Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Myotonic Dystrophy

Here's a good website for it:

Some highlights:
  • Myotonia refers to the slow relaxation of muscle following contraction, resulting in muscle stiffness. For example, following a forceful grip, the individual with DM may have delayed release of their grip. This may cause difficulty in releasing objects such as door handles, cups, tools, or bowling balls.
  • DM commonly involves the distal (end) limb muscles. These include the forearm and hand muscles, as well as the muscles of the feet and ankles. Weakness of the hand and forearm can affect coordination and grip...Weakness in the muscles of the feet and ankle may result in unsteady gait, tripping or stumbling
  • Speech requires the coordination of the muscles of the voice box (larynx), the throat , the tongue, the lips, and the roof of the mouth (palate). If any of these muscles are affected by DM, speech may sound slurred or indistinct. (or a lisp ;o) ; Did I ever mention sometimes my tongue has mini spasms?
  • Eating and drinking small quantities slowly may help dysphagia. (I've got that one down)
  • Cataracts are one of the most common and typical features of DM and are often the reason someone with DM first seeks medical attention.
  • The mildest form of DM first occurs after the age of 40 years and is usually accompanied by cataracts. Some minor muscle problems such as jaw tightness or cramps in the hands may be present, or there may be no muscle problems at all.
J. Riley, more tests to come next week...

Monday, October 22, 2007

The Ultimate

I've spent many a moment standing in the pasta aisle, staring at the wide assortments of pasta and having an internal debate as vicious and vigorous as Hillary vs. Barak. Oh, the things to contemplate when it comes to pasta. Egg noodles or semolina noodles? Quinoa noodles or whole wheat noodles? Store brand or "imported" brand? Organic or genetically modified? Cheap or more expensive? Most of these are a moot point when at Trader Joe's, but let's leave them out of this. Because the biggest debate of them all is - what is the ultimate noodle shape? My pasta book makes various arguments about surface area vs the types of sauce you are using, etc. etc. But I have never been convinced that ziti noodles make my chunky homemade Bolognese sauce taste better or richer, so I give them all an equal platform on which to impress me. I can now say, with unequivocal certainty, that I declare the elusive pinwheel pasta the best-in-class! Many other pastas are slippery and can be difficult to get many on your fork at one time while chunks of meet often find their way to the bottom of the bowl. Not with the pinwheel! Easy to load up, easy to eat, and easy to re-heat - just don't overcook them! Please, hold your applause and thank me later for this tip. Try it yourself - the Pasta Challenge.

In completely unrelated news, I spent the last three days doing two things: recovering from another bout of the cold (thanks to the changing weather everyday) and dreaming about the new keyboard that I ordered that arrived at my office on Friday, when I was home sick. And by keyboard, yes you guessed it, I mean computer keyboard, not the kind that requires coordination and that emits waves that our eardrums translate into music. Unless you consider the clatter of fingers on hard plastic to be music (as I do). Anyway, my new Logitech Wave keyboard arrived to give my hands some much needed respite from repetitive motions during my work day. And this keyboard is gorgeous (yes I was complimented on it by several people today, who will probably steal it out of envy)! And comfortable (oooh)! And ergonomic (ahhhh)! And quiet (gaaasp)! Yes I did think about this keyboard pretty much all weekend and would like to add the wireless Wave keyboard/mouse combination to my Christmas list for my home computer! Well, along with the hands-free Logitech blue-tooth headset that I can use for Skype! Or scrap it all and buy me an iPhone :)

J. Riley, I also spent part of Saturday rock-climbing in a gym downtown with volunteers and kids. I didn't climb due to forearm/hand issues and my cold, but I did spend an awful lot of the time thinking about that keyboard while the kids were flying up the walls with ease!

Monday, October 15, 2007

Quote of the Day

Regarding fashion - at a cost:

"Dress British but think Yiddish".


Friday, October 12, 2007

Thursday, October 11, 2007


Earlier this week, I decided to retire from my hobby of training to be Jason
Bourne / fighting in the Ultimate Fighting Championship - after a whole two
classes of jiu jitsu. There were several reasons for this. First of all I just
signed a one-year contract for the gym at $50 per month. The additional jiu
jitsu class would cost me an additional $129 per month. Since my gym doesn't
open until November, I thought I'd go to jiu jitsu for this month and if I can
make it worth the money by going to class Sunday mornings (ouch) and Tuesday
nights, then I would consider sticking with it. But in order to go to the
Sunday classes, I would need to buy a Gi (the fighting suit) which would cost
me another $100, so that wasn't worth buying just for a month. Also, I
initially thought this, like the name of the class indicates, would be a "Self
Defense" style class, teaching you things that would help out in the street or
in other practical situations. I found it to be more training for competitions,
which I would be unlikely to enter in the future. Finally, I think that my
chiropractor bill would increase because of getting slammed into the floor on
my shoulders and back so many times, despite it not being a contact martial
art! I am looking forward to going to the gym, however, since both of my
roommates also signed up and we're all amped. Jonathon is quite a weight
lifter, so that should be encouraging for me hitting them as well.

I received some discouraging news from my orthodontist who said that I had "an
aggressive tongue" (insert tongue-joke here) that was wreaking havoc on my
front teeth. I've been told I have a tongue-thrusting speaking and swallowing
style before, which is why I got a new retainer that has a piece of metal
straight across in front of my front teeth. I only wear this at night since I
can't exactly speak with it in. But he said that I need to start wearing it
basically full-time because my front teeth are getting more and more out of
position, which should make talking at work interesting. I made a
tongue-in-cheek (pun intended) joke that "I hope I don't have to get braces
again" to my orthodontist and he just kinda said "well......we'll see" :-|.
Would have been nice to have this addressed while my mouth was already being
destructed and reconstructed the first time around...

In other Justin-is-30-and-physically-rapidly-deteriorating news, I am having
problems with controlling my hands. Allow me to explain - about a month and a
half ago (around the time I moved, around the time I stopped running and doing
push-ups), I started noticing that whenever I grip something hard with *either
hand*, I actually have problems getting my hands to open up again for about 30
seconds. The muscles in my arms get really tense while this is happening and I
can't figure out why this would start all the sudden. My chiropractor thinks
it's something with my spine (yea, imagine that - rolling my eyes slightly)
which is why it's happening in both arms. He also mentioned it could be
something like tendinitis, which I know nothing about. But he said it wouldn't
be carpel-tunnel because that usually causes pain and it wouldn't happen in
both hands at the same time. Before I go to a occupational therapist to have it
checked out, does anyone else have an opinion?

J. Riley, time to check

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

My Apartment - Per Google Street View

Explore my neighborhood with Google Street View!! That's my building across the street, above the Burger King and across the street from Hollywood Video. I live on the 11th floor.

Monday, October 08, 2007

Vintage - To The Limit

OK, I understand the whole "vintage" look that is popular right now and more or less subscribe to it. When everyone is wearing vintage everything, it's kind of hard to make yourself stand-out as a legit vintage hipster, but a guy in the Bronx accomplished that yesterday when he, decked out in fluorescent items like his hat, indescribable stone-washed pants, and Adidas shoes stood up to get off the subway and put his cell phone in his back pocket. Like, one of those HUGE original cell phones that are basically like military-sized and probably weigh ~5 pounds. THAT is awesome. No CDMA vs. GSM debates with a phone like that - it's straight-up analog! Well done, man-with-an-unknown-ethnicity-due-to-his-huge-sunglasses-and-hat,-though-the-black-rat-tail-

What else have I been up to. Well, last weekend we had our move-in party at our apartment. We didn't have too many people show up, but it doesn't take numbers to have a good time! I was definitely representing my hood (with the Dominican Republic do-rag) and my Euro-roots (Liverpool shirt, purchased off Ebay UK). P.S. In the second picture, that's my roommate's boyfriend on the left and her.

In an effort to slim myself down, tonight I joined a gym with my roommates, a brand-spanking-new NY Sports Club that is even open yet, but that has a sauna, pool, brand new equipment, etc. I am thinking that since there are three of us in our household, there should be someone around to motivate the other people. The only question is about what to do about jiu jitsu. I haven't officially signed up yet, so I could totally bail on the $129 a month plan and focus more on getting ripped at the gym, thus rendering any street thugs humble as they stand before my bulky frame. Any opinions out there???

J. Riley, I'll try to resist the temptation to wear that do-rag around the Bronx or when going to the gym.

Monday, October 01, 2007

Email Broken

My email seems to have decided to stop working for some reason. If you are going to email me, please send it to justin at s i x p a (remove the spaces!) for the time being!