PAgent’s Progress

Words Are My Favorite Toys

October 20th, 2006

Acoustic Cover of Outkast’s “Hey Ya”

I’m surprised at how much I like this version, versus the original. I changed and deleted some text and decided that from now I will purchase college research papers instead of writing and posting them here.

Shamelessly horked from Tom’s Den of Iniquity

October 20th, 2006

It only hurts when I move

I joined a gym last weekend. It was the gym I’d been visiting on a trial basis. They have very good facilities, and are kinda sorta on the way to work. Unless I want to give up and lapse into a diabetic hypertensive blob for the (brief) remainder of my days, it was something that Had To Be Done.

And I have been using it, too. That means crawling out of bed, packing a change of clothes and getting to the gym by around 6:30 am, at the latest, which is less than pleasant. For managing to continue to do this several times a week, I have been permitting myself a few short moments of self-congratulation.

I have been concentrating on cardiovascular fitness, trying to maintain whatever progress I’ve made cycling over the summer. That means about 20 minutes on a recumbent exercise bike, then 10-15 minutes on an ergometer. But I’m aware that there are advantages to doing strength training, as well. For one thing, muscle tissue burns more calories, even at rest. For another, increased muscle tone and fitness helps prevent injuries.

The gym has a long shiny row of exercise machines that are pneumatic. You adjust the resistance by adjusting the air pressure. I think they are designed for rehab, because they operate smoothly and evenly throughout the range of motion. Perfect for me, I thought, because I could start out with minimal resistance, and work up.

So yesterday, instead of using the bike, I did 10 minutes on the ergometer to warm up, then went down the entire row of machines. Each one was designed to isolate and emphasize a single muscle group. I went very cautiously, only using enough resistance to work up a sweat, trying not to strain at all. It seemed to be a good workout.

This morning, I could hardly get out of bed. I had pains in places I didn’t know had muscles in them. It felt like the exercise fairies had stopped by my bedroom in the middle of the night, and used their magic 9-irons on me. Good lord. And the worst part is, everyone so far agrees that the soreness is MUCH worse on the second day after the workout. I may spend the day tomorrow in bed.

October 20th, 2006

Music Video Madness

Neneh Cherry - Buffalo Stance

Matthew Wilder - Break my stride

Alphaville - Big in Japan

Kim Carnes - Bette Davis Eyes

Today’s MVM is brought to you by the letter “B”

October 18th, 2006


I’m feeling a bit peaked, as my mother used to say. The reason I’m not feeling well is very straightforward — I haven’t been sleeping well. The reason I’m not sleeping well, however, is less transparent.

I’ve been having dreams. I have always been prone to complicated, convoluted, theatrical dreams. These dreams have more twists than an M. Night Shyamalan screenplay. They have characters that are fully fleshed, and strongly motivated. I have dreams that take longer to describe to someone than it took to actually dream them.

I don’t have such dreams all that often. At least, I didn’t until the last week or so. Lately, instead of peacefully slumbering and recharging my batteries for the coming day, I have been revving up my REM state, and suffering through cinematic dreams.

I had a dream last week that I was going on a road trip across the country, and was putting a great deal of effort to try and track down Omegamom’s home address in Montana, using Google Earth and satellite photography, with cross-references to various hints she has dropped in her blog in order to do so. Never mind that I know full well that Omegamom doesn’t live in Montana.

One night last weekend I spent the entire night trying to consummate a clandestine tryst with one member of a lesbian couple. I can’t remember the details, but I awoke suffused with an acute mixture of arousal and guilt.

Then there was last night. The particulars are fuzzy, but my wife and I were on the run and in extreme danger. We had left our newborn sextuplets in neonatal intensive care, and were careful to avoid even members of our own family. Meanwhile, a female serial killer was stalking state parks in the area.

Suffice it to say that I haven’t been getting much rest. Why am I having these dreams? I haven’t got a clue. Clearly I’m stressed about something, but my subconscious hasn’t seen fit to reveal precisely what.

Now, in an unrelated matter, we have also been discussing getting a dog. Not just any dog, but a stray dog that a friend of ours had found and was caring for. She had tried to find the owner, with no luck, and it was just too hard for her to keep the little guy. This was not the kind of dog I had envisioned myself getting, when I finally allowed myself to get a dog. He’s a tiny, high-energy thing; apparently a chihuahua mix. We had bonded the first time we met, after he climbed up on the couch behind me and stuck his tongue all the way down my ear canal. After we left, the wife and I kept thinking about him, and what a great little dog he was, and how sad it would be if he got adopted out to just any old family.

So, that was the situation when I got a phone call this afternoon from the wife. It turned out that the dog had gotten injured, the woman who was taking care of him was freaking out, and he was going to be turned over to Animal Services. Instead of soberly contemplating the pros and cons, considering whether our cats would be able to tolerate a dog, and planning how we would keep him in the yard, we had to decide pretty much instantly if we wanted to adopt him ourselves. After just a few minutes, we decided to go for it.

Unfortunately, he had already been picked up, and was now officially the property of Animal Services. So. He’ll get evaluated by a vet, and held for 4-7 days, and then sent somewhere else to be adopted. My wife is trying to cut through red tape to get first dibs on him, but he hasn’t even been put in their system yet.

So. We may or may not be adopting a dog. He may or may not be seriously injured. It may or may not be a stupid thing to do. And I may or may not get a decent night’s sleep tonight.

October 18th, 2006

This is Awesome

pilfered from cherwilco at Linkfilter

October 17th, 2006
October 16th, 2006

Some Sincere Flattery Going On at Pixar

The kids and I watched ‘Cars’ this weekend at the bargain movie theater.

In case you haven’t seen it, here’s the plot summary:

“Benjamin Stone is a young doctor driving to L.A where he was offered a new job as a plastic surgeon in Beverly Hills. He gets off the highway to avoid a traffic jam, but gets lost and ends up crashing into a fence in the small town of Grady. He is sentenced to 32 hrs of community service at the local hospital. All he wants is to serve the sentence and get moving, but gradually the locals become attached to the new doctor, and he falls for the pretty ambulance driver, Lou. Will he leave?”

Oh. Damn. I’m sorry. That’s the plot summary for ‘Doc Hollywood’, the 1991 Michael J. Fox film. Here’s a plot summary for ‘Cars’:

“Lightning McQueen is a rookie race car driving to California where he has a shot at winning the Piston Cup. Accidentally straying off the highway, he ends up tearing up the road in the small town of Radiator Springs. He is sentenced to community service repairing the roadway. All he wants to do is serve the sentence and get moving, but gradually the locals become attached to the flashy car, and he falls for the beautiful Sally. Will he leave?”

I mean, Jesus.

For what it’s worth, I liked ‘Cars’. The best part (aside from the incredible animation) was Paul Newman’s voice work. The worst part was Owen Wilson’s voice work.

October 13th, 2006

Music Video Madness

Just wanted to take this week’s installment to remind y’all of the tremendous influence of German bands on American pop in the 80s.

Kraftwerk - Das Modell

Falco-Der Kommisar

Peter Schilling-Major Tom

Nena - 99 Luftballoons

October 13th, 2006
October 12th, 2006

The Sum of My Fears

I got an email the other day from a reader who wanted to engage me in a dialog about why I seemed so reluctant to medicate my daughter, or to try increasing her dosage. As an adult with ADHD who was currently under medication, he was coming from the position that medication was more or less another tool to give someone a shot at normal function. So, why would I be hesitating?

And I tried to give him a cogent reply. Part of the reason is medical. Some of these drugs are highly active and can cause surprising side effects. But a big part of the reason is psychological. There’s a huge bias against parents who drug their kids. The assumption is that we drug our children to compensate for a failure in our parenting — not enough patience, unreasonable expectations, etc. It’s hard to explain, and hard to define, the pressures involved.

And then I saw this cartoon today:

I can provide no better example of exactly why I’m so nervous about giving my kid ADHD medication. That is the accusation that faces me. That to make my own life easier, I’m willing to destroy a vibrant and imaginative personality. But at least the resulting automaton will get their homework done on time.