Archive for March, 2009

This is my wellness journal from health class last year: (more…)

I have many favorite breakfast foods. Some might be considered out of the ordinary like this:


I love smoked salmon on an onion bagel with chive cream cheese. And good coffee of course. What are some of your favorites?

lg310700Here’s proof. I’m reading “The Book of Coffee and Tea” and of course am all excited about coffee now. I have a list of all the best beans in the world and want to try them all. But first I had a bag of Dunkin Donuts whole bean that I had to use first. I know, I know. Definitely not world class coffee. I got it before I read the book. Anyway, I have a french press that my parents gave me when my son was born. But no grinder. So I have this bag of whole beans just sitting there. I tried ye olde mortar and pestle but that took forever. So I decided I needed to buy a grinder but there’s a catch. We joined the Compact this year, which means no buying anything new except for food and safety related things. (there’s other exceptions too but that’s beside the point)

I had a gift card to Wegmans left over from Christmas, so even if the grinder didn’t qualify as food related, I figured I could use my card and the purchase could still be considered “safe.” When We got to the store, my wife started looking at seeds for our vegetable garden while I went in search of a coffee grinder. They only had two models and one was huge, so I was stuck with only one choice, white, or black. With a french press, you need a course grind and this machine didn’t have any grind settings. You just have to eyeball it. So I decided to wait on buying one.

Later that day, after church, we were over at my parents so they could get their baby fix. I told Mom that I needed to find a good coffee grinder while I was looking at hers, out on the counter.

“Why, doesn’t the one we got for you work anymore?” She said.

“What do you mean?” I asked “You only gave me a French Press, not a grinder.”

She looks at me suddenly and holds up her finger. “Wait a minute!” She says. She bends down and reaches under a kitchen counter and comes up with…a brand new coffee grinder, still in the box! Sweet.

So you may say: coincidence, but I say no. God. The very day that I finally decided to buy one, then held off at the last minute, only to recieve one a few hours later for free… That’s God. So thanks, God, for the coffee grinder…and thanks Mom too. MMmmmm coffee.

This is a song I wrote in ’96. Since abortion seems to be a hot issue right now, I thought I’d publish it here. The song focuses on Vegans and Vegetarians in the hardcore scene who say that they support abortion. This gives a little more backstory on my beliefs regarding murdering babies. As with any inflammatory issue, I expect people to have vastly different opinions on this subject. Please leave your comments, but keep it civil.

No Choice

You say that you are vegan

And protect the animals’ rights

But when asked your views on abortion

You say that you are pro-choice

No choice

You say that you’re vegan and stand up

For animal rights, yet you give the O.K.

To slaughter innocent  human life

Conscious beings immersed in their mother’s

Womb, they have as much right to live

As the animals that you protect

Thousands of cattle

Cannot make up

For one slaughtered

Human life

There is no


For what

You believe

My family and I will be officially below the poverty line starting next week. My job hours (and hence, pay) were cut in half this morning. This comes as a surprise to me because this morning, I was full-time, salary, with benefits (medical/dental, 401K, 3 weeks vacation) and almost 10 years with the organization. I suppose this is how it feels to most people. They say, “Well, the economy is bad but I still have a good job. It won’t affect me. I can still pay my mortgage every month.” Now it’s time to re-evaluate. The good news is, I still have a job. I did a little figuring and I think I can still pay my bills every month. Maybe. Now that we are officially “poor,” we qualify for food stamps and other things. My wife and I might not have health insurance, but we are usually healthy anyway. We eat well and mostly organic. (that might change though…too expensive) Now we have an incentive to start that Victory Garden in the backyard. Our 9 month old will now qualify for Medicaid too. Maybe we will as well, I’m not sure. My wife was a little shocked when I told her I was going to look at buying an army surplus field suture kit so I wouldn’t have to go to the Emergency Room.

Our situation isn’t as bad as I make it sound. I know that compared to most of the world, we are still very rich. Our car is paid off and I can bike to work if I want to, which most days, I do. We have some debt (house $52,000/student loans $10,000) but we also have some savings, but that has been shrinking by $1,000 every month since my wife stopped working last year to stay home with our new baby. We only have to survive until September when she will start her teaching job again. Our new roof will have to wait.

This is also good timing on God’s part for several reasons:

1) It’s almost spring time so our heating bills will drop from $200 to $40.

2) We only need to hold on for 6 months.

3) Better weather means we can grow our own food. We’ve never done this, and my wife has a notoriously black thumb (meaning she kills plants, no offense to my African American readers) but I think our motivation is high enough that we will see success.

4) We had already decided to join The Compact this year (you can’t buy anything new, except food, health/toiletries etc. You’d be surprised how excited you become when you visit a second-hand bookstore, architectural salvage store, or Thrift store where everything is allowed.) So this won’t be a stretch as far as deprivation is concerned. We already consigned ourselves to not buying much this year. Entertainment is cheap too. It’s called a LIBRARY. you can get books and movies (even recent releases) there for FREE.

So here are my options. I can try and get a second job and struggle with that whole hassle of driving twice as much and being away from my family even more than I am now. This might be cool because I have a chance to start fresh so to speak. For instance, I’ve always thought I would be a good security guard, landscape architect, ninja, or something else. OR

I can stay home. Enjoy this new turn of events, spend more time with my wife and son, finish my novel-get an agent- become a best selling author, have perpetual 3 or even 4 day weekends, etc. We may even qualify for getting our house painted because of the lead program. We always made too much before. We could even get new windows! The thing with this plan is that we really need to focus on saving money. See Compact above. Not too hard. So that’s where I am right now. Poor, but optimistic.

2009 Federal Poverty Guidelines

The 48 Contiguous States and DC
Persons in family Poverty guideline
1 $10,830
2 14,570
3 18,310
4 22,050
5 25,790
6 29,530
7 33,270
8 37,010
For families with more than 8 persons, add $3,740 for each additional person.

Kutiman has taken hundreds of separate videos from youtube and edited them together to make some really chill songs. The Moods range from reggae, hiphop, jazz, techno, r&b, and beyond. Enjoy!

My son was up at 3:30 AM this morning. I groggily get up and change his diaper. Then I swaddle him up again and rock him to sleep for 20 minutes with a repeated “Twinkle twinkle little star.” I carefully get up and place him down in his crib on his back. Finally, he is asleep. I take two step back and a floorboard squeaks drawing instant cries from him. DANG IT! Well, our doctor says we need to “Ferberize” him so I think, why not now. He was asleep 2 seconds ago. maybe he’s tired enough to get back down with minimal interference from me. I stay in the room and sing while he cries. When he stands up and grabs the crib rail, I pick him up and put him back down. Crying continues for minutes as I keep putting him back down. I try to let him go for a few minutes by himself because the method says that one needs to increase the intervals of intervention if it’s to be successful. From 3 minutes to 5 to 7  to 10 and so on.

Brief history: Andrew has been saying the sylable Da/ or Dah (depending on your phonetic preference) for the last two weeks. However, they are always strung together like: da da da da da da. There have been a few times when he has said da da when I have been around, but never with intent or recognition, if you know what I mean. OK, back to the story.

So he’s been crying for 5 minutes and makes his way around to he end of the crib where I’m sitting in a rocking chair. I am still singing to him and he grabs my hair, trying to gum on it. This is where I think he realizes that it’s his Dad with him because he suddenly starts wailing “Daaaaa daaaaa!” “Daaa Daaaa!”where before it was only crying, no attempt at words or other noises.

My heart breaks.

I pick him up and he quiets down immediatley. I decide that I’ve had enough Ferberizing for one night. I bring him back into our room where I notice it is now 4:45 AM. Awesome. My wife nurses him to sleep while I try to drift off. After another hour of laying awake, I think I slept. Maybe.


So I almost fainted again today. This is a recurring theme with me and getting my blood drawn. The upside is, most times there are pretty nurses involved. I know what you’re thinking, “But Dan,” you’d say. “You are an Emergency Medical Technician. You have seen horrible motorcycle accident victims covered in blood and you were fine. You saw people get stuck with needles for IVs all the time. You just wrote a pretty bloody novel. You even have a picture folder dedicated solely to your bloody injuries, and most of them are close-ups. That one of your knuckles, you can almost see the bone. You have 7 piercings, most of them you did yourself. How come you get woozy when you get your blood drawn?”

I don’t know. There’s just something different about a needle sliding into your arm and blood bubbling out into one of those plasma tipped vials that is different than a needle going in and through an ear, nose, etc. The funny thing is, I know I will get nauseous, sweaty, light-headed so I look away when they start. But then I feel the need to turn back and watch the tube slowly filled with my rich crimson blood. A deeper hue than the bright red when it is exposed to oxygen from a cut or scratch. Maybe I think that this time it will be different. This time I can sit impassively by as my lifeblood flows out of my arm. But nope. Every time, I feel like I’m going to faint, just like the first time.

I was 11 or 12 when it happened. I had to get my shots updated. Lying on the examination table/ chair I felt fine. Then I followed my Mom up front so she could pay the copay. I remember looking out to the waiting room, then seeing white spots appear. The white spots grew bigger until they totally blocked out my vision. Everything started turning gray, and at this point I started freaking out and stumbling around because, Hey! I was going blind. As everything faded to black, I hit my head on a filing cabinet and went down.

I came to in the arms of a pretty blond nurse. I was laying on the floor and my head was cradled in her lap. Being 12, that was OK with me. Eventually, they let me up and led me back to the table to lay down again. They said that it was because I had just eaten, all the blood was centered around my stomach and not enough went to my head. I didn’t much care about the reason at that point.

Every time since then, I feel woozy when I have my blood drawn. This morning was no different. The nurse came in and got things ready. She started asking me about my family and what I’d been up to. Like always, I looked away when she put the needle in, but then I had the urge to look. She got through one vial and switched to another one before I could feel it coming on. Then I heard a strange sucking sound. Apparently my vein had collapsed. She drew the needle most of the way out so I could see the diagonal cutaway of the tip just coming out of my skin. The vial looked like someone had blown bubbles in it. I guess I was going into shock and my body shut down the blood flow. Which is pretty cool. Anyway, she made me lie down, then got reinforcements. She came back in with a pretty nurse who came over to my side that had already been stuck. They put my legs up into the Trendelenburg position (raised 8-12 in.) to let gravity force some of the blood in my legs back up to my head where I needed it. They also gave me a lollipop to get some sugar in my system since I hadn’t eaten anything yet. That helped.  The first nurse basically said, “Here, you’re pretty; you distract him while I fill up these last three vials.” It seemed to work since I didn’t feel nauseous again.

So that’s my story about getting blood drawn. I know I’ll feel woozy, but odds are there’s a kind nurse around that will help me feel good enough to stay conscious. Either that or some vestige of manliness tries to hold on and not show weakness in front of a woman. Most times, it works. If not, I end up on the floor with a nurse waking me up a few seconds later.

Chapter 3. Seven years ago (more…)

Yes. This post seems out of place among the usual fare of on-the-edge science, books, knives, and living green. But I stumbled across this in the tag surfer and got interested. You take a quiz and it tells you what style you like best. I have 3.

youve-got-male-material-girls-blog-scan00151Zen Style

Goodbye clutter, hello clean! For the Zen style, unlike other contemporary design, the amount of natural materials keep spaces from feeling cold and sterile. Zen style mixes rustic with chic, so there’s an incredible level of ease and sophistication about the space.

Plants and greenery are very important in helping achieve the warm and natural feel of the space. Whenever possible, natural lighting is used in spaces to help create openness in the space.

wwwbillposscom-slideshow_3Mountain Lodge Style

You love nature! And really, how could you not? The more exposed wood (be it in log form or paneling) the better. And having natural stone in your home is a must! Especially at the fireplace, but stone top tables work too.

If you could clad all the furniture in wood and stone you would, but splinters aren’t fun and stone is cold! So when you need a place to sit (or recline in!), it should be comfortable and warm. Bigger is better when it comes to your favorite chair for watching TV or reading the newspaper. Leather is great (go natural!), but soft fabrics in warm tones also suit you well.

ambungalow-sagalrArts and Crafts Style

You tend to prefer simple to ornate and natural materials over man-made. Warm tones found in wood and brass make you feel comfortable, and good craftsmanship excites you like nothing else.

You enjoy patterns that highlight our natural surroundings such as plants and trees. You prefer rectilinear forms and straight lines, however you love to find intricate details (ooooh, stained glass!) where you least expect it.

I think they got me pegged fairly accurately. What about you?

This is going to be so cool!