adventures of beck

Sunday, October 19, 2008


"Ghengis, dear, could you pass the remote? Sci Fi has a show about cats taking over the world."

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Friday, October 17, 2008


So Garv loves it when I see a coyote. Everytime it happens around here, he gets to hear all the specifics, like where, when, what it looked like, what I did, where it was coming from, where it was going, that it might eat a rabbit later, and how our dog(s) reacted if present.
He got really lucky the other night, because I saw TWO COYOTES AT THE SAME TIME. They had shiny eyes in my flashlight beam. Sonar got really excited.
Garv's ears are bleeding from all the storytelling.

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Sunday, October 12, 2008

Systems Project: The Heart

Systems Project: Due to a faulty economy, your body system (mine was the heart) must make cutbacks. What cutbacks will you make? Why? How will you function, post cutbacks?

I chose to not make "cutbacks" and to do this instead:

Notice of Resignation
From: Your Heart

Dear body, systems, organs, tissues, and cells,


I can no longer go on participating in the mess you have created. As the figurative and literal seat of life within the body, I feel it is my duty to "blow the whistle" on this madness. I have tried to work internally to broadcast every warning sign I could within the organization. With the help of outside sentinal organizations everywhere, I have created countless opportunities for all of you to change your ways. You should know, that as a team player, it breaks me to have to do this. I would like nothing more than to go the distance, with all of you, in a long and happy life. The rest of you have made it abundantly clear that this is not among your goals. Longevity and happiness are not in your vocabulary. Although I have been called a mere mechanical pump, it is time that you all recognized that without heart, there is nothing. Recently, the body has mandated that we are having an energy crisis, and that we will need to cut back across all areas. For posterity, I will lay out why this is the last ridiculous idea this body will have, and why we are in this position at this point. I will then cease to beat. Thanks for the memories. -Heart

In-Depth Contents:
The Evolution
The Revolution
My Warning Signs
Last Resort
A Better Alternative

In the beginning, I was simple. I beat. Hard when needed, slower when resting. I lept for joy when the eyes saw food, I was crushed when a loved one was lost. I fluttered when endocrine system released happy hormones. I responded to hardworking muscles cry for oxygen, and helped the brain with decision making. I pumped with all I had, usually until immune system couldn't keep up with demands, or traumatic injury destroyed too much tissue to heal. I hardly ever caused mortality, or suffering. I beat softly in the night to comfort offspring as they laid their heads just above me, and pounded furiously in the chests of hunters on the chase. I was happy.

Then came changes. Hunting began to scale back. More time was spent in the same area. I adapted. I learned to push a plow, and I lept for joy at a big harvest. I reaped the rewards of better nutrients, varied nutrition, and more time for resting and playing. I beat alongside dog hearts, horse hearts, and goat hearts. We beat as one community, providing for eachother. Different muscles called to me, but other than that, things were about the same. I still hardly ever was the source of death or pain. Trauma and sickness still reigned. Outside Sentinals, called "Doctors" learned to listen to me with special hearing tools called "stethescopes." I became the communicator for the body. During fever, I pounded out my message on the chest wall: "Help! We are being invaded!" When blood was being lost, I faintly called out "Feeling.... Weak...." During childbirth, doctors learned to listen to the baby's heart to signal distress. I was proud of my new role. I was happy.

Change came again. This time, I wasn't the only rumble in the middle of a farm field. Something rumbled beneath me. Tractors, then cars, then huge factories. Then streets, filled with cars. Lungs complained: "the air is dirty!" I could feel lungs struggling at first, with the sooty air. Trachea bumped at me as the coughs filled the thoracic cavity. Lungs began to scar, and couldn't do their job. I picked up some of the slack. I pumped harder, to move more blood, get it to muscles... when they wanted it. Muscles didn't call as often. Especially as body got older. Gluteus Maximus said that it was worst in people who had hard lumps outside the body near him. He said the bigger the lump, the more the car rides. "Wallets", he called them. He asked immune system about it. Immune system said there was nothing he could do. I was miserable. I didn't get to work like I loved to. I called to the body: body, where are the fields? The forests? Get clean air for lungs! Find some work for muscles! Immune system is exhausted! I started to have a hard time relaxing. It made me exhaust early. I felt bad for letting body down.It got worse. The varied nutrients started to change. Immune system hardly got any good nutrients. I didn't get much either. Sometimes 1500 Calories would come pouring in at once. GI system couldn't process it all. Pancreas just flipped out. He went crazy. I heard that other bodies had to get fake pancreases. How embarrassing. Contracted organs, terrible! Vessels told me they were all clogged up from what GI was giving them. I noticed, because I had to push really hard to get the blood moving any more. We all called to brain: "What are you doing up there? Chart a new course! This is insane!" He told us we didn't know what we were talking about. Liver sent me a tear-stained letter explaining that even his regenerative properties were being sapped, and I knew it was from the same stuff that made me feel all slow and funny on Friday and Saturday nights. He said Kidneys were just thankful there was two of them, because it was all they could do to keep up, especially with all the reinforcements that Immune System was calling in lately. Muscles were listeless, bored, except when an occassional bone shattered from weakness, and we all visited the Physical Therapy office. Integumentary system was outraged as well. She was being stretched incredibly thin lately, and could hardly stand it. She exclaimed to bones: "How am I supposed to have any self confidence? Brain is all over me to look better, and keep smearing all kinds of things on me, and even BURNING ME! But adipose tissue is just out of control! I can't keep up!"

I knew I had to take things in to my own ventricles. At every opportunity I tried to tell the doctors what was happening. I amped up the pressure in the vessels, I beat erratically, I expanded, I broke, I clogged. I sacrificed small parts of my self when it got really bad, to try to send a big message. I started to create pain in the chest. All I wanted was for everyone to work together again. I became the leading cause of death. It's not something I'm proud of, but someone had to make a point. Everyone was yelling at brain to get his act together, but due to some crazy combination of anti-depressents and alcohol, he was hardly ever available. I made one last effort to try to get the body to listen to it's heart again, to get fresh air, and use the muscles, so we could all do what we were made to do, but brain blamed it all on someone else. Said someone had made him do it, that it was the only way. His big idea was collapsing onto him, and he wouldn't even admit fault. Figures. He claimed we just didn't have enough energy anymore, and everyone was going to have to cut back. He forgot where we all came from.

I wrote several position papers on Exercise, Nutrition, and Health. The were all published in very important magazines and journals. Doctors talked about me and my efforts. Schools taught my preaching. Nothing worked. Things just got worse. I just want to by happy again, to work like I should, to be a sentinal for the body, and to leap for joy at the sight of healthy food, a good sports game, family, and friends.

But now, you have left me no choice. No once cares, and although several other organs have all attempted the same thing, I feel that nothing sends a message like a non-beating heart. The first word in CPR, after all, is CARDIO. I'm sure you'll just rush me to surgery and replace me with another luckless heart. I hope he comes from a body who worked together better, a body who didn't make it due to disease or trauma. A body who enjoyed life, ate well, and had fun. A body who let heart send blood to muscles on a daily basis. A body who listened to his heart. I hope you'll give him a chance as well, and you'll make me proud. He'll hopefully have more energy than I. Maybe his give-a-damn won't be broken. I wish you luck in getting on the right track. Lub Dup.

Thursday, October 09, 2008

My First Year's Harvest

Although we've been pulling a few ripe tomatoes off, it's been mostly green in the windowsill this year. An experience gardener I know told me that this year has been bad for tomatoes. Not much early warmth in the spring, erratic irrigation, all led to tomatoes that weren't too burly here in IL. My parent's tomatoes apparently rocketed from the ground. Crazy what a difference across a GREAT Lake can make. I picked my plants this year based on... nothing? I wanted tomatoes, and I wanted orange flowers. I think I chose some kind of Better-Boy Hybrid (which, if you're a Garden Elitist, isn't cool.) Luckily, gardeners are very mellow, so they still talk to me. Heirloom tomatoes are the coolest of the cool, because you can gather the seeds. They don't look anything like store tomatoes, but they taste good. They come in tons of colors too. Hybrids can be sterile, which is very un-sustainable. The orange flowers I picked were Giant African Marigolds. I liked them because there was a LOT of orange in the picture. Turns out, Marigolds are good buddies with tomatoes, and they defend eachother's pests. Very cool. I only had one hungry rabbit(?) come after my tomatoes. I just pulled down the bunch he'd nibbled on and left it out for him. Rabbits don't even like Marigolds, I think I read. He ate a little more and then hasn't come back really. The Marigolds grew ferociously, and without much assistance. They started blooming in July? They are still going nuts. Top picture shows my ingredients for flower food. I learned it on the web: water, some Lemon Lime Soda (not diet) for sugar, and a few drops of bleach to kill bacteria. You only have to change it once a week. I never change it, and the water doesn't really get gunky even without the bleach. We'll see how it does with bleach this time. You strip the leaves off too. My guess is, so you're not sending sugar to something you don't even want to look at. (Not that I have something against leaves.) The coke bottles were for my brother- they're like 1950's version of coke packaging. But I forgot to give them to him, drank a couple, and then gave up and started using them for nifty vases.

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Tuesday, October 07, 2008

A Hero of Mine

Here's Why

MacArthur Award goes to Urban Farming Guru(Original Article from