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SEA-MONKEYS,ANT FARMS AND TANG A YEAR INSIDE THE BEEROSPHERE

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Currently, many citizens desire to live in mobile, almost totally self-contained living units--some prefer to call them "trailers," others prefer the term "mobile homes." Little, if any, serious study has been done on the mental outlook of trailerites. From appearances, you'd think they'd be pretty grumpy, what with the limited closet space and all.

Well, my experiment is designed to produce a concentrated study, for the first time, on the effects of long-term habitation of trailers. By next fall I'll have a whole notebook full of conclusions, and probably my own column in USA Today, which will be no worse than Larry King's.

So what if I'm not totally confined to my quarters? If the psych-lab nerds of the world want to spend two whole years inside a double-wide without coming out once, I say, "Lots of luck." Meanwhile, I've been heading out to Mr. Lucky's almost every night. If every social scientist could spend more time relaxing while listening to a hot country band, I'd guess we'd have a lot fewer stressed-out social scientists out there making decisions about proper parking-space width. MDRVDecember 20, 1989

It's time to report on a couple of my experiments: The Sea-Monkeys are all as big as jumbo shrimp, and the ant farm looks like the Durango Curve at rush hour. The fungus experiment in my shower isn't coming along quite so well. I made the mistake of having a maid come in last week to give the place a preholidays once-over, and I think she swabbed some fungus killer around in there. Too bad. All scientists have setbacks, but this one's a real bummer. Fortunately, my experiment with the Jumbo Jack wrappers is proving a smashing success. My original theory was that the metallic-looking wrappers, if applied carefully to my sleeping compartment's east-facing window, could act as a solar-reflecting barrier. Now my mornings and afternoons are uninterrupted by nagging sunlight, allowing me more rest and, consequently, a more positive outlook once I do rise.

In addition to these projects, my observations of the Beerosphere's climate-control apparatus continues full apace. I've found that, for the most part, it gets warmer in the Beerosphere during the day and cooler at night. The bathroom often is more humid, particularly after I've had a shower, and the kitchen gets warmer after I've used the stove. I've made climate-control adjustments using the thermostat, and by opening and closing windows.

MDRVFebruary 12, 1990

In the centuries to come, people will have many questions about my year in the Beerosphere. For one thing, they'll wonder what I did for exercise while confined in a semi-enclosed space.

Needless to say, fitness--mental, physical and emotional--is a key component of any environaut's make-up.

As you might expect, my program is pretty sophisticated. It's a three-step routine, designed to give me a well-rounded workout.

Part One is stretching. Most physical fitness experts will tell you that stretching is the cornerstone of any good workout program. I couldn't agree more. The stretching program I've designed includes several different exercises, including the Standing Shrug, the Seated Shoulder Flex, and the Toe Extension From a Prone Position. The last one's my favorite.

The Standing Shrug is designed to stretch and strengthen muscles used in everyday life, using a revolutionary "imaging" process.

First, imagine your boss asking a question you should be able to answer but can't, probably because you've been goofing off. Now, extend both arms out from your sides until they are parallel to the floor. As your arms reach shoulder height, slowly turn your palms toward the sky, shrug your shoulders and imagine saying, "Beats me, boss." Now, imagine your boss telling you the correct answer. After a short pause, slap your right palm against your forehead and picture yourself saying, "Geez, you don't say." I usually do ten reps.

The Seated Shoulder Flex is simple to perform, but very useful in relieving stress and tension. Start by sitting down in a comfortable chair. Next, place your hands behind your head while exhaling slowly. Leave your hands there for a good three or four minutes, then lower them back to the arms of the chair. Now relax.

As I say, the Toe Extension From a Prone Position is my favorite. Begin the exercise by finding a comfortable horizontal surface. The floor is fine, if you can find a large-enough open space, but I prefer to do this one on a couch or in bed. Position your TV monitor so that your toes and feet block your view of the screen. Now close one eye, and stretch your right big toe away from the rest of your right foot until the TV screen is clearly visible in the space between the big toe and the next-to-the-biggest toe. Hold it, hold it--feel the burn. Now relax. Repeat with each of the toes on both feet, then switch eyes.

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Cap'n Dave