A Final Word On Gouty Arthritis

The gout in my left foot is still evident and woke me from a sound sleep again...but it may be subsiding on my diet of NSAIDs and Second City gaffaws. The above link shows even more factors that are implicated in gout. Although I don't eat a ton of red meat (in fact, very little), I did enjoy shrimp kabob at Red Lobster this week--a minor factor in this major flare. Interestingly, it's not only the beer that hastened my episode, but two new additions to my "diet": low dose daily 81 mg aspirin and niacin. I added a low dose aspirin as part of my plan to live forever about two months ago. I added niacin tablets about two weeks ago! Known to possibly prevent heart disease, I thought "what the heck". Well, "the heck"! Combination of low dose aspirin, newly taking OTC naicin, a couple of shrimp earlier this week, and a few beers on vacation, and boom, my foot looks like a hacky-sack. Each of the factors added to my risk, and the sum can be painful. Immediately, I will flush the baby aspirin and the niacin. I enjoy shrimp rarely. I avoid red meat in general. So, that leaves my one vice as beer, and only on vacation.

I'll keep the beer.

For anyone wanting information about gout, the professional videos in the link above are very infomative.

That's the story, boys and girls. I will not post more about gout here as there are plenty of websites about it. Let's just say that I'm still in anguish over here, but will, prayerfully, be over this sometime in the near future. Signed, the Gimp.

P.S. By looking at these photos, you'd think I have a thing for blue dresses. I don't.


Second City Touring Group Rocks The Noble Theater

After spending three hours in a nearby bookstore's chair while Cathy commisurated down the street with her high school friend over crab cakes and clam chowder at Hugo's Frog Bar in Naperville, I was deserving of some levity. And side-splitting laughter I got. At the Noble Fool Theater, St. Charles, IL, located at Pheasant Run, a sellout crowd was treated to 1.5 hours of absolutely outlandish skits. About 80% rehearsed and 20% improv, this team had everyone rolling in the aisles tonight. Young, hip, quirky and irreverent, this is the second year in a row that we ventured out to Second City's Dysfunctional Holiday Review. Three men, two women, and three lonely stage chairs = absolute charm. Fast paced and lively. Highly recommended skit comedy.

Internationally Know Doctors Test New Treatments For Gout

A perfect adjunct to your New Year's "Facelift In a Syringe" Botox Party.

I'm willing to try anything as I limp out the door to Second City. Perhaps some gaffaws will lessen my aching left dog.

I Gots The Gout! Wicked Bad!

I've been limping all week from sudden onset gout in L foot. Very hard to walk, and impossible to paint my condo as I had intended. Shucks. : - ) I get gout about 1-2x per year. Prednisone and Advil keep me upright. Barely. I couldn't go to Ikea. I even found a tophi on my ear (those with gout know what I mean). Strongly hereditary, I know my grandfather and dad have had it. I have friends that have it, but I've not seen a scientific relationship between friendship and tophaceous gout, so I guess I'll keep the friends for now. My brother never mentioned it to me, but I'll ask him so he'll know when it strikes suddenly at night like a venomous spider sinking his fangs into the toe...and then twisting them around for shits and giggles.

Well, I had been doing the exact wrong treatment: aspirin and beer. Both are horrible--not just horrible, but downright deplorable--for gout. I did not know this until WebMD review. I swear, I'd down a couple beers--I am on vacation, you know, and even the dastardly gout can't take that away from me--and six hours later it'd hurt like someone spanked my foot with a ball peen hammer. Beer contains uric acid, a sin for us gouty types. I thought it'd kill the pain. And aspirin, another uric acid no-no. So here I sit, 4AM, foot inflammed going on day 4, popping steroids like a raving insomniac. But my gut is full of beer, lads and lassies. Wonderful event for about 8 friends--Lou Malnati was in da hooouse. Last night was special--cheers! We spoke of movies and books. About three people said they're going to buy Travis Thrasher's Ghostwriter, set in Geneva, IL, as I told them what a wild and fun read it is. You go, Travis. Truly enjoyed the guests and will plan another in short order. Very fun time had me forget about my foot for, oh, about three minutes, until I stood on it again. Sincerely, the Gimp.

P.S. Don't look up your health problems online or you'll see x-rays of people with completely rotted out joints, like the one above, and then you'll feel lower than the testicles on a salamander.


Lou Malnati's Chicago Deep Dish with Malted Beverage

We have to get more chores done today, including a foray to Ikea to get those Expedit storage boxes (and I'm going to try to live my full life expectancy by foregoing the traditional Swedish meatballs for, instead, the grilled salmon so that I can prep the vascular system for the onslaught of goo later in the day). We've invited a few pals over for "pizza", a rather generic invitation. Little do my fine friends know than they will be feasting on not only some beers of the world from Binny's, but some authentic Lou Malnati's original Chicago deep dish 'za. Yep, right from Geneva Commons in Geneva, IL.

Lou's was featured in the ninth episode of Season Five of Throwdown! with Bobby Flay on Food Network. Marc Malnati (Lou's kid) beat master chef and TV celeb Bobby Flay in blind taste throwdown. Now that's some good chow. Here's Marc now teaching Bobby the Chicago way to sizzle pizza sausage. It was a good episode.

Lou Malnati's Pizza Style
Lou Malnati's is a prototypical Chicago style pizza. A thin crust of pizza dough is laid in a seasoned deep-dish pizza pan and raised up on the sides. The ingredients are placed on a Chicago style deep-dish pizza in the opposite order of a thin crust pizza. The first ingredient is thick slices of mozzarella cheese that are placed directly on the dough. Then additional ingredients like mushrooms, onions and sausage are spread on top of the cheese. The pizza is then topped with a tomato sauce made with whole chunks of tomatoes. One of the more popular features of a "Lou-Mal" pie is the "sausage patty," which is, as the name describes, a single patty of Italian sausage below the layer of tomato chunks or sauce, as opposed to the more traditional crumbled sausage.

Salute! Only four more days until New Year's resolution diet.


My Patio Chairs--Take A Load Off

I'd offer you a margarita and some suntan lotion, but I ran out of those little drink umbrellas in October.


You Must Be Careful Out There When Sledding. Please!

That's gonna hurt in the morning!

Distracted kid eats shit. Twice!

Man with Minnesotan accent is a human bowling pin.


It's Here!
Macy's display pilfered from Red In The City, a blog with great Chicago photos. Sometimes you see a blog where the author has--like a great book--a "voice". Red in The City is just such a blogmeister.


Tsunamichuck's Nordy on Lake Tahoe, 2009

My friend Chuck is an avid winter paddler. Having moved back to Reno, he has just resturn from a 6 week solo paddling trip to Japan! You put me to shame with getting out there and doing it, even in the snow, and taking sublime photos such as this. Happy New Year, friend.


T'was The Night Before Christmas...

...and I'm headed to Darrin and Shelia's for some vittles and cheer.

The Nails -- 88 Lines About 44 Women

I caught the Nails live in Boston at The Paradise on Commonwealth Avenue by scoring free tix from WBCN. I knew no song other than this hit. But this hit--oh, this hit--she rocks! Sweet video, Fronic!

Gun Law by The Kane Gang

I'm guessing that author Travis, who knows his 80's tunes better than Mark Goodman and Martha Quinn, might know this ditty. Or Slidesgal from Pnet, my Ogunquit paddling friend who has done her seat time in that college radio worn-leather chair-- The Kane Gang, with theri one hit, Gun Law. I't not exactl;y The Fixer from Pearl Jam, but it'll work. Reminds me of mixing it up at Spit in Boston, circa 1986.

The Fox River Valley, City Hall, St. Charles, IL

The Fox Valley is a more rural region within Illinois and Wisconsin that borders the more urban portions of the Chicago and Milwaukee metropolitan areas. This region centers on the Fox River of Illinois and Wisconsin. Around 1 million people live in this area. Despite its rural and largely Republican polity, the people of the Fox River Valley have had a strong tradition of anti-pollution activism, championed in the 1970s by the "Grey Fox," a secretive activist who exposed polluters with various publicity stunts.

Native American tribes that lived near the Fox River included the Potawatomi, Sac, and Fox tribes.

Some of cities in the Fox Valley are part of the rust belt. Within this region are Batavia, Illinois, St. Charles, Illinois, and Geneva, Illinois, which may be referred to as 'the Tri-cities area'.

Major Cities:
Aurora, Illinois
Batavia, Illinois
Oswego, Illinois
Waukesha, Wisconsin
Brookfield, Wisconsin
St. Charles, Illinois
Geneva, Illinois
McHenry, Illinois
Algonquin, Illinois
Carpentersville, Illinois
Elgin, Illinois

---from Brooks, July 2007


Pearl Jam The Fixer

Straightforward American rock. I just bought the iTunes album--It rocks. PJ, known for pointless, meandering but inspired drivel, finally decides to write songs before they hit the studuio--something they've not done since their iconic Ten LP. Well, it shows. This whole albun rocks! Suggested.

Yeah, hey, hey
When somethings dark, let me shed a little light on it
When somethings cold, let me put a little fire on it
If somethings old, I wanna put a bit of shine on it
When somethings gone, I wanna fight to get it back again

yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, fight to get it back again
yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah

When somethings broke, I wanna put a bit of fixin on it
When somethings bored, I wanna put a little exciting on it
If somethings low, I wanna put a little high on it
When somethings lost, I wanna fight to get it back again

When signals cross, I wanna put a little straight on it
If theres no love, I wanna try to love again

I’ll say your prayers, I’ll take your side
I'll find us a way to make light
I'll dig your grave, we'll dance and sing
What's saved could be one last lifetime

hey, hey, hey
yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, fight to get it back again
yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah

The Best Christmas Movie of All

Stuckey's, Goodfield, Illinois.

I'm headed to Goodfield, IL. Home of this old Stuckey's. Remember Stuckey's?


Bruce Lee Training Videos: Try This At Home

Holy hell, this Bruce Lee fellow was amazing!

Clinton Lake, Illinois Haunting View

Came across this wonderful B&W image of a cove at Clinton Lake, my favorite paddling lake in Illinois. It shows the water low, and the eerie nature of the trees in this man-made lake. The coves are numerous, and most have this haunting silhouette of how things were before the area was flooded.

This photo is by Matt Needham, professional photographer.

A trip report of my lastest paddle on Clinton Lake this autumn with friends, LittleRed, TrailMom and TimS is here:

A Guest Room With Guests

My son is having his friend sleep over tonight, and in the winter, it's good to have friends around. Wintertime is an indoor time. A hunker down and enjoy friendships and family time. Enjoy a new environment and create a new space indoors. There will be wall painting upcoming--an activity that will change the look of any room. Tan, dark brown accent walls, and eggplant as suggested by our friend Alexia for the fireplace.

Yes, winter is an indoor time.


416 S First Street, Geneva, IL

Geneva. Partial octagon house. The East View. Built in 1851, for Augustus Herrington. Located at 416 South First Street. Located on the corner of South and First Streets. ( 1869 streets and names. ) Shown at the center of an 1869 map segment of Geneva. Two story. Cupola. Two large attachments, but five of the sides are still clear.

The top row 1960. The bottom row 1894. The middle is from 1871.


Enter The Dragon

My son and I are watching Bruce Lee in Enter The Dragon (1963), about 20 minutes each night this week. Awesome flick!


Mele Kalikimaka--priceless gem video.

Written in 1949, by R. Alex Anderson. An absolute classic. I love Jimmy Buffett's version most, but below, the actual writer of this "Hawaiian" Xmas song... a rare video, indeed!

"Mele Kalikimaka" is a Christmas song sung as a warm greeting from Hawaii. The song takes its title from the phrase "Mele Kalikimaka", derived from the Hawaiian pronunciation of "Merry Christmas". Since Hawaiian does not have all English phonemes, in particular the "R" and "S", "Merry Christmas" becomes "Mele Kalikimaka" (note the substitution of L's for R's, and K's for S's). "Mele Kalikimaka" is therefore a transliteration, not a translation of "Merry Christmas".

The song was written in 1949 by Robert Alex Anderson who is better known to fans of Hawaiian and hapa haole music as R. Alex Anderson. One of the earliest recordings of this song was by Bing Crosby & The Andrews Sisters in 1950 on Decca 27228 (78 rpm) / 9-27228 (45 rpm) and has been covered by several artists, including Don Ho, Bette Midler and many others.

Here's Bing's version--it sucks because he can't keep up with the music, and because he seems tongue twisted saying Mele Kalikimaka. Not as smooth as Jimmy Buffett, certainly.

Now the most precious video, as promised. R. Alex Anderson. Tells the story of the song, and then sings it! Praise youtube for preserving this type of clip. This was filmed in 1995.

That very first verse, something about steel guitars, is not in any recorded version I am familiar with. Perhaps it's a unique "lost verse" from the original songwriter. Or maybe it's just a one-time brain fart.

Boulders Resort and Spa, Scottsdale, AZ

A restaurant table with bright view in Scottsdale, AZ. This image taken by the watchful lens of Julie, who has more sunny photos at her blog:


Geek Brief TV: Cali Lewis

Since today's posts here seem to be all techy, I assume you all watch Cali on GeekBrief TV on your iPods and youtubes. Neat tech info presented quickly and efficiently from a perky host. I subscribe. Recommended.

Kindle for PC Update

After using Kindle for PC for over a month, I have to ask: does everyone have this on their computers now, and if not, why not? It's dynamite! Free software download from, customized "library" with all your titles in color, easy reading with adjustable font sizes and screen widths, turn pages with only scroll wheel on mouse, and all first chapters of every single book on Kindle store (now over 360k books) for free! Even if you never intend to buy and read a book on your netbook, laptop or PC, why not read the first chapter for free to see if you even like the book before buying at the store. It even keeps track of where I left off in any book across all my computers!

I have had the three devices for reading: the Kindle v 1.0, the iPod Touch, and the netbook pc. The netbook stands head and shoulders above the other methods for reading (in color, backlit, large screenb, etc.). With the extended battery life of current netbooks at 8+ hours per charge, I can read all day on one charge. Really neat. Better than a "real" book, to me. Your preference may vary.

This is a giant step forward for Amazon. Barnes and Noble coming out with similar software for their website, too. e-reading is the future, and Kindle for PC is a winner.

Here, I'll make it easy for ya:

You Need a 25' PC Cable

I bought a 25 foot PC cable with integrated audio jacks (headphone out to audio in) on for $13. (As an aside, they have great 6' long HDMI cables on Amazon for under 9.99 with free shipping and no sales tax) Even the sound is out of the TV or stereo--big, bold room-filling sound. I do not touch the netbook pc or the TV--I navigate the entire shebang with my wireless keyboard and mouse. Luckily, much of the internet is mouseable now, so very little typing involved. The picture quality is much better than I thought on my 1080p TV. Grainy, sure to a small extent, but better than I imagined. The bright and large image makes up for some pixelation. I'm running Windows 7 on my netbook; when I tried this on Vista it seemed not to work. On Win7 it works without me making any adjustments to the operating software; just plug and play.

I watched an hour of hilarious youtube with Cathy before we for our spring break trip with kids. Scoured the 'net together, in stereo.

Youtube has so much precious content--not just world's best motorcycle crashes--college lectures, interviews with famous people, political speeches, movies, TV shows; now that I can see it on the big screen, do I really need TV? I watch no TV weekly anyhow unless I am gazing over Cathy's shoulder; I never watch TV on purpose. But I would watch selected content on youtube. Last night I watched every recent interview with author Toni Morrison (her latest novel A Mercy is in the on-deck circle for my Kindle PC reading).

I most get a kick out of stretching back on my couch and reading novels on Kindle for PC on the big TV screen, using wireless mouse only to navigate pages. The letters are three inches big! I feel like the ultimate couch potato.

The Fox River Geneva on a Bright December Day


The Quad--University of Illinois, Urbana

The center of campus. A wonderful place for a stroll when taking a break from the Student Union on the north end. Here is the union viewed from across the quad.


Superman and Superwoman Live

Gabrielle Reece and husband Laird Hamilton.

Laird's world class big wave surfing, now with surf foil. Now that's taming a giant wave!


Eddie Aikau Invitational, Oahu Dec 2009

Eddie Would Go.

Edward Ryan Makua Hanai Aikau (Kahului, Hawaii, May 4, 1946 – March 17, 1978) was a well-known Hawaiian lifeguard and surfer. As the first lifeguard at Waimea Bay on the island of Oahu, he saved many lives and became famous for surfing the big Hawaiian surf, winning several awards including the 1977 Duke Kahanamoku Invitational Surfing Championship.

In 1978, the Polynesian Voyaging Society was seeking volunteers for a 30-day, 2,500-mile (4,000 km) journey to follow the ancient route of the Polynesian migration between the Hawaiian and Tahitian island chains. At 31 years of age, Aikau joined the voyage as a crew member. The Hokule'a left the Hawaiian islands on March 16, 1978. The double-hulled voyaging canoe developed a leak in one of the hulls and later capsized about twelve miles (19 km) south of the island of Molokai. In an attempt to get help, Aikau paddled toward Lanai on his surfboard.[6] Although the rest of the crew was later rescued by the U.S. Coast Guard, Aikau was never seen again. The ensuing search for Aikau was the largest air-sea search in Hawaii history.

In Aikau's honor, the surfwear company Quiksilver sponsors the “The Eddie”[8]—the Quiksilver Big Wave Invitational in Memory of Eddie Aikau at Waimea Bay. The idea of the Quiksilver Big Wave Invitational was created by Bruce Raymond and Bob McKnight.

Since its inception, the tournament has only been held eight times, due to a precondition that open-ocean swells reach a minimum of 20 feet (this translates to a wave face height of over 30 feet). The most recent tournament was in December 2009, when waves in the bay reached 30 to 50 feet (15 m) high. The contest only invites 28 big-wave riders to participate in two rounds of competition. The event does not allow the use of jet skis to tow surfers into the waves.

Since Eddie's untimely death, bumper stickers and T-shirts with the phrase "Eddie Would Go" spread around the Hawaiian Islands and to the rest of the world. According to maritime historian Mac Simpson, "Aikau was a legend on the North Shore, pulling people out of waves that no one else would dare to. That's where the saying came from -- Eddie would go, when no else would or could. Only Eddie dared."


Geneva IL Middle School Live Webcam

Live weathercam atop Geneva, IL Middle School. The web equivalent of sticking a toe out the window.

Provena Covenant in Urbana, IL


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