Feb. 23rd, 2015 09:37 pm
I'm so excited, today after a couple puffs from my rescue inhaler an hour earlier, I was able to walk home really fast and get short of breath from exercise / lung capacity, rather than short of breath from asthma. Eeee! (Yeah, I'm even more out of shape than I usually am, since I've been walking at a little old lady's pace since the Hunt b/c to anything faster triggered my asthma.)

It's so weird learning new sensations in my body, and it doesn't help that I'm not figuring this shit out until I'm 37.

Read more... )But on the plus side, it's slowly improving due to the steroid inhaler I'm on until ... um, I forget when? But when it's out of doses and it's got a counter on it, so then. A month total though.

Originally posted on Dreamwidth. comment count unavailable comments there. Comment here or there.

I passed!

Jan. 23rd, 2014 07:42 am
asterroc: We Can Do It Sinfest - Up Yours (We Can Do It Sinfest - Up Yours)
Realized I updated lots of other places but not here. I passed my quals!

Next step is my thesis proposal, called prelims here.

Originally posted on Dreamwidth. comment count unavailable comments there. Comment here or there.
Just saw a nice set of slides about Impostor Syndrome, and per the suggestion of a slide therein, let's celebrate Monday today (or maybe Tuesday by the time people read this) by bragging about ourselves.

What's one thing you've done lately that you're proud of?

I want us all to see them all, but feel free to post anonymously.

Here's mine )

Originally posted on Dreamwidth. comment count unavailable comments there. Comment here or there.
I've been trying to get a good picture of what adjustments your body makes to cope with high altitude, and over what timescale these different adjustments happen. Since I'm not finding this information clearly in one place, I'm needing to piece it together from multiple sources, and I process information better when I actually, y'know, process it, so here's what I'm figuring out.

  • Same percentage of oxygen, but less overall pressure of it.
  • Less oxygen in the air means less oxygen present in the lungs.
  • Lower pressure of oxygen means that what oxygen is there doesn't diffuse from the lungs into the blood as easily.
  • Less oxygen to many organs, especially your brain.
  • Less pressure of water vapor, resulting in faster evaporation of sweat.

  • Immediate-2 Days:
    • Common symptoms include fatigue, dizziness, headache, feeling sleepy, and unable to sleep. Yes, both drowsiness AND insomnia, both T$ and I have experienced this at times due to altitude. It sucks.

  • 2-5 Days:
    • Body responds by breathing faster, which also means you're taking CO_2 out of your blood more quickly, which changes your body's pH balance, which the kidneys try to fix. Increased breathing rate also results in more water loss.
    • Body also responds by attempting to pump more volume of blood, so heart beats faster and pulse goes up, heart beats stronger and blood pressure goes up, and more liquid is added to the blood, dehydrating the rest of your body.
    • Between these two things (and don't forget that you're also evaporating sweat more quickly due to the lower water vapor pressure), if you're paying attention you will notice that you're always thirsty, and if you stop to think how much water you drank you'll be shocked. Please pay attention and drink LOTS of water.

  • 2-6 Weeks:
    • Lungs increase in size to help you take in more oxygen.
    • Build additional hemoglobin-containing red blood cells to help you absorb more of the oxygen in your lungs, and carry it to the cells.
    • Additional capillaries are grown throughout the body and/or existing arteries/veins/capillaries dilate in diameter to let oxygen get to the cells more readily.


I'm not finding any good info on the cause of the edema (increased fluids causes swelling and/or pressure) which can take place in the lungs (pulmonary edema), brain (cerebral edema), or even the extremities, but my guess is that when the body tries to pump more blood places it just goes overboard.

Originally posted on Dreamwidth. comment count unavailable comments there. Comment here or there.
My father's baffled by the gas shortage in NYC, so I cobbled together my best explanation of why, revised below.
  1. Right after the storm, early last week: NY Harbor closed to tankers. Some gas stations had no power so there was less gas to go around. There's a gasoline pipeline into NYC, which may have been barely enough to meet the demand at first. At this time the main demand for gas is to run generators where there's no power.

  2. A day or two after the storm, middle of last week: Those gas stations which did have power began running out of gas without sufficient resupply. Businesses reopen, but much of NYC public transit does not, increasing the usage of gas as people drive to work.

  3. End of last week: NY Harbor opened around Thursday last week, but it takes time for that gas to work its way into the system. Meanwhile, people driving to work are starting to need to gas up.

  4. Last weekend and early this week: More of the same, but panic buying sets in, which more than offsets the reduced need for gasoline for generators.

  5. Middle of this week: The gasoline pipeline into NYC suffers some sort of damage, and I think that was the straw that led Gov. Cuomo to ration gas in NYC and Long Island.

The NY Times seems to confirm aspects of my points 1-4.

Does anyone have things I left out, or different explanations?

Originally posted on Dreamwidth. comment count unavailable comments there. Comment here or there.
Meme via [personal profile] rosefox, and altered because I wanted to. Original list source.

Bold the ones you have and use at least once a year
Italicize the ones you have and don’t use
Strike through the ones you have had but got rid of
Underline the ones you don't have but want to get

pasta machines
deep fat fryers
egg boilers
melon ballers
sandwich makers
pastry brushes
cheese knives - well, I have small knives I use for cheese
electric woks
miniature salad spinners
griddle pans - maybe
jam funnels
meat thermometers
filleting knives - I think my Japanese knife fits this
egg poachers
cake stands
garlic crushers - isn't it called a garlic press?
martini glasses
tea strainers - if by this they mean for individual servings of tea, oh do I ever, and I got rid of more that I want to replace
bamboo steamers
pizza stones
coffee grinders
milk frothers
piping bags - technically the bag broke, but I kept the nozzles around until the February move
banana stands
fluted pastry wheels
tagine dishes
conical strainers
rice cookers - if I could find one without any non-stick, I'd seriously consider it.
steam cookers
pressure cookers - could really use one here due to the altitude, and I also want to try canning
slow cookers - left a medium-big one with T$ (no clue if he kept it, but probably not) and picked up a small one here
spaetzle makers
cookie presses
gravy strainers - I have a mesh thing which I use for both this and draining pasta/veggies
double boilers (bains marie)
sukiyaki stoves
food processors
ice cream makers
takoyaki makers
fondue sets
popcorn maker - got rid of in the move and thinking of replacing
toaster oven - ditto
hot pot/electric kettle - double ditto
teapot - triple ditto, though I've been told that microwaving water to heat it is the most carbon efficient way of producing hot water for tea (etc.), so I'm waffling on the hot pot and teapot.
singe-serve coffee machine (aka K-cup) - I mostly used it for the hot water for tea, but also the occasional decaf coffee (until three days of decafs straight gave me migraines upon both drinking and withdrawl). T$ kept this. Anyone know a better name for this category of device?
electric grill (Foreman grill)

Originally posted on Dreamwidth. comment count unavailable comments there. Comment here or there.
One of the PostSecrets this week was from a multiracial person who is embarrassed when she(?) passes as white. This of course resonated with me greatly due to that being my own life story (well, I wouldn't say "embarrassed", but there definitely are non-positive emotions associated with it when I stop to reflect).

This led to two very interesting threads in the PostSecret LJ syndicate: this one starts with the post card itself, and this one also. I admit I speak a lot in those threads; what people have to say there is really interesting to me, from the POC, the (assumed) whites, and the other multiracial people.

ETA: If you haven't seen it, here's a post I wrote a while ago listing things that monoracial people take for granted. Some of them are more applicable to white monoracial people than monoracial POC.

Originally posted on Dreamwidth. comment count unavailable comments there. Comment here or there.
Google Plus has flagged my profile for violating their TOS. I only found out by visiting G+. I have until August 23rd to change my name or else they will suspend my profile. My profile page says there's a problem with my name, and I can submit an appeal or submit additional information. Submit additional information is linked to the page everyone's seen where you can submit evidence that it really is your name - links and images are allowed, discussion is not. Submit an appeal is linked to a page that I cannot access because when I click it I am given an "Error saving profile". I submitted feedback on that highlighting the linked text and that error message. In my feedback I included the following.

The Google+ User Content and Conduct Policy says in item 4 not to distribute other people's personal and confidential information. Because my legal name is unique (to the best of my knowledge I am the sole individual in the world with my legal name), it is in and of itself confidential information which should not be distributed.

I am not at this time willing to change my profile name to my first initial and last name (which is what I use for about 50% of my publications and I can provide evidence), though I may change my mind later.

Anyone within Google willing to take this on (since clearly there's no form that I can access for me to argue this myself), or shall I just delete my Google+ account? Or I guess I could doctor my driver's license to only include initials and send that in, since clearly that's worked for other people.

Originally posted on Dreamwidth. comments there. Comment here or there.
Driving home from the Cape today, I saw two gorgeous male goldfinches fly across the road. In case you don't know what they look like the bodies are a couple inches long, the body is bright yellow, the wings black, and they have a darting flight, wings closing to bullet short distances. They crossed right in front of my windshield from left to right and just as I swerved left just in case it was too late and I heard a tiny little -thud- as one of them hit my windshield on the lower right! I was so stunned I kept driving as my brain flashed through thoughts of stopping, where there were vets nearby, that I had a wildlife rehabber number in my phone, and then I realized I'd gone far enough that if I stopped I wouldn't be able to find the poor little thing. Even if he were still alive. He probably had babies and a mate. He was probably dead. (The poor thing -bounced-! Maybe because he was small and bounced, that means he'll sustain less injury?) If he was alive, he probably wouldn't make it. Normal vets don't usually treat wildlife. Rehabbers don't usually care about small common animals, and even if they did or the vet did and he somehow made it, his babies will still all die. I'm a horrible person.

In the future: if I hit (but not run over) something small I will stop and find it, see if it's still alive, and then decide what to do. (Calling a rehabber and describing the location of a duck might work, but not a goldfinch.)

Anyone else who drives or passengers, what do you do when you or your driver hit (but not run over) an animal?
Just watched the last Space Shuttle launch, Atlantis, on TV.

In my entire life I have now watched a grand total of three Space Shuttle launches (all on TV):
* Challenger, 1986
* Discovery, 2005
* Atlantis, 2011

According to my recollection, I was in third grade when my teacher decided that we would all crowd around the little 10" classroom TV to watch the first teacher go into space. We all know how that ended. I remember the entire classroom being silent for a long time before my teacher said anything.

For nearly two decades after that I was mostly against human spaceflight. It cost too much money, there was too little return on investment, and it was too risky, said the emotional side of me. The intellectual side said that others found it inspiring so we should continue human spaceflight to drive funding of real astronomy, and I also thought it was important to someday colonize other places than Earth so we must start that somewhere.

2005 was Discovery's "Return to Flight" mission, after the 2003 Columbia disaster. That summer I happened to be teaching astronomy at a nerd camp, so my TA on his own initiative arranged to have the class crowd around a TV screen. He and I stood in the back of the classroom chanting to each other, "I hope we don't traumatize them, I hope we don't traumatize them." Thankfully, we did not.

In 2008 the first teacher to actually go into space, Barbara Morgan, originally a backup for Christa McAuliffe and actually flew on Endeavour in 2007, addressed the National Education Association in Washington DC. I remember little of her speech, other than that it was inspiring.

Today I watched Atlantis launch on TV, the last ever Space Shuttle mission. My heart was in my throat and tears in my eyes, hoping that this would not be another disaster. Atlantis did launch successfully at 11:29am (EST). More than an hour later now, I'm not sure if it's already in orbit, or if it's still climbing.
Last day of 3 on Beijing. Slowly getting over the jet lag. Strangely, Gmail appears unblocked while Twitter seems blocked. Tomorrow we fly to Urumqi. I've been journalling, and may transcribe them here when I get back. If anyone would be interested in that, let me know and it'll make it more likely to happen. I'm exhausted from a long day in hot weather with lots of walking, and I need to pack, so no more now.
Your job, should you decide to accept it, is to help me to not get another bird, one in particular named Doobie.

parrot rambling )
Reading over a list of things that people with white privilege take for granted, I am reminded of how I feel every time I am told to "check only one box." This list is things that people of only one race take for granted.
  1. You can check only one box.
  2. You won't have complete strangers walk up to you and ask you what you are (as if maybe you're not human, after all).
  3. You can answer "where are you from" with the place where your house is located, or where the hospital in which you were born is located.
  4. You can answer "where are you from" in under ten minutes, without any follow-up questions.
  5. You don't have to worry if someone is hitting on you because you look "exotic". 
  6. You don't have to wonder if the person you're talking to would treat you differently if they knew what you "really" were. 
  7. You don't have to correct people when they describe you. 
  8. You can talk about white privilege or racism without having people give you funny looks.  ("How would she know?")
  9. You don't feel constantly torn in two directions about common cultural norms and values.
  10. You don't have to think about whether the clothing, jewelry, or make-up you're wearing makes you look too much like race X.
  11. You can wear hand-me-downs without worrying if they're too "ethnic". 
  12. You don't have people turn to you as a representative of either/all of your particular races/cultures.
  13. You don't have to check only one box (multicultural) that lumps you in with people of entirely different backgrounds.  (Tiger Woods and Obama would check that multicultural box, but their experiences are nothing like mine.)
  14. You can nod and agree when someone says to you "I'm multicultural: Italian and German!" 
  15. People don't expect you to laugh at jokes that slander your own background. 
  16. You don't have to feel simultaneously guilty about your advantages and angry about your disadvantages.
Time to run to work.  Got any more I can add?

I write like
H. P. Lovecraft

I Write Like by Mémoires, Mac journal software. Analyze your writing!

Is it bad if the block of text I used for this was a union email I sent to all my members?
Here's a mirror image of the chop, so it should be "readable" this way.


People are still stumped so far, so my plan is to bring it with me to NYC next time I go, and see if I can track down someone there who can look at it in person and read it.
I have a Chinese chop, in traditional characters. It is possible that it contains my name in Chinese (Szu Sung-Eh), or it could be something else entirely ("licensed prostitute"). I can no longer write my Chinese name, but I think I would recognize it if hand written, and certainly the last symbol doesn't look like anything I recognize (that and my name is three parts, not four).

Below the cut are images of the stamp/print, and the chop itself. Click for bigger.

Chop chop! )

If you know what it says, please enlighten me.

Edit: A mirror image of the chop and further discussion can be found here.


Apr. 19th, 2010 09:19 am
Oh that's right, the rest of the world doesn't get today off, it's a state holiday. (And yet I woke before 9am.)

And I work from home Tues too, so it's a 4-day weekend for me, yay!


Mar. 4th, 2010 09:58 am
asterroc: (rhino)
Well this is exciting. I'd noticed lately that my inhaler was less effective than usual. It's a little light, but not so much that it's run out, so it's probably the fact that it expired last August. I'm guessing that in the case of inhalers, the propellant can slowly leach out, making expiration date more relevant than in many other drugs. This is not the first time that I've noticed the effectiveness decrease a year or two after the expiration date.

In case it wasn't clear, my asthma's quite mild, and I know my triggers well. I typically take one puff before exercising a few times a month (yeah, I don't exercise as much as I should), two puffs after the fact if I have to walk fast on very cold dry days, two puffs preventatively if I'm going into an environment with dogs or some other known allergen, or two puffs after the fact if I have an unexpected allergic reaction to something. This amounts to using one inhaler every few years, so I usually need to replace them due to reduced effectiveness after expiration rather than them actually running out.

When I had a checkup a few months ago, my NP mentioned in passing something about albuterol prescribing changing, something about brand names and generics, and I didn't think twice about it. I called up my online drug company today to get a new prescription, and the operator asked what the brand name was. I said "Armstrong," and she said "no, it's either..." and rattled off a string of brand names that I didn't see on my inhaler canister anywhere. I said "I heard there was some change in brands, and I got this one a few years ago so it must be before that change." And she demurred and implied that she couldn't get a prescription if I didn't have the brand name already. So I called my doctor's office and told the tech that I needed albuterol called in to my local physical pharmacy so she'll get the info from the doctor when the doctor has the time, and then I Wikipediaed.

Albuterol in the old form (like I apparently have) used CFCs as the propellant. As of the end of 2008, by international treaty the FDA banned all CFC-based inhalers. A number of companies (the ones rattled off to me by the operator) have developed proprietary non-CFC propelled inhalers, with the result that no generic albuterol inhalers currently exist, and with the added bonus of an average increase in cost of $20 per inhaler - a benefit which I expect will be passed on to me, the consumer, when I actually get the prescription.

So now I'm wondering which of the brands my doctor will prescribe me, if there are additional side effects I have to worry about, if I'll have to go to the doc in person to discuss this, and if it'll cost a lot more. Anyone here use an albuterol inhaler and notice any difference around 2008-2009 when things changed?
asterroc: (xkcd - Fuck the Cosine)
I sympathize with those of you talking about Racefail and other instances of racial minorities in SF fandom. My own issue along these lines is women/girls in gaming, especially as it has many parallels to women in science.

Waaay back in 2006 I went to PAX (a con for video gamers) (back when it was only in Seattle) and had some quite uncomfortable experiences (REDACTED IDENTIFYING INFORMATION, summaries available to my friendslist here and here) including both blatant sexism from employees/volunteers working the con, and from other women/girls attending. (My point being that sometimes when the atmosphere is the most sexist, women respond by becoming our own worst enemies.) Well I'm going again now that there's another one in my neck of the woods, and Jonathan Coulton is one of the musicians playing and the tickets for the whole thing were the same price as a Coulton concert usually is alone.

In case you are not familiar with it, PAX is a gaming con centered around three or so things: (1) webcomics and specifically the Penny-Arcade webcomic and its creators nicknamed Gabe and Tycho (PAX stands for Penny-Arcade eXpo), and any panels with Tycho and Gabe have a are HUGE audience; (2) the keynote speech is always some hugely famous geek, Wil Wheaton being this year's and a previous one as well; and (3) another major draw is the concerts, one held on Friday night and one on Saturday night, of "nerd-core" and other geek-centric music, this year MC Frontalot is the star of Friday's and JoCo is the star of Saturday's. These three events are majorly important, like (if I'm getting my analogy right) Arisia's Masquerade is majorly important to that con.

When reading through the schedule for PAX East this year, I was happy to see that there's a panel on girls in gaming:

Girls and Games: The Growing Role of Women in the Game Industry
Manticore Theatre
Friday, 8:00pm

According to the ESA, more than 43% of video gamers are female, making women the single largest untapped market segment in the gaming industry. Look at the milestones crossed and the hurdles to come as developers and publishers reach out to this previously overlooked demographic. Are current strategies effective? What does this mean for the game industry as a whole?
Panelists Include: Brittany Vincent [Editor-in-Chief, Spawn Kill], Julie Furman [Founder, SFX360], Jeff Kalles [Penny Arcade], Alexis Hebert [Community Relations Manager, Terminal Reality]

When I first saw this, I was relieved to think that PAX had apparently made some progress from their gaffes of 2006. And then I realized something I'd missed on the previous line.

Friday Night Concerts!
Main Theatre
Friday, 8:30pm

Break out your cell phone and handheld gaming screens to welcome our musical acts to Boston! The Protomen, Anamanaguchi, Metroid Metal, and MC Frontalot will all be rocking for the first night of our Nerdcore Concert Series. The first 4,000 attendees at PAX Friday afternoon will receive wristbands for guaranteed entry, with the remaining seats being distributed on a first-come, first-served basis.

Yes, the Girls and Games panel is running against the Friday night concert, not only guaranteeing it a low turnout and showing that the people who made the schedule don't give a shit that it'll have a low turnout and revealing that they don't give a shit about the plight of women/girls in gaming, but also guaranteeing that anyone who attends the Girls and Games panel is unable to attend the concert and showing that the people who made the schedule don't give a shit that we can't attend the concert and revealing that they don't give a shit about including women/girls in the larger gaming community.

This pisses the hell out of me. Am I overreacting?

Edit: If your response is "yes, you're overreacting" and you're not yourself a member of a minority within a fandom please first (1) try viewing it from my point of view, then (2) if you still think I'm overreacting I'd appreciate it if you explained your viewpoint but be prepared for me to not respond. As usual, my rules for my journal are no bashing or insults or expressions of anger. Any such comments will be frozen at a minimum or potentially deleted.
asterroc: (doll)
I realized today that it's been more than a year since I got my first cup. To celebrate I just ordered myself a large orange LadyCup. :-D

Using a cup for the last year has given me such freedom, it's really been unexpected - what I thought would happen would be that I'd be using this reusable product to save the Earth, and either it'd be a hassle and I'd stick with it, or it'd be a hassle and I wouldn't stick with it.

Some reflections on menstruation and cup use )

Thanks for all your help here ladies. I can't wait until my OrangeCup gets here - orange is a particularly liberating color for me. I'm half Chinese, and throughout my childhood wearing orange made me look jaundiced as it does many Asians. As an adult now and bolder in what I wear, orange is actually flattering on me. So here's to self-confidence, growing up, cups, menstruation, and orange!

X-posted to [ profile] menstrual_cups



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