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Saturday, December 18, 2010

Wegmans

Above is Danny Wegman. Millionaire, Philantropist, Snappy dresser and grocerier. Danny made his fortune the old fashioned way, he inherited it.  I was in his wine store today and in he walks. You would think Paris Hilton just entered the place. Everyone was like "Hey Danny hows it going", "Look its Danny". He was hard to miss, because he was wearing a knee length technicolor coat trimmed with fur. Now if your going to take most of the hard earned money from you employees and buy a 5 million dollar house on a lake why do you have to flaunt it in front of them. Dress like a regular Joe for Christ sake instead of a Pimp (But when you pay your people dirt and take all the profits maybe... I Digress). But Hey, then they wont notice you when you walk in the front door...I think I get the point. Something has gone horribly wrong in our society when the richest guy in town sells you your groceries.

So then I go over to the Grocery store. The place is jammed packed and the isles are barely wide enough to get two grocery carts side by side. They are clearly going for more product space in lieu of any room for people to walk around. I see there are these big wigs walking the floor like peacocks. I knew they were big wigs because they are dressed in business suits embroidered with Santa Clauses and Wegmans logos and Santa and his Sleigh and such. They looked rediculous. Then I caught wind of their conversation. It went something like this "Wegmans is uniquely positioned blah blah blah, to have the highest quality and best shopping experience, blah blah, of any grocery store in the state. And I swear I did not make this up, literally 2 seconds after I heard "the best shopping experience", this lady goes by me saying "I hate this place, I hate this place, I hate this place". I guess the wigs were too busy blahing to catch it. 

Another very annoying thing about Wegmans is they rebrand everything. Eggs, Milk, Crackers, everything has the Wegmans brand on it. Its less expensive but.. the quality is sub par. Take any Wegmans item and compare to the national brand and the Wegmans item is crap. hey cut corners to get the price down. Probably paying the workers in the factories who make this stuff $8 and hour. I buy national brands, although they are getting harder to find at Wegmans. They even have Wegmans potatoes. The potatoes for god sake have Danny name on them. Why not put the name of the farmer who grew them on the label, he did a hell of a lot more to bring me those potatoes than the person who put them in a bag and resold them to me. The only reason I shop there is because of what Americans fear most, The loss of Convenience.

During the summer I bought my vegetables from the Farmer who grew them, I try to buy my produce and meat from local producers, who have their name on the label, some times they even hand me the item and tell me about how it was produced. We have got to get back to small produced mom and pop culture. I am not really into making some fur trimmed coat wearing dude richer.  

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

A poor mans cup

My BF BIL (Thats Best Friend Brother in law. BF are also his initials). He has a knack for over doing it a bit. Pictured above is his home espresso/cappuccino center. Its one step below the full blown restaurant style machine, referred to as ProSumer (Professional Consumer model in case you need me to hit you over the head with it). It makes great I mean knock your socks off great cappuccino and espresso. Its plumbed into the water supply and the motor in the grinder next to it could power a small lawn mower.  He has a tamper which puts exactly 30 lbs of force on the grinds in the filter basket and a thermometer in the milk frothing jug. As well as insulated glass shot glass so you dont burn your hands when lifting an aromatic frothy shot into your mouth. He has his beans delivered express overnight from some far off town in Ohio or somewhere in the middle west. Only certain roasters will do. After visiting him for a week a developed a taste for the aromatic and tasty blends only capable of being brewed by such a contraption. So being the poor guy with 2 kids and a wife in college, I contrapted my own version of the home espresso experience which I will attempt to explain.

First I resurrected my old espresso maker from our dungeon.  The water goes into a little bucket which I fill at the sink. My grinder motor threatens to stall on every grind of the bean. I press the beans into the filter basket with my perscription medicine pill bottle (Lid is the perfect diameter, its also quite interesting as BF's wife is a pharmacist). I froth the milk in the cup I am going to drink out of, using experience and guesswork to know when it is hot enough. I dispense the espresso into these little porcelain cup my wife bought and I buy my beans at a wholesale club. Makes a pretty good cup if you do it right. Took me about 10 cups to get the process down and get that perfect draw of crema every espresso enthusiast craves. There you go a poor mans espresso experience. Next week a poor mans roller skiing experience!

Monday, November 29, 2010

Bad Wizards



Bottled water is a scam  http://storyofstuff.org/bottledwater/ I use a reusable sports bottle and drink tap. Pretty much sums it up about corporations too.

My mailbox is piled high with junk everyday, so I went to http://www.catalogchoice.org and did something about it.

The BCS series is corrupt 

http://www.rockchalktalk.com/2010/11/11/1807701/sports-illustrated-talks-bcs-playoff-and-why-we-continue-to-spin-our

I don't watch college football. Instead I support my Div I daughters running and rowing! and my son who won a NY State Championship in Nordic skiing.  Pro Football and Baseball players are up there too in my book, Hey Michael Vick was a detested criminal now he throws a couple of passes and hes a hero again! and Jeter, dont get me started, the definition of cheating is, Intent to deceive by lying to your opponent ! Could you imagine if I did this at work, Hey FDA that blood test is safe, yeh really it is.


My cable TV brings me commercials and insulting news like FOX and Mad Money. So I turned it off. Instead I installed a HD antenna in my attic and get 11 crisp clear HD channels over the air for free!
Dont really have time to watch em much but if I'm watching commercials I better not be paying for the service as well.

My newspaper tells me all the awful corrupt things done by Hedge Fund managers, politicians, professional sports players, Corporate CEO's, CFO's and directors. Throw in the bad behavior of entertainment celebrities (When you hit a thin shot in golf its called a Calista Flockhart, When you hit a fat one its a queen Latifa, when you hit it in a group of trees and cant get out its a Lindsay Lohan because your in jail). So I canceled my newspaper.

 Richest man in the world, poorest product in the universe. I have a 10 year old mac that outperforms my brand new windows PC.

 Bill was interviewed on 60 minutes. He was saying he was trying to figure out what to do with all his money and he said you could have 1000 people fanning you. Bill clearly is not thinking creatively enough!






Life is a lot like the new Harry Potter movie, there are a lot of bad wizards out there. I know who the good ones are but I cant always recognize the bad ones. I do like to watch 60 minutes, available on free over the air HD by the way. They are really good at identifying the bad wizards. And once your identified, look out, I have a wand made of elder!

Thursday, October 14, 2010

The 12 days of cycling (Cycling is better than christmas)

My wife is out of town so instead of throwing a kegger or having the guys over for beer, cigars and poker. I thought I would bike every day instead of taking a car and blog about it. Check back every day for an update to this entry. My little ploy to get you coming back for more.
 
 I thought I would put the new ones upfront so y'all dont have to do so much scrolling. Hard work that it is.

 On the Twelfth day of Biking: Back to work. Some screw up with the Disability paper work and I was sent home at 11 am. Now I did call them last Friday is everything OK, "Yes you are all set", Now I cant get a hold of anyone at the disability company to tell me what the problem is. Also my internet connection did not work and it has so far taken me 4 phone calls/ talks with the admin to get someone to fix it and it still is not fixed after a day and a half. Much has led me to infinite frustration, which I took out on a 3 hour bike ride.

So here is the song: You know how it goes, last verse same as the first, you get the idea

On the twelfth day of biking my true love gave to me:

12 corporate cock ups
11 road rashes
10 days of resting
9 mountain bike meditations
8 Disability reps a calling
7 Cross bikes a blowin
6 Bubble persons bubbling
5 Ports a flushing
4 Pacers pushing
3 skin tight ski suits
2 much knee pain
And a pharmacist commenting on my bike shorts, ole!


 On the eleventh day of Biking: Mission accomplished! First race back since being diagnosed with cancer! It wasn't without incident, I crashed on the first lap. Going down a hill into turn onto a gravel section I washed out and hit the gravel.


As I lay on the ground in pain I had a choice, Quit (which I almost did) or continue. I decided if I could come this far I should finish what I started, if I nothing was broken. Nope nothing broken. I almost cried, but continued and passed a bunch of people before finishing. I crashed two more times trying to un-clip a sticky pedal but by that point it did not matter. Once your ego gets bruised and your emotions are shot it really does not matter what happens you just keep going.  Lots of people cheered for my super hero costume although they will never know the full story like you my readers do.






On the tenth day of Biking: I took a rest day to gear up for tomorrows Cyclo Race. You get to wear a costume since its near Halloween. I am going as Portman, I think I look like the character pretty well. Except for actual Portmans, round shape, I have a rather muscular psyche, I digress. It will be quite Muddy during the race so the costume may be quite sullied, so I thought I would show it to you in ts immaculate from.



On the ninth day of Biking: I am not mountain biking, but if I did, I would stay off the hard trails. If I was mountain biking I would notice how connected I feel to the bike through the pedals and the handle bar how mountain biking is a whole body exercise. You don't just sit and pedal, you balance, pull up on the bars, lean, look where you are going down the trail. It would be quite involved, if I was mountain biking of course. Mountain biking is like meditating. If meditation is supposed the keep all that mental chatter from going on in your head, then this (if I was doing it) will do that right now. Nothing like going down a trail, braking and trying to negotiate a tight turn to take everything off your mind except trying to keep your wheels upright. Go down a steep and you will be meditating like a zen master. It is like an adrenaline rush combined with the most calm feeling you ever experienced. Add in endorphins and exercise and you have the perfect activity, if I was doing it of course. 

On the eighth day of Biking: 33:05 would have placed me 5th in the overall bike times. Not bad for a guy 3 months out of chemo! Didn't beat Mr Skin suit he got 30:00. Got a call from my disability insurance company while riding at 175 beats per minute, guy must have wondered why I was panting so hard (gee this guy is worse than we thought he sounds really out of breath, and he wants to go back to work) Not kidding, he was calling about my long term disability, I almost hit a tree taking his call (kidding). I stopped to take the call and then almost hit the tree.


On the seventh day of biking: Quick ride home from B's school after dropping off the car. Wind was at my back and it felt fast fast fast and the cyclocross bike ridden be E in the summer. She lets me borrow it for races you see! I promise a legitimate run of the Black diamond course on the cyclocross bike tomorrow. See if I can come close to Mr skin suits time!




On the sixth day of biking: There is no biking on the sixth day of biking because (after reading this blog) my mom told me to take it easy and my daughter told me not to mountain bike. Dr says yes, wife says yes, daughter says no, because Portmantm might pop the port the Dr put in. My daughter created the Portmantm bubble person character ,

who will be making an appearance at the Halloween Cyclocross race on the 12th day of biking, my first race in over a year, stay tuned.
(Portmantm and the Portmantm  character are trademarks of annemariedenton.com, all rights are reserved, all patents legitimate, all reasons known to all persons who know it and believe in the bubble person heir-achy their heirs are apparent and thus insoluble and undeliverable to no one)










On the fifth day of biking: 32 miles round trip to the Oncologist to get my port flushed.I am exhausted and can hardly type due to my  neurapathy so this is the entire post.

On the fourth day of biking: Two of my friends came by for a 20 mile road ride. One friend said he had not been on his bike in 2 weeks and had been over eating and drinking so he would not be very fast. He buried me and my other friend up the first hill and never let up. I was hammering in a high gear and my friend was standing up mashing away at the pedals trying to keep up with this guy and he looked like he was just soft pedaling along coasting occasionally. How does he do it? He said it was carbo loading, I think he had secretly been at the gym on the trainer.

On the third day of biking: I rode about 8 miles, one way, to watch a run and bike race. Kind of wished I was competing but I cant run yet so I can wait. The competitors all looked like they were in a lot of pain. I thought this was fun? 

On the second day of biking: I got the clearance from my doctor and my wife to go Mountain biking. When I asked the doctor if it was dangerous for me to go mountain biking with my port(commonly known by my kids as as popping my port), He said its dangerous you can kill yourself mountain biking. I certainly know that. But no more dangerous with my port. So I went. Hit my knee cap on the handlebars and it hurt like hell. I really enjoy the endorphin rush when I am wreathing in pain :( I am not really sure if I like mountain biking now.

One the first day of biking: I went to the pharmacy to pick up a 30 day supply of my neurapathy medicine. It was raining, so it was a bit cold and wet, but I managed. The lady behind the counter asked me if I had seen some TV show on last night which featured an overweight man wearing bike shorts for the entire episode. I wondered what she meant by that, but she said I looked good in mine. Brings back memories of the line in caddy shack when Ted Knight is trying on an ugly hat and Rodney Dangerfeld says "But it looks good on you".

Thursday, October 7, 2010

A Pant Load

Beware: The following is a graphic (and very funny) description of the events that happened on the 4th of this month. Hearty souls, read on. Other, you have been warned.

Getting your rectum rebuilt (Yes I was ripped a new one) is pretty disturbing to your bowel habits. Re-establishing healthy, satisfying, everything is right with the world poos (Credit to CS for this one) has been challenging. But I have just about done it. Except for one minor issue, that I have readily come to find is very important when adding any medicines or vitamins to your regimen.

I have had this problem where a shall we say, "Never Trust a Fart" pretty much describes it..or have your ever heard of a 'shart"....well you get the idea. The other day I am riding my bike in the pouring rain..pedaling along and I stand up on the pedals because I have this pressure which feels like I need to relieve and uh oh that was stupid I shouldn't have done that, I think I just gave myself a racing stripe in my bike shorts. I sit back down on the seat and yes confirmed major pant load in there. So I am soaked, 10 miles from home, its cold and I have shi.. myself.  Time for a major re-eavaluation of why this is happening.

After some research I have figured it out. I have been taking 250mg of magnesium for a nerve issue. This was part of a supplement regimen prescribed by my doctors. Turns out magnesium causes diarrhea. I guess they failed to mention it might make me poop my pants, but hey, you cant be expected to be warned of everything.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Why I make the face?

I almost forgot why this blog is titled make the face. Its because when I am racing (ski, bike run etc) my face contorts into all sorts of funny expressions as I strain to exert all my energy and concentration to go as fast as I possibly can.  Someone once pointed out, why race? your not getting paid for it. Although I won a bottle on wine once.  Why do this? To stay physically fit of course. But you can stay fit by just exercising with a group or by yourself. Why pay the entry fee, train your butt off and put yourself through all the agony and pain that comes when the gun goes off and your ego tells you that you need to get one step ahead of that son-of-a-b in front of you.

Why? To learn about yourself. To experience the physical discomfort that you would never ever get yourself into when exercising. Once you start to push yourself past what you thought were your limits you realize your limits are far above what you thought they were. Your pain threshold increases, you learn how to forget about the pain and redirect it elsewhere. A very important skill when dealing with the physical agony I just went through. You learn how to overcome obstacles. Things that once were hard are now possible. Hills dont look as steep, roads not as long and mountains not so high. You become mentally tougher, able to get through bad situations with more ease.

I have not entered a race in a year. Will I enter one again? You bet the funny expression on my face I will. Just not for a while, I need to heal some more. Then look out I have a new threshold and resolve to race with. My face will get contorted again!

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Tattoo You

Surviving cancer makes you do some interesting things. Whims become reality, life experiences are sought out, things you have thought about doing get done, little annoyances become unimportant, inhibitions become non existant and I got a tattoo. Its the Chinease characters which you would read to pronounce my wifes name. I vetted this with a friend of mine from China. I didnt want to end up like the poor guy who got "This is an ugly boy" tattooed on him. Although I saw a photo of the guy and you know what, It kind of suits him.

I got the tattoo at the same place my sister in law got most of her body tattooed, so I knew the work would be good, Not all artists or parlors do this type of quality work, Look at it its fibrant color and crisp outline. Not those fuzzy green things many people have. If your going to get one get a quality artist at a high end place, its worth it.

Did it hurt? "Yes it hurts" its a tattoo. Feels like intense bee stings, 5 seconds at time until the artists stops and mercifully wipes it, then 5 seconds of pain. But hey, lets face it, after what I have been through in the last 8 months, my pain tolerance is up a bit.

Why did I get it? Its a life experience I wanted to have. Its an omage to my wife of 23 years who is my soul mate and who is part of me. It in a place where it won't show most ofthe time but I will see it every day. Me and my friends at the gym who will see it in the shower, "Not that I look at the guys at the gym in the shower"... I digress.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Stranger Than Fiction

Today I walked in on my wife mounting another guy, fortunately she flipped him over and put him into an arm bar as shown above. No, she was not cheating on me just taking her Jujitsu class. This is full contact Mixed martial arts fighting. What the hell! I have been watching the World Extreme Cage fighting on Versus for about a year now and I am fascinated by all the moves these guys can do. If you read back a blog post or two you can see I want to do some martial arts and now my wife has beat me to it. Damn. Unfortunately I cant participate myself since I have a device implanted inside me which cant come out for a few more months. But when it does I am hitting the mat and learning this stuff so I can at least defend myself if my wife decides to go wacko and try to break my arm or choke me. Provides a strong contrast to playing golf too.

Imagine a tiny 5 ft 4 in redhead fighting with these young ripped guys. Its even funnier when she turns absolutely beat red while trying to defend being choked. Impressive stuff. You go girl!

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Free Bike!

I got this bike for free. My generous local cycle shop owner gave it to me after he fixed it up a bit. I spent $60 on parts and added some old parts I already had. A friend of mine built two $8000 bikes when I was building this. He spent more on water bottle cages than I spent on this bike.  Its got a bit of character, a coke can shim to keep the seat post from slipping, a huge setback seat post from an old stunt bike, and salmon colored bar tape picked out by AM to match the lettering on the frame. There's nothing like having a professional artist/designer on staff! Oh and let me tell you about the private golf instructor on my staff. His name is Michael Breed (Read a few posts back). This is another thing I get for free. Every week I get a 1 hour private golf lesson from a guy who teaches the pros and was once an assistant at Augusta National. Its all about counting your blessings now isn't it. Back to free bike. Free bike made me understand you don't need to spend $8000 to have a fun time or build your fitness. This bike has done more for my pedaling technique and quad strength than I could have imagined. When aboard my carbon race bike I find myself spinning more and doing more with less energy.

This bike is fast. It has cyclocross tires and rolls over everything from grass to dirt to gravel. It is perfect for the rails to trails path we have here. The other thing about free bike is it blew my perception of what a single speed is. You can go up steep hills quite easily and it spins very freely and is quick on flat terrain.  What did I need all those gears for anyway. Anyone in my family can ride it and ride it anywhere.  So thanks to AM (Bar tape selection) and CS (Everything else). Live hard and ride free! 
BTW: Free bike has a free water bottle cage.


Sunday, June 13, 2010

No one should fight alone!


My friends and family have come through in a huge way in helping me with my fight. My friend MS, above, had a shirt made with my name on it for the Keuka triathlon. This is no easy race, I have done it myself 3 times. Since I couldn't be there this year MS did it in my honor! What a huge inspiration for me that he fought the cold water and waves and the rain and the pain and agony of a 6.2 mile run to finish the triathlon in fantastic style. Great job and thanks my friend.

My wife rode in a virtual bike race with friends cheering her on through the internet. The above bike stickers are on all our families bikes. Team Radio Shack has the same stickers on their bikes during the Tour deFrance. They support cancer survivors with this effort. DD came in 39th place in the virtual tour with 100's of our friends giving cheers through the internet!

I cant even mention all the support I have been given from my immediate and extended families and friends. Thank you all for your help and support. I could not do this without you.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

My lifetime ambitions Mission accomplished (sort of)

From a very young age I have had the same list of lifetime ambitions. The first is to marry a beautiful girl. Well as you can see from the above photo, mission accomplished and then some (My wife is the one of the left). Thing is about beautiful girls they make even more beautiful girls (My daughter on the right). My other daughter is equally as beautiful but I really liked this photo so I will feature her in another post.

Ambition number 2 was to win something big (Wimbledon, The Masters etc). Well thats me on the right after winning the 1994 Indy 500. Al took a swig of milk then handed it to me. I kind of fell into this one but I am going to count it as complete.

Next up, become a highly skilled golfer. I played the course and as you can see from the sign, it must be true. Seriously I hit the ball pretty good, I spent 5 years and thousands upon thousands of range balls learning to hit a draw (99% of golfers slice, almost all pros play a draw). I have shot 18 holes in 1 under par and can drive the ball 280 yards and can work the ball at will. My putting sucks but what the hell you cant have it all.

Number 4, become an extremely fit, ripped athlete. This is me on the right at the muscleman half iron man in 2008. A very nice and talented fitness instructor at my work is responsible for the abs. 20 hours of riding running and lifting a week is responsible for the 10% body fat. It is impossible to maintain this fitness and raise and family and hold down a full time job, so don't ask me to show you the abs now (There under there somewhere I promise).

Now for the incomplete ambitions
Play guitar - I tried. Developed carpal tunnel. Tried again and at the moment I am a bit stalled in my playing ability. I need lessons bad. That and I found out I have absolutely zero musical ability, have really poor hand eye coordination and motor skills for this and have very poor rhythm. Other than that it is going really well. NOT.

Learn a foreign language - My French is awful. Nes Pas. I need to learn Italian with my beautiful wife before my brain cant do it any more.

Become a martial artist -  I took some kickboxing classes at work. I sometimes work out with a Mixed Martial Arts guy at work. He brought in this 6 inch think pad which you hold as a target, he held it for me and I kicked it, I held it for him and he nearly broke my arm.

I should note that all these accomplishments pale in comparison to the joy I get from my beautiful family. I love you guys. Your success is what drives me. Love Dad.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Half Way

I am now half way through my chemo treatment cycles. Only 12 weeks to go.
Picture of me finished with Treatment #6
 Heres a highlight of my cancer related activities
1) I put a Livestrong band on my wrist before my first chemo treatment. It has not come off.and will not come off until I am cured. I gave bands to all my family members.

2) I get tons of support from my family and friends. This has really been a huge source of help for me. I really appreciate all the things and work my supporters are doing for me.

3) My hair has not fallen out, it has gotten softer though.

4) I gave up caffeine and coffee and meat. I told my Vegan and card carrying PETA member daughter EJ I was going Veggie, then started back on the meat, but I am planning to cut back again. Someone over at together cooking keeps making delicious pot roast and it irresistable.

5) I make homemade sushi every Sunday. The pickled ginger helps with the stomach and nausea. Other favorites include lemonade, lemon water and chicken noodle soup. The rice is pretty good and bland. No raw fish here just veggies and cooked crab.

6) My wife, kids and friends take me on bike rides. I love this, they love it too. I feel much better with exercise.We do a cancer survivor ride every other Monday at 6pm. I cant ride fast but I just go until I cant go anymore.

7) I thought I had this already, but I have really come to understand the value of my family and all the joy they bring to me. I love you guys. Keep up your great attitudes, hard work and dedication to the things you enjoy. I don't care if EJ wins a Marathon (She will)  or B wins the Masters (This ones a stretch, but hey, who would have thought I would win the Indy 500,  if you think it and believe it, it will happen) or DD becomes the most sought after psychologist in western NY (she will) or AM becomes a famous Chef on the Food Network (Iron Chef AM ala cuisine!), In my mind you are all there already. Love DAD.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Innovation

Definition: Great ideas you come up with that are mocked by the status quo, you are then persecuted, your idea is stolen and some else takes credit for it.

So here's an example. I have been following the NHL playoffs. I heard about this player who got hit in the mouth with a stick. He lost 9 teeth, and he was quoted as saying "It was good that I only missed one shift". I started looking at the players. They have a lot of missing teeth,



There is of course a very simple solution to prevent the loss of teeth.
Bring that up at an NHL players meeting. First you will be mocked. "Sissy" I hear them yelling . "How do you expect us to fight?" Well that was my next presentation "No more fighting allowed in the NHL" but since you called me sissy, I am forced to drop my gloves and challenge you to a game of Parcheesi.  Next thing you know your not the NHL player safety advisor anymore (Persecution). Then 5 years down the road, someone sitting in that same room the day you showed your power point on no more broken teeth, brings out the new NHL safety guidelines (Face guards mandatory) (Stealing). Of course change happens slowly. At one time, NHL players, including goalies wore no helmets at all. Of course there were some really bad innovative ideas that actually made it into play (see wikipedia under Cooperalls). But I am pretty sure adding full face guards is a good one and will some day be de rigour. Plus the no fighting thing. What am I a friggin psychic? We know these things will eventually happen, we just need time for the status quo agents to adapt to it and for someone to come along and steal the idea.

There you have it. This has actually happened to me more times than I want to remember. Being the first out of the box with an idea, and then trying to change the status quo is almost certainly a path into ruin. Being a status quo jockey or an idea stealer is almost certainly more financially beneficial, you just don't get to sleep at night.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Time for a change


I have been taking my car to the dealer I bought it from for 5 years. Every time I go there they try to sell me some repair I don't need and ignore my comments of how the car is running. I told them the engine light came on one morning and the car stalled out and they told me I needed a $200 fuel injector cleaning without even diagnosing the car. So I decided to take the car to a different dealer. What a difference. Not only did they listen to me and find the problem I had been having for 50,000 miles and fix it (under warranty). They found another problem and fixed that under warranty. They did an excellent job and were friendly and courteous and it was a great experience. So what a difference a simple change makes. 

I had the same experience when I changed cancer centers. Better service, listened to me and reacted to my needs and I am much happier. 

So, I have been pushing myself to keep working (as in my day job designing clinical diagnostic analyzers)  through this chemotherapy and finally decided it was too much. Fortunately I have great insurance and can take time off work at full pay. So I have decided to take time off work while I undergo the chemo and really relax and let myself heal. As I left work yesterday I felt like I was leaving a piece of me behind, but I realized this change was badly needed and will be a great thing in the long run.





Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Why Bother

I once went to this cafe where they served a decaf latte made with non-fat milk. The cafe named all their drinks and this one was called the "Why Bother". Similarly I have a bunch of stuff for sale on e-bay right now. Anyone unfamiliar with how the bidding goes on e-bay, Even though the listing lasts 6 days,  most people will do their bidding in the final day or even final hours. Most items sell for about half the price of a new one or you can look at other similar items and see what they sold for to get an idea of how much you should bid. So with 3 days to go in the bidding for my items people are penny bidding. Someone bids 1 cent then gets trumped by someone bidding 2 cents or some bids $1 then some else bids $1.10. Seriously, do they think that by bidding in penny increments they are actually going to win an item. These are items will sell for hundreds of dollars.

Some people are so focused on saving pennies today. When its hundred of thousands perhaps millions of dollars in the future we want to focus on.

Both people are doing what I call ass holing it. Definition: If your an ass hole you believe that your penny manipulations actually have an effect on the final outcome, when in the end your really just bidding to see your self bid or drinking a Latte that has no flavor! Neither is productive or enjoyable.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Together Making Sushi

Well were crossin' over here at the blog-a-sphere. I know the Together Cooking folks are out Mountain Biking, on my bikes by the way. So if they can do my thing, I can do theirs, Truth be told I cant do my thing now so I thought I would russle up some Sushi. I saw this great throw down with Bobby Flay and he was crap at making sushi and I thought I can do better than that. So I took the tips from Marimoto and the crazy Korean Sushi guy who took it to the flay and, well, filleted him. I made the best Veggie (Yes EJ will love it) Sushi Ever. Shown is a carrot, cuke, sesame roll with cilantro and wasabi.  Garnished with Soy Sauce Wasabi and sriracha (Spelled right by the way). Great with shaved pickled Ginger which is also good for nausea. And speaking of nausea, I tell you if Medical Marijuana was legal in New York... I bet if those state senators were going through chemo they would be like hey emergency session right now,  legalize the stuff, immediately!!!!

Friday, April 2, 2010

Reconnect and unplug

Its funny the number of things you can fix by turning them off and back on again. Or reloading the same thing again i.e. Windows software. I had several experiences around these lines last week. Reconnect number one was the power seat in my car. It had broken for the second time in two years. The first time the dealer replaced the switch. This time while waiting for a switch to arrive, I had an epiphany in the middle of the night. I sprung out of bed and headed into the cold garage. My wife hopped up and grabbed me and begged me not to go and try to fix it. I said I had to. So I went to the car, disconnected and reconnected the connector under the seat and Viola, the seat worked. It had been broken for 3 months ,stuck in my wifes forward position, preventing my son and I from driving the car. I came in jubilant and gave my wife a huge hug.

Reconnecting number two, I have two wireless routers which have been acting poorly for years. Disconnecting, not allowing computers to access the internet. So after hours on the phone with Tech support I decide to re-download the firmware into each. They are now both fixed. Who knew?

Unplugging: My normal office I go to for my Chemo treatment was closed so they had me go to a new office. What a difference, the people at the new office had fixes for all the side effects I had been experiencing in my previous treatments. Simple stuff, they even gave me free samples. Now I am having a much better Chemo experience, if you can say that. So sometimes you just need to reconnect the same old thing and sometimes you need to unplug and plug into something new. Who knew!

Friday, March 26, 2010

Courage
















The photo at the left is a picture of my daughter jumping over a crevice at the top of Mount Marcy in the Adirondacks. Its an 4 hour hike and 5000 feet of climbing to reach the summit, over some very rocky and rutty terrain. Then you have to turn around and hike back down.

It takes a lot of courage to climb a mountain or jump over a crevice. Having been through experiences like this helps you have courage in other areas of your life. I am finding it takes a lot of courage to fight cancer. Courage I had not built up despite making this climb and many others. I am also finding this courage spills over into other areas of my life. I find I have the courage to speak out more. To stand up to people and situations I would have shied away from in the past. There is an art to letting things wash over you, but there is also a need to tell people who are annoying, hurtful or rude to stop. So if your full of yourself and hanging around me you just might get treated to a shot of my new found courage.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

The story of the missing link..40 years in the making


















If it ain't broke don't fix it right. Don't tell that to an engineer (Explains my writing style doesn't it). Our motto is, if it ain't broke, you just haven't tried hard enough to break it yet. Or how the hell does this thing work I think I will take it apart to find out. Or I can make this way better if I modify, adjust, or just fiddle with it. So goes the story of my life with mechanical things. When I was around 5 years old I took my bike apart and couldn't get it back together. I seem to always remember having a bike to ride, my Dad put it back together. I just wish he had showed me how he did it. Of course, being only 5, youv'e got to wonder how much I would have been able to comprehend. For the past 6 years I have been engrossed in a hobby of cycling. Not just riding the darn things but assembling, disassembling, cleaning, modifying, improving learning and thinking about improving the dozen bikes which have gathered in my garage. Now most of them are not mine, I have 5 other people who ride 8 of the bikes in there. Although I have been known to borrow them from time to time. I do however claim 4 of the bikes and I spend a good bit of time tinkering with them.

What I have come to learn is this, in cycling, mechanical stuff is complicated. Bike Parts are designed to work in a certain way, if assembled incorrectly (wrong bolt torque, type of grease, orientation of assembly type of part etc) all hell breaks loose. Its pretty overwhelming for someone doing this as a hobby.

Heres a recent example: My wife was having trouble shifting the gears on her bike, she has small hands and the shift lever required a lot of travel and she would not be able to shift it, (This would be the all hell breaking loose part). Usually this happened on a steep hill where she would be stuck in a high gear and end up having to stand up on the bike to get it to the top. It would be way too easy and not as much fun to go to the local bike shop and have them fix it. So I set to work adjusting fiddling, modifying etc. I get most of the job done when I notice that after the modification the chain is too long. So the chain has a little quick link which allows it to be taken apart. I have some of these on other bikes which I have taken apart successfully. So I go about trying to remove it. No luck. In fact no amount of pliering, hammering, use of excessive force or foul language will free this thing up. Well if theres one thing I have learned in 35 years its once four letter words start coming out of my mouth, its time to seek professional help (or the occasional ambulance ride). So off I go to the local bike shop and say "Hey man this thing is stuck If you can get it apart I......and before I could say "will give you fifty bucks" the bike shop guy hands me back the chain with the quick link disconnected. Perhaps he shoudn't have done it so quickly. I am there thinking this guy is a freaking David Copperfield. "Can you show me how you did it..." I felt like I was asking Tiger Woods how he hits the ball 300 yards. Well actually I felt like I was asking Tiger Woods how he kept all that skank a secret for so long. But I digress. So I was taken into the inner sanctum of solitude and shown the secret trick. Everything with bike repair is like that. Theres always some trick where it takes me and hour and 1000 lbs of force and someone shows me how to do it in 30 seconds with ease. I guess thats whats so intriguing about working on bikes..theres always something new to learn and an incredible sense of satisfaction when you learn how to do it correctly. 40 years later and I can actually put a bike back together...with a little help from my friend at the bike shop that is.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

My Golf Swing

video
Just in case you were wondering what my golf swing looks like. Here it is.
The club is a 54 degree wedge. I hit the ball about 100 yards in each swing. Effortless!

Friday, March 19, 2010

The golf fix


I watch this show on Golf Channel called the Golf Fix. It is hosted by this guy "Michale Breed" who is a poster child for Ritalin. I really enjoy it. I have been studying and playing golf for 12 years and have gotten pretty good, but my swing has problems, and like every other golfer who has tried to fix their own swing, you tend to end up with something that looks like your trying to wound a duck. Have a look at Charles Barkely, Jim Furyk, or my father in law(who has read every golf book in the world but has a swing that is.... lets just say its self taught and leave it at that).



Well Michael was able to very simply describe how to fix a number of things in my swing, most of them in the setup and grip. I practiced then in my garage and yard over the winter and was able to hit a few wedges in the yard. Everything felt good and seemed right and it really seemed like I had discovered that I had compounded many faults in my swing, aka adapted one fault to correct for another one.

I played my first round yesterday with my new swing. Well its actually a new setup and grip. (As Michael says, in golf most faults occur before you begin to move the club, or as in life most faults occur before you begin to move your mouth). The first tee box at my club is intimidating. The tee box is lined with trees on the left and right (not unlike 18th at Augusta photo at left). I have hit the trees on the right quite a few times. The ball ricochets and lands by the womens tee (Invoking an old and rather embarrassing rule, which requires one to hit his next shot displaying visual evidence that he is in fact not a woman). I was very anxious as other golfers teed off and had to hit Mulligans. My wife Debra then teed it up and made her first golf swing in 5 months and hit a beauty right down the middle about 175 yards out. So up I stepped, did my new routine, new setup, new grip, what could go wrong. Well I piped it down the middle about 250. Maybe the best drive I have ever hit on that hole ever. I walked off the tee box down the fairway yelling "Michael Breed, I love you, I want to have your baby". Well ok I may have gotten a little too excited. Anyway, for the rest of the round, I hit the ball better than I ever have with less effort. Michael Breed "I do love you", but you can forget about that baby thing.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Howling at the Moon



Last night I went out for the first time after my first chemotherapy treatment. The stars were out and beautiful. After a beautifully sunny day, the sky was as clear as I have seen it in a while. We had dinner with some friends and one of them asked me if I just wanted to go outside and look up at the moon and ask God "Why me?" Well I dont really ever ask that. Every year millions of people get cancer, lose their jobs, mourn the loss of family members, get divorced or suffer many other traumas and setbacks. Sometimes life is easy, sometimes it is very hard.

So everyday I count my blessings, family, friends, good health (well were working on that one), opportunities to do the things I love (Golf , skiing, cycling). So instead of asking "Why me?" I try to get enjoyment out of everyday and thank God for all the great things he lets me do.

That said, my friend told me if I ever just needed to go outside and howl at the moon she would do it with me. So here it goes, "Howl.........."

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Finishing a really grueling race










Here I am in 2008 finishing my third half ironman triathlon. This one was nasty. It started with 3 foot waves and me puking during the swim. Then the bike ride started up hill into 20 mph winds. Then the last part of the bike leg was over bumpy gravel, I stopped to help someone who had a flat and didn't have the stuff to fix it soI fixed it for them and half way through changing the tire it started to rain. I mean a monsoon rain. As I left the transition area to start the half marathon the lightning was incredible. The rain kept up for all of the 13 mile run. About 7 miles into the run I started to bonk and get light headed and I almost passed out. But I manged to get some cliff blocks into me and I perked back up and make it to the finish line you see at the left. Yes thats 6 hours of swimming biking and running. This race is not unlike the battle I have been waging since the first of the year. Although this time its against cancer. My family and friends are cheering me on and supporting me as they did during the half iron man. I will not let them down and I will cross the finish line.