Saturday, September 30, 2006

Tinea Versiclor

Warning - Biochemistry and Microbiology discussed in this article may cause glazed eyes and boredom. Also it's been 25 years since I was in Biochem and so maybe I got my facts mixed up. Hopefully my Science Editor still reads my blog.

I have never actually seen my back and am impressed that I still have lat muscles even though I don't swim much anymore.
But this picture is more to point out my latest affliction - Tinea Versicolor. (white dots on my back)
It started in the summer and I assumed it was just peeling from a sunburn I got in Oregon. But it didn't go away. Fortunately one of my swimming friends is a medical doctor and she commented that I had Tinea Versicolor otherwise it never would have been diagnosed. It often goes undiagnosed in the general population.
Tinea Versicolor is caused by a the organism Malassezia Furfur, which is found on 90% of the adult population. It is not considered a contagious disease because this fungal pathogen is a normal inhabitant of the skin. It's NOT an STD (thank goodness).
The reason this organism affects some people and not others is not well known. Obviously it depends on the organisms nutritional requirements. Create a growth environment for it and it grows. Tinea Versicolor is more common with people who sweat more (cooks, athletes, people living in tropical climates).
Interestingly new evidence suggests that Aspartic Acid is critical for this pathogen to grow. Hmmm. I drink lots of Crystal Lite. It's loaded with Apartic Acid! That would serve me right for drinking those zero calorie drinks. Oh man, can't drink alcohol, can't drink coffee, can't drink Crystal Lite.
By the way:
Tinea means "Fungal Skin Infection"
Versi means "many"
Color means "color"

Tinea Versicolor can either cause white spots (hypopigmentation) or brown spots (hyperpigmentation). In my case I have hypopigmentation If I had Hyperpigmentation I would look like a dalmatian. The pathogen (M. Furfur) oxidizes lipids and creates tyrosinase inhibitors. These stop the enzyme tyrosine from catalyzing the production of melanin (thus stopping normal skin pigmentation) and creating the white spots.
Other facts:
Tyrosinase is a copper containing enzyme that catalyzes the production of Melanin. People with mutated tyrosinase genes have albinism.
Michael Jackson has Vitilgo, which also causes hypopigmentation. But Vitilgo is different than Tinea Versicolor because the melanocytes are destroyed either for autoimmune reasons, or by chatechol neutransmitters, or by phenols. Vitilgo is much harder to treat than Tinea Versicolor.

How do I cure Tinea Versicolor? Easily, thank goodness.
Selsun Blue shampoo (with Selenium Sulfide) applied topically to the affected areas and left on for 10 minutes per day for two weeks. The downside is I smell like sulfide. I don't mind chlorine, but sulfide is not that nice. So that's why I'm wearing the Dolce & Gabanna cologne that Sean gave me for Christmas.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

The Sneezing King

My friend Rachel has a tattoo that I just had to ask about. She told me that her dad wrote a series of childrens books in the 1970's and that this character was the Sneezing King from a book called The Rose of Baz Iz.

I'm really not a tattoo fan and I will never get one (not even an Ironman) but I think that was a nice tribute to her dad.
Her dad, Chip Young, also wrote:
The Boy Who Came With Cartier
Foxy Grandpa
Honky the Christmas Goose
The Little Hen of Huronia
The characters in his books were modelled after his children. Sweet eh?

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Worst KFC

The worst Kentucky Fried Chicken store, possibly in North America, even the world, is on Davie Street, two blocks from where I live. I am unapologetic in that I really like KFC. I have liked it since I was a teenager in Tsawwassen, and my best friend Steve Edgeworth was manager of the local KFC franchise, and he would cook up a big batch just before closing on Friday night that would not get sold and we could eat for free! But I am now an adult with a real job (and don't really need free chicken) and I digress.
This outlet never has what I want. I have asked for white meat chicken breasts and they NEVER have that! I often get the response "I'm sorry, sir, we don't have that." Usually I'm just happy if I come out with anything. The Davie Street location is also an extremely incompetent store. I went to the Davie Street store tonight and asked for an easy order: 20 pieces of extra crispy chicken. I gave them the $18.00 and waited for 10 minutes when another employee asked me if I was waiting for something. She told me that the cash register doesn't actually send the order back to the kitchen. So my order had not been received yet. OK, I'll wait.
Interestingly I just paid $18.00 for a "bucket" of chicken which consists mostly of wings and legs, but I prefer white meat chicken breast. It costs $2.00 per piece of Chicken breast - so I should be able to get 19 pieces of Chicken Breast for $18.00 but they won't let me order that! They tell me that I can't wait the 20 minutes it takes to cook up that special order, but they will deliver it for $3.75. Frustrating!
This franchise is also the ONLY KFC in downtown Vancouver and attracts a lot of attention from PETA. Funny enough it is the most consistantly protested place in Vancouver. There are always 10 people outside protesting.
From the city that started the most important environmental movement in the world, Greenpeace, I find it very sad that Vancouver protestors have degenerated into a bunch of chicken fighters. Is the only protest that we care about now KFC? Is this what Vancouverites really are adamant about? And, in fact, why would we care about a KFC that doesn't even sell chicken? Can't we find something better to protest?

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Albums I Love, but am too Embarrassed to Admit

Michael Jackson -Thriller
Bee Gees - Saturday Night Fever
Prince -Purple Rain
Abba -Super Trooper
Shania Twain - Come On Over
MC Hammer - Please Hammer Don't Hurt 'Em
The Lion King Soundtrack
Britney Spears - Oops!…I Did it Again
George Michal - Faith
Vanilla Ice - To the Extreme
Celine Dion - Falling Into You (ha ha just kidding about this last one.)

Sunday, September 17, 2006

35 km Training Run

The Victoria Marathon is only three weeks away! I did my last long training run yesterday with M. He bought a GPS but neither of us are smart enough to figure out how to use it. I guess my problem is I have a principle that I refuse to read instructions because I believe that good products should be intuitive. However I will break this principle and read instructions when assembling Ikea furniture because I've learned the hard way. But I digress.

I ran from my place to Ms, then down to the park for an outside loop. We're both in pretty good shape for 45 year olds. Although he has taken to wearing the knee supports and orthotics.
M on the first lap at Third Beach. He's pretty happy because his weight is down to 152 lbs.

I always run clockwise and almost nobody else runs that way. I like that direction because I always say "hello" to people running towards me. This is the clockwise run view looking at the North Shore of Vancouver:

The second time around we ran the inside loop which includes a 2 km hill. Brutal. We did the same run last week but made the rookie mistake of not taking any gels. Last week we both suffered. This week I brought six gels and a water bottle - and my camera.
Me on the third lap.

I'm actually in a really good mood because the endorphins have kicked in and I'm cranked up on Power Gels. I was saying "hi" to everybody. Although I was kind of anti social when I ran past (but did not say hello to) Rebecca N. who I dated in University. She was president of the Alma Mater Society.
Pretty good run and my confidence is high.

Friday, September 08, 2006

Swim Coaching Strategies

It's not easy being a swim coach. I don't want my swimmers going home and griping about me at the dinner table. I'm going to work on my presentation this year.

Here are a few ideas/strategies:

Dress appropriately and act professionally - Last session I showed up in my work clothes and proceed to remove them on deck until I was cool enough. I looked like a male stripper.

Speak/demonstrate clearly and confidently. - They're looking for leadership. Don't let them be the boss of me. Demand attention and do not proceed without it.

Keep approach simple. Clearly communicate that it's not what you do it's how you do it.

Reinforce my expectations. Please show up on time. Please use flip turns.

Plan lane organization for efficient use of space. Butterfly down and breaststroke back will probably result in them crashing into each other.

Be prepared to answer "why are we doing this". As if I don't get that one enough from Alistair. Usually I have to fake an answer. This time I'll be prepared.

Swimmers should walk away from every session knowing they have enhanced their knowledge and skill.

Be in control at all time. Don't let Carrie and Jody swim the wrong way.

Do something positive for each swimmer every session. A comment or a joke.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

On a Lighter Note

My brother Sean tells me that there is an inverse correlation between Pirates and Global Warming. Maybe I'll buy that V8 Hemi Dodge Challenger and help rid the world of those pirates.

Goodbye Plum

I will miss Plum so much. She was a puppy when I rescued her from the Delta SPCA 14 years ago. She was deaf from birth and the breeder put her in the SPCA. Her deafness was never a problem and she learned hand signals very quickly. Obeying the hand signals was another matter. She visited me on all of my North America projects and even lived with me for a summer in Port Alberni.
She met all of my other dalmatians: A.J., Jasper, Whistler, and Sunny. Her favourite game was chasing the tennis ball and catching it on a bounce. She loved running and was still able to keep up on a three hour run when she was 12. She was an excellent swimmer and followed me into the water when I took her up to Powell River a few weeks ago. If she got out of the yard I knew I could find her at Heather's house eating cat food. She wasn't particularly fond of bears and if she spotted one she would run and hide under a bed. She loved the Tsawwassen beach and also the cabin on Gabriola. She loved Duncan and would climb up on his wheelchair to get closer to him. I would like to thank Tracey for looking after Plum and giving her such a wonderful home.