Thursday, October 27, 2011

Every couple of days now...

I think "hey I ought to write something about these OWS morons"... and then I realize, I can't even take them seriously enough to write a snarky blog post about them.

Honestly.. I just couldn't be arsed.

Besides, they're already their own best joke. 

They've so thoroughly beclowned themselves at this point, isn't it just cruel? Like kicking a mentally retarded kid?

So, how well did I handicap the NFL this past week

Last week, I laid out my picks for the upcoming weekends NFL games.

Let's see how I did shall we? If I got the game right, I'll mark it green. If wrong, red.

Chargers over Jets:

I think this is a no brainer. Top ten rushing AND passing offense of the Chargers, against a bottom five rushing defense on the Jets (good pass defense though). On the other side, the Jets are a bottom ten passing and rushing offense (31st in rushing) vs. the second best pass defense (only mediocre on rush defense though).

I was surprised by this one. The Jets really played a great game offensively (though a sloppy one). 

Chicago vs. Tampa Bay:

Honestly I'm having a hard time calling that... maybe a slight edge to Tampa Bay because their offense is better.. but something gut level says Chicago.

Skins over Panthers:

Two mediocre teams (Carolina isn't as bad as their record suggests. They've got a solid offense, but a crap run defense); but Washington has a little less negative and a little more positive.
This really could have been a redskins win. Stupid mistakes, turnovers, not capitalizing on good drives; turning good drives into field goals not touchdowns... 
Detroit over Atlanta:

Not even a question. Detroit is just playing better than Atlanta by far (even after Sundays RIDICULOUS loss to one of the worst teams in football).
Wow... there could have been worse third down conversion... somewhow... Every detroit drive ended up a 3 and out so... can't really win that way. 
Cleveland over Seattle:

On the pure numbers they're almost even... But I think Cleveland has a small edge on offense, and Seattle has a crap pass defense.
6 to 3? Was this a football game or a soccer match? No touchdowns for either team, with Seattle going 2 for 12 on 3rd down, and 12 for 30 on pass attempts.
Denver over Miami:

Shit vs. Shit, but Miami is stinkier shit.
An epic, battle royale of shit vs. shit, into OT. They went toOT not because of great play, but because of how bad both teams are.
Houston over Tennessee:

I realize that Tennessee is technically ranked over Houston, but I think Houston is the better team (barely). Tennessee has NO rush at all; while Houston is decent on both the pass and the run. Tennessee has a solid defense though.
In a 41-7 blowout, Tennessee makes me a liar; because their defense didn't even show up... and neither did their offense.  Lessee a 5-1 first down advantage, 3 to 1 (almost 4 to 1) third down conversion advantage, 3.5 to 1 total yardage advantage, 2 to 0 turnover advantage... Frankly it's a wonder it was only a 34 point victory.
Oakland over KC:

Two good rushing teams with crap pass offense and mediocre defenses... It's going to come down to morale, and it's a hell of a lot harder to play in Raider nation; and that Oakland has better run blocking.
Lessee... don't score any points at all... that's bad... Get two touchdowns scored on you off of the SIX interceptions you throw... that's worse. 
Pittsburgh over Arizona:

Not even a question. Good team vs. crap team. Best defense in the NFL vs. crap offense. Solid offense vs. mediocre defense. Not even a question.
Arizona played surprisingly well; fighting back and forth much more than the score suggests... they just couldn't produce, and Pittsburgh did. 
Green bay over Minnesota: Great team vs. Crap team.

This one isn't even a question either. Though Green Bay is a weird team. Spectacular passing record, great run defense; but they have no rush, and the worst pass rush in the league. Minnesota on the other hand has no passing at all (second worst in the league), but a great running game, and a great run defense. Unfortunately, they have one of the worst pass defenses, against one of the best passing teams.
Surprisingly close. If it weren't for the 91 yards in penalties and two interceptions... 
Dallas over St. Louis:

Yeah... St. Louis is quite possibly the worst team in football, Dallas is... not. I'm not going to say they're great, but they did almost take the Pats, and their three losses this season have all been by less than a toughdown.
Nothing surprising here at all
New Orleans over Indy:

Uh... yeah, not even gonna bother explaining this one.
Wow... 62-7... That's.. epic suck. 11 first downs to 36. 252 total yards to 557. 12 completions to 31. 49 yards in penalties to 10... and that's hard to do when you have so little time of posession (only 22 minutes vs. 38)... Oh and 3 turnovers. What a perfect example of how an NFL team can't play without an actual NFL quarterback. 
Baltimore over Jacksonville:

Again, one of the best teams, vs. one of the worst teams. There's nothing particularly outstanding about Baltimore, but they do everything pretty well, and don't do anything particularly badly. They've got a top ten defense, a top half offense... one of the best run defenses in the game. J'ville on the other hand doesn't do anything well but run (worst passing game in football this year).
I think this one was a shock to everyone; with the Jags defense holding the Ravens to just one score; and with four offensive fieldgoals... Both teams going worse than 20% on third down conversions. Both teams with less than 20 first downs. Total yards combined from both teams under 350...  I'm not sure what this was exactly... It was a win though and that's what counts. 

So, I went 8 for 12... not bad; and three of those games were... freakish outliers shall we say?

Actually, this whole season is kind of a freakish outlier. Week 8, and there are still three teams with 0 victories... And one of them is the Colts... And given the schedules, and the teams performances thus far, it's entirely possible any of them... perhaps even all three... go winless for the whole season.

Meanwhile, Green Bay who have been very inconsistent in the post Favre era (going from 6-10 in 2008, to winning the superbowl last year on a 10-6 record)... they're 7-0 coming into a bye week, and then what should be three breezers against San Diego, Minnesota, and Tampa Bay. They don't have a hard game coming until thanksgiving vs. Detroit. We may see them go undefeated into week 12, or 13. Hell... It's possible, given the rest of their schedule, that they may run the table this year. It's unlikely, but it's possible.

What a season

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Whedon Fans of the World, Rejoice!

When we first heard about this, we just had to check it out and make sure it's for real:


Yep. It's real.

More info, including interview, here.

Now to find an indie film festival where it will be playing, somewhere within oh, 500 miles or so.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

I only do this two or three times a day...

Long live Neil Schon and Arnel Pineda

I just caught the DirecTV concert series live recording of Journey in Manila; with their new lead singer Arnel Pineda.

For those of you who don't know; in 2007, on the strength of many youtube videos, Journey brought Philipino singer Arnel Pineda (who was well known in Asia for his spot on covers of Steve Perry Journey songs) into the band.

I was initially doubtful about it; thinking that he would just be propping up the corpse.

I couldn't have been more wrong.

Pineda is amazing.

He has far more energy than Perry ever had. He has all the range Perry ever had... and his presence in the band spurs them on to really incredible performances.

I've seen Journey live, and listened to their music for most of my life; and they have never been as good as they were in this one concert in Manila.

During much of the 80's, people forgot how great a guitarist Neil Schon is (he was playing with Santana, and Eric Claption, at the age of 15). Playing off against Pineda, he was every bit as good as he ever was in the 60's and 70s.

Unfortunately, I can't find any good quality clips from that concert; but you can see just how good a performer Pineda is from this 2008 clip:

Back under 400, for a minute...

Well, good news, i have dipped back down to my four year low level of 396lbs.

For a minute.

Saturday I was under 400. Sunday I was back up to 412. Monday back down to 403 etc... etc...

Unfortunately, my weight volatility continues unabated; going up 18lbs one day, down 12 the next and so forth.

If there was some kind of logic to it, I would be less irritated; but it seems to happen no matter what dosage of medication I'm on, how much I eat or drink, what I eat or drink etc...

It's a pain, literally. Gaining 18lbs in one day means tissues are swelling rather dramatically. Usually tissues in my fingers, toes, large joints, and face. Very uncomfortable.

But it means I am, once again, making progress.

Another 40 or so pounds, and I can have my cancer surgery... probably 60lbs actually, just to make sure that my weight fluctuations don't put me back over 360. At this rate, that'll be 4-6 months.

Friday, October 21, 2011

For which I am grateful

I am grateful for...

My life... in so many ways. I never expected to make it this far; I have no business having done so, and that I have is a miracle

My wife, who puts up with me, who loves me, who holds me up, who needs me as much as I need her

My kids, even though they aren't here right now; without them, what's the point?

My family, who have made me much of who I am; good and ill, strong and sensitive, cruel and kind, hard and loving...

My friends, who are no less my family; and to whom I owe so much... who keep me alive and vital and here

My mind, for all it allows me to be and do; think decide and act; to listen, to read, to speak, to argue, to learn, to know...

My heart, which allows me to give, love, and endure. Love given without condition doesn't deplete, even if unreturned, it grows

My strength, physical, mental, emotional, spiritual, and mental. I have needed them all, so much... tested them all, so much

My will, the foundation of all that is inherent to me. Without my will I could not stand up, walk, or carry my load.

My nation, which I have proudly served, and which has served me in so many ways. I have received far more than I've given

My god, for enlightening my soul, strengthening my will, for wisdom and acceptance; for 
mans nature, both free and striving

My experience; hard, and easy, good and bad; which came from of all the above. I wouldn't trade it, any piece, for any thing

I could not live without any of them. I wouldn't be here without all of them.

Thank you all, for being you, for being with me... for being.

Been Busy Bitching... It's time for something else

This health stuff has, in some ways, made me into someone I don't like.

Frankly, I don't have the energy to blog a lot of the time. I've got plenty to say, plenty to talk about... and on the forums I run or participate in, and mostly in conversation, I'm still keeping up my end; but for me, blogging is a little different.

See, I've always treated blogging as real writing. Yes, it's me having a conversation with you all, in many ways; and yes, I mostly write as I speak... MOSTLY.

But the thing is, it takes a lot of mental energy to do this, at least to do it well and consistently; and lately, the only time I've had that energy, I've been using it to get things done in my life that really need to be done. I haven't had the spare energy for blogging, unless it was bitching... bitching has it's own energy to it.

So, I've spent a lot of the last few months... hell, the last year... bitching, and moaning, and not really participating in life.

Damn.. I just realized, it was a year ago now that I had the health crisis that precipitated the discovery of my cancer.

Yesterday was exactly 12 months from the day I ended up in the hospital with pneumonia, which lead exactly one month later to the hypertensive crisis, which finally got me to the right specialist endocrinologist; who discovered my cancer.

Kinda convoluted, but that's pretty much how my life goes.

.. anyway, I've been bitching a lot, and I'm not really happy with that.

And before anyone says it, yeah I've got a lot to bitch about, legitimately. Don't care, that's not who I am. I solve problems, I don't just bitch about them. This just isn't me.

So, first thing, I want to say out loud, what I'm grateful for... and there's a lot.

And I'm going to do that in my next post, because I want it to stand alone.

The morning fix

I probably shouldn't make fun of this with a junkie reference; but I went from no medication (excepting vitamins) two years ago, to a ridiculous amount of medication now, and sometimes it makes me feel like one.

Anyway, this is my current morning medication load, which I'm supposed to take around 8am; but my stomach generally doesn't allow me to until I'm awake for a few hours (if I do, my stomach gets really disturbed, and it sometimes makes me vomit).

There's a similar load for the afternoon, and then a smaller one in the evening (both of which also make me want to puke, so I take them well after lunch and well after dinner):


So, from the top proceeding clockwise (plus dosages, and purpose):


  1. Fluticasone Propionate (Flonase): 2 pumps per nostril, twice per day.

    It's a nasal steroid that stops histamine reactions in your nose and sinuses. Without it, the CPAP, and mold spores, both make my sinuses fill up. 2 pumps in the morning, and two before bed, let me use the CPAP without my sinuses and nasal passages clogging constantly. It also counteracts the tendency of my airway to swell and become restricted (Esophagitis, with multiple causes. It's caused by my reflux, my allergies, the same reaction that causes my seborrhea, and by the airway irritation caused by the impingement of the tumor) makes me feel like I'm choking or drowning). The only problem is, like any corticosteroid, it causes additional water retention and bloating, particularly if inhaled through the lungs; though the nasal version reduces that effect.
  2. Sublingual liquid vitamin B complex: 2cc, twice per day. Each 1cc squirt is in theory 100% of  B1, B2, B3, and B6, plus B5 at 400% and B12 at 20,000% (yes, 200x RDA)
  3. Gummy Vitamin C: Four each, twice per day I get C deficient if I don't take a lot (I also drink a bunch of OJ, for the C and for the potassium). Theoretically one is 100% of RDA.
  4. Gummy multivitamin: Four each, twice a day.  Each one is supposed to be 100% RDA on about 20 vitamins (including the C and B vitamins I take above). I take four, twice per day, which is just about enough to keep me from becoming deficient in everything except vitamin D (which I take four of in the evening).
  5. Etodolac (Lodine): (big pink pills) 400mg each, three times daily (two in the morning, one in the evening). It's one of the strongest anti-inflammatories on the market. I take it for all the inflammation; but particularly for my knees, ankles, and fingers. Without it, I'm pretty much crippled. We're switching to 500mg twice per day, because I don't need the full 1200mg, and the more you take the more side effects there are. It can also cause water retention, stomach problems, and other unfun stuff
  6. Magnesium Oxide and Zinc: (medium round white pills) 2 each, 400mg/15mg, once per day. In theory each is 100% of the RDA for magnesium and zinc; but again, if I don't take this much, the other meds make me deficient
  7. Omeprazole: (white capsules) two each, 20mg, once per day: To control my ulcerative colitis and GERD; and to prevent the other medications from upsetting my stomach worse (particularly the etodolac, and the little brown oval pill)
  8. Little brown oval pill: I'm going to write a whole separate post on that one later. It needs it's own post, and I haven't talked about it on the blog yet.
  9. Bumetanide: (medium round pink pills) Four, 2mg each, once per day. The strongest diuretic on the market. The normal dosage is 2mg, I take 4 times that every day. It strips the body of minerals, vitamins, electrolytes etc... but it also keeps my edema mostly under control. In the afternoon I take 4 each 80mg furosemide (lasix), also four times the "normal" doage. Between them, they keep my edema MOSTLY under control... but my weight still varies as much as 16lbs per day.
     
  10. Potassium Chloride: (HUGE oval pill) 2 each, 1500mg, three times per day. Plus I drink a quart of OJ (which has another 1800mg of potassium), and I also mix some potassium chloride powder in with my drinks during the day (usually another 3000mg worth during the day).  I need to take all that (yes, 17 grams... At 20mg per kg - I currently weigh about 185kg, for 3,250mg - it's more than  enough to stop your heart if it hit your blood stream all at once; but most of it doesn't get into your blood stream), just to keep enough potassium in my body to not be paralyzed (among other negative consequences). They're so big they trigger my gag reflex, and I actually half-puke just about every time I take one, and have to swallow it down to keep from .
  11. Not pictured: In the afteroon I take my second dose of potassium, and my furosemide, as I mention above; plus a second little brown oval pill. In the evening after dinner, I take my second set of vitamins, including my vitamin D, my third etodolac, my  third dose of potassium, and 100mg of levothyroxin (a thyroid supplement). 

It's a hell of a lot... but it mostly works, most of the time.

Sick and tired of being sick and tired

You may have noticed, I haven't posted very much lately.

Simple reason for that. I've got a lot of content queued up to post (including a ton of photos, some reviews of gun products, some instructional stuff); that I just haven't had the energy to work on, because basically, I've been too sick and/or too tired since I got back from Gun Blogger Rendezvous this year.

Basically, the last six weeks have sucked. Too much going on, with too little time and energy to deal with it.

I spent two weeks down with the flu, another week recovering from my little nutritional issue; and through it all, when I wasn't sleeping 14 hours because I was sick, I've had chronic insomnia.

In the last ten days, I've had less than 30 hours of sleep; and 8 of those were last night.

Last night I was finally so exhausted, after spending the last two weeks sleeping 2 hours out of every 40 (yes, that bad), that I managed to get a full nights sleep.

Let's hope this starts a trend.

Oh and no, it's not my medications. One, this has always happened to me periodically throughout my life, since I was a little kid; it's just that I haven't been this bad in about two years. Two, I stop taking the stimulants when the insomnia hits.

Also, sleeping pills just don't work for me. Either they literally knock me out, and the sleep isn't restrful and I'm groggy as hell; or they just make me woozy and actually make the insomnia worse.

It's just something I have to gut through.

That said, I have content today... but right now I need to go to the dentist. Yay.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Football is finally getting interesting this season

This was a weekend full of interesting games, including one hell of a performance by Dallas, coming just short of beating the Patriots at home.

The Cowboys offenses didn't really step up, but their defense... On the other side, the Pats defense sucked ass; and Brady compensated for it.

Such is the way of things.

The cowboys defense played INCREDIBLY. No-one has held Brady to under 30 points in TWO SEASONS. Not only that, but they pulled two interceptions and three sacks (and two of the three forced a punt), and this was on a day when the Pats line was playing well. That was one hell of a defensive performance.

The problem was, Brady played up to his level; while Romo didn't.

The Cowboys didn't capitalize on the poor performance of the Patriots defense. Plain and simple. Too many 3 and outs. Not enough clutch conversions. Too many little mistakes.

The interception count was certainly unusual. Brady is historically one of the least intercepted quarterbacks; particularly among the heavy passers... but you have to actually capitalize on a turnover to win a game.

If you want to know exactly why the 'boys lost Sunday, look at the stats. On most thing the two teams were either in a dead heat, or Dallas was a bit ahead... but the critical issue was third down conversions. Cowboys were 4/12, Pats 8/13. Take that with the Cowboys 10 penalties for -77 yards...

On those third and fourth down situations, Brady makes it happen in the clutch. Romo... sometimes yes, sometimes no.

Two interceptions, two fumbles, and three sacks... but 'boys offense still couldn't make it happen.

The next two weeks are really going to be interesting.

Since the Pats are on a bye week (but I think they're going to spank the Steelers in two weeks) I'm thinking:
Chargers over Jets:

I think this is a no brainer. Top ten rushing AND passing offense of the Chargers, against a bottom five rushing defense on the Jets (good pass defense though). On the other side, the Jets are a bottom ten passing and rushing offense (31st in rushing) vs. the second best pass defense (only mediocre on rush defense though).

Chicago vs. Tampa Bay:

Honestly I'm having a hard time calling that... maybe a slight edge to Tampa Bay because their offense is better.. but something gut level says Chicago.

Skins over Panthers:

Two mediocre teams (Carolina isn't as bad as their record suggests. They've got a solid offense, but a crap run defense); but Washington has a little less negative and a little more positive.

Detroit over Atlanta:

Not even a question. Detroit is just playing better than Atlanta by far (even after Sundays RIDICULOUS loss to one of the worst teams in football).

Cleveland over Seattle:

On the pure numbers they're almost even... But I think Cleveland has a small edge on offense, and Seattle has a crap pass defense.

Denver over Miami:

Shit vs. Shit, but Miami is stinkier shit.

Houston over Tennessee:

I realize that Tennessee is technically ranked over Houston, but I think Houston is the better team (barely). Tennessee has NO rush at all; while Houston is decent on both the pass and the run. Tennessee has a solid defense though.

Oakland over KC:

Two good rushing teams with crap pass offense and mediocre defenses... It's going to come down to morale, and it's a hell of a lot harder to play in Raider nation; and that Oakland has better run blocking.

Pittsburgh over Arizona:

Not even a question. Good team vs. crap team. Best defense in the NFL vs. crap offense. Solid offense vs. mediocre defense. Not even a question.

Green bay over Minnesota: Great team vs. Crap team.

This one isn't even a question either. Though Green Bay is a weird team. Spectacular passing record, great run defense; but they have no rush, and the worst pass rush in the league. Minnesota on the other hand has no passing at all (second worst in the league), but a great running game, and a great run defense. Unfortunately, they have one of the worst pass defenses, against one of the best passing teams.

Dallas over St. Louis:

Yeah... St. Louis is quite possibly the worst team in football, Dallas is... not. I'm not going to say they're great, but they did almost take the Pats, and their three losses this season have all been by less than a toughdown.

New Orleans over Indy:

Uh... yeah, not even gonna bother explaining this one.

Baltimore over Jacksonville:

Again, one of the best teams, vs. one of the worst teams. There's nothing particularly outstanding about Baltimore, but they do everything pretty well, and don't do anything particularly badly. They've got a top ten defense, a top half offense... one of the best run defenses in the game. J'ville on the other hand doesn't do anything well but run (worst passing game in football this year).

From the Long-Suffering Wife of a Dream Theater Fan

This is a little familiar:

When you offer your younger brother the chance to play ONE song in the car during a road trip, rethink your kind offer. I WILL dig through my Dream Theater music, and I WILL choose my favorite 42 minute song. #LFMsister'sF

Friday, October 14, 2011

Making flavored salts

So, on another site, someone asked me today, how to make some of the fancy flavored salts you can buy at a gourmet store (for a stupid amount of money by the way... sometimes over $80 a pound).

It really couldn't be easier. There's a few basic ways of doing it, none of them particularly difficult unless you're using a touchy flavorant.

These are the methods ranked in GENERAL (there are some exceptions for some flavorants) order of intensity of flavor imparted per unit of flavorant used:

  1. Passive infusion: Place the flavoring agent(s)(or an extract or distillate of the flavorants) in a sealed container with the salt itself. You can put one or the other in a sachet to avoid mixing.. or to maximize flavor transfer, maximize the surface area, spreading them out in a thin layer each, separated by cheesecloth. Allow the natural diffusion of volatiles in the flavorant to gently infuse the salt. If using fresh herbs or spices, it's more effective to crush them, or grind them (and in the case of hard seedpod based spices, toasting them) before the passive infusion.

  2. Air infusion: Same as the above, but instead of passively letting the flavors float out naturally into a sealed container, you layer the salt and flavorant in cheese cloth (including a cover layer for both... so at least three sheets of cheesecloth), and blow air over or through them (perhaps using a food dehydrator or a furnace filter and box fan), pushing the flavors out of the flavorant, and through the salt. Hot, moist air will be more effective at infusing most flavors into salt, and can be rigged pretty easily depending on the method used. A convection oven set to 150 degrees with a pan of water in the bottom would work just fine. If using dry air, you can start with fresh flavorants (particularly fresh herbs and spices), and as they dry out, you can then grind them up and mix them into the salt (presuming the flavorants aren't too bitter, grainy, woody etc... when eaten thus).

  3. Vapor infuse the flavor: use a smoker, a vaporizer of some kind (rotovap, steam vaporizer, teakettle etc...), or if the flavors are susceptible to vaporization with low heat without extra water, use a pot and a hot plate etc. Pass the vapor through the salt in a cheesecloth bag (or something similar). You can also create a flavor extract or distillate out of your flavorant, and vapor infuse with that

  4. Mix method: finely grind, shred, mince, cut, or otherwise powder the flavorant(s), and mix them into the salt directly until evenly distributed (I do not consider this to be a flavored salt so much as a spice mix, but it still works just fine to get the intended effect... at least for most flavorants)

  5. Slurry method: Makle a slurry with the flavorant (or an extract or distillate of the flavorant), the salt, and a liquid that the salt AND the flavorant are both soluble in (I recommend a mixture of vodka and water. The mix will liberate more flavor from the flavorant than water alone, and evaporate faster). You can also use a flavorful liquid in and of itself, to add further flavor to the salt (or make a flavorful liquid infusion out of a dry flavorant). Use just enough liquid to create an evenly mixed slurry, then spread the slurry out on a silpat, baking sheet lined with parchment paper, dehydrator rack etc. Dry out the slurry, and regrind the salt to the desired texture

  6. Hot water infusion aka the "Stewing" method: Simmer the salt and your flavorant together in an unsaturated solution with a liquid they are both soluble in (again, I recommend vodka and water). This will liberate the most possible flavor from most flavorants; however some flavorants don't tolerate heat well, as boiling will drive off the volatiles in them. Boil the solution down into a slurry, then handle as above
Which method you use, is really dependent on your flavorant, and your desired effect.

The pretentious gourmet types seem to like truffle salt (actually, I do too; but only if it's subtly done. Most "truffle salt" tastes funky, in a bad way, not in a good "bleu cheese" kind of way); which is actually ridiculously easy to make by finely shredding the truffle with a microplaner, mixing it into the salt (about 1/4 ounce of truffle to 4 ounces of salt), and allowing it to passively infuse for a few weeks in a sealed jar.

Mel and I make our own smoked salt in our big smoker, using one pound loose weave bags of salt. Smoked salt is really great in soups, and spectacular on popcorn or french fries. I also recommend trying rosemary, thyme, and garlic together as a flavor combination (it will work with all the above, and each method is a little different).

...And of course, there's always Bacon Salt.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Null pointer #54 in array #4B3854; Null pointer #54 in array #563854


/* Goodbye World program */

#include<stdio.h>

main()
{
    printf("Goodbye World - Rest in Peace, Dennis Ritchie");
}

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Illegal procedure, malnutrition, half the distance to the goal, repeat first down.

So, over the weekend, after figuring out my vitamin and mineral deficiency (to be confirmed via blood test shortly); my diuretics once again became effective, and I immediately began losing weight again.

Yay.

I've stayed off my stimulants and anti-inflammatories for the last few days, to help give my body time to recover; and I've been awake for about 40 hours at this point; to help me sleep through and get back on a normal schedule.

As of today, I've re-lost 27lbs of the 45lbs I gained in the week I was sick.

I felt pretty good today for the first time in about two weeks; and thought I even looked decent, if a bit disheveled (and obviously from my face, still a bit bloated):



Yes, it's so sad... I have been reduced to the internet mirror/arms length self portrait... or rather Mel was busy, and I was too lazy to set up the tripod so...


Anyway, from today, I've got just about 130lbs to go... Hopefully before this time next year (and another 60lbs or so before the oncological surgeon wants to operate.

Sunday, October 09, 2011

Pats Jets... one hell of a game

Well, as a lifelong Patriots fan, I was very much looking forward to the pats/jets game today, and I was not disappointed; it was a hell of a game.

I have to give the Jets a lot of credit. Their linebackers and ends really did a great job at pressuring Brady on the outside (4 sacks... that NEVER happens); but the Pats o-line (Solder is really turning out to be a huge asset, as I'd hoped) just killed the jets inside.

Benjarvus Green-Ellis may have one of the stupidest names in the NFL (and frankly, that's saying something); but he's an incredible player, and he showed just how good he was today. He's averaging just under 5 yards a carry career, and 6 yards a carry this season; and he's NEVER fumbled the ball in over 800 career carries.

NEVER

It still amazes me Green-Ellis was undrafted in 2008. I mean his draft reports weren't spectacular, but they weren't bad either; and he was an all SEC runningback his junior year, and alternate his senior year. It just goes to show how much of a judge of talent Bellichick (and staff of course) is.

Overall, I'm really impressed with the Jets this season. Sanchez... I said last year I thought we were seeing the birth of a star, and it looks like I (and just about everyone else) was right. This kid really has the goods... now he just needs some better receiver support. The talent is actually there, but I think the coaching and the coordination isn't.

Meanwhile... Pats defense was certainly much better this game, but this season as a whole... I'm really not impressed guys.

The next two months are the hardest schedule in the NFL. If we can't get our defense where it needs to be, we're in serious trouble.

Deer Time

AD's latest attempt at hunting with a truck reminds me of the joy that is living in the oddity that is the Sandpoint area.

Friday night, due to the wonder of the internets, I found myself running errands at 11pm. 10:50 being about the time Chris exclaims "oh shit, that's why! I'm vitamin deficient!" and 10:55 being the time I determine it's much faster and less irritating for me to go to Wally World then instead of before work in the morning.

Yes, our county of 40K in the middle of North Idaho has a 24/7 Wally World. Yes my bank is open on Saturdays, we're the only bank in town that is. But I digress.

So I climb into the caddy and head out into a night so dark I can't see past the end of the driveway. There's deer and moose and elk in the neighborhood, so I don't drive outside of my headlights. There's drunks leaving the various bars in downtown Sandpoint, so I don't speed up when I get into town.

I pick up the stuff for Chris (which miraculously works) and make my way home. About a mile from Wally World I stop completely on Hwy 200 while a fat whitetail doe and her two fat fawns stroll across the highway (not dart, stroll). Our wildlife expects us to stop for them.

Chris: What took you so long? You should have been home 15 minutes ago.

Me: You forgot about deer time didn't you?

Chris: Oh, you hit a deer?

Me: Nope, it was AVOIDING hitting the damn deer that took so long.

We've gone from an area where the excuse for being late was "traffic" to the middle of North Idaho, where the excuse is "deer".

Still a really good move.

Saturday, October 08, 2011

Interactions: 45lbs gained in 9 days; 11lbs lost in 90 minutes

Well... that was an interesting week.

9 days ago, I became ill, with what seemed to be a mild flu. At the same time, I started retaining water pretty badly, and my joints swelled;  I was severely fatigued, had a lot of pain, digestive disturbances, severe insomnia etc... None of which really alarmed me, because that's pretty much what happens to me when I'm sick these days.

After a few days, most of the flu-ish sickness was gone, but the other symptoms remained, and were worsening. In particular, the peripheral neuropathy (mostly paresthesia) was pretty bad, as was the water retention; and it was pretty clear that my medication was not only not working, it was making things worse. I was also having pretty bad muscle weakness, aprticularly in my hands, and I was ridiculously fatigued.

This happens sometimes too; because several of my medications (my anti-inflammatories, my omeprazole, my testosterone, the stimulants for my excessive sleepiness, my diuretics etc...) can cause pretty severe vitamin and electrolyte deficiencies, and when they do, they stop working.

Usually when the edema gets out of control, and the non-inflammation type pain gets bad; stopping the diuretics, stimulants, and anti-inflammatories for a couple days helps; particularly when I make sure to keep my potassium intake up (using potassium chloride supplements twice a day, and drinking lots of OJ).

Instead, things kept getting worse. By yesterday, I had gained 40lbs (by this evening, it was 45lbs). My blood pressure went up from my 115-125/170-185 normal range, to as high as 160/95 (which I attributed to my edema being crazy this week).

Two days ago, I couldn't make a fist, and I slept for 14 hours.

I called my doc and scheduled an appointment and blood test for next Monday (the earliest I could get non-emergency).

Today (well, yesterday now) things got a little bit better...

My edema was still awful, but the neuropathy was a bit better, and I wasn't really sure why.

I don't think it was from stopping the medication... I think it might have been from what I was eating. Between Thursday and Friday, other than my "normal" things, I had eaten some dark chocolate, some almonds, cashews, peanuts, some dried fruits and raisins, some black beans, some milk, some goat cheese, some quinoa...

All foods high in magnesium... and mostly high in B vitamins.

As it happens, while I was sick I hadn't been taking my vitamins, because I couldn't stomach them. I could barely force my potassium down my throat without vomiting (I heaved up when I swallowed it each time, but I forced it down). I also had diarrhea, and I didn't eat much for four or five days; but I did drink plenty.

I had thought I was keeping up on the electrolytes, between the gatorade, the OJ, and the chicken broth (besides the obvious benefits of OJ and chicken broth, I always drink full sugar gatorade when I'm sick, and add some powdered potassium chloride to it, plus taking my potassium pills; because at the very least it keeps me hydrated, and stops me from becoming electrolyte depleted; and hopefully between all three gives me enough calories to keep some strength up when I can't eat); but I forgot about two really important things.

Magnesium, and B vitamins.

You see, without magnesium, and B vitamins, it doesn't matter how much in electrolytes and minerals you consume (in particular potassium) your body won't be able to use them (and may in fact, void them out).

It's actually a vicious circle; because becoming deficient in any one of them, causes the others to become more deficient; and that causes the others to get worse etc... etc...

Low magnesium also causes muscle weakness, pain, pins and needles, excessive sodium build up (and thus excessive edema),

I was in fact consuming enough potassium; but apparently I have been living on the edge of hypomagnesemia and probably systemic magnesium deficiency, probably for months, without realizing it. My diet often has a lot of magnesium in it; but I'm on a number of drugs (listed above) that in addition to causing potassium deficiency, and various vitamin deficiencies, also cause magnesium deficiency.... and again, there's that vicious circle thing I mentioned above.

Gatorade doesn't have any magnesium.

... and apparently, neither does my normal multivitamin; which I hadn't realized. I supplement the other vitamins and minerals that I get deficient in, but I didn't think of magnesium. I assumed my multivitamin covered it, and since I hadn't had a problem before...

When I got sick, and my diet shrunk down to crap for a few days, and the fact that I stopped taking my vitamins for a few days;  I must have slipped over into full magnesium deficiency and hypomagnesemia; which then made me hypokalemic and B deficient, even though I was taking the supplements again. No matter how much I took it didn't matter, because I didn't have enough magnesium to use what I was taking in, and the body just excretes out unused potassium and B vitamins.

So, I had Mel grab me a magnesium supplement, took a max dose, along with a big dose of B1 and B6, and my potassium supplement; and I waited for a while and took my diuretics.

After 30 minutes, I started peeing.

After 90, I had peed six times, and lost 11 pounds. After 120, I had lost 15 lbs.

The pain and weakness in my feet and hands is going away. I'm pretty sure I'm going to be able to sleep normally tonight... or as normally as I can while my body is doing its best to expel the extra 45lbs of water it accumulated over the last week.

Amazing how a couple hundred milligrams of a single mineral can make such a difference...

Update: by the time I woke up for the day (after not actually sleeping until 9am, since I was up every 20 minutes to pee all night long), I was up to 22lbs lost in about 11 hours. Actually 26lbs if you count the fact that I drank about 4lbs worth of water in that time.

Friday, October 07, 2011

396... for about a minute...

Up until I got sick last week (almost better now, thanks), I was doing pretty damned good on the weight loss.

As it happens, I managed to lose 101 lbs, getting down to 396:


Unfortunately, since then I managed to swell up another almost 40lbs... I hate being sick, and for some reason my diuretics aren't working worth a damn right now; and yes, 40lbs in a week is screwed up, but that's the way it is with endocrine cancer... but I got there once, I'll be able to get back there again.

Tuesday, October 04, 2011

You know what really sucks?

When you are very forcibly and painfully reminded, that no matter how good you felt the day before, how mobile you were, and how able you felt; in reality, it was just the medication making you feel that way; and you are, in fact, still a fucking cripple.

Yeah, that was my morning yesterday, and I've only been worse since. I have the flu (which is always great fun when you have joints that swell up VERY painfully), AND my edema is in overdrive. I gained 24 pounds in three days, and the pain and swelling are so bad, I couldn't sleep at all last night.

I've managed a few 20-30 minute snatches of sleep for the last three days... maybe a total of about 8 hours in the last 72.

Then all day today, I just kept retaining more and more water, and enjoyed my low grade fever, photophobia, and general pain to the touch.

Bah... sucks.