Thursday, April 27, 2006

Need a New "Up-Do" ?

I found this coupon in one of those magazines that are freely distributed about on college campuses. I found it so odd that someone would name their hair salon, especially one with a semi-prestigious address such as Mass. Avenue, after a fictional teenage cartoon character with the mother of all up-do's (see picture elsewhere in this post) - I really had to call and make sure it was real (it is, call for yourself).

In arm and shoulder news, I am having an MRI done this coming Sunday afternoon and a follow-up/results visits with the orthopedic doctor the following Wednesday. I'm at the beginning of my second day without taking medication and it feels like..well let me keep it simple, it hurts; alot.

Congratualtions to Egan for completing his marathon.

Until next time.....Ouch!

Sunday, April 23, 2006

In Loco Parentis

My lack of posting is still due to the ridiculous pain in my right arm/shoulder. The current state of diagnosis is twofold. As previously reported, there is strong evidence that there is an impingement of the rotator cuff. After seeing the neck/back/spine specialist, who reviewed the MRI of the neck that my primary care doctor ordered, there is a "disc protruding at C7 that as you can see here (I saw on the MRI myself) is certainly close enough to the nerve center be causing, or have caused you pain in your arms..." The neck guy wants to remain conservative (thankfully) for now especially because the positive reaction to the cortisone injection does confirm the shoulder diagnosis. All I really understand is that I am in constant pain, sometimes unbearable...time will tell.

The title of this post, In Loco Parentis, I snatched from the first Lemony Snicket book in the "A Series of Unfortunate Events" series called The Bad Beginning. I enjoyed the book and look forward to continuing with the series (which I think currently stands at 12).

As an extra credit assignment, I've asked my students to learn a bit about blogs and have sent them on a hunt for this very blog. In the past, I've spoken of some of my experiences with student but more often, the negative experiences. Let it be public record that I have a really terrific group this semester.

Off to watch the rest of The Surreal Life and rest my aching arm. Peace y'all!

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Pot Luck Yum

That title sounds a bit like a house special at a chinese take-out. We had a pot luck luncheon yesterday at work and since I've bailed on the last couple, I decided to cook for this one (so as not to achieve freeloader status). In recent Post(s), I've mentioned a delicious recipe for Beef Short Ribs that me and my family have been hot on in recent weeks. I made this yummy entree for the pot luck and privde the recipe for all of you here today...just because I love you.

Beef Short Ribs
Recipe courtesy of Treetops, Rittenhouse Hotel (modified by Chris Daniele)
Recipe Summary
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 2 hours 10 minutes
Yield: 4 servings

3 to 4 pounds beef short ribs
1 medium onion, sliced
1 medium carrot, peeled and chopped
2 celery stalks, chopped
2 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
3 (6-ounce) cans tomato paste
1 bay leaf
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
olive oil (enough to cover bottom of pot and brown ribs)
Salt and black pepper
1/2-3/4 cup red wine
Beef broth, enough to cover the ribs
all-purpose flour (about ¼ cup)

  • Season ribs with salt and pepper.
  • Season flour and lightly coat ribs.
  • In a large Dutch oven heat the oil and brown the ribs on all sides.
  • Remove the ribs from pot.
  • Add the carrots, celery, onion, and garlic to pot, cook for about 2 to 3 minutes.
  • Add the tomato paste and cook stirring slowly for about 3 more minutes.
  • Add the bay leaf, thyme, and red wine then stir.
  • Add ribs back into pot then cover with broth.
  • Cook for about 2 hours on low heat (simmer) or until the meat begins to pull from the bone.
  • Serve over rice or egg noodles.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

The American Spirit at Work

I got wind of this story thanks to Nancy at work and I just had to share it...

Man trading up from paper clip to house
By Associated PressMonday, April 17, 2006 - Updated: 10:43 AM EST

Kyle MacDonald had a red paper clip and a dream: Could he use the community power of the Internet to barter that paper clip for something better, and trade that thing for something else - and so on and so on until he had a house?

After a cross-continental trading trek involving a fish-shaped pen, a town named Yahk and the Web’s astonishing ability to bestow celebrity, MacDonald is getting close. He’s up to one year’s free rent on a house in Phoenix.

Not a bad return on an investment of one red paper clip. Yet MacDonald, 26, vows to keep going until he crosses the threshold of his very own home, wherever that might be.

"It’s totally overwhelming, I’m not going to lie," he said by phone from Montreal, where he and his girlfriend, Dominique Dupuis, live with two roommates. "But I’m still trading for that house. It’s this obsessive thing."

The story begins last July.

MacDonald had spent years backpacking, delivering pizzas and working other part-time jobs, suiting his jack-of-all-trades, restless nature. He paid his $300 share of the rent by occasionally promoting products at trade shows.

But he yearned for one piece of settled-down adulthood: a house, which he knew he could not afford.

It’s clear, however, that MacDonald has a knack for promotion. Asked what he had talked up at all those trade shows, MacDonald slipped right into his spiel for the employer, "You ever sat at a wobbly table at a restaurant?" he said.

Beyond a gift for advertising table stabilizers, he’s a geography buff, keeps a blog and writes short stories. Random interactions with strangers and the rich kitsch of North Americana provide his favorite material.

Put it all together, and you have the outline of MacDonald’s quest.

He advertised it in the barter section of, the Web site teeming with city-specific listings for everything from job openings to apartment rentals. At first, MacDonald said merely that he wanted something bigger or better for his red paper clip. No mention of a house - he feared seeming flaky.

While he was visiting his hometown of Vancouver, British Columbia, two women gave him a fish-shaped pen for the paper clip.

Later that day, MacDonald headed to Seattle to catch a ballgame and a flight home. Before the airport, though, he stopped to see Annie Robbins, an artist who had just stumbled upon the Craigslist barter section. She admired its anticonsumerist vibe, she said, so she answered MacDonald’s posting "on a lark."

MacDonald left her home the proud owner of a small ceramic doorknob with a smiley face, made by the son of an artist Robbins knows.

Next up was Shawn Sparks, who was packing up to move from Amherst, Mass., to Alexandria, Va. Sparks, 35, is a huge fan of Craigslist barters, having acquired his 1993 Chevy Blazer in a trade for a used laptop.

Sparks offered MacDonald a Coleman camping stove. Sparks had two, and didn’t want to lug both on his move. And he needed a new knob for his espresso machine.

Done. The men celebrated with a barbecue at Sparks’ house.

MacDonald gave the camping stove to a Marine sergeant at Camp Pendleton, Calif., getting a generator in return.

East again. MacDonald swapped the generator for an "instant party package" - an empty beer keg, a neon Budweiser sign and a promise to fill the keg - proferred by a young man in Queens, New York City.

Before the trade, MacDonald left the generator in storage in his hotel. When he went to claim it, he was told it had been confiscated by the fire department because it was leaking gas.

"If there was ever a movie based on all that, that would be the closest to losing it all," he said, recalling his anguish.

But more on movies later.

MacDonald reclaimed the generator by tracking it to a firehouse in lower Manhattan, where he got a Tootsie Pop from the crew and petted their Dalmatian.

The beer package went to a Montreal disc jockey, in exchange for a snowmobile.

Here’s where the project’s grassroots purity may have gotten compromised. MacDonald’s blog, , was attracting attention, and MacDonald was invited onto Canadian television. Our wandering man was asked if there was anywhere he wouldn’t go to trade the snowmobile.

An obscure place came to mind, so he spit it out: Yahk, a hamlet in the Canadian Rockies.

Some publicity-seeking ensued. A snowmobiling magazine offered an expense-paid trip to Yahk in exchange for the snowmobile. The trip went to Bruno Taillefer, Quebec manager for the supply company Cintas Corp. He got headquarters to let him give MacDonald a 1995 Cintas van that he had been planning to sell.

MacDonald gave the van - stripped of Cintas logos - to a musician seeking to haul gear. In turn, the musician, who works at a Toronto recording studio, arranged a recording contract, with studio time and a promise to pitch the finished product to music executives.

MacDonald handed the contract to Jody Gnant, a singer in Phoenix who owns a duplex.

And that is how Kyle MacDonald has turned a paper clip into a year of shelter in the desert.

Where it goes now, who knows. He says he has offers from Hollywood studios to turn his story into a film.

But he pledges not to accept gifts or overly lopsided trades that would undermine the peer-to-peer joy that he says has animated his journey. Asked what he has learned from all this, he responded:

"If you say you’re going to do something and you start to do it, and people enjoy it or respect it or are entertained by it, people will step up and help you."

© Copyright 2006 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Saturday, April 15, 2006

Just Checking In...Again

The MRI showed some minor disc protrusions in my neck but according the the report, nothing that should be causing the arm pain that I am having. My primary care doctor referred me to a spine specialist for a second opinion on the MRI - that appointment is next Thursday.

In the meantime, I was able to get a spot on Friday morning with my Orthopedic doctor, whose initial diagnosis was "impingement of the rotator cuff." Evidently it's fairly common in over 40 men and something that anti-inflammatories and a few weeks of discomfort usually...that just doesn't sound fair now, does it? Considering the amount of pain I have been feeling, and the duration, the doctor gave in a cortisone injection which he said would prove beneficial in one of two ways. Either it will relieve the pain and confirm the diagnosis, or confirm that we don't have an accurate diagnosis and need to probe further.

The shot seems to have decreased the intensity of the pain but I can assure you, I'm not exactly in anything remotely considered to be a comfort zone.

In Walk for Hunger news, I have surpassed the $1100.00 mark in fundraising.

I have the best recipe for Beef Short Ribs that I will share with you soon.

I'm craving a Peter Luger steak.

I love my new windows.

Baseball fever is back.

Thanks to all the well-wishers.

Happy Easter to all who celebrate.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Just Checking In...

Hi everybody. My arm continues to ache and it's difficult to work on the computer at all without lots of pain - so I suspect I'll be posting less frequently until I'm healed (though I may audiopost a bit). MRI results should be in today.

Thanks to everyone who has helped out with the Walk for Hunger...contributions and information are all a click on the logo below away...

I have thus far raised $915.00 ($165.00 over my initial goal)! I'm overwhelmed with emotion and humbled by the generosity of the people around me.


Saturday, April 08, 2006

The Neckbone Connected to the Arm Bone...

After a recent relapse of my lower back pain had finally seemed to go away after 6+ weeks of pain and aggravation, I recently developed some problems with my right arm. About 2 weeks ago or so, I was watching TV and just kind of reached up into a stretch/yawn/sigh combination when I heard something snap in my right arm; which sounded kind of like a spring recoiling. The feeling was what I would imagine a pretty healthy jolt of electricity would feel like were it to suddenly run through my right arm.

Since that time, I have been in constant pain. I have a pretty full range of motion, but the pain is always there in varying degrees and seems to radiate throughout the arm and at times reaches my shoulder, upper back, neck, and the right side of my chest. I started to deal with it my taking lots of Ibuprofen and hoping after a week or so, it would pass. It never passed and last Friday night, actually Saturday morning considering it was about 2 am, after nearly two weeks of not sleeping through the night, I drove myself to the emergency room.

An uneventful examination which surprisingly included no scans or x-rays or the sort, left a fairly open diagnosis of "something nerve related or muscular", and "some possibilities include bursitis, tendinitis...please follow up with your regular doctor." And then of course, a prescription for dealing with the pain - which included Vicodin and Valium.

I drove myself home somewhat disappointed that I was still feeling the same pain I felt when I had arrived. I took one the dose of Valium they gave me "to go" and I was able to sleep through the night. I'm not sure if it alleviated the pain of made me not give a crap about it, I was just glad to get an entire night's sleep.

I've since been to my "regular doctor" who confirmed that the problem isn't "neurological" and he has ordered an MRI of my neck to determine if the problem is a nerve being pinched. I'll be having that MRI done this Monday afternoon and in the interim, I've been coping with he pain as best I can. I am not a big fan of taking medications, so I am looking forward to getting through this.

I'll keep you all posted. In the meantime, check out the link along the right side of the blog to my Walk for Hunger page and learn a little about the great organization Project Bread...then, if you are so inclined, you may make a donation to my walk, which I will finish regardless of the amount of pain I am in.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Musical Meme

I saw this on a blog yesterday and thought it was pretty unique.

Answer the following questions using only the song titles from a chosen musician/band.

Band: Metallica
Are you male or female? Enter Sandman
Describe yourself. Some Kind of Monster
How do some people feel about you? The Memory Remains
How do you feel about yourself? Poor Twisted Me
Describe your ex: Ain’t My Bitch
Describe your current significant other: Master of Puppets
Describe where you want to be: Wherever I May Roam
Describe how you live: The Frayed Ends of Sanity
Describe how you love: Jump in the Fire
What would you ask for if you had just one wish? Fuel
Share a few words of wisdom: Fight Fire With Fire
Now say goodbye: Fade to Black

Finally, here's something cool from Joy's site.

Monday, April 03, 2006

Walk for Hunger 2006

Once again I will be participating in this great project. The Walk for Hunger is a 20 mile walk which riases money for an organization called project bread. Click on the attractive logo to see my walker page and to make a contribution and for more information on this terrific organization and their work.

Thank you to all of you who've already contributed and to all those who might consider supporting this cause. I love you all!

Saturday, April 01, 2006

M. Night Shyamalan

NOTE: There was an audio post but the host site is gone and the audio is lostthis is an audio post - click to play

Updated Monday 4/3/06 6:15pm Eastern Time

I loved The Sixth Sense but was disappointed at Unbreakable and hated Signs so much that I never bothered to watch The Village (anyone with anything positive to say on The Village that might sway me to give it a whirl?).

Looks like he's got a new film being readied for release later this year called Lady in the Water and it stars one of my favorite actors, Paul Giamatti. I may have to geive this one a shot.