Sunday, October 23, 2016

rls is not cramps

this is a public service announcement regarding restless leg syndrome.

i've talked about rls before, i've heard a lot of suggestions from medical professionals and none of them have been helpful until now.

lots of exercise? never made a difference.
quinine (via tonic water)? inconsistent, perhaps it was a half-decent placebo.
magnesium? not even a little bit (apparently it works well for relieving night cramps, but rls is a different animal and getting a muscle to cramp painfully actually brings relief from the sensation).

the only real solution available to me until now has been marijuana, which is not only illegal (which is ridiculous) but it's also undesirable as due to its illicit status it's near impossible to get pure sativa and i've never enjoyed being stoned (indica = stoned and useless, sativa = high and functional).

for three days i've been trying out a parkinson's medication suggested to me by my doctor, and i'll be damned if for three days i haven't had any trouble! if you suffer from rls or know anyone who does, it's called oxpola.

taking oxpola was not at all a good idea. it's really effective for treating rls, but the side effects that i experienced were scary and the potential long-term damage is most certainly not worth it.

Sunday, October 16, 2016


wednesday 5th:

codebase repository issues. another company looking for trouble.

fun, positive dreams, mr smear getting us up early, prepping for DoHA, bathing, then steeling up for the continuation of the telkom battle; walking in to loud, shit pop music, walking out with a modem that i didn't need and a lot of suspicion until i rebooted the router and everything seemed good; still worried that it wouldn't last...

lunch at the happy herbivore; overall a good experience, the meal was enjoyable but mr smear wasn't too pleased with us unless there was food going into his mouth

meeting the cape town shaliach to get his signature and taking it to the department of home affairs; a smooth experience - although touch and go for a minute due to a paper shortage for the photocopy machine - and we've finally sent in the application we've been trying to for almost six months!
it's cute that they all know how difficult it is to fill out their wax-paper forms with a ballpoint pen.

home and an episode of luke cage, then taking mr smear to the promenade to play with a friend's kids, then home to prep mr smear for bed and pass out

thursday 6th:

mr smear pulling me out of bed early for a grouchy start to a day with no rest

a positive therapy session, babysitting mr smear while gd went to the physio and a quick visit from my mother

clicking telkom's "send promo code" for showmax and learning that that meant "add R99 to my bill" forcing me to visit their store again to cancel because they don't answer their phones. and now that we've seen the selection available, we're definitely not interested.

the doctor, big shopping and mr smear scratching my eye on our way out - causing me to take a new tack and try the officer voice disciplinarian thing - which i would regret later

shower mats and sticky letters making shower time a lot easier and more pleasant

heroes: reborn and a haphazard dinner, tensions rising when mr smear woke up wailing inexplicably

friday 7th:

a long night, working until 6am then up at 7 and out to SARS an hour or so later. four hours at SARS, two outside the building and two in, the latter being under a form of psychological abuse where all the other query types were given priority tickets rendering irrelevant using the ticket numbers' order as a gauge. all that for literally five minutes with an efficient professional.

my phone dying as i was using it to pay for parking and being really lucky that i actually had cash on me

driving straight to my mom's and arriving just in time to meet gd and eat hurriedly and receive the washing machine top replacement we've been waiting for for five months and running after mr smear nonstop

home (parking blocked by disrespectful movers), shopping, and napping - waking up feeling like it was a couple of minutes rather than a couple of hours

mr smear and the word "no", discipline research followed by the guilt of we've-been-doing-it-wrong - apparently what we've been doing (mini timeouts) is effectively punishing inquisitive behaviour (clawing and slapping). this parenting business is decidedly counter-intuitive sometimes. at least the new approach (and attitude) appears to be working.

mom joining us in ordering from thai cafe (very good, and very fast), half an episode of heroes: reborn and crashing

saturday 8th:

the dangers of stevia chocolate - a painful night with an overactive stomach. the warning label says "may have a laxative effect", which is a severe understatement considering the fact that a slab has 30g of fibre in it! [and that's my idea of a serving]

sleeping in a little before swimming, but still way too tired to face the day. a pretty good swimming lesson anyway, this is all excellent incentive to find a private pool to practice in

home for lunch on our way to a birthday party, but mr smear passed out and then gd wasn't up for it but that turned out for the best, a bit of an episode of heroes: reborn before i gave up and put myself to bed - i think the writing is actually worse than the first series, and i didn't think particularly highly of it then.

an hour or two down, then driving to the pharmacy, then an hour or two sleepily passing the time with mr smear before dinner / shower / bedtime. the self-sticking alphabet we bought for the shower makes the experience a LOT smoother!

an hour or so of crash bandicoot, the secret wet bike level giving me motion sickness before going to bed

sunday 9th:

waking up to a bad postnasal drip and then some leftover damage from the night before prompting a bit of a scare, midnight fridge repacking

a slow, lazy day too tired to do much, watching back to the future (ii and iii) (did you know that rich biff's character was based on donald trump?), a surprise visit by sailor and then meeting up with my mom for a walk on the promenade but the wind was too cold

monday 10th:

dream: mongolian lords on the great wall ransoming between friends and preparing to fight, learning strategy

starting the day unpleasantly, putting on psytrance and mr smear falling asleep instead of dancing
selling the modem telkom forced me to take for a profit (and it still being a good deal, *somebody* lost out somewhere), clothing shopping and food court lunch

mr smear and i crashing on arrival home, a very long evening preparing him for bed, trying desperately to get him to sleep without valergan, giving up, and finally getting to work

tuesday 11th:

thank you, pseudoephedrine, thank you. i actually got to ignore my sinuses and focus properly for the first time in days, making significant progress

another night waking up wishing that i could record my dreams, both to share and for my own replay

finishing unfair: the new science of criminal injustice.
it doesn't matter if you're white america or black, or almost anywhere else in the world, if you're interested in crime, justice or security this is an important read - it's not very long, and it solidly shows up our media-tinted views with up-to-date science and psychology that explains why justice - every element from policing to corrections - is not just blind (and racist, sexist, elitist, etc), but has both hands tied behind her back.
i don't think the author's proposed solutions are far out enough, but they're clearly on the right track and the more people read this the more chance there is of there ever being reform.
driving to paarden eiland to get my license sticker replaced and almost running over an idiot who thought he'd help me by jumping behind me while i was reversing to stop other cars for me

department of home affairs:

1. there's a reason the "star employee" board is full of empty frames, i'm sure i know what it is.

2. personal space: after finally getting away from the woman who insisted on standing so close she kept bumping me, a man reached up to put his hand on my shoulder and tell me that short people cause trouble, referring to the couple in front of me whom i'd just helped. he was embarrassed by my response and had the grace to apologise, but *damn* that made me uncomfortable.

3. same ticketing system as SARS, where the numbers mean nothing

4. after being overtaken by about 60 people, finally getting dealt with remarkably efficiently

briefly going home and getting caught in erev yom kippur traffic then rushing out to meet my mom at checkers and run through a pretty big shopping

not the best of evenings, going to bed early

wednesday 12th:

getting a full night's rest, waking up to rango interrupted by a couple of emergency shopping trips. what a brilliant film! why do people only make noise for crap ones like frozen??!

taking full advantage of mr smear's nap (making good crash bandicoot progress), watching a couple of episodes of ru paul's drag race to generate a little extra regret (it was the day of atonement after all)

there's nothing quite like the maps app failing while you're driving into unfamiliar territory

a really nice evening at my sister's, mr smear staying up way too late but loving the extra attention from all the humans and animals alike

thursday 13th:

a good few hours of work, then waking up in time for my first coffee in a while and then my first pilates in forever

second breakfast, then a positive therapy session, lunch, gym, chiropractor, shower, crash bandicoot, bath, prepping mr smear for bed and being grateful for my mom's help as he really didn't want to sleep
a spicy dinner, a nap

the chinese restaurant across the road's insane midnight construction

friday 14th:

a rough midnight feed and then making good progress until 4am

taking the family out on a beautiful summery day to pay the car rental, gd's neck spasm on the way
subway snack and then a smooth experience applying for a local credit card
gd's haircut and mr smear being distracted by a swivel chair, an in-and-out bookstore visit, coming home, buying hacknet and being really excited about its soundtrack

friday night dinner combined with finally backing up and reinstalling my mother's laptop after promising to do so for seven months

friday night's awful music party at the chinese restaurant across the road driving us nuts and the police refusing to do anything about it

saturday 15th:

hacknet is a very, very clever game. and i got some work done on a friday night when i'm usually broken

a day in, lots of hacknet and trying (and failing) to amuse mr smear, finishing setting up my mom's laptop, a shopping expedition and the chinese restaurant manager's politely disrespectful assurance that the noises won't happen again
an episode of heroes: reborn in which gd and i agreed that everything about the series since season one has been a run downhill in both concept and quality

sunday 16th:

an actual complete full night's sleep but waking up early to make up for it, being thoroughly impressed by kulipari: an army of frogs, mr smear dancing to mumford and sons and crawling all over me when i tried to stretch
putting mr smear to sleep in one minute flat, taking advantage of his nap and taking a bath

getting mr smear from crib to car after an hour's nap and he only woke up half an hour later

butterfly world is really cool, i particularly enjoyed seeing the flying foxes and the iguanas.

play date mom and i disagree on a lot of stuff; today's uh-oh moment was on the topic of adhd meds (i was recommending that they read anatomy of an epidemic) and a bit later her husband and i resumed chatting about computer games and we hit that she's-anti-tech-for-developing-brains wall again. quick note: it's important to monitor screen time, and for kids to play outside and enjoy physical / social activities. but it's also important to let kids enjoy and learn from digital experiences. it's important as a parent to understand those digital experiences - you definitely should not just let your kids do whatever they want - and it's a very good idea to actively participate in (at least some of) those digital experiences. it's the new media, the new storytelling format, and if you avoid it a) they'll be missing out on an integral part of the education they'll need for the brave new world we're entering and b) they'll find ways to do these things behind your back and you'll have no say in anything.

overall it was a lovely day, the drives there and back weren't bad. unfortunately i returned home to an email from an associate of krybabie's who i'd agreed to advise and it turned out to be for dairy cow feeding automation, which i refused out of principle. the dairy industry is something that we as a species should be utterly ashamed of.

Hi name

When krybabie contacted me I agreed to help out in whatever way I could, but that was before I learned what it is that you're involved in.
I find the dairy industry practices distressing enough with the needless suffering it generates, what with the milking conditions, the forced insemination procedures and the separation of mothers and their children, and the very idea that their feeding schedules are automated as well just adds another layer to my disappointment in their inhumane treatment and I refuse to participate, however indirectly, in cruelty to animals.

I don't know if you have children, but if you have ever experienced or witnessed the pain of breastfeeding or the emotions of loving (and potentially losing) a child I'm sure that you would feel the same.



a bit of hacknet, dinner and luke cage before passing out.

Friday, October 07, 2016

vegan compassion

inspired by white vegans need to check their privileges - which i absolutely agree with. speaking of which, regardless of your skin colour or in which country you live i warmly recommend reading unfair: the new science of criminal injustice

just something to think about: there's a food economics issue i keep running into online, we're vegan and we need everyone to be vegan but a lot of us don't take into account that many people don't have the budget for meat / dairy alternatives and they need practical help for getting full nutrition on extremely tight budgets. we live in a country where a frightening number of people have difficulty affording bread, so when anti-science gluten-free* / non-gmo** / organic*** peddlers muddy the waters we're not helping animals or people. it's really important to consider everyone's situations and be supportive especially when they can't afford to live the ideal vegan lifestyle or need patient education before they can start switching.

* my apologies to the rare celiac suffer, but the rest of you gluten-free seekers are into something that's fad and not healthy in the long-run

** yes, there's bad gmo but there's a lot of good (and important) gmo, we need to push for regulation rather than boycotting

*** most organic isn't organic, and it's prohibitively expensive

Wednesday, October 05, 2016

happy new year!

sunday 25th september:

a night of unrest, tossing and turning and forgotten dreams and mr smear up a little more than usual

a pleasant morning, more cook, serve, delicious!, the surreal return to my old primary school and some awkward re-introductions, heading off to the hungry herbivore for lunch; the service isn't amazing and there're no baby facilities, but the food was great.

gd and i ending lunch on a sour note and taking it home with us. an extreme state of mind and utter emotional exhaustion to the point where i felt like i was high

monday 26th:

gd's back sprain killing all plans for the day, miserable weather, mr smear reaching the controls for the washing machine

resuming jessica jones in spite of the gratuitous sex scenes (they don't bother me as much as gd, but she's right about them not adding anything of value to the story)

tuesday 27th:

payday, otherwise known as debt management day. a frustrating few hours of work before going to bed (and managing to work in spite of my urge to sleep to the pouring rain), cold and wet weather and my first audiobook proof-listening


there's a volunteer organization called "tape aids for the blind" that produces audiobooks for the visually impaired. this is an important service, and it relies on volunteers for everything from selection to recording to editing... i'm almost 36 years old, and from what i've heard it sounds like i'm about half the age of the average capetonian volunteer.

they need young people, because the visually impaired deserve access to materials that are relevant and interesting and read energetically by voices from a much larger pool of talent. it only takes a couple of hours a week, it's actually quite fun, so if you can afford that time then please audition!

or donate audiobooks. if they're under a commercial license they can rent them out cheaply to the public as well.


still completely exhausted, napping only making it worse
finally regaining access to gd's microsoft live account in spite of their awful automated recovery system (just as awful as google's)
a failed attempt at taking mr smear for a walk (too cold)
jessica jones, elon musk live for an inspirational hour's talk on the tech to get to mars
slowly but surely getting a handle on our project's front end

wednesday 28th:

going to bed boiling with rage; human beings are infuriatingly stupid. if i told you that there was a kid dying in the hospital because his meat-eating parents forced their diet on him, would it not be interesting to learn that he'd been exclusively fed macdonald's his entire life? but when the parents are vegan, we don't care about what they did or didn't feed him? vegan parents throughout the world (long before the term vegan was coined) have raised healthy children, and decades of research have shown us (read: anyone who gives a shit about knowing things instead of believing in things) that these children - provided they're fed responsibly - are considerably healthier than those raised on any other diet.

waking up to write down my personal version of the serenity prayer:
be grateful for your family.
people are stupid.
channel your hate to productive.
(the second is the wizard's first rule, the third is pantera.)

"heroine of the cold feet covering her third eye to keep shooting her target in the mouth with a poison fart hidden from her spirit self": i need to establish some writing time

the ulcer, talking nutrition with the physio, mr smear playing gym, knead lunch and pharmacy and then nap time while the babysitter was here

bluetooth overear headphones ftw

a little work, mom's visit (the weirdness of her last days at her current job), feeling worn out and possibly ill

thursday 29th:

really feeling exhausted, physically, mentally and emotionally. avoiding caffeine for the ulcer obviously not helping

early morning caffeine free audiobook recording, realising after the session that if there's an existing audiobook it would be a better quality donation and use of my time if i just donated it to them

not enough time to nap before the therapist arrived, finally taking a step towards sorting out my citizenship status, rushing off to the gym

constant 10kph for 20min and finishing medium level sudoku in 14
stretching and being shown some good back exercises on the machines, then rushing home to get to the physio

leaving sore and light headed, showering and eating (gd's potato salads are awesome), locked in babysitting mode, mom's visit

resting before work, managing to get up in spite of the lack of caffeine but with such ulcer pain that i'd end up throwing up

friday 30th:

feeling a bit better, starting my day at SARS held hostage with our ids in the "special counter" queue and finally being dealt with after an hour and being told that i had brought the wrong bank statement

coming home angry, then driving to the bank to pick up the "right" statement and visit the doctor for an anti-allergy shot and a script for a medicine and some fun

quick lunch, an hour at the telkom store to be met with such indecency that i flew into a rage and was so close to literally picking shit up and throwing it at them that i had to walk out

the acupuncturist, big shopping and rushing to prepare for handing over mr smear to my mom and going to see henry rollins be awesome

saturday 1st october:

feeling much better, relief from the caffeine withdrawal and much smoother digestion
gd's first swimming lesson in a few weeks
almost not going to the vegan goods market, arriving at the wrong venue and getting a bit lost on the way to the right one; arriving too late to try what i wanted but getting some other good stuff instead (the liquorice ice-cream with activated charcoal was really good)

coming home to shower (and learn that we MUST get non-slip mats) and tidy up a bit before my sister arrived (her best friend's on her deathbed and is having a really tough time) followed by my mother

putting mr smear to bed, watching - and thoroughly enjoying - the first half of he never died

sunday 2nd:

4am up for work, finally finding what i was looking for
mr smear letting us sleep in on a gorgeous sunny sunday morning
breakfast and asterix movies and doing chores slowly
hours babysitting while gd cooked
mr smear's promenade pram push, visiting granny
a very nice new year's dinner, leaving exhausted
finishing he never died while fighting rls, it could have ended better but overall it was a great film

monday 3rd:

wasn't the doc's allergy shot supposed to stop me from waking up in the middle of the night with a stuffed nose?

sleeping in with mr smear again (not the most comfortable, but appreciated nonetheless)

document printing, an easy monday morning, beach prep, dropping gd off at the chiropractor and picking up towels at mom's and almost running over an old idiot who'd wandered into the street and camps bay in tourist season and mr smear's sorbet desperation

our first family beach experience, it was a beautiful afternoon for llandudno and mr smear was so excited to stand in the atlantic that my main job was preventing him from running in

traffic on the way home, filling up the tank and donating a hotdog, a mostly successful post-beach shower and dinner shopping optimisation, being very tired (possibly coming down with something)

a very nice dinner, although the effects of whatever i was feeling were the same as having drunk too much

mr smear sleeping through the return home and me passing out on contact with the bed

tuesday 4th:

a hot summer's day and we're not even close to summer yet...

a stuffed nose and complete exhaustion even after a full night's sleep, babysitting and then strolling mr smear to the police station for half a notarization, mr smear falling asleep just into paid babysitter time, resting a couple of hours and waking up feeling much better, spending most of the afternoon working (my mom joining gd for a walk with mr smear). mr smear being quite vicious. dinner and two episodes of luke cage - amazing - then more work.

Saturday, October 01, 2016

wanna look good for the summer?

watch this video.

1. body-shaming is bad. is doesn't matter if you're shaming thin women or fat women, or bodybuilding women (jesus, those women take a lot of flack from the insanely insecure).
2. don't be ashamed of your body as it is, but take care of your body and try to get it to where it needs to be.
3. where it needs to be has NOTHING to do with what it looks like*.
not thin.
not fat.
not tall.
not short.
not any of those things. where it needs to be is healthy. and healthy means eating well.

what is eating well? the nutritional quality of your food. not the amount of calories, or carbs, or fats, or proteins. you have access to an internet filled with good information - no, bacon is not a food group - and if you can invest energy and money in these magazines or stupid celebrity shows or beauty products that only exist because most people eat horribly, then you can certainly invest in a little research. eating well doesn't mean eating bland, tasteless food. eating well doesn't mean suffering. it's really not hard. and it's probably less hard on your wallet.**

it's not your genes, it's not your exercise, it's not your beauty salon. it's your food.

* your nose is fine, your lips are fine, your breasts are fine, your butt's fine, GODDAMMIT stop trying to "fix" something that isn't broken. you'll only make yourself attractive to the kinds of people who have no depth to them whatsoever.

** organic is a scam, and if you don't suffer from celiac (you probably don't) then gluten-free isn't good for you. also, microwaving is safer than any other cooking except for steaming. you're welcome.