Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Blinky Bellybutton Rings and other things NOT to wear/do at the gym

A while back, my wife, Michelle, and I were doing our morning workout when a young women walk pass with a blinking LED bellybutton ring. It may not have been so bad, but I was doing dumbbell military presses and she walk right in front of my face. Blinky, blinky, blinky. I am known to be easily distracted by shiny things, flashing lights and so on. It is usually not a big deal or dangerous, but it isn't very safe when I have two large dumbbells over my head (I think they were 75s, but I could be wrong). Some of you might think 150lbs coming down on my thick skull might not cause much damage; you may be right, but still it would cause a bad headache. THE POINT: Don't wear blinking LED body jewelry to the gym!!! You cause a mentally hyperactive person to get hurt.

So, LEDs are out. What else is a bad idea, or inappropriate at the gym? For starters, don't run around the workout area in your underwear. Ladies, this mainly applies to you. Short spandex shorts and a sports bra are underwear not workout clothing. Yes some guys are guilty of wearing really skimpy tank tops and bike shorts. this is wrong, and as my old First Sergeant used to say, they should be "PUNCHED IN THE HEAD!" Conversely, GUYS wear some kind of underwear. Spandex works. No one wants to see it while you're bench pressing! Also don't wear street clothes, like jeans or any button-up shirt. They can restrict movement, and you'll look like a dork.

OK, we have some basic ground rules for dress (wear clothes), but what actions should be avoided? Well, don't complain about "Mr. Sweaty" dripping all over the cardio machines. If you are not sweating while doing cardio, you need to work harder. The machines are not there for a gab session. On the other hand, if you are "Mr/Mrs/Miss Sweaty"  clean up after yourself. No one wants to use a machine that looks like Swamp Thing or the Creature from the Black Lagoon just used it. So, work hard, sweat like a nasty pig, and then clean up after yourself.

Another DON'T is carrying around your cellphone. OK, so I have a certain amount of disdain for cellphones, but do you really want your spotter to say "One sec, I got to take this call!" while you're halfway up on your last rep of a heavy lift. Think hard. this is when you need that wonderful security blanket confidence provided by your spotter. If he/she is there, you know that even if you choke or have troubles racking the bar, you won't be smashed. So, what if you are not spotting? Well, I am still easily distracted, and I'm sure there are others who are too.

Now, the list could go on and on, but I think we all get the general part. Be polite at the gym and wear some clothes! Thank you.


Monday, February 22, 2010

The Lost Symbol

A couple of weeks ago, I finished reading Dan Brown's new book, The Lost Symbol. It was a typical Dan Brown affair with lots of skipping from place to place and character to character, strong on action, and a nice puzzle. It also had Brown's typical push of his world view, which caused the denouement to drag on long after the story was really over. All in all however, it was a fun read, if not a slightly predictable one.

As with his other books featuring Professor Langdon, the other character were more facilitating than the protagonist. The villain, Mal'alk, was particularly interesting. Mal'akh, in my opinion, is strongly based on Siddhartha, the title character in the novelette by Hermann Hesse. (Siddhartha is not the story of the Buddha, but rather a fictional contemporaneity with the same name, who also seeks and eventually finds enlightenment). Both men seek themselves and happiness in indolence and excess, and then turn to an ascetic path. Both men are transformed through their lives' journey. The glaring difference between the two is that Mal'akh choose the dark path and thus never finds true enlightenment.

One could also look at the similarities between the transformations of Mal'akh and Frankenstein's monster; however, I shall save my ramblings and analysis of Frankenstein for another time. Besides, further discussion of Mal'akh's transformation could ruin one of the major plot twists (no matter how predictable) for those of you who have not read the book and choose to do so.


Thursday, February 4, 2010

My day at the VA or An arguemnt against a single payer system

Well, today I was scheduled to have knee surgery at the VA hospital. It was a basic arthroscope with possibility of a lateral release. An easy in and out. So, I got there at 6:30am (0630hrs for you military types), got ready, laid down and waited, and waited and waited. After about eight hours, I was informed that I would not be able to get my surgery today because an emergency arose last night. Oh, I forgot to mention that we had to drive nearly two hour each way and Michelle, my wife, had to take off from work. Also special arrangements had to be made for our son on short notice.

It was a little upsetting, but lets look at this situation in the single payer paradigm. Currently, most hospitals make their money from insurance providers or individuals for services rendered. If a "normal" hospital made a patient wait and then cancel a procedure, most people would refuse to pay for anything or demand the service. Insurers wouldn't pay for anything. The hospital would loose money. On the other hand with care providers receiving a government salary (which would eventually happen with a single payer system) there is no economic need to make sure services are rendered. In other words, you could get bumped or put on a lower priority because of an emergency.

Now, I must say that I choose to use the VA medical services. I earned it, and I am choosing to use it. But that is my point. I currently have a choice. With health-care reform as it stands, and even more so with a single payer system, that choice may soon be gone.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

A nice healthy snack (or lunch)

As I mentioned in an earlier posting, Michelle and I have been doing Body for Life. Unfortunately, I have to stop the exercise program because of a surgery (I'll write more about that later), but I continue with the diet routine. The basics of which are eating six small meals a day consisting of a serving of high quality protein and a serving of high quality carbohydrates. One should also include a serving of vegetables with at least two meals. You also take one day a week off from the diet and eat however you feel. To find out more, CLICK HERE.

Sometime my sweet tooth gets in the way, but here is one snack or meal that really helps out, a blueberry milkshake. And yes, it is good for you.

3/4-1 cup of milk
1-2 scoop(s) of whey protein powder (optional)
1/2 cup of plain unsweetened fat free yogurt
1/2-3/4 cup of frozen blueberries

I use a stick blender, but one can always use a stand blender (especially if you plan to make multiple servings). Pour the milk into the glass and mix in the protein powder (mixing it separately will make it less like to have clumps). Add the yogurt and berries and blend to an even consistency. The frozen berries will freeze some of the liquid and give you a nice milkshake consistency.

Now, the measurements are not exact to allow for varied thicknesses. For a thicker shake that requires a spoon to eat, use less milk and more berries. For a more drinkable shake, use more milk and fewer berries. Also, you can use other frozen fruit. Strawberries work will, and I'm sure frozen peaches would taste great. Fresh fruit, like a banana, is also good, but you don't get that milkshake texture or coldness.

Well, enjoy.


Monday, February 1, 2010

I love Mahi-Mahi

As many of you who know me or read this blog on occasion may have guessed, I love food. However, fish is usually not high on the list of my favorites. Mahi-mahi is one fish I can say I love to eat.

I first tried mahi-mahi while I was living in the Monterey, CA area. We were eating at a nice little restaurant on old Fisherman's Wharf (Monterey not San Fan), and I decided to try something new. The mahi-mahi was amazing. When it is fresh, the texture is similar to an extra tender and moist poultry. Also like poultry, the flesh has light and dark meat. The flavor is much like any white meat (no it does not taste like chicken. Only chicken taste like chicken).

Unfortunately, the is no coast in Northeastern Colorado; therefore, we must buy frozen mahi-mahi. The texture of the frozen fish when cooked is still moist and tender, but it does flake somewhat like other fish. I would love to say that the taste does not suffer, but there is not a frozen meat that is truly as good as the fresh. Having said that, frozen mahi-mahi is still quite delicious.

So, how do you cook it? There are many ways to enjoy mahi-mahi. All you really have to do is go to the Foodnetwork website (CLICK HERE) and search for mahi-mahi. There is a ton of recipes (it is also a good site for other recipes). Last night, we had a marvelous Thyme and Sesame Encrusted Mahi-Mahi. The marine and crust enhanced the subtle flavor of the fish. Normally, I would post the recipe myself but due to copyright consideration and easy of finding it, I figured I would just post the link. So, if you want to see the recipe, just click here. It will be well worth you time. Now, doesn't that look yummy?

A few notes: The photo is from Foodnetwork.com The original recipe is for Pacific Halibut, but it calls for halibut or mahi-mahi.