Sunday, December 31, 2017

White Christmases, Water Therapy and Winding Down

The word of the week is wearysome.

Dec 25 - Wait, is that... ?

Whaddayaknow! It's missile-toe:


Also: Last night around dinnertime, white flakes appeared in the sky above Victoria... and it wasn't a soap spill from a passing plane - it was SNOW!

In the morning, things looked like this:


It was perfect timing for a White Christmas, which made my girlfriend happy, because it stuck around for most of the day until the evening, when higher temperatures made things look less chilly again:


My lady and I spent a good part of the day together, making it a quiet and enjoyable time; as we'd already spent last Saturday at my parent's having Christmas Dinner early, today was all ours to do with as we wished. We ended up going to Sookjai in the early evening for dinner, just as the afternoon crowd left, and had a lovely few hours there with good company in a quiet atmosphere.

There's ALWAYS enough for 3 meals when I eat here!

Merry Christmas to all!


Dec 26 – Drop The Shopping

I didn't buy a thing for Boxing Day this year, and that's great.

Why? Because Boxing Day deals become less so every year; the last good Boxing Day sale I was at was in 2007 when I arrived in Victoria, and got a heckuva deal on a TV, Xbox and sound system from the now-defunct Future Shop. Ever since, I've scanned the yearly ads, got a few things here and there... but for the last few years, I've shrugged at all the flyers, and not just because there's nothing I really need or want: the deals are just, meh.

Also, there's the fact that spending money right now isn't what I want to do.

Sadly, NCIX shuttered their doors this month...

Unfortunately this year, a Canadian tech store fell by the wayside: NCIX. Started in 1996, it competed against the likes of NewEgg.ca and Amazon.ca... and late 2017 proved to be too much for them, as they filed for bankruptcy this month.

While I'm sad to see a Canadian company close, I hadn't shopped at NCIX for a few years now, as their prices weren't any better than the competition, which is admittedly brutal in the tech sector. There's an interesting article about their closing here, with insights from a couple of former employees about why NCIX couldn't stay afloat in today's tech sales market.


Dec 27 – That's not funny...

Ah, banks.

A few weeks ago, I called up TD Bank to move a payment date back by 2 days to coincide with my payday this week, to ensure the payment cleared while I looked into covering it by other means - if necessary; I always hedge my bets.

At the time, I was assured( since I asked! )that the date could be moved back "no problem" if I called again, and that the payment amount would be back to normal; moving the date caused the payments to rise by $43 per month. Not great, but it would be for only this month, then back to normal in January.

Cue computer comedy, sans laughs on my part.

I wasn't able to get through on the phone to TD for the last week: their line rang solidly busy no matter when or how often I called, so I went in today for an appointment with a CSR. Forty-five minutes and three different people working on it later, the date had been changed back... but the payment amounts hadn't.


It seems that my attempt to save money cost me money, which annoyed me to no end, considering the assurances I was given on the phone... but whatever: spilled milk, and How Do We Fix This?

Turns out, you make another appointment, a week from now, and the larger payment goes through while TD tries to count its fingers to sum up to Ten. Again, nothing new from my experiences with them, which is why I left years ago, and wished that I could have paid off my remaining balances to be DONE with 'em.

So we'll see how next week goes. By my calculations, the 'new' loan terms mean I'll pay an additional $1507.41 over the life of the loan, a total that has my long-term budget in screaming fits. But I'm hopeful that we can resolve things properly, as the CSR and other bank reps all agree that it's a technical issue and given the circumstances nothing to do with me.

Whee.


Dec 28 – Global Village Construction Set

It's closing in on the end of the year, and I'm in Rumination Mode.

I get like this every December, for as many people do, I look back at the year gone by and wonder if it was Good, Bad, Ugly or just plain Indifferent. I get a little grumpy thinking about 2017, because being humans we tend to gloss over the Happy Shiny and focus on the Bad Things that tripped us up and barked our knees, despite one's conscious efforts to look on the brighter side of life.

But, at this end of the year, what about the end of the world?

Yup, that sort of thing is still on my mind, though in all seriousness, if the world ended with a bang and not a whimper, most of us across the globe wouldn't survive long: we're too dependent on civilization. Even here on Vancouver Island, we don't generate our own power, and food would run out for the populace in about a week; the rest of the not-pretty-picture goes bad from there and the scenario of doom repeats from there across the world.

What about preserving some of civilization, though, and rebuilding?

Such is the subject of The Knowledge, an organization that's compiling all such projects designed to rebuild civilization after a global disaster, in whatever flavour. My favourite project is the Global Village Construction Set:


I like to see such projects, as they give me a feeling of hope at this time of year: that no matter how bad things might get, that humanity might pick itself up from the dust and give it another shot without having to start all over again from scratch.


Dec 29 – In the Swim

Early to rise, and all that...

I was up at 6:30am today, which is later than usual of late, but I had a full dance card: first up was a morning swim, my first in over two weeks.

The walk over to The Parkside Hotel is a mere ten minutes on a good day, and since I've been cane-free for a week, it took me only a minute longer without strain. What I like about The Parkside is that the pool is indoors and heated( as I've mentioned before )so it's a joy to swim in... and doesn't tense up my tendons. Their changerooms are small but well-appointed and clean, and there's a hottub on the far deck of the pool that I use to warm my legs up for a minute beforehand.

25m of heated bliss all to myself!

Also, there's almost always no-one there at 7am weekday mornings, so I have the whole pool facility to myself with the occasional few people using the upper-level enclosed gym that's adjacent to the pool area - I barely know they're there at all.

Heavenly.

Swimming today was also good because I felt good: I swam carefully as usual, taking care not to overstrain my limbs as I worked my way along the length of the large pool with various swim-strokes I'd learned as a kid.

For the first time since I'd started, it felt normal to exercise.

Sure, at a few times I felt the strain pulling at my left leg's tendons, especially under my foot, but the whole point is to flex those too-tight muscles and ligaments: the heated water resists perfectly, as long as I watch my effort levels. Best of all, it costs me a mere $3 per swim!

Forty minutes later, I padded out to shower and grab breakfast at Frankie's, then bus on over to my massage therapy, where I again had those recalitrant tendons worked over. I shudder to think of the total cost I've paid over the last year of therapy, given that my benefits don't cover it, but it's been the difference between being a cane-ridden cripple and walking, so I've budgeted what's needed each month.

Onwards to see The Last Jedi for a second time today with a work buddy( we almost missed it by entering the wrong theatre due to shoddy signage design! )then back home to relax for the evening catching up on some mundane tasks as well as reading a bit, something that's been sorely lacking in my life of late.

A good day off, indeed!


Dec 30 – Long-form Laughs

I popped this in for a smile, or thirty:

Click to view for full-size laughter!

I find this funny on many levels, zany and serious... and because it provides such a wacky filter to view the Vulcan-Human relationship on Star Trek through. Original is here.

On a slightly more serious note, I've been walking all this week without a cane, and it's going well: I'm up to about 8K steps a day without more than a few twinges at the end of the day, though I'm keeping my backpack load light. It's tricky walking in the rain in my sneakers, since they have mesh over the toes, but plastic bags inside and a change of socks take care of any wet. I'll try to find some affordable boots in January, but they'll have to be as fully-supportive as my sneakers, as I want NO relapses like I had at the end of October that set my walking-again progress back nearly 6 weeks.

Caution, and laughter, are the best medicine.


Dec 31 – Winding Down Wonderfully

A good day to wind down the year.

My lady and I had lunch with our friends, as it was Deborah's birthday and she'd chosen to eat at the brand-new Sizzling Tandoor restaurant at Uptown. There were over a dozen of us, and we enjoyed the buffet there( butter chicken! )while the sun shone for a few hours through the large windows. It was especially nice to see some of those folks, as many of us had gamed together on and off for the last few years in the Pathfinder game world, the spiritual successor to DnD.

Afterwards, the two of us went to Murchie's, where we played Dragonwood over tea and a sizable chocolate chip cookie - yum! We both enjoyed the quiet bustle of Murchie's: even when it's busy, there's enough space, especially in the back room, that you can talk without effort, and the huge rear window really lights up the place even on crowded days, thanks to the fifteen-foot ceilings. So lovely!

We also ducked into Chapters for a peek at sale items, and my amazing girlfriend deigned to delight me with this magnificent gift, at 30% off - wow! Battle Angel Alita, soon to be a live-action movie in 2018, and a story I've loved for almost twenty years, but didn't have the scratch to pick up at any point:

WOW! A Deluxe Hardcover, new and shiny!

What I'd not mentioned is that last week, when my eyes were still hurting, we'd ducked into Chapters for a bit, and while she'd explored the racks, I'd settled into a nearby chair... and slowly paged through the first few dozen pages with my sunglasses and hat pulled down, enjoying the incredible art and story.

Thank-you, sweetheart: it's a gift I'd never have got myself, but I'll enjoy to the fullest as a treat over the next few months.


Happy New Year, all! May 2018 be kind to everyone you love, and those who need it!

The blog's rather late, but that's because I'm taking it easy tonight, so I'm in no hurry as I'm spending New Year's Eve in( sipping a Guinness ) - I'm still sensitive to sound and have NO desire to be anywhere loud tonight. I'll ring in the new year snoring, as boring as that is, because it's just a flip on the calendar until another day dawns, with the same me making the same strides towards my goals...

Sunday, December 24, 2017

Christmas Eve, Eyestrain and The Eye Of The World

The word of the week is ephemeral.

Dec 18 - Mostly Healthy?
Wow, my eyes( and head by extension )still really hurt, mostly my right orb.

Fortunately, I can still see if I wear sunglasses( and a visor )while at work, but I have to close my right eye every hour( or more often later in the day )for about twenty minutes, to give it a rest. Otherwise, it still feels like someone's poking my right eye from behind, meaning the muscle's strained from movement - ouch.

Since I don't have any sick days left, it's a good thing I can still function at work with the above preparations, and my co-workers are used to my weird health issues, so only a few people have( kindly )asked about my pulling a ZZ-Top during the workday all this week( which is a full five-day workweek )so there's that. I'm again really lucky in that regard, that my job can accommodate these things.

Still holding at a solid 155 lbs these days... 

On the bright side, my tendon issues seem to be on the wane, so I'm walking around just dandy of a day, though still careful to move every twenty minutes - the timer on my Pebble smartwatch is incredibly useful!

My core's still giving me trouble every other day or so, but once I get back to swimming next week( no way I can splash in the water with a simmering migraine! )I'll expect that to fade away as I build up strength( along with other health aspects )once I get into a weekly routine.

So I guess what I'm saying is: I'm on the mend, eye-ouchies included.


Dec 19 – Right Crab, Wrong Rock?

Sometimes I wonder...

Was I born at the right time?

An oddly recurring comment throughout my life has been that my personality and mannerisms are 'old-fashioned' and that I behave in a manner unlike my peers - though I've never been quite sure what that means, other than I'm more polite...?

As with most things in life, there's little certainty: most people are making things up as they go, especially in this day and age when what people used to take for granted is now called into question daily, either by science or social convention.


The idea of 'finding your place' in one's life, or in society in general, is appealing, but it's never really struck me as central to my own needs: I don't really 'belong' anywhere, in terms of family / social expectations or career peerage. I just... am, existing in a swirl of actions of my own making( most days )and just ambling along daily to get through whatever most needs my attention at the time, which is somewhat distracting when you're also trying to develop AND adhere to some worthwhile life goals over a period of months or years.

Small things are key: one step at a time, building to a day at a time, then a week, a month, a year... eventually culminating in a life you can look back on, and while you'll wonder at the weird wanderings that some of those steps took, you hope you'll be able to see a direction of your own choosing, and not the swaying stagger of someone who reacted far more than acted when push came to shove.

Tip: always have a good pair of shoes!


Dec 20 – The Eyes Have It

Good News, everyone!

After another day of wearing sunglasses and shading my eyes with a hat at work, I walked to an eye doctor appointment along the already-dark streets. A few tests later and he confirmed that my eyes had been strained, but were otherwise healthy - what a relief!

I should be back to normal in about a week, as long as I don't strain them again.

He wasn't all that helpful in confirming why my eyes were so strained, but agreed that a more careful use of the proper glasses for various distances( less than a foot / 1-6 feet / )should make all the difference in adapting my eyes to each task. I already follow the 20-20-20 rule at work when I'm working on the computer or otherwise focusing on a close-in task:


It's all part of paying attention( and learning the hard way... )to one's body as one ages: the eyes are especially important, as they don't react as quickly as they used to when you're young - my sensitivity to light is but one example. I'll be looking into some supplements as well in 2018, to see if I can bring them back to a 'younger' healthier state, along with the rest of my body as I exercise more and more often...


Dec 21 – Fantasy Epic Series DONE!

Twenty-Seven Years...

Back in 1990, in my second-last year of high school, I unknowingly began reading a fantasy series that would accompany me through HALF my life:


Robert Jordan's Wheel Of Time series, starting with The Eye Of The World. For those few of you unfamiliar with the series, be warned: it contains literally thousands of characters and a similar number of locales( cities, towns, villages, and other settings )that span a tale encompassing four and a half million words that tells no less than the end of time itself in a world that might very well be what our own has become... or once was.

The word 'epic' hardly does it justice! I've written over a million words on this blog in ten years, and the late Mr. Jordan wrote more than four times that in twice the time, which staggers the imagination. Sure, it works out to only a little over 600 usable words a day over two decades, but every writer knows you have good runs and bad runs, so to maintain that level of continuous output is...well, epic.

How do I feel, now that it's over? I'd have to say, satisfied - I won't go into the details, in case you haven't read the series finale, but I will say that things were wrapped up to my satisfaction. Brandon Sanderson was well-chosen to finish off the series after Robert Jordan passed on, and he did an excellent job of examining the nature of good vs. evil on a cosmic scale, while simultaneous keeping things grounded on a human scale and keeping the 'epic feel' of a giant series wrapup.

As a bonus, a TV series was announced in April 2017, so there's that to look forward to( AT LAST! )after two decades of big, juicy novels. Huzzah!


Dec 22 – It's about...

Gifts and gift-giving: not a thing for me any more.

Sure, there's a few gifts my family gets for each other most years, but as I've said before: less is now more in the places we're renting, as we're space-limited - have been for a while, at that.

This year especially has been a tight one, enough so that we're all grateful just to make it through into 2018. These last few weeks have been stressful, though thanks to a few moderate financial gains( thanks, eBay and local game store! )we'll be able to cruise through the end of the month and not have to go without.

Presents though, have gone by the wayside, and that's fine: I'd rather have the rent covered than stress out while opening gifts anyway, as that would negate the whole reason-for-the-season anyway.


If I had reams of cash and a spare room( HOME OFFICE! MAKER-STUDIO! )to put a few things in, I'd peruse the lists of this site, which is full of... interesting things( for men, in this case )like:

Caffeinated... shaving cream? 

Personally, I liked their 'Book Gifts' section more, but that's probably just the immature lad inside me liking the simpler things in life... which is just fine!


Dec 23 – Budget Bites

I realized I haven't mentioned how I make ends meet when it comes to food.

I tend to eat... simply.

My rule-of-thumb when it comes to costs is to try to keep things around $5.00 / meal, or even less when I make my own meals. I'm a serviceable, not great cook, as I tend to take my time to make sure I prepare my food properly( not to mention cleaning up my mess )so when it comes to meal prep at home, I prefer to make a lot of food all at once every few weeks and then portion it out into meals to freeze and use as needed. Not being a big eater, this works out well, and allows me more time for doing things other than cooking.

What's the best meal I've found, in terms of cost vs. nutritional value( and taste )?


Quinoa! It's inexpensive( when on sale, which is often )and can be mixed with all sorts of other things like peppers, broccoli, spinach and the like. As you can see, when I make up a batch, I go BIG - the one below makes about 20 meals for me:

The container to the immediate right is 2 meal portions... 

As for eating out: most meal portions are too much for me to eat in one sitting, so quite often I end up taking close to half the meal home anyway. If I spend around $10 for a dinner and eat half, then it's $5.00 / meal... and it's still as good to my tastebuds the next day, or when unfrozen in a few weeks or a month.

Mixing it up between prepared meals from home, cheap lunches at work( Bean Bandits has $5 daily soups just outside my workplace - quick and yummy! )and take-homes from various restaurants, I keep myself well-fed. Add in the occasional soup mix, leftovers from work or social gatherings and other places, and I eat well enough on a regular basis that I don't worry about my food costs.

Which is a useful thing when you're trying to budget on a shoesting.


Dec 24 – Perfection

Just relax: it's Christmas Eve! We made it!

A nice not-too-rushed breakfast at The Hawk And Hen( waffles with peanut butter and bacon - delicious! )followed by a few hours gaming at The Good Earth Coffeehouse at Uptown were a great way to slide into Sunday. Sure, the GE was cold and we moved tables to escape a lady who'd bathed in perfume( and spent an hour complaining to her friend loudly - yeesh )but it was a great morning all the same. Soup for lunch( shepherd's pie with chicken - YUM! )and then back to my place.

Spending a quiet Christmas Eve with my girlfriend is all I could want, or ask for, this year. We decided to watch a classic holiday movie tonight, after I'd finished working on my blog shortly after dinner, hours earlier than usual:


Sure, there's people who would argue that Die Hard isn't a Christmas movie... but they're wrong, as I've come around over the years to see that Bruce Willis gives far more than he receives... and in the end, isn't that what Christmas is all about?

"Come to the party for Christmas, they said. It'll be FUN, they said..."



A Merry Christmas to all, and may Santa be kind to you and yours tonight!

Sunday, December 17, 2017

Farscape, The Force and Fiendish Headaches

The word of the week is exacerbate.

Dec 11 - Farscape Finished

Today, I finally finished my 'binge-watch' of Farscape.

I've been watching episodes almost daily since October, whenever I could fit in a few minutes, be it on break, lunch or during the many boring repetitive tasks that didn't require any of my brains higher functions to engage my hands or eyes. Which, surprisingly, are big chunks of my daily routine for the last year, which is saying something.

The last full watch-through of Farscape I can recall was just before the series wrap up( The Peacekeeper Wars )was released in late 2004, easily a decade and more past. Until this year, I've only watched an episode here and there on YouTube as they appeared before being removed for the usual copyright violations. I own the entire series on DVD and have copied it over to my media server for streaming via Plex, so I can watch it anywhere any time that I have a solid Internet connection and my old OnePlus One works great when propped up for viewing.

Big show, big story, big cast!

But back to the show: it was better than I remembered!

It goes without saying that the CGI is a little dated, but the practical creature effects from the Henson Workshop are outstanding and go a long way to making the world of Farscape far more believable than it would with CGI alone. The puppets of Dominar Rigel The Sixteenth and Moya's Pilot are both so well-done that they come across as 'people' in their own right, and some of the cast have stated exactly that in interviews.

The writing on the series is also excellent, with only a few questionable episodes in total; the rest moved the plot and story along nicely in a long-term arc, much like my other favorite sci-fi series Babylon 5, the plot evolves over the second and third seasons, culminating in the two-part 3-hour-long series finale of The Peacekeeper Wars, which tied up all the loose ends neatly with a bang and a flourish.

The acting was also top notch, with an ensemble cast whose members changed slightly over the three seasons of the show before it was canceled in 2002. The main character, John Crichton, goes from a wide-eyed astronaut in the Premier to a badass galaxy-spanning hero with The Right Stuff by the end of the series. Each of the other main characters are all well fleshed-out, with many foibles and fine points each to play off one another. The main villain of the series, Scorpius, is one of the best antagonists I've seen on the small screen( or the big ): he's smart, devious, elegant, powerful and always seems to steps ahead of the main characters while not being omniscient or invulnerable - a hard thing to pull off consistently, but the writers manage it and the series soars because of his presence.

I'm not sure when I'll next re-watch the series, but I've certainly internalized many of its storytelling lessons and for that alone, it was more than worth the daily binge time these last six weeks. Especially as after finishing, I feel like I've had a long overdue visit with some old friends and we all come away better for the experience.


Dec 12 – A laugh...

When in doubt: pun!

From this collection I found today, this was my favourite:

This might leave some people cold... but not me!

It's been a bit of an odd week, in that various aches and pains and making their way around my body and it's quite tiring to try to function day to day, especially when some parts hurt when I stand in other parts hurt when I sit, so I can't do either for long. But you learn to adapt, so with the help of my standing desk and a 20-minute timer on my watch, I've been keeping the aches from getting any worse, though my core seems overly sensitive matter what I'm doing. Even swimming this morning, though it helped my left leg's tendons to loosen up, did nothing for my core so I guess I'll just have to keep at it twice weekly for the next few months. I've been able to walk to and from work each day without a cane, so that's something, and I'm paying close attention throughout the day to ensure that I'm not overworking my left foot whatsoever to keep it that way.

I'll leave you with this one... not a pun, but still relevant as such:



Dec 13 – A replacement?

Well that's some interesting timing...

I may have found a videogame version of 'Crossbows and Catapults' on the PC to replace the physical game that's now winging its way to Australia for Christmas.


While not quite the same as the physical boardgame, Beseige looks to be as much fun and visually excellent as well - might as well take advantage of the decent video card I shelled out for a year ago for my computer.

Of course, it will be more fun if I managed to get a few of my friends to pick it up as well, as it's a sandbox game that's designed for multiplayer mayhem. I'll keep an eye on it and see if it becomes available during one of Steam's online sales this month, or in the spring...


Dec 14 – Double Dining!

I ate really well today, twice over!

Today was my workplace's annual Christmas Potluck, and as always it was a feast for all involved. I was tapped to carve the turkey, just like last year and by the time I was done with the 25 pound monster, two huge plates were stacked high with succulently-moist slices of roast turkey that made everyone in the office's mouth water.

As you can see, there was plenty of other food to go around as well:

I love this hat - and those that don't: get stuffed!

As I don't eat nearly as much nowadays as I used to even five years ago, I just took a normal sized plate for myself, which as you can see isn't much more than a regular restaurant meal but it still took me a fair bit of time to work my way through at my desk:

This counts as BIG meal for me nowadays...

I felt full for the rest of the afternoon, and a few hours after getting home from work, my lady and I went out to a second dinner at the Victoria Model Ship Society's annual gathering. It was a fairly big affair with around 80 people, and though it wasn't free like today's work potluck, I felt I did justice to the ticket cost with a few plates of excellent food that included perfectly-cooked roast beef and excellent mashed potatoes with gravy. We had some interesting conversation with the other dinner guests at our table about the topic of real estate in Victoria, and we left after two hours feeling quite satisfied that are time had been well-spent.

I went to bed feeling satisfied as well and not overfull, which was perfect.


Dec 15 – THE LAST JEDI!!!

After my regular 2-week massage session this morning, I hopped on the bus again and the short ride later I was at the Tillicum Silvercity theaters to print out my ticket to see Star Wars! Just this week I decided to use my day off today to see the movie, as to date I've managed to avoid ANY spoilers but I knew that couldn't last much longer. I also thought that if I saw a weekday matinee, I'd avoid the younger evening crowd, which would probably have much higher noise levels.

Turns out I was right, and I even ended up with a perfect seat in the middle of the theater! 

SPOILERS BELOW!


I thoroughly enjoyed the movie, as it made it a priority to have fun with the Star Wars saga without mocking it, and any blockbuster that doesn't take itself too seriously is a good thing in my eyes. The main characters all had their stories advance, though to hear the fanboys crying online in various forms, too many things were 'left out' of the movie... but hey, it's already 2.5 hours long, how much MORE movie do you think people could stand before it collapsed under its own weight? Personally, I liked how the various storylines were intertwined with the old lore from the previous Star Wars films while making room for new thinking.

Action-wise, there were some odd choices in terms of what various characters chose to do in response to the different threats introduced, and while some of them were pretty dumb( bombers, anyone? Casino trips in the middle of a space battle? )it all somehow worked together to provide a cohesive movie in the end. Even the 3-D worked: not overdone, but tweaked just right to serve the story.

The most telling part for me when watching any movie, especially Star Wars, is how long and how often I'm taken out of the movie. For The Last Jedi, it was one continuous flow from start to finish, and I left with a big satisfied smile on my face despite the few flaws that the writer in me perceived. A great movie, and definitely one geared to moving the franchise forward rather than retreading old ground. It appears that the critics agree with me, though the disparity between their ratings and audience ratings on RottenTomatoes is rather surprising, though I suspect mixed reactions on a film will only create even more good PR for Disney.

I'll probably go see it again in a few weeks, this time in IMAX!


Dec 16 – Brain Pain!!!

So much for best-laid plans...

I woke up this morning with a slight headache, nothing unusual for me with changing weather on the way, but BOY was I wrong!

By noon, my head was pounding and my right eye felt like somebody was flicking it from behind whenever I moved it: sure signs of eyestrain and incipient migraine on the way. I popped some Tylenol but it was too late, and by midafternoon my migraine was in full swing and my weekend was shot. It was the worst migraine I've had in years.

All I did for that evening was lay down in the dark with cool cloths over my eyes and earplugs to drown out any intrusive noises whatsoever. It was bad enough that I couldn't stand to look at any sort of book, phone screen or video: my eyes were complaining that much about both the effort and the brightness levels.

It's kinda like this, only it sticks around longer...

What might have caused such a severe headache and eyestrain? I ran over several possibilities, some of which may in combination have hit me hard:

  • playing a few hours of MWO this morning, with fast-moving images
  • watching The Last Jedi for two hours yesterday in a dark theater, not moving
  • having some unusual leftover cheese for lunch today, which I don't usually do as I'm still somewhat sensitive to lactose
  • having prepackaged soy sauce on my sushi for lunch yesterday before the movie
  • the severe weather change going from high to low pressure ie. rainy weekend


Thinking about it this evening, I concluded that it was indeed a combination of factors: the movie, videogame and weather together triggered an ocular migraine by straining my eyes in activities I don't normally do together.

Watching The Last Jedi with my regular glasses at 50 feet away for two hours wouldn't have been bad by itself, but ALSO spending a few evening hours playing video games with those SAME long-distance glasses staring at a smaller screen only a few feet away probably strained my eyes quite a bit. Adding a weather change to the mix meant that I was in for a rough weekend, and who knows if the soy sauce I had didn't tip the balance, as it naturally contains glutamates, kin to MSG which is known to cause headaches( even though the restaurant where I went specifies that a dozen at MSG to any of its menu items ). I went to bed early, and counted myself lucky I could still function...

So much for getting anything useful done this weekend.


Dec 17 – Recovery... is... slow...

Today wasn't quite as much of a wash as I thought it might be, though I didn't get all that much done compared to what I had planned a few days ago.

I did everything I could to be able to function at the minimal level as I fought my migraine, with the rain coming down outside a reminder that the weather wasn't cooperating as a barometer kept dropping precipitously. I found that if I wore sunglasses over my reading glasses, I could manage to edit this month's critiques for about 20 minutes at a time, and so I alternated editing with laying down in the dark with cool cloths over my eyes for most of the day. Keeping the blinds closed helped, as did turning down the brightness of my phone for quick checks of social media, e-mail and the barometer, of course:

Down goes the pressure, up goes the pain - this time, at least.

By early evening, I was done the critiques and able to work on my blog, though admittedly with the brightness on the TV turned almost completely off. I was still trading 20 min. of writing for 20 min. to resting, which seemed to work enough to allow me to finish writing my blog, though by 8 PM my eyes were tired no matter what I did and I was dictating it via Dragon naturally speaking with my eyes closed and correcting whatever errors I could spot after I was finished each paragraph. 

By 9pm I was finished, though it'd taken me twice as long to write, and I didn't know if I'd be able to finish it when I started before dinner. I'm hoping that I'll wake up tomorrow with only a lingering headache so I can work in the office for a full 8 hours: I'm out of sick days AND vacation days for the year, so I can't really call in, which is a bummer feeling to go to bed still head-hurting with.

Me at work tomorrow...

That's all I’ve done this week: tons of excitement after watching The Last Jedi tempered by a wasted weekend; there's balance there, much like what the movie did for the Star Wars universe.

That's good enough for me.


Sometimes it feels odd writing about my week, like I'm reporting on my own life and especially when I'm not in the best of shape. The last few years have felt like a constant battle with my health, both physically and mentally, but that I'm slowly gaining the upper hand despite some setbacks here and there. All I can do is wake up each day, figure out what I can and can't control, and go from there. That's the best plan that I've could develop, at least so far.