Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Ramblomatic: Medicinal Purposes, Cow Plop, A Dearth of Chiclets, and None Taken

"I'm going to go play the drums for a while," I said last night.

"Again?" Gloria asked.

"Honey, I have to play," I said. "It's for medicinal purposes."

That's a true statement, more or less. Austin is the worst city for allergies in the country, and one of our special gifts is "cedar fever." This is roughly the time when every cedar tree in the area drops roughly one ton of pollen--each.

So if you have a cedar allergy, you will be incredibly miserable for as long as the cedar count is high. My face hurts, I can't breathe, and I have a terrible headache. Oh, and I sneeze all the time, and these are the kinds of sneezes where you feel like your achilles tendon is on its way out of your body.

When you're having an allergic reaction like this, there's really only one thing that makes you feel better right away: exercise. The trick is that you can't exercise outdoors (unless you're swimming), because you'll wind up worse than when you started.

If you exercise indoors, though, within fifteen minutes you'll feel much, much better. The adrenaline from exercise somehow stops the allergic reaction--at least, while you're exercising. You'll also feel better for about half an hour afterwards, and then you'll gradually start feeling like hell again.

[That's also how you tell if you have a cold or just allergies. If you exercise and feel great for a little while, it's just allergies. If you feel lousy while you exercise, then it's a cold.]

I've mentioned this several times previously, but playing the drums is hard work. As far as my allergies are concerned, it's exercise, because I can breathe easily after about fifteen minutes of playing.

So playing the drums isn't just great fun. It's medicine.

Swimming has the same effect, only to a much, much greater degree. I swam for an hour this morning (air temperature 34 degrees, water temperature 76), and I felt like a million bucks when I got out.

Okay, I've never felt like a million bucks. Maybe twenty bucks.

If I could just drum and live underwater for January, I think I'd be in great shape.

I still have two songs left to pass on Hard--Next to You and Run to the Hills. This isn't a Green Grass & High Tides situation, like I have on guitar on Expert--they're both passable, and I'm hoping to do it today.

Gloria was cleaning out a drawer in the kitchen yesterday. This particular drawer would qualify as an archaelogical dig site, because I'm pretty sure it hasn't been cleaned out in seven years. So she's plumbing the depths of the drawer, extracting different items, and she holds up some kind of ticket and says "I guess we didn't win Cow Plop Lotto '07."

I'm not even making that up.

As best I could make out from the ticket, this "lotto" involved throwing a cow chip onto a grid. As for what happened after that, I think don't ask, don't tell is probably the best policy.

I went to McDonald's for lunch today, and when I pulled up to the first drive-through window (cashier), I saw something missing.

His teeth.

This is highly unusual down here, and it was, well, disconcerting. He was missing about half of his top teeth, except he had one super-sized (that's a McDonald's joke, obviously) tooth that extended farther down than it normally would.

So I'm trying hard not to stare, but this dude is missing half of his front grill.

This morning, I was playing Lego Star Wars with Eli 6.5, and our cat Gracie managed to get stuck on the television. The plasma screen has a grid of small holes on the back for ventilation purposes, and since she's kind of, um, an idiot, she sometimes gets a claw stuck in one of those holes.

I stood up and went to get her unhooked. "Sorry, buddy," I said to Eli, grabbing our mentally deficient cat and moving her away from the television. "You're on your own for a little while." I came back about fifteen seconds later.

"Actually, it's going fine without you," he said, as he moved easily through the level. He paused. "No offense," he said.

"None taken," I said.

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