Glitter and Rust

There are two types of gyms. Glitter gyms and Rust gyms. A majority of men and almost all women are only familiar with Glitter gyms. Glitter gyms are workout facilities with bright lights, mirrors, treadmills and TVs (Ballys, 24 Hour, etc). Rust gyms cater primarily to men and are almost all free weights. The equipment is never new, nor does it need to be. Rust gyms are about function, glitter gyms are primarily about fashion. Rust gyms tend to be named after a rather large guy who will get in your face the first time you forget to rack your weights.

I strongly prefer Rust gyms. And since May 2001 I have been lifting weights in my single car garage. There was no climate control. No neon. Nothing in the gym required electricity except a single light bulb and a speaker that blasted Marilyn Manson.

Now I’m living downtown. This means I’m back to the Glitter. Today I started up with 24 Hour Fitness. My guess is I’ll have a few good stories to blog about this year. People tend to do stupid things at Glitter gyms.

Kato (1999-2006)

Just after 1 AM early this morning, our cat Kato died.

A few months ago, she started losing a lot of weight and showed other signs of health problems. On 1/22/06, our vet Dr. H said she had a hyperthyroidism and that it could fixed with thyroid medicine. On the phone he stated it would run about $15-$20 a month. No problem. When I got there I was charged $40 for a 1 month supply.

Something was off, so I inquired why the price difference. After a lot of talk between the staff and myself, Dr. H admitted he was going to give Kato a double dose for the first 30 days to get a quicker reaction. I pressed him if this was safe. He convinced me that it would be no problem for 30 days. At that time we could scale back the dosage if the blood work turned out OK. At no point was I told to look for any possible side effects. Dr. H assured me this level was safe.

We didn’t get 30 days. Kato went from being an active alert cat to a lethargic tired cat in the last week. By Thursday evening, she wasn’t moving, she wasn’t eating or drinking water. Then, last night, we noticed she was bleeding from the nose, so we took her to the emergency vet.

After hours of having us wait and looking at blood work, the emergency vet found that the cat was not producing platelets in her blood and this was a side effect of large dosages of that thyroid medicine. Kato was bleeding behind her right eye by this time. She was losing a lot of blood and was in a lot of pain. The ER vet suggested some ghoulish life support ideas and at one point even thought we should take Kato home and hope she doesn’t bleed to death that night. Faced with that option, we made a very tough decision to have her put down.

We are sad at the loss of Kato and angered by the actions of both vets. Dr. H’s heavy thyroid dosage brought Kato to the brink of death and the ER vet although “book smart” seemed to be lacking common sense or compassion.

kato-cat

We will be looking for a new vet for our other cat RainMan. Dr. H has been fired.

The Espresso Stout

In early 2001, Ryan Jacobs wrote the article Homebrewing: Espresso Stout for INeedCoffee. At the time there were many home brewing recipes that used coffee as an ingredient. However, most placed no attention to the type or quality of the beans used. Some of the recipes even advised using instant coffee. Just because you are a beer snob, doesn’t mean you are a coffee snob. I’m both!

Ryan who happens to be a skilled home roaster as well as home brewer knew that the coffee added to the beer recipe would be critical in yielding an excellent espresso stout. He was right. In his article he created a blend of roasted coffee that would compliment the stout style.

At the time the article went out I was working in downtown San Diego and getting an occasional coffee from Ryan Brothers Coffee. I mentioned the INeedCoffee article about the stout and it seemed to interest them. Fast forward five years to the present. While at BevMo, I spied a 750ml bottle of Imperial Stout from local brewer AleSmith. The stout is called Speedway Stout and is made with coffee roasted by Ryan Brothers. Can I claim this as my idea? At the very least I planted the seed.

Unfortunately, the stout is an Imperial Stout, which means it’s heavy on the alcohol and a tad bitter. It’s very good, not great. I’d love to see AleSmith use Ryan Bros Coffee in a different style stout. Other than Ryan Jacobs home brew, the only perfect espresso stout I’ve had has been from Kona Brewing in Oahu. Their espresso stout is an oatmeal stout.

espresso stout

APRIL 2007 UPDATE: I had the Speedway Stout on draft at Stone Bistro and it is so much better. The high alcohol bitterness is not present. This is probably the best Imperial Stout when it comes from a keg.