403: Red-ink fail stamp. (FAIL)
( Aug. 7th, 2015 03:02 am)
Took today as a mental health day; not doing appreciably better at the end of it. Just going to have to hope that tomorrow is magically better somehow.

I've been on the new OC for 27 days, now, with no break for dummy pills. There's enough else going on that it's not yet evidence of anything, but experience suggests that'd be the prime suspect.
403: Spiral of black and white stones, on a go board. (Spiral)
( Aug. 3rd, 2015 08:45 pm)
Via [personal profile] alexseanchai: Throw me a concept/idea/title and I will give you a brief summary of the story I would tell based around it.
403: Listen to the song of the paper cranes... (Cranesong)
( Aug. 3rd, 2015 04:37 am)
Browsing dragon masks on Etsy is not how to go to bed. Oops?

(I particularly like this kit, though.)
A lacrosse ball held between wall and back is one of the best tools for self-massage out there. Lean back so your weight holds it in place and wiggle back and forth so that it puts moderate pressure on your sore spots. (A lacrosse ball is a rubber sphere about the size of a small apple. Substitute a tennis ball, baseball, or whatever you have in that size range.)
403: This is your brane on string theory. (String Theory)
( Jul. 28th, 2015 12:41 am)
From Mother Jones: Bark beetles are decimating our [conifer] forests. Maybe we should let them. (tl;dr - Surviving trees have superior tolerance of hot weather. Lots of trees will die, but the forests live on.)

Science surprise: Constrictor snakes don't kill by suffocation.

A macroscopic quantum phenomenon has been observed in water ice, at around 20 Kelvins.


On the more human-related end of things:

A great deal of feminist Win is taking place in this MetaFilter thread. The original article is interesting, but the MeFi discussion is where things are happening. If you just want the high points, people have been collecting their favorite quotes in the comments over [livejournal.com profile] siderea way.

The NYTimes has another update in its "Outlaw Ocean" series: 'Sea Slaves': The human misery that feeds pets and livestock

And I've recently run across a thoughtful article from 2011 titled Clinical Despair: Science, Psychotherapy and Spirituality in the Treatment of Depression, which is just what it says on the tin.
403: Listen to the song of the paper cranes... (Cranesong)
( Jul. 22nd, 2015 09:04 pm)
Today I read John Scalzi's Fuzzy Nation in a single eight-hour sitting. It's a good book, at times very funny, but not terribly complex. Literary popcorn, you might call it, with just the right amount of real butter.

As an aside, I can't help imagining the protagonist being played by Jim Carrey. He's got that kind of chutzpah to him. So if you like Carrey's films but don't ordinarily like science fiction, or perhaps Scalzi, you might appreciate this one. (And of course if you can't stand the actor, you might want to give Fuzzy Nation a pass.)
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403: Listen to the song of the paper cranes... (Cranesong)
( Jul. 21st, 2015 01:08 am)
Since [livejournal.com profile] zeightyfiv is away at a conference, I set aside today for relaxing and doing things that I avoid while sharing the apartment. Very simple things, those. I finished off the last of the milk, and didn't have to stress about who would get more, and when. I took a luxuriously long shower without considering that I was occupying the bathroom, and what if someone else needed it. Not having to work around my partner in a shared household is a luxury I haven't had for at least a year. Possibly longer.

Tomorrow, though, I get down to business about cleaning that's been hard to do during earlier stages of convalescence. The 'fridge doesn't need to be "cleaned", now, so much as "salvaged". There's precious little room for food in it.
..that we've moved the salt into the bedroom, where the A/C unit is. Because [livejournal.com profile] zeightyfiv noticed that it was deliquescing.
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I have recently discovered Jeanette LeBlanc. Lovely, lovely writing.

Easy. )
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On my way home from the Davis farmer's market today, I had the weirdest interaction.

When I arrived at the bus stop, laden with book and drink and bag of veggies, there were two people already there. One black woman (who I later learned was a Hatian immigrant) and one local-looking white guy who was ranting to her through a significant speech impediment while she did that lean-back-nod-and-make-noncommittal-sounds routine of someone who's too polite to tell a speaker to go away.

I sat down on the far side of the bench, and Mr. Shouty took a sudden dislike to me. I couldn't understand a word of what he was saying, but he stood up and instead of getting in my face as I'd expected, struck a textbook boxing pose.

I had automatically half-raised my right arm (complete with milkshake) to be ready to block, expecting him to come at me if I let my attention wander in the slightest. Then the Hatian lady told him not to fight, and that got him shouting at her. Which he evidently got tired of when she didn't respond, because he left a minute or so later.

A few minutes afterwards, we were talking about the weather when we heard the same guy shouting from up the street.

So, uh, what was that? Anybody know?
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403: (The Human Condition)
( Jul. 14th, 2015 08:09 am)
Some Cambrian-era fossil comb jellies had skeletons. (Note that comb jellies are not actual jellyfish. Instead they're the oldest/most basal animal clade. True jellies are relative newcomers.)
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..but I decided I'd rather write about cherries, instead. So I'll do the other thing, now.

First up, sports-surgeon:
* X-rays say that I'm healing up good, but I still shouldn't descend stairs in the normal way (reach-with-toes) because taking a step like that puts stress precisely on the fracture site.

* I most likely have a bone bruise right at the sacro-iliac joint (the join of spine and pelvis), and those take their time about healing. I'm to go easy on it for the next month or two, which is going to mean accepting some functional limitations. (I'm not good at this, but the choices are 'try anyway' or 'be in gratuitous extra pain', so.) If it's still giving me trouble at the eight-week follow up appointment, that will be worth investigating, but not until then.

* Got properly referred to physiotherapy, so that my insurance will pay. Eval appointment is Thursday. (Err. 11 hours from now.)


Then there was my GP:
Me: [Augh, symptoms.]
Doc: "You probably have endometriosis, but I'll order an ultrasound to make sure."
Me: [knowing that it doesn't image well] "Huh?"
Doc: "If we don't see anything out of the ordinary, it's almost certainly endo."
Me: "...Oh. That makes sense."

* Upshot is that I have a continuous-dose prescription for a new OC. We'll see what it does for my pain levels. (And conversely for my depression symptoms, since it's using a different progesterone-mimic.)

Fun stuff. And now, sleep.
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403: Green spider chrysanthemum. (Spider Chrysanthemum)
( Jul. 8th, 2015 09:48 am)
Didn't plant much, because spring was full of flailing at academics. One of my two cherry treelets is going strong, though. (I think I waited too long to move the other to its full-size pot.) They're the Carmine Jewel cultivar - a genetic dwarf line which is the F1 offspring of a Siberian cherry and a domesticated cherry. The result is a dwarf sour cherry (meaning extra vitamin C) with high sugar content (brix score, in the jargon). I'm told that its maximum height is 6', but in 20gal pots it seems to be content hanging out at less than half that.

The fruit is about 2/3 the size of a standard grocery store cherry, edible when bright almost gumball-red (firm flesh, v. sour), but at its best when the fruit is almost black and that sour is balanced with sweet. At that stage, the fruit will just about melt on your tongue. Whenever you pick them, the flavor is excellent for eating out of hand. Fruit will hold on the tree for about a month if, like us, you get busy and forget about it. This years' harvest was about two heaped handfuls from the one tree.

I don't think we've fertilized them since original potting (for this one, two summers ago), and while they need manual caterpillar-plucking in the spring, we haven't had anything go after the unripe fruit. I was expecting it to be classic bird bait, but apparently not.

In all, I'm certainly going to root cuttings from these. I want more.
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403: Listen to the song of the paper cranes... (Cranesong)
( Jul. 7th, 2015 05:14 am)
My new laptop has cleared customs from Japan and will be at my doorstep tomorrow morning. I wasn't expecting it until next week at the very earliest. Apparently Fujitsu's free shipping option isn't the slow boat, but two-day air from Japan.
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Oh, right. I fed them to PubMed and the NCBI digital bookshelf because being mobility impaired is keeping me from doing most useful things. I'm restless and frustrated as a result.

It's difficult to keep myself reined in and not go back to normal activities where I'd risk re-injury in the attempt. Last night I tried to put away my own groceries and my body forcefully informed me that bending my left knee that much was not going to happen.

One more week until X-rays and check-in.
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Good: I do not need surgery. The sports-doc estimates that I'll need the brace for another week, and crutches until two weeks from now. I'm due back in a month for follow-up X-rays, at which point I can hope to be pronounced 'recovered'. In the mean time, I have a renewed script for pain meds. Thank fuck.

Bad: Being poked at and having my knee wiggled out-of-plane to reach those conclusions left me hurting worse than yesterday. I already had problems with stress from out-of-plane bending on that knee, thanks.

Ugly: Opiate painkillers are effective and addictive in equal measure. I'm watching myself carefully because the animal part of my mind is smart enough to get us into trouble, but not enough to get us out of it.
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403: Reduce - Reuse - Reanimate (Reduce - Reuse - Reanimate)
»

Ow.

( Jun. 8th, 2015 11:29 pm)
Today I got poked and prodded and X-ray'd some more. The doc I saw this time was more informative than the ER staff, probably due to not juggling a dozen or more patients at once.

The specific problem is that I have a vertical fracture through the head of my fibula. It's "minimally displaced", which is good. Doc is optimistic that it will turn out to be stable without further intervention, but still wants me to go back tomorrow (11h from now) to see the sports-medicine surgeon who's in a couple mornings each week. Between them, they'll decide whether I need the broken bit surgically reattached to the rest of the bone to make it hold still and heal.

Today's exam has left me quite sore. 9h after getting home, I'm still needing extra painkillers to do anything besides lie here and hurt. So I'm not really looking forwards to the next one, even if the result is likely to be good.

All this has got me thinking about how I'm never sure how much pain one is expected to be able to tolerate. If we're going for functionality targets, there's a pretty big difference between what I need in order to reach 'able to do most basic self-maintenance if provided with ample distractions in between', vs. 'able to produce in-depth analysis of X.' - The latter being my bread and butter; the former being where I'm at right now. (Aside from which, it's disturbing to be left clinging to a rock rather than swimming in the ocean of data that I call home. Am I beyond the low-tide line? Will there be a hospitable tide pool to limp to if I am?)

At any rate, I have to get up early for that appointment. Goodnight, Dreamwidth.
0) My mom accompanied me to a brain-adjuster appointment at awful o'clock in the morning (the only schedule slot that all parties could arrive for). It was Good and Useful.

1) [livejournal.com profile] zeightyfiv became Dr. [livejournal.com profile] zeightyfiv.

2) Departing after the ceremony, I tried to circumvent the traffic jam on the stairs and instead fell + slid down five rows of auditorium seats. Injured right wrist, lower back, left shank.

3) The following 6.5h were spent at the ER, during which I had a total of 12 15 X-rays taken. They probably could've left off the last set, but the orthopedist wanted to look at my right ankle to compare with the left.

4) I was discharged around 21:00 with diagnosis of a minor fracture at the top of my left fibula. I have a straight-leg brace, crutches, and instructions not to bend my left knee until my orthopedics follow-up in a fortnight. Shall be seeing my GP far sooner than that, though, because the prescribed pain meds are utterly insufficient for that span of time.

5) I am home and medicated. Sleep now.
403: Listen to the song of the paper cranes... (Cranesong)
( Jun. 1st, 2015 06:42 pm)
Hiraeth beckons with wordless call,
Hear, my soul, with heart enthrall'd.
Hiraeth whispers while earth I roam;
Here I wait the call "come home."

Like seagull cry, like sea borne wind,
That speak with words beyond my ken,
A longing deep with words unsaid,
Calls a wanderer home instead.

I heed your call, Hiraeth, I come
On westward path to hearth and home.
My path leads on to western shore,
My heart tells me there is yet more.

Within my ears the sea air sighs;
The sunset glow, it fills my eyes.
I stand at edge of sea and earth,
My bare feet washed in gentle surf.

Hiraeth's longing to call me on,
Here, on shore, in setting sun.
Hiraeth calls past sunset fire,
"Look beyond, come far higher!"

- Tim Davis


The west that I long for is the American one rather than the authors' native Wales, but he captures the feeling well. I usually express it in some specific way--the mountains are too old, or the sun is always at the wrong angle--but what I'm missing is a more thoroughgoing sensation of place.
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It's been a long road, and I've been a hermit this year in pursuit of it. But I'm done. Really, finally done. On Friday, I shall emerge victorious as a Bachelor of Science.
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