January 16, 2002

It's come to my attention that less than 1% of you own Schlock Mercenary artwork. There are a couple of ways I can remedy this, but most of them involve me doing a heckuvalot more drawing than I currently do.

In the meantime, I'm willing to do a one-off of your favorite character. All you have to do is win a raffle of sorts. Entry costs nothing but time (you need to register with the KeenSpot forums), and playing is as easy random as guessing a number.

On the 16th of January at 8:30 Mountain, I'm having blood drawn. In a couple of weeks, I'm going to find out what my serum cholesterol level is (that's the combined LDL/HDL cholesterol). All you need to do is guess it in advance.

Here are some baselines for you to be aware of. In 1993 at age 25, I went in for a thorough physical, and my cholesterol was 209. In 1999 at age (uh.... math math math) 31 I had a heart-attack, and as part of the rigorous testing they do when hearts act up they measured my cholesterol: 100. For the overgeneralized record, 100 is considered very healthy, and 210 is the point at which the doctor will tell you to start medicating or dieting.

In 1993 I was eating whatever I wanted. In 1999 I was on a low-carb diet, and getting upwards of 10 hours of good exercise each week. For the last six months I've been alternating between careful diet and stress-induced binges, and I've been in and out of the gym with what approaches criminal irregularity. And for dinner on the 15th I deep-fried some battered fish and crinkle-cut french fries. I'm pretty sure my cholesterol is somewhere between 100 and 325. Or maybe 525. Dunno.

If you want to play, start by registering with the KeenSpot Forums. Then go to this discussion and post your guess. You'll find more rules and details in the first post on that discussion. In short, You can't pick a number that's been picked already, and if you do (don't be careless!), the first person who picked that number wins. If two guesses are equidistant from the correct number (like if 101 and 103 were guesses, and by some miracle of cholesterol-dissolving magic I come in at 102) then the LOW guess wins. This is because I'm still optimistic enough to round down.

For those of you concerned to learn that your favorite web-toonist has had a heart attack (no, no... I'm not talking about Pete Abrams. I'm talking about ME, see?), don't stress out. It was viral in nature: basically, a virus infected the heart muscle causing it to swell, and reducing circulation. If my cholesterol had not been so nice and low then this myocarditis might have killed me, but as it was I got off easy. Three days in the hospital, 30 days of enforced vacation with a note from my doctor, no damage to the heart muscle, and a catheterization bandage that got yanked free of the short hairs in a manner that hurt worse than anything else I experienced during the entire ordeal. And the nurse who pulled the bandage from down there was male. And the only nice thing he said to me was "smile and think of Christmas." RRRRIP!

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