I hate spring. I hate summer more, but spring is almost as bad because everything is coming to life, and I’m allergic to all the green things. In addition, I’m still visiting Ian in upstate New York, so there is a bunch of native flora that doesn’t live in Minnesota. This is my long-winded way of saying that my allergies are on high. At least I hope it’s allergies. I think it is. My eyes are itchy and my throat is tickling. There is a drainage situation that is coagulating in the back of my throat. I’m feeling logy, even more so than usual.
The reason I’m hoping it’s allergies? Because the alternative is that I have a cold. Again. Or sinus issues. Again. Or any of half a dozen things that are worse than allergies. Allergies are a low-level energy drain. Sinus infection? That’s a massive hit in the gut. I also have a medium-grade headache that really intensifies right before I go to bed. I’ve taken two Excedrin Migraine (generic) almost every night I’ve been here which keeps the headache at bay, but it’s not something I want to do too often.
I have zero motivation when I’m sick/allergy-stuffed as well. I know I have shit I need to do, but I just can’t make myself do anything. Writing this post feels unbearable, and I’m just writing nonsense. I know I’m not, but that’s how it feels. I woke up about an hour ago, and I want a nap. That’s what makes me think I’m on the cusp of getting sick and not just suffering allergies. Allergies are annoying, but not soul-sapping the way getting sick is.
I’m flying back tomorrow, and I really would rather not have to do it while being sick. I’m sure the other people on the plane would be happier without me spreading the sickness as well.
Side note: Delta has this thing where if the flight is full, they’ll have you bid on your seat, meaning saying how much it would take for you to change your flight. Ideally, everyone would ask for the highest bid so someone will get that amount. Gamification theory indicates, however, that someone will lowball everyone so they will at least get something.
Ed. Note: I’m so close to the end, I can taste it. I want to write more about my frustrations with the game, but also just update how far I am in the game. Spoilers. Some. Maybe? Probably. Be forewarned.
We’ve reached #5 on the list, but I want to revisit #4 for a minute. Right now, I’m finishing up all the optional ending timelines so I can make the big decision of which ending I want when the time comes. One of the optional timelines includes me going into the past to the Hirata Estate, the second area I did waaaaaay back in the beginning of this game. It still has my favorite sen run, which, with the help of a Mibu Balloon of Wealth, nets me 1,000 sen in five minutes or so with no sweat at all. The boss at the end of this area was the first to make me contemplate quitting the game–Madame Butterfly. Lady Butterfly is her actual name, but it’s the same, really. After dozens of time dying to her, I read in the sub-reddit a single skill–Nightjar Slash–done over and over and over again will kill her. I was highly skeptical, but I tried it–and it worked the first time.
Did I feel guilty about it? No. The alternate would have been me not finishing the game. Well, or just leaving her (she’s optional) and feeling guilty about it. Either way, if it’s in the game, it’s a viable strat. And since there’s no way to summon, I used every trick that was available to me. There are other bosses that I learned tricks/cheese for, and I didn’t give a shit. Great Shinobi Owl was one of them, which ties in neatly with the Hirata Estate. Why? Because he’s the boss at the end of the area. After fighting two duplicate mini-bosses (one of the lone ninjas and the drunkard). So all of the bosses are replicated. You probably know how I feel about that at this point.
Fighting Owl (Father) is currently on my plate, and it’s a pain in the ass. I don’t want to do it, and a part of me is saying skip it because it’s not part of the ending I want. Another part of me is indignant at the thought of skipping him–the OCD/pride part of me. The problem is, I’ve gotten him down to half his first health bar, and I have no idea what the second phase brings. I’ve watched videos of the first part of the fight, and there is a *cheese* so to speak, but like most of the other cheese, it’s predicated on knowing the moveset of the boss. With the Great Shinobi Owl, the cheese (by the same YouTuber) was running around in a circle around him and baiting out one of two moves. Then, using Whirlwind Slash to hit him before backing away, resetting, and starting again. There was one move he did that I had to recognize quickly enough so I could throw firecrackers at him (one of the prosthetic tools) to stop his devastating combo.
I’m afraid this is my new normal, being roughly 60%. Every time I get past that point, something happens that sets me back. For example, last night, and TMI for possibly grossness, I had a peanut butter and jelly sandwich because I’m twelve–side note: why are PB&Js considered children’s food?–and a minute later, I had to run to the bathroom. Exploding diarrhea all over the place (hyperbole! I made it to the toilet), and I stayed there for at least ten minutes. A half hour later, I was back again. I went to sleep a bit later, then was jolted awake in the middle of the night (not sure when) because my body was urgently telling me I needed to go. Again. I was more than half-asleep, and I almost fell down on my way to the toilet. I almost fell asleep on the toilet. I almost fell asleep on my way back to the couch. It was a surreal experience. I was basically pooping in my sleep, and I was just happy I made it to the bathroom first.
What was it that did it? My instinct is the peanut butter, but it could be the jelly. In fact, it’s more likely the jelly. I’ve had the peanut butter before, and I’m not sure I’ve had this brand of (blackberry) jelly before. It’s not the bread. I eat that all the time, and it’s not a new loaf. So, I’m going to do a controlled test today. I’m going to eat the jelly on its own, an then I’m going to try the peanut butter. Of course, the fact that I think it’s the peanut butter might unconsciously bias me.
I woke up grumpy and exhausted today. My energy is extremely low, and I just feel so blah. I’ve been trying to write this post for over an hour, and every word is begrudging. It’s not like me at all. I’m verbose to an extreme, and I can usually toss off a two-thousand word post in an hour or so. I currently have 350 words, and I am already running out of steam.
On a related note: I’m struggling with the second book of my current trilogy. The first one is finished. It’s rough as hell, but I really like the energy of it. The second one never really came to life to me, and I’m 92,000 words in. I’m thinking of scrapping it and starting over. I’ve had writer friends incredulous that I would actually throw away whole novels, it’s not an anathema to me. I wouldn’t literally throw it away or delete it; I would simply start another story. I might take some nuggets from the first story, but I would go in a different direction.
Side note to the related note: When I write a novel, I have an outline in my head. I write mysteries, and going into it, I know the perp, the victim, and the motive. I don’t always know how I get from Point A to Point B, but I know in broad strokes what my chain of events will be. I’ve had times when the motive has changed or shifted as I’ve written, but for the most part, the motive I go in with is the same one that remains at the end–more or less.
In this case, I started the first novel with a firm idea of all of the above. I even know mostly how I was going to get from Point A to Point B. About halfway through the novel, an idea came to me that I couldn’t ignore. It led to the main thesis of the second novel, and it recast everything in the first novel in a different light. Of course, I had to keep in mind that the first novel had to be able to read on its own. I finished the first novel with the second one in mind, and I was excited when I started the second.
Goddamn it. I just can’t today. I’m so tired and bone-weary. And my innards are still grumbling. That’s all for today.
I’m tired. I’m so fucking exhausted. Still sick. Still got the chills alternating with still got the heat. Still grumpy as fuck. Still not playing MHW. I’m riding at about 40%, and I’m just done.
Funny note. I’ve been going down that Hot Ones rabbit hole. It’s a web series in which Sean Evans interviews a guest while eating ten wings with increasing heat. The first three or four ain’t nothing. They eat and Sean asks questions, and the guest answers. The middle four are increasingly hot, and most guests are at least breaking a sweat by this point. Then, comes bottle number 8 (used to be 9, I think). It’s called Da Bomb, and it makes me smile every time I see it because I know this sauce.
Backstory. My brother and I both love spicy foods. We have since the beginning of time, which is rather strange given our background. I don’t know how it started, but we began a tradition of giving each other hot sauce for Christmas with one giving it to the other one year, then using the same box, the other reciprocates the next year. It caused much merriment, especially for the other members of the family. The point, of course, was to try to find something hotter than the year before. This happened for several years in a row, and then came the year I found Da Bomb, considered to be the hottest hot sauce at the time.
“Consume one drop at a time with extreme caution” is on the bottle, and it ain’t no joke. I ordered two bottles so I could keep one for myself. I made a huge batch of chili and put four or five drops of Da Bomb in it. I’m talking HUGE batch. I tasted it and yeah, no. I had to throw it away. When I gave the other bottle to my brother, I warned him about it. I said to take the label seriously. A few days later, he called me and said he thought we could end the contest right there. (WITH ME WINNING, LET’S NOTE.)
Side note: Several years later, the Carolina Reaper was created, and my brother sent me an email with a link. He only wrote, “We back on?” We didn’t restart the contest, though, and my tolerance for spice has decreased over the years. As I get older, I find that I don’t enjoy not feeling my face after eating any longer. In addition, I like flavorful rather than just pure spice.
I’m mostly over the sickness right now, but I overdid it in taiji yesterday, so I’m exhausted. I could barely keep my eyes open last night, and I kept dozing off while writing and doing other things. I finally gave in and went to actual bed around two in the morning after falling asleep and waking up every half an hour or so for several hours. I’ve been doing the stretches my teacher taught me for my back and leg, and they seem like they are helping. However, my knees are aching, which means I’m overextending on my postures. This was a problem I’ve had for several years, and while I’m much better at not doing it, I still slip every now and again. I think being sick and adding these new stretches has made me concentrate less on my form, much to my knees’ detriment.
Anyway. I mused a while back about my life and what I need to do differently. Looking back on it, I’m doing a bit better with health. The thing I’ve realized that while I’m really good at quitting things cold turkey (in general. Potato chips are one exception), it takes me a long time to get to that point of actually making the move, and I can only cut out so much without feeling seriously deprived. It’s better to add something to my diet rather than constantly take away things. Right now, I’m concentrating on eating an apple a day (which, as we all know, keeps the doctor away). Before that, I added an orange a day (or two clementines/mandarins) for achy joints purposes. My theory is that if I add things to my diet, I’ll naturally want to eat less of other things. I’ll let you know how it works.
I mentioned caffeine in the previous post. Currently, I drink one cup of caffeinated tea every few days, so I’m mostly caffeine-free. It was so hard in the beginning, but now, I’m mostly used to it. I’m over the initial ‘can’t keep my eyes open’ stage, and I rarely miss the jolt. I occasionally have a pop when I go out to eat, and it now tastes weird. It’s not the same as gluten and dairy, both which still tastes delicious–god, I miss cheese so much. I still eat gluten-free pasta and bread, and I’m back in love with white rice, but there is no good substitute for cheese that I’ve found. Damn it.
My brother is urging me to get an Instant Pot, and I’ve been resistant to it mainly because it’s new and seems like it’d have a steep learning curve, though everything I’ve heard about it has said it’s easy. But, easy for people who cook already or easy for people who don’t cook? Plus, batch cooking is not something that appeals to me. Yes, I know I can freeze it and warm up each portion a day, but that’s a lot of work, yo. Also, read the description to this bad boy. It’s full of techno-babble and shit that doesn’t interest me. My brother laughed and said it’s geared towards guys, and I said, “Yeah. I’m not a guy.”
Side note: My brother likes to run his advertising ideas by me. I have a hard time giving him useful advice because what works on most people actively turns me off. Anything relentlessly cheerful and positive is boring to me, and anybody who hypes their product too much makes me suspicious. My brother was leaning towards using words that are old-timey and suggest solidness like ‘trusty’ or ‘trusted’. To me, if you’re those things, you don’t have to say it. I’m not just going to take you at your word, either. You have to prove you’re trustworthy–you can’t just say it.
I’m still feeling punk. And, it’s still hasn’t fully hit, which is depressing me. I’m already feeling depressed because of my life, and I was going to get more into that this week, but I’ll save it for later. Let’s just say there isn’t one facet of my life in which I’m satisfied, and this could be a dangerous slope into chronic depression. Even though it’s been years since I’ve been there, I know it could happen at any time. I’ve had a low-grade depression for a few months now, which is bearable, but not desirable, honestly. Persistently being on the cusp of being sick doesn’t help. My sinuses are sore, I have a dry cough, and I have no energy.
So, this is your post for the day. Here is Queen and David Bowie doing Under Pressure (of course).
I’m still recovering from my whatever I had, and it’s slow going. Stuffy nose, gunk in my ears, scratchy throat. All are still present, even though they ‘re slowly subsiding. Add to that my laptop keyboard finally giving up the ghost with some sticking and repeating (looking at you ‘y’), some sticking and not working at all despite frantic pounding (‘h’ key), and some aing the little rubber piece come off (oh, ‘o’ key, why), necessitating the need to replace it repeatedly. It has been said that I am hard on my keyboards. I like to protest, but it’s true. My brother is coming tomorrow to fix it, so I’ll be more in the typing mood then, hopefully, and will finish up my games of the year post.
In the meantime, there is more Poirot to watch and more honey ginger lemon tea to drink. Here is the story of Maru & Hana in two parts.
Before I talk about my health, which I’m going to do at length, I want to add to my post of yesterday about what you can do to protest this administration. If you’re a Republican in a Republican state who is appalled by what is going on, you can have more impact on your legislators than I can. I know there are sensible Republicans out there who have given up on their party. I can understand why, but your party needs you. More to the point, your country needs you. Please do what you can to slow down or stop this train wreck.
Back to my health. I thought I was getting better, then I wasn’t. Then I rebound a bit, but now I’ve crashed again. My nose and throat are clogged. I have bloody boogers (literally. I’m not being British right now). I’m coughing and feeling very low energy. My temperature is very low, even when I feel like I have a fever. My normal temp is 97.5. Right now, it’s hovering between 95.9 and 96.9. I’m convinced this has to do with my hypothyroid meds being lowered. If I don’t feel better in the next day or two, I’m calling my doctor.
I’ve managed to do my morning routine every day, but I’ve had to cut it back because I’m just so fucking tired. I went to class yesterday, and we did just the right amount of taiji, but I was exhausted when I got home. I stopped at the co-op on the way home, and that just about put me over the edge. I spent most of last night on the couch, which made Shadow (my cat) happy because he could just lump around on my legs as I rested. Which he’s doing right now, actually.
I finished watching all of the episodes of The Great British Bake Off that I could, um, freely watch, if you get my drift. I watched some Chopped, but I was missing that baking goodness. I didn’t know there were other versions of the Bake Off show, and I tried all that I could find. Irish, American, South African, and Australian. There almost exact clones of the original, but they’re like low fat food–not very filling. What’s interesting about the Australian version is that the second season has an entirely different cast than the first season. After watching the first episode of the first season, I understood why. The male host was fine when he wasn’t mugging it up, but the female host was, not good. In addition, the female judge (Kerry Vincent) was horrible. I know the shtick is to be stern and foreboding, but there’s a difference between exacting and being a complete bitch. She was downright mean, and it was hard to watch. Paul Hollywood, one of the judges from the original, is constantly being teased for being mean, but he’s not. He’s firm and he has high standards, but he’s never cruel.
In the second season of the Australian version, the two (now female) hosts are pale copies of the two original hosts. They’re comedians (as are the originals) who make bad baking puns (as do the originals), but they don’t have the charm. The judges are great, though, which is arguably more important. I’m on the second episode, but I’m not sure I’ll watch the rest of the season. It’s just so unsatisfying after watching the original. I don’t feel invested in any of the bakers, and the show kind of limps along. I might go back to watching Chopped instead.
I’m grumpy because I’ve been sick for so damn long. Every time i get better, I get worse again. I’m wondering if it’s something other than the flu or a cold, although both can last a long time. I’m also pretty sure that the stress of the past few months is part of the problem. I have a wonky immune system in the first place, and my grief isn’t helping matters. I’m also blaming my cold/flu/whatever on visiting my doctor right before I got sick. Not only are clinics a hot bed of germs, they asked me if I wanted a flu shot, and I said no. I’m pretty sure I jinxed myself, but the few times I’ve actually gotten a flu shot, I’ve gotten the flu. After the third time that happened, I looked it up and discovered that doctors pick six strains they think are going to be prevalent in the upcoming year and that’s what the flu shot is aimed at stopping/slowing down. There are many more strains than that, of course, so you’re not completely inoculated with the shot.
I hate feeling like shit. I hate being a baby about it. I hate not wanting to ever get out of bed.
I’m going to meditate on Shironeko while I’m resting and try to emulate his chill.
Last night, I was lying on the couch, and I felt my flu ‘break’. I had a moment of relief before the crud* fill my nose and my throat. Before, I mostly felt exhausted, alternated between chills and hot flashes, and had absolutely no energy. I also had headaches and no appetite. I dealt with it by resting as much as I could and drinking all the honey ginger lemon tea I could stand. It was horrible to wake up feeling enervated. I considered it an accomplishment to make it to the bathroom without staggering.
When the flu broke last night, I was relieved. It’d been over a week, and I felt it was about goddamn time. Then, not a minute later, my nose started to fill with snot, and my throat got clogged. I knew immediately that a cold, like a silent assassin waiting in the wings, had set upon me just as my flu left. Needless to say, I am not happy. I’m tired, stuffed up, and coughing sporadically.
I had planned on writing a long screed on what is currently happening in this mockery we call democracy, but I’m just not up to it. I will do it tomorrow as I have a hunch the travesty will still be happening–along with the protests. I skipped my last two taiji classes as well as four in two weeks (total). It’s frustrating to have absolutely no energy, no matter how much or how little sleep I get.
I’m down. I’m depressed. I’m watching another season of The Great British Bake Off (and, yes, there’s another waif-like type of whom I feel VERY protective).
Here are two of my favorite things–Maru and snow. Two videos of him in the fluffy white stuff. In the first, he’s wearing a darling blue raincoat. It’s so cute. In the second, he slides in a sled, and it’s even cuter.
Hello, I am on the mend, but I’m still dragging my flat yellow ass around. I’ve decided to take one more day off (and the weekend) before returning to blogging. I’m still blasting my way through The Great British Bake Off, and I’m almost done with Season Three (on the semi-finals). It’s surprising how attached to the contestants I get, but it’s because they’re so humble and hard-working. There is very little of the macho bullshit I see on American reality shows, and they seem genuinely upset when others are cut. Oh, I know everyone wants to win, but they’re not trying to sabotage each other. In fact, I’ve seen them help each other in times of crisis.
One thing I’ve realized is that at a certain point, some of the contestants stop having fun. There was one woman in Season Two who looked as if she had checked out the second episode in which she was doing poorly. She looked so beat down every time she presented her baked good, it was as if she’d defeated herself before she even started. When she was cut, she smiled and said she was relieved, and I believed her. The competition is intense, and I actually worry about the mental health of some of the contestants.
Here is the Christmas special videos of The Great British Bake Off. Enjoy!