Friday, January 30, 2009

Sleep or Fava Beans? Maybe Both

I have my second sleep study tonight. Last week I put on my jammies, gathered up my blanket and pillow, drove across town and they wired me up like a giant lab rat with:
  • electrodes to measure my brain waves and stages of sleep (there are 3 plus REM)
  • movement sensors on my legs, arms, and parts of my face
  • a heart rate monitor
  • belts on my chest and tummy to measure movement when I inhale and exhale
  • a microphone
  • a nasal cannula
  • a second measuring something or other under my nose
  • an oxygen saturation probe on my finger
And then they told me to sleep. Oh, and don't forget the camera on the wall with the circle of little red lights that you can see even without your glasses. All night.

They monitor and watch, collect a ton of data, wake you up at 6a, rip off all the wires, tell you basically nothing, and send you on your way.

I did sleep off and on. I woke up whenever there was noise in the hallway -- usually to hear someone tell the guy in the room across the hall to roll over or to change out his mask. You think they'd do a better job of soundproofing a sleep clinic! The guy should probably have his own county. Maybe he does. I can't imagine neighbors, dogs, cats, goldfish, or wild animals putting up with the ruckus. Amazing!

And I can tell you exactly where the monitoring room was in proximity to my room because well, the sleep techs don't sleep at night, they talk.

This week, they'll put on a lot of the same sensors and then go through having me sleep -- or try mightily -- with a series of CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure) masks to see if they prevent the apnea spells and contribute to better sleep -- actual consistent breathing, oxygenation, deeper stages of sleep, REM, etc.

I can't imagine being able to sleep with a freakin' Hannibal Lechter-esque mask on my face, but we'll see what happens. (I almost included a photo of a mask in this post, but very quickly closed the google image search results because the pix were freaking me out...)

If nothing else, I predict a craving for fava beans will strike sometime tomorrow.

A Facebook Duel of Geek Proportions

A recent Facebook update by a friend read:
Alex is wondering if anyone can explain in one paragraph how to setup a simple mailto contact form on IIS 6.0 (that doesn'Alt like perl - I normally use FormMail).
So, being the snot I have grown to be, I commented back:
Kim is wondering if she has ever seen a geekier FB update than this nonsense. Please, next time just put in some unix code and dispense with the formalities of actual words.
To which, he replied:
Kim, you're right. This is for you:
01001001001000000110001101
10000101101110001001110111010000100000011000100110010101101100011010010110010101110110011001010010000001111001011011110111010100100000011000010110001101110100011101010110000101101100011011000111100100100000011011000110111101101111011010110110010101100100001000000111010001101000011010010111001100100000011101010111000000101110001000000010000001001110011011110111011100100000011101110110100001101111001001110111001100100000011101000110100001100101001000000110011101100101011001010110101100101110
To which, I replied:
OMG, CLASSIC. YOU WIN!!! Or should I say:
01001111 01001101 01000111 00101110 00100000 01000011 01001100 01000001 01010011 01010011 01001001 01000011 00101110 00100000 01011001 01001111 01010101 00100000 01010111 01001001 01001110 00100001 00100001 00100001
Why? Go here, paste the binary code (all them 0101010s up there) into the second box on the grid, hit , and then... well... you just have to laugh at me (and then perhaps, yourself...).

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Are You Sleepy?

Rumor has it I likely have sleep apnea. I suppose repeatedly ceasing breathing in the middle of the night is not a habit one should cultivate or continue. So off I went to a consult yesterday with a pulmonologist/sleep specialist.

Some people are just too serious. You can almost see their thought processes on a LED readerboard above their heads.

I am a doctor.
I have a form.
I am going to ask you questions on the form.
I will scrawl the answers in the appropriate spaces.
I will not deviate from this path.
Then, based on your answers, I will give you a rehearsed speech about the next steps.
I will not deviate from the script.

Want to make a doctor of this variety really uncomfortable? Use multiple-word answers.

WAIT, I have a box for yes or no.
I don't want to listen to a sentence, I wan't a monosyllabic response.

How serious was this guy? He's asking me if I'm sleepy during the day. I honest-to-goodness involuntarily yawned. In fact, I'd been yawning since I landed in this giant funky weird thronelike chair where I was seated for the inquisition.

I laughed and responded, "I suppose that should be evidence enough."

His response, "What? Are you sleepy during the day?"

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Parisian Burger for Tofu Girl

My (week)daily lunch travels usually take me to the building 3 cafeteria where I fill a compostable plastic container with whole grains, edamame, cucumber, tomatoes, tofu, sunflower seeds, and a bit of soy dressing. There's some variation depending on the veggie selection, but I pretty much have the same thing every day.

Yes, because I actually like it. No, really.

Every once in awhile, a coworker will catch me eating something from the animal kingdom and react with some surprise that I consume things that used to moo, bok, swim, or otherwise require chasing to catch for use as food.

So my absolute glee (yes GLEE) upon receiving an Armadillo Willy's e-mail titled "The Legend Returns" and announcing the return of the Linda's Drive-In Parisian Burger could be quite a shock to some.

E-mail marketing sometimes hits the mark. Even to a jaded web marketing chick.

You see, the Parisian Burger isn't just a burger. It's nostalgia. It's the one burger place I ever remember going with LD when I was a kid. The red and white striped awning, the walk-up counter, the bolted-down stools and chairs, the cars going by on El Camino. Freezing my a** off on one of those little metal stools while waiting for the food.

Then the sauce on the sourdough bun, requisite 2 or 3 napkins, testing the tater tots until they were cool enough to eat. Not just any sauce, not just any bun. Linda's Drive-in closed in 1984. But there are some things that you don't forget. And a Parisian Burger is one of them.

DaveBro (my leetle brother) lives in Texas now, but I forwarded him the e-mail with the addition of, "Oddly enough, this is the highlight of my day." His response was this
"that's awesome! I forgot about those. I went to Sonic burger after the gym the other night and got some tater tots. But, their burgers are nowhere near the Parisian. I loved those things! "
I posted a short note about it on my Facebook page -- more responses than anything I've posted...
OH my goodness....Life has meaning once again!!!!
Just went and had my first Parisian Burger in over 30 years!! Wow .. this is gonna be a great year!!!
Yes, I was there within 48 hours -- enjoying a Parisian burger, actually eating the tater tots, and staring down lactose tolerance while I drank a chocolate shake. Minus the cold metal stool, it was all it needed to be.

And yes, I'm going back for more. You should too...

No News is Good News

Luke brought me a holiday gift this year... I had to wait to mention it, but I think it's finally safe.

I figured I should be cautious. I spent the last few weeks scouring the headlines, google news searching, and otherwise verifying that come next winter, my dog won't be responsible for going way beyond Seuss's Grinch.

When we're up in G'town visiting LD, Luke has the run of the woods. No fences, no leash. He patrols the property using the house as his base. A bird -- or for that matter, a moth -- flutters on the other side of the pond and he's off to the races to check it out. He sleeps quite well at night because he spends the days in nearly constant motion -- generally at high speed crashing through the woods, circling the pond, or traversing the driveway.

A couple of days after Christmas, while my dad and I were moving random slash piles to burn piles, Luke emerged triumphant from the woods carrying a branch. As my proud pooch approached, I noticed the branch had a funny bend in it. No, wait -- two.

This is a dog that only fetches when there's competition, so his emergence from the trees with a stick was a bit odd in itself. And then I figured it out.

That funny bend was a joint. And that other funny bend toward the end, well, another joint. Ever so proudly, my charming dog presented me with the foreleg of a deer -- hoof intact. Boy howdy was I glad I was wearing work gloves. Ditto that @ was happily amused on a stack of cut 20 yards away imagining himself floating a barge of timber down an Alaskan river.

Given the recent holiday, I figured I should watch the news. Did one of Santa's reindeer go astray? Was there a mid-air reindeer collision between Prancer and Rudolph over the Sierra foothills? Would I need an alibi for my loyal canine protector?

The news has been quiet. No investigators have shown up to scour my dad's property for remnants of a flight disaster involving missing Rangifer tarandus east of Sacramento.

I never saw the nose, so I can't verify Rudolph will be around next year, but if he's not? Well, I'm a good storyteller and this is all completely fictional.