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Mar. 19th, 2012

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Jeebus

Has it really been a year since I posted? Does anyone still use this or is it all Facebook now?

Dec. 8th, 2010

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Station Identification

Sorry that I've been completely MIA on LJ. Many of my friends have migrated to Bookface, which I loathe, which meant that I'm not certain that anyone's reading these posts.

And my life has been...odd. So call me or text me if you wanna talk. I'm not online so much.

Sep. 24th, 2010

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GET IN MA BELLY.

We FINALLY got around to bottling the Belly Brew.

Looks like it finished out at a respectable 6% ABV. Can't decide if I like it or not yet--I think we used too much brown sugar and there is a "cidery" note, but honestly? Once it's chilled and carbonated I think it might end up tasting a lot like an herbal lambic.

DEFINITELY got the bitters through from the chamomile. The aromatics are...weird. I don't think I'll use the cardamon again, as I think it added what seems like an "off" note but is, in actuality, an odd combination with the chamomile. The ginger is quite noticeable, as well. We'll see!

Sep. 2nd, 2010

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Don't F&^k Me Up With Peace And Love

Totally going to see Camper Van Beethoven in Wisconsin. CanNOT wait!

Aug. 17th, 2010

THINK

(no subject)

"...this is the part that never ever gets acknowledged by people who know better, even though they will acknowledge it and then renounce that they have acknowledged it moments later. We can't make people thin, okay? There's no empirical proposition in medicine that is better established than this. There is no known way to produce significant long-term weight loss in a stastically significant population. We just don't know how to do it. And that includes weight loss surgery or stomach amputation. That does not produce significant long-term weight loss among most people who undergo it. Certainly what absolutely fails completely in terms of significant long-term weight loss is haraunging people about their weight. And telling them that if they ate right and exercised more they would be thin. For vast majority of people that description is a complete failure. It's hopefully relatively rare in medicine, in particular, and social policy in general, to keep pursuing an intervention which is demonstrably a failure over and over again. Now I'm sure many of you are familiar with the definition of insanity, it's doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. That's just another word for dieting."

--Paul Campos

Jul. 27th, 2010

THINK

Belly beer

Welp, we brewed up a batch of something I'm tentatively calling "belly beer", as its main medicinal use will be to calm tentative tummies:

1 lb chamomile
12 oz crystallized ginger
6” chopped fresh ginger
.5 oz dry ginger chunks
1-2 T cardamom seeds, lightly ground
3 lb dark malt extract
1 lb black patent malt
1 lb lactose
3 lb brown sugar
5 gallons water

Steep black patent malt at 155 for ½ hour, remove grain bag. Add 12 oz of chamomile, crystallized ginger, sugars, and malt extract, bring to boil. Boil 60 minutes. Add fresh ginger at very end of boil. Add water to bring to 5 gallons if needed. Let cool to 70 degrees and pitch yeast.

Primary fermentation should run for about 7 days. “Dryhop” secondary fermentation with rest of chamomile, dry ginger, and cardamom, let run about 10 days. Prime and bottle.

Initial specific grav was 1.071. This apparently means that it could have about 9.3% alcohol by volume, which means another pretty alcoholic brew. Hope it's ready for vacation!

Jun. 18th, 2010

THINK

Best. Pit. Bull. Quote. Ever.

"If Timmy had been with a pitbull, he wouldn't have ended up in that well in the first place."

Jun. 16th, 2010

THINK

WACKADOO: Probably the best explanation of alternative medicine ever.

Just read this paragraph from the excellent blog theotherendoftheleash.com, and couldn't resist quoting it here. The context is the author's (a learned ethologist and scientist) response to individuals HORRIFIED, just HORRIFIED, that she's choosing to use "alternative" methods like acupuncture and chiropractic alongside conventional veterinary medicine when treating her very active working Border Collies:

"If I haven’t lost you already in the land of “claptrap,” it gets worse. If you really want to hear how Dr. McConnell has gone “wackadoo” (I am becoming quite fond of that word), follow along for another post soon to come, about my reliance on Arnica, Traumeel and Zeel, homeopathic medicines which, to my mind, shouldn’t work at all, based on their proponents description of how they work. Except they do. Go figure."

I also love this little nugget, because it's an erudite way of phrasing something I've been arguing for YEARS now:

"One of the things that one learns when getting a Ph.D. is that “science” is a fluid creature, moving this way and that, depending on the state of our knowledge (and the culture) at the time. You also learn that there is a profound amount that we don’t know, that many of the things that we think we do know turn out to be wrong a few years down the road. In addition, it becomes stunningly clear that, at any given time, science may acknowledge a particular observation or result, but not understand the mechanism to explain it. It was my experience in graduate school that helped me see the difference between result and mechanism: not understanding why or how something works is not a good reason to argue that it doesn’t work."

Jun. 10th, 2010

THINK

He would have brought back a piano if you had thrown one in.

I've heard tell that your dog, if it is the enterprising sort, will give itself a job if you do not find a job for it to do. I believe this is largely used as a warning for people that insist on trying to keep so-called "working breeds" as lapdogs, and it's a good warning for someone that thinks a Border collie is going to have the same sort of temperament as a Maltese.

I don't think Twinkie would be categorized as a "working breed" by most of the dog cognoscenti. Nevertheless, Twinkie has given himself A Job: He has decided that he is to retrieve tennis balls from Lake Michigan. This is a duty he takes remarkably seriously. Although I believe he enjoys it, there is no barking or capering as you see from other dogs engaging in the same activity. Instead the ball is regarded with a rigid, steely-eyed concentration, and the act of retrieving it is an exercise in workmanship and professionalism. Other objects thrown into the lake are Not Tennis Balls, and therefore are viewed with deep suspicion. If urged, he will retrieve said items, but it is obvious that it is under duress. If other dogs attempt to engage him, they are ignored, as they are not tennis balls and therefore unworthy of consideration.

We spent almost an hour today in the lake. I waded in as far as I could go without completely soaking myself, and threw the ball as far as I could. The only dogs going out anywhere near as far as he were actual retrievers. You can tell the actual retrievers; they clearly have greater ease in the water than Twinkie does, but I doubt very much that they are working with as much grit and determination.

Jun. 3rd, 2010

THINK

How do I choose a fish oil? Cliffs notes version

I will probably write a really long expanded version of this at some point, but I threw this together for a friend-of-a-friend type person, so here you go:

How to choose a fish oil:

Easiest way? Buy Nordic Naturals. They're everywhere and they're very
good. Slightly more difficult way? Look up the product here:

http://www.ifosprogram.com/IFOS/default.aspx

That is slightly more troublesome because the testing is by *batch*,
so you have to make sure you're not only getting the right brand, but
also the right lot number. For example, maybe brand X has a good score
from 2008, but it's been awhile and their manufacturing contract
changed, so now they're getting it from somewhere else. So you really
do have to see WHEN the test occurred, and for what batch.

Fish oils, and Omega-3 fats in general, are broken down into several
component parts. The important ones in fish oil are EPA and DHA. A
good fish oil label will tell you how many milligrams of EPA and DHA
are in each serving (look at serving sizes! A fish oil with a serving
size of 2 capsules will look like it's twice as strong as a comparable
product that lists a serving size of 1 capsule!)

Also: Keep in mind that you aren't going to get anything resembling a
reasonable dose from one fish oil capsule a day. Most people don't get
NEARLY enough omega-3. If you're taking it for general wellbeing,
shoot for about 360 mg of EPA and 240 mg of DHA at the very
least...personally I'd recommend more than that, more like 500mg of
EPA a day and 300 of DHA. If you are dealing with joint pain,
depression, cardiovascular issues, or eye problems, you're going to
need to take more, and I'd recommend doing a little research on the
appropriate amount needed, and talk to your physician. Although fish
oil is incredibly safe, you do need to watch out if you're taking
warfarin or other heavy-duty anticoagulants.

* If your fish oil doesn't tell you how much EPA/DHA it has, SKIP IT.
"1,000 mg fish oil" isn't good enough. You need to know what's in it!

* If your fish oil makes you have "fishy burps"--IT'S RANCID! SKIP IT.
Good fish oil should NEVER do this. Never, ever, ever. I tell all my
customers to immediately return ANY fish oils if that happens, and
I'll refund their money, no questions asked. I'll also pull any
bottles I have in the same batch and check that there isn't a quality
issue for that batch.

* If your fish oil doesn't have an IFOS rating, you can contact the
company and ask for a "certificate of analysis" to be sent to you. If
they don't have this information, are unwilling to send it to you
immediately, or did it in-house as opposed to sending it to a
reputable third-party lab, SKIP IT! A reputable company is proud of
their quality and should be thrilled to show you the test results.

* If your fish oil doesn't say it's been purified by either molecular
distillation or supercritical extraction--SKIP IT (although you can
really screw up molecular distillation and "fry" the oil, damaging the
delicate fatty acids, so this alone isn't enough of a quality
indicator.)

* If your fish oil doesn't state what fish species it's from--SKIP IT
(in general, you want small fish like sardines and anchovies. Salmon
oil isn't necessarily better!)

If this seems complicated, it is, a little. Fish oil has become big
business, and so there are eight zillion companies trying to cash in.
But because it is such a valuable supplement, a little research can
mean that you have a product that can benefit just about every part of
your body. Remember--they're called "essential fatty acids" because
they are ESSENTIAL.

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