And here are some notes of community interest, or: “The Happy Phantom has no right to bitch…”

I got that title from a George Carlin routine from his classic A Place For My Stuff album, a record I pretty much wore the crap out of when I first bought it 30+ years ago. I think, if I try hard enough, I might be able to recite the entire “Fussy Eater” routine from memory. Maybe because, much like the eponymous gobbler, I am also a Great Big Pain in the Ass. Man I miss Carlin. What an absolutely unique talent.

What the hell, let’s share it right here and now:

Good stuff. OK so anyway, here are a few updates detailing what’s going on in downtown Hokeyville. I’ll start with the bad stuff first, because I always like to end on a high note… like F# over high C. That’s just a sweet cherry on the sundae of your week! Or something…

Not the History of the World picture I wanted, but what the heck...

Not the History of the World picture I wanted, but what the heck…

I’m headlong into yet another ulcerative colitis flare-up. Here’s where I usually ramp up the dramatics and pronounce that while this is an especially horrible thing, somehow I managed to rise to the occasion and persevere and oh aren’t I just the peachiest thing ever since peaches, etc. etc. Thankfully I’ll leave the self-aggrandizement out of the mix. UC is something you learn to live with, not something you exploit to become an instant hero or self-proclaimed martyr to the cause or dutifully noble 33rd-Level Master Beyond The Mishegas.

OK that was descriptive as heck, wasn’t it? Anyway, since my diagnosis two years ago I’ve had three further significant flares, most of which have been handled via doubling up on medication (big shout-out to my favorite 400mg of crimson-colored cacophony, Delzicol). This particular instance has been the roughest since after being diagnosed; not so much because of the, shall we say, inconveniences this condition renders upon its subjects, but because I don’t remember quite this much cramping pain from before. The weird fevers and muscle aches that come and go are mostly manageable, but these cramps are something new to me. And trying to sleep at night while feeling like your digestive tract is roasting from the inside can be a wee bit problematic.

But, as always, there’s a silver lining. As of this writing, the worst of the symptoms have passed and I’m on the upswing from this flare, but ZOWIE this one lasted longer and hit harder than before. Given the nature of UC, there really are no discernible reasons why a flare starts — it’s different for everybody — and, as always, there is no cure. There is only treatment which, other than the meds they hand you, basically means riding it out until it calms down. As I always say, I’m lucky enough that my case is on the milder end of the spectrum. There are too many others out there with much harsher IBD afflictions than mine, the type that keeps them in a constant state of sickness, pain, and imprisonment, often for months on end.

So if you have a few dollars to spare, please consider donating to the Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation of America. They are a four-star rated not-for-profit organization, at the forefront of research into treatment of inflammatory bowel diseases… and hopefully someday, discovering a cure. Anyway, this has been a roadblock but not a full stop, because tomorrow (Saturday April 4th)…

I’m participating in my very first triathlon! I haven’t really been talking about my tri training all that much, but tomorrow I’ll be participating in the 2015 Egg Hunt Triathlon in Pembroke Pines, FL. It’s a sprint triathlon, which means 400 meters of swimming, 11 miles of biking, and a 5K run. Some friends and I decided that this would be a Good Idea last year, so I signed up in January and then started training for it… and by training for it, that really meant DOING A CRAP-TON OF SWIMMING.



That water is a lot cleaner than it looks. Bad lighting.

So yes, lots and lots of swimming, which started at the beginning of February. I began with barely a few laps, but since then I’ve progressed up to just over a mile (1650m), continuously. Swim training goes on three times a week, plus four days of running on top of that. I also decided that I really needed to slim down a lot, since I would be swimming the triathlon either (1) without a shirt on (*SHUDDERS*), or (2) wearing a skin-tight tri-shirt (*DEEP SHUDDERS*). Listen, I’m in good shape but I’m far, FAR from a Michelangelo statue, and that’s putting it as diplomatically as possible. So since January 18th I’ve dropped almost 20 pounds of body weight (nothing major involved with that, just increased activity and a food journal to keep track of net calories) and toned up the bod on top of that. If nothing else, swimming will make those arms, shoulders, and your chest look like… well, something CLOSER to a Michelangelo statue and less like a Gelatinous Cube.


Is it NO SURPRISE that I played a lot of D&D as a youth/adult/recalcitrant manchild?

Don’t think your Jello is so friendly now, do you? HAH! Anyway, so there’s been a lot of training going on over the past two months. But it’s all under control. Running? Check. Swimming? Check. But wait something else… ah yes. Say hello to Cosima:

Cosima posing seductively... next to a Publix.

Cosima posing seductively… next to a Publix.

Cosima is my new Trek FX 7.2 hybrid bike. I decided on this model based on price, quality, features, reviews, and mostly because I wanted more speed than a city bike and more comfort than a road bike. Plus I got a fairly decent deal on it, thanks to a friendly sales dude at Trek Bike Shop who looked exactly like Paul Rudd. That’s the one on Sunrise, ladies. Anyway, I used to bike all the freakin’ time well into my teens, but hadn’t really rode all that much since then. Getting back into biking was a snap. I especially love traversing the Greenway path, adjacent to Route 84 and I-595 between Plantation and Weston. Plus if I decide to really get into biking and move into bigger triathlon events (like a Half or dare I say, FULL Iron Man), I can always upgrade to a real tri bike and use the 7.2 for quick rides or local commutes, that sort of thing. Yay.

So wish me luck for tomorrow. Obviously I’ll be back with a full race review, so stay tuned.

What else is going on? Hmm… oh, we saw One Night Of Queen (performed by Gary Mullen & The Works) for the second time a few weeks back. Faithful Hokeyfolk might remember my review of their 2013 Fort Lauderdale show, in which I became an instant acolyte. Garry Mullen captures the essence of Freddie Mercury with so much energy, personality, and performance that even the barest of Queen fans will be dancing on their feet by the third song and a true believer in no time at all.

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Best shot I could manage. I’m no Boots, that’s for sure!

Rather than writing up a new review for the show, you can go check out my last one for the gist of what their performance entails. But I will share the current set-list here:

  1. One Vision
  2. A Kind of Magic
  3. Another One Bites The Dust
  4. Killer Queen/Bicycle Race
  5. I Want To Break Free
  6. Stone Cold Crazy
  7. You’re My Best Friend
  8. Seven Seas of Rye/guitar solo/Brighton Rock
  9. Under Pressure
  10. Hammer To Fall
  11. Crazy Little Thing Called Love
  12. Flash Gordon Theme (taped with band outro)
  13. I Want It All
  14. Now I’m Here
  15. Somebody To Love
  16. Love Of My Life
  17. ’39
  18. Keep Yourself Alive
  19. Fat Bottomed Girls
  20. Jailhouse Rock
  21. Bohemian Rhapsody
  22. Radio Gaga
  23. Tie Your Mother Down
  24. We Will Rock You
  25. We Are The Champions

Not a bad set-list, to say the very least. I never got to see Freddie Mercury, Brian May, Roger Taylor, and John Deacon perform together live, and sadly I never will. Watching Garry Mullen & The Works live makes for a fine way to celebrate the band’s music. Check out their website to see if they’re coming to your berg.

Anyway, life just keeps rolling on happily. Being ill is never fun, but pushing through it is always a cause for triumph. Plus summer is coming up, which means warm, happy weather for you non-tropical-living types and yet another four months of the living Hell-pits in muggy, sweltering, miserable South Florida. We do have some fun travel lined up, including heading to Alaska in late June for the first time to sight-see and participate in the Mayor’s Midnight Sun Marathon in Anchorage. In August Boots and I are heading to Nashville for a few days to celebrate our anniversary (and *ahem* go see Def Leppard in concert), followed closely by our annual trek to Disneyland on Labor Day weekend for the Half Marathon races in Anaheim. Locally I’ll be hitting up a trail half in Stuart in a few weeks, followed by another round at the Wings For Life World Run, and most likely another triathlon on July 4th. Training never stops, because life doesn’t, until it does and then I have to deal with cutting holes in a bed sheet to wear over my spectral energy, as I spook all you fine people. C’mon, I’d be such a Happy Phantom, right Tori? Here’s the video:

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