It’s simple: soap and water

I ran day before yesterday for the first time in two weeks. Two miles. Two little miles. I felt great out on the road, but also felt it the next day in my legs. I had gotten out of the hospital six days before that, one of those unexpected detours life throws at you. But Wednesday I felt strong and didn’t want to miss a window.

Long story short: I caught a bacterial infection. Longer: It involved four and a half days in the hospital hooked up to an IV getting antibiotics that made me weak and nauseated. Half my face inflated like a balloon giving me a constant headache. That required painkillers, which also made my stomach roil. I wouldn’t wish it on anyone.

Scared the hell out of me and my family. The scariest thing? I’ll never know where it came from. Sure, the doctors have theories. It came from daycare. It came from the YMCA. It came from a doorknob or a computer keyboard. For all I know, it came from the Black Lagoon. It doesn’t matter. What mattered is it came with a vengeance.

The best defense, the doctors say, is washing your hands. Thing is, I can’t remember a time when I wasn’t fastidious about washing my hands. And now that I’m a dad, I must wash my hands dozens of times a day. I often say about driving, I’m damn good at it (years of pizza delivery experience) but it’s the other people on the road I worry about. Same maxim applies here. It only takes interacting with one person who hasn’t washed their hands, or surface not sufficiently cleaned, to get such a horrid infection.

I try not to be preachy or freaky about hand washing, but I see it not happen all the time in public restrooms. I see it not happen at work and other places. Saturday, Mrs. Blocletters and I saw “Fela!” in Detroit. Before the musical (which was fantastic) I went to the restroom. Five men were there when I went in. In my time there, each one of them left without washing. After what I’d been through that week, I wanted to punch them: one sucker punch to the kidneys for each antibiotic my doctors had to try before they found one that this infection responded to.

So, my PSA for the day: If you don’t wash your hands, particularly after the restroom, that’s just nasty. Think about it. You touch your junk. You touch the doorknob on the way out. You go back to your keyboard. You shake hands.

Have you seen Contagion?

It only takes 30 seconds. Do it.


Burned and out

I have a confession: I’m a political junkie. Admitting you have a problem, they say, is the first stage of the cure.

My job means I soak in politics, particularly during an election year. A coworker recently asked me about Newt Gingrich and I found myself launching on a tirade about his personal life over the last 20 years. The amount of detail frightened me.

It’s not a GOP-hater thing. It’s not a liberal/conservative thing. I just have more political minutia in my head than most people would consider healthy. And that’s got to stop.

I need to get more strict about tuning out of the news over the weekend and before and after work hours. I haven’t watched the GOP debates, so that’s a start. I didn’t watch the State of the Union. I usually do. And I need to rededicate myself to other, more productive, pursuits than reading Talking Points Memo.

Maybe I’ll take up running.


So, I got hijacked over the weekend, causing some heroic scurrying on the part of my brother/Web guru.

The hacker likely exploited a WordPress vulnerability to supplant my site with the following splash screen.

Baader Meinhof was apparently a terrorist group from 1970s Germany, though how the name ended up as a modern day hacker’s moniker is anyone’s guess. It probably just sounds anti-, so why not use the name for malicious mischief?

Anyhow, big thanks to bro. Passwords changed. Moving on.

Today’s rants

I’ve decided I hate the iOS Newsstand. I don’t buy magazines on my phone, and don’t plan on it. Pulse provides the news feeds I need, and I don’t even check that every day. It’s more of a waiting in line thing.

What I do get, as part of a paid subscription, is the New York Times. But now the app is hidden in Newsstand. I never see it, and thus never check it. Yes, it’s just one more click to launch. That shouldn’t be much of a problem. But it is.

Let me repeat: When I don’t see the app on my home screen, I don’t think to launch it. It’s just that simple. Are you listening, New York Times? My usership has plummeted due to Newsstand. I’ve opened the app once since updating to iOS 5.

Newsstand is just another wack app foisted on iOS users, like Stocks, and Game Center (though I’m sure this is a minority opinion for the latter).

In other peeves, I love my iPhone more than the next guy. But even I wouldn’t check Facebook and Twitter half a dozen times during a movie. That’s exactly what the wife and I witnessed last week at a viewing of Martha Marcy May Marlene.

Um, WTF?

There is no reason to check Facebook during a film. Period. Full. Stop. You paid $8 for the right to sit in that seat, and you’re bored by whatever’s on screen. I get that. Get up and leave. But don’t subject everyone else in the theater, many of whom actually want to watch it, to the light from your smartphone. It’s beyond discourteous. It’s dickish.

The movie, by the way, was fantastic. Elizabeth Olsen may have best actress in the bag. See it. But keep your damn smartphone in your pocket with the ringer off.




Today I drew the crevé! card. My doctor called this afternoon with test results: I have a stress fracture in my left foot.

I used to play Mille Bornes often. For the unacquainted, it’s a French-import card game. Each player, or driver, takes turns drawing cards representing distances in the hopes of reaching a thousand miles first in the race. Potholes mark the route. One of the pothole-type cards players can draw is crevé, or flat tire (literally, burst).

Two weeks ago today, I was eight miles into a nine-mile run in Vibram FiveFingers — the KSO model (calling them shoes overstates things; they’re more like gloves for your feet), when I felt an unfamiliar tinge of pain near the base of the second toe of my left foot. I noticed, but deemed it more annoying than intense and finished the run. The pain stuck for a few days. The following Monday, I woke with that foot inflated like a balloon. I saw the doctor Tuesday and, based on the range of movement I had, he diagnosed it as likely a tendon issue and asked me to return in a week.

The swelling never quite went down and I continued to limp about. On the return visit, he ordered a bone scan.

First thing in the morning Thursday, my birthday, I found myself getting injected with gamma radiation. The nuclear medicine technician brought out the syringe in a lead flask. The radiation circulated around, stuck to my bones and eventually revealed itself on the whirring scanner. Between that and X-rays of the offending foot, I spent more than half a day at the hospital. Happy birthday to me.

All the while I expected this expensive test would confirm that I just stepped wrong, and all would heal if I’d just give it a few more days. I didn’t prepare myself for the doctor’s call today, but should have. I didn’t think it’d come to this.

It did. The prescription: an obnoxious boot to wear on my foot, to immobilize it and help the healing. No running for at least three more weeks. Training for the Detroit Free Press Marathon will not begin this coming week as scheduled. In fact, outlook for even getting to the starting line looks dim.


Disappointed doesn’t begin to describe how I feel, and I fought the blues all evening. But I’ve drawn a few 100-mile distance cards lately, and should have expected a flat tire to turn up. I’m not invincible — much as I sometimes think — and that’s a lesson I need to learn.

Mille bornes roughly translates to “a thousand milestones,” and this is just another one. With the support of Mrs. Blocletters and Baby Blocletters, I’ll pass this milestone, too.

Here’s hoping the next card I draw is roue de secours, or even increvable.