Tuesday, August 19, 2014

on probable omens

This morning, I had a dream that was somehow about family vacations, monorails, food samples, and nuclear accidents. Then I woke up with the Counting Crows song  "Recovering the Satellites" playing in my head. Now, I gotta wonder what kind of day I'm going to have.

Saturday, August 16, 2014

on pointless innovation

In light of my conversion to mostly vegetarianism, I have, out of necessity, been revamping my cooking. This has involved getting new cookbooks, updating my crappy saucepan, procuring a better food processor, and so forth. The latest step was to get a new omelette pan, as the non-stickiness of my old one had degraded to the point of annoyingness.

When I took the cardboard sleeve off the new pan, I noticed a sticker on the pan itself. Stores and manufacturers seemingly have an addiction to putting stickers on pretty much everything. Moreover, making said stickers nigh-impossible to remove seems to satisfy some deep, deviant fetish of said sticker's designers. When I got my ricer, for instance, removing the clearance sticker required 16 minutes of scrubbing with rubbing alcohol, vegetable oil, and a scouring pad. Much cursing also occurred.

The sticker on the omelette pan obviously could not handle the scouring pad, but it did require 15 to 20 minutes of scraping and scrubbing. Normally, this would've pushed me into a fit of spasmodic rage. However, this time, I had instead developed a grudging admiration for whomever designed and manufactured a glue which could stick so ferociously to a non-stick surface. Sure, it was utterly pointless and counterproductive innovation. Still, you had to admire the sheer effectiveness of the pointlessness.

Someone make that designer an administrator or bureaucrat, stat!

Monday, August 11, 2014

On lifestyle changes involving meat and beer

I honestly thought this would never happen, but it has, so I might as well admit it to the world. Be advised, though: it is shocking news, and I don't want to scare anyone. So here goes:

I am giving up both beer and meat.

I know this is kind of shocking news, so some explanation is in order. Three weeks ago, I woke up with my big toe on my left foot in some serious pain. Yeah, i know what you're thinking: Ooh, a toe! Agony! Well actually it was. It felt like in the middle of the night, somebody had come and smashed it with a sledgehammer. Honestly, it felt like it was broken. And that, quite frankly, sucked.

Three days later, it had not improved. I want to see the doctor, and he told me it was most likely an attack of either gout or pseudo-gout. I'm not really sure what the differences are between the two, because he said that they have the same symptoms and are treated more or less the same. Secretly, I'm hoping it was the pseudo variety, because that seems like it would be a lot more sci-fi.

The drugs he gave me work very well. In fact, by the end of the day, I felt pretty much better. The doctor, though, told me that he was not sure how frequently I would experience flare ups. He said it could be only in every so many years, it might not reoccur until I was much older, or I might have outbursts relatively frequently. I was cautiously optimistic but preparing for the worst.

The next weekend went quite well. Then I lasted about another week before my foot started hurting again. Honestly, it wasn't as bad as the first time. However, it eventually became really, really horrible. Try walking around on a foot that feels like it's broken. I know I am getting older, but I'm just not ready to feel like I'm in that much pain all the time.

Due to my desire not to feel crippling pain on a normal basis (how weird of me!), I decided I needed to make some real changes in my life to make sure this didn't keep happening. So I looked for a list of triggers for gout (because I could find surprisingly little on pseudo-gout...only pseudo-information), and two of the biggest were red meat and alcohol, particularly beer.

Of course, I had the same thought that most of you are probably having right now. Is life without beer and steak really worth living? Now don't get me wrong, because I love these 2 things as well. However, I hate the pain that much more. And I also realize being healthy can be a good thing.

So here is the bottom line. I will be going primarily vegetarian in my food intake. I am NOT going to be one of these people who gets high and mighty about it. At least, I don't intend to be that guy. And I'm not going to say I will never eat meat, because an occasional animal might slip through. But I will be mostly vegetable and fruit eating guy. As a result, I am more than open to any suggestions anyone might have for how to cook this way. Recipes are also welcome.

I am also not going to be drinking. They say that alcohol is a severe trigger of this, and that beer is particularly bad at it. Because of my intolerance to pain, I'm going to give this up for a little while too. I'm not going to say I will never have a beer or a scotch or whatever, but it's not going to be a major part of my life.

This is the one which is a little trickier for people. Please do not think you need to tiptoe around me. This is just going to be for my own benefit. I will not preach. Also, I'm not doing this because I have a problem, need to rehab, or can't handle temptation. I'm perfectly fine. This is just something I need to do to not be in abject pain and horror all of the time. So I am more than happy to go out with you, hang out with you, or join you in any alcohol-based environment. If you play your cards right, this can even be a benefit, because I am more than happy now to be a designated driver if you wish to include me.

So where does this all end? Well, I can really use some advice about the whole vegetarian thing. Other than that, I just hope to get healthier. Maybe in a year or so of this, I'll even become trim and gain movie star good looks! I promise not to let my hopefully upcoming stud-muffin looks  come between us.

I know a non-drinking, healthy me is not what you've come to expect from me...but bear with me, and we'll get through this together.