind consequences of stuff being squirrelled away in the attic, gradually accumulating over the years. But the Christmas tree and decorations presented a challenge.

You’ll see my solution above the car on the right. I put a shelf in a couple weeks ago as the Christmas decorations were coming down that fits above the garage door when it’s open. It holds the Christmas tree and several containers of ornaments and decorations.

You know, in a big picture sort of way

Nicolas, after hearing Jonathan complimented for being such a good older brother and being helpful to Josiah while I was out and about with the three boys, says, “Was I just like Jonathan on the trip except I haven’t helped anyone?”

Aging Rockers Who Rock

Over the last year or two, I’ve bought numerous albums from bands that I had ignored (at least all their new stuff) for a decade or so. And in many cases I have been very pleasantly surprised. Downright thrilled by a few of them. Here’s a quick selection of aging rockers who rock.

Iron Maiden: Wow! Just wow. Brave New World (2000) showed a return to form with some great tracks, Dance of Death (2003) was okay, and then A Matter of Life and Death (2006) blew me away. I’d easily put that last one in a top 5 list of best Maiden albums ever.

Dream Theater: They never really slowed down, but I didn’t know it, because I wasn’t buying their albums. They pretty much all rock, with Systematic Chaos (2007) being no exception.

Rush: Some of the best stuff ever on their latest. When Snakes and Arrows (2007) opened with “Pariah dogs and wandering madmen/Barking at strangers and speaking in tongues” to a heavy hitting sound, I was floored. I need to go back and pick up Vapor Trails (2002).

King’s X: Ogre Tones (2005) is glorious, full bore King’s X, with the diverse sound of the early albums that includes both Doug and Ty on lead vocals, but with much of the more hard-driving sound that was developed on Dogman.

Savatage: Probably need a separate entry on them, as their music is all over the map. But it used to rock, and it still does.

Megadeth: I only have a few tracks from The System Has Failed (2004), and I have not heard United Abominations (2007), but what little I have heard makes me glad Dave Mustaine recovered from his radial neuropathy.

Here’s a couple bands that didn’t make the list even though I have their newer stuff and still listen to them.

Dio: Killing the Dragon (2002) and Master of the Moon (2004) are okay, but don’t compare to Dream Evil (1987) and some of his other earlier work (not to mention Heaven and Hell and Mob Rules from his Black Sabbath days).

Queensryche: I like many of their more recent albums, but I just don’t think they stand up to Operation: Mindcrime (1988) and Empire (1990).

I’ve probably missed some good ones. What other established metal bands survived the grunge movement and have put out a great album recently?

Pandering

It is shocking to hear a modern politician refuse to pander. Not merely so, but to mock the very notion that pandering is healthy.

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