Monday, January 29, 2007

English Mastiff

I really like Mastiffs. There are two in Vancouver that I see quite often in Coal Harbour: Rupert and Winston. They seem like really nice dogs although Rupert is skittish and Winston has put on quite a bit of weight over the last year (his owner says it's a thyroid problem)
The wonderful Amy used to own a wonderful Mastiff named Gabe, but he had leash aggression and she was unable to walk him and had to give him away.
I met a really sweet Mastiff at a store on W 4th. Her owner brings her to work every day.
Her name is Cinammon and her Grandfather Zorba is one of the largest Mastiffs in the world weighing in at 343 lbs.

Cinammon is about 200 lbs.

Very sweet dog.

Sunday, January 28, 2007

Swimsuit 2007

I'm going to the Baja with the fabulous liz in March and need to get a new swimsuit. So it was off to Just Cruisin with my buddy Neil to check out the spring line up of swim suits.

Perhaps a patriotic Canadian model? I couldn't tell the back from the front on this one and had to ask the sales clerk for help. That could be embarassing on the beach so I'll pass on this one.

Little Blue Stripes? Too cute! It looked hilarious on the rack but once I put it on I actually thought it looked pretty good. But it's just not that masculine.

I couldn't find leopard stripes, but I did find a cheetah design.

Oh no. definitely too skimpy. And uncomfortable. Maybe if I were hanging out at Second Beach Pool. But I'm really not that kind of guy.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

The Swimmers

I coach an Intro to Masters swim class at the Y. I respect my swimmers and they seem to like me. That doesn't mean that I can't have nicknames for them does it?
I know that two of the swimmers (Rauli and Always Late) know about my blog and read it occasionally. Hopefully they will tell me if I cross the line because I don't want to hurt anyones feelings.

Note: For the purposes of this article Lane 1 is the Fast lane, Lane 3 is the least fast lane.
I'm getting a better feel for their abilities and fitness levels and have been moving people to different lanes. Some people move up to faster lanes, some have been moved to slower lanes. Being moved down is tough on the ego. I remember Carole Gair moving me to a slower lane and being really upset with her. Still bugs me 10 years later. ha ha
Anyway,I moved Rauli to lane 2 last class and them moved her back to lane 3 today to even out the numbers. She was clearly unhappy and since I don't want unhappy lawyers in my class I let her go back to lane 2 later on. Crampy has been having troubles in lane 1 because his fitness level is weak and his cramps have been pretty bad. I moved him down to lane 2 and he disliked the idea so much he went over the the public swim lane. I think Band Aid might be a little lazy because she pouted when I told her to move up to lane 1. There's no pouting in swimming.
Currently in lane 3 there is Sixtwo, Drowner, Karate Chop, Yappy II, Geyser, and Conveyor.
In lane 2 there is Baggy, Crampy, Always Late, Governor, Rauli and the others yet to be nicknamed (ytbn).
In lane 1 there is Band Aid, Band Aids friend, Dainty, Director, FastLane, Professor and some others ytbn.

I have nicknames for the lifeguards too but one of them is a pain in the neck sometimes (like today) and I better chill out before writing down her current nickname.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Triathlete vs. Swimmer

(Editors note: For those that are visual learners - pictures will be added as soon as I can get to the pool with my camera.)
I suppose it should be called Triathlete OR Swimmer. I don't really want to say that one is better than the other. Anyway, the point of this article is to explain how to tell if an athlete is a triathlete or a swimmer.

Start at the top. If the athlete is wearing a swim cap and it has a number written on it in felt pen then he/she is a triathlete. Easy eh? Also, if the swim cap has the name of a company on it like Powerbar - you guessed it: Triathlete.
If the swim cap has a College name on it like Kenyon, or Stanford, then you can bet the person is a swimmer. In fact, a REALLY good Swimmer. Don't make the mistake of challenging a real swimmer in the pool because you will be humiliated - not that I would know about that.

Next check the goggles. If they are those wacky seal masks -triathlete. Ironman triathletes use them because they are much harder to be knocked off at the start of the swim. Yeah, I used to own one, but I couldn't imagine a dive start off the blocks with a seal mask. More difficult to differentiate if the goggles are Speedo because those goggles are very popular and cheap and both Triathletes and Swimmers use them. If the goggles are a brand like Tyr or Barracuda odds are the person is a swimmer.

Total giveaways are a Heart Rate Monitor. - the black strap around the chest says: Triathlete.
The funny thing is that this athlete isn't even using the HRM properly. Triathletes don't sprint and they are not likely getting over 150 bpm. So why wear a HRM in the pool? Who knows?
Real swimmers can take their pulse to the clock - count the pulse for ten seconds and multiply by six, or have the coach take their pulse with a monitor. And real swimmers get their heart rates up to 90 percent of maximum ie. 180 bpm.

Another giveaway is the watch. Typically triathletes use a Timex Ironman and stand at the edge of the pool fiddling with it for a couple of minutes before jumping in. Why? again, who knows - probably because that's what they do at the running track. It's not like they are timing their 100 metre times. Anyway, there are all sorts of clocks including the three foot high ones at any pool.
Real swimmers use the big clocks and time their 50's and 100's. Triathletes won't look at their watch until they finish their 1500.

How about the suit? So easy it it's a wetsuit. A wetsuit in a pool screams "I am a newbie triathlete and I just bought this wetsuit and am afraid to swim in open water". Feel free to point and snicker and openly mock anyone in a wetsuit especially at Kits pool.
Another giveaway is the trishort or long shorts. Triathletes favour these types because they have a small pad in them and you can hop right on your bike without changing. Don't use them for Ironman - not enough padding for a six hour ride.
Triathletes are just as uninhibited as swimmers, but you are more likely to see a swimmer in a skimpy Speedo. Unbelieveable - I used to wear the Speedo brief. Real swimmers also use really weird fastskin suits, but $200? I would rather just shave my legs.

What else? well there's the sports bag. Swimmers would have a Speedo waterproof bag, Triathletes will probably have a tri bag with their helmet attached because they just rode to the pool.

Those are the big visual clues.

Other clues come from what the person is swimming. Someone who hops in and swims free style continuously for half an hour poorly is a triathlete. Triathletes think that if they just slog through it they will get better. They perform poor flip turns or no flip turns. How boring would that be? So sad. If only the triathlete would join a masters club and learn how to swim properly.
Swimmers swim all four strokes. Triathletes ask "what are the four strokes" For any triathlete reading the strokes are Butterfly, Back Stroke, Breast Stroke and Freestyle.
Freestyle is the one that you know.

Friday, January 12, 2007

Project Hash Brown Conclusion

Well, I ate it at 8:30 am and I'm still alive and kicking.
Neil was very worried. He didn't want me to go through with it. He said it was funny in concept, but nobody in their right mind would eat a 9 month old Hash Brown.
I checked with a Medical Doctor and she said I wouldn't die and that was good enough for me.
This is where the Hash Brown lived for 9 months:

It's not sterile, but it's not likely to be in contact with anything else.
I checked the internet to see what kind of bacteria I could possibly be ingesting.
Bacillus Cereus was a possibility - it produces two different types of toxins.
These symptoms will be presented within 8 - 16 hours and will appear in my lower intestine. Hopefully I will get the emetic version of the toxin which causes vomiting. Never mind what the other type of toxin causes.
The other possibility is there because I have touched it and therefore I could get E Coli poisoning. (Yes, I wash my hands after going to the rest room. But I could still contaminate it with E Coli)The incubation period is 1 - 3 days and it would take me three days to recover. E Coli would cause more severe symptoms that Bacillus Cereus.

This is what it looks like after nine months. A little dry, but nothing evident growing on it.

Taking every precaution I decided to microwave it (just in case). Note to Brian - microwaving is not the same as irradiation.

Look how oily the paper got! ewww. That's why nobody should ever eat a hash brown.

Doesn't taste too bad. Still has the flavour of a hash brown but is a little dry.

I had a little scare at 9:30 - slight sharp pain in my intestines similar to that time I got food poisoning from eating a bad hot dog at Costco. But it went away.
I wonder if this will get me in good standing with the Tri Buddha Multisport Benevolent Society? (Much of the Tri Buddha society revolves around food.)

Friday, January 05, 2007

Massage Therapists are Useful

It's not like my new massage therapist has cured me, but she diagnosed the problem and managed to reduce the pain. It's my hip flexors which are specifically comprised of the Psoas Major, Psoas Minor and Iliacus Muscles
The Psoas Major muscle I pulled while lifting Aiden out of the car is deep in my torso and surrounded by other muscles. It is impossible to massage this muscle from the back so she massaged the surrounding muscles and this seems to have helped a bit. This muscle also passes through the pelvis and connects to the quads in the front so you can get to it through the femoral triangle (groin area). My massage therapist is female and a little shy so she didn't dig right into the femoral triangle but she did manage to press on some trigger points. My other massage therapist Csaba (at Mainland Massage) worked on my hip flexors last year and he is much more aggressive in this sensitive area.
Lunges are the preferred stretch to loosen this muscle. (that's not a picture of me. I have no tattoos and my calf muslces are way bigger than that)

ExRx is an excellent website that illustrates muscles and proper weight lifting and stretching techniques.

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

The Old Truck

Before I was a snobby Mercedes owner I was a regular guy and drove a truck. My first truck was a present from my ex father-in law Duncan in 1994. It was one of his companies trucks - a 1981 Ford F150 Custom. Custom means that it came with absolutely no options: no carpet, no air conditioning, nothing power, AM radio. But I loved that truck and I have many great memories of driving it up and back from Whistler (with one of the Dalmatians sitting next to me) while building Duncan's House.
I gave the truck to little brudder Patrick in the late 1990's.He took it up to Prince George and I assumed that it was still there abandoned on some logging road. Wasn't I surprised to see it when I visited him in Edmonton! He gave it to his Father-in-Law, Ted, who has kept it in pretty reasonable running shape. I asked to borrow the keys for memories sake and it's just the same as it always was - better actually since the cracked windshield was replaced. Maybe a little rustier because of those Alberta winters. Full credit to Ford for building a truck that lasts.

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Too Old to be a Dad?

Nobody is pregnant...
This is just a discussion.
I got to practice my parenting skills in Edmonton with my niece Katy, and nephew Aiden. I have to say that looking after kids is challenging. I made the mistake of thinking that I was smarter than a three year old. I’m not. Aiden usually got his way during any kind of negotiation. His continuous use of the word “why” was frustrating, but effective on his part.
Those kids wore me out. Thank goodness Patrick was there to take over for diaper changing duties and to restore order and allow Uncle Brian to have a nap.
I struggled with day to day operations like taking the kids out of their car seats. Patrick and Diana have no problem with this action. I threw my back out lifting Aiden out of Pats car on Tuesday. Then I did it again on Saturday.

Me proving to myself that I can lift a child out of a car. Not too smart.

My back is seized up and this has caused a hip flexor problem as well. I can bench press over 200 pounds, but I can’t lift a 40 pound kid out of a car seat. Thank goodness I have a massage appointment tonight.
I still would like to have children of my own and I don’t really think I’m too old; I just have to learn some of the skills from my brothers and start going to yoga again.