Archived news items from November 2004
Since this is old news, some links may be broken.
newer old news from December 2004
I hate to shock anyone or create any false hope by updating two days in a row, but last night was pretty interesting.
I had been shopping at HEB and picked up a couple of drinks I'd never tried before, and had them with a whole banana for dinner. The first, and the likely culprit, is "Naked Food-Juice", specifically the "Red Machine" variety. ("Tangy, tart, good for the heart™") The 450 mL drink features the equivalent of a "pound of fruit per bottle": 14 raspberries, 3 cranberries, 2 red grapes, 2 apples or pears, half a banana, and half a pear. And the concoction is "boosted" with 0.6 mg of folic acid, 3 mg of vitamin B-6, 10 mcg of vitamin B-12, 12000 mg (!) of flax seed (that's twelve grams for you non-metricly inclined) and 800 mg of "red algae" (dulse powder).
After chugging that food-juice (as per the directions, might I add: "SHAKE & CHUG"), I followed it up with a 10oz bottle of Dannon's "Frusion" smoothie (Wild Berry Blend), which is much more processed (e.g. it contains "high fructose corn syrup") but is ironically much less likely to be at fault.
Within about half an hour, I started into a pretty intense allergic reaction to something I had ingested. Nasal passages swollen almost to impassability, runny nose, watery eyes, and even wheezing and what felt like a lump in my throat but was probably my larynx swelling, too. Even itchy palms. I took a whole antihistamine, and by an hour later there wasn't any noticable effect. Or maybe there was, in which case I don't want to know what I would have felt like otherwise.
The symptoms, though pretty bad, never got bad enough for me to try to go to the emergency room, though I would have if it had been harder to breathe. I "rode it out" for a couple of hours, eventually also taking two decongestants. I was certainly congested, if not for the usual reasons, and I figured a vasoconstrictor might help, if only symptomatically. The pseudoephedrine made it hard for me to sleep, but I decided I'd rather stay awake and have open airways than fall asleep and quietly asphyxiate.
After fulling medicating, I went for a long walk in the cold night air, and by the time I got back to my apartment, the reaction had subsided. All told, it took about four hours for the thing to run its course.
I had trouble falling asleep because my lymph nodes were incredibly swollen and tender, and because of the aforementioned decongestants. I slept fitfully, but by morning I felt basically recovered, if worn out. And as I write this, my mouth is a bit dry but I'm otherwise normal.
My bet is on either the flax seed or the red algae/dulse powder. Depending on how brave I feel, I may see if I can pick up some of each at Whole Foods in the next week and try about one fourth to one third the precipitating dose of each (on separate nights) to see if I can nail down the culprit. I'm not sure if allergies work like iocaine powder, but if I can figure out exactly what is the culprit and if getting it in supplement form isn't too pricey, I may consume trace amounts a day and slowly increase the dosage until I get back to what I had that triggered such suffering.
Googling such things reveals that "dulse" is a seaweed of some sort. Ironically, it's billed as an immune-system booster, and Google's first result is a page about using it as part of a regimen of natural supplements for Akitas with allergies. Another Google result warns, however, "Any of the Scottish seaweeds can be eaten as none of them are toxic. However, there is some circumstantial evidence that a small percentage of the population may suffer an allergic reaction, so take care."
"Take care," indeed.
Other significant events for today include me talking with an assistant principal to find that it's probably okay for me to continue the "coffee bar" in my classroom, but that the coffee fund should probably be routed through the recently-approved Computer Science Club.
Also, our resident tech-support guy brought me a CD-R drive and installed it into my teacher machine. He also brought a DVD-ROM drive, though that's not installed yet.
And I finally finished reteaching the series of Blackjack-related classes in Computer Science II assigned by my first student teacher. Whew.
So, Mr. Mitchell, what did you do for Thanksgiving?
Well, I went home to see my folks. We watched some movies: The Chronicles of Riddick and Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, both from fairly opposite ends of the movie spectrum but both of which I liked. I slept late. I watched my brother play Metal Gear Solid 3, and played some Super Mario Sunshine and Super Monkey Ball myself. And we ate a bunch.
My student teacher has taken over a few of my classes now, so I'm having a little more free time. And thus I can update the web page.
I also decided to buy my parents' Accord, and so at the moment I have two cars. Anybody want a 1991 Toyota Corolla?
Okay, at this moment I'm completely caught up on grading, for the first time since before my last update. Taking three weeks off from grading may allow one to complete free-self-grading-quizzes-for-life-type software, but having to catch up from that far behind was not fun.
Especially because the classroom server (which has a dead drive in the middle of the RAID array and so keeps crashing without warning) was down all weekend the weekend I'd planned to do the lion's share of grading. Which meant that since grades were due on Tuesday (the 9th) at 3pm, I was up at the school grading until 3:47am. It sucked incredibly, and I was this close to just giving all my CS-1 kids incompletes and catching up later. Feh.
However, I've finally got back to the top of the heap, and since my new student teacher has now taken over one entire prep (Web Programming) and three of my eight sections, my grading load will be even easier for the next month or so.
This past weekend, I went home for my cute nephew's 2nd birthday, and other than eleven or so hours of driving in a two-day time period, it was really nice. My parents got a new car, and so they're trying to sell me their old one, a 1996 Honda Accord in very good condition. They have let me borrow it until Thanksgiving, and I really dig it.
And other than recently watching the Count of Monte Cristo, which I liked, not much else has been afoot.
Sorry for the long time between updates. My life just isn't that exciting.
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