Sunday, June 28, 2009

medial collateral damage

it was inevitable, i suppose.

years of wear and tear and hyperactive activities greatly increased the odds that one day i'd wind up with a bad wheel.

last wednesday i was playing lunchtime pick-up basketball at the ymca. one of the knuckleheads jumped out to defend as i came around a pick, and stuck his knee into the side of my right knee. he was no worse for the wear, but my knee kinda caved in, and i dropped like a rock.

i'm not a quitter, so eventually i got up, tested it out, and thought i could continue. that lasted one trip down the court, when the knee shifted under me in a painful, disconcerting way. i dropped a few f-bombs and hobbled to the sideline.

the game went on without me.

the next, obvious thing to do would've been to seek medical attention--but i had tickets to the mariners game that night, and a video shoot in edmonton, alberta, thursday and friday. i had no time for a debilitating knee injury.

a quick google search of my symptoms led me to diagnose a grade II medial collateral ligament tear.

"...the MCL is usually injured when the outside of the knee joint is struck. This action causes the outside of the knee to buckle, and the inside to widen. When the medial collateral ligament is stretched too far, it is susceptible to tearing and injury."

yes, that sounds familiar. reading further, in addition to pain and pressure on the mcl...

"Grade II injuries are considered incomplete tears of the MCL. These patients may complain of instability when attempting to cut or pivot. The pain and swelling is more significant, and usually a period of 3-4 weeks of rest is necessary."

oh, yeah. i got all of that. the most disturbing thing is the instability. every so often, walking up stairs or just turning to go a different direction, the knee feels like it's going to buckle out from under me. i can't have that. a buckling leg is inconvenient and unacceptable.

with lots of ice and anti-inflammatories, i got through the baseball game, the travel, and the video shoot. now, four days post-injury, my body is craving some aerobic exercise...but i'm not sure what it'll tolerate. something no-impact, requiring zero lateral movement. jai alai, bull fighting and acrobatic sex are out, i guess.

much as i dislike the idea of giving up lunchtime hoops, perhaps it's time to switch to less-debilitating workouts. like yoga. and tai chi. and cycling the burke-gilman trail.

it's inevitable, i suppose. at some point i have to reconcile the hard fact that i'm not quite as indestructable as i used to be.

and that, much as i hate the thought of it -- the game will go on without me.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

dammit jim, i was wrong again...

awhile back i wrote about the new star trek movie, and it's possible i may have been less than enthusiastic about it...
"i ain't down with this. not one bit.

paramount studios is gearing up to shoot a new "star trek" movie, featuring the characters from the original series.

not the original actors, mind you. same characters, different faces.

i'm a big fan of the star trek franchise. i have been, i realize, for decades. so i should be happy to see another installment, with an all-new (old) enterprise brought to life with the latest digital legerdemain.

but i'm not."
i was wrong.

the new star trek is magnificent.

all my blather about the new movie being "...pointless. and lame. and diminish(ing) the franchise" ?

way wrong. a couple of hours in the theater and suddenly, for me, it's not a franchise. it's a phenomenon.

i'll spare you my glowing praise of the story and the excellence of the cast. most everybody beat me to it anyway.

but for the record, the cast, young as they are, did the old people proud. deforest kelly and james doohan can rest easy, as their signature roles are in good hands.

the writers even figured out how to incorporate ensign chekov into the crew, even though he would've been way too young to hang out with the young kirk and spock.

added bonus feature: i took the little needls to see the movie with me. it's entirely possible they've been assimilated as well. one can hope.

which is really what four decades of star trek have been about.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

hang up and drive...

show of hands: who here has been ticketed for CPTWD (cell-phone-talking while driving)?

besides me, i mean.

my day was going so well, too. it was friday, it was sunny, and it was nearly beer o'clock. i had some time at lunch, so i was headed to nordstrom rack to check out the deeply discounted close-out items. because i never pay retail.

the phone rang, it was the neighbor calling. was she wanting to schedule family pizza night, as is our wont on fridays? let's find out. "hello? this and that, yada yada, bla bla bla...hang on, there's a motorcycle cop behind me. hang on, he's telling me to turn off my cell phone. hang on, he's pulling me over. i gotta go."

i pulled into the parking lot at the mall. taking stock...was i talking on the phone while driving? yes, i was. did i commit some other egregious infraction? i have no idea. this is an important question, as washington state cops aren't supposed to pull you over just for phoning-while-driving.

here he comes..."sir, you were going a little too fast, and you were talking on your phone. license please."

i couldn't think of a thing to say. so i cleverly replied, "i see. sure..." he was impressed by my quick-witted repartee, i bet.

here he comes again. "registration, please, sir."

this and that, yada yada, bla bla's your very expensive ticket for phone talking. have a nice day.

and, there he goes. folks, how about a hand for the nice man with the gun?

let's assess the damage...$124 for the phone thing, ticket for speeding? hang on...i mean, that's the whole premise for the pull-over. don't get me wrong, i'm happy not to have the gift-with-purchase. but why the one, but not the other? was it my winning smile? my charming demeanor? uh-huh. sure it was.

still perplexed about the mysteries of law enforcement, and with the contents of my entire glove box strewn about the front of the car, i made my way to nordstrom rack.

but as much as i like finding a bargain, my heart wasn't in it. suddenly anything i might've bought was an additional $124. that's like paying retail plus dealer mark-up. which is no deal at all.

i left empty-handed.

now i have to figure out how to recoup the fine and get back to even. or reconcile myself to a really expensive pack of gum. something.

how much is one of those bluetooth hands-free earpiece devices? those must be at least $124, don'tcha think?

i can probably got one of those at work.

for free.

Saturday, June 06, 2009


summer came early to magnolia this year.

the weather took a turn for the blissful, and the farmers market opened ahead of tradition.

these are both very good things.

it's never too soon to be able to throw on shorts and a t-shirt and go outside without risking hypothermia. in seattle, that day is usually july 5th. this is more of a problem with each passing year, as the desire to be warm increasingly becomes a biological imperative.

the farmers market is part of our summer routine. we walk to the village, attend to an errand or two, pick up coffee at the bakery, then make our way through this week's vendors.

there's a seafood stand this year. another offers fresh soups. smoked salmon, northwest chowder, and a thick slice of foccacia make a pretty good (and easy) dinner. an excellent glass (or three) of blue sky pinot noir doesn't hurt one bit.

some things you do out of habit, some out of a sense of order. some you go back to after a few months because they're timeless and comforting. we need these things to counter the uncertain and the unknown, which are always in abundance.

seasons change, people come and go. the farmers market endures.