The keys to our vacation apartments have become progressively more complicated with each trip.. In Venice there was one key that opened the door to the building and our apartment door. In Buenos Aires there were two keys; one complicatedly old fashioned one for the front door and one for the apartment itself. The front door key was hardly ever necessary since there was a doorman at the desk most of the time. Here in Rome we have four keys, all different and requiring unique tricks to function in the locks. Coming home with a bag of groceries can be very difficult.
The key ring
Our apartment building is about six stories of wedding cake with elaborate balconies and window decorations. The ground floor seems to be retail spaces although none of them are occupied. The door to our apartment is in the middle of the block. It is a big double door painted black and maybe ten feet high leading to an entry way where the trash cans reside. (There is a complicated recycling code for the trash which we can’t comprehend so all our trash goes into general trash.) On one side of the entry way is a set of stairs leading to a metal gate (barred- not solid) leading to the lobby area with the stairs and elevator.
The street door key
The front door key is a large ordinary looking silver one. It was difficult to use at first because the lock doesn’t reveal any action. You just have to push as you turn and the door opens. This door is usually open in the daytime which is a big help. The gate key takes a little understanding about how far to insert but once you get the knack it opens easily. Then you climb a half flight of steps to reach the elevator.
The lobby key
There are no keys or tricks to the elevator. It is an old fashioned self-service contraption with an outer door that swings out and two inner doors that swing in. It won’t go anywhere until all those doors are latched. Once engaged it rises in a metal cage around which the stairs ascend. We are especially appreciative that the stairwell in our building is always cool.
Then on our floor there are four doors, two on each side of the landing. This key is an old fashioned key that has to be
The key to our apartment vestibule
inserted correctly with the proper side down to open the door. There is a trick to leaning how far to push the key in but once you find it, the door opens easily. Then, inside there are two more door, the one to our apartment and the one to another apartment. This chamber is dark with the only light switch inside our apartment but the key is a standard one which is easy to insert and operate. You turn the key and there you are, finally inside out
The key to our apartment
Our landlord supplied these keys on a large ring. In addition to the four essential keys for reaching our apartment, there are five or so more keys. We have no idea what they are for or why they need to be on this ring but there they are. Since each of the extra keys resembles one of the important ones, it makes finding the right keys more complicated. I am sure that our landlord has good reason for this that has nothing to do with his rental guests. We can cope and one thing I have learned from our foreign travels is that when it comes to how people do things, asking why never accomplishes anything good. It is just how things are and no one is about to change something that works fine just to make sense to an American.
Just one example of delays in approval for a drug for treatment of prostate cancer. Provenge demonstrated substantial benefits for treating less aggressive forms of prostate cancer back in 2002 but the FDA refused to recognize these findings and approve the drug. A second study in 2005 showed even more effectiveness than the first but again the FDA refused to approve. It took until this year for the FDA to finally approve Provenge. The Life Extension Foundation has documented this process and estimate the life years that might have been saved if the FDA had approved the drug in 2002. This amounts to 82,000 human life-years. Continue reading
Originally posted 2010-11-02 09:08:49. Republished by Blog Post Promoter
I have been experimenting with fasting over the past two weeks. I became intrigued with discussions on different blogs but I was especially interested in intermittant fasting. As I understand (and have been practicing) this is when you skip eating for only a day or even part of a day. So far I have fasted on four days. Two were partial days where I broke the fast in mid-afternoon with some fruit and nuts and then ate whatever my wife had cooked for dinner. The other days I was attending a business meeting in the evening which didn’t give me time to go home and return so I fasted all day. Well, it was all day yesterday but last week, my partner dragged me to visit his brother who was being entertained by neighbors and I ended up with a piece of excelland pecan pie. Amazingly, I don’t feel hungry during these fasts. Nor do I feel week.
It is liberating to realize that I don’t need to eat three times a day and that I don’t need as much food as I once believed.
My intention was not to lose weight although that seems to motivate many fasters. It’s not that I couldn’t stand to lose 15-20 pounds – in fact my loss of about 20 pounds over the past year seems to be over. My interest was in the idea of calorie restriction and life extension. Apparently intermittant fasting produces some of the benefits of calorie restriction. (I havn’t had time to organize all my sources but that will be coming.) In fact, however, I have lost weight over the two weeks. Time will tell if it is real loss or will come back.
More on this later.
Originally posted 2009-03-10 17:23:31. Republished by Blog Post Promoter
Image via Wikipedia
What do antioxidants do?
You may have heard about antioxidants. You know that they are good for you but maybe you don’t know why or what they do. They fight free radicals. They stop the chain reaction of oxidation that free radicals cause when they steal electrons from lipid (fat) molecules in the body. A healthy body can normally deal with free radicals but aging appears to reduce the effectiveness of this process. The cumulative damage from free radical oxidation contributes to the deterioration we call aging.
And what are free radicals?
Free radicals are organic molecules with an odd number of electrons. They seek to stabilize themselves by stealing an electron from another molecule. They prefer to steal the needed electron from lipid molecules in the cells in a process called lipid peroxidation. When the lipid molecules lose an electron, they rearrange themselves to permit them to react with oxygen to form a peroxyl radical. The peroxyl radical then steals an electron from another lipid molecule causing a chain reaction. It takes an antioxidant molecule to stop the reaction. The antioxidant molecule gives up an electron and thus becomes a free radical itself. It is different, however, in being able to accommodate the loss of the electron without continuing the chain. Continue reading
Originally posted 2011-02-15 07:23:36. Republished by Blog Post Promoter
When you do outrageous traveling where you are spending one month in a city, settling into a new apartment in a new city isn’t easy. There is the normal time shift, but a bigger problem is making an attitude shift. This is our third apartment in our third city and each time we have to adjust to the difference between the image we formed from the pictures to the reality. It’s not a bad thing but it is hard not to be disappointed somewhere. There are always the things you can’t anticipate- the traffic noise in Buenos Aires, the street construction outside our apartment in Rome. But worse is the discrepancy between your fantasy image of the place and the real thing. Sometimes everything works fine and sometimes there are some quirks. So far we have found that the representations are honest and the owners are responsive if there are problems. The problem is letting your imagination embroider and create fantasies of the ideal. That starts you out with a negative feeling about the trip and if you indulge it, you will waste days. The reality, how ever nice is tarnished when you find that it isn’t your fantasy. You spend the first week adjusting your fantasy to reality and then settle in to enjoy the delights of your new home because that is why you decided to be an outrageous traveler.
Via Frattini morning break in Roma
Right now in Rome we are adjusting. The apartment is light and airy with a tiny (and wonderful) balcony overlooking the street. We are close to a square with a morning food market (vegetables, fruits, meat and fish) and a few blocks from a supermarket (interestingly the same supermarket brand that was across the street from our apartment in Buenos Aires). We are getting to know the shops and restaurants in the neighborhood but it will be a while before we settle into a routine. It is only our second full day here.
We have been calling the apartment a ‘dude’ pad because of the minimal kitchen which somehow escaped my wife’s scrutiny- the elevator and air conditioning distracted her. It has a small refrigerator, two burners and a small broiler oven which may also be a microwave- we aren’t sure. There are no wine glasses and few cooking utensils. Honestly, we probably don’t need more but when you expect to find something, you have regrets. In Venice and Buenos Aires we had everything. Carlo, our dude, is a young guy and this was his bachelor pad before getting married. He is coming back today with a second set of keys, and a few more amenities. We don’t know when and we may not be here when he comes. He may be a dude but he seems to be a responsible one. He was waiting in front of the apartment when our taxi delivered us from the airport and spent a long time showing us what we needed to know.
As I continue this journal two days later, we are still waiting the second set of keys which limits us to going out together or leaving someone at home. This week is fine as we explore but when we begin to feel at home and want to go out separately it will be a problem. The apartment and our neighborhood is starting to feel like home and we already know a few key bus and tram routes. The first few days I had difficulty thinking that we would have a good time in Rome (see the first paragraph above) but by today that is gone. It’s going to be a great trip.