dorchadas: (JCDenton)
So I loaded up Twitter last night while I was reading in bed and among the cute Kirby pictures and journalists tweeting about how terrible the world is, I saw a trailer for a new movie:



It's not quite Shadowrun. It has elves and orcs in the modern world, but the cyberpunk dystopia element isn't really present. It's more urban fantasy, as keeps calling it. But I'm going to think of it as a Shadowrun-adjacent property until I'm proven wrong, and we're probably going to have a viewing party for it when it comes out.

My dentist's appointment was slightly more involved than I was expecting. I was told that I just needed new sealants at my last cleaning (at a different location), but the dentist said that I had very early cavities and could probably do with fillings, so to prevent future problems I got them filled. It was painless and took next to no time, but still a bit distressing that my previous dentist could have missed them.

Well, I switched dentists now, so hopefully it won't happen again.
dorchadas: (Darker than Black)
Apparently I'm starting some kind of sea salt-themed section in Darker than Black. We got a Raaka Pink Sea Salt in our latest chocolate shipment, but we already did that a year ago. There's another sea salt-themed bar waiting as well, but as I was looking through the pile of dark chocolate to see what there was to do, I decided on this one since it was a present. Thanks to [facebook.com profile] topher.elderkin for providing it!
Read more... )
dorchadas: (In America)
On Friday, I was feeling a little tired. By Sunday I was feel achy and run-down, and when I went to bed I was lying under a bunch of covers with the internal apartment temperature at 18°C but so hot that I kicked off almost all the covers. It was then that I realized I would probably not be going in to work tomorrow.

And I didn't. I stayed home and rested, venturing out only once to replenish our medicine supplies and then returning to the comfortable apartment and playing games like Stardew Valley to relax. But I still ended up kind of feeling vaguely anxious. We're working toward updating and releasing the new database system on Monday and I've been doing testing on it for days now. Wouldn't it impact that if I stayed home? Should I go into work?

I didn't, of course. The company does not care about you even if some of your coworkers do, and I have no desire to work while sick, get coworkers sick, or avoid using my employer's generous vacation policy. But there's that bit of me that thinks that lazing around, even if it's for a good reason, is somehow wasting time. That I should go in anyway and do what work I can to avoid letting other people down.

That bit should be purged with flame. I still have some work to do.

Ending therapy

2017-Jan-13, Friday 14:41
dorchadas: (Dreams are older)
I'm not sure I've written about it at all here, but I went to therapy for a year, starting last January and ending yesterday, spurred on by the stomach pain I suddenly developed a year and a half ago. I'd thought over the last couple months about why I was still going and didn't have a good answer, so I talked about it with my therapist last night and ended our sessions for now.

I always felt a bit guilty going. Like, am I really in enough distress for this? Is there someone else who could use this time more? I don't know the answer to that. I do know that I found it helpful.

It was mostly a re-calibration of my expectations. I went in with the goal of "stopping my stomach from hurting," and that didn't happen. But I suppose that was like going in with a goal of no longer being anxious, and that's not realistic either. Something I thought of as I walked away that I didn't get a chance to say is that anxiety is like fear. Courage isn't the absence of fear, that's either stupidity or foolhardiness. Courage is acting even though one is afraid. Successfully dealing with anxiety is the same way, and talking about it is what made me realize that. I'm never not going to worry before a social event or consider cancelling half-a-dozen times or assume it's going to be terrible, but as long as I go anyway, then I have succeeded in some way.

And I'm pretty good at that, overall. Other than back when I was a university student, this is probably the most full my schedule has ever been, socially. I keep going to Japanese tutoring even if I'd rather a meteor fall on me when I'm walking to class, and I can see my Japanese improving. I'm in a better place than I was a year ago.

And a lot of my other worries...well, there's nothing my therapist or I can do about the possibility of global thermonuclear war.  photo ashamed2.gif

She mentioned that I should email her to set up another session if I felt that I needed to talk in the future. Hopefully I won't, but it's good to have the option available.

Jetlag recovery

2016-Aug-01, Monday 15:15
dorchadas: (Awake in the Night)
I almost slept through the night! Yesterday I was almost completely wiped out from about noon on, to the point that it felt like it did during the dark times in Japan when my sleep schedule was completely off-kilter. Now I feel okay after sleeping from 10:30 p.m. to 6 a.m., with a brief bathroom break around 2:30. [personal profile] schoolpsychnerd is not quite so lucky, but at least is sleeping better now than she did last night. And she gets two weeks to recover before she has to go to work, too.

Going there was just being tired in the evening and going to bed early but not actually having disrupted sleep. Not the case coming back. I've always found going west easier than going east.

I'm also readjusting to a non-traveling diet. My meals in Japan were a lot more bread- and rice-based than my meals here, because that's what's available to travelers. That and pickles. I'm pretty sure the 2% body weight I lost in the few days since I got back is just my body purging itself of excess pickle salt. The first day I was back, even my usual miso soup and pickles at breakfast tasted a bit off to me, which was probably my body telling me that enough was quite enough, thank you. Today it tasted lovely again, so maybe drinking all those pots of tea helped.

If you're curious, jetlag in Japanese is 時差惚け (jisaboke, "Time difference stupidity"). Perfect.
dorchadas: (Do Not Want)
Like I mentioned, I ordered a new pair of shoes to take to Japan. The first pair of sneakers I've had in probably over a decade, not counting the pair that my parents bought me for the trip to Hawai'i--Kauai's red dirt famously permanently stains clothing it contacts--which lived in the back of my closet for years and then eventually got thrown away without being worn more than once.

And they look pretty good!


Yes, of course they're black

The mistake was thinking that they're sneakers so I don't need to take too many precautions to break them in. And they are sneakers, but they're not exercise shoes and they have a bit more structure to them. So I wore them walking to a friend's going-away party and now I have blisters on my toes.  photo c9a2ed93dbfb11e324f5b3e281e5e1b2.gif So now I'm stuck wondering if I'll heal fast enough to do a bit more walking in them and hopefully break them in more, or whether I should give up and take my boots to Japan. Or try one of the tricks like taking a hairdryer to the shoes or putting in water-filled bags and freezing them.

It won't be a disaster if I have to take my boots, since they're easy to take on and off and they're already broken in, and I have sandals to bring as well. I'm mostly just annoyed at myself because this is what I already do when I get new shoes.
dorchadas: (Angst)
I've spent most of today with my stomach trying to dissolve its way out of my abominal cavity. Or maybe trying to compress its way out? At least it's not quite as bad as it was earlier this afternoon, when I also had a pounding headache and was sweating in room temperature.

I thought it might be leftover anxiety from LARP, since I spent a lot of yesterday feeling the same. It got a bit better during the actual LARP, since I was able to relax and get into character, and then ramped up a bit when we left and apparently went into overdrive overnight. I woke up feeling bad, then it went to awful, then it went to bad again, now it's just at Emoji Nyoron. I wasn't able to attend Call of Cthulhu today because of it--I would have been utterly useless with the headache even assuming I did manage to make it out there. And then I ended up feeling bad because I hadn't missed a game until this point, had blogged about most of the games, and here I was staying home. And yes, it's because I was sick or the next best thing, but if this were logical it wouldn't be happening at all, would it?

I feel slightly better now--no more headache or sweating, at least--but my stomach is still trying to escape and has been pretty much non-stop all day. I thought that staying home and relaxing would make be feel better? Ha! How can I when I'm thinking about what I'm missing by staying home. Pretty cool no-win scenario my brain has set up for me here, isn't it?

Hopefully I'll feel better tomorrow, and hopefully I won't be saying that tomorrow since it's what I said yesterday.
dorchadas: (Do Not Want)
Yeah, I know that it wouldn't make a difference, because it's pretty unlikely that this is a problem rooted in my stomach. But my stomach has hurt, to a greater or lesser degree, for about two weeks now. Sometimes it hurts more after I eat a meal, sometimes less. Right now, I know it's bothering me because I have Japanese lessons later today, but it was bothering me yesterday, and the day before that, and the day before that...

I'm set to talk to someone about it in the new year. We'll see if that helps, though me being me, I think the cost is causing even more trouble than it might end up solving.  photo emot-psyboom.gif

Stomach troubles

2015-Sep-29, Tuesday 15:02
dorchadas: (Kirby sweatdrop)
Posting about mysterious health problems! Question block photo emot-question.gif

For the past week-and-a-half or so, it's felt like there's something in my stomach, to a greater or lesser degree. It's worst in the morning and I've been barely able to eat breakfast, but right now, just after lunch, it feels like someone punched me in the stomach a while ago and my stomach still hasn't recovered from it. I assumed it was stress from anxiety, for reasons that I don't really feel comfortable going into here, but since it's been over a week I figured it was probably a good idea to go to the doctor.

So I did. And the final result is "Reply hazy, more tests required." It could be stress-related, it could be bacterial, it's unlikely to be an ulcer (because then eating would make me feel better), and it's almost certainly not cancer. Hopefully the initial tests clear up what it is and I don't have to go in for an endoscopy or anything.

On the bright side, if this continues, I'll be in prime condition to dress as a Hollow for Halloween.  photo darksouls.001.gif
dorchadas: (Do Not Want)
For the last few days, I haven't been able to finish my breakfast. A while ago I had to add an egg and a shot of olive oil to the traditional Japanese breakfast I eat in order to get enough food to last me through the day, but lately I end up with a bit of everything uneaten on my plate. Even more strangely, right now I'm not hungry. I'm typically starving within a couple hours of breakfast and lunch, but right now the thought of eating lunch is making me vaguely queasy.

I guess I could be getting sick, which would be just great heading into Yom Kippur. Maybe I should stop having the egg with breakfast and see if that helps. And if this continues, I'll have to figure something out. In high school I never ate breakfast and I did fine, but now I'd need to find something to bring to work because there's no way I can survive until 13:00 off last night's dinner.

Hopefully it's just a temporary thing.
dorchadas: (Kirby sweatdrop)
I feel like I've made that joke before even though it's definitely hyperbole. But the truth is, I tend to use weekends as decompression time and I usually get nervous about even having one event scheduled. More than one and I'll probably turn down anything I get after the first event. It's not that I don't want to go, it's that I don't want to stretch my nerves too thin.

This weekend I had four, and I made three of them. What's more, I had two events on the same night back to back. I've never been a party-hopper and I'll usually choose the first event and stay there for the duration, but this time I went to a barbecue, a birthday party that required walking around six miles to get to (barbecue -> walk to mass transit -> take L -> walk from mass transit -> birthday), and then to dim sum the next morning. That might have been a bad idea, because we walked to and from the restaurant and while it wasn't nearly as far as I walked on Saturday, it was all in the sun, and my threshold for getting tired from being in the sun is pretty low. I spent most of Sunday sitting inside in the dark, drinking tea with a headache and dreading the evening when [livejournal.com profile] softlykarou and I were scheduled to clean the apartment.

But it all went well! I'd never had dim sum before and it was amazing, and even if there was a lot that I wouldn't eat there was plenty that I would. It was good to see people at both the parties I went to, and I'm happy I went to both instead of picking one and staying there or going to neither, as I was tempted to do. [livejournal.com profile] softlykarou told me she was proud of me, because I rarely to events that she's not also going to. Which is true. And mostly I'm fine with that, but this time I'm glad it turned out differently.

Sick day!

2015-Mar-19, Thursday 20:25
dorchadas: (JCDenton)
Warning: this post is a little First World whiny, if that bothers you.

I took a sick day today, the first since I got the flu when I was working at Suzugamine and had to take three days off. I know that conjures up bafflement from anyone reading this who's familiar with Japan's work culture, but that was when swine flu hit Japan and they took every precaution necessary, including shutting down the school for a few days to isolate everyone from everyone else. That's how I was able to do it. Anyway, I've had a cold since Monday, and today I just felt awful when I woke up. As I was lying in bed, shivering and sweating with all the covers on me, I thought, "You know, I should take the day off."

And it worked! I feel much better, I still managed to get all my steps in (just walking is fine when you're sick, and I didn't have a terrible fever or anything later), I studied Japanese, I played more Planescape Torment, and I drank a truly enormous amount of tea. The first world whining part only comes in because I don't have separate sick days, so I had to dip into my personal days that I was mostly using for vacation in order to cover today. But it's not like I'll have to cancel any days off, because I was already carrying a week over into the new year! So really I'm just annoyed for no reason.

I'm glad I feel better, though. Hopefully I still feel better tomorrow!  photo emot-sweatdrop.gif
dorchadas: (Default)
New Years Rosh Hashanah meme

Nonetheless, I'm writing a New Year's retrospective.

I'm very fortunate that 2014 was a pretty good year for me. A lot of my friends had major shakeups or active disasters, to say nothing of the national or world situation (which are admittedly mostly things that got greater exposure this year rather than being entirely new), but for my family, everything went very well. In honor of the listicle becoming a thing, I'll do this in a list format:
  • Marriage: Still married, [personal profile] schoolpsychnerd is still the best wife ever. This alone helps brighten every year. Emoji Chiyo rush

  • RPGs: I finished off the Delta Green game I started years ago, played in (and wrote up an Actual Play of!) a short-run game run by my wife in a setting I wrote, am playing in her Princess: the Hopeful game, and am currently running two games, a WFRP 2e game and a Fallout ORE game set in Chicago. I'm also slowly working on Warlords of the Mushroom Kingdom, and I have some other ideas in the pipeline when I have more gaming time. I'm set on this score.

  • Work: I didn't get fired in the sudden layoffs a month ago at my job, my performance review was great, I still get to listen to podcasts for hours every day, and I still don't have to talk to anyone. The new managerial team means the future is uncertain, but for the last year, at least, everything was great.

  • Writing: I write a lot nowadays. Between putting more RPG stuff here, Fifty Weeks, Fifty Curries, my book reviews, and starting to write reviews of all the video games I beat...well, I'm not sure how many words a week that is, but it's easily in the thousands. I didn't do NaNoWriMo this year, but I don't need it to compel me to write. I'm doing fine on my own.

  • Video games: I'm happiest that I finally beat Morrowind again, but most of the fond memories I have are of playing with my friends. Minecraft and a Secret of Mana with [personal profile] schoolpsychnerd and Terraria with her and another friend filled a lot of happy hours. I got some of the kickstarters I backed too (Divinity: Original Sin and Wasteland II), but I can't speak to their quality, because I'm waiting for them to be patched up to play them. I even picked up my DS copy of Chrono Trigger and started to run through it again. And finally, I ended up sharing even some of my single-player gaming with my friends through the magic of streaming video. It is truly a Golden Age of gaming on all fronts. Emoji Quest For Glory Dance

  • Exercise: Last year I was worried that I wasn't getting enough walking in, but I easily fixed that problem. My tracking program tells me that I'm getting an average of around 14K steps per day, which is more than enough and is also probably why I go through socks so fast and wore through the soles of my boots and had to replace them in November. On the other hand, I've maintained my weight and I'm very happy with the way I look and feel. The only disadvantage is the amount of money that goes down my throat with all the food I eat...but fortunately we can afford it. The only problem I ran into was smashing my toe on a doorframe, but while it hasn't healed back to the same way it was before I smashed it, it's not actually hindering me in any way, so I can count that a victory. I could have broken it, after all.

  • Money: After years of living close to the bone, [personal profile] schoolpsychnerd graduated from grad school and got a job making over twice what I make at her first choice of school, so we're in good hands for the foreseeable future and I can return to my customary behavior of saving about a quarter of our pre-tax income. I also, through the incredible generosity of my parents during [personal profile] schoolpsychnerd's tenure in school, managed to pay off all of her student loans two days before she graduated, which puts us in an incredibly fortunate situation compared to the vast majority of our peers. We also finally finished off the saga of the Japanese Pension Office payment, receiving our payment roughly two and a half years after the average amount of time it's supposed to take. We are unbelievably lucky on all monetary fronts, and, b'ezrat haShem, hopefully that luck will continue.

To celebrate my good fortune, I made sure to accomplish a resolution I've had for a while--eat an entire bar of dark chocolate at once. The secret to achieving your dreams is to make sure they're petty and stupid. Emoji Dancing parrot

As is my somewhat years tradition, here's some song lyrics which I've posted nearly every year since I was in university:
A long December and there's reason to believe

Maybe this year will be better than the last
I can't remember the last thing that you said as you were leavin'
Now the days go by so fast

And it's one more day up in the canyons
And it's one more night in Hollywood
If you think that I could be forgiven...I wish you would

The smell of hospitals in winter
And the feeling that it's all a lot of oysters, but no pearls
All at once you look across a crowded room
To see the way that light attaches to a girl

And it's one more day up in the canyons
And it's one more night in Hollywood
If you think you might come to California...I think you should

Drove up to Hillside Manor sometime after two a.m.
And talked a little while about the year
I guess the winter makes you laugh a little slower,
Makes you talk a little lower about the things you could not show her

And it's been a long December and there's reason to believe
Maybe this year will be better than the last
I can't remember all the times I tried to tell my myself
To hold on to these moments as they pass

And it's one more day up in the canyon
And it's one more night in Hollywood

It's been so long since I've seen the ocean...I guess I should


I honestly don't remember how I got in the habit of posting those. I think it was adolescent angst and the eternal hope that things would be better, and now I'm just continuing that tradition even though things have gotten better. A lot better. Here's to them continuing that way in 2015. Emoji sunglasses gleam

明けましておめでとうございます!皆さん、今年もよろしくお願いします!

Toe update!

2014-Oct-21, Tuesday 18:03
dorchadas: (Slime)
I went to the doctor today, since it's been two months since I first injured it and it's still not quite better. Oh, all the function is there just fine, and I can still walk and climb stairs and otherwise get around exactly as much as I could before anything happened, but it doesn't bend quite the same and it's obviously still a bit swollen, though not nearly as much as it was.

The doctor basically said that there was nothing to worry about, and gave me a rather condescending lecture about body symmetry and how each side is going to be different than the other, and when I mentioned that I had noticed reduced mobility from before I injured myself, he offered to give me a referral to a "foot doctor"podiatrist with a sigh. I'm willing to give him the benefit of the doubt, though--having dealt with the general public, I'm well aware of how stupid a lot of people are, and how even the good ones are one missed meal or bad day from being a story on Not Always Right. Also, I heard him having to send someone to the hospital before he came into the exam room and past visits have been fine, so I'll let it slide.

Anyway, I mentioned that my main concern was mostly with future mobility, and he said that there would almost certainly not be any problems since the majority of balance comes from the big toe. So I figure that going to the doctor to consult is fine, but if I don't actually have any problems at the moment, I won't get foot x-rays or anything. I'm still able to walk my ~13K steps a day and I'm back to taking the stairs everywhere. If a problem shows up in the future, I'll deal with it then.

I'm still a bit worried, but that's just the background of life, really.  photo emot-psyduck.gif
dorchadas: (Green Sky)
I went to visit the doctor today due to my foot injury, and now I have considerably more peace of mind. After the preliminary check-in bits, he felt along the heel and the ball of my foot, poked about the toes, and when none of that drew any pain from me, he took out a tuning fork, asked me to close my eyes, smacked it on the table, and touched it at various places on my foot.

The idea is that if any of the small bones in the foot were broken, the tuning fork's vibrations would causes said bones to vibrate, naturally causing pain and providing an easy way to know if something was broken with pretty high certainty. Since there was no pain at all no matter where he touched the tuning fork, and the only pain anywhere was when he poked the very center of the swelling on my foot, and even that was minimal, his opinion was that there probably wasn't anything broken and it was probably badly bruised. Wrap it in an ace bandage, keep it elevated, apply heat as needed, and come back in a month if any problems remain. I can do that. (^_^)v

I was reading Robert Silverberg's Nightwings a couple days ago (shameless plug: review here) and I was surprised how much nostalgia I got just from the physical existence of the book. Most of the stuff I read nowadays is on kindle or relatively new books from the library, but Nightwings was an old paperback with yellowing pages and that old book smell that all readers love.

It took me back to the days of visiting my grandparents in their retirement community, where one of the first things we would do when my family arrived was go down to the town library and get a giant handfull of books for me to take back and read. I'd always pillage the sci fi and fantasy section, and my grandparents' house is the place where I first read Robert Heinlein, Anne McCaffrey, Marion Zimmer Bradley, Gordon R. Dickson, Diane Duane, Katherine Kurtz, Robert Jordan, Arthur C. Clarke, Ursula K. LeGuin, Susan Cooper, Lloyd Alexander, and a bunch of other authors I can't remember.

The books were almost all yellowing paperbacks or those old hardcovers that didn't have plastic jackets, and the smell stuck with me. Smelling it again takes me back to days at the Real Beach (so-called because it was distinct from the beach along the river in their retirement community) building dikes and sandcastles with my grandfather's WWII army entrenching tools, going for picnics and paddleboats at a nearby lake, shopping in Coos Bay, picnics, seal-watching, and clambering over rocks at Cape Arago State Park...

Now I really want to go visit Oregon again.

Owww, my foot

2014-Aug-20, Wednesday 10:23
dorchadas: (Dreams are older)
Last night, I was getting ready to take a shower and I noticed that the old conditioner bottle that I had washed out but not taken to the recycling yet (because I was waiting for it to dry) had been moved to the other side of the tub, so I figured that I'd throw it in the recycling before I got in. In a rush, I grabbed the bottle, stepped out of the bathroom, and rammed my foot directly into the kitchen doorframe in what was probably the most painful stubbed toe I've ever had in my life.

At least, I hope it's just stubbed. It might be broken, and looking on the internet seems to reveal no commonality in symptoms. I can move all my toes, my foot supports my weight, it's swollen but not bruised, the toe is at an angle but only a small one and that's probably caused by swelling since there's no pain when I manually move it back into place...but all that might mean nothing! Who knows!

At least the internet isn't telling me it's cancer, which is actually pretty good for looking up medical problems online.

I have an appointment with our doctor on Friday, so I'll see what he says and what I should do. In the meantime, I'm at work with my foot propped up on my computer box, and occasionally propped up on my knee. It's a bit awkward, but not as awkward as the walk to work was.

So that's my birthday so far!

I am healthy. Mostly.

2014-Jul-02, Wednesday 23:27
dorchadas: (Perfection)
I have this week off because I had too much vacation and had to use it sometime, and I asked [livejournal.com profile] softlykarou to get us doctor and dentist appointments while we both have the time (she's off because she works in education). On Monday I went to the doctor, and today I went to the dentist.

The only reason I'm writing about this at all is because I haven't been to either in a while--four years for a doctor and six years for a dentist--and I was a bit worried about what they were going to find, though I wasn't coming in with any particular complaint. The doctor's visit went fine. They did some blood tests because I'm over 30, but I got a call yesterday and they all came back okay, including my cholesterol and diabetes testing (lol official dietary guidelines). The only odd note was that my white blood cell count was a bit low, but 1) I posted about that and got a note from my mother that she has what is a apparently a genetically low white blood count and 2) I've been a bit tired with a stuffy nose, so I might just have a non-serious viral infection. They just wanted me to come back and check in on it in six months or so.

The dentist visit went mostly okay. I didn't have any cavities and my teeth were generally in good health, but they found some plaque and they want me to come back for deep cleaning later in the month. I've never really had any problems with my teeth, so I checked up on what that meant, and it sounds like it has a lot to do with not having gone to the dentist for six years and thus not getting regular cleanings. They said it wouldn't cost that much extra, but I'm going to call the insurance company and make sure that they're going to cover it, because I pretty much assume that all insurance companies are staffed with cackling demons who thirstily drink the blood of children, and I think that's a not-unfair assumption on the whole even though I personally haven't ever had any problems with insurance at all.

Well, after six years, needing a bit more cleaning isn't the worst than could happen. If insurance will cover it, I'll at least go for it.

2013 Retrospective

2014-Jan-01, Wednesday 22:31
dorchadas: (Default)
Let's talk about the last year!

I guess the biggest change from the perspective of this blog is that I started actually posting here again. I got inspired by RPGs--as is often the case, I admit--and started my Dungeons & Design series, and I think it was mostly the fact of posting those that got me into the habit of posting about other subjects. There are other factors too, like how I have enough down time here and there at work that I can write posts in notepad, send them home, and then post them. I also stopped friend-locking everything and started defaulting to public posts, even when they're about my life. It's essentially security through apathy--I can see how many people visit my blog, and on an average day it's a couple dozen. I post all these updates to Facebook and Twitter and the truth is that most people don't care. That may be a little sad, but it certainly tells me that the excessive care I was taking about talking about anything remotely personal is unwarranted. Whatever I say will mostly just get lost in the flow of the internet anyway, unless people are specifically looking to read it.

I was hoping that we'd be paid back by at least one of the people who owed us money this year, but it didn't happen. Aggressively didn't happen, in the case of the Japanese Pension Office. Or perhaps passive-aggressively? Regardless, it led to some tight moments at times, especially during the summer, though I do admit that some of that is because I refuse to touch the principal. Now that [personal profile] schoolpsychnerd has a steady paycheck from her internship everything is okay, though I admit my grasping miserliness does mean I'm less happy with our finances that their absolute quality should lead me to be, but overall it's been on an upward trend. And maybe someone will actually pay us this year. A man can dream.

Work continues much the same as it has been. I had my annual review and did better than I did last year, and my job's bureaucracy and policies means that I'll get an automatic raise and a yearly bonus commensurate with my performance. It's theoretically possible that we won't get the bonus, since the amount and whether it occurs at all is based on the AMA's overall performance during the year, but I haven't heard of anything that would indicate that it's not coming. Even if it doesn't, I'll still get the raise. The benefits of working for a non-profit with no shareholders!

In terms of personal improvement, I took up programming! I originally thought about doing it back in May and was given a lot of resources, and later took a Coursera course that I wrote all about. I've even seen found an implementation of Python for the iPad, and since I have my iPad with me all the time at work, I can get that and then have time to bash my head against programs at work as well as at home! Indeed, during my interview for the job I was asked if I knew anything about HTML or programming and I had to say that I did not, so if I can actually learn programming to a useful level I can hopefully get a promotion. The end project was an implementation of Asteroids, and I'd love to do a lot more to work on it than I had to do for the class to keep my hand in, but what I did accomplish is reasonably impressive, I think.

Also, studied Japanese, but on that subject I'm less confident. I maintained my ability, and that's about it.

Last year, I told myself that if I maintained the weight I had reached in August (~77 kg) for a whole year, I'd go get my wedding ring resized because it's rather large now and I'm kind of worried that it will slip off at some point. Well...I did maintain my weight, but I didn't actually get the ring resized--see the above-mentioned grasping miserliness. I also linked up my new iPhone's M7 chip with LoseIt and started tracking my steps and apparently my average number of steps per day is...5,218. Out of the 10K that's recommended. Exercise is healthy basically no matter what, and getting that number up is something I'd like to improve on in the future, but so far I'm doing pretty well on that front.

I made much more of an effort to be social in 2013. In 2012, I think I had the tendency to hermit a lot more, turning down people's invitations and not really inviting anyone over to [personal profile] schoolpsychnerd and my apartment. I'm not sure what exactly it was. It might have been some remaining difficulty with adjusting to the pace of social life in America vs. what it had been like in Japan, maybe some Anxiety Cat--there's a really old one that I thought fit me really well that said something like "too nervous to talk to people, come off as arrogant or standoffish"--maybe just my typical introverted personality, but this year I tried to avoid falling into the trap of staying home all the time. I like to think I succeeded, or at least reasonably well. And it turns out that traveling out to other places isn't really that bad, even on a work night. I tend to apply the maxim "past performance is no indication of future results" to social events if I'm not careful, in the sense that sure I had fun the last time I went to a party, and the time before that, and probably the time before that...but what about this time!?!? That's not a productive attitude to take, honestly. So this year, I made sure to try to shut that off at the pass. Once I get out of the house, then inertia takes over and I'm not exactly going to turn around halfway there. And it turns out that my friends are awesome people and fun to be around to an extent that far outweighs the annoyance of having to change my physical location. Who would have thought, right? Obviously, this has always been true, but it's convincing that little voice that's the trick, and in 2013 I beat it into submission. Or at least, I inflicted grevious wounds.

All in all, it's been a pretty fantastic year, and I'm looking forward to what 2014 will bring.

I realize that posting song lyrics is incredibly emo and so early-2000s as to be aggressively unhip, but it's pseudo-tradition for me, so:

A long December and there's reason to believe
Maybe this year will be better than the last
I can't remember the last thing that you said as you were leavin'
Now the days go by so fast
And it's one more day up in the canyons
And it's one more night in Hollywood
If you think that I could be forgiven...I wish you would
The smell of hospitals in winter
And the feeling that it's all a lot of oysters, but no pearls
All at once you look across a crowded room
To see the way that light attaches to a girl
And it's one more day up in the canyons
And it's one more night in Hollywood
If you think you might come to California...I think you should
Drove up to Hillside Manor sometime after two a.m.
And talked a little while about the year
I guess the winter makes you laugh a little slower,
Makes you talk a little lower about the things you could not show her
And it's been a long December and there's reason to believe
Maybe this year will be better than the last
I can't remember all the times I tried to tell my myself
To hold on to these moments as they pass
And it's one more day up in the canyon
And it's one more night in Hollywood
It's been so long since I've seen the ocean...I guess I should...
dorchadas: (Do Not Want)
Note: This entry is at least partially about weight.

As you may or may not know, I signed up for LoseIt almost two years ago now (and if you use it, you should friend me!), and have tracked everything I've eaten with obsessive devotion since then. Admittedly I combine obsessively writing everything down with not really caring if I have to pick some food that's close enough, since it's not like it's possible to accurately estimate calories anyway unless you're weighing everything with a food scale, and who wants to do that? The vague approach works for me, though, so I keep at it even if it's only close enough.



Hey, if eagles can post selfies, I'm entitled. :p

Anyway, I do have some friends who use LoseIt too, but I am by far the most active one among us. On the Lose It forums, they have a monthly thread for people to introduce themselves, friend other members of the community because statistically people who lose weight together tend to lose more weight than those who go at it alone, and otherwise make connections, and I figured I'd post there even though I'd been a member for a while, met and exceeded all my weight loss goals, and mostly continue using the program out of obsessive habit. So I made a quick post explaining that, and within a day, I had something like a dozen people friend me. Woo!

And what's I've discovered since then is that I find it all incredibly inane. Every time someone posts a weight loss, no matter how small, people come in with congratulatory messages. When they post a weight gain, they come in with reassurances that it's a temporary setback. When they post a badge, regardless of whether it's a milestone like exercising three times a week for a year, or something fluff like becoming friends with three people, the congrats flow in. And it all just turns into meaningless noise.

I guess I shouldn't be surprised that I don't get any meaning out of it. After all, [livejournal.com profile] softlykarou will sometimes tell me something nice that someone we know has said about me, and my first response is often to dismiss it because the person doesn't really know much about me, because they've only ever interacted with [livejournal.com profile] softlykarou and me together at parties or social functions and never talked to me one-on-one or whatever other justification I can use to dismiss it, and that's from people that I've met in person. I suppose it is partially self-doubt, but I do tend to equivocate a lot when other people ask me for advice unless I'm directly familiar with the situation they're asking about, so some of it is extending that onto other people.

I don't get many comments myself, because I only comment on things that seem important--milestone badges, major weight losses for people with explicit goals, that kind of thing--and maybe because I've only been friends (well, "friends") with these people for a couple weeks, so it's not like it's a constant stream of meaninglessness to me. It's more of an experiment I tried that turned out a failure. And probably ties into why my Twitter account is protected and I post on LJ instead of migrating to Tumblr. I'm happy in my walled garden, and while I don't mind waving over the gate occasionally, I'd rather not move out to the front yard.

Diabetes disconnect

2013-Nov-14, Thursday 17:43
dorchadas: (Do Not Want)
Spoilered for people who don't care due to discussion of eating habits and food: Clicky )
dorchadas: (Do Not Want)
It's funny because this is about a blood donation.

So, I went to give blood today, because I'm type O Negative and so the bloodustrial complex sucks on my veins like a chupacabra. I usually go to blood drives at work, since working at the AMA means that 1) we have work blood drives and 2) they don't care if you take time off to go to them, but the schedule of the donations and my cooldown period (so to speak) weren't meshing up, so I decided to go to the actual donation center and do it that way.

I should have walked out when I noticed they had Fox News playing on the TV, though I was happy when I heard the guy waiting with me mutter "That's bullshit" under his breath when the panel was blathering on about how if atheists don't like saying "under God," they can just go to one of those foreign and probably Communist countriesleave. Anyway, they took my info, set me up on the apheresis machine, and then let me go. My blood was a little sluggish, but everything was fine until it switched and started putting plasma back.

I'll skip the details, both because I don't know them and because both the people I mentioned it to tonight already cringed impressively when I did, but there was a burst of pain, and after some difficulties, they disconnected me halfway through, sent me home, and now my arm is all swollen. It's going down, and it doesn't hurt--anymore--but this is the first time it's ever happened, and the human brain's need to create connection between unrelated events immediately seized on Fox News as the culprit. I mean, the phlebotomist kept telling me she should have used the right arm, but I showed her both and she picked the left, and it's not like I've needed to express a preference between arms before.

Next time, I'll stick to donating at work.

[ ± _ ± ]

2013-Jun-30, Sunday 12:29
dorchadas: (Broken Dream)
I've been sick, in waves, for the past week. I thought it was a cold, but maybe it's a sinus infection. I'll spare you the details, but yuck. Ick ick ick. The first time I've had more than sniffles in a couple years, though, so I guess I shouldn't complain that much. Also, [personal profile] schoolpsychnerd has been the best wife ever. Even though she's a bit sick too, she's prepared incredibly tasty meals and went shopping by herself yesterday (not a marvel except that we walk and usually we get enough that I need to carry it). <3

Despite saying that I wouldn't like Runequest in a previous entry due to not liking percentile systems, but having actually looked into it a lot more, it has basically everything I'm looking for in a fantasy game: hit locations; gritty combat with more choices than just "I stab them"; pre-medieval setting (it's more Bronze Age); multiple magic systems including low-power ubiquitous folk magic, D20 monk or Shadowrun physical adept-style enhancement magic ("Mysticism"), summoning spirits, calling on the powers of the gods, and traditional robe-and-book sorcery; mutations caused by the inimical power of chaos; Luck Points as a meta-game mechanic; and it's skill-based.

But...it's still based on a percentile system. The average person only really feels like they're starting to get competent at something if they succeed more than half the time, and since most percentile systems start skills at 15%-35% or so and move up from there. It's possible to mitigate this by only rolling during really stressful situations, or by assuming that base difficulty is "really hard" and giving +20% bonuses to routine actions, which are both tactics that the Warhammer 40K RPGs take, but that still doesn't create a curve.

(Insert jokes about curves here)

Instead of trying to convert everything and going through a ton of work, I'll probably just hack in a curve by allowing the players to pick the tens and ones dice after the roll. That doesn't make it tons better if skills are low--someone with that skill of 15% has a ~19% chance of success under this scheme--but with higher skills, it helps a lot. A skill of 50% lets the user succeed 74% of the time, for example, and Luck Points further cushion lower skills.

I'll still be writing Dungeons & Design, though, because it's good to get the ideas out and work them out on the page. So to speak.

Edit: 74%, not 66%. 1-50, 51-54, 60-64, 70-74, 80-84, and 90-94. The exact percentages for the given skill levels are here, in 10-level increments. 0 is the chance to fail and 1 is the chance to succeed.

Ow, my back…

2012-Sep-09, Sunday 14:15
dorchadas: (Arrow to the Knee)

This is dictated on my iPad so we'll see how well it works.

Last weekend, we had to go help my sister move in Madison. That wasn't so bad – after all my parents helped us move several times – but the problem was that my sister had about twice as much stuff as [personal profile] schoolpsychnerd and me combined. We took three car trips with my sister's and my father's cars and unloaded half of the U-Haul and still had an entire U-Haul worth of stuff to take back to store in my parents basement. I mean, my parents did store all of our stuff while we were in Japan, but even so, you'd think that a veterinary resident wouldn't need so much stuff because she's not in her apartment all the time anyway. That was actually the reason she had to move – her landlady was hoping for a replacement for the woman who lived near her for 30 years, and apparently didn't realize that a veterinary resident was not the best person to be a friend and to have barbecues with.

Anyway other than the couch, there wasn't actually that much that was heavy to move, so the actual moving wasn't bad. It was just that there was so much stuff.

So that was our Labor Day weekend. We really didn't do anything else after that because we had to spend the rest of it recovering from moving.

Weight- and food-related )

The JLPT registration just started. I'm not sure I'm ready for level III yet, but I'm going to take it anyway. I'll have to study a lot harder in these next four months if I want to pass. Well, translating more blog entries for our Rachel and Brian in Chicago blog should help with that also. I've really been letting those slip lately and I need to get on that.

Edit: I almost forgot! I'm on Goodreads now! If you're on there too and want to read my reviews or suggest books to me, add me! I'm pretty active there but most of the friends I have aren't, so more activity would be neat. (^_^)

If you're using LoseIt, you can add me too, though I'm not sure how to do that. I might as well be social if I'm using social networking...

Posted via LiveJournal app for iPad.

dorchadas: (Do Not Want)
So, after [livejournal.com profile] softlykarou's trip to the ER Saturday, I thought the worst of the sickness was over. And while I suppose I'm still correct (as I haven't had to go to the ER), Sunday night was the sickest I've been in years.

According to [livejournal.com profile] softlykarou (who I asked, since I don't remember much), I spent most of it out of my mind, raving about whatever my fever dreams came up with and alternately freezing with four blankets on in an apartment with the thermostat set at 75 or burning up and sweating profusely with no blankets on at all. [livejournal.com profile] softlykarou forced me to drink water and take medicine, which was good--I was in no state to do either my myself.

I took Monday and today off, though today I'm feeling almost well again. It does mean I'll be going in a bit on Saturday to get some work done, though. Weekly deadlines are teh suq.

Edit: Also, this is the best Valentine's Day card ever.

Life stuff

2007-Jun-05, Tuesday 18:34
dorchadas: (Enter the Samurai)
So I went to the doctor, after the latest thing he tried, and he basically said I might just have to live with it, and that he could try stronger medicines, but they'd all have side effects. Since my problem now isn't really much more than annoying, trading it for an equal side effect from a medicine won't put me ahead at all. He also suggested trying an herbal suppliment and seeing if that does anything. Nothing else has worked, so I guess it's worth a try.

Clinton spoke at Rachel's graduation, and while I don't think he did as good a job as Bono did at mine, it was a pretty nice speech. Mostly about how you shouldn't let differences blind you to your common humanity, and how political differences don't have to be big enough to prevent people from working together to do good. Sort of related to the fundamental attribution error, which is my problem when thinking about politics if I'm not careful (simply, I do bad things because of bad circumstances, other people do bad things because they're morally flawed). Pictures were taken, but I don't have access to any of them currently. They're probably on Facebook.

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