Friday, April 08, 2011

Spending would seem to be the more significant issue...

...but that's never as easy a sell as "US vs. THEM" regardless of whether you're an 'us' or a 'them.'

Week in food/training/brief PT hiatus/immune system gone crazy?

First, we'll start simply enough, with the food prepped last week for the Mrs...
I am unreasonably satisfied that after 6 months I've finally managed to use up the single pack of frozen berries that have been sitting in the freezer through creative application of the Magic Bullet - manufacturing delectable smoothie treats.

No food/nutrition log, and those who've been paying attention will also notice that there have been no training updates since 3/30 - though I kept up the workouts till 4/1 - and then this happened: 
"What's this?" you ask.  Good question.  Of which the answer is long and ultimately not at all clear.  In, let's say, the last 14 years I've had this happen to me about 4 times.  A ridiculous swelling/pus filled infection that first presents as something similar to a bug bite or maybe an ingrown hair, then rapidly and painfully grows, fills with fluid, ruptures and then, finally, heals.  

First time was in Hawaii, then 2X in Japan, and now, once, here in Liberia.  In Hawaii was probably the worst, but at least was located on my torso, swelling up to about the size of a golf ball before rupturing and healing.  Given my propensity for avoiding doctors I'd treated it myself - which is why you can still see the scar if you know where to look - but the magic of the internets and self diagnosis led me to think it was the result of a spider bite.  The next time was in Japan, on my knee, and not nearly as bad, but due to the prodding of the Mrs I did go see a fine Japanese doctor, who said, yes - probably an infected insect bite - then proceeded to slice it open, squeeze out the the infected material, patch it up and send me on my way.

Then, nothing for about 7 years until 2008, back in Japan, when it happened again - over my right eyebrow - and while not as large as the one in Hawaii, still pretty big, and way more gruesome, since I couldn't hide it under my clothes.  Once again, fine Japanese doctors sliced and diced and healed me up.

So, coming back from Japan about 3 weeks ago I came back with a head cold, snotty and sneezing and hacking and wheezing - which I attributed to my 2 weeks of intensive play with adorable yet always infectious Japanese munchkins, and my immune system was clearly out of practice and not up to snuff.  But I ground [grinded?] it out for a week and a half and kept working out, and it felt like the worst was passing when last Thursday I felt an itch and a bump over my left eye [#1, upper left, above.]  Doesn't look bad but I instantly I knew what was coming. 

So went over to the med clinic Friday AM but all they were able to do for me is say "keep it clean" and give me some antibiotic ointment.  By Saturday [#2, upper middle] the swelling started in full and the worst of it was, because of it's placement, the swelling was pushing on my eyeball and giving me what amounted to a constant 3-day throbbing headache.  Which is probably the most miserable I've been in some time.  Just horrible through Tuesday/Wednesday until it finally ruptured, leaving me drainage holes  out of which I could squeeze the infected material - disgusting, right?

So, now that it's Friday AM, the worst is over, I think, and I can use normal band-aids instead of stacks of gauze that I have to change every few hours.  As to what caused it - still dunno, really.  Best guess is, as always, an insect bite or ingrown hair that got infected.  

The only new twist I can think of, given my cold coming back from Japan, my eye explosion, and a strange rash that showed up for a couple days this week is that there's something going on with my immune system and it's overreacting to stimuli it might normally handle without much problem.  But I've been reading and listening to a lot of Paleo nutrition books and podcasts - see here and here, for example - and they talk about the effects of grains and sugars on autoimmune conditions, so maybe there's something there worth checking further.

So, the upshot is that this week has sucked.  Painful suckitude, all around.  And no PT, obvious, with attempts to drown the pain with junk food and alcohol.  OTOH, I now understand why whisky was such an effective painkiller in the Old West.  Kicks the shit out of aspirin and Tylenol, I'll tell you what.  Hopefully back at it all on Monday, and having missed a week of P90X, I'm hitting the cosmic reset on that - Day 1 all over again come Monday, and it still fits in the gap before we head back to the US this summer.  


"Please work hard in Africa as the wife."

Exchanged emails with a former student in Japan telling them I'm in Africa now with my wife, and while I think she's running her responses through the 'net translator due to some construction and word choice, part of her response included the phrase - "Please work hard in Africa as the wife."

And that's just too funny/on the nose to not laugh.

A man less secure in his manly masculinity might have issues, you know...

So now I'm off to go kill an elephant armed with only a butter knife and chopsticks.  Then drink a beer while shaving with a straight razor and smoking a cigar.  Yes.

Everything I need to know I learn from comics.

Came across the above pic and dug the visuals, and more, the script... But it seemed to ring a bell...
A bit of Google, and it came from this, obviously.
BONUS - Bane's Guide to Dating.  [From Gail Simone's always entertaining Secret Six.]
An essential H.L. Mencken quote, with an image of Warren Ellis' Spider Jerusalem superimposed.

"Whoever lays his hand on me to govern me..."

Unfuckwithable/Made of Zen.

Understanding the Budget - and how everybody's being played.

Gosh, it's almost as if politicians are liars who suck.  Go figure.

Understanding Facebook.

Libya - "We're using money we don't have to kill people we don't know for reasons we don't understand."



Inspiring body control.

Wil Wheaton perfectly articulates on modern security theater - "I don't feel safe. I feel violated, humiliated, and angry."

All Americans who travel should read it in full, at the link.

I don't feel safe. I feel violated, humiliated, and angry. - WWdN: In Exile:
"Yesterday, I was touched -- in my opinion, inappropriately -- by a TSA agent at LAX.

I'm not going to talk about it in detail until I can speak with an attorney, but I've spent much of the last 24 hours replaying it over and over in my mind, and though some of the initial outrage has faded, I still feel sick and angry when I think about it.

What I want to say today is this: I believe that the choice we are currently given by the American government when we need to fly is morally wrong, unconstitutional, and does nothing to enhance passenger safety.

I further believe that when I choose to fly, I should not be forced to choose between submitting myself to a virtually-nude scan (and exposing myself to uncertain health risks due to radiation exposure)1, or enduring an aggressive, invasive patdown where a stranger puts his hands in my pants, and makes any contact at all with my genitals.

When I left the security screening yesterday, I didn't feel safe. I felt violated, humiliated, assaulted, and angry..."

People don't know anything about the future. Especially people who think they know something about the future.

It's Hard to Make Predictions, Especially About the Future - Reason Magazine:
"The price of oil will soar to $200 per barrel. A bioterror attack will occur before 2013. Rising food prices could spark riots in Britain. The Arctic Ocean will be ice-free by 2015. Home prices will not recover this year. But who cares about any of those predictions: The world will end in 2012.

The media abound with confident predictions. Everywhere we turn, we find an expert declaiming on some future trend, concerning nearly every activity. Should we pay much attention? No, says journalist Dan Gardner in his wonderfully perspicacious new book, Future Babble: Why Expert Predictions Are Next to Worthless, And You Can Do Better.

...In Future Babble, Gardner acknowledges his debt to political scientist Phililp Tetlock, who set up a 20-year experiment in which he enrolled nearly 300 experts in politics. Tetlock then solicited thousands of predictions about the fates of scores of countries and later checked how well they did. Not so well. Tetlock concluded that most of his experts would have been beaten by “a dart-throwing chimpanzee.” Tetlock found that the experts wearing rose-tinted glasses “assigned probabilities of 65 percent to rosy scenarios that materialized only 15 percent of the time.” Doomsters did even worse: “They assigned probabilities of 70 percent to bleak scenarios that materialized only 12 percent of the time.”

In this excellent book, Gardner romps through the past 40 years of failed predictions on economics, energy, environment, politics, and so much more..."

Thursday, April 07, 2011

Japan has the best protests - "We're going to drink Fukushima sake together!"

Flower power protest hits downtown Tokyo |
"In defiance of the city’s government and its post-March 11 demands, some 300 Tokyoites gathered in a park in front of the iconic Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building in Shinjuku on Sunday to have a little fun.
The brainchild of film critic Tomohiro Machiyama, this wasn't your usual protest. Instead of masks, armbands, and signboards, the participants came in casual wear, bearing plastic sheets, snacks and plenty of booze.

The peaceful -- if slightly buzzed -- sit-in was organized to shame government officials for their widely condemned requests to refrain from cherry blossom viewing parties.

Hanami, which (very) loosely translates into “getting drunk under the cherry blossoms with your pals,” is a venerable tradition in the capital.

A power shortage driven by the disaster in Fukushima has led many citizens to voluntarily engage in “self-restraint” with regard to electricity and crucial supplies.

But, nobody is sure why officials have asked people to refrain from gathering beneath the cherry blossoms -- an energy-saving activity if ever there was one.

The most recent of these demands came last week, when controversial Tokyo governor Shintaro Ishihara declared that, “this isn’t the time for doing hanami.”

It was an abrupt about-face for a man who only weeks earlier had dismissed the earthquake and tsunami as “divine retribution” for Japan's supposed greed. (He later apologized for the remarks.)

“It'd be one thing if they gave us a legitimate reason why,” shouted Machiyama against a backdrop of pink flowers in a toast to the crowd. “But they’re just telling us to stop! Who do you think you people are? We're going to drink Fukushima sake together!”

So much for the stereotype of the conformist, conflict-adverse Japanese...

...By the end of the night, the participants had raised more than ¥175,000 for the Devil Press Disaster Fund, founded by co-organizer Yoshiki Takahashi."

Wednesday, April 06, 2011

Understanding Libya/politics/the military.

All your floors are belong to Adam West.

Nails it in one - "...virtually every country that suffers horrible Terrorist attacks -- Britain, Spain, India, Indonesia -- tries the accused perpetrators in its regular court system, on their own soil, usually in the city that was attacked. The U.S. -- Land of the Free and Home of the Brave -- stands alone in being too afraid to do so..."

The impotence of the loyal partisan voter - Glenn Greenwald -
"...Related to that: the notion that political opinion in America would not allow Obama to do anything differently on these issues is empirically disproven; he ran on a platform of opposing all the measures he now supports and won decisively."

"I'd love to have that shallow, unquestioned belief." - Doug Stanhope.

Me, too. Didn't work for me though.

If Doug Stanhope were president - GQ Jokes - GQ.COM (UK):
"On beliefs
'Why do you believe it and what's your motivation for believing in it? I don't even believe in the s*** I say for a full 24 hours. I would love to have a consistent viewpoint of my own. It would be nice to have that solid, stiff head that said, 'Well, I'm a Democrat and that's because I believe, and my parents believe, that we should have some kind of social safety net.' They don't ever look at the flaws: you get her pregnant, you marry her. That's just what you do. I'd love to have that shallow, unquestioned belief.'

On Obama
'I thought he was cool to watch, on the same level that you'd say, 'Steve Buscemi, yeah, he's cool to watch.' The whole cool thing has just died. He's become boring. All the speeches are the same. He's just become the hack president.'"

Europe has better protests.

Nicely done.

I miss quick internets.

It's a trap!

"Tits bouncing back in warmer weather."

Gotta love summer.

"You got me so I don't know what I'm doing - Now..."

"U.S. to hold military tribunals the Obama administration said wouldn't happen at Gitmo, the detention center he promised to shut down." - And that pretty much sums that up.

Via Reason Morning Links: Tribunals at Gitmo, FTC vs. Google, GOP Budget Trims $4 Trillion - Hit & Run : Reason Magazine

Kind of expected, still disappointing - "Japan’s new jury system is a farce."

The jury is in: Japan’s new jury system is a farce.:
"This news story slipped under my large nose in the last few days of earth-shaking quake related news. On March 30th (2011) the Tokyo High Court overturned the not-guilty verdict of a 60 year-old office worker accused of smuggling in meth-amphetamines and other crimes. He was the first person to be found completely innocent under the new lay-jury system to have his not-guilty conviction overturned. He was found innocent in June of 2010. This time the prosecutor friendly court, which was not burdened with a jury, sentenced him to ten years of hard labor and a fine of six million yen.

In Japan, the lay-jury system, which pairs civilians with a judge or judges, was supposed to put a check on prosecutorial abuse and judicial arrogance by involving ordinary citizens in the process so that a more reasonable and fair verdict could be given..."

3 guesses, first 2 don't count - " "If there’s one point on which the US, apartheid-era South Africa, and the former USSR all agree..."

Briefly Noted: A History of Paternalism - Reason Magazine:
"If there’s one point on which the United States, apartheid-era South Africa, and the former Soviet Union all agree, it’s that citizens aren’t capable of making good decisions about food, drink, sex, and risk without government prodding..."

Me, too - "I will be happy when this strain of Constitution-averse military bootlicking is in the national rearview mirror. What a disgrace."

Via Lindsey Graham Defends Himself: "Petraeus Petraeus troops commander Petraeus!" - Hit & Run : Reason Magazine

"...cops illegally arrest, detain, and cuff a 17-year-old honor student for using her cell phone to record them in public. They then illegally deleted the video..."

Within a decade miniature, wearable, instantly uploadable cameras should be ubiquitous, and then this heavy-handed illegal bullshit will be moot.  One can hope.  Till then, you can only keep pointing out when your rights are abridged by those who are supposed to be protecting them.
Saturday Links | The Agitator:
"Newark cops illegally arrest, detain, and cuff a 17-year-old honor student for using her cell phone to record them in public. They then illegally deleted the video, destroying evidence. The student is suing. That isn’t enough. This crap isn’t going to stop until the cops who engage in it are criminally charged."