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Friday, January 17, 2020

Comic Cuts - 17 January 2020

Shortly before Christmas, I took a trip to the doctors for one of those NHS Health Check visits where they measure your weight, blood-pressure, cholesterol levels and plug the information into a formula that tells them (and you) if you need to make any lifestyle changes to reduce your chances of a heart attack or stroke.

Well, most of my results were OK... I'm overweight by quite a large margin, but my blood pressure was fine and other results were within the boundaries of where they needed to be. The only one that wasn't was my "good cholesterol" levels. If you're under fifty, you might not be aware of HDL (high-density lipoprotein) which absorbs the bad (or low density) cholesterol (LDL). Well, my levels of HDL had crashed since my last MOT and this caused the formula they use to give them their numbers to rank me far higher on the "at risk" scale than I expected.

Long-time readers will know that I started taking walks and doing a bit more exercise when I put on weight after giving up smoking and lost one-and-a-half stone, although it bounced back by half a stone over the next few months. That was around 2013-14 and my weight was roughly the same until 2018. I managed to lose that during last year and I'm hoping to lose a few more pounds in the coming months—I'm currently a pound heavier than I was just before Christmas, having put on three pounds over the December/January holiday period.

The ratio of HDL to LDL meant that my numbers were skewed and automatically meant another appointment with a doctor. Which I attended, to be told that it was probably nothing to worry about and that the low levels that day were likely to have adjusted themselves naturally. But to properly check what was going on I needed a blood test, which I had earlier this week.

My last experience of someone taking blood was as a blood donor. This was many years ago and the nurse popped a needle in, drew out some blood, and then couldn't get the needle out again. I've no idea why, but she had to get a colleague to help her.

I mentioned this while the doctor was getting ready to do the same this time, more as a way of distracting myself than as a warning—I have a healthy fear of needles and pain. After jabbing me a couple of times, the doctor announced that she couldn't get the needle in the vein and had to switch arms. The next attempt worked perfectly.

From which I can only conclude that my left arm is possibly dead, as there seems to be no blood flow. It still moves around, which might mean it's a zombie arm.

Which made me wonder whether there are other zombie arms out there. One search of the internet later... blimey! You can get zombie arm earings on Etsy and Tesco does a severed arm decoration. One review: "A good fun realistic size zombie arm, currently on top of the cistern in the downstairs loo ready for tomorrows festivities."

Other reviews of severed arms from Amazon: "It was better looking than I expected, I didn't have high hopes but it's brilliant for the price", "Worked a treat but dog chewed the end and stuffing had come out", "I had purchased two Goth silver rings for my fiance for Christmas and wanted to wrap and present them accordingly. I thought the traditional little jewelry boxes were a tad lame so I opted for placing them both onto the fingers of the severed hand and then wrapping the whole thing up", "So what arrived was not the arm pictured here. The one I got is small, the size of a child's arm and isn't as nice quality as the picture", "I got a piece of very cheap, thin, pink plastic the size of a small child's arm that had been dipped in red food dye at some point", "You know when you buy something and wish you hadn't? This is one of those times."

That's enough of that. But talking of dead, my tablet is deceased. It is no more. And it doesn't even have lovely plumage.

It was killed by a Windows 10 update. The best explanation I've heard is that there was enough space to download the update, but not enough room to actually install it. It is now trapped in a cycle of turning itself on and turning itself off and I cannot (nor can anyone else) figure out how to factory reset the machine. Thankfully there was nothing of any importance on it, but I'm stuffed if our internet goes down again, as it was my only way of communicating with the outside world (see Comic Cuts passim).

Vale tablet. You died too soon... actually just too late as the warranty ran out in December.

On Sunday, I wrote a short introduction for the Johnny Future reprint that Rebellion are publishing in April.

Here's Rebellion's promo for the book:
‘The Missing Link’ - a creature of limitless strength, is drawn to Britain in pursuit of an expedition party he encountered in his homeland. The man-ape causes havoc until he accidentally stumbles into an experimental nuclear research facility and is bombarded by radiation. Instead of killing him, the creature evolves into an advanced human.

Now possessing a genius mind, super-strength, enhanced senses and the ability to fly, as Johnny Future he protects mankind from such sinister beings as The Master, Disastro, Animal Man and the Secret Society of Scientists.
Apart from the visit to the doctor, I've spent most of the week working on the new index that Bear Alley Books will be publishing next month. I'm digging deep into the creators of Rocket, the 1950s SF comic, and have found some curious connections between the various artists and editors of the paper. I'm still gathering notes, although I've written up a couple of sections and the index is pretty much done. I've also been reading a couple of books by Paul Brickhill which tie together a lot of the creators. All will be revealed shortly.

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