Ay Caramba! The Simpsons Lego Set is Real!

Lego announced today that they will begin selling The Simpsons House on February 1.  The set is 2,523 pieces of pure Simpsons goodness comprised of Homer, Marge, Bart, Lisa, Maggie, and even Ned Flanders.  The pink family car as well as other small trinkets inherent to the 25 year old TV series will also be present.

It’s surprising that it has taken this long for this partnership to become a reality as there seems to be a Lego-fied version of almost every popular franchise out there.  Here’s a Death Star if you have $400 burning a hole in your pocket.  Or maybe the Batcave is your cup of tea.  Regardless of the reason for the wait, it looks to be a fantastic set that will please any Simpsons fan, young or old.

The set will retail for $199, with future minifigures hitting store shelves in May for $3.99.  Check out the gallery below for some official shots of the set from Lego.  Here’s hoping for future installments featuring other well known landmarks such as Moe’s Tavern and Krusty Burger!

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CES 2014: Razer Announces Project Christine

CES 2014 is upon us, which means a slew of new tech toys are being shown off for the very first time.  One of the more interesting announcements to come out of the show is Razer’s Project Christine, a fully modular gaming PC.  Razer is a company known for putting out gaming desktops, laptops, mice and keyboards so this is right up its alley.  Take in all its black and neon green splendor:

The main barrier to the entry of building a gaming PC is exactly that: building one.  Between what motherboard is compatible with which CPU and the multitude of options for GPUs, a large percentage of the general public doesn’t know where to start.  Hence one of the reasons for the rise of the XBox and Playstation consoles, which are true plug-and-play experiences.

Project Christine hopes to make putting together a gaming PC a much more intuitive experience.  Each component of the PC is encased in a separate water-cooled module so that they can easily be swapped out for upgrades.  This includes the CPU, GPU (graphics card), storage, memory, and power supply.  They all plug into PCI-express, SLI enabled slots in a stand that has a LCD touch screen for control and maintenance information.

Some questions still remain seeing how this is in the prototype stage with no set release date.  Will the modules be price competitive with their regular counterparts or will they be more expensive?  Will other manufacturers be able to sell modules for Christine or will Razer be the only place to get them?  How much will a machine like this cost out of the box?  For more breaking news on this potential game-changer, visit http://www.razerzone.com/christine.

Update: Pelicans F Ryan Anderson Diagnosed with Herniated Disc

New Orleans forward Ryan Anderson’s condition has been updated from a cervical stinger to a herniated disk, meaning he will be out indefinitely.  No word yet on whether surgery will be required.

Discs act as shock absorbers in our spine and are made up of an outer fibrous ring (annulus fibrosis) and a soft jelly-like center (nucleus pulposus).  When a herniation occurs, the soft center protrudes out because of a tear in the outer ring.  This can happen as a result of degenerative changes from repeated trauma and wear-and-tear to the disc or traumatic events.

disc

Symptoms of herniated discs vary based on the location and severity of the herniation but can range from localized back/neck pain, numbness, tingling, muscle weakness, and paralysis.  It is also possible to have no symptoms if the herniation is not interfering with soft tissues or nerves.  Treatment options range from non-surgical options such as NSAIDs, cortisone injections, decompression therapy, chiropractic, and physical therapy, to surgery like a discectomy.

A Beginner’s Guide to Kinesiotape

In early November of 2013, the NBA took a stance against a specific player accessory and then quietly reversed its decision.  Was it headbands they were vilifying?  Or maybe it was compression sleeves and socks.  It might surprise you to know that it was kinesiotape at the center of the discussion.

tape1

It started after Derrick Rose was spotted with the therapeutic tape on his neck for a couple games.  The NBA swiftly informed Rose that he could not wear the tape but did not give a concrete reason behind its decision.  That same afternoon, the NBA publicly reversed its initial ruling, stating that players can wear the tape “on an experimental basis”.  In addition to NBA players, kinesiotape has also been spotted on pro and amateur athletes alike, such as velleyball superstar Kerri Walsh, or your local weekend crossfit warrior.  So what’s all the hubbub over some strips of tape?  According to Dr. Kenzo Kase, the inventor of kinesiotape:

“Your pain sensors are located between the epidermis and the dermis, the first and second layers of your skin,” Kase told the Guardian. “I thought that if I applied tape to the pain it would lift the epidermis slightly up and make a space between the two layers. This would in turn allow blood to flow more easily to the injured area. But you can use the tape in lots of ways, depending on the width and the amount of stretch.”

Uses
Some specific uses for kinesiotape include plantar fascitis, shin splints, knee issues, tennis/golfers elbow, neck/back pain, and rotator cuff issues.  The tape can also be used to improve athletic performance by improving form and decreasing fatigue in muscles and joints. We’ve been using kinesiotape in our offices for over a year for a variety of shoulder, knee, and back issues.  We’ve found clinically that the tape helps our patients experience more range of motion, less pain, and increased function in their daily activities.

Types of Tape
A quick search on Amazon for “kinesiotape” will yield over a hundred results so which one is the right one to use?  Although I haven’t personally tried them all, out of the ones our clinic has utilized, I’ve found that Rocktape elicits the most positive feedback from our patients.  It’s durable enough to last up to a week depending on the area taped and the individual’s activity level.  It also comes in a variety of colors and styles to suit anyone’s whimsy.

Regardless of which brand you choose, kinesiotape can benefit you whether it is for athletic performance or injury recovery.  The following are some helpful resources on this “duct-tape for the skin”.

Update: Clippers G Chris Paul’s Separated Shoulder

The Los Angeles Clippers announced today that Chris Paul will not require surgery for his separated shoulder and will miss up to 6 weeks.  The severity of his injury was confirmed after Paul had an MRI.  Since surgery is not required, it is likely that he was diagnosed with either a grade 1, 2, or 3 separation.

The timeframe given puts Paul back on the court a week or two before All-Star weekend from February 14-16.  If last night’s game against San Antonio is any indication of the Clippers’ play without Paul, they may slip out of the playoff picture by the time he returns.  Only 2.5 games separate the Clippers from the Mavericks, who are currently in the 8th and final playoff spot.

Overview of Pelicans F Ryan Anderson’s Cervical Stinger

Ryan Anderson, the starting power forward for the New Orleans Pelicans, sustained a “cervical stinger” in last night’s game after running into Gerald Wallace of the Boston Celtics in the fourth quarter.  Anderson was on his back for several minutes before the medical staff brought out a stretcher to help stabilize his head and neck.  As with any injuries relating to the head and neck, it is a scary situation until we receive confirmation from the athlete that they are conscious, aware, and have function of their extremities.  Judging by the way Anderson reacted as he was carted off the court, hopefully his injury is not a serious one.

brachial_plexus

A cervical stinger or burner is an injury that affects the nerve roots from the cervical spine or neck.  The nerves involved are bundled in a region called the brachial plexus, which is a group of nerves in the neck.  Any sudden compression or traction force on the region surrounding the plexus, such as the one sustained by Anderson when his left shoulder/neck area collided with Wallace, can create a burning or stinging sensation from the shoulder  down to the hand.  In addition, symptoms of weakness, numbness, and tingling in the affected extremity can also be present.  Majority of the time this condition will resolve on its own without the need for surgery.  A protective neck collar is used to help stabilize and support the cervical spine to let the body heal itself.  Here’s to Ryan Anderson making a full and speedy recovery.

Overview of Clippers G Chris Paul’s Separated Shoulder

Chris Paul injured his right shoulder in the third quarter of last night’s Clippers vs Mavs game.  Here’s the video proof.

Official word is that it is a “separated shoulder”, which means CP3 might be out of commission for at least 3-5 weeks.  “There goes my fantasy team!” was probably a common reaction from many across the nation this morning.  I was certainly one of them as I scrambled to check who was left in free agency to pick up the slack.  But more on that in a minute.

First, let’s take a closer look at separated shoulders and what makes them so painful.  Shoulder separation is there is a downward force applied to the top of the shoulder, specifically, on the acromioclavicular joint.  In CP3’s situation, you can see that he fell and landed on the top of his right shoulder.  This causes a stretching or even possible tear of the ligament that connects the scapula (shoulder blade) to the calvicle (collarbone).  The distinction between a separation and a dislocation is that the latter occurs when the humerus (upper arm bone) separates from the scapula at the glenohumeral joint.  Regardless, both cause scream-inducing pain.

Paul’s 3-5 week recovery period is dependent on the severity of his separation during his evaluation.  The most common method of determining the grade of the injury is by shooting x-rays of the shoulder.  There are six grades, which range from mild to complete separation:

  • Grade 1: slight displacement of the joint and the AC ligament may be stretched or partially torn
  • Grade 2: partial dislocation of the joint and the AC ligament is torn but the coracoclavicular ligaments are intact
  • Grade 3: complete joint dislocation with complete tears of the AC and coracoclavicular ligaments
  • Grades 4-6: uncommon but most severe, with fractures present

The hope is that Paul has no more than a grade 3 separation as those do not require surgery and instead will heal with ample rest, ice, pain-meds if necessary, and rehab exercises.  In the meantime, who should you look to pick-up to try and replace his production in fantasy?  If you’re like me in a 14-team league, the pickings are slim, but here’s a quick list to get you started.

  • Darren Collison – LAC: Obvious choice as he gets the nod to start for Paul.  He took over after Paul left last night and finished with 20 PTS, 4 AST, and 3 REB.  He won’t be making many 3s for you but he is a must start if still available.
  • Kendall Marshall – LAL: In his first start last night after Farmar went down, he put up 20 PTS, 15 AST, 6 REB, 2 3PTM, and only 1 TO.  Seeing as how he is the only healthy point guard left on the Lakers’ roster, now is a good time to snatch him up.
  • Jarrett Jack – CLE: Kyrie Irving is day-to-day with a knee injury and Jack is starting in his place.  Averages of 15/7/5 shouldn’t be too much of a stretch to expect.

Get well soon because we can all use a bit more of this in our lives:

Random insights about the NBA, gaming, tech, and other geeky interests

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