July 25, 2006

Let the Wild Parties Commence

My parents are officially away as of too-early o'clock this morning. If you know any wandering vagrants or drug dealers who need a place to crash, their room will be open through August 18th. Rent is cheap.

In other news, apple chips rock. So good. I had no idea.

Posted by Andy at 03:54 PM to the General category & Health category | Comments (0)

July 23, 2006

Lyrica: Day Two

I took the med again this morning. I don't know if it really did anything to help me today, but it's really hard to tell because it seems to take away my ability to assess how I feel and why. I've had the same issues today as yesterday, and just got past a good hour + of reclining chair lethargy. I'm gonna have to shelf this medicine until after my folks trip in any case. I hope it can do something for me in a month.

Posted by Andy at 10:31 PM to the Health category | Comments (0)

July 22, 2006

A New Dilemma

I had an appointment on Thursday at Hopkins with Dr. Rowe, my first since being treated for cancer. The appointment was pretty routine (i.e. everything I reported was the same as last time and few new treatments were available), and I got a new medicine to try called Lyrica, a medicine designed to get overactive nerves under control. Being that this is a big problem for me, this drug carries with it some promise. On top of that, 5 out of 6 patients of Dr. Rowe's who've tried it have gained some level of improvement.

I took my first pill two nights ago just before bed, as directed. As has happened in the past with several sleep medicine trials, I woke up feeling as if I had not gotten more than a couple hours of sleep despite the fact that I had been technically asleep for at least 9, probably 10 hours. At the same time, my muscles were looser, which is pretty much what I've experienced before with the sleep meds.

So I emailed the doc and formulated a new plan. I skipped last night's dose and instead took it this morning. (Ultimately I'm supposed to take several pills throughout the day, morning through evening, so this wasn't incredibly off the beaten path.) Once the Lyrica kicked in, I started feeling disconnected and half asleep, but was still able to do things like create a mathematical formula for a layout I need for a website (algebra = useful), and play tennis with Amy. Actually, I played better than I probably have all this year and last, all the while feeling like my eyes might close at any moment or my body might collapse from overuse. On top of that, it didn't hurt to smile today, and I didn't feel all messed up from the tennis game after the fact. Ordinarily I wouldn't write a fairly complex blog post like this after a game, for example.

As if this wasn't enough to be perplexed over, my parents leave for their trip on Tuesday morning and my doc is out of the office the same day for two weeks. I'm going to have to do a fair amount of driving while they're gone, but I think it would be nuts to drive under the effects of this medicine. At the same time, it is fairly important that I figure out the impact and benefit of this medicine now, because I will be embarking on an entirely different line of CFS treatment with Dr. Shor in Virginia not long after my folks get back in a month or so.

So where are the answers here? Have any of you ever been on a medication like this one? Do you know if any of the side effects go away over time, or if they change with dosage changes? I've been in this kind of situation plenty of times before, but that still doesn't give me any answers.

Posted by Andy at 08:34 PM to the Health category | Comments (1)

July 21, 2006

This War Can't Be One-Dimensional

I'm going to start by saying that I believe Israel's ongoing military response is justified however unfortunate the consequences, and that US action in Iraq and elsewhere is similarly important in advancing the cause of world freedom from Islamic terrorism. I do not, however, think that either nation has a policy complete enough to actually win. We used to hear a lot about "hearts and minds", but what are we doing to actually influence those hearts and minds throughout the region?

What we need is a new kind of war strategy that commits us to spend as much on aid (or at least more than we do now) as we do on strict military action, and to do it in patently obvious ways. I know we already do something akin to this, but we need to push the humanitarian aspect a great deal more if we are to be recognized by the Muslim world and indeed the world at large. The sad truth of the Middle Eastern problem is that, no matter how much we bomb terrorist targets and route out terrorist cells, only one suicide bomber has to reach a target for terrorist victory to be declared. We can achieve victory by destroying as much terrorist infrastructure as possible while simultaneously fighting to win over the civilian populace, because terrorism will largely cease to exist once civilians in the region stop tolerating it.

Consider what might have happened had Israel, instead of simply attacking Lebanon, informed the government of their intention to rebuild once the operation was complete? Presumably Israeli ground forces will be crossing the border quite soon. How much might it help to restore good faith with the Lebanese people to have work crews standing by to go in as soon as areas have been secured? What might happen if we delivered major aid to the Palestinian people (or Egyptian people, or Lebanese people, or Saudi Arabian people) personally, not through organizations that might or might not distribute that aid fairly and facelessly, but personally, through military channels when necessary? The fact of the matter is that we need to find ways to get credit for the positive things we do in the region, which means those things must be large enough for the world to take special notice. Hezbollah knows how to do this with terrifying levels of success. Why don't we?

Maybe we already do everything we can to achieve this aim. I don't feel this is the case given the diplomatic language we and other allies use. Maybe delivering on these ideas would be financially or logistically impossible, but I for one am willing to make sacrifices to make it happen. I hope I'm not alone.

Posted by Andy at 03:49 PM to the Politics category | Comments (1)

July 18, 2006

Question of the Day #3

Why does Michelle Malkin hate Katie Couric?

I know a few liberals who absolutely despise Malkin. I tend to like her reporting and commentary but I don't get why she would create a video like this one, which does absolutely nothing to inform her readership and instead rallies her detractors around a tangible example of her alleged extremism. Michelle seems to take issue with Katie Couric's "perkiness", but fails to take into account that Couric's Today Show gig for years required it. It seems to me that Couric simply knows how to play to her audience, which is an important component of televised journalism.

Posted by Andy at 03:40 PM to the Politics category | Comments (0)

July 17, 2006

Forgotten Commandments

I’ve been doing a fair amount of Biblical reading of late as part of a new plan I have constructed for myself. I just finished the first five books, which reminded me of a fact which has bothered me for years. Despite what I would consider to be a growing secular element within our culture, America generally views the Ten Commandments as words to live by in one form or another. Sure, lots of people might cheat on their spouses or disrespect their elders, but by and large those things are still collectively frowned upon by most. There are, however, two commandments, numbers three and four, that seem to have been all but entirely forgotten, even by many or if not most religious communities.

  • Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy.
  • Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain.

Does this bother anyone else?

Posted by Andy at 12:19 AM to the Faith category | Comments (6)

If You Had a Rough Day at Work...

... play this game for a little while. It'll cure what ails ya.

Hilarious. Hilarious I say!

Posted by Andy at 12:05 AM to the Games category | Comments (0)

July 15, 2006

Another Question of the Day

Please take this question in the totally impartial manner in which it was written...

Do you believe Islamic terrorism would exist today if Israel had not been re-established in 1948?

Feel free to elaborate on your opinion if you feel so inclined.

Posted by Andy at 12:01 AM to the Politics category | Comments (6)

July 14, 2006

Wrong but Funny

Check out this mean-spirited but hilarious video over at Hot Air. I get the impression that Malkin is employing some intentional ignorance regarding Cindy Sheehan's hunger strike, but I couldn't help but laugh.

Posted by Andy at 04:15 PM to the Politics category | Comments (0)

July 09, 2006

Cinderella = Great

Apparently this was the first movie I ever saw. It's as good now as it was then. Probably better since I can remember it and all.

The only problem is that I seem to be getting eye cramps now as I write this. Well, not the eye itself (thank goodness), but that area just under the brow ridge. Talk about messed up. There seems to be some dizziness going on as well, though it is relatively minor compared to what some folks face on that front.

That reminds me, my parents' big Alaska cruise comes up near the end of the month. It's probably time to send the annual "lend me a hand" email...

Posted by Andy at 10:16 PM to the Health category & TV and Movies category | Comments (0)

July 08, 2006

Finally, Some Canoeing

The last two days have been pretty great, as I've been able to hang out with two people who essentially fall into the category of "new friends", which is quite the rarity in the world o' chronic fatigue. Yesterday I hung out with Joe Lex and did some sitting around and video gaming. Today, Mei and Rep stopped in. Obviously I know Mei, but I've really only talked to Rep via bulletin boards and blogs. We did some canoeing, gaming, and table tennis playing too, which allowed me to unveil the outdoor ping pong table, my birthday present from last year that had not been used until now. Round that out with some food from Listas and I had myself a top quality day.

Thanks for coming, ladies! Let us find excuses to repeat the process soon.

Posted by Andy at 11:28 PM to the General category | Comments (2)

July 07, 2006


I just watched Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, the 1939 Jimmy Stewart classic. The movie is 2 hours, 9 minutes in length. Between 2:07 and 2:08, the cd skipped, which removed the ending of Stewart's famous "love thy neighbor speech" and skipped me directly to Senator Paine's admission of guilt in front of the Senate.




I'm gonna report this to the Netflix authorities, but it's going to be hard to recapture that moment.

Posted by Andy at 12:48 AM to the TV and Movies category | Comments (1)

July 04, 2006

Independence Day

Happy Independence Day everyone! I feel bad for the kiddies who may or may not get to see fireworks tonight on account of the rain. There's still time for it to clear up, right?

It is important for us to remember our national history today. A great many have died since before our nation's founding to create and preserve the freedoms we enjoy. We owe it to ourselves to remember both those who have died as well as those who have lived to further the cause of freedom in the United States and around the world. Independence Day is an important day to celebrate, but we must also strive to live each day with the understanding that our freedoms are in fact not free, and that each of us must contribute individually in order to preserve and advance them.

Posted by Andy at 06:04 PM to the General category | Comments (2)

Schindler's List

... is a movie that everyone should see at least once. If you've taken issue with my stance on moral relativism, watch this film and see if you still feel that way.

Posted by Andy at 05:59 PM to the TV and Movies category | Comments (2)

July 02, 2006

Long but Enjoyable Day

To cap off a way-too-busy week that began with a health crash, I went with a group of friends to see another friend perform in a musical down at the Annapolis Summer Garden Theater. I was pretty worried going in, but I don't get to see people that often most of the time, and I don't expect this group will be around the area for more than another couple of years, so I figured I had to try.

I'm glad I did. Though I was totally exhausted going into (and obviously coming out of) the day, I had a good time with some good people, and even saw a good show, which I have to admit came as something of a surprise. I've been to my share of dubious shows at the Summer Garden Theater and have even left halfway through at least once. On top of that, the show in which my friend Cat performed was called Urinetown. It turned out to be quite funny in my estimation, though it was not surprisingly rather crass. The singing was ok and the acting was great with maybe one minor exception. Even the seats had arms and were fairly comfortable, which is a pretty big deal for me these days.

We actually met to eat fairly early so that Cat could get to her rehearsal before the show. That meant we had a few hours to kill in Annapolis before show time. Thanks to a handy fold-out hiking chair brought along by my friend Pat, I was able to pass the time with everyone without hurting myself nearly as much as I expected.

All told, a fun day. I haven't been as tired as I am right now for a good while, but I hope to bounce back relatively quickly with the help of a few physical therapy-ish treatment today. If I don't recover so easily, then it was still a fun day, eh?

Posted by Andy at 10:51 PM to the General category | Comments (0)

July 01, 2006

Who Wants In?

Titan Quest, a game I've been following for about six months now, has just been released. It's an "action RPG", which means that you kill lots of monsters in a magical fantasy world, only in this case, you're cutting your way through ancient Greece, Egypt, and China.

I think it looks super sweet, but I need multiplayer buddies to really take advantage of this. Who's in? If I get a few takers, I'll grab a copy and get going. Otherwise I'll probably wait a while.

Posted by Andy at 03:55 PM to the Games category | Comments (1)