Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Cough that fresh bar air.

this from CNN today: http://www.cnn.com/2006/HEALTH/06/27/involuntary.smoking.ap/index.html
CNN says second hand smoke is hurting everyone. I found the article in the "Duh" section.

The EPA blames 3,000 deaths in the US per year on second hand smoke. Some studies suggested as many as 35,000 deaths/year in the 80's at the height of public smoking. Lung cancer, blah blah blah. Non-malignant respiratory disease blah blah blah. We all know that second hand smoke is not high on the list of good things to eat.

As conscious employee of the Blue Note for over three years now I can tell you that a public no smoking ban is long overdue. I can tell a difference in my body when I haven't worked in a week or more, and in the day after my first night back. When I have a week off I notice I have less junk to clear out of my throat during my morning routine. The morning after the first night back I will be hacking happy little puss nuggets all morning and sometimes into my workout. After a few days off, the first night back is usually accompanied by nausea, burning eyes, and a headache. I must shower when I get home; last time I didn't shower after work (it was 3 AM, I was tired), I woke up in the middle of the night and puked. I promptly washed the ashtray smell out of my hair and slept like a baby until morning. And so on.

On many occasions I have not joined my friends at a bar just because I don't want to drink/dance in the cancer cloud that they call a good time (bar owners read: you're losing money). Quinton's is the most frequently skipped. Quinton's has everything I could want, good prices, knowledgeable bar staff, respectable service, and a good atmosphere. I love Quinton's when there aren't many people there, but Thursday, Friday, and Saturday night I look in the window and keep riding my bike (I never walk) past the haze to a place with less business or less smoke. You see, a lot of people share my affinity for Quinton's and a good percentage of them smoke. I would go to a bar for one drink more easily if I didn't have to worry about smoke. I'm not the only one. Bars are losing money on many people like me.

Only the ignorant smokers would bitch. I've spoken with many smokers that are in favor of a no smoking ban. It would only be tough for a few weeks then everybody would get used to it and happiness would ensue.

I'm in a tough spot though, because I really feel it should be the bar owner's decision to allow or ban smoking in their establishment. However, they aren't doing anything (exceptions include Flat Branch and Addison's). The economics of the whole situation strays away from discrete if some bars allow smoking and some don't. To be fair, a ban for smoking must be all or nothing, and nothing would be for the greater good. So, come on city council...let's make it happen. I figure first Columbia, then the rest of Missouri. Sorry bar owners, you aren't moving fast enough, it's time for the government to step in.

Maybe I should be getting active. I have done a little, signing petitions and supporting volunteers that I see downtown working toward this goal. I have talked to the owner of my bar about the issue. Maybe it's time to start bugging him.

If nothing changes, when I graduate I will definitely consider jobs in the 15 states that have smoking bans in the books. Yes, it's that big of a deal to me, I've had to put up with it for 3 years and I've lived in places where you can go to a bar and come home smelling like an alcoholic, not an ashtray. Don't forget, almost all reports add that the effects are severly harmful to children. I'm not bringing my kids up in a haze of malignant fog (or in bars if you were wondering). In other words, I'm living in pagan mess, but I've been to the holy land and seen the light. I hope city council or bar owners will obtain enlightenment soon.

I just coughed.

Only two links, both from Wikipedia:

Side note: if you haven't discovered Wikipedia yet, you are missing out. The bottom lines are: It's free. It's constantly being updated by people who use it; it contains current pop culture. It's becoming very large and quite thorough. It's free. Link here: Wikipedia

Saturday, June 24, 2006

The simple life

I went down to the lake (of the Ozarks) Wednesday and Thursday. My roommate from the dorms freshman year lives down there in the summers. He lives in a mobile home, only turning the AC on at nights, peeing outside and basically minimizing usage of all resources as much as is comfortable. The trailer he lives in was purchased last year for $18,000. It came fully furnished, with a dock, golf-cart, and pontoon boat. It's also in a nice large cove that is well protected from the main water. Now this trailer isn't new, but it's in decent shape and for 18k that seems like a pretty sweet deal. The pontoon isn't used much because his parents already own a nice boat with the needed power for pulling skiers. We got a long run in on Wednesday and two short runs in on Thursday. Eric is good and fun to watch I saw him land a handful of backflips and only botch one this weekend (of course he does other tricks too, but the back flip is the coolest). I hit the kneeboard, wakeboard, and slalom up and am thoroughly sore.

I used to hit the lake more often (before the grandfather sold his boats). The weekends at the lake are some of my favorites from my childhood. The whole Beckham family was always invited. The boat would always break, but grandpa would always get it running well enough to pull his grandkids around behind it. There was always plenty of encouragement from those knowledgeable to try new water sports. Before grandpa sold his boats I learned skiing (two for awhile, then one like the big kids), kneeboarding (my hydro-forte), wakeboarding, trick skiing, barefooting, and dragging along on some inflated piece of crap (I hate tubing and most things that resemble it). I am very glad that I got to learn these sports and experience them at a young age. These days the lake is my bi-polar heaven. When in the boat I'm serene, the wind in my hair, the occasional spash keeping your skin cool, but still warmed by the open sun and it's reflections off the water. When behind the boat I am manic, I ski hard, even if not for very long (I'm way out of skiing shape). I can hold my own on the slalom or kneeboard so I don't fall often, I just "cut like a banshee" (eric's words) until I'm tired and ready to go back to the serenity of the boat ride. Any athlete can relate to how good this feels. There's something pure about skimming across buttery smooth water at 30 mph that just feels right. The lake keeps me sane again. Thanks grandpa for providing boats, RV and at least a metric ton lifetime of Wonder bread and cotto salami to refuel me for the next trip out. Thanks mom and dad for finding the money to chip in for gas and the time put everything else on hold for the weekends.

Thursday we only made two short runs because it kept raining, when it would clear up we'd go hit the lake again but after 30 minutes lightning would bring us back to the dock. This chain of events made me feel like this:

I know what you're thinking, "Where can I get some of those sweet sunglasses/welding safe goggles?" Sorry I can't help you, someone left them at the bar at the Colosseum Bistro and I took them as a tip. My guess is any stylish store specializing in women's accessories will have something similar.

Speaking of the Colosseum, I got demoted today. They should have fired me, I would have. I'll put in my two weeks on Thursday. The day after my last day I will leave for tent camping in Colorado.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Drink like you're moving to Africa

hey party bloggers.

My friend Mike is moving to Africa. He and his wife have just joined the peace core and are moving to Mali. No electricity or running water for years. If Mike wants to check email or charge a cell phone or iPod, he has to make a 20 mile mountain bike ride through the desert. Sounds pretty sweet.

Mike plays the saxomaphone and we have been playing jazz together for about 4 years. At first it was just the two of us in the dorms jamming cause we were bored or needed to burn off some steam. Within the last two years we have evolved into a jazzing and drinking club of membership 2. Mike and I both enjoy trying new wines or liquers; our sunday afternoon jam sesions always included a sampling of a new spirit. Mike makes wine and beer in his house so we often tried his newest concoction: meade, cherry wine, unfiltered wheat beer etc. As a last hurrah Mike came over last night and brought along some of his "Shulte Brew" unfiltered honey wheat beer, draft cider, and a bottle of his strawberry blush. Since it was the last night I may ever get to spend with my good friend, I bought a nice bottle of port (Stone Hill 2002 Port), reduced it, and we enjoyed a glass of the port with the reduction over vanilla ice cream. We also drank everything mike brought over, talked about africa, and played some real free, open, dark jazz and blues. It was a good night. Good luck to Mike and his wife Jen in Mali. Stay out of the sand.

Reports of me quitting cycling have not been exagerated. My grades were mediocre last semester, and my performance on the bike had been failiing miserably for about 4 weeks. Right now I'm thinking I need to concentrate on what will matter in 10 years a little more than I have been (ie. I need to put school above cycling for the first time ever). I'll still be racing, but I'll train when I want to, probably do some other things (triathlons, 5Ks and maybe some adventure racing). I've been off the bike for a month, no regrets yet, my body has been enjoying the rest. That being said, I have a test in the morning so it's time for bed (4th day of class and a test over 3 chapters).

I have been all about pad imporvement this summer. New additions to 8B Clarkson (the B side) include a hammock, bread maker, pool, ping pong table, and badmitton set. Not bad for a college pad. Pool party today(Friday) come stop in for a soak anytime after 1PM.

I want to get a weimaraner and name it djamolidine abdoujaparov. That's right. My dog will kick bubba's ass.