Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Health Update 28 Feb: "The ten thouand years after that, they were the worst too"

It was a rough week. I had a really bad episode going into the weekend. I don't know that it was tomato induced though, so no real gains on the diet. There was apparently a stomach bug going around. Nobody in the family exhibited symptoms, but given my compromised immune system, I could easily have been affected by something that did nothing to them. I had also bee doing a fair amount of gum chewing near the end of the week, and just learned yesterday that Xylitol may be a trigger for IBD symptoms.

I also learned yesterday that my cholesterol is high. This is likely attributable to the large quantities of eggs, ice cream and milk shakes I have been consuming in an effort to bring my weight up. I'm going in the wrong direction with respect to food variety in my diet...

I am testing bread now. I got rid of the gum, now if I can just avoid germs...

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Health Update 21 Feb: "I think you ought to know I'm feeling awfully depressed."

That's Marvin talking, not me. I'm not that bad off yet. Well see what the second 10,000 years looks like though.

But The past couple weeks have been a bit discouraging. One of the downsides of most any autoimmune disorder appears to be that your immune system doesn't work quite right. You are more likely to catch whatever is going around, and it is likely to stick with you longer.

My immune system wasn't stellar to begin with, and I live in a house with 4 little germ factories, three of which go socialize at schools with hordes of other germ factories. All that licking of fingers, picking of noses, and then playing tag and such... Not to mention bathrooms and hand washing...

So I have had a head cold for a week now. Before that it was some sort of stomach bug... More days sick than well of late.

Last night I was feeling well enough that I though I would try to get a feel for my fitness level. I thought I'd start with a 12 minute run/walk, and see how far I could go.

1 mile. In high school I ran a 4.5 minute mile. Before I got run over by a drunk driver, I was doing an 18 minute 5k. Before this new health experience started, I was back to a 20 minute 5k. Yeah, there are lots of people faster then me, stronger than me, and in better shape than me, but I was in pretty darn good shape. And now it's 12 minutes to run one mile? That's a kick in the teeth, even if I can partially blame it on still being sick.

I am testing tomatoes this week, since my abdomen has been feeling mostly normal. So far so good...

I am having a hard time deciding what to test next, bread, rice or beans. Any votes?

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Whatever happened to heroes?

I like to play video games. I don't have lots of time for it, and I don't have (am unwilling to make) much in the way of fund-age to acquire them, so my collection is fairly limited, and I am kinda picky about what I buy, (For instance, no way I am playing online games like WoW. I am not paying a grundle for the box, and then a grundle more every month just to play a game.

There are really two things I expect to get out of a game: Distraction and Escape. Whether those are good or bad may be arguable.

The first of those - distraction - I believe is a benefit. When I get stonewalled by a particularly difficult problem, I have found that playing a game for bit will get my conscious mind out of the way, so my subconscious can work through it and find an answer.

The there are a few ways a game can give me this. A good first person shooter keeps me on my toes by virtue of the pace at which things move. Other games achieve this through timing (platform games, or games like Assassin's Creed).

Still others (Battle for Wesnoth for example) accomplish it by absorbing me in the tactics (one word: strategery).

The other thing I desire is escape. I won't say that this is necessarily a good thing. People frequently over-use escape, to the extent that they stop living in the real world. For me it is tied to the distraction, and I like to think that I manage it properly. I won't argue against someone who sees it otherwise though.

At any rate, what I mean by that, is I like to be immersed in the game. An exceptional plot, good, appropriate use of visuals, a consistent universe (i.e. free of gaping technical holes and plot holes, not that I have anything against paranormal or supernatural activity, but it needs to make sense. The rules need to be defined and consistent.).

I am therefore particularly drawn to RPG style games. The first two Deus Ex games have been some of my favorites. I loved that you could choose how you played the game. You could go guns blazing, blasting your way through doors, or you could play ninja style, circumventing security systems, hacking computers... I played the first one once with only one kill. I have played that game through dozens of times more than any other game.

The Elder Scrolls Games are similarly likeable. Good RPG, wide open playing area, nonlinear story. And highly mod-able, so you can alter things to suit your tastes. Skyrim is on my wishlist right now, but since I am a cheapskate ($20 is about as high as I will go for a game), I probably won't get to play it for a few more years.

And no game yet has beat Myth when It comes to strategery. It took weather into account. High ground gave combat advantages... I think the ultimate game for me would be something like the Never Winter Nights RPG system built on a Myth-like engine. *pause to drool*.

That was a very long intro to get to my point, but here it is. I have been watching gameplays and trailers recently, looking for a new game that I might like. What a disappointment.

That bit about escape? See, when I want to escape, I want to be immersed in the role of someone heroic. Someone who does the right thing against all odds.I was very disappointed when after seeing Far Cry 2 game play, I picked up a copy only to discover that I took on the role of a rather morally ambiguous mercenary (Not to mention all the language. Yes, I am probably a hypocrite for being bothered by profanity and sexual content, but not as much bothered by the violence.).

So here I am looking at the latest batch. The Follow-up Assassin's cCeeds have been rather too risque for my comfort. Far Cry 3... I can't really tell, it seems like you might be a decent guy, but they could easily go back to ambiguous, and the Profanity is outta control. GTA has no moral ambiguity, you are the bad guy. period.

A new rainbow six? Surely I have a winner here. Game play was looking great, Nice stealthy bits, taking out terrorists. But then, there is an order to kill the cops because they are shooting at a bomber. And though there was time for an argument about whether they should try to contact the police first, there apparently wasn't time to actually radio them. Then we get to the bit with the bomber, some poor fellow dragged out of his home and wired up with explosives. His wife and child's lives are forfeit if he doesn't comply. But as the the stories "heroes" get to him, and he is begging for help, pleading for his wife and child. A remote detonator is discovered and the "heroes" hurl off the bridge to his doom.

I don't want to play a game like that! What happened to the good heroes? The one's who beat the odds, who slipped out of the impossible situation. What happened to the James T. Kirks? What happened to the Master Chiefs?

It's hard enough for me to talk myself into buying newer games, given the nasty DRM they put on them, but when they can't even let me save the girl, kiss the horse and ride off into the sunset... What is the point?

This isn't just a feature of newer games though. Movies lately have been pretty much the same. The villains get the cool factor. The snazziest outfits, the best skillz, the coolest gear, the awesomest music...

The protagonists are frequently so emotionally damaged, it is a wonder they manage to get through the first half of the film alive.

Whatever happened to the heroes? What happened to the men and women who devoted themselves unwaveringly to the cause of justice, and protecting the weak, the innocent? Or even just the average Joe's who rose to the occasion out of necessity?

*end of rant*

Friday, February 10, 2012

10 Feb - Things that make you go...huh?

 A few days ago, I heard a report on the radio about a special meeting being held by a group referred to as the christian coalition. The purpose of their meeting was to attempt to reach a group consensus to put their collective endorsements behind a republican candidate as an alternative to Mitt Romney. Apparently they were concerned that if their vote was split between the various other candidates, they might get stuck with a Mormon president. Nothing especially surprising about that. That's just the usual magic (or idiocy if you prefer) of politics at work. The interesting part was the statement they took from one of the figureheads of this coalition; a preacher with a delightful southern accent and soothing, charismatic voice.

"It's like a fling," he said, "You've you know you've got Mr. dependable, but why not give the tall dark handsome stranger a try. You can always go back to Mr. dependable if it doesn't work out."...



Did the "Christian coalition" just use adultery as their metaphor for trying to find an alternative candidate?


I heard a radio report yesterday, announcing the release of the FBI report on Steve Jobs. They summarized the report as characterizing Mr. Jobs as "a man of strong moral integrity, but willing to twist the truth and distort reality in order to achieve his objectives."

Huh? Isn't that sort of... the OPPOSITE of strong moral Integrity?

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Health blog update, 1 Feb 2012

I have been "med free" for 1 1/2 weeks now.  I took a bad turn day before yesterday. Nausea and abdominal pain. Problem is, a couple of the kids are just getting over a mild stomach bug, so I am unsure if my problems are my problems running wild without medication to stop them, or if they are primarily due to the stomach bug. One of the big challenges in any scientific endeavor is variable isolation.

I have been waffling between succumbing to the panic and re-starting the meds, and waiting a few more days to be sure, the risk of course being it really is my intestines falling apart. Can't say the thought of having bits surgically removed is one I get excited about.

I have not had the joint pain since I stopped, nor have I had the kidney pain. I have had some muscle pain, in conjunction with the problems the past few days, including some in my back focused around my kidneys (but a completely different kind of pain than I was having while taking the Entecort). It is my thought that these may be primarily induced by the abdominal pain I am having. It seems to be tapering off today, so fingers crossed. If I am not free and clear by Friday, I will end up talking to the GI, and probably flipping a coin for going back to the Entecort, or switching to Pentasa.

I went to see an alternative medicine practitioner (I may end up writing a sermon on that subject) yesterday. Her analysis leads her to think that my problem may originating in the small intestine. As a result, I have added Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth to my list of possible alternatives to consider. She also thought it might be worth considering intestinal parasites, though she didn't think it was very likely. When was the last time you found yourself hoping it was a parasite? I gotta say, right now, I am.