Sunday, November 23, 2008

Houston, We Have No Problem

Katie, Soulmate and I headed to Houston for the holiday week to have a big family reunion. Nobody on my side of the family has seen Katie until yesterday when we arrived. Two of my three brothers are here with their families (one lives here, so they didn't have to travel), and the last one is coming later this week with his wife and son.


My Houston brother just bought a new, beautiful house in Missouri City south of Houston, and they've been in it less than a month. I think they're nuts to host a reunion so soon after moving--maybe their real intent is to enlist the whole gang to paint or install doorknobs or whatever.


Anyway, Katie has figured out how to use a spoon to eat her yogurt. I knew you'd like to see it, so here's a video.

video

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Where I'm Headed

This is where I'm at right now as far as TT form--it's not all bad, since Charles Jacobs and I won the 2-man TT at Henderson in September. Riding with Charles was a bit of an epiphany, since I had never TT'd above 25mph, let alone averaged 27.4mph for 15 miles. I caught the bug then and there, and I plan to use the winter to really dial in my aero position and develop the fitness to ride a fast TT next year. I also upgraded to the newest Gyro TT helmet.


Here's my reference point: my teammate Ian Stanford, the reigning MN State TT champ for at least 2 years running, who just missed the podium for the Elite Nats TT this year. He drills a 40K TT in 52 minutes or less--25 miles at 29mph. He is a certified rocket. I realize that a lot of it is genes, but not all. I've bumped up the technology piece, and saw good results from that at Henderson, but just compare the photos: Ian looks wicked fast; I don't.

Now I'm going to try to dial in a more aggressive aero position over the winter, and do more TT specific work in the early spring. I might risk taking the edge off my sprint, but the years are doing that anyway. My fast twitchers just don't twitch quite as fast as when I ran the 220 in 1979. The only thing I can do better now than I did when I was 18 is suffer. So there.

Ian, no matter what I do, you've got nothing to fear from me, so thanks for the tips and the image of sheer speed. I'm dreaming every night of FAST.



Wednesday, November 19, 2008

I'm Feeling a Little Lonely...

Gentle reader, this is the time of year when we all tend to return to our blogging, the weather being too unpleasant or at least unpredictable to spend a lot of time out of doors. So, if you are just now catching up on all my posts for the last few months, or even if you've already read yesterday's post, you'll notice a new widget on the sidebar to the left called "followers". All you have to do is click on the link and follow the directions, and you too will be a follower of Doc's Advice Blog. C'mon, don't be shy, you know you love to get your cool picture posted on other peoples' blogs.

You'd make me feel ever so much better to know that someone out there is actually reading my humble posts, or at least hoping to catch a glimpse of Katie's newest cute trick, or maybe just fishing for more readers for your own blog. Whatever your reason for joining, you get your own place on the sidebar to proudly proclaim your support of Doc, Soulmate, Katie, and the rest of the cast of characters that populates this part of the blogosphere.

And most importantly, you'll ease my loneliness just a little bit.

Monday, November 17, 2008

More Breaking News


Jimmer C is moving to Flanders. Now he'll be even easier to pick out in Red. Not that you could miss him in Loon Blue. Or Camoflage. He's that big. Kudos and good luck with the big boys next season. It's always a treat when you're in the race, and you're in almost all of them.

Not to be Indelicate, but...


I had a colonoscopy today, so be nice to me, OK? I'm not the type to trot out all my ailments and drag complete strangers through a grand tour, so don't expect a blow-by-blow account (I guess I forgot about the rotator cuff thing--maybe I am a bit of a hypochondriac). Anyway, you don't need to hear about mine, since Dave Barry has already described my procedure in one of his books, which I've taken the liberty to completely plaigerize and publish below.


Suffice it to say that I sit on a bike seat for a fair number of hours each week, and while I've never been afflicted with--ahem--numbness, I have experienced other untoward effects of prolonged sitting. The thing is, bike seats don't allow the use of those little donut shaped pillows to ease the pain. Bike racers are addicted to pain, so that part has never been an issue for me, I just live with it.


But bike racers are also very concerned about keeping as much oxygen around as possible, and I have less of it available than many of my beanpole comrades, so when I started noticing what seemed to be large amounts of my red cells floating in the commode, I was galvanized into action.
Fortunately, Dr. Gut tells me after the fact that I have a few innocuous vessels up in there that should respond to more fiber in my diet. Of course, I didn't tell him that I had already diagnosed my colon tumor and was drafting my deathbed speech, so I didn't catch right away that my digestive organs actually passed with flying colors.

It was sort of disconcerting, in a good way. I am elated to find out that everything is A-OK back there, and I don't have to think about it again for a number of years. Still, it was a sobering reminder of my mortality (I've had several this year), and if you're my age but possess the body of a 25 year old, your innards are still 50ish and you need to let Dr. Gut have a go at them.
Anyway, because I couldn't have said it better, here is Dave Barry describing my procedure (I got this from an email claiming Barry wrote it, but caveat emptor since email is the most efficient rumor mill and source of urban legends ever known to mankind):


DAVE BARRY'S COLONOSCOPY


I called my friend Andy Sable, a gastroenterologist, to make an appointment for a colonoscopy. A few days later, in his office, Andy showed me a color diagram of the colon, a lengthy organ that appears to go all over the place, at one point passing briefly through Minneapolis. Then Andy explained the colonoscopy procedure to me in a thorough, reassuring and patient manner. I nodded thoughtfully, but I didn't really hear anything he said, because my brain was shrieking, quote, 'HE'S GOING TO STICK A TUBE 17,000 FEET UP YOUR BEHIND!'


I left Andy's office with some written instructions, and a prescription for a product called 'MoviPrep,' which comes in a box large enough to hold a microwave oven. I will discuss MoviPrep in detail later; for now suffice it to say that we must never allow it to fall into the hands of America 's enemies.


I spent the next several days productively sitting around being nervous. Then, on the day before my colonoscopy, I began my preparation. In accordance with my instructions, I didn't eat any solid food that day; all I had was chicken broth, which is basically water, only with less flavor.


Then, in the evening, I took the MoviPrep. You mix two packets of powder together in a one-liter plastic jug, then you fill it with lukewarm water. (For those unfamiliar with the metric system, a liter is about 32 gallons.) Then you have to drink the whole jug. This takes about an hour, because MoviPrep tastes - and here I am being kind - like a mixture of goat spit and urinal cleanser, with just a hint of lemon.


The instructions for MoviPrep, clearly written by somebody with a great sense of humor, state that after you drink it, 'a loose, watery bowel movement may result.' This is kind of like saying that after you jump off your roof, you may experience contact with the ground. MoviPrep is a nuclear laxative. I don't want to be too graphic, here, but: Have you ever seen a space-shuttle launch? This is pretty much the MoviPrep experience, with you as the shuttle. There are times when you wish the commode had a seat belt. You spend several hours pretty much confined to the bathroom, spurting violently. You eliminate everything. And then, when you figure you must be totally empty, you have to drink another liter of MoviPrep, at which point, as far as I can tell, your bowels travel into the future and start eliminating food that you have not even eaten yet.


After an action-packed evening, I finally got to sleep. The next morning my wife drove me to the clinic. I was very nervous. Not only was I worried about the procedure, but I had been experiencing occasional return bouts of MoviPrep spurtage. I was thinking, 'What if I spurt on Andy?' How do you apologize to a friend for something like that? Flowers would not be enough.


At the clinic I had to sign many forms acknowledging that I understood and totally agreed with whatever the heck the forms said. Then they led me to a room full of other colonoscopy people, where I went inside a little curtained space and took off my clothes and put on one of those hospital garments designed by sadist perverts, the kind that, when you put it on, makes you feel even more naked than when you are actually naked.


Then a nurse named Eddie put a little needle in a vein in my left hand. Ordinarily I would have fainted, but Eddie was very good, and I was already lying down. Eddie also told me that some people put vodka in their MoviPrep. At first I was ticked off that I hadn't thought of this, but then I pondered what would happen if you got yourself too tipsy to make it to the bathroom, so you were staggering around in full Fire Hose Mode. You would have no choice but to burn your house.


When everything was ready, Eddie wheeled me into the procedure room, where Andy was waiting with a nurse and an anesthesiologist. I did not see the 17,000-foot tube, but I knew Andy had it hidden around there somewhere. I was seriously nervous at this point.

Andy had me roll over on my left side, and the anesthesiologist began hooking something up to the needle in my hand. There was music playing in the room, and I realized that the song was 'Dancing Queen' by ABBA. I remarked to Andy that, of all the songs that could be playing during this particular procedure, 'Dancing Queen' had to be the least appropriate.'You want me to turn it up?' said Andy, from somewhere behind me. 'Ha ha,'I said.


And then it was time, the moment I had been dreading for more than a decade. If you are squeamish, prepare yourself, because I am going to tell you, in explicit detail, exactly what it was like.


I have no idea. Really. I slept through it. One moment, ABBA was yelling 'Dancing Queen, feel the beat of the tambourine,' and the next moment, I was back in the other room, waking up in a very mellow mood. Andy was looking down at me and asking me how I felt. I felt excellent. I felt even more excellent when Andy told me that It was all over, and that my colon had passed with flying colors. I have never been prouder of an internal organ.


Thanks for the email, Pat. Sorry for not asking permission to publish this, Dave. Tell you what, I'll share half of all the revenue generated by this post. 50% of zero is...

Sunday, November 16, 2008

On the Road Again & Way Hip

Big Jim and I celebrated his State CX Championship by going out for an easy 2 hour spin on our fixies. We had the best time, especially since I haven't ridden outside for 2 months except to commute to work and back about 4 days a week. The weather behaved just enough, with temps hovering at the freezing mark and intermittent snow flurries that reminded us of what's to come.




Anyway, true to form it was a typical "easy" spin for us: Big Jim cruised along just barely in his recovery heart rate, and I averaged 148bpm for the entire ride, just below my tempo pace. I didn't feel it a bit, though--riding a fixie you tend to forget that you're pedaling at all, and you just feel yourself floating over the road. We've decided to make fixed-gear riding a staple of our winter training program. No deraileur to dirty, and lots of strength training going up the hills at 50rpms. And total hipness to boot.
BTW, I updated Saturday's post with new pictures and more accurate info. Fair and Balanced, as always...

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Epic Mac

Here's Katie's most recent food adventure. She loves mac & cheese, but I'm not exactly sure what she loves to do with it most. I think the winner at the end of the day is Buddy the dog.
video

Breaking News

Item #1: Nooksack 39, Forks 14. Nephew Caleb's Pioneers got behind 14 zip in the first half, allowing Forks' 1,700 yard rusher a 63 yard gallop for a touchdown. Then they allowed him 11 more yards for the entire second half, almost keeping him under 100 yards for the only time this season. Oh, and they scored 39 unanswered points to win their opening round at the state tournament. Here, Caleb has just finished putting the big hurt on the Forks' kick returner, a hit so savage it got the crowd and his teammates in a frenzy.

Item #2: Big Jim took the State CX title for the 45+ category in cyclocross in Crystal this morning. He bridged up to 2 star single-speeders (they combined the all-ages single speed CX race with the 45+ race and the 55+ race as well) and stayed away from the rest of the field for the second half of the race. It's a well-deserved win for a selfless racer with an engine that just won't quit. This picture is copped of off Robbie Halvorson's Flickr site.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

It's in the Genes I Guess...


My nephew Caleb is a sophomore starting at safety for Nooksack Valley, WA varsity football. The Pioneers are 8-1, won their conference championship, and are headed to the state tournament. It's only fitting, since Grandpa was an old footballer in eastern PA, Uncle Dave and the Hudson Pirates won the 1975 Iowa 2A title, I went to state with the same school in 1978, and Uncle Scott made the final game of the 1979 and 1980 state tourney with the Pirates as well.

Caleb's dad, Jon, was more of a basketball sort, being 5 inches taller than the other 3 of us, so he didn't see much action his junior year (even though they made state that year too). It's true in this case that the apple didn't fall far from the family tree. Here's a link to clips from every game they played this year. Caleb is #26 in the white jersey, and #22 in the purple.

http://www.nvfootball.com/htms/pioneertv.htm

Turns out their defensive front is so spectacular, he rarely gets to make tackles, but he's snared some INTs. They begin their run to the state title this weekend, I believe, or maybe next weekend. I'll post more as I hear.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Keeping the Mother-In-Law Happy


One of the most important marital activities a husband can participate in is to placate his Mother-In-Law. They say that the big three challenges in marriage are money, sex, and in-laws; your wife's thinking about all three are usually shaped at least in part by her mother. So, as I said, it's important to keep your mother-in-law happy.


One sure-fire way to do this is to publish a picture of the cutest princess in the world wearing something new that M-I-L bought. Here it is:
Way to go, mom!
BTW, to Katie, purple is the new black.

Back in Print

I shot my rave on the recent hit-and-run to the op/ed editor at our local paper, and he must have liked what he wrote, because it ran Sunday morning bottom center of the Op/Ed page of the Sunday Times. He only took out a couple of colorful words like "stinking" coward and "cowards are always losers".

Here's the link:

http://www.sctimes.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=2008111090046

BTW, take the time to read the online comments--I'm always amazed and amused by the obtuseness of some readers, and the acuteness of others. The best non-sequiturs are always in the comments. It's a little discouraging to realize that these folk are the ones who are actually reading the newspaper. I shudder to think about the ones who don't read at all. Mr. (or Ms.) Hit-And-Run is most likely the latter, so my rant probably didn't reach them. It's possible it will reach their co-worker, spouse, friend, or neighbor, so maybe it'll root them out after all.

Me? I'll keep wearing my rear-view mirror.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

An Antivenom

My last few posts have been uncharacteristically venomous, and I feel a need to rebalance things a little. It's not that I am retracting anything I wrote previously, it's just that I don't want to become an angry young man. Never mind that I'm not particularly young anyway.

One character trait of angry young men that I've never been at all fond of is taking oneself too seriously. This reached epidemic proportions over the last few months as the election approached, around the water cooler, in attack ads, on Fox News and CNN, and especially in the blogosphere. I don't care if you ARE right, you have no right to be a self-satisfied bore in public.

So, to counteract any tendency in myself to become boorish or boring, I submit a nosegay of a video of little Katie perambulating around the kitchen with the help of Fisher-Price. I just got home from work to find Jazlyn (our faithful babysitter) playing with Katie, and I grabbed the camcorder when she started reaching for this toy:

video

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

It's Official

Pinch Flat News has officially been removed from my list of blogs I read.

What started as light, agreeable, off-kilter cycling fluff has death-spiraled into a suffocating political diatribe full of ad hominem attacks, sycophantic fawning megaditto comments, and endless tedious stream-of-consciousness writing.

Oh, and did I mention that Pinchie accused me of being "a goddamn racist"? All because I commented on the 1999 NYT article about the Clinton administration and Fannie Mae, noting that the Clinton administration pushed FNMA to begin guaranteeing the riskier sub-prime loans that they had heretofor avoided with good reason, all because Clinton wanted to see more low-income households achieve the American Dream of homeownership.

My father-in-law corrected me though: the Clinton administration wasn't the first to pressure FNMA to take on riskier loans. It was actually the Carter administration that started that push. Clinton managed to succeed to a much greater level.

I'm not exactly sure how it's "racist" to point out poor judgment and failed policies in a series of administrations. Guaranteeing loans to poor risk households is bad business as we've found out recently. It doesn't matter what color the households are, if they're saddled with more debt than they can afford, the house of cards will fall.

There's plenty of blame to go around, as I mentioned in a previous post. Probably least to blame are the homeowners who were sweet-talked into abysmally bad loan structures to take on more debt than they could handle. Probably most to blame are a series of presidential administrations, including the current one, who interfered with the mortgage and banking industry to advance political aims that were ill-conceived with tragic consequences for the very citizens they were trying to better.

Jimmy Carter had a better plan to create affordable housing for lower income families, and fortunately he pursued Habitat for Humanity instead of manipulating taxpayer-funded juggernauts that have contributed to our beached economy. I've probably donated more money to Carter's Habitat for Humanity this year alone than Pinchie has in his entire sorry life, but in his universe faith-based organizations can never measure up to a really good governmental pork project like forcing FNMA to guarantee sub-prime loans.

Or you can read Pinchie's version in which it's all Bush's fault from start to finish. Pinchie seems pretty ignorant of politics and economics, but he's really handy with ad hominem and strawman arguments, if you like that sort of stuff. As for me, to paraphrase Bethoven's dismissal of Napoleon in the inscription on his Eroica Symphony: "to the memory of a great blog".

Update

My clinic partner has made an amazing recovery, owing half to pure luck and the other half to being in excellent shape (luck favors the prepared, as the old saw goes). His wrist is sprained but not broken, and he's able to hobble around despite considerable road rash and a broken lower rib (near where it attaches to the vertebra).


One little anecdote that completely captures my partner's personality: he was hospitalized overnight for observation, and when he got up Saturday morning he was bored, so he wheeled his IV down the hall (in his hospital gown, with an extra one on backwards so as not to scare the staff with his rump road rash) to the room of one of his patients, and proceeded to examine them and dictate a progress note on them. When I saw the patient on rounds the next day, he was very impressed by his dedication. I wish the nurses had snapped a cellphone picture of the two of them, doctor and patient, in their gowns and IVs.


The police have narrowed down the hit and run vehicle to a minivan from 1996 to 2000 model years, obviously with a broken off right side-view mirror and missing antenna. As my partner was starting to fly through the air on impact, he thinks he remembers seeing a recessed door handle in dark green, blue, or grey. It's likely they live somewhere between St. Joseph and Sartell, so if anyone spots such a vehicle somewhere in Stearns county, call the cops and report on them. See Ian's comments on my previous post for what can happen if we all keep our eyes open.


As a completely unrelated aside, if you get bored with HBO as the winter indoor training season arrives, check out this list of films with spiritual themes as rated by http://www.artsandfaith.com/:




Almost all of the films, even the foreign ones, are available on Netflix. The breadth of films and genre represented is amazing, with something for everyone. I doubt you'll find any Tarantino films here, and you'll be reading a fair amount of English subtitles, but I doubt you'll be disappointed. Some straight-laced folk may be scandalized by "mature elements" from many of these movies (think the bedroom scene from Schindler's List), but all the films on the list that I've actually seen (Babette's Feast, Elephant Man, The Apostle, Dead Man Walking, and a surprising number of others) have gotten me thinking about eternal matters or my own personal spirituality.


Even so, sometimes I still need Bruce Willis to gun down a room full of bad guys just to re-balance the universe. Or at least to offset the effects of a hit and run.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

You Stinking Coward

One of my partners at the clinic was struck by a motorist and seriously injured last night while biking near his house. He was hit from behind by a vehicle at highway speeds on county road 133, which has a wide shoulder and good pavement. The vehicle had to have drifted most of the way onto the shoulder in order to hit him. It was 6pm, with good light and visibility, and my partner had front and rear lights, the bright red blinking kind.

It was a hit-and-run.

My friend was shot through the air still attached to his bike, rolled 2 or 3 times, and slid on the asphalt, finally rolling to a stop in the ditch. He had to crawl out of the ditch and flag down another motorist to get help. He suffered a rib fracture, a possible wrist bone fracture, and lots of road rash. He came close to requiring abdominal surgery. He is 50 but has the body of a 25 year old, and that had to help. His helmet almost certainly saved his life.

The rest of you can go back to reading your gmail or whatever now--I need to have a word with the motorist: you stinking coward, you selfish narcissistic piece of crap. Why didn't you stop? The impact broke your right side mirror into pieces, which the cops have scooped up. Every body shop, parts store, and salvage yard has a description of the make and model of your vehicle, and will turn you in as soon as you show up to buy a replacement. Every cop in the county is looking for your vehicle with a broken mirror, just waiting to slap your fat backside into jail--hit and run is a felony, baby.

Maybe you were drinking at 6pm on Halloween night. Maybe you were texting. Maybe you just finished lighting up a joint. Maybe you were arguing with your girlfriend or boyfriend or ex. Maybe you've had 3 DUIs and thought you were looking at doing time. Maybe your parents didn't raise you right, to admit your faults and take responsibility for your actions. Maybe you're just a lousy excuse for a human being because all you can think about is your own fear, even when another human being lies bleeding and battered in the ditch because of your actions.

Maybe you'll get away with it. OJ did, and he's spent the rest of his life paying for it privately, trying to forget or to medicate the pain or to cut his losses. C'mon, confession is good for the soul. Turn yourself in, take responsibility for your actions for once, and be a man. Or a woman. Thank your lucky stars you're not looking at hit-and-run manslaughter or worse.

I bet it won't happen, because you're a coward, and cowards are always losers. In that case, I hope you are caught, and rot in prison.

I'm glad I got that off my chest, but I'll never be able to stop looking over my shoulder, waiting for you to come up behind me and run me over too. Have a nice life, you stinking coward.