Wednesday, February 20, 2008

unexpected side effects

For over two weeks now, I've been dealing with this stupid head congestion/ post-nasal drip/ brutal cough illness. I've completed eight days of anti-biotics to clear up the sinus and ear infection parts of it, but still, the rest of it persists. I even broke down and started taking Sudafed yesterday, which helps a lot but still, drip-drip-drip leads to coughing fits.

I've had post-nasal drip before, in fact I've had one for a good part of my adult life. What I can never remember happening before is having so much drip that it produces a nasty cough. I realized that's because everything used to get stuck up inside my sinus cavities, before my turbinate reduction surgery. Now, everything drains, but I still got sinus and ear infections... here's hoping they're my last.

The worst part is that all that dripping and coughing is seriously interfering with my voice therapy. At least I have a reasonable excuse for why I'm not doing everything I'm supposed to, but it's frustrating.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Torchwood 2.4: Meat

From the beginning, we all knew that former police constable Gwen Cooper (Eve Myles) would someday be forced to choose between her sweetheart Rhys (Kai Owen) and her dashing Torchwood boss Captain Jack Harkness (John Barrowman). In Catherine Tregenna's "Meat," Gwen makes her choice.

While pretty weak on its sci-fi aspects, this episode rocked for its character development. If you've ever wondered what would happen if Rhys went toe-to-toe with Jack, you're about to find out. Read the rest over at The House Next Door.

Friday, February 15, 2008

well, that wasn't supposed to happen

So I've been working with the 4-year-olds since the middle of last week, and we've settled into a good routine. Today another woman came in to observe the class, to see if she'd like to take the aide position permanently.

I'm surprised by my reaction, which was mostly negative, but not negative enough for me to step up and say, "OK, give me the job for the rest of the year." I still don't know if I want that! Oy.

I love the little ones. They are so very tiny and just figuring out the world, they are infinitely curious, and I love that about them. I can see why there are so many pre-school teachers out there (at the teacher certification orientation I attended this week, that's one of the things I learned).

Well, we'll see how it goes. I'll be back in there subbing for the teacher the last week of the month, and that should be a blast. Whether or not I'm in there on other days, just depends on how things go with the other aide.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Torchwood 2.3: To the Last Man

Helen Raynor, writer of the solid first season episode Ghost Machine, teams up with Torchwood series creator Russell T. Davies to bring us another kind of ghost story in "To the Last Man." Here, we're haunted by the omnipresent shadow of war, and the vagaries that forge unwitting young men into heroes, and sometimes martyrs to the greater good.

Click here to read the whole thing at the House Next Door.

Thursday, February 07, 2008

infinite capacity for self-delusion

It's not just me, it's a human tendency. At times, I'm sure it's the only thing that makes survival -- maybe just sanity? -- possible.

I can talk myself into (out of) anything. It's looking like I might be aiding in the 4-year-old preschool class regularly for the indefinite future. It's not what I want to do but they need someone, and it's hard to find someone and it's hard on the kids to have different people bouncing in and out of the classroom. You see how this goes?

Well. We'll know more tomorrow.

Tuesday, February 05, 2008


It's amazing how easy it is to break something ephemeral like the connection I felt you feel to, say, a particular blog.


This is, as I described elsewhere, a tempest in a teapot.

One of the more off-the-wall regular commenters at Althouse started posting non sequitor replies about how Ann doesn't care about her commenters, look at what happened with Sippican Cottage (aka Sippican). I won't link to his blog because I'm sure he wouldn't want to be involved in this silliness, but suffice it to say, he was a valued contributor to the comment threads on Althouse, until one day someone started posting stuff about his kids, stuff that crossed the line. Sippican decided he didn't want to expose his family to anything like that, and so he pulled up his stakes and he left: he deleted all of his comments, in every thread. (I admire his thoroughness and dedication to the task.)

Back in the present, the number and ferocity of the Sippican-related postings was increasing, so I stepped in to say I found those posts objectionable. I was surprised when Ann chimed in, not to tell the obnoxious commenter to knock it off, but to criticize Sippican for being "destructive to the community."

There was some back-and-forth; Ann's last long reply is still standing, and she asked me to explain why I think she thinks "it's all about her", so I tried -- and you can see where it got me.

I didn't save a copy of the comment I wrote which Ann deleted, but I did spend a long time writing and re-writing it. Here's a reasonable recreation of the high (or low, depending) points; italics represent quotes from Ann's reply:

And if you want to keep saying that I think it's "all about me," why don't you explain it, because I don't think that makes sense. I'm talking about threads where a lot of people wrote and interacted.
Yes, lots of people wrote and interacted, and then moved on. The relevance of blog comments drops precipitously once the posts scroll off the main page. They're so much water over the dam, or under the bridge, or wherever that water goes when it keeps on flowing. They're just not that important.

But I do have an interest in the integrity of my website, which I have worked very hard on for over 4 years. Why are you insulting me for caring about it?
Ahem. This is not a website, it's a blog. You're not even invested enough to get your own hosting service and proper blogging software so you can ban the nuisance commenters. You post a lot of content, but that's because it's what you like to do. You also generate a lot of attention and income. I'd say you get a pretty good ROI from this blog. Do you think you'd be writing NYT editorials without it?

As for "integrity," people realize that old links are going to be broken or full of holes if the page still exists. That's the nature of the medium, and you've been around long enough to know that.

You're coming off as pissy here because a commenter deleted his own comments, and you called him "destructive to the community." "Destructive" is overkill because there was never any question of the "integrity" of Althouse blog, or even its traffic, somehow being damaged. "Community" is an overstatement of what actually happens in here, which is that a random collection of people drifts in and out.

I don't see how deleting all the old comments achieved anything positive. [References and links to Sippican are] all still there. It is just a lot less coherent.
Sippican made a decision to control where his words would appear. He can't control what you quote or what you link to, that's the nature of blogging, but he could control his own content.

f I had a way to bar comment deletion by anyone other than the administrator (me), I would do it...
I find it disturbing that you would take away my ability to delete my own comments if you could. What if I made an egregious typo? What if the cat walked across the keyboard and hit publish accidentally? They're my words, I should be able to decide what happens to them.

You've done a lot of great work here, but from time to time have shown an alarming level of narcissism. Now is one of those times.

I've spent hundreds, possibly thousands of hours in comments -- both reading and writing -- at Althouse. Still, I'm starting school next week (or thereabouts), so now seems like a good time to cut back. Brooklyn doesn't suit Professor Althouse. Perhaps she'll gain new perspective on this issue when she returns to Madison.

Monday, February 04, 2008


Time is going by too quickly, but stuff happens that I want to make a note of, so:

-- I worked two days last week. On Thursday night I got a call from the sub coordinator, asking if I could work Friday, because the teacher had specifically requested me as her sub. That was really nice.

-- Also in the "ego boost" category, I'm scheduled for a story time later this month; the regular story teller is taking a long weekend with her husband, God bless them both, and the manager told her to get me to cover. She told me this, I blushed, and she went on, "You know, we've had some other people cover for me, but we always want you."

-- I had my voice therapy evaluation on Thursday morning, after I drove up there for nothing on Wednesday morning because I cannot, apparently, read a calendar, even given several attempts. I wrote the appointment on the correct day, I just consistently misread it. Anyway, the appointment went well and the therapist is starting me on something called Lessac-based Resonant Voice Therapy for the next 6 or 8 Thursdays.

-- The new mortgage stuff is in the works; we've signed all the papers, now we're just waiting to get all the accounts set up. Hopefully it will all work out as planned.

-- I got a rather nasty shock in the mail, a Blue Cross explanation of benefits showing I owed the surgery center, where I had my septoplasty and turbinate reduction done last December, roughly $10,000. Considering that the only reason I had the surgery done last year was because I had already met my deductible by that point, this registered at the heart-attack level of shock. It turns out that yes, the center was out-of-network, but they blew some smoke at me about "honoring your insurance's allowed amounts," and telling me to sign over the check when I got it from BCBS. But they -- and I, and it's really my fault -- forgot to take into account that there is a separate deductible for out-of-network providers, and I had paid exactly $0 of it. Then the "allowed amount" worked out to be less than that deductible, which means I'm responsible for the whole amount. Needless to say: panic, and many phone calls. As of Friday, we were down to only owing them $972, but even that is horrible, considering we've already given them $450, and if they were in network, we would've only ended up paying $300. I'm supposed to call tomorrow and find out what the final figure is, apparently they're going to apply some magic co-insurance formula. They've actually been really nice about it, but it still has been horribly upsetting.

-- DS1 turned 11! We got him a Wii Zapper and a bunch of video games and the new Ken Jennings Trivia book, and he was very psyched. Mom made him a brownie cake and an ice cream cake; alas, both are gone now.

-- The Patriots lost the SuperBowl to the Giants, who out-played them and had the momentum going in. The Pats have been struggling their last 5 or so games, whereas the Giants seemed to be getting stronger and stronger. It looked as if Brady might pull out that perfect season, but the D gave up a huge play in the final minute of the game, which gave Eli Manning all that he needed to score the winning TD. (sigh) Congrats to the Giants, they played hard and earned their win.

-- DH's father has developed another infection after being in rehab for several weeks. The poor man hasn't been home since before Thanksgiving, but had been making excellent progress at the rehab hospital. This new infection has kind of thrown the doctors; he's on anti-biotics and we're praying they clear it up, because otherwise they'll have to open him up again to clean it out.

-- Ash Wednesday is this week! Practically the earliest possible Easter, this year.

-- Torchwood's second season is shaping up very nicely so far. I'm getting comfortable with a long form hybrid recap/review, but man, those things take a lot of writing. It's good for me, though, forcing me to describe what's happening as concisely as possible so I can spend time talking about what it all means or why it's important.

-- I've been on 7.5 mcg of Cytomel, up from 5, along with my 125 Levoxyl for about two weeks now, and overall I feel much better. Less brain fog, and I'm not freezing to death quite as often. But I still do get quite cold at times, no matter how wrapped up I am. I think there's something going on there, but I'm not sure what.

-- One possibility is that the Prilosec I'm taking (now up to 3 a day: before breakfast, before dinner, before bed, with no side effects [yay!]); I saw a few references here and there that Prilosec can interfere with absorption of thyroid hormones. I've been taking Prilosec with my morning thyroid meds for ages now, and no one ever said boo about it. I really have to research that more thoroughly. Regardless, my reflux is still poorly controlled; I'm finding myself running out of breath when I speak, and also that stupid reflux cough is back. I'm hoping the 3x/day dosing will help calm things down a bit. I go back to see Dr. G at the end of this month, and I really don't want to hear the word "surgery" come out of his mouth (Even if fundoplication could help, I'm just not psychologically prepared to go under the knife again, any time soon. Enough is enough.)

-- I've told everyone so I can't back out now (I can talk myself out of anything): I'm starting the post-bac teacher certification program at Rio Salado College. I've been out of school almost 24 years now. I'll probably be in classes with people who weren't even born when I was graduating from college. I pray: Lord, I'm old; please help me.

-- Related to that last, my RA/fibromyalgia are running me down. Hands, feet, hips, with the fibro going after my left piriformis and surrounding muscles as usual. I thought that regular exercise was keeping these beasts at bay, but no, the weather had a lot to do with it, too. Oh, I'm sure the exercise helped, but as soon as it snapped cold and got a bit damp: ouch. Well, I'm sure I'd be even more miserable if I weren't exercising, and I'm sure I'd be less miserable if I'd get more sleep.

Speaking of -- I'm in a bad groove here, multiple consecutive late nights, it's not good, even if I can sleep till 10AM on Sundays. I certainly can't tomorrow, the alarm will be going off in approximately 4 hours. I wish I could figure out a more productive way to deal when something's bothering me.

Sunday, February 03, 2008

Torchwood 2.2: Sleeper

After the entertaining fluff of Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang, Season 2's follow-up effort hits hard. A mash-up of the recurrent themes from Battlestar Galactica and 24, "Sleeper" walks down a checklist of hot-button items, but with grace and feeling, avoids bludgeoning viewers with any particular viewpoint. There's a lot to be said for a show that lets you make up your own mind about how you feel about what's going on.

Click here to read the rest at the House Next Door.