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Deposting a check [Sep. 2nd, 2014|07:56 pm]
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I like the idea of posting daily. But I don't want to talk here about my work frustrations, which today lasted from 7 am to 6:20 pm.

I did learn a new way to deposit checks at my credit union when the line was super long. I can feed checks into some of their ATMs--they read the checks to see how much you're depositing and, in this case, the handwriting was legible. Modern times! Well, except for having a hand-written check on me. Heh.

Article of the day - Why Aren't Women Advancing At Work? Ask a Transgender Person. - 'Ben Barres is a biologist at Stanford who lived and worked as Barbara Barres until he was in his forties. For most of his career, he experienced bias, but didn’t give much weight to it—seeing incidents as discrete events. (When he solved a tough math problem, for example, a professor said, “You must have had your boyfriend solve it.”) When he became Ben, however, he immediately noticed a difference in his everyday experience: “People who don't know I am transgendered treat me with much more respect,” he says. He was more carefully listened to and his authority less frequently questioned. He stopped being interrupted in meetings. At one conference, another scientist said, "Ben gave a great seminar today—but then his work is so much better than his sister's." (The scientist didn't know Ben and Barbara were the same person.) ... “I have had the thought a million times: I am taken more seriously.”' Fascinating.

Also, "take-charge" and "aggressive" may mean the same thing in the workplace but are applied to different genders.

Once again, I see yet another way that I am super lucky because I have not experienced this crap. (Admittedly, I am rarely a take-charge kind of person.)
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Pig Bake, Burger Test [Sep. 1st, 2014|07:10 pm]
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Today I attended a pig bake. As our hostess said, "This little piggy ... didn't make it to market." Last week she also made some comment about helping to move a dead body into the freezer.

My favorite part was ... the apple pie. I also quite enjoyed Robin's bean salad and devilled eggs. Those pre-boiled pre-shelled cage-free eggs at Trader Joe's may become quite the temptation.

That was lunch. For supper we finally tried the burgers at Parkside during their happy hour (when they're half price). Research results: These are not our new favorite burgers. (My current favorite is probably from North by Northwest, but I can't remember the burgers at all the other places I've been well enough to be sure.)

I also worked on Spanish. I have many, many flashcards.

It seems likely that it is impossible to do the recording portion of my homework on any of the electronics that I own. I have written to the company that created my online text even though I'm pretty sure they won't have a solution for me a) in case I'm wrong and they do have a solution and b) because they should feel some pressure to support Linux.

Robin will try to rig something for me on one of his spare computers. Or I could just try to do so well on all the other assignments that zeroes on those won't ruin my grade. I'm just pretty annoyed that somebody has to give money to Microsoft, which I consider evil, or Apple (for a big computer, not the cute one I have on which much of the book doesn't work), which is also a little more evil than I prefer in some ways, just to properly take this class.

Now I'm strangely tired and it's not even 7 pm yet.

Spanish fact of the day - To talk about times after the half hour, you use the 'til strategy. For example, 10:50 is ten 'til eleven and 4:45 is a quarter 'til five. But also 6:31 is twenty-nine 'til 7 (literally, seven minus twenty-nine).
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Solar panels are looking better [Aug. 31st, 2014|06:01 pm]
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At craft night I learned that micro-inverters let you install a solar panel system where when one panel is shaded it does not reduce the effectiveness of the other panels. This changes everything.

And apparently I am not the only home owner who has decided that I would rather have trees than solar panels. Now you can have some of both.

I don't have the energy/time right now to look into this again, but it's on my list for later.

Language-learning video of the day - How to Talk Minnesotan. I bet you thought this was going to be about Spanish, eh? But, no, I am a complex and unpredictable individual! Occasionally.

This video is almost thirty minutes of fake-retro amusing deadpan instruction which has the feel of even being sort of true. By which I mean I actually do feel like I could blend in a little better than I normally would.

From Lesson One: "These three workhorses of Minnesota conversation will carry you through your first scary hours. In fact, they should be good for a week, if you only speak if spoken to, which is always a good idea anyway. Memorise them. Work on them at home with your family. Repeat them until they're second nature. They're the building blocks of all dialog." He's talking about these sentences:
* You bet.
* That's different.
* Whatever.

As I commented in the post that introduced it to me: "Learning a bit more about how to speak Minnesotan wasn’t too bad. I’ve laughed less."
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Where's My Brain: Knitting Edition [Aug. 30th, 2014|09:29 am]
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At craft night last night, I got my 22-stitch-wide scarf into the conditions of being as narrow as 14 stitches and as wide as 28 stitches (or so--I don't remember the actual numbers). I don't even know how. Fortunately, even with all the ripping out, I ended the night with a longer scarf than I started out with.

(And I ended that sentence with not one, but two prepositions. I have talents.)

Quote of the Day - "The corporations, especially in the mid twentieth century, were actively looking at the way they could could trigger off psycholological impulses deep within us that would cause us to desire new products that we had never ever thought of desiring before, so in that respect it's pushed upon is. But, it's only possible to do that because (as Microsoft would put it) there are security vulnerabilities within us." - Alastair McIntosh in "Consumed: Inside the Belly of the Beast"

That's an interesting way to look at advertising - Is this enticing ad taking advantage of a security vulnerability that I have? Or even: Is this consumer craving I have stemming from a security vulnerability that I have?
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My First Colonoscopy [Aug. 28th, 2014|05:00 pm]
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The summary: the prep went mostly better than expected, the procedure shows I'm fine but went worse than expected, the recovery went better than expected.

Low-fiber diet

This part was way fun. I started with chocolate milk as usual for breakfast.

At work, a co-worker got way too many fresh, hot cookies delivered to her for her birthday and so was sharing them. I was taking my first bite before I remembered that I was on a restrictive diet. But, it's America! I'm safe from fiber! I had one chocolate chip cookie (with a tiny bit of fiber from the cocoa) and one cinnamon sugar cookie (with a tiny bit of fiber from the cinnamon) and stayed away from the oatmeal raisin cookies.

For lunch I had bought some macaroni and cheese from Trader Joe's. I normally would never buy this because of white noodles. My cashier said he often got that for lunch at work. I told him that the packaging claims it's two servings. In the end I decided it counted as his mid-morning snack plus lunch plus mid-afternoon snack.

I brought a container to pack the second serving in to bring it home, just in case, but that was not needed. This might be the most delicious macaroni and cheese I have ever tasted. I even like it better than the stuff at Hyde Park Bar and Grill, which has seasoned breadcrumbs on top. This does not need seasoned breadcrumbs.

I will have to buy it again to let Robin taste it. And actually, it's way healthier than the cheese flavored ramen-noodle type stuff I sometimes buy for a guilty pleasure (whenever it's on sale for 28 cents or something) because it has no hydrogenated fats in it. (I think--better check.) If so, I'll switch over to TJ mac n cheese for my guilty pleasure, even though this costs more. It's a thing I have about once every three to six months.

Then a co-worker asked me if I'd had lunch already. Um, yes, two lunches. But she was inviting me to lunch at Kerbey Lane to celebrate the aforementioned birthday. So I came anyway for the socializing. I was quite full, so it was easy to resist getting anything there. The person who invited me called herself an idiot for having given me such late notice, but it worked out perfectly for me. The macaroni and cheese was probably more delicious, cheaper, and had less fiber than what I would have gotten had I ordered something there.

Then Robin wanted to go shopping, so I ended up at a store that sells donuts. I had told myself that if this happened, I would get a donut (normally I resist). So I had my favorite donut (chocolate-covered, custard-filled) and milk for dinner.

On the second day I had chocolate milk for breakfast as usual.

Then at work, there were leftover breakfast tacos up for grabs after an event. I remembered about my diet, but they were made with white tortillas! I got one with egg and cheese and one with egg and bacon. They didn't even have any bean and cheese ones to tempt me.

For lunch I had some plain fried rice I made from uncooked white rice that Robin had leftover from something and which I wouldn't let him throw out when he realized he wouldn't be using it.

For dinner, I baked up some crescent rolls from a can. Although I cooked them wrong, the non-burnt parts were pretty tasty. I ate some of them with a one-egg cheese omelete. Then I had chocolate milk again for a late-night snack.

So evil! But delicious!

(Note, in other UT jobs, this surprising-free-food phenomenon happened quite often, but in my current job it happens more like once every three months. So twice in two days is crazy!)

Liquid diet

I was worried about this part of the prep because I don't like to be hungry. It's not as bad as Sally--I can still live a basically normal life. I just can't concentrate well and don't like it.

But it wasn't so bad. For breakfast I pulled out my refrigerated Ensure Clear, Blueberry Pomegranate flavor. It tasted sort of like fruit and sort of like vitamins. I like that vitamin flavor, so I thought it was pretty good. But after the second sip I realized it was red. That color is forbidden! So I just had a big glass of water, either.

For lunch I had some broth from a box that Robin recommended as real broth and not just colored salt water. It smelled really good, but the taste was just okay because I'm afraid I really like my broth to be salted.

Then for my afternoon snack I drank a creme soda. So I never got so hungry at work that I counldn't concentrate enough to do it properly. Victory!


I was also worried about the part where I'm supposed to mix a nasty-tasting laxative with some clear liquid and drink 8 ounces of it every fifteen minutes until I had drunk a gallon of it. I remembered that a gallon is not 64 ounces, like I always think it is in my head, but 128 ounces, which means it would take (almost) four hours to get down. I really don't like drinking huge doses of water. And I prefer huge doses of water over huge doses of other liquids.

My instructions were to mix the whole container of powder with a gallon of liquid, but I wanted to keep my options open. But it was annoying math to mix part of it with some of the liquid. I tasted the Gatorade-like stuff I had bought and I didn't like it much. The thought of drinking a gallon of it even without anything mixed in sounded kind of sickening.

So I put some of the powder in plain water and tasted it. I could barely taste it. So I mixed it all with a gallon of plain water. I figured if that was a mistake, I could find chasers. Also, Robin got me a big straw.

First I was supposed to take four pills with some water at 4:00. Then start the gallon-of-liquid regimen at 6:00. Robin was off at Spanish class, so I had the bathroom to myself. I set up a step-stool next to the toilet with my gallon jug of laced water, a glass (which actually has a line right at the 8-ounce mark), a kitchen timer, and a book. I thought it would be cool to have a tiny white table cloth over it!

Actually drinking the water was fine. I really could just barely taste the alien powder at all at first. By the last half, I was tasting a nasty aftertaste, but the actual swallows of water were still fine. I never used the straw. I'm so glad I didn't mix it with some sickly-sweet thing.

(Robin took a little taste and agreed it tasted much, much better than the soap-flavored stuff he'd had to use and that he could barely taste it at all.) So the stuff was Miralax (actually, I got the HEB store brand of it) in case you want to ask your doctor about it.

The toilet is not the most comfortable seating ever, but I really liked having a good book. I had remembered that popular books are more likely to be on the shelf of the university where I work during the summer and was finally able to get my hands on the first Longmire mystery. Thanks again to Laurie for the recommendation!

The timer was also an excellent idea. I could just read without watching the clock. When the timer went off, I would drink my glass of water, reset the time, and pour the next glass. Only one time I was into the book so deeply that it was 20 minutes between glasses.

The nurse had warned me that if I felt nauseated, I could wait up to a full half hour, but this never happened. Actually, I probably felt worst at the beginning, probably out of anxiety and hunger.

I didn't actually need the toilet until 7:10. I was drinking until 9:45 (actually 9:30 because apparently I was slightly overfilling my glass), but I was not emptying out. I wondered if I could figure out a way to sleep on the toilet. I tried sleeping on the kitchen floor (easy-to-clean linoleum). I went to bed at 12:30 and had to get up again. Finally I went to bed around 1.

Also, the color wasn't right, nor was it in the morning. So I started worrying that I wouldn't be clean enough and would have to try again another time.

The procedure

One of the things I got at check-in was an evaluation sheet and one of the questions on the sheet was what my favorite thing was. So I tried to pay attention to what that might be.

For example, I quite enjoyed the decor in the waiting room. Things matched well. And one wall was painted dark grey, and an adjacent wall was painted harvest gold, but the grey actually went a couple of feet into the harvest gold wall. That grey corner is where the TV was, so the background of the TV was all one color. So that was pretty cool.

When they called me into the back, it was cold. But they actually had a blanket warmer. Crazy. Everyone was very nice and informative.

The two things I wish I would have known ahead of time were a) I could wear my socks (so I should have worn thicker ones) and b) I could keep my stuff with me in a bag under the gurney (so I could have brought my own bag).

Another thing that surprised me is they wanted to put in an IV as a precaution in case they found later that they wished they'd had one. Meanwhile they just used water for rehydration. Robin said that the doctor told him that they most often recommend sedation for small Asian girls. I'm sort of build like a small Asian girl, though not quite that small, so I guess it was good to be ready to add sedation (or anything) in a hurry if they later wanted to.

They put me on a gurney in one room and wheeled me to a different room for the colonoscopy. This ride was surprisingly fun and might have been my favorite part of the visit.

I got to watch the whole thing on the big screen. I was pretty worried that I wasn't cleaned out enough, but I could see that the doctor had tools for additional washing and that it was still easy for him to see things.

He explained that the first part was the most uncomfortable but it didn't stay that way the whole time. Once he was past the first curve, it would get better. And he did most of the cleaning and inspecting on the way out rather than the way in because that was most comfortable.

Well the first part was indeed quite uncomfortable. The nurse in front of me (you lie on your side) told me to take deep breaths and let them out slowly. This did not seem to help, but it made her feel better, so I tried to do that.

After that, it was mostly uncomfortable or quite uncomfortable all the way in. I was gripping the bed rails tightly, and they had to ask me to change the position of my arms so the blood pressure monitor on one arm the temperature monitor on a finger of the other hand would work properly. I was telling myself I might want sedation next time.

On the way out it was much better. And there was nothing wrong in there.

I called my prep work mediocre, but the doctor called it good. Well, anything that's good enough not to have to reschedule is good enough, but I'd rather have done a very good job. I asked how I could do better next time. He said start earlier. He said women tend to have longer intestines, so it takes longer.

I asked the nurse if I seemed to have more trouble than other people who did not get sedated. She said, oh, no, I didn't cry, I did fine. That didn't directly answer my question, but it does seem like it feels pretty bad to some other people, too.

It did not feel like that to Robin at all. So, people are definitely different in that way.

The recovery

The ride back was not quite as fun--probably because I was on my side instead of on my back, though I wouldn't have expected that to make a difference.

In the recovery room I was shaking, probably partly from feeling cold and partly from having tensed my muscles up (aka sewing machine leg in rock-climbing parlance). The nurse brought me another freshly heated blanket and put it around my back. I told her I felt like I was in a spa--luxury living.

She brought me a small can of juice and a pamphlet on fiber. She took out my IV and everything. She made me sit on the edge of the bed for a couple of minutes. Then I got dressed and left.

The doctor said that in the olden days, people would feel distended and farty all day after the procedure, but with modern techniques, that really only lasts a few minutes. So now you could safely go to a restaurant on your way home from the procedure. And that was indeed true for me. It was clear that laxatives were still in my system, but it was definitely safe to be in public.

The recovery was basically instantaneous, unlike the one time I had sedation where the wake-up started with vomiting and shivering that blankets didn't help. It was so nice to just feel good right away and to just drive myself home and be allowed to make important decisions.

Though the only decision I really made was that I was in the mood for a big, juicy cheeseburger.

So now I'm of two minds about wanting sedation next time. Well, I have seven years to think about it.
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Spanish Class Okay [Aug. 25th, 2014|11:23 pm]
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My first Spanish class was today. At first I was a little afraid that our professor was going to be easily distracted into discussing unrelated issues. But she's okay. She does use some Spanish that she has not yet told us, but she mostly explains everything in English. And she likes to explain the actual meaning of things as opposed to just making us memorize phrases.

She has a good sense of humor. She probably has a good mix of toughness (no late things are accepted--we have to do what she says when she says it, etc.) and niceness - explaining things, correcting us, giving us second chances, answering questions (more than once if necessary). She wants us to actually learn Spanish and to enjoy the process. And she really likes some things about the language and the culture.

And she has some of the traits of my favorite dance teacher. She shows examples and counterexamples of how to pronounce things. And she tells us way more things than she expects us to remember and will tell us again--more things will stick each time.

Facebook Quotes of the Day

DK - feeling pained at Lewisville Family & Urgent Care - Getting checked out cuz of my migraine.

Bad news. .. doctor said he can't do a brain transplant. Gave me some ibuprofen 800 and some antihistamine? ?? We'll see.

Oh and now I get to start a diary of when I get headaches. Joy.

SB - You may find the diary useful in discovering your triggers. And once you know those, you can work towards avoiding them. I think one of mine can be poor diet combined with fatigue. And protein seems to help them.

DM - Also, it does not have to be a boring journal. Let's say, for example, that your migraine is named Gigantor. "I really wanted to get home to a nice relaxing dinner when all of a sudden, Gigantor's shadow fell across my head. 'This kitchen ain't big enough for the both of us' I heard him say as I crawled into the dark bedroom and curled myself into a tiny doodle bug shape. Gigantor appears to be a tiny bit afraid of the dark. ..."
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Angry About Slow Poisons [Aug. 23rd, 2014|10:10 pm]
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There are so many things that are bad for you long term but in the short term there is no noticeable effect. So, since you can't see an effect, if you're not just going to bury your head in the sand, then you have to figure out who to trust.

And this is (mostly) not one of those things where turning to religion helps. One exception: I once read that the iron in meat cancels out the good effects of the calcium in dairy and vice versa, so the Old Testament rule about not eating meat and milk together helps you with that one. There are probably some more, but probably not a lot.

Mostly I'm inclined to trust science. However, there are [at least] three big problems with trusting science:

1) Long-term effects take a long time to discover. Long-term science is expensive and rare.

2) Correlation is not causation but it is so damned tempting. For example, death by heart attack is hard to measure--you have to wait around and see how people die. But death by heart attack is correlated with high cholesterol, which is super easy to measure. So you have millions of studies about cholesterol, but what do they really tell us about heart attack death risks?

3) Scientists can no longer be trusted. There is pressure to publish, and people only want to publish "good" results, not boring results. (There is less pressure to publish "true" results.) So people will lie about their results. Plus, a lot of research money comes from biased parties. Plus, even if the science is good, science reporters are often unbelievably incompetent or just plain lying bastards.

And those three problems are making me angry. I am willing to make small and even medium changes in my behavior to better my health. But I don't want to change things I like for no reason at all. Or to change, be wrong, and have to change back (I'm talking about you, margarine, which it turns out people knew was bad for you when it was first invented, but I didn't get the memo).

Also, with the internet, it's so easy to find information. I should be able to find out anything I want! But if the information is all suspect, then it's just frustrating.

Here are just a few of the questions I am wondering about now.

* How bad is it to store your food in plastic really? What about "food-grade" plastic? How bad is it to microwave your food in plastic? What about "microwave-safe" plastic? I love bringing plastic containers to restaurants--they are lightweight, they are durable, and they nest. But I could switch to glass, which is inert.

* How bad is sugar for me really? Is it okay if I just keep my weight down and brush and floss well and am not (yet) diabetic? Or am I really just asking for trouble? (Diabetes runs in my family. When we were kids we theorized that it might be case that you only get a certain amount of sugar in your life, and if you eat it too quickly you turn diabetic earlier than if you just spread out your intake. However, it looks like some people--at least two that I know--have been able to turn back their diabetes by reducing their weight. And then they get to eat sugar again.) Does letting my blood sugar spike and plummet (even if I don't notice symptoms) wreak havoc with my body?

* How bad is jogging for you really? Does it depend on if you're doing it wrong? If so, am I doing it wrong? Or if you're built wrong (and am I built wrong?)? Do I really have to buy new shoes every five minutes (or whatever the ridiculous time frame du jour is)? If my feet and knees and hips aren't hurting, does that mean I'm okay? Is it okay if I don't do it too much, like training for marathons all the time? Or is all jogging so high impact that it contributes to a ticking bomb of bodily destruction? Or is that impact just what I need to protect me from the osteoporosis for which I have multiple risk factors?

* Okay, uncle, I should have been wearing sunscreen through my entire childhood--or wait, sunscreens in those days were probably poisonous themselves, so I should have been wearing hats and long sleeves. While swimming. My dad always made sure that wherever we moved, we lived near a pool, but I should have ignored that and stayed inside? The damage was irreversible. Like asbestos and fiberglass and maybe lead. Well, I'll just wear sunscreen now and watch for signs of skin cancer.

Yes, yes, first-world questions. And yes, I am very appreciative that I rarely have to worry about quick-acting poisons.
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Prepping for the Prep [Aug. 22nd, 2014|02:43 pm]
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'Tis the season for exciting new life experiences. For example, this year my niece is finally old enough to go to school. And I'm old enough to have my first colonoscopy.

Unlike other medical procedures (and getting drunk), the worst part happens before the procedure rather than after. Here's how the prep is going to for me.

Low-fiber diet

Three days prior, I have to start eating a low-fiber diet. I'll be having chocolate milk and cheese omelets. Yum!

For the grain food group, they recommend a bunch of stuff I never eat at home: white bread, French toast made with white bread, white rice, white pasta, saltines, rice krispies, and corn flakes. This is because I don't eat enough vegetables, so I try to make sure to get plenty of fiber from my grains. But now, I have to eat junk food. For my health.

So I've been trying to think of which white-bread thing I was going to indulge in. Strangely, most of them don't even sound like a special treat. But three things do: cinnamon rolls made from those cans you whop upside the counter, crescent rolls from the same kinds of cans, and donuts. (Real donuts, not Little Debbie type donuts.) So I bought some whop crescent rolls. And if I go shopping during that period, I will get a donut.

Clear-liquid diet

The day before, I am supposed to switch to a clear liquid diet. By "clear" they mean "transparent." It can have colors, so long as the colors are not red or purple.

Again, most of the recommended "foods" are things I do not regularly eat. The healthiest ones are water, tea (yuck), coffee (yuck) and fat-free broth. I got some real broth Robin likes (usually I eat Ramen noodles or reconstitute some from a jar of "Better than Broth").

You can also have apple or white grape juice. We can pretend these are healthy. Because they come from fruit!

But then, there's a huge list of junk food drinks. The rare times I drink them, I generally prefer the red and purple flavors. But I got some creme soda, another favorite.

Then I also got some jello in the only color that was not red or purple (yellow for lemon flavor) because there's supposedly protein in that and it supposedly feels kind of like food when you're hungry.

We can also have popsicles and sorbet (??). I haven't gotten any of those yet. And Ensure Clear--This is what hypoglycemics have to have, and it sounds good to me, but I haven't found any.

They also have some recipes. These mostly involve putting the approved liquids into a blender with some ice to make them slushy.

I've fasted for 24 hours before (for Yom Kippur) and am not a fan. This is better than fasting but it will be for over 36 hours. I will at least get to sleep through two nights worth of those hours.

Cleansing liquids

The evening before, I'm supposed to take laxatives and also drink down a half gallon of something mixed with a powder laxative. Then I have another half gallon of the stuff in the morning.

In the olden days you had to drink the whole gallon at once, but they have found that splitting it works better in cleaning out the colon. I found pictures showing a clean colon versus the other kind, and it's obvious why the doctor wants to be able to see what he's doing.

Everyone says this stuff tastes really horrible except some people that say the kind of powder I'm using (Miralax) isn't that bad compared to the stuff they used to use. It's recommended that you mix it with something flavorful like Gatorade or Crystal Light and refrigerate it so you can't taste it so much. But some people recommend that you don't mix it with something you like because you'll never like that thing again.

I got some clear fruit-flavored Gatorade, but I'm also going to try some in plain water. And I'm going to try a great-sounding trick I heard which is to use a straw.

The procedure

You'd never know it from reading, but you don't actually have to be sedated for this procedure. They will tell you that it's not really anesthesia, but you are out cold and someone has to drive you home, so it seems the same to me.

The first colonoscopist I went to was really pushing the sedation even though he admitted that he did not get sedated himself when he got a colonoscopy. Due to my ballroom dancing experience, I switched to a different colonoscopist.

See, in ballroom dancing, I learned that if a song comes on and I think it's one dance (like, say, samba) but my partner, who is in charge of leading, thinks it's another dance (even a more boring dance like, say, merengue), I definitely have more fun when doing the dance that the guy is inspired to lead.

That first colonoscopist was clearly not comfortable doing a colonoscopy on someone who was not sedated, so I switched to Robin's guy. Even the second guy asked me why I didn't want sedation before giving any hint that he agreed that this was the better choice.

He also said I get to watch--the screen that shows him what's going on will also be in front of me, so that's cool.

The insurance

My employer was very thrilled a couple of years ago to announce that all colonoscopies would now be free. But the lady at the doctor's office explained that they're only free if the doctor doesn't find anything. Otherwise it's the usual (I pay the deductible and then 20%). Well, that's still okay with me--if he finds something and fixes it, that's when it's worth more to me anyway.
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Board Game Bash - Day 3 [Aug. 17th, 2014|05:56 pm]
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On the last day of Board Game Bash I once again relaxed and took my time getting there. I didn't actually get there until a little before T&S had set up a time to meet people for lunch at a nearby restaurant which is highly rated but has problematic parking.

I did have time to look through the games library where I learned more about a game that had an interesting title, but with more information turned out to be something of no interest to me.

It was fun to see people at the restaurant. And thanks to another T who decided to sneak pay everybody's bill! The food was pretty good, but I didn't love it enough to want to come back when I had to deal with parking.

They make S's favorite sauerkraut and she got the procedure on how to make it. Which I didn't take notes on! But I think that first you put the cabbage in some salt water for two weeks. And then--you're done!

Back at the convention I got to play Dead Panic. This is a re-make of Castle Panic, only with zombies. Fun times. I got some good weapons. Then I turned into a zombie and was supposed to try to kill my friends--I didn't like that part.

Then T did various other things while S and I joined a game of Power Grid. There are many versions of this game, each with a different board and some slight differences in the rules. We got to play one that was relatively friendly for beginners, unlike last time S played.

We were to buy power plants and the resources needed to keep them running. Through good luck I was able to power up two plants in the first round and this allowed me to stay in the lead throughout almost the entire game in spite of rules that made everything more expensive for me. So that was not ideal.

Suddenly in the penultimate round, everyone seemed to catch up to me, though it turns out they were not all able to actually power all their new plants. In the last round it was made clear that it was between me and another guy, and the guy whose turn was after mine had the power to decide which of us would win. Weird ending. (I won--again, good luck!)

The game seemed to last five hours but S said I shouldn't count the parts where they were explaining the game, the part where we stopped everything while the door prizes were given out, etc. Still, it was the last game of Board Game Bash for us.

Overall, Board Game Bash was quite fun. It would have been less fun without the visit from T&S, but I think I still would have gotten to play plenty of games even as an unknown outsider. All the extras were not as fun as I hoped, though. And next year they are looking for a friendlier place to hold it.

I haven't yet decided whether to return next year. Of course there are game nights you can go to for free around town all year as well. Right now I already don't know how I will have time for the rest of my life plus Spanish class, so I won't be doing that.

But I am adding a few more games to my wish list: The Builders, Epic Spell Wars of the Battle Wizards, and maybe Splendor.

In other news, the roof of my mouth just suddenly stopped hurting at 2:30 last Wednesday afternoon. I don't recall ever noticing something suddenly stop hurting like that (except things that only hurt if you're in a certain position or something).

By Friday, it no longer hurt to drink room temperature Austin tap water, though it did hurt to drink room temperature Round Rock tap water. Weird!

Last night, it was very uncomfortable to eat a Hershey's kiss. Too big. Weird.

This morning, it didn't hurt to eat (small bites of) real food. Woo hoo!

Quote of the Day - "It's Zombie Panic, not Zombie Picnic" - the game's owner, at a rough point in the game

Bumper Sticker of the Day - "My pet makes me breakfast." What? "" Oh! Heh.

Typo of the Day - I accidentally typed "Hen" instead of "Heh" just now.
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Board Game Bash - Day 2 [Aug. 10th, 2014|07:55 pm]
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Often when I pay for things I want to get the maximum use out of them. But this time I decided to relax instead of trying to participate in as many hours of Board Game Bash as possible. I went home at a reasonable hour the night before, slept as long as I wanted, and got a few things done around the house before returning.

The goodie bag I got on the way out had lots of delicious junk food. I brought the so-called granola bar (some type of candy with peanuts on top) with me. As I approached the hotel, I was suddenly starving, so I ate that bar on my way there before entering.

First I played Epic Spell Wars of the Battle Wizards which was an extremely ugly game, but quite fun. It's a card game, and you build a spell out of up to three cards. Then our hosts explained that they have a rule that when you cast your spell, you have to do it in a wizard voice. I didn't know what they meant, but melodramatic went over well.

All spells have three parts, and if you don't have a card for each part, you have to make up your own name for that part. These names were pretty amusing, such as Professor Presto's Two-Faced Cone of Acid or Ben Voodoo's Boulder-Iffic Bedazzlement.

Then each card tells you stuff that happens, some of which involves getting to use additional cards. There's definitely some strategizing, but there are also a lot of things you just can't know so it also feels random. Mostly it's just silly fun.

I think this is the point at which I joined T&S and we played Glory To Rome. This is another building/resource management game, but each card has several uses and you have to choose just one. The goal is to construct buildings and collect resources, but it feels like just collecting points.

The particular game we played had too many insta-win cards that came up early in the game, so it didn't last as long as we all decided it should have. And I didn't pay attention to the other players' strategies as well as I should have (which is common for me, especially the first time I played a game), but it was good fun while it lasted.

Next we played Gravwell, a beautiful game with hilarious laws of physics involving gravity and black holes. It plays out like a short, oddly random Robo Rally type game--you decide ahead of time whether you're trying to move closer to or further from the nearest gravity source or pull all sources closer to you, but this can result in quite different actions depending on where those gravity sources end up by the time it's time for your action to take place (since the other players are gravity sources). And the last register is always locked! But there's also a get-out-of-jail-free card.

Then we played Salmon Run, a quite frustrating game where we salmon had to deal with strong currents, waterfalls, bears, fish hooks, and exhaustion just trying to get back home. I do feel sorry for salmon, but that game was a little too frustrating to be maximally fun.

Then S was having a craft night so she could see some more of her Austin friends and we went to that. I was very pleased with myself that I was able to fit my snacks for that (brownies plus some cheese cubes and something else I no longer remember) plus my craft (a scarf I'm knitting) into the knapsack I brought with me to the Board Game Bash. (Yes, once again I illicitly brought outside food in, in spite of eating the granola bar before entering.)

It was fun to see all the people. Also, supposedly I learned what kind of milk I want to be buying once I'm bringing home a little more money, but now I've forgotten. "Something Farms" brand. [A different] S recommended it and J has actually been to those farms. Oh well, I can ask again next time I see one of them, probably at the next craft party in two weeks.

In other news, I got to eat at my favorite Tex-Mex place for brunch today. Fortunately my favorite thing to order is soft and soggy and appropriate (the #3 combo plate with a small burrito, beef enchilada, and beans and rice). Still, the rest of the day I've been having liquids (chocolate milk and tomato soup) because it's so much less stressful. I don't feel like I'm risking hurting anything.

And supposedly I can do aerobic activity again starting today, but in reality I am easily tired. I do feel like I'm getting enough food now that that's not the problem. Just healing my little bit of damaged gums appears to be taking a lot of energy. I still got some good productivity in.
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