Wednesday, November 19, 2014

MEGA-STRESS ATTACK: An Update on What I'm Doing PLUS Some Science AWESOMENESS!

            (Why is there no theme song?!?!?!  Oh, that—I'm not doing a "theme song," per se; it IS there, but it's more of a "theme video."  Just put your favorite nerdy song on in the background and remember to stop/pause it when it comes time to play the video in this post.)

            Hi, everyone!  Just want to give an update quickly, first of all……  Just recently, as early as the beginning of this month (November 2014), I went on a trip to Pittsburgh and to a particular area in Virginia to visit family (and, indirectly, celebrate my HALLOWEEN BIRTHDAY!).  Here's a quick bullet-pointed synopsis of what happened on that trip:

  • Stayed overnight at parents' place on my birthday; thought I lost my keys at their house (but I didn't; they were in my apartment).  I could not watch the two hour Halloween Ghost Adventures special because: A.) Mom and Dad (Mom, especially) don't like the paranormal investigation stuff very much, and B.) I had to "learn about responsibility" again, because I took too long to finish my chores before leaving my apartment without my keys.  Le sigh.
  • First night out, sister treated everyone (parents, me, herself and her SUPER NERDY boyfriend—he will need a special codename for me to use on this blog sometime soon.  I don't know what, but I'm sure he doesn't want to be a Dalek.  Suggestions appreciated!) to some of the BEST sushi ever!  If you're in Pittsburgh, go check out Fuji Sushi.  Yes, it's out of the way a bit, practically in a strip mall sort of plaza, but it's so well worth it!  The chef dude runs the business, and I think he trained world-class sushi chefs!  Or is it national sushi chefs with high-level reputations?  I don't know; what I do know is that he is an ARTIST and a master Jedi at his craft!!!!  Those rolls were so damn goooooodddd…..  It's like eating extremely tender unicorn meat without the sparkles!  (Rating: OVER 9,000 WHITE-POINT STARS OUT OF 5!!!)

  • There NEEDS to be a Hello Bistro out by me; seriously, there MUST be a location that's within walking distance of my apartment, dammit!  Not just in a major city, but someplace that is accessible to myself and my family.  It's a salad bar sort of chain restaurant (run by the Eat'N'Park people, but with MUCH better quality), similar to Saladwerks, but they have four different types of lettuce mixtures, dude!  FOUR, including Kale!!!!  If there was one right next door to me, I would certainly eat there everyday for lunch, especially if it means I get to lose mass!  (It's mostly for the awesome and delicious healthy salads that have a ton of toppings available.  For example, if you want chicken, you'll be offered 3 differently prepared chicken options!  I give it 4.3 plungers out of 5!)

  • I got to see my grandfather and grandmother; grandfather looked like a skinny vampire in his 8,000's.  He needs to get more sun and more exercise into his daily routine!  But I was happy to see him and talk to him, give updates.  My hair-on-fire story did not give him a heart attack, fortunately.  I also got to have ice cream cake with them!  YAYS!
  • Got presents: $50 USD ThinkGeek gift certificate (I used it already to get a unicorn drinking horn, a flask with the ethanol molecule on the outside of it, a Death Star ice mold, and a 50-year calendar keychain.  The package just arrived on Monday, November 17th!); new stereo headphones; a book for Fate Accelerated Edition (roleplaying game that is simple to use to get started in the roleplaying gamescape); one copy each of Doctor Who books—The Silent Stars Go By, The Coming of  the Terraphiles, and (drum roll please!) a book I'm only halfway through because it's huge that Papa Spock also wants to read once I'm done…. Doctor Who: The Writer's Tale, by Russell T. Davies & Benjamin Cook (basically e-mails and texts sent back and forth between the two during the writing of Series 4 and the specials between Series 4 finale and Matt Smith's Series 5, giving insight into the creative process Russell implements when writing or rewriting.).  Thank you, family! ♥

             Anyways, with that said and done, I have a few short points to make:
  • Why are the Christmas things coming out when it's frickin' November?!  It's not Christmas yet!  So quit yer Christmas sales advertising and decorating already!  Several people already have their Christmas lights up BEFORE Thanksgiving!  That's not how holidays work, people!  It's Labor Day, then International Talk Like a Pirate Day, then Columbus Day, Halloween, Election Day, Thanksgiving, Yule, and THEN Christmas!  In fact, the Pennsylvania Lottery is already selling (through their registered vendors) Christmas scratch-off tickets.  Really?!  Really!  Do the fall-themed stuff first, dammit!  Then do the whole "IT'S CHRISTMASTIME!" advertising the Wednesday before Thanksgiving.  Just go look it up on a calendar and stop confusing the ET's!

  •  I'll be doing presentations at a seminar series (well, three presentations that make up one huge one) about social media and what not to do on social media (with the first one being this Saturday, Nov. 22.  On Gallifrey.  Because Whovian.).  The first one is also the same week as the annual apartment inspections.  Can anyone say OVERWHELMED?!?!
  • I finally figured out my religious beliefs: I'm a Non-Narcotic Experimental Bloggessian, who also worships Davros as a member of the Church of Skaro.  If you need clarification on the second part, ask Holy Dalek or Mother Duderior on the Twitters; I'm too busy attacking the mess of inspections, appointments at home, the seminar presentations, and a dentist appointment.  (Some Commandments for the Church of Skaro: Thou shalt use verbs that end in ATE!  Thou shalt antagonize Republican Dalek for his abuse of Auton usage inside the US Government to sway public opinion, because YOU'RE DOING IT WRONG, REPPY!  Thou shalt use caps lock on Twitter, for Daleks shout everything, and because CAPS LOCK IS CRUISE CONTROL FOR COOL, YO!)

            That's all I can rant about for now.  Because that stuff you see in the bullet points?  That's not the topic of this blog at all.  I'm serious: ranting and raving and foaming at the mouth aside, it is absolutely imperative (and mandatory) that I share something with you……


Someone Please Make This a Permanent Perpetual Reality!

            It all started with a visit to the Bad Astronomy blog on Slate, where I quickly skimmed through the posts of the European Space Agency's (ESA) probing of a comet (Which begs the question: should we fear aliens anally probing us?  I'm sure there are horror films that the extra-terrestrials have where it's the ET's getting anally probed by us for visiting our planet…..  Wow.  I just re-read that and realized something: We're the horniest bipedal sentient species on Earth.  We need help.) before seeing this one separate AMAZING blog post of PhilPlait being AMAZED at this one video of music and science being combined in awesome ways that could only BLOW YOUR MIND!!!!  (Seriously, it's music-science porn; your brain is going to get a blowjob from watching it.)  Here's the TL;DR version:
I came online.  I saw.  My mind was blown so hard it became a singularity again.
I shared it; it got shared from my share.  I must overshare!

            The I-have-time-to-go-through-this version: I saw this video and I couldn't help myself—I HAVE to share this AMAZING magic with y'all, so you can also witness the awesome creativity and beauty that is the magic of music and science combined! (Actually, you have 2 options: Phil's blog breaks it down scientifically with nerdy awe and appreciation, whereas I'm only going to go "OHHH . . . . MYYYYY . . . . . . GAMMA RAYS!" and sing praises of its magic, so if you want the how-the-FUCK-did-they-do-that?! stuff, go read his post!)

BEWARE!  Your mind will orgasm with science-y goodstuffs!  (Trigger warnings: lightning/electricity, fire involved, high pitches near the end of the video.)

Here's the awesome super-high-definition YouTube video of it (with alternative Vimeo link if something doesn't work like it's supposed to):

(Yes, the settings for the video definition go higher than 1080p!  I had no idea that video quality in general was capable of this surprising feat!  Of course, it needs epic Spartan-level internet connection speeds paired with a damn-skippy Jedi-Master level computer processor and graphics card to do the MAX-DEF levels….  The library is neither equipped nor helpful with those parts.  I know; I've tried!)

            The first time I watched it (on Phil's blog post), I was like this:

Seriously, I was.  I loved it!  I loved the music, I loved the fun science stuff (FIRE KEYBOARD AND TESLA COILS WITH CHAINMAIL BODY SUITS!!!!) and it just tickled my geek so much I couldn't stop watching it (despite only having an hour on the library computers)!  I actually went and shared it with the God of Awesome (Spartan friend Jesse) in Facebook IM and he was like, "That was so awesome that I went and shared it!"

            That's all I needed to verify the AMAZING-ness of this video.  (Please, @midnight, if you haven't already shown the video on the show yet, DOO EET NAO!)

            There should be more of these music videos out there!  Yes, it's the Internet; there will be other videos like that on the Interwebz.  But it's stuff like this music video that should be used in the classroom to say to the students, "HEY!  Science is cool, and so is EDM music!  Check out this combination!"  There's just so much magic (YES, IT'S MAGIC!!!) that went into this video that I want it to go viral if it hasn't already (If it has, let's make it go viral again!).  Just tweet this amazing magically awesome video with the hashtag #SciencePlusMusicEqualsMagic on Twitter to get people to look at it!  Share it on all of your Facebook accounts!  Do whatever it takes to get your family to watch it, even if you only have a cat hawking up a hairball onto your lap and a giant metal chicken next to you to count as family.

            It's stuff like this that gets me thinking "It's a science unicorn!!!!!"  I love it just as much as I love my new unicorn drinking horn.  If I have to recommend anything INSANE, watch it over and over again, until it's permanently burned into your temporal lobe (memory center of your brain) so you don't always need internet to look it up to relive that magic!!!

I should inform you that I am not sick from the magic overdose yet; if I did, I would do this:

Heehee!  That's all I have to share for now.  Please, go back to the video and enjoy that magically scientific-musical tacquito all over again, because it SO EPIC that I've run out of positive adjectives to describe it!  BLAH BLAH BLAH POSITIVE STUFFS BLAH BLAH NON-EXTERMINATION LIST BLAH BLAH BLAH SCIENCE NERDY LUFFS AND OBSESSIONS BLAH BLAH!!!!

(By the way, exactly how do I put together that fire keyboard thing?  I love it so much!  Linkin Park should include it in their next show or whatever!  *continues babbling praise*)

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

GAMERGATE: Why Making a Fuss Over Gaming Feminism is Ridiculous!

            Hey, readers!  This is my "remotely released" blog post that shares MY views on "Gamergate," and why this is absolutely a waste of our time and energy.  This blog post was drafted on October 30th (and finished on October 31st), 2014, the night after I found out about this so-called "scandal"—that's what "Gamergate" is, right?  Because only real major scandals can have the "gate" name.  In fact, on that note, does anyone think that Bill Gates is more than one scandal in human form?  HAHA!  #ReallyBadJokes
            Anyways, I feel, that as a female Nerd who enjoys playing video games, I should speak up, sharing my point of view.  Yes, it's MY OPINION, which is neither right nor wrong!  So stop trolling and pay attention!
            As always, I have provided you with an theme song for this post: the full Deus Ex Human Revolution soundtrack.

BREAK DOWN THE GATES!!!  Why Not Everything Needs a "Gate" Involved

            Let's begin with the first item on my docket: Do we HAVE to inflate the "scandal" factor in the most RIDICULOUS topics in the media?  Not everything is a scandal; in fact, most is just bad planning and design and what-not.  Seriously, "Bendgate" and "Hairgate" should not even exist.  So what if you get your hair caught in your iPhone6 and it bends in the pocket of your skinny jeans?  That's your own Davros-damn fault here!  Because who would be placing the ear piece right on their hair?  It should be brushed out of the way before using said device as a phone (which I'm sure is rare nowadays; just fucking call the device a tricorder already!  Because we can do everything else with it, INCLUDING MASTURBATE!).  I do that with my Obamaphone (which is not a sign of socialism, conservative fuckers!) already!  I brush my hair out of the way before doing anything with my pointed ears!

            As for "Bendgate," well…..just don't wear skinny jeans.  They were out of style before they were even IN style.  The only reason why they were invented was because the designer had to come up with some sort of pant-like garment for fashion runway shows and the twig-like models (who have a body mass index less than 1, I'm sure) had to wear them; they have no real function in our lives except to make us super uncomfortable and unable to bend over and pick up the loose change that falls out of our pockets.  There's no need for skinny jeans (or this "gate" nonsense associated with video games and tricorders) anyways, in this universe.  In a parallel/alternate universe, maybe; but this is not that universe, because if it were, the products that are of concern would be designed a LOT better.
            In any case, only give a real high-level scandal the "gate" watermark.  PLEASE!  No more first-world bullshit powered by our selfish narcissistic desires for top-notch quality-made products that (in order to obtain in the first place) we would have to shell out millions of dollars to purchase in this market.

The Real Issue: "Gamergate" Is Just a Sexist Response To Gaming Feminism

            So, the night before drafting this post, I was watching Colbert Report, and he shared the super-hyped story  how many male gamers are issuing death threats against female gamers who want ladies to stop being thrust into the objectified damsels-in-distress role in many of the video games that are made for a male-dominant market.  I have to say, I agree with those ladies; I disagree with the response the guys are giving them.
            Seriously, anyone who reacts negatively to this statement is a sexist pig who should never be in a relationship with another woman, because they are sure to be abusive to her.  They are already programmed that way, so maybe it IS the game developer's fault in the first place—WAIT, WAIT, this is confusing and I'm not medicated when drafting up this post, so let's try again……

            A large number of the video games created for Nerds have historically been designed for the straight male half of the Nerd race (which, until recent years, was stereotypically painted as the socially awkward weakling), because that was what the companies assumed would be the majority of their market make-up; I'm sure those companies were run by old sexist geezers in the first place, saying that "running a business is no place for a woman," and sticking them into the secretary role.  And therefore, because of this mentality, those video games were designed for the male brain, which crave not only food and being able to display male dominance gestures (which include guttural roaring while firing off an automatic machine gun like Al Pacino), but also sex from women whenever they want.  It's empowering to them, especially after having been bullied by the intimidating jocks in the real life environment.  Playing those games are their way of getting that self-confidence and, in their mind, taking that power back from those Cthulhu-damn jocks!

            However, with the more recently abundant acceptance that ladies should be treated as equals to men, this mental processing is being challenged; the virtual social hierarchy (and the many places in the world still believing that science and religion are equal, as well as certain places in Asia and on the workplace's payroll) is one of the last bastions of a patriarchal social structure where men can have all the power and women they want, believing that they are akin to objects, "things" that don't feel anything and are made to be used without need for asking for permission and worry, because women "are more submissive and not as tough, without having a single original thought in their heads."  This kind of thinking is not acceptable anymore, especially as society continues to develop.   Yet it's frustrating that many men think it's still okay to make cat-calls and wolf-whistles to women who walk by them on the street.  Oi!  We're not your sex dolls, okay?  If you want to display that behavior, do it at a strip club!

            So, of course there are video games like Grand Theft Auto and whatnot that have strong male leads and "weak" female NPCs (non-player characters, for those not familiar with gaming lingo) in today's world.  Because the video game market is not changing fast enough to support the idea of using a strong female lead that isn't just a sex icon.  That or gender-neutral video games such as the one where you play a gust of wind…….or say, has anyone ever heard of flOw?  That one is gender-neutral!  There are whole species of plants and animals that are without gender living on this very same planet; why do we still have gender-specific games where the exciting sexist action games are geared towards men and the frilly boring "bake a cake" or "raise a puppy" games are geared towards women?  Our world has CHANGED; it's time the nerdy gaming market should do so as well!

So, What the Fuck Again?  Getting to the Points……

            Why have this assumption of a narrow market that is mostly made up of male Nerds in need of a confidence boost that only exists in an artificially constructed world?  Why not expand the mentality to other genre games?  There are games out there that are indie, and games that have strong female leads.  When I was playing the Beta for LP Recharge (that is now available as an app for tablet devices and for sale for actual MONEY—neither of which I really HAVE!  Why leave the poor female nerd out of all the fun by not making it available for free on Facebook anymore?!  Can't we just pay for the ad-free portability instead?  It will allow for a wider audience/market, at least!), I had the option of playing a strong female lead character—which I did.  And it was awesome!  I could play my customized character the way I wanted to.  Why can't we have similar games like that out there, for Xbox/Playstation/Nintendo/Sega consoles?

            We must change the gaming landscape and market, stimulating an evolution and growth that allows gamer diversity in the marketplace.  Though I'd love to fuck with the current gamescape by releasing a game that has ONLY strong female leads that rescue "wimpy" nerds from the clutches of evil, we should start small; we should allow female characters to not just be a standby in the scene, but rather be a part of our team, and be playable.  This line from the Halo Reach release panel says it all: http://youtu.be/1aOb6Nn8egA?t=12m15s

            However, the solution I presented isn't the problem here: it's the reaction that male gamers have to the possibility of a female-equivalent gamescape (which is a gaming market landscape, in case you haven't figured it out yet), by issuing insults and death threats to those females who speak out.  Why do that?!  Why be programmed that way?!  We're not your pixelated bitches!  (Technically speaking, sometimes I am a pixelated bitch, but I'm not your submissive pixelated bitch!)

            Isn't it against the LAW (especially in California) to issue a threat?  Isn't it wrong anyways, if there isn't a law against issuing threats?  Especially "terroristic" threats of school shootings?  In what way does it make sense that it's "okay" to do that in response to us ladies (or lady Nerds) speaking up for equal more accurate representation in the virtual universe?  Because, gamer dudes and guy Nerds, in case you forgot, we ladies are a formidable gender for one reason and one reason only: we.  Have.  VAGINAS!!!  And our vaginas are dangerous and wily.  They are the gateways of NEW LIFE!  Yes: WE BEAR YOUR CHILDREN, BOYS!  And those hormones that rear their heads every month exist for THAT very reason!  That and our mother bear instincts are the reason why your genes are still in the gene pool (provided that your genes make up part of the DNA of your spawn)!  You think we're weak and submissive?  Threaten the safety of our offspring and we go She-Hulk on everybody's asses!  #EdenSmash

            So, "Gamergate" (aka, the Gamescape Waste-of-Time) is just plain ridiculous.  There's no good reason for males to be like, "Whoa, wait, FUCK YOU TO DEATH, BITCH, BECAUSE WE DOMINATE THIS WORLD!" and for them to be programmed that way in the first place.  Open up your minds, bros.  (And I think legal weed should help in that respect.  Just not too much.)  Or else the next time you're online, all the ladies will definitely be fragging your ass in Call of Duty/Modern Warfare/Halo/Destiny/whatever because of how much of a dick you just had to be.  And I'll gladly be one of them once I can figure out how to play first-player-shooter games a lot better (without being the victim of every other "death" in the game)….

            Anyways, that's it for my rant here.  Let's all breathe a sigh of release, drink some delicious dessert wine in celebration of my 24th birthday (which was this past Halloween, if you haven't read my previous post), and share the love.  And while we're doing that at the same time as my partial absence, I hope y'all
(without being fucked over like in this video!)


Friday, October 31, 2014

Happy Haunted Halloween, Whoniverse!

            Yeah, I said "Haunted" and "Whoniverse" in the same sentence!  Mostly because this is a quickie that will hopefully cover both the Doctor Who cosplay event AND the Historic Haunts tour I took, and it will be just funny enough to tide you over for Halloween AND the first 9 days of November (including Dia de los Muertos, or the Day of the Dead).  So, instead of going blabbity blah, let's get right to it!  I've got the Necrofusion full album here (which is by Zak Bagans + Praga Khan), which is OPTIONAL for you!  (If it's too distracting, do some DJ Lorn, with Ancient Realms: Atlantis or Ancient Realms: Anasazi!)  WARNING: Lots of pictures here, so if you are having a hard time loading up pictures, I suggest you try using a laptop or a desktop computer and not some iWhatever device you're using.

Who Was Whose Doctor?  Why I Should Have a TARDIS!!!

            The inaugural Doctor Who cosplay event on Saturday, October 18th, 2014, was pretty good: people showed up in costume that were creative, and I was surprised at how creative they were in their choices.  Let me be honest, though: I should've started way earlier than I did.  I was super stressed, wanting some actual awesome costume to wear.  I was so desperate that I was frantically scanning through ThinkGeek for Whovian goodies.  I wound up wearing a DoctorWho-INSPIRED outfit rather than a full on costume, which actually made Dad a little happy.  It was original, but totally painful for my feet as I was wearing Converse high-tops that did not fit me very well.  Maybe I should've applied duct tape to the situation……

            Anyways, despite showing up LATE and missing most of the action (hence the need for an actual TARDIS with Gallifreyan time-travel technology!), people were there dressed as Doctor Rory, Amy, a Dalek, a Cyberman (there were 2 Cybermen, actually), Captain Jack Harkness……  Even Dan and Kris got in on the cosplay action: Kris was Madame Kovarian and Dan could alternate between a Silence (without the hands) and an infected gas mask-wearing medical doctor from the two-parter "The Empty Child/TheDoctor Dances".

            But just dressing up wasn't enough: Dan and Kris even decked out the store in Whovian decorations, with a (cardboard) TARDIS out front, the gravestones for Mr. and Mrs. Pond, Clara Oswald, and River Song, the Face of Bo, the Doctor's non-fightin' hand….  Some chilled bottled Waters of Mars, some Whovian cupcakes and even marshmallow Adipose pops were available for sale in case you get famished or thirsty, with a scavenger hunt available to cure boredom, with a color/draw-your-own-TARDIS activity for the kids!

            My initial assesment: 4 plungers out of 5.  I could've been there earlier, but that's my own damn fault; I would've gotten great pictures of great costumes between noon and 3pm EDT!  Other businesses had stuff going on, like a London Fog tea available at the café two doors down, and the salon doing Whovian nail designs; I also missed them!  DAVROS DAMMIT!  Next time, after creating a ton of Adipose with my mass, I most certainly WILL have a costume ready!
           MARK MY WORDS, SAXON!  *Schwarzneggar accent* I'LL BE BAHCK!!!!!

(more pictures from the cosplay event is available here: https://flic.kr/s/aHsk5QbwvD )

Historic Haunts: The Return of the Damned Blogger

            I hope people remember my post about going on the Historic Haunts tour last year.  I decided to go again this year, but with Papa Spock's camera!  This very decision has consequences, however.  I had opted for the camera for one reason: the possibility of capturing something paranormal in an image.  What I wound up with is much different and weirder from when I started—THE ESSENCE OF EVERY GOOD JOURNEY!  Or is it documentary?  Not sure; I should ask Morgan Spurlock….  *picks up that name she dropped, gently prodding it to do more episodes of Inside Man on CNN*

            Anyways, it's the same stops as before, but the details are a little bit different, mostly because I didn't have the awesome tour guide who wore a kilt last year.  This year, it was a lady in a bit of a Victorian Gothic ensemble.  Currently second-best choice, in my opinion.  Then again, I was not paying as much attention this year because I was instead trying to take pictures for my blog post about this tour.  Cue EXASPERATED SIGH!!!!

            First thing I noticed when I reached location number 1 (Brethren House): we're all holding candles, we're all following this interestingly dressed character around town, listening to tales of history and the weird happenings of what's not necessarily considered scientific and holding candles while we go through.  Either this is a special traditional journey that has a hint of a religious vibe (as in the candle-lit vigils olden day friends of mine have attended for their churches)……or we look like a fucking cult here.  Seriously, tell me if we look like a cult!

Do you get what I mean?!  Thanks, Jenny Lawson aka the Bloggess, for inspiring that bit of crazy thinking!  I can't wait for the brainwashing to be completed so that I, too, may be collecting weird taxidermy and get raised eyebrows during the annual inspection done by the apartment building's management whenever we get too damn comfortable!  Maybe your husband Victor (who's always wrong—unless he's obviously right) can do the inspection this year—just to make it fun!

            Anyways, more pictures here include us walking, tour guide's "preaching" and nothing out of the ordinary—so far…..

            We hit God's Acre (a cemetery surrounded by school buildings, in case you forgot), and for me, it was photography central!  I wound up staying farther behind to take pictures, hoping to CATCH SOMETHING!!!!!!  *flails*  I think I did….because I took this picture—AIN'T IT PURDY?!

And I took this second one just in case of false positives:

Huh….That's weird…..I'm sure that there weren't any bugs around…  And I doubt that there's any dust in this cemetery.  I am also sure that the lens of the camera was clear…..  Let's take a closer look:

And then I went back to the previous picture…..

Pardon the poor editing—My Photoshop skills are severely lacking….but I lined it up best I could!

            Anyways, ORBS!  Very controversial manifestationof spirit energy.  Most orbs caught in photos and videos are actually just dust particles and bugs and what-not.  In fact, Zak Bagans and Nick Groff each say (in their books) that 95-97% of all orbs captured on film (static or video) are bugs or dust particles or lens flares or whatever and easy to debunk.  It's that remaining 3-5% that is totally weird: they emit their own light, are not caused by any light reflecting off of a random bug or some dust, they manifest IN FRAME, and move in intelligent patterns at times.

            I'm not entirely sure that I caught an ACTUAL orb, and verification on whether I did or not would be appreciated.  (FUCK OFF, TROLLS!)  But in any case, the POSSIBILITY is there!

            After the cemetery, we swung by Boyd Theater (which I hope gets back up and running; please, potential investors!  Help bring this historic icon of Bethlehem, PA, back to life!) and the Hells' Fargo:

FIXED!  Lol, I'm kidding, Wells Fargo!

And then passed through that pedestrian alley by the Underground Lair (Wow, how much advertising are they getting just from me mentioning their store in my blog?!) to get to the Sun Inn.

            Before I tell you about the next photo, let me tell you right now……I AM FINE!  I AM OKAY!  You can tell by my tweets!

And it was all my Davros-damn fault for doing this: I was trying to get a picture of the tour guide in front of the back end of the Sun Inn from a point of view towards the ground angled up—like a worm's eye view type of shot.  I was also holding a LIT candle, and it wasn't one of those fake ones that is powered by batteries and working light bulbs; this is ACTUAL fire burning an ACTUAL wick that's part of an ACTUAL candle made of ACTUAL wax wearing an ACTUAL clear plastic cup used to catch wax drippings so that said drippings don't burn our hands.  I was not paying attention to the way I was holding the candle, and inadvertently held it too close to my hair, setting my hair on fire.  I heard it, felt the flames lightly lick my cheek, and yelped, quickly putting it out with the bare hand that was NOT holding the candle.  *shudders*  I finally went through that rite of passage of setting my own hair on fucking FIRE, which is an experience that stays with you for the rest of your life!  All just to get this shot:

            I was able to check after the tour was over to see if I was burnt (because I didn't feel pain; yeah, adrenaline is fun like that) or not, and seeing what the damage was, I was also able to breathe a small sigh of relief.  Yeah, burning your hair is not fun, but it's even worse if you ACTUALLY get burnt flesh in the process.  I even reassured everyone that I'm okay, and that it was just my hair and ego that were burnt (like I said in my tweets).  No need for an incident report for something as stupid as what I had done!  Seriously, I'm not one of those crazy people who live to sue everyone for every imperfection in their lives!
            Hi!  I'm Lady Eden Pyrithea, your substitute Smokey the Bear mascot, and I say that fire only belongs on the grill, in campfires and in fire tornadoes.  DON'T BURN OUR FORESTS OR HAIR!!!  #INCINERATE

            So, back to the Sun Inn, after carefully eyeing the candle for the rest of the tour, and taking a picture at the HISTORIC Hotel Bethlehem (which still has a Room With a Boo I would LOVE to stay in; in fact, I dare skeptics—especially Bad Astronomy blogger Phil Plait—to spend a couple nights in this room.  Yeah, it's expensive and got a HUGE waiting list, but I swear, the memories will be WELL worth it!), I was able to head home, call Papa Spock to inform him of the events that took place within that hour and take my second shower of the day.  It was a long day, and I swear, despite the short burst of fear and panic I had, it was……okay.  I disliked the amount of issues I had prior to the tour (Buses should NOT break while people are in transit to their audiologist appointment; the bus drivers should also NOT take ten minutes to stop the fucking bus and try and fix it themselves, due to said people being ALREADY late to their audiologist appointment and do not need to be even later!), but I have to quickly sum it up as a VERY LONG DAY.  I was so tired that I wound up falling asleep on my own couch after the shower and a mug full of milk.

            Seriously, I should get a reward for surviving all that.  Not something big, just…maybe, a new pair of headphones that are long overdue?  Or a large tub of delicious mint gelato decorated with cannolis?

            Out of exhaustion, I say BLEHHHH.  Anyhow, I hope everyone enjoys their Halloween (which is my BIRTHDAY!  Yeah, totally my birthday!  Just like Vanilla Ice!  And the two other babies that were delivered that same day in that same hospital I was born at, all scheduled at the same time because the obstetrician was about to go on vacation, which turned it all into a race! #FIRST) while I spend it with my parents before heading out on another trip to locations within my sector.  Remember last year, when I spent a snowed-in Doctor Who Day at a hotel in Pittsburgh that SHOULD HAVE an elevator in it and not just be a converted apartment complex?  Yeah, it's same that trip again, only with a real hotel with a REAL elevator (not just an imaginary one), and it's much earlier in the month.  Bonus: I get to bring my dice rolling game, and possibly get Mama Squirrel and Papa Spock to bring the Princess Bride game I gave them for last Christmas on this trip.  Hopefully, we'll get to have a Starbucks Popular-Seattle-based-coffee-shop-chain gaming night again.  It was fun trying to conquer Tokyo, but perhaps we can play some other games, like said Princess Bride game or my Roll For It game or……some other game.  It was fun—CAN WE PLEASE DO IT AGAIN?!

            Anyways, while I'm gone (and absently publishing a blog post scheduled to be released next week), I hope you ENJOY YOUR HEALTHY HALLOWEEN TACQUITO!

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Contagion—Part Deux: The RECKONING (Or The Vaccination Recommendation)

            I know it's been a while since I posted that rant about wisdom teeth and their lack of valid purpose, but I had take the time to recuperate and clean my apartment.  Which I did.  A lot.  By sleeping in and taking the proper amount of pain pills and getting hooked on the new CBS docudrama </scorpion>, after Mom refused to let me watch FOX's Sleepy Hollow on their LCD HDTV.  But the break was worth it, even though the Pre-Op Gremlin Diet was a pain in the ass, I had to chew on one side of my mouth for a while, there was no liquid diet (so as to not let my jaw lock up, according to the doctor) and I'm stuck being round with no way of getting a Nutritional Counselor through the Adult Autism Waiver.  Yippee.
            On the bright side, I now have a real doctor (a Primary Care Provider and not a pediatrician, if you will) and he's genuinely concerned about my health.  And after the initial new patient appointment, I'm ready for this year's flu season.  And if I'm ready, and you're not ready, well….you're fucked because I'm not going to be your nursemaid unless I'm the only healthy person left in the world and left with no choice.  Especially if you're against vaccinations for various reasons; which brings me to offering this (optional) full Contagion soundtrack for this blog post on the importance of vaccines, Autistic Spectrum Disorders not being caused by them, and how everyone is panicking over frickin' Ebola.

            If you're like me, you rely on modern medicine and science to keep you alive and healthy for a lot longer than the Dark Ages of childhood.  Seriously, science has been advancing medicine and medical practices to the point where we can treat diseases with proper procedures and improve the outlook of cancer patients without the application of bloodletting and establishment of haunted quarantine facilities located on islands made of human ash (*cough, cough, whisper* Povegliaaaaaaa…..).  Anyways, unless you have a compromised immune system that requires careful monitoring and drug cocktails that turn druggies green with envy (and nausea), we're doing great!  Mostly….  Unfortunately, there are always crackpots (on pot) spouting bullshit from both ends.

            Let's address the first issue: the Ebola Panic Pandemic!

E-BOLA: Not Just a Bowling-Themed Computer Virus

            Lately, there has been a lot of uncertainty with a particular virus that manifested in Western Africa.  Ebola has been the subject of news channels for the past few days (maybe even weeks), and with the help of idiots of the Fox News Channel, panic is being spread faster than the flu virus in a room full of phlegmers.  Seriously, just tune in at any point of the day and you'll see them talking about either ISIS (a valid concern, but only if it's without the Obama Blame-a-thon) or the Ebola virus, saying that it'll make you bleed from every orifice, that it will cause delirium, that it will make your dick sprout wings and fly off!!!!  (Thank you, South Park gluten episode, for that joke.)  Seriously, the experts are saying that it's not super, super, super airborne contagious, Fox News Idiots!  Why continue with the fear-mongering even after their repeated statements that basically translate to "CHILL DA FUCK OUT"?!

            And before the conspiracy theorists start flooding the comments box with statements of, "They are just saying that to make it so you can get sick and the doctors and medical practitioners and pharmaceutical companies can get a lot of business and profit from this outbreak," please do yourself a favor and read the fucking Hippocratic Oath carefully; lying to hurt us or get us sick is a violation of that oath.  I kid you not, it is often believed that part of that oath says, "I will do no harm."  Any deliberate actions to cause harm (even to make money off of it, though most of the money comes from the insurance companies) is considered malpractice.  Or fraud.  Or something along those lines—Dr. Drew, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, back me up here, please!

            So, even though there was one case of Ebola in Dallas, Texas (and many more in Africa), I doubt that it's going to spread like zombie wildfire.  There could be one other person, but only if they have been exposed to an Ebola-infected individual's bodily fluids, including but not limited to blood, feces, urine, or spit.  Just calm down, breathe and stop reading WebMD; you'll just freak out more.  (That goes double—no, triple for you, Jenny Lawson!)  Unless you're a doctor or nurse, stay away from yellow people you see bleeding weirdly—and call emergency services, because even though they appear to be the victim of the Horseman of Pestilence, they're still human and deserve a fair chance at surviving this illness.  (Unfortunately, it's too late to save the Simpsons' universe; they're all jaundiced!  OH MY DAVROS, THEY ALL HAVE CANCER!!!!!)

            Which reminds me: who is the last person to touch my hand sanitizer?!  *flails*

Vaccinations: A Good Defense Makes a Mighty Fine and Painful Offense

            Vac∙cine—n. (vak'-sēn) a modified and hence harmless virus or other microorganism for inoculation to produce immunity to a disease by stimulating antibody production.

Yeah, that definition excerpt is from the Webster's Universal English Dictionary that I got as a gift one Christmas.  It's been handy for looking up words I don't understand or want to share the definition of.  And this definition definitely has the demand for sharing.

            Ever since the dawn of the commercially available Interwebz, there has been a rise in a virulent strain of crazy people who insist that vaccines are more harmful to children (and other people) than the illness it "supposedly" helps the population create an immunity in response to.  I'm serious, with Jenny McCarthy (Wow, that name sounds familiar!) writing books (that get published) about how she "discovered" the "link" between autism and vaccines—which is complete bullshit—there has been a rise in stubborn ignorance and stupidity!  And I'm on the Autism Spectrum; I can verify how bullshitty this reasoning is!

            Let's start from the beginning: I have an Autistic Spectrum Disorder diagnosis of Asperger's (under DSM-IV, and I can keep it thanks to the fine print in DSM-V); up until now, only about….90?.....people know I have it, including family members and friends.  (Due to this, I'm also a recipient of services through the Adult Autism Waiver—YAY GOVERNMENT!  But that's not what we're here to discuss.)  And since the diagnosis, we (meaning family members in addition to myself) have been able to identify that I inherited the genetic trait from my father.  Yes, my father has an undiagnosed case of Asperger's; why else do you think I call him the non-Leonard Nimoy, non-Zachary Quinto Mr. Spock?  But if you take a closer look, it's possible to trace that back to his father (my grandfather), who believes he, too, has Asperger's.  So, yes, Autistic Spectrum Disorders have a genetic root in all this mystery—but that's not the entire answer to this Paladin-level puzzle people have been trying to put together for years.  It could be caused by something in the environment, the amount of oxygen we're getting at birth, etc.  So far, we don't know what the source is—we're still looking for it.

            But with the Internet came false information: "Vaccines have chemicals and harmfullevels of lead that WILL cause your kid to get autism!"  It is to the best of my (probably faulty) knowledge from an English college course that this theory came from a fraudulent research paper, with a message popularized by Jenny McCarthy and Oprah and the series premiere of Eli Stone (remember that TV series?)—truth be told, the whole damn cake was a lie!  And yet, the idea spread and connected like-minded vaxxers to create this movement based on this lie.  And after a while, there are now Autism organizations that are working to promote this idea and saying, "Let's get rid of vaccines for good!"
            Everyone.  Please.  Cue the facepalms.

            How about we set this allll straight?  First of all, lead in vaccines is completely bullshit to me.  The FDA and whatever other organizations that are in charge of regulating drugs that require injection is not going to let any drug onto the market if it has any harmful levels of lead in it, including levels that  "cause autism."  Not to mention that I have no idea if any other drugs or chemicals cause autism or Autistic Spectrum Disorders.  From what I've learned, it's not about the blocking of chemicals to certain areas of the brain like lead can (Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey episode 7, "The Clean Room"), but rather a different way of wiring the brain.  We think differently, process information differently, express ourselves differently from neurotypical (NT) people due to this "faulty" wiring.  And even though it's frustrating to a lot of people (especially mothers like mine), it doesn't mean that there's anything wrong with us—we're just a lot more different from everyone else.

            But anyways, vaccines do serve a real purpose.  It helps your body identify what viruses and bacteria are not good for your cells and organs to metabolize.  Once identified and eradicated, the body then knows (how) to produce the correct antibody for that particular virus or bacteria so you don't wind up hospitalized and getting your food and air through a fucking tube shoved down your throat.  This way, you can't get SUPER sick from flu or chicken pox, measles, mumps, rubella, smallpox….   For a while, these diseases were only found in the virus vaults of the Centers for Disease Control and developing nations.  Now, with the anti-vaccine bullshit spreading through the masses faster than Bubonic Plague at the Olympics in Autumn, they are making a comeback.  Which is not good, because not only will we get sick (from POLIO—DO YOU WANTPOLIO?!) at worse levels and intensities, but it will also mean that Mama Squirrel's contribution is completely moot.  She was one of the vaccine pioneers, which makes her sound older than she really is, but I'm pretty sure that she is part Gallifreyan, so she can't really age like you and I do.  The only people who shouldn't get a vaccine are the ones with compromised immune systems for whatever reason: immunosuppressants, HIV and AIDS, etc.

            In the end, the fear of having a child with an Autistic Spectrum Disorder should NEVER take priority over keeping yourself and your family healthy (and alive).  Besides, what is there to fear?

Neurodiversity: When It's OKAY to Have Autism

            So, to quickly recap, Autistic Spectrum Disorders are a bunch of "disorders" that vary in symptoms and intensity, is NOT caused by vaccines, and has more to do with neurology than the immune system.  Oh, and I should mention that there is no cure for this.  (It's also NOT caused by Ebola, for the confused readers.)  No diet (gluten-free or otherwise) is going to heal/cure/"manage" the symptoms of an ASD, no matter what the vaxxers and gluten-phobes claim.  Seriously, I think y'all are crazy for saying, "OMG, GLUTEN-FREE PRODUCTS, I NEED YOU!"  I'm sure that soon, there will be markets for "gluten-free" toilet paper, underwear, feminine supplies, condoms, soap, cars, houses, tanks full of oxygen…..  Please don't start that; I'm forbidding anyone from using this "idea" (read: crap) as an excuse to keep the phobia alive.
            Much like pi, this fear is irrational, and it doesn't seem to end……

            Anyways, people haven't exactly understood what it means to have an ASD; growing up (and going through hell school) in a small town in the middle of FUCKING NOWHERE (in a place that Verizon can't seem to find on the map), I was ostracized by about 85% of the student population for being different this way.  At first, I couldn't understand why, but now we know; it was a tough battle to get the diagnosis, though, as I didn't get it until I was 15 and in high school. (What's worse is that it was initially "Asperger's tendencies"—what a way to half-ass your practice, Dr. [name hidden]!)

            Anyways, yes: we're socially awkward, we're highly intelligent, we can have laser focus on topics of interest…..which is funny, because isn't that the definition of being a nerd????  Oh my Davros, it actually is!  Nerdism can have neurological and developmental causes!  Clinical nerdism—what a breakthrough!  I should totally blog/talk about this—at another time!

            Well, besides that, there are a lot of us on the Spectrum who find it very difficult to think of living without an ASD.  It is a part of us, a part of our identity, a part of who we are.  Yes, ASDs have their drawbacks (which sometimes makes it frustrating to interact with the members of society on the spectrum), but it doesn't mean that ASDs are a bad thing to have; it's simply a different way of functioning in the world.  However, it also doesn't mean that ASDs are what define us as who we are: we have them; it doesn't mean that we ARE the disability, that they have us in their tight grip and there's no hope for us.  There are lots of resources out there that can help you understand your daughter/son/sister/brother, and it isn't really that hard to accept ASDs as a part of life: You have to live with it, rather than suffer from it.

            Acceptance is the first step.  That's what's key to being a happy parent of a child who's on the spectrum: just accept it.  I'm not asking for you to surrender (actually, I sort of am, but only by a factor of 5%), but rather to realize how you can't create the perfect child; so they have an ASD—so what?  Do you see any Horsemen of the Apocalypse riding through the streets?  Is the diagnosis of an ASD so earth-shattering that it literally causes an earthquake in your area that registers at 12.0 on the Richter scale?  Is it so horrifying to have an ASD that it's akin to terminal cancer or lupus?  (Is it Obama's fault?  Is it the work of the Freemasons or the Illuminati?)  The correct answer is: HELL NO!  All it means is that you should learn how to speak their language and understand them on a deeper level.

            (Also, any diagnosis of an ASD should be double-checked.  That's what second opinions are for!)

Medical Dalek says "VACCINATE!"

            So, let's wrap this up: FOR FUCK'S SAKE, JUST GET THE VACCINES!  There should be legitimate medical reasons why you shouldn't, like real allergies to eggs or any other ingredient in the vaccine, or compromised immune system, or some other legitimate issue.  (I do not consider money to be a legitimate issue; there are places out there—and I'm referring to "outside of my home base but still in America"—that offer free vaccines.  I'm serious!  Even my college, Marshall University with their free basic healthcare for full-time students, would hold free flu shot clinics for the students every year.  Just locate one near you, and go there!)
            As for the whole "fear of needles," that's a bit understandable: it can hurt, it's frightening, etc.  But I've had to deal with needles my whole life (most recently with an IV needle for my oral surgery) for medical reasons.  I can tell you from experience: all you're going to feel is a painful pinch, and then it's over.  If you need to, bring a good friend.  But you can do it!  I believe in you, even though I don't really know you!

Good places to check out for more information:

~Bad Astronomer:  He's a blogger, a skeptic, a pro-vaccine critic, a scientist, an astronomer, a nerd, an all-around smart and funny dude, and he's worked on the Hubble Telescope—SQUEE!!!  He can weed out the bullshit and get you the truth.
~Centers for Disease Control: They're the master experts in America on infectious diseases and other sick-making stuff.  'Nuff said.
~Mayo Clinic: More top-notch medical people.  (Warning: their pages cast a negative light over ASDs.)
~Autism Speaks: Even though I initially thought that this organization was anti-vaccine, I took a look and I was wrong.  However, I'm still a little leery...but I recommend them!

            That's all I can come up with for now.  Let's just hope that the Ebola virus doesn't evolve into a zombie virus and DESTROY US ALLLLL!  (If you're a zombie, I'm sorry: just stay the hell away from me and my human colony.)


Thursday, September 18, 2014

Rant-Rant-Ranty-Rant: When Your Teeth Get Stupid

            Yeah.  I know, it's a rant about something as small as "wisdom teeth."  But I have a few thoughts I'd like to share about the topic.  Seriously, I do!  Some of it is me voicing concern over being given general anesthesia, some of it is about how I have to fast before the surgery, but I hope that I'll give it a humorous spin.  Be warned: there is media in this post, so it's best that it gets loaded up on a laptop or desktop computer with a cable/wire/whatever connection.  It's also best not to be eating when reading this post….
            As for the optional theme song, it's "Hard Trance Techno Rave Music" by trancElovE.

            I've never expected this to happen to me; I just hoped that I didn't have to deal with this issue.  Unfortunately, my biology just laughed in my face with my own mouth.  In fact, it only started one or two days before I found out: my right lower wisdom tooth (which is number 32, in case you're a dental professional) was hurting so bad that I couldn't even sleep.  When I got up and talked to my parents that morning, I was terrified: what if they had to yank it out right there at the dentist's office?!?!?!  I was not mentally prepared for any of it!  Although I admit it's not my first rodeo—it's my second and I'm still not any better at it: my two front teeth had to be removed in two halves, the second being oral surgery with Novacain.  I hated it, since it involved the use of a scalpel inside my mouth!  (Sorry for the visualization, there.)  That and with Mama Squirrel's recommendation, I insisted on general anesthesia.  And with every choice, there are consequences: a whole new hellish hand basket of dread was delivered straight to me because I've never been anesthetized that way before.  But let me shed some light on the teeth themselves.

Unintelligent Design: Why Not Call Them Stupid Teeth???

            There's a lot of debate over how we got to be this way: Creationism vs. Evolution, Intelligent Design vs. Natural Selection, etc.  Of course, there is a shit ton of scientific evidence that tells us we evolved from monkeys, who might not be so thrilled about the connection:

And yet, we aren't perfectly evolved (Disproving Intelligent Design: why design us with these medical flaws, for fuck's sake?!), which brings me to this brilliant counterpoint from Dr. Neil Degrasse Tyson: Unintelligent Design.  There are so many things wrong with us, and some of them were outlined by Dr. Tyson in the 277thepisode of the Nerdist Podcast.

            First off, what's going on between our legs?!  We've got an entertainment complex in between two sewage systems.  It's unsanitary and we have to use our hands to keep ourselves clean in that area, which is also inefficient.  That and there's a ton of foliage in that area!  It's gross and stuff, seriously.

            Secondly, we eat, drink and breathe through the same hole in our human faces!  This ensures that a percentage of us humans choke to death on what we consume.  Not with dolphins: they eat and breathe through two different holes in their body, which means that they'll win in a sardine-eating contest!  But even then, if we don't find an early exit from life, we live 80 years on average; in spite of this, we die from starvation in 8 weeks, we die of dehydration in 3-8 days, and we die from asphyxiation (suffocation) in 8 minutes.  We're fragile human beings who fall prey to many illnesses that are the result of this chemical and biological balance being off inside our bodies.  Too many cells in one spot causing a riot is cancer; not enough endorphins being produced in our brains leads to depression; too much stomach acid leads to acid reflux disease.  If we're so "perfectly designed," then why do we have this happen to us?

            Then we have our "useless" body parts: the appendix is not really needed in these days, and yet, we all have them, thanks to our ancestors hunting for whatever food they can get.  There was no cooking in those days, no discerning bones from muscles and feathers and fur and scales and whatnot, so they would eat the entire animal, including the parts that give us no nutritional benefit.  That's where the appendix would come in: it creates a sort of acid that helps the remaining solids (bones, beak, feathers, fur, etc.) dissolve so it doesn't hurt them when it comes out the other end.  (All together now: EWWWWW!!!!)  But now it's quite useless, as the appendix, being completely BORED, will sometimes malfunction and burst—appendicitis, which can only be resolved with surgical removal.  The gallbladder stores whatever the liver produces, even though the liver can perform the same functions as the gallbladder.  Tonsils would have to come out when we get tonsillitis, but nothing is as much of a pain as wisdom teeth.

            Why have wisdom teeth?  They're the farthest back on our lower jaw, and we don't even get them to come through until we hit our later years, well after we lose all our baby teeth.  But they aren't perfect in their emergence: 90% of all people have at least on wisdom tooth come in impacted, or at an angle, pushing against the molars next to them, causing pain and infection, perhaps even damage to the adjacent teeth.  There could even be a cyst that forms, which is even worse.  Yes, it's common as fuck, but here's another issue: why not just remove them at an earlier age?  These teeth are easier to remove when the patient is younger, since their roots are not completely formed, and the surrounding bone is softer than in your early 20s; not only that, there is less of a chance of damaging nerves and other structures nearby.  (Source: pamphlet I got from my consultation appointment.)  Thanks, AAOMS, for taking the wait-and-see approach.

            One more point to make: why call them "wisdom teeth" when they come in incorrectly?  When I first went in to my dentist's office, I made the joke of my wisdom teeth being "unwise".  This body part, in my opinion, is completely stupid.  They have no current purpose except to be a pain in the ass, causing problems for 90% of all people, which can only be put an end to by way of oral fucking SURGERY!  That's why I want them to be renamed as "stupid teeth," because there is no point to them in today's world.  Not to mention how many drugs are involved with treatment.

Anesthesia: The "Fun Part"

            I've never done illegal drugs, I'm prescribed medication for depression/anxiety and my ADD (squirreliness), and I don't like not knowing what my brain is doing, and even just being unconscious with people doing surgical procedures on me makes me anxious.  I'm just not prepared for that idea.

            That and me going like this after waking up:

I'm terrified of having a panic attack and freaking out like that.  Seriously, the loopiness, albeit fun for my parents, is frightening to me as I don't know how much control I have; my pre-frontal cortex could be affected in ways I do not know if I like it or not.  What also sucks is that I have to go into Gremlin Mode the very night before; I'll wind up hungry and cranky and panicked and anxious and stuff—I'll be a total mess, trying to find my copy of Let's Pretend This Never Happened and re-reading the chapter titled "Draw Me A Fucking Dog."  It'll be a total trip, for sure.

            That and I better have a milkshake waiting for me after I'm awake and mobile!  (I'm going to look for milkshake and smoothie recipes after this and the next time I'm online.  Suggestions are appreciated!   Just tweet them to me with the hashtag #SmoothieSquirrel!)

            At this point, I think it's best to look at it as a nap I so desperately need, followed by a liquid diet I hope to extend into a week-and-a-half.  Again, not my first rodeo: I was on a liquid diet before, and I lost a lot of mass that way.  Not that liquid diets are the ideal solution for "weight" loss.  I'll update you as best as I can, and I appreciate you reading this blog, but it could be a while before I post anything again.  My next post might wind up being the week after, but who knows?  #RECUPERATE

            In any case, ENJOY YOUR BURRITO MILKSHAKE!