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Tuesday, 21 October 2014


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Seizures can often happen out of the blue without the driver knowing it. When I used to work at a department office in college, one of the professors had a seizure while driving. Thankfully he was in the parking lot and not much damage was done, but he had no family history, nor any prior history of seizures. NY suspended his license for one full year to ensure that nothing else would happen.

It's possible his was caused by stress, rather than medical history. You can't prepare for everything, and I'm sure if he knew he was prone to them he wouldn't be driving.

"...which reduces those traumatic incidents when they're out of touch when they should not be, for instance when your 14-year-old has an 11 p.m. curfew and still hasn't shown up at 2:35 in the morning. The kind of thing that gives parents white hairs.)"

Zander would not do such a thing to dear old Dad, would he?

Besides as I recall white hairs are only on your beard and not on your head.

BTW those stand up and work desks are way too far down there. I stand six foot eight inches tall and in my normal work shoes, a wee bit taller. Prefer to sit or of late balance my arse on one gigantic bright red inflated ball. Glutus maximus gets a rolling workout...

Maybe you are hidebound, if you still have a landline phone. I dropped mine a dozen years ago. I'm sure the telephone solicitors miss me terribly.

Moving is the earth-bound equivalent of going to Hell - or at least, to Purgatory. I last did it 15 years ago. I get nervous jitters when my wife gets interested in "For Sale" signs.

In the event of an unavoidable collision, there comes the realisation that it's going to hurt, and your attention turns to minimising damage.

For example, I was hit in the side while on my motorcycle, and found myself spinning through the air on a horizontal axis at right angles to my direction of travel, the axis going through my body head to tail. My arms were above my head. I just had time to make myself relax before I hit the grass verge at about 50 mph. The result was that I broke no bones when I hit.

This was just as well, because my foot was extremely messed up by the initial collision. The hospitals did fine work, but it will never be right. All due to the inattention of the car driver involved.

I've personally enjoyed the morning coffee/comments columns and can't say I understand why folks are feeling sensitive about it, it's not like there has been any negative/critical commentary about the individual commentators.

Glad you escaped physically unscathed from the car.

Hi, Mike,
As a motorcyclist I can relate to the "Parting Advice". Unfortunately, given the self-imposed distractions that drivers face now, on nearly every ride I can see alarming possibilities for vehicular mayhem. The smart phone is the primary cause of these distractions. Motorcycles give one a clear view into most vehicles. It is very common to see people TEXTING while weaving down the road. Add to that the relative invisibility of motorcycles to the general driving public and you have an interesting ride almost every time. I've been riding since the 1960's, so the risk/reward balance is still on the reward side.

Sorry to see The Morning Comment go. I thought it was great even if I wildly disagreed with what you had written.

People who post replies/comments should be subject to a Skin Thickness test. Too thin? Try again later.

Just in case you haven't gotten a batch of these: http://www.epilepsy.com/driving-laws/2008886


Current experiments: "...is people!"

Worst name choice ever! Even beats the Pentax Flu Card.

Glad you are okay. Head on collisions and near collisions are terrifying - to say the least. Seven years ago my wife and I were in our Honda minivan at night. As we were coming around a bend in the road, an oncoming car was in our lane. The driver had fallen asleep. The car in front of ours saw the rapidly approaching car and swerved. Unfortunately, we never saw it until we impacted at about 30 mph. We had no idea what was happening - never saw the car. We amazingly walked away. Upside - at the hospital that night, we found out she was pregnant with our son. Now 7! Fast forward to 7 years later, and this past winter, my wife was again hit head on. Can you believe it? This time she was at a stop light. Some guy (always a guy it seems) tried to beat traffic at a light by swerving into my wife's lane just as she was pulling away from a newly turned green light. Again, never saw it until he collided. This time our 13 year old daughter was in the car. The car was demolished but again they walked away, thankfully! Car was a Land Rover this time. My sympathies go out to you and so glad you are ok.

[Thank you sincerely Nevin and the same back to you and yours, with feeling. --Mike]

nice flow in a nice article ... particularly interest in the Soylent mention ... please keep us informed ... especially what the stuff tastes like ... looked into it before a road trip a month ago but didn't really have the time so settled on Soy Protein Shakes & Greek Yogurt (with a meal now & then) ... may sound strange but am feeling much better ... [now, its nearly time to start eating doughnuts for that extra seasonal weight]
keep up the good work

@Close Call: glad to hear you dodged a bullet there, Mike.

I used to get annoyed when driving and people would cut me off or do some other thoughtless move that required evasive action from me. Nowadays I regard it as an opportunity to test my reflexives!

Sounds like you reflexives and responses are working well for you.

You saved your life and that of your friends with your alertness, quick thinking and fast reaction; I'm glad you are okay.

I also have a Jesper sit/stand desk and have been very happy with it for the past year and a half. I added a treadmill to it which I highly recommend. It helps to have enough room behind the desk to be able to move the treadmill back out of the way (it has wheels to assist moving) when you do want to sit. Speaking of The New Yorker jumpstarting interest in a product, Susan Orlean wrote a good piece there about her treadmill desk: http://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2013/05/20/the-walking-alive
The article came out just after I ordered my desk and it convinced me to get the same treadmill she has.

I haven't looked into Soylent, but I'm not sure there is anything unusual about a nutritionally complete "human food" substitute.
Almost ten years ago I had throat cancer and couldn't eat because my throat was so inflamed by the radiation treatments I was receiving. They put a feeding tube directly into my stomach and every day I poured (actually dripped) several containers of a product called Ensure into the tube. I didn't believe it was possible to survive on this stuff, but I did fine. I used it for about eight or nine months until I regained the ability to swallow.
Ensure isn't an exotic product at all. It comes in several flavors and you can buy it in any large grocery or drug store. There are even competing brands and the large chains usually have a house brand that sells for less.

Oh wow. Glad you're unhurt, Mike! And well done at the wheel.

Can't afford a "real" standing desk, but a trash-picked drafting table has been working OK for me. I'm several inches shorter than you are, though, and the desk is cranked up to its max height and still seems an inch or two shy of optimal. I'm sure it's not even as satisfactory as the Value model, but so far so good--less discomfort, more desk time. I need a taller stool, though, for those times when I want to sit.

I enjoyed both Morning Coffee and Morning Comment, and I'm sorry the experiment didn't work for you. I liked the intimacy and the risk of failure; it felt somehow a little more "live"--more intimate and improvised than the more polished articles we're used to (which I also enjoy).

I was often enjoying them at other times of the day or even days later, so the morning and daily aspect wasn't the thing, at least reading-wise--I just liked having more fresh TOP posts to read, and knowing that I wouldn't have to wait long for the next one, along with the aforementioned off-the-cuff quality that made those posts seem even fresher.

I understand, however, how taxing a daily writing commitment can be. And I'm sure hostile feedback doesn't make it any easier. A daily morning post would be ambitious at any time, let alone when the entire enterprise, as well as the proprietor, is relocating.

I, for one, hope we haven't heard the last of Morning Mike, even as a rare and pleasant surprise.

Hey Mike,

whew - I'm so glad you weren't injured in that accident!

Also, I have to say that I admire your character. People seem to get mad at you for often incomprehensible reasons, and yet you just apologize and move on! Something like that would leave me feeling insecure and angry for a long time.

Michael, I certainly empathize with your "close call". I was involved in my first accident in 27 years Saturday and it was eerily similar to the last one - sitting at a light while the car behind approaches without a clue in the world and knocks the crap out of me. Both cars were Swedish and while the offenders had major damage my vehicles were only subjected to superficial damage. So I'm off this morning to collect a check and see if I can find an establishment which can return my car to it's former pristine glory.


Regarding the migrating comment, in my younger years I used to be a waterfowl hunter. Casual, to be sure, and more to get the retrievers some work than anything else. If you've never done this, you owe it to yourself to find a friendly hunter or two who will drag you out to a blind in a marshy lake during this season. Well before sunrise. The experience is incredible. The cold quiet of a 4 am blind starts to give way to peeps, clucks, and other noises. An occasional darting bird barely visible in the pre-dawn murk. This accelerates with the arrival of dawn to a cacophony of honks and quacks as thousands of birds get up out of the marsh and head out for the day. The site and sound is awe-inspiring. Bring a camera if you like---but the last time I did this was probably 25 years ago, and I'm remembering it just like it was yesterday.

As a casual hunter, I never cared if I didn't shoulder the gun the whole morning, The dance of these birds was worth the price of admission.


One of the potential problems with synthesized food products is the lack of long-form controlled testing. The presence of a nutritional element doesn't guarantee that it's in a form which actually be made use of as food.

The same applies to our generic multivitamin pills and to the billions of dollars in food supplements flushed away each year. There is a leap of faith involved.

Yeah, when people try to say they don't need their seatbelts in my car because they trust me, I point out that the risks mostly arise from all those other drivers out there. Many of my most brilliant "defensive driving" moves consist of things like not starting when the light turns green since the guy coming on the cross-street doesn't look like he's going to stop -- and just sitting there and watching him blow through a red light, right where I would have been if I'd moved.

Regarding standing desks: I was always partial to this design, which was used by a co-worker with back issues.

[Jefferson Standing Desk]


Bit spendy, though. Hence, I am still sitting. Let us know how it all turns out.

Regarding your close call: I am glad you are physically unhurt. Driving is, without question, the most dangerous thing we routinely do. Fallible humans in two-ton machines . . .in ten minutes I will get in a car and drive 250 miles to visit me mum, though.

This standing/sitting desk was just announced....http://gizmodo.com/this-new-ikea-desk-goes-from-sit-to-stand-with-the-push-1649608051?utm_campaign=socialflow_gizmodo_facebook&utm_source=gizmodo_facebook&utm_medium=socialflow

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