Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Treasure Chest

*Updated 30 Oct 08 8:15 pm

October is Breast Cancer Awareness month. Breast cancer occurs in both women and men. It affects many people, not only the survivors but their family and friends.

I remember an aunt who had breast cancer years ago when I was a child. She hid it from her family and didn't get treatment until it was too late. My mother took us over to visit my aunt. After playing with my cousins, I walked in on my mother helping my aunt change her bandages. It was a terrible sight. The once proud, strong, vain woman had been reduced to a skeleton, aged beyond her years. I could see this gaping red and pink wound in her chest being cleaned. She died a few days later. I overheard my mother talking with the family after the funeral. Apparently, my aunt had revealed she was in denial of her condition at first. She knew what the lump could've meant. But my aunt feared losing her breast more than her life.

Early detection means a better chance of treatment, a greater chance of survival. A breast self exam is one of the early screening tools to help you detect breast cancer. If you find any lumps or changes, see your health care provider as soon as possible. Here are the basic steps:

The first three steps require the use of a mirror.

1. Stand in front of the mirror with your hands on your hips. Look for any signs of nipple distortion, rash, swelling, redness, or unusual changes in the size and shape and appearance of your breasts.

2. Now, raise your arms overhead and look for the same changes. Now, jiggle your breasts and see how they look...Okay, the jiggling is not really part of the steps; that was just for fun.

3. While looking in the mirror, check for signs of fluids or discharge coming out of the nipples.

4. Now, lay down on your back and use the hand opposite to the breast being examined; left hand for right breast, and right hand for left breast. Keep the right arm overhead if examining the right breast; the same for the left.

Using the tip of your fingers, use firm pressure to start a circular motion about 1 inch in diameter, palpating (feeling) for lumps. Start from the nipple, using a circular pattern, work your way out towards the rest of the breast. Make sure you cover the entire breast from the collarbone to top of the abdomen, from the armpit to the cleavage.

Another alternative is to use an up and down pattern in rows. Just work your fingers starting from the bottom going up, palpating all along the breast. Work the rows from the outer side of the breast towards the cleavage.

5. Finally, palpate your breasts when sitting or standing. Just palpate the same way as you would if you were laying down.

One of the best times to feel for any lumps is in the shower,

because the skin is slippery and wet; it makes it easier to detect any lumps or distortions.

You can examine your breasts by yourself, but it's okay to have another pair of hands feel up your breasts. There's nothing wrong with getting a second opinion.

Treasure your chest. Breast is best. Be good to your boobs.

*Updated, thanks to Snooze for the hot tip and link! Canada loves breasts! Thank you, Snooze and the Breast Cancer Society of Canada!

Please note, I and my staff will be available as well if you need help examining your breasts.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Tag Team

I've been doubly tagged by CyberPete and Tara on the same day to do the following two memes. I think I've done these before, but they're still fun.

Here are the Rules:

1. Link to the person who tagged you

*It's the fantastic, fashion forward CyberPete who tagged me.

2. Post the rules on your blog


3. Share six non-important things/habits/quirks about yourself

*(1). Hello. My name is Eroswings, and I'm a gameaholic.

I've been video game free for--looks at clock--12 hours now. I've been addicted to video games since middle school. I knew I had a problem in the 8th grade when I played Tetris on a Gameboy for 11 hours straight. I only stopped because the batteries died! I had to fake an illness that morning so I wouldn't go to school--I had not done any homework because of my Tetris experience.

Years ago, I had to give up my new Playstation 2 after playing with it for only a month. I spent every night and weekend glued to the screen playing Tekken. I stayed indoors, living off of pizza, Mountain Dew, and pop tarts. My friends actually held a quasi-intervention at the end of that month. They noticed an inversely proportional relationship between the alcohol surplus at weekend parties and my absence. The longer I was absent from the parties, the more there was of unconsumed alcoholic beverages. It was a wake up call for me--but a nice break for my liver. Still, I had cramps in my hands, my back and neck hurt, and the chair had the permanent imprint of my body! I had to get a new chair after that, and I sent the Playstation to my nieces and nephews. Since then, I've not own a gaming console. It would be too much of a distraction and I know I'd be hooked again. I like having a life; though, I still find myself playing online video games when I'm up late at night sometimes.

*(2). I don't mind doing the laundry and ironing.

Sundays are usually laundry days. I like the smell of clean clothes as I fold them, such a relaxing, blissful scent, and that warm feeling on your hands feels so good, especially on cold days! I like the look of crisp clothes after I iron them. I know I'll look sharp when I put them on.

*(3). I listen to classical music when I clean.

All those images of open meadows and flowers and sunshine puts me in the cleaning mood! My favorite is Johann Pachelbel's Canon in D major. When I hear it, I feel like doing the waltz with my mop! Maybe it's because I'm inhaling too much Pine-Sol. Or maybe it's just an incredible, moving piece of music.

Listen to this youtube link, and see why I like it--Right click on link and open in new tab. Sounds very uplifting and clean and beautiful, doesn't it?

Want a more modern rock guitar version? Check this out! Cool, huh?

*(4). I don't untie my shoelaces when I take my shoes off.

Actually, I keep my shoelaces tied most of the time, except for dress shoes. The dress shoes I keep untied and only tie the laces when I wear them. The running shoes I keep the laces tied up, double knotted so that they don't come undone. When I take the everyday shoes off, I just slip my feet out of them. When I put them back on, I just slip my feet in them without untying the laces. I just like it that way. It feels right, somehow.

*(5). Before I go to sleep, I pick out what I'm going to wear the next day.

I'm not a morning person, and I'm really sluggish when I wake up. I take a lot time to get dressed because I move so slow. Luckily, by setting out clothes the night before, I all ready know what I'm going to wear. That saves me time in the morning. I even pick out a back up set just in case the weather or plans for the day change.

*(6). I'm somewhat of an old fashioned guy.

I still open doors for women. I give up my seat for the elderly, the ladies, and the children. I like to pay for dinner when in the company of women (be it a date or just a meal with friends). Though, I've had female friends protest when I pick up the bill, I usually tell them they'll pay for the next time we eat out. Usually though, I try to take the check before they can take it the next time we eat out; but I've had to respect a woman's firm decision to pick up the tab. I still stand up from my seat when I greet my date or when she leaves and returns to the table. And I still use "Sir" or "Ma'am" when greeting and conversing with people. Though, I've met some women who bristle at the term "Ma'am", but it's just an old customary greeting to show respect to a woman. It has nothing to do with age, and it's pretty common in the South and West to greet women with such a term of respect and high esteem.

It's very confusing to be a man these days. Sometimes, a courteous gesture is misinterpreted as disrespectful or perhaps an ulterior motive. Sometimes, a friendly disposition is mistaken for being interested in something much more. But, you just have to be more aware and learn from every experience. You just have to be who you are and take care of yourself (and the people who are important to you) as best you can.

4. Tag six random people at the end of your post by linking to their blogs

*Eh, I won't tag anybody. Just feel free to do these if you feel like it :)

5. Let each random person know they have been tagged by leaving a comment on their website

*Again, I won't tag anyone, but please feel free to let me know if you do these :)

6. Let your tagger know when your entry is up.


This next one is from the terrific, talented Tara.

You have to answer one word questions, but not necessarily with one word answers!

1. Clothes: Do not make the man!

All you have to do now,
Is take these lies and make them true somehow
All we have to see,
Is that I don't belong to you
And you don't belong to me
Yeah, yeah

Freedom! Freedom! Freedom!
You got to give for what you take.
Freedom! Freedom! Freedom!
You got to give for what you take.

Lately, this George Michael song has been on my mind. That Freedom! 90 video is awesome with all the supermodels. And I think this is my favorite George Michael song.

2. Furniture: Living room.

3. Sweet: Things ;)

4. City: Life

5. Drink: Water

I know, right? I actually prefer water to quench my thirst. Then sweet iced tea. I very rarely even drink soda, because it doesn't quench my thirst. It's been over a decade since I was a regular soda drinker!

6. Music: Lover

I luv music (and the arts)! My fantastic geometry teacher (and coach) once said that music is the universal language. And music is math we can all enjoy. He was so right.

7. TV Series: Favorite

I've a few tv series that I like (and miss). Recently, they've started running 3rd Rock from the Sun on TV land. One of the funniest shows I've ever seen--about aliens, coming to Earth, studying humans, and making funny observations about our ways and culture.

I'm big on creative, fun, weird and new, smart series, like Burn Notice--about a spy who got dropped (burned) by the US gov't, and now he's trying to find out why, dealing with all sorts of characters and adventures in Miami. There's a lot of good stuff on tv...maybe too much good stuff.

8. Film: Festival

I luv film festivals, be it about new, independent movies, or celebrations of the old, black and white films of a bygone age. I saw "It happened one night" for the first time at a black and white film festival, and I luved that movie since then! It was funny, engaging, and launched the most iconic hitchhiking scenes ever filmed. Clark Gable and Claudette Colbert were amazing in that film. And it sparked my interest in the silver screen gems of the old, glamorous Hollywood.

I like originality and creativity in films. I enjoy fresh or alternative perspectives to the same old movie plots at the local movie theater. Still, there is a time and place for those cheesy, predictable movies as well.

9. Workout: Time

It means setting aside a time to work out; workouts take time; and by doing the workout, you're actually trying to buy more time, by maybe living a little longer, a little stronger, a little wiser.

10. Pastries: Tasty.

Seriously, who doesn't think pastries are tasty?

11. Coffee: Donut ;)


And there you have it. I'm not going to tag anyone to do either of these, but if you do, just let me know. That way, I can come read all about you!

Monday, October 20, 2008

Driving Ms Daisy

I was driving some friends around today. When we reached a deserted, long stretch of road, one of them asked, "Why are you driving so slow?"

"What?", I asked, giving a quick glance at the speedometer. It said 55 miles per hour, "I'm not driving slow. I'm driving the speed limit."

"Exactly!," exclaimed another friend, "You're driving slow!"

"Like an old woman," said another, and the three of them proceeded to laugh.

"Well, y'all nag like old women!", I replied, but that didn't stop their giggling.

It's one of the things they've all teased me about at one point or another. I drive the speed limit (most of the time), even when I'm the only car on a long, empty road. I've always countered that it's the law. But that never stops the teasing. It's a conversation we often revisit and add to time after time.

I usually try not to break any laws, because, well, it's usually the right thing to do. Also, because I don't want to end up in jail. It wouldn't look good having a criminal record, and no one looks good wearing prison issued clothing. And I don't want to waste time and energy fighting off aggressive bastards; it would be like work but without the pay or benefits.

I don't drink and drive at all. I mean, if I even have one light beer, I wait a whole hour before I even attempt to drive. But usually, I don't drink at all if I'm doing any driving. It's not that I'm such a horrible drunk. But rather, I don't want to take any chance of getting pulled over and failing an alcohol test. The only court I want to make an appearance in is the food court.

Once my friends stopped laughing, one of them tempted me by reasoning, "There are no cops around. Just floor it!"

But I replied, "Hey, just because the farmer's gone to town don't make it okay to ride his horse!"

And they immediately laughed once more; at least this time, it wasn't because of my driving.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Moving friendship

It's been said that a good friend will bail you out of jail,
while a best friend would be sitting next to you saying, "Damn, that was fun!"

To this I'd like to add:

A true friend helps you move.

Curse my friendliness...I've too many friends! Damn you, U Haul and your do it yourself moving shtick!

*Inspired by MJ's comment, this has been edited at 11:13 p.m. to add:

I had dinner over at a friend's tonight. I always try to attend her dinners because she's a great cook (and I'm never one to turn down a free meal). I should've realized something was up when she didn't try to set me up with one of her friends like she usually does when we have dinner together. The last one was a newly divorced teacher who needed to ease back into the dating scene. She was fun, and she's moved on, more confident and happier (we parted on very good terms).

Full of delicious steaks and delirious from sweet, sweet wine, my friend asked me if I would help her move. She was holding a bowl of warm peach cobbler topped with vanilla ice cream in front of my face, my favorite dessert. And before my brain could react, my mouth said yes.

She lives on the third floor...and there are NO ELEVATORS in her building! I guess there's no such thing as a free meal.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Top Dog

*Updated 15 Oct 2008, 11:12 a.m.

In case you haven't noticed, it's election season. And it's not just America! Today, the Canadians go to the polls to vote in their general election. It's a heated race between liberal Stephane Dion and conservative Stephen Harper; the outcome will not be known until the polls close in the British Columbia tonight at 10pm!

Harper has made fun of Dion's poor English skills and ties to Quebec and their "subsidized galas" of artists. Dion is running on a green platform, proposing a controversial carbon tax in an effort to curb greenhouse pollution. No word on a plan for noise pollution.

Harper has been unpopular and heavily criticized for his close ties to the Bush administration and his weak leadership in the economic crisis. Many Canadians hope to deal a finishing blow to Harper this election.

But polls predict he'll likely survive with a crippled gov't, and Canadians will have to wait til next election season to hunt him down and finish him off!

*Update: It's official; though wounded, the pupil check reveals he's survived the opposition's clubbing. Harper retains role as Prime Minister with minority control over the gov't. Liberals titanic hopes of gov't control were sank by the ice berg of greenhouse tax. It remains to be seen, at the heart of the matter, if Dion's leadership of the party will go on and on.*

In news from American election race, the final Presidential debate takes place tomorrow, Wed night. But I've noticed an interesting development on CNN, particularly on the commentary after the debates. I like CNN; I trust CNN; these are the original, real time news reporters who got out and made a name for themselves during the first Gulf War and every other conflict and world event since.

No other news network has a hotter looking bunch of reporters and anchors. Sure, ABC, NBC, CBS have talented reporters, too, but only CNN combines both beauty and brains to make for an informative (and attractive) newscast. But the presidential debates have created this forum where experts and news reporters combine to share their thoughts and observations. Most of what they say is important and relevant. However, I've been struck by this struggle for alpha dog status that has emerged with the presence of so many talented veterans and newcomers. It's only natural in a pack full of powerhouses, that only one can be the top dog. And let's look at some of these contenders.

First, off you can't be a top dog without a cool name. And what name is cooler than Wolf Blitzer! Seriously, his name is Wolf Blitzer. He's got experience and his own show, The Situation Room, that gives him alpha dog potential. Even better, he's a former musician, who played keyboard in a garage rock band!

Who let the dogs out?

And he puffs up quite noticeably, making sure he's not forgotten in the forum, using his giant tv screen as his weapon in the race for top dog.

Then there's Anderson Cooper, with his cool name and great hair. He brings up another key asset to being a top dog: Good looks. Sure, Wolf Blitzer's got the the gray hair, too, but Anderson Cooper works it with this blue eyes and supermodel poses. He uses that steely gaze and head tilt to say: I care, and I'm really sexy! It's like watching Blue Steel as he struts between the panelists during the debate post show.

Relax, don't do it, when you want to go to it!

But there's a new dog in the pound, and his name is John King! And he gives Anderson Cooper a run for his money in the looks department. He's got the cool, pornstar name and the good looks. While he doesn't have Cooper's supermodel poses or his own news show, he does have a fancy, big screen map of the US reflecting poll numbers. And he only has to touch that map to make it change colors! Oooh!!! Aaaahhh!!! He's got the best toys in the group, and he's got that whole dignified, down to earth vibe that makes him look laid back, cool, and smart. Apparently, he's very funny, too.

'Cause I'm the King of the castle (na na na)
Turn me on turn me loose

But it's not just the men vying for top dog status. Women are getting in on the action as well. I've noticed Gloria Borger trying to jump in and voice her opinion as loudly and often as possible in what seems to be an attempt to rise above the fray towards the top. Unfortunately for Gloria Borger, she doesn't have a cool name.

Candy Crowley has a cool name. That's right, her name is Candy! And she's the only full figured reporter in a sea of anorexic and bulimic newswomen. She's a pro and she stands toe to toe with some of the toughest talent in the news industry.

I'm craving for you. I'm missing you like Candy!

But all is not lost for Gloria Borges. It's not about talent; she's as smart as everyone else on that panel; it's about presence. She's got to find a way to stand out from the pack. Here's one idea: she ought to change her first name to Willa, and shortened her last name by two letters; add a new hairstyle and new wardrobe, plus a new catchphrase, I'm sure she would command attention.

Willa Borg, Resistance is futile!

That'll definitely keep her in the running for alpha dog!

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Canadian Bounty

It's Thanksgiving weekend in Canada. I'd imagine the Canadians are sitting around their dinner tables for a helping of flapjacks (pancakes) and maple syrup and back bacon (Canadian bacon). More likely, they've roasted a Canada goose or stuffed a moose, maybe with a side of seal flap and sweet pickled beaver. But whatever they are eating, I'd like to wish all our great Canadian friends a happy Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Flu Shot

It's flu season, and once again, flu shots are being offered. I used to take flu shots years ago, but then I stopped. It's not because I think it's stupid or a waste of time. And it's true that I still got the flu after taking the shots. But the real reason I stopped taking flu shots was because I think I may be allergic to them, which was kind of surprising!

I was told repeatedly that if you are allergic to eggs, then don't take the flu shot. Well, I'm not allergic to eggs, and I went and took the flu shot for a few years. And each year, I got sicker and sicker. The first year, it started with my arm being sore and a hard lump where the shot was injected. I felt weak and dizzy for those two weeks. The following years, I just kept getting worse after receiving the shots. In addition to weakness and dizziness, I started breaking out in sweats and ached all over my body. I felt horrible and just wanted to lay in bed. The last year I took the shot was the worst!

In addition to the previous symptoms, I became disoriented and started blacking out. I would wake up and find myself laying fully clothed in the hallway, or tub, or the kitchen floor soaked with sweat and, to my embarrassment, drooled all over where I passed out! And this wasn't from getting drunk! I was disoriented for two weeks; kept barely alive by fluids and yogurt and ice cream. I don't remember much, other than the ache in my limbs and feeling of generalized weakness. I do remember a few instances where I crawled to bed or on the sofa after waking up on the floor. I also recall some weird dreams where I think I saw and heard some friends. Actually, two of them claimed to have visited me after I called them and I sounded confused on the phone. Each said they had tried to take me to the hospital, but I refused and seemed lucid. They each reportedly brought over some food that I devoured. The scary thing is that I don't remember any of that happening! And that's when I decided that maybe the flu shot isn't worth it. I may be allergic to it!

Now, a few years after not taking the flu shot, I can honestly say I've not caught the flu! Sure, I still get the occasional cold, but it's a lot better than the reaction I got with the flu shot. Would I advise people to take the flu shot? Only if it works for you! If the flu shot has been good to you, then keep on getting them. If not, then don't be like me, taking it because I was told it was good for me when it was actually bad. It was like being in an abusive relationship! I kept putting up with the bad side effects thinking things will get better; believing that it was for my own good til it almost killed me, finally making me come to my senses! Lesson learned: Don't give into the pressure! Learn to think for yourself, and trust your instincts. Just because everyone else is doing something doesn't mean it'll be good for you, too. And wash your hands. There's a lot of filth out there and hand washing keeps those germs away!

Friday, October 3, 2008

Grass Movement

I like to keep up with current events and have a very healthy interest in politics. It's very important to stay informed and be involved with the changes that affect government and its citizens. A few of my friends have expressed surprise at my knowledge of policies and views on issues. Bastards! As if I'm nothing more than a pretty face!

During dinner with some friends, we watched the Vice Presidential debate and had a lively discussion on a variety of issues afterwards. Somehow, the topic of health care led to marijuana. I got a few raised eyebrows when I spoke up in support of medical marijuana. Of course, this led to a heated exchange with a few others. The most vocal opponent was the spouse of an acquaintance. I've met him before a few times at various gatherings. I call him Bullhorn, because he always seems to be yelling. I've asked others before if Bullhorn has a hearing problem, but I've been told he just likes the sound of his own voice. He struck me as someone who liked the attention, thinking that by being loud, he would appear more intelligent.

And of course, Bullhorn went on about how marijuana was illegal and how it's a gateway drug, etc. The more he talked, the louder he got, and the more people gravitated towards our exchange. I tried to be calm and responded that I was referring to medical marijuana and it's use in treating glaucoma, but more importantly, it's role in treating pain for cancer and dying patients.

Bullhorn countered that the federal gov't outlawed medical marijuana, and I had to politely point out that the Appeals Court have ruled that the federal gov't cannot prevent doctors from prescribing medical marijuana to dying patients who only get pain relief from marijuana, because they are unable to swallow pills and other medications have failed to relieve their pain. I also argued that these patients aren't out driving cars or operating heavy machinery. They were dying and suffering in pain, and for them, marijuana is more effective than morphine. I also made a point that regardless of the varying laws regarding euthanasia, the most important issue is that the gov't cannot force dying patients to endure unbearable pain for the remainder of their lives.

By now, a sizeable crowd had formed around us and Bullhorn saw it as a plus. He argued, "Well, the gov't only passes laws that protect us. The gov't only legalizes drugs that are beneficial to the public's health." He seemed so smug and puffed up with confidence.

So I asked, "Really? Remind me again about the health benefits of smoking?"

That got a few a laughs and shut Bullhorn up. I could see the look of frustration on his face when he realized he just got smoked! It was my cue to exit. The stupefied look on his face was my reward for the night.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008


Over lunch with a good friend today, the topic of lawn care came up. Now my friend has a great looking lawn. He's invested a significant amount of money and manpower into growing a well manicured, thriving lawn. He's even won a few gardening awards and his lawn's been in the newspaper and a few magazines. But as much as he brags about his lawn, he also complains equally about all the work and time it takes.

Growing up, I've always hated mowing the lawn. The only chore worse than mowing the lawn was feeding the hogs. I never understood the need to cut grass; it's not like it grows up any more than a few inches. It seems such a waste to spend all that time and work watering, tilling, fertilizing to make grass grow, then turn around and cut it all back down! What a waste of time and money! And I'm not a big fan of those golf course lawns either. I like my grass soft and natural looking, not carpet looking.

I wonder sometimes what kind of lawn I'd like to have should I ever venture out to buy a home. I know I won't like mowing the lawn; maybe I'll get a goat to eat the lawn. Of course, that means I'll probably have to pick up after the goat. Perhaps I'll put in a rock lawn instead. Or maybe I should get some Astroturf and just hose down the fake lawn when it gets dirty. Better yet, why not pay someone else to cut the lawn for me? Thankfully, I don't have to worry about lawn care right now. The apt staff does a great job of maintenance on the grass and trees and shrubs. At this point, the only grass I'd like to work on is the kind that hangs on the hips of a dancing Polynesian girl.