mokie: A package of meat wishes you happy holidays (holiday of the day)
Honestly, I'm not sure if people are supposed to celebrate this, or if this is the day we all sigh and commiserate over prickly winter hair and doorknob shocks.
mokie: Cartoon Calvin sneezes and checks his tissue (lurgy)
I recently discovered that I'm allergic to coconut.

Scoffing scoffer: "Aw, did ums get a bellyache? Getting the shits after eating a bad slice of pie isn't an allergy."

No, I got puffy lips after a piece of coconut creme Easter candy, and put it off to some weird reaction to spring pollens. "Maybe I touched my face after checking the mailbox...?"

Then my lips swelled up like someone had just popped me one, the inside of my face swelled up like a sinus/ear infection, and I got a nice big can't-swallow lump in my throat after a bowl of homemade coconut milk-based ice cream. "Maybe it's the way it was processed? It can't be the coconut--I used to nibble shredded coconut out of the bag..."

Then I got the lip and face and throat swelling after having a piece of chocolate cake that had been touching a piece of cake with shredded coconut on it. "But...but...I had coconut curry soup and I was fine! And I use coconut oil in all my soaps!"

On the upside, it turns out the oil is [usually] safe, as the problematic protein is in the meat and milk and water.* You know, all the tasty parts. Also, I'd taken allergy medicine before eating the soup. Tricksy allergies!

Okay, fine, I don't eat coconut anymore.

Except no.

I peeled potatoes today, shedding the skin into a bowl that had previously covered the coconut cake. Lunch was fried potatoes, a cup of coffee, a reusable bottle of water, my 2x daily dose of penicillin (root canal, joy) and a swollen lip and throat and right hand.

What the...

Did I cross-contaminate the potatoes simply by peeling them into the ex-cake cover? Did I cross-contaminate the cup by handling it after the bowl, even though I didn't touch the inside of the bowl or the lip of the cup? Did I cross-contaminate the water bottle during the 'my cakes can't touch' issue, or after the coconut curry soup?

Did I touch a bit of counter on which coconut cooties had previously wafted from mere proximity to the cake? Was the plate I used for the finished potatoes previously used for coconut cake, and if so, how goddamn, do I need to bleach everything in the cupboard just in case?

Is this not cross-contamination at all, but a sudden allergy to penicillin too? Or did I touch the pill bottle after touching the potatoes after touching--GAH!

Mold and pollen and pet fur I can handle: basic cleaning, an air filter during bad spells, take my pills and wash my hands, blah blah blah. An allergy that practically requires me to become OCD might be out of my league.

Update: WOO! I am not allergic to coconut! One of my run-of-the-mill pollen/tree-spooge allergies was having a weird oral reaction to coconut. Once the spring allergies gave way to summer allergies, the coconut reaction went away. VICTORY!


* An allergist's website says the oil is safe. A friend spoke up to say (a) oh hey, me too, and (b) no, the oil is not necessarily safe.
mokie: Red-haired punk Vyvyan makes rude gestures at the viewer (snotty)
I need a word for the uncomfortable feeling of realizing you're the smartest person in a conversation.

I don't mean the smug belief that you're the smartest person present, or the haughty irritated glee of having the rightest opinion and why won't everyone just shut up and admit it already. No, I mean the awkward, embarrassed feeling when you think you're casually answering a question, only to realize that the other person thinks they're winning an argument you didn't even know you were having. You know, the moment you realize that not only do they not understand what you said, they're not capable of understanding it, because they really don't grasp how it works--be it science, medicine, English grammar, etc. And yet they're convinced that they're totally rocking that shit.

And then I need a word for the other side of the table: when you're pretty sure you're rocking that shit, but that little voice in the back of your head whispers, Maybe you're just not getting it.

For instance, homemade soap. Occasionally when washing my hands at someone else's house or purchasing a bar from a highly praised veteran soapmaker, I'll get irritated at the underwhelming performance. Terrible lather, a formulation clearly geared toward hardness rather than function, or toward squeaky cleanness at the expense of moisturizing, etc. I've dropped bars back into dishes and said aloud, "My soap is better than this." Even though I know that some people formulate for harder/softer water than mine, that one person's moisturizing bar is another person's 'slimy feeling' bar, that a formula that works perfectly for one person may be irritating to someone else, and so on. I know all this, because that's part of why I make my own soap--so I can have a bar that works just the way I want it, with the factors facing me, like my building's crazy-ass hard water.

All the same, I look at packaging, and that list of fancy-pants oils, and I think, "Who makes a coconut-based soap and uses olive just to superfat? You just gave me sandpaper fingers!" I stand there, all irate because my soap is better and they have years more experience than I do, and they have no right, no right at all to not whip my soap's ass. (I know, I can't even be cocky right.) And in the back of my head, there's that voice: What if my soap is so wrong, I just don't even know it?

Except when someone sheepishly points to a soap I purchased but they think I made, and says, "That one doesn't really lather." Then I am vindicated, goddammit.
mokie: A tiny, sad cardboard robot walks in the rain (thwarted)
It has been suggested by someone who is very, shall we say, 'right', that I'm actually seething about something else that I can't do anything about. That anger that I can't fix is snaking its way out of my molten core and finding its way up to the surface through minor fissures here and there, causing things that should be small nuisances, like unclear instructions, to become sinkholes of raaaaaaaaaaaaaage.

Damn! I hate it when other people are right.

Realizing it helps. I can see where I tried to convince myself that I wasn't that angry over the thing that's making me seethe, since (a) it's a stupid thing to feel angry over, and (b) I can't do anything about it. And I can see where trying to shove that issue into the 'minor nuisance' box knocked all the real nuisances out of the box and all out of proportion, since (a) they were legitimate (if minor) issues, and (b) I could do things about them, including raaaaaaaaaaaaaage. It was easier to get angry at a few small, clear targets that I could knock out or blow up about than at a vague and currently unfixable thing.

You know what else helps? Mocha coffee hazelnut spread stirred into warm almond milk. No, wait, I mean, talking about it. But that too.

And another thing pointed out to me: socializing wipes me out and makes me cranky. I know, I shouldn't need this pointed out, since I point it out so often, but my Friday was full of more people and places full of people than usual (ooh, that's sad), so I should have expected to be spending my Saturday and Sunday waving a knife around re-establishing all perimeters, prison-style.

So now I feel stupid about being so tetchy for the better part of a month, and guilty for feeling stabby at someone (okay, everyone) yesterday, and waving a knife around, prison-style. (Joke! Don't call CPS!) And drained, because that's a lot of realizing and feeling to be doing all at once.

(Also, like I should be posting some emo song lyrics or something...)

[Related posts: I'm all out of fucks, because I used them all in this post. / All my fucks are back! / Well, that was brief.]
mokie: A screaming child holding a headless teddy bear (cranky)
I'm currently stuck in a horrible depression loop.

I'm pretty sure I know why--the two week heat wave killed my appetite, my sinuses and my sleep schedule, so I'm sniffly despite three kinds of medication, sleep-deprived but not sleepy thanks to the decongestant, and hungry but not feeling it thanks to the phlegm. And then being hot, hungry, sleepy and sneezy all conspired to kill my attention span just as a big job came in, so I'm feeling all of that and frustrated and stupid and worthless.

Fortunately it's the kind of depression that manifests not as woe! woe is me! or I'm not worthy of hygiene!, but as a seething rage that pops up randomly against random people for no good reason. Actor on TV who cannot act, I will kill you with my mind! kinds of rage, pointless and brutal but quickly passing, thanks to that short attention span.

So that's fun.

I'm not sure if I should grab my camera and go hide for a while, or consume vast amounts of coffee and hammer this job until it submits.

Update: And the random brown-out just now answered my question. Camera it is!
mokie: Sleepy hobbit Will Graham naps on a couch (exhausted)
I opened my assorted friends lists today and realized that I haven't read in almost three months.

I've been swamped with work, and all that hardcore word-mining really strips my ability to put words together in anything longer than a sentence or two. I knew I'd fallen behind in posting. I hadn't realized I'd fallen so far behind in reading too, though.

And not just blogs. My sister lent me third book in the Dexter series before Christmas. It's sitting on my desk right now, mocking me with its unreadness. It's not a particularly dense or complex series, but making sense of sentences seems too much like work. I slide into the tub, open the book, and my eyelids droop in open rebellion; I took it to the doctor's office (just accompanying a relative) and nearly dozed off. The bookmark is at the midway point, but I'll be damned if I can remember anything past the first three pages.

Can one overdose on words? I think I might have.
mokie: A tiny, sad cardboard robot walks in the rain (sad)
I dreamt I walked into the old house to find three homeless junkies lounging around, one of whom I knew as a friendly acquaintance. I pulled family aside to talk, trying to get the idea across that they couldn't just let people come inside and hang, but they weren't getting it. So I retrieved $25 that I owed my sister and hid it in a glass.

The friendly junkie left, and I didn't dare look in the glass, but I didn't need to either--I already knew the money was gone.

You can like someone, even love them, and still not trust them.
mokie: A tiny, sad cardboard robot walks in the rain (sad)
First, I completely fail to see how invested the other person is in the topic. Then I find the hole in their argument and poke at it, because that's how I think at things: But what about... Part of this may include playing Devil's advocate and presenting the opposite side for consideration, because that's also how I think at things: On the other hand, we can't forget about... I'm trying to be logical in context and thorough, because that's what examining the holes and holding the topic up to peer at all sides is about, being logical and thorough. This generally means I come across as far more invested in the topic than I usually am.

And then somebody sighs and shrugs and walks away, because I'm being obnoxious. And I am, but I'm working on it, honest.

Or somebody tells me I'm scaring away other participants by refusing to allow them their opinions. But I'm not--I just tackle their argument the same way I'd tackle my argument. I'm learning to point out where they make good points, and to bolster those, before I poke their holes.

Or someone takes up 'my side' and presents an argument with holes, and I point out the holes, maybe even swap sides (the slightly less devilish advocate?), and everybody gets very frustrated because how do I feel already?! and I explain that I don't necessarily feel one way or the other, I think, and I'm more interested in a full and interesting discussion than taking a side and defending a flag.1 And they get offended, because to them it's not about a full and interesting discussion but about being right, and they feel my stance mocks or belittles that. I understand completely--I just can't do anything about it.

Or somebody blows up, because the topic steps on one of their triggers and they didn't really want to discuss it as much as rant about it, and I'm frustrating them by sticking to the discussion at hand. This is why I'm wary of talking to atheists/agnostics about anything pertaining to religion, because for many any discussion of religion always becomes their own personal boxing match, relived over and over and over, regardless of the actual framing and context of the current discussion.

Or somebody blows up, because the subject doesn't jibe with their world view so they don't really want to discuss the issue brought up as much as they want to discuss their world view as it relates to the subject, and I'm frustrating them by sticking to the original issue. I've seen a Southern Baptist try to sit through a class on Judaism and fail miserably because he couldn't step outside his world view and see the course material from its own context.2

Logic-in-context protip: if you sit down in a circle discussing the significance of Catholic iconography, and someone asks what the symbols associated with St. James are, and you respond with, "It's all a tool to manipulate the masses"? Not logical in context, because the context is not whether you believe. Also, you're being an asshole.

But anyway: I've got to learn to ignore that little voice that squeaks up from the back of my head, "But what about...?" It's never as interesting to me as it is frustrating to the other party.

1 If it's an issue I have strong feelings about, I'm probably not going to engage in debate about it much, precisely because it's a big issue to me and I don't like feeling like it's being reduced to two sides defending their flags, and don't want to get tetchy at someone who is, like I do, just trying to explore all the facets of the discussion. (Told you I understand.)

2 To be fair, it's very likely that he intentionally enrolled to be disruptive and evangelize to us poor kids being led astray by a damn liberal college, so I don't feel all that bad about the rabbi accidentally making him cry.

I'm here! I swear!

Thursday, 10 March 2011 11:46 am
mokie: A tiny, sad cardboard robot walks in the rain (sad)
So, mokie, where have you been?

Oh, mokie. You know how I get...

- I've been hard at work in the word mines. December and January saw a burst of urgent work, and when February came I belly-flopped into it like a big, comfy bed.

- I alternated between sleeping lots and not sleeping at all--not in a manic WHEE! sense, but an oversensitive to noise and general grouchy insomnia way. A good portion of February was spent being tired and sick but awake but too tired to concentrate on anything but oh God why won't you let me sleep?, and an even better portion was spent finally dozing off.

- And then waking up because I couldn't breathe. This is the winter of the Sinus Infection That Will Not Die. Sudden calcified booger impactions have reduced me to tears and vaporizer addiction. The air pressure changes and the contents of my nose liquefy and gush out, without warning and unstoppable for half an hour at a time. I sneeze up jellyfish, and try not to skunky Mucinex-squirt while doing so, which is 50/50 no matter how careful I am to keep my bladder empty.

Seriously, crawl inside this image with me a moment: you're sitting in your tub crying because you can't stop sneezing and you can't sleep and sneeze at the same time and you've already changed clothes twice and one of those times you'd just gone to the bathroom and it doesn't make any sense and it's 3am and if you could just stop long enough to doze off...

On the upside, I discovered that vodka is the best painkiller out there, in addition to its known soporific goodness. Oh Russia, it all makes sense!

- I've been trying hard not to get off on the wrong foot with the new neighbors. Irregular hours? Not a problem, unless you're screaming and slamming doors at 1am one day and breaking down metal for recycling at 7am the next. Sounds make me twitchy like a mofo; the sound of metal screeching is a special Chinese hell for me. (If ever there were something we should outsource, it's Hell. China's hells are just far more efficient than ours.)

Not very exciting, I must admit...

About dream/reading tags

y-* tags categorize dreams.

For types: beyond the obvious, there are dreamlets (very short dreams), stubs (fragment/outline of a partially-lost dream), gnatter (residual impression of a lost dream).

For characters: there are roles (characters fitting an archetype), symbols (characters as symbols), and sigils (recurring figures with a significance bigger than a single dream's role/symbolism).

x-* tags categorize books.

Material is categorized primarily by structure, style and setting. If searching for a particular genre, look for the defining features of that genre, e.g. x-form:nonfic:bio, x-style:horror, x-setting:dystopian.

Tags