Saturday, November 27, 2010

Washing up, and the whys and wherefores of certain aspects thereof.

You've no doubt noticed that I like to cook, and naturally such an activity leads to pans and utensils which need to be washed. Some of these, depending on durability of item and qualities of what's attached, can simply be placed into the dishwasher, but others require a little specialised treatment.

Naturally, the best approach is to wash up as soon as possible, but inevitably one becomes uncreatively lazy and fails to do so. Some items benefit from soaking, but others do not. Particularly soak-needing items are ice cream, oatmeal, meats in sauces, and raw eggs. These all have one thing in common: protein. That stuff loves to denature, and tends to stick when it does so. If you don't soak, they'll become caked on, and it's more than a dishwasher can do to get them off. You'll tend to need to scrub, which is why you need to make sure not to make oatmeal in a non-stick pan; it sticks enough to need scrubbing sufficient to remove the non-stick. Cereals and milk, in fact, often tended to be the basis for wood glues in years past. This makes oatmeal a truly horrible thing for sticking.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

What I've been up to of late

It's taken me a while, but I've finally found a gaming group. In addition to the Tuesday evenings at the store, when I play board games, we have a small meetup of five people (we're auditioning a sixth at our next meeting, despite awkward timing due to the LA having a singing engagement that day) on most Sundays. We meet at somebody's house or apartment, warm up by talking for a while or playing a boardgame, and then launch into a full-blown roleplaying game. It's rather nice to be able to relax and throw dice for a while. I'm not currently running a game, but I shall get my chance soon enough. Astoundingly, I'm currently the eldest of the group at thirty; we've one in his early twenties, two in their late twenties, and one I can't quite pin down but would guess at about 25. Be that as it may, the possibly-youngest is currently shouldering the GM's burden as we rampage through the Star Wars universe, cutting a cauterised swath with our everpresent lightsabres, having a grand old time. I've even gotten to the point of making a semi-automated spreadsheet of my character's stats, and making it accessible from my smartphone.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Well, that's just dandy.

I am a migraneur (yes, that's a real word), and have recently been actually formally diagnosed as same; I've been suffering migraine headaches for the past five years, having (I now realise, since reading Oliver Sacks on the subject) been in a constant state of aura from roughly the age of five right up through my early twenties, but in the UK, I never troubled my doctor with them. About three or four times a year, I would simply find myself needing to take a dose of paracetamol and codeine, and go lie down in a darkened room for a day, whilst it hurt to breathe. In recent months, however, the frequency increased to the point of suffering a headache every couple of weeks, and I began to suffer multi-day attacks. This was clearly unacceptable, and so it was off to the doctor. He ordered an MRI scan of my brain, which glory of glories, was approved by my medical insurance (and more on such subjects I shall not say), and the results returned as "normal", which is to say there are no gross physical abnormalities of my brain which could explain migraine-like symptoms. That means it's all down to strange wiring, which I already knew was present, as I'm also a synaesthete. For the technical types, think of it as crosstalk between senses; for the druggies, think of it as a permanent low-grade hallucinogenic experience. I hear colours and see sounds, which does lead to some truly astounding consequences of migraine aura; the visual disturbances feed into auditory hallucinations, which feed into visual disturbances, and before very long I have the neurological equivalent of shoving a microphone into the PA speaker cone.

Anyway. I was officially diagnosed as a migraineur, and provided with a supply of Imitrex, or at least a generic version of same, which is a rather mysterious chemical. I'm unclear as to how exactly it works, but it does generally reduce the pain of migraines significantly. Accessory symptoms remain, though. I've been taking that as needed, but the followup appointment revealed that I was still suffering migraines frequently, and so I'm now also taking Amitripyline, which it turns out is a tricyclic antidepressant, but which is used off-label at a low dose as a migraine preventer. It seems to be working; I'm about three weeks in, and so far it's kept the headaches at bay.

Although, this morning, I woke up, insofar as I did wake up, feeling distinctly odd. It's taken me until now to realise what I felt like.

Today is feeling like the aftermath of a migraine headache. It's distinctly odd to have the postdrome without the aura, the headache, and so on, and I'm not sure I like it. On the other hand, I did at least not suffer the headache.