Birthday weekend is over. It ended up being more chill than I anticipated. Ended up playing DOOM and then watching every Key and Peele sketch I could find on Youtube.
A Harrowing Tale of Addiction via Key and Peele.
Time to go back to the grind of beefing up my writing portfolio before pitching to the big sites.
When going into project, I often don’t really go into them with a specific goal in mind. Following this philosophy, being an idea person more than a “let’s finish this” person has its ups and downs.
I tend to put myself out there and see what kind of opportunities come at me. This inevitably results in needing to scrap some projects or parts of projects, which is difficult, especially for the ideas in which I am emotionally invested.
The great thing about the Internet is you don’t really have to give anything up.
You can just post your reject projects on your own blog!
Someone will read it… eventually.
j/k I actually have pretty good hits for a personal blog. Planning on having a themed blog (moar SEO, moar hits) in the nearish future.
I’m breaking the tradition of not talking about my life on my blog.
The blog Gods require some posts having personal flair for balance.
As some of you may know, it’s been a challenging few years for me since I dropped out of my fancy liberal arts school.
I had spent about two years pursuing a Political Science degree with the intent of law school, and then when I realized I wanted to study BioChem instead but was seriously behind on STEM credits, I had a bit of an existential crisis.
It’s never too late to get back on track.
I mean just look at Lindsey Lohan. She’s not back to Mean Girls status, but she had her own show on the Oprah network and you know once that happens, you’re set for life.
It’s not so bad. I paid off my student loans, so I have a positive net worth finally. Which I wouldn’t have had I actually gone to law school.
Yay not 100k of loans.
The trick is to enroll in a PhD program, peace out with a Master’s, and then sell out and go work for a private company.
I have designers in my network but I kinda have some pride which needs self stroking so I want to do the personal branding stuff all on my own. I have ideas for a business card, but the logo is going to take (more than) several iterations to get just right.
We’ll see how that works out or if I just give up and call up my homie Jaron Design.
Oh and if anyone wants to hang, I’m thinking of going to a comedy show in NYC on Nov. 9 for my birthday. It’s Scott Rogowsky of HQTrivia and guest appearance by John Oliver.
As the dreaded end of daylight saving time (Nov. 4) peaks around the corner for those who love their sunlight, it’s time for some tips to combat the winter blues.
Not everyone gets slumped down enough to qualify as having seasonal depression, but you can tell there might be a general drop in energy among your friends and family. School is ramping up during this time. Everyone working seems busy with trying to get projects finished before the Holidays. And a walk around the block becomes suddenly less appealing below 55 degrees.
If you are finding difficulty functioning as well as you used to, you may be a sufferer of Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD).
Here are some medically-backed, but non-prescription, tips for surviving the winter blues and keeping your energy levels up.
A Therapy Lamp
There are so many options out there for therapy lamps on the Internet, shoppers might be confused as to what qualifies as a therapy lamp and what is the best lamp to purchase. Here are some answers based on experience and science.
Medical Literature recommends at least 10,000 LUX for the brightness. Many therapy lamps around or under the $100 range fit the bill.
NatureBright SunTouch Plus is a top seller which is also the featured picture above. When I bought one a few years ago, they sold for around $75 but now appear to be around $50.
Note: Do NOT use the ionizer on the SunTouch or any lamp. While companies claim negative ionization is better, people aren’t made to breathe ionized air and its safety hasn’t been established.
The pic above shows the spectrum of light that the lamp provides but this colorful effect is only seen when using a camera. When using the lamp, the light will actually look like a white, bright, more natural light to your eyes.
If you want to go all the way in your light therapy, a friend recommends the $475 Sunsqare+. The cost may be burdensome to some but my friend reports it truly is like having a mini sun of your own in your bedroom:
Winter has the power to trigger feelings of hopelessness and depression in adults and youth, alike. This is known as Seasonal Affective Disorder and we have devoted our lives to developing natural light therapy treatment options. #SunBox#MentalHealth#SADpic.twitter.com/hgG5JJZSTI
Vitamin D3 is one of the most important vitamins for mental health and feeling energetic. Get a blood test at your doctor’s to find out your levels during the winter and if it’s a good idea to take a supplement.
Many people take a 1,000 IU D3 supplement in their multivitamin, which is perfectly safe. However, if your blood levels are low, your doctor may recommend up to 50,000 IU once a week.
Taking too much Vitamin D3 can cause excess calcium in your blood. Many vitamins are safe to take at high levels, but because D3 can cause hypercalcemia, a blood test is recommended to figure out how much of the vitamin should be taken.
Exercise – Either Cardio or Strength Training
There’s a debate whether cardio or strength training and weight lifting is best for depression. Honestly it doesn’t matter much as long as you’re doing it. Whatever you enjoy the most and are the most likely to continue performing is best.
Doctors might recommend cardio over strength training, but there is growing evidence for adding strength training or just doing strength training alone. The recommended time for exercise is at least 30 minutes a day, three days a week.
Many gyms such as Planet Fitness and Crunch offer monthly rates as low at $10 a month. With gyms being cheaper than ever, there’s no excuse not to join one if you don’t already have a weekly workout routine.
Hot baths can actually have a great benefit for relieving depression symptoms. There’s many inflammation theories of depression and so a warm to hot bath can have a relaxing effect on your body and lower stress hormones that may throw off your sleep cycle.
Bomb baths and fancy perfumed products can dry your skin. But you can add a teaspoon of an essential oil such as lavender with an unscented gel body wash and create your own aromatherapy bath.
Go Outside and Don’t Live in Alaska
Going outside during the day can pretty much cover all the above suggestions—a winter sport especially will get the blood pumping. The only area you might need help is for the Vitamin D. There’s a maximum amount of Vitamin D your body can produce with sunlight. Many people aren’t getting enough even if they do go outside. So get that blood work done!
Alaska and other northern and southern latitudes have Seasonal Affective Disorder rates at almost 10x higher than other parts of the world. This list may especially useful for people living in these low-light areas.
They have nice tax incentives to move to Alaska. But, if you are a person who loves your sunlight, don’t live there. Just don’t live in Alaska. There’s not much in Alaska anyway besides the Aurora Borealis.
These have been tips that work for me and I can cite references if anyone has questions.
Hopefully I’ll go on vacation to tropical island and get some sun and warm weather come December. Vacation is never a bad idea if you need a mental health break.
Full Disclosure: I got an email from the Amazon seller asking me to leave a positive review on Amazon if I was happy with the product. I was happy with the product.
All photos unedited for accuracy.
My partner has been having recurring Urinary Tract Infections recently. Don’t worry. He’s fine. It’s just an unusually mysterious medical problem for a male for which he is seeing a specialist.
Considering he has been in and out of the doctor’s office for antibiotics, I wanted to find a convenient way to test for UTIs at home. To do this, I researched the most popular urine testing kit on Amazon, and – at only $19.97 as of my purchase date – bought the UriTest 10 Parameter Reagent Test Strips For Urinalysis.
UTIs are a medical problem that affect women more frequently than men, with estimates of around 50% women getting a UTI by age 30 and 10% of men getting a UTI by the same age. Symptoms can include a burning sensation, feeling like having to pee but then having difficulty, and in serious cases, fever.
Considering my partner’s condition and my own statistical likelihood of having a UTI in my lifetime, I have a genuine motivation for making sure the tests are real and accurate.
I did a thorough reading of the Amazon reviews before purchasing to see what other verified customers said about the strips. There was enough dissent to persuade me to buy them and perform testing of my own when I got the strips in the mail.
Two identical clean glasses
My urine (Didn’t want to put it in too early.)
Two UriTest Test strips
The bottle’s reference guide
For the two tests, I dipped one stick in my own urine and one stick in tap water at the same time. I didn’t independently check the PH of my tap water, but NYC tap water is some of the most well-tested and high quality tap water in the country. I trust it to be at healthy levels.
I also had a routine physical done a couple weeks ago where I had a urinalysis that was sent to a lab. Everything in the test was normal, except for slightly elevated white blood cells in my urine. That is normal and they do not prescribe antibiotics for that small of an amount unless you’re having symptoms.
Conveniently, white blood cells, or leukocytes are the first test on the strips. For UTI testing, this test is the main test I was looking at today.
Left Strip: Urine
First box slightly purple. Means trace levels of white blood cells.
Dark green box means blood in the urine. Which is completely normal because I was on my period during the test. It proves the blood in urine test is working.
Right: Tap Water
First box not purple. Negative results.
Specific Gravity same as negative bottle color
This matches up exactly with the lab testing I had done two weeks ago.
I took multiple tests throughout the day and on different days to make sure the results were stable. They were stable.
The blood work results from the doctor show that I am not diabetic. I honestly can’t comment on the ketones accuracy as my ketone levels are fine and I’m not on any special diet. However, the glucose appeared different shades of teal at different times of day, which is completely normal for a person who is eating. And the blood in the urine disappeared both before and after my period ended.
Specific Gravity was also different for urine and tap water, which was also an expected result. SG is supposed to change depending on how hydrated you are. Everything was in normal range.
Diabetes testing is significantly more involved than a quick UTI test. As a former pharmacy technician in an area with significant diabetes type 1 and 2 populations, I would recommend talking to your doctor about their preferred brand of test strips and testing methods.
Healthywiser.com, the company that sells UriTest 10 Parameter Strips appears to have an emphasis on testing products. They say they have started as a small family business. Their main product advertised today is a Vitamin C beauty serum.
I don’t want to get too off-topic, but I actually have done a little previous research about Vitamin C serums. It is a legitimately helpful ingredient in skin care products that may smooth the skin with long term use. Many skin care products on Amazon use the same wholesaler, and while I don’t know who Healthywiser’s wholesaler is, I know their product is at a competitive price point.
Final Results and Score
I don’t have a giant lab to test every reagent on the strip to confirm that they are real. I also don’t want to say the tests are perfect. Manufacturing mistakes are possible, however getting more unlikely considering the technology available today.
It’s also possibles that the testers leaving negative reviews on Amazon are accidentally contaminating their samples. When I tested, I used clean glassware, free of any soap and thoroughly washed. I put the test in for the recommended 3 seconds and took pictures immediately as the test instructions said they were ready, under the same lighting, for accurate results.
I am happy to confirm that, according to UriTest 10 Parameter Strips and my doctor, I have very healthy pee.
At only $19.97 for 150 test strips, free shipping with Prime, I found UriTest 10 Parameter Urinalysis Test Strips to be extremely helpful and easy on the wallet. Coming around to 13 cents a strip, the price of UriTest is a great deal for test results that used to only available at clinics and medicals offices.
My partner is actually doing much better and will be taking the UriTest preventatively. Next time he is feeling backed up in his bladder, I will go ahead and check if the strip turns purple or not. I bet it will be accurate.
Sarah Kliff: “The majority of the cuts, as you can see in this chart below, come from reductions in how much Medicare reimburses hospitals and private health insurance companies.”
If Deepblue wants to come back and argue about health care policy, I am more than willing to do that. I personally believe that top hospital administrators need to get paid less in order to tackle the budget problems of administrative bloat. Cutting Medicare reimbursements is a necessary step towards balancing the entitlements portion of the national budget.
I am not happy with how the think tanks lately have been discussing cutting Medicare reimbursement by 40% for Medicare-for-All. That is too steep, too fast and could potentially disrupt services.
The ACA cuts that Deepblue refers to, however, were no where near that drastic and the Medicare-For-All bill at this point is more symbolic than a hard proposal.
Bill Clinton’s Speech
I took up his offer and listened to this C-span speech he linked. From 1995. Since apparently these “Liar, thy name is Democrat” people can’t let Bill Clinton go years later.
The thing about budgets, a fact that that Deepblue skirts, is that they are mostly planned FOR THE FUTURE. Federal, state, local budgets. They are all decided on in advance and don’t kick in as soon as they are passed, except for the immediate money needed to keep services running.
All those bullet points are indeed possibilities of Republican proposed tax cuts. Both now and in 1995. Children, students, and the chronically impoverished are extremely different affected populations than those affected by Obama’s Medicare reimbursement cuts, which are mostly eaten by the hospitals and insurance companies.
“you might want to glimpse at Article I, Section 8, Clause 1 of the United States Constitution”
I have inside info that Flagrantbagel might actually be lawyer. I’m sure he HAS looked at Article I, Section 8 of the Constitution sometime at school.
You do not want to get into an argument about the case law precedent of presidential powers involving taxation with me or Flagrantbagel, Deepblue.
Normally I wouldn’t be highlighting a controversial post at a critical time in my writing career. (If I had no backbone, I would simply delete the original post.) But, in the spirit of evolving conversation, I want to leave no stone unturned in documenting my evolving views in the context of societal change.
One aspect I neglected to emphasize, that I probably could have done a better job at in the original post, was the legal aspect.
Due Process is a very important issue to me. I don’t want to make this a “I was a victim, so I can’t be biased” point, but I have personally had my Due Process violated and was told by a private lawyer that they wouldn’t take my case. This discouraged me from even thinking about taking the case higher up to maybe the ACLU.
But I understand why the lawyer didn’t take the case. It would have been an uphill battle against a system in a case with somewhat unprovable evidence and questionable damages.
I’m not saying the alleged victim in the DSK case was lying. I’m not saying there’s no possibility the prosecutor dropped the case because of political pressure. All I was saying is that frivolous charges and lawsuits exist, and that sometimes (albeit rarely) people in power or not in power are falsely accused; I don’t know the specifics of this case other than what the media reported, and unless Slutwalk NYC had a source on the team with more inside information than NYT, they didn’t know the details of the dismissal either.
DSK sounds like a scumbag. I believe, through study data and personal experience, that when there’s multiple allegations about sexual abuse, there’s usually more fire than conspiratorial smoke.
In this 2018 climate, I am no longer comfortable using the word “egalitarianism” casually. I have seen this word hijacked by too many MRAs who are more concerned with their own oppression than by the oppression of others.
And, of course, the power structures in this country have changed. If you’ve read this far, you know what I’m talking about.
I’m not an argumentative person by nature. If a person (usually a man) asks with a loaded tone if I’m a feminist these days, I just say Yes and leave it to them if they want to argue.
The last thing I wanted, as a person who considers herself a decent writer, is to be exploited by a company with a selfish agenda that doesn’t respect quality writing. That’s what led to me Suite101, a Canadian-based publishing platform that is currently defunct. Suite101 was a moderately pleasant surprise.
You had to apply and submit a writing sample to start writing for them. You had editors. There was a $10 minimum payout. (Better than say, $50, which most writers will never reach.) The general quality of writing was well beyond the awful spew that is at the most well-known content farm, Examiner.com.
The item in the contract that caught my interest the most with Suite101 is that publishing exclusivity rights expired after a year. If you are a publishing company reading this, and you want to know what…
Conor McGregor landed more punches (111 of 430, 26%) in 10 rounds and at a better percentage than Manny Pacquiao (81 of 429, 19%) did in 12 rounds.
This is a monumental achievement for a man boxing analysts said had a 0% chance of winning the fight.
Not only were the fight metrics impressive, it was a highly entertaining fight. Part of that is due to Floyd fighting less defensively, but it was also due the intense pressure Conor put forth in the early rounds, landing several highlight reel uppercuts.
The MMA community is proud of Conor. I’m proud of Conor. I didn’t think he would win (In my head, I gave him a 5% chance of a knockout.), most MMA fans didn’t think he would win, but even winning 3 rounds against the best boxer on the planet is an extremely satisfying outcome for the underdog.
Not only did he dish out the jabs (27 of 98, 28%) he was able to slip or defend Floyd’s power punches for a majority of the time, making him comparable to other top boxing contenders.
Power punches landed on opponents by Floyd:
De la hoya 57%
Maidana I 65%
When I looked at past boxers who came close to beating Mayweather I thought of Maidana. Mayweather vs Maidana I was a fight not so dissimilar from the McGregor fight. Maidana fought at awkward angles, forced the action, and dirty boxed his way into a draw on one of the judge’s scorecards. Of course, Maidana did a lot better than anyone, landing 226 punches on Mayweather.
Conor looked like a more awkward but less skilled Maidana. But why would he be more skilled? He gave up boxing at age 15 to train MMA and only started training for the Mayweather fight about 9 months ago.
He has years of MMA skills that he had to suppress for the Mayweather fight and that could not have been easy. You could see through body posturing he had an urge to dump Mayweather on his head every time they clinched.
Despite his success, Conor is not the most skilled martial artist in the UFC. He doesn’t have the near-perfect take down defense of Jon Jones. He hasn’t submitted anyone since his Cage Warrior days. He got choked out in round 2 by another skilled MMA boxer, Nate Diaz, in their second fight.
Despite his flaws, I would say he has the best MMA boxing in the game. His distance management and accuracy for MMA striking is statistically near the top of the game.
And the level of opponents he has been able to knock out with his power left puts him at the #3 pound for pound UFC fighter of all time.
He beat Nate Diaz in their rematch by bringing in kicks to set up punches and manage his distance. He managed his cardio better. This brings up the other talking point about McGregor – his adaptability.
He only had 6 months between his devastating loss to Diaz and his subsequent victory. He changed up his style significantly in between fights and decisively won the fight with the media members and the judges. Conor has a high fight IQ and demonstrates that he learns and adapts to able to make the right changes between every fight.
People said Conor wouldn’t be able to fight like a boxer. He would have too many bad habits. His stance would be all wrong and leave him open to too much punishment.
In the end, McGregor did take too much punishment and gassed out. At this point, I would have to say it’s just genetics rather than training flaws. Some people just don’t have great cardio or they have the wrong muscle fiber types to fight long fights. Still, fighting 9 and a half 3-minute rounds, with comparable fighting metrics to the greats, with the undisputed best boxer of all time is no joke.
Conor may have been able to last all 12 rounds had he pulled his own Mayweather vs. Pacquiao and spent all 9 months of training working on defense and turtling instead of counter punching. But that’s not his game. Surviving is not his game. Fighting and promoting is his game, and the fans won because of it.
When I was 14, I had a Yahoo Geocities website. It was terrible. It was everything you expected from a 14-year-old’s personal webpage—autoplaying music, self-congratulatory inside jokes, and a whole lot of pop-culture (Invader Zim!) references. One of the sections of the site was a “shrines” page, which contained collages of whatever male celebrities I was crushing on at the time. One of these men was Linkin Park’s Chester Bennington.
No more were the posters of *NSync and Aaron Carter. What used to be 100.3 Z-100 hit music radio was now 92.3 K-rock. And crooning love songs were now replaced with angsty ballads of bitterness and betrayal.
I bought blue flame shoelaces from Hot Topic to mirror Chester’s blue flame wrist tattoos. I claimed to have a “thing” for men with lip rings. I made my middle school agenda book cover a meta-collage from my “shrines” page, Chester Bennington taking a prominent position near the top.
14 Years Later – 7/20/17
I was getting ready to go to therapy with my psychologist when I refreshed my Facebook page and found out Chester was dead.
The news broke via TMZ less than 30 minutes before my Facebook friends got to it.
I was supposed to see Linkin Park live for the first time in my life the next week Friday, July 28th – at Citi Field in Flushing, NY.
I didn’t have much time to process before I headed out the door to therapy. The shock was still fresh. “How did this happen?” “I was just listening to Linkin Park.” “What is going to happen to my tickets?”
The last time a suicide of a celebrity affected me was in 2008 when David Foster Wallace hung himself.
DFW understood depression:
The so-called ‘psychotically depressed’ person who tries to kill herself doesn’t do so out of quote ‘hopelessness’ or any abstract conviction that life’s assets and debits do not square. And surely not because death seems suddenly appealing. The person in whom Its invisible agony reaches a certain unendurable level will kill herself the same way a trapped person will eventually jump from the window of a burning high-rise. Make no mistake about people who leap from burning windows. Their terror of falling from a great height is still just as great as it would be for you or me standing speculatively at the same window just checking out the view; i.e. the fear of falling remains a constant. The variable here is the other terror, the fire’s flames: when the flames get close enough, falling to death becomes the slightly less terrible of two terrors. It’s not desiring the fall; it’s terror of the flames. And yet nobody down on the sidewalk, looking up and yelling ‘Don’t!’ and ‘Hang on!’, can understand the jump. Not really. You’d have to have personally been trapped and felt flames to really understand a terror way beyond falling.
While DFW’s literary musings on depression and suicide gave some insight into his mind in the final days, Chester Bennington leaves only a few interviews, regarding childhood abuse and the dissolution of his first marriage, and the lyrics to his songs.