Monthly Archives: April 2009

Tidbits :: Thursday, April 9, 2009

Here Comes the Sun : On blessing the sun and the moon. (via Metafilter)

Larger than Life in London: It’s invariably the little things, the unconsidered, off the cuff, in
passing, unrehearsed things that snag our attention, and seem to be
telling of the bigger things. In the case of Barack Obama’s first visit
to London and the Group of 20 conference to save the endangered habitat
of bankers and real estate salesmen, it was the handshake with the
bobby that seemed to be emblematic. In a forest of waving palms, this
handshake meant more.

And to continue the newspaper links, Jeremy Keith on Inkosaurs : Whenever I see stalwarts of a dying business model rail against Google
in this way, I can’t help but think that what they’re really angry with
is the web itself.

Steven B. Johnson’s Old Growth Media and the Future of the News : The metaphors we use to think about changes in media have a lot to tell
us about the particular moment we’re in. McLuhan talked about media as
an extension of our central nervous system, and we spent forty years
trying to figure out how media was re-wiring our brains. The metaphor
you hear now is different, more E.O. Wilson than McLuhan: the
ecosystem. I happen to think that this is a useful way of thinking
about what’s happening to us now: today’s media is in fact much closer
to a real-world ecosystem in the way it circulates information than it
is like the old industrial, top-down models of mass media.

Mr. Modi Goes to Washington

Even though my exposure to Kalpen Modi’s (aka Kal Penn) acting career was in the excellent but more literary movie, “The Namesake“, and not any of the Harold and Kumar movies, I am still excited to see that he is leaving Hollywood behind for an even weirder town: Washington D.C.
Good luck, Mr. Modi.
Sepia Mutiny on Oh my God they killed Kutner. Bastards!
8Asians on Kumar Goes to Washington

Sensory Amok :: An Aural Migraine

Yesterday, walking into a bathroom at a Starbucks triggered the most bizarre 24+ hours of migraine I have ever experienced. Mind you, I have been getting migraines since I was 9 or so years old and I am no stranger to the experience. The usual migraine for me starts with a fluorescent light trigger (evil evil evil energy savers) and/or consumption of an allergic food substance (usually egg plus dairy) that causes a sense of unwellness that descends into light phobia, nausea, and twenty thousand evil hammer elves pounding at my skull and eye sockets for a day or so.
A couple of times in my life, I have had sound trigger a migraine. I learned early on, aka 1991, that I cannot go into a club that plays house or bass ‘n’ drum electronic music with a light show unless I want to exit with a migraine. Sound, repetitive loud bass sound that I can feel on my skin plus lights equals a migraine trigger, thus my love for the good old fashioned high trebled rock’n’roll.
Bizarrely enough, smoke of the mary jane is also a migraine trigger for me. I can’t smoke the stuff or be around anyone smoking hash or pot at all. Neither can my brother. It triggers migraine and nausea for me, and just nausea for my brother. I am all for legalizing the weed, just do not smoke that sh*t within 50 feet of me.
Back to the sound trigger, I have read about folks who have aural / audio / optical migraines that are triggered by sound or flashing lights. When I was in my late 20s, I worked in Boston and was in an office with fluorescent lights and a CRT computer monitor. My doctor helped me work out that the flicker cycle of the fluorescent overhead lights was competing with the 60 cycle/minute flicker of the CRT monitor which was causing my brain to GACK into migraine land. She told me to turn off the fluorescent overhead lights, get a desktop incandescent light, and spend at least 1 hour outdoors every workday. This prescription worked.
I walked at lunch and home from work. I turned off the fluorescent lights and got an incandescent desktop lamp. No more migraines at that job. I now make sure that my house & work environments have lots of natural light and no fluorescent bulbs of any kind. I avoid electronic music. I avoid any combos of egg and dairy in food (thus my joke about being a gluten-free vegan carnivore). I spend most of my time now, gratefully, migraine free. Except the one off odd migraine here and there.
Yesterday was that day. I walked into the Starbucks bathroom, which had bare walls and a concrete floor with a very very noisy overhead fan. The fan was very loud and I could feel the sound and air pulse out of the fan, echo around the concrete and hit my skin. My first thought was, “Oh no! I need to get out of this bathroom now. Yikes, I have to pee!” I tried to get in and out quickly, but I didn’t do it soon enough.
Within 30 minutes I found my eyes struggling to focus and the road in front of me pulsing. My hearing was starting to pulse as well. By the time, we made it to Erika & Thomas’ house, I had a hard time remaining steady enough on my feet to walk up the stairs. I was having a hard time thinking and I was giggling for no reason.
Normally, by this time, the crushing headache pain and attendant nausea would have descended, but this migraine was different. My head felt off, but not achy. Erika gave me a cold pack and a black shirt to put over my eyes as I laid on the floor to try to get the world to stop pulsing. Within 20 minutes of no light and the ice pack on my eyes & forehead while lying on their living room floor, I started to feel more normal, though all the sounds I heard were still lightly pulsing.
I waited until I felt calmed enough to go home. Once home, I put myself to bed as my limbs felt weak and disoriented. I kept waking up feeling more than a bit off. Due to the fact that the headache and nausea did not arrive, I didn’t take my migraine meds, but instead took a benadryl thinking that maybe the dim sum lunch that Erika and I went to contributed to the completely off kilter day.
I woke up this morning feeling like I needed to stay in bed with my eye mask on. My day was very touch and go. I walked the dogs but half way through the walk I started to feel a bit weak and the world got a bit visually wavy again. We went home and I went to sleep for the late morning and early afternoon. Since then, I have alternated between about 60% on and about 85% normal, with bouts of weakness, visual fuzziness, and feeling like my body took a half step over and left me here.
I went and read various folks’ stories about optical and aural migraines online and my experience is in line with theirs. What has been so odd about the last 24+ hours is that the pre-migraine or first hour of migraine disorientation that I usually experience has now lasted for over a day.
I really hope that I wake up normal tomorrow. Well, as normal as I ever am.