Sunday, January 5, 2014

A new year, but more of the same...

This is the mandatory new year blog posting, where I post everything I'd like to accomplish in the coming year.

That list isn't much different than past years.

  • Lose weight — Maybe this will finally be the year I hit 199lbs? Might be a tough one, considering I put on extra weight over Christmas. I was supposed to lose weight since my last annual physical exam to get my cholesterol back down. I failed. But so far this year, I've been pretty active, and returned to riding my bike on the trainer in the basement, despite how boring it is. I've had more shoulder issues since the summer as well, but with my "good" shoulder. It's only begun to feel a little better in the last week, but the mobility is only about 50%. I'm afraid to try the Nike Kinect again since the pulled calf muscle incident.
  • Pick up my camera more often — I've felt very uninspired in the last year or so. As much as I love photography, and the challenge of getting that one awesome shot, I don't feel the same inspiration as past years. I'm not sure how much that will change while it's still winter, but we'll see what happens when spring rolls around.
  • More cycling — Last year I rode my bike to work often. I hope to do that again this year.
  • Continue to brew beer — And learn more about it. I got a couple of books for Christmas.
There we go. One boring blog post.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

50,000 views... soon

My blog is 20 views shy of 50,000. :)

Thanks to everyone who has taken the time to visit, and comment on my mindless (and sometimes useful) posts!

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Biking withdrawal, health, and music

I'm going through biking withdrawal. I think it's been over a month.

I can't even bring my bike inside and put it on the trainer because our basement is a disaster, packed with boxes, while we await the foundation repair guys to fix the leak in our basement.

My "good" shoulder is doing bad. I'm still convinced it's bursitis, but haven't had it checked by my doctor yet. Changing my pillow and doing some of the physio exercises that I used to do for my injured shoulder seems to help a little. I guess if there's a good time for it to be bad, now is the time and I can hope that it improves before next spring.

About two years ago, I got Rocksmith to try and help me learn to play guitar. While it was fun, the cumbersome game interface became too much of a hassle to keep it fun. I played it on and off since, but probably didn't touch it in the last year.

Recently, Rocksmith 2014 was released. I picked it up and have been playing it pretty much on a daily basis since. The interface and usability has greatly improved.

Ubisoft has something they call a 60-day challenge. Play the game 1 hour per day for 60 days. In typical Ubisoft fashion, their tracking web site still isn't ready to actually track your progress properly. It's "coming soon".

We'll see how long I stick with this one. :)

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Conjunctivitis hell

When I was a kid, I don't think I ever went a week without some kind of cut or scrape from falling down, or falling off my bike, or out of a tree. I was an active kid.

Not once did I ever have a bad infection that required antibiotics, and I had some pretty nasty wounds. We'd clean them up, slap a little iodine on them, and a few band-aids.

Nowadays, it seems that slightest infections seem to require immediate antibiotics. About a year ago I had an infected hang nail that required antibiotics. My finger was nasty looking. A from a hang nail!

A friend of mine got scratched by a cat, it got infected, and he had to wear a portable IV pump to give him antibiotics. Another friend scratched his elbow while camping and required the same treatment.

Seemingly minor wounds that turned into major health risks. How the hell did I survive my childhood?

Day after starting antibiotics
This past Wednesday, I woke up with an itchy eye. I thought it might be pink eye, so I started using PolySporin eye drops. As the day progressed, my eye got worse. Really bad. I decided to go to the emergency at the Montfort Hospital that night.

They diagnosed it as a bacterial infection and put me on IV antibiotics. They also arranged for me to get one of those portable IV pumps to give me a dose every 12 hours, for a week, as well as ointment that I had to put in my eye four times a day.

Due to some scheduling confusion for getting the IV pump, I ended up back at the Montfort Hospital on Thursday morning. The doctor I saw that morning didn't think I'd need to be on the IV for 7 days. She figured 2 days would suffice, and then they would switch me to oral antibiotics for another 7 days.

Ball & Chain
I got hooked up on Thursday evening. I had to go back every day to get the bag changed. The pump and IV bag were carried around in one of those fanny packs. It was like dragging around a ball and chain. Trying to shower and keep one arm (and the fanny pack) dry was no easy task.

Yesterday, while getting the bag changed, they decided to change the IV line that was stuck in my arm. The nurse had difficulty finding a good vein. I felt like a pin cushion. Another nurse took over. They even contemplated putting it in my hand. Or the top of my wrist. On my right hand too. Thankfully the second nurse found a spot on the same vein on my left arm, above the old spot. And once they did get a good vein, the old hole bled quite a bit before stopping. Stressful.

Day 3
I had an appointment at the Montfort this morning for reevaluation. I was so glad that the doctor said the best course of action now would be to stop with the IV and switch me to oral antibiotics, as the last doctor had recommended.

My eye has improved greatly in 3 days. All that's left is a small haematoma at the bottom that should clear up on its own in a few days.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

90km goal achieved

Around the time I started cycling this year, I set two goals:

  1. at least 2000kms for the summer
  2. 90kms in one day
I was fairly confident that I'd achieve the first goal. I did it two summers ago, and then failed last summer's 3000km goal when my shoulder acted up. (I'm at 90% of the 2000kms already)

The second goal was more of a challenge. I've never biked more than around 80kms (I think) in a day.

This past Monday had perfect cycling weather. Sunny, not too hot, and not too windy. I headed out with no intention of going for my goal. I decided to ride up to Pink Lake in Gatineau Park. I've done it a few times in the past. It's just over 25kms one-way and almost all uphill. The ride down is a blast.

When I got to the top and checked RunKeeper, I realized that I could hit 50kms by the time I got home, I decided that if there was a day that I could reach goal #2, this would be the day. (Yeh, ~20kms downhill is kinda cheating... but the effort going up makes up for it, I think) :) When I got back down to the Ottawa River, I rode along the Gatineau side, stopping periodically to check my distance. I rode pretty much every route I've ever done downtown, trying to add to my total. The Rideau Canal. The Rideau River. I even back-tracked through the Byward Market to scraped up a few extra kms. On my way home I checked one more time and realized that I might just fall short of the 90kms, so decided to continue along the entire eastward stretch of the Rockliffe Parkway. I was positive that it would push me past the 90kms.

My legs were beginning to hurt a little. In fact, they were bothering me at least 15kms earlier. When I got to the end of the parkway, I checked my total. 92.5kms. I did it. With still a few kms to go before getting home, I thought that it would really suck if I got close to 100kms and didn't try for it. :)

I detoured back down toward the parkway and rode along until I got to my usual exit up towards home. I wasn't sure if it would be enough, but since I was so tired I decided that if it wasn't, then so be it. At least I tried.

Upon arriving home, I checked Runkeeper.

99.12kms.

My wife and son told me to ride around the neighbourhood to break 100kms. I didn't want to. I was done. Besides, RunKeeper isn't always pinpoint accurate in tracking my route. I could already be over 100kms. Or if I rode around the block, who's to say I wasn't still under?

As far as I'm concerned, that was close enough.

Yay me. :)

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Oops...

The results of my annual blood work came in for my annual physical.

It looks like I screwed up over the last year and my cholesterol is a little higher than it should be.

Apparently the LDL is supposed to be 2.0 or less. Mine was 2.09.

I've been given a few months to get it back down through exercise and diet changes before my doctor is ready to up my med dosage.

I've already got the exercise covered, but I've put on about 10-15lbs since last year, and I haven't been too careful about what I eat. So I'm going back to calorie counting.

I'm pretty confident I can get it back under control before November when I got back for more blood work. This little wake-up is the incentive kick I needed. :)

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Passed the half way mark

At some point in the last week, I passed the 50% mark of my 2000km summer goal. If the weather cooperates I may be able to beat it before the end of the month. If it's anything like June's weather I'd have to say that the odds are against me.