Sunday, July 1, 2012

License to Travel

Just a quick post, but kind of an interesting one.  Back from the honeymoon, where my lovely wife and I traveled to the Outer Banks of North Carolina.  We stayed in a condo for a week, then traveled up NC 12 to Kitty Hawk and crossed the Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel (turns out I get really claustrophobic in that tunnel, which is odd given I don't recall having problems with the Eisenhower Tunnel).  We then had about 30 hours to kill before we had to be in Raleigh, so Laura decided spur-of-the moment that we needed to go to DC.  We got there around 5:30 (rush hour, AAH!), went into the Smithsonian Institute of Natural Science, and saw the White House, Washington Monument, and WWII Memorial before leaving that same evening.  As much of our vacation involved driving, we decided to keep track of license plates starting from when we left the airport and culminating when we returned to the airport.  It was fascinating to see how many states we got!  Here is our list in no particular order (*=we were in that state):

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Peri and the Technicolor Dreamcoat

Nope, the new outfit still ain't
Completely by coincidence, the first two Doctors I am reviewing are also probably the two most infamous.  As mentioned previously, I do blame the horrible scriptwriting of Fox and the simple lack of screentime for Paul McGann's Eighth Doctor (although he still remains at second-to-last on my list, manly due to such great competition).  The Sixth Doctor, as portrayed by Colin Baker (no relation to the fantastic Tom Baker, by the way), does suffer from the same scriptwriting flaw.  However, there are other reasons why he is at the bottom of my list, and we shall discuss those here.

Colin Baker's era as the Doctor was the shortest of any of the classic Doctors at slightly over two seasons, and arguably the second shortest of all if one counts McGann's time as between 1996 and 2005 (in which he did appear in many radio dramas and novels), only being longer than Christopher Eccleston's Ninth Doctor.  With the start of Baker's era came some other changes to the Doctor Who seasons: they were shortened from the previous 20 episodes in season 21 to 13 episodes in season 22, which was an ominous sign that would hang over the series until it was finally placed in hiatus in 1989.  While Season 22 had longer 45 minute episodes, Season 23 returned to the 25 minute format with 14 episodes, reducing Baker's airtime even further.  There was also an 18-month production hiatus in between Baker's two seasons.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Gut Feelings

So apparently one of life's greatest ironies is the dichotomy of my stomach.  I can liquefy bird brains and squirt them out, watch a lobotomy and still be hungry, and watch all fourteen episodes of Trial of a Time Lord without throwing up from the sheer horribleness of it.  Yet when it comes to the actual function of the stomach, mine is definitely on the weak side, and the issue is that there appears to be a plethora of problems.  Starting around junior year of college, I was having a hard time eating a lot of foods, often feeling rather ill afterward.  I also had the effect of certain seemingly unrelated foods shot through my system faster than Jayne running towards free money.  The former would cause some discomfort, sometimes intense, for an hour or two and would include a fair amount of belching, the latter would be done in about 15 minutes and I'd be fine.  I talked to the doctor about it, as Tums wasn't cutting it, and he had me use Pepsid AC and that seemed to work a little better.

Then I got mono in the spring of my junior year.  An odd thing occured.  The feeling of being ill afterward seemed to vanish (although certain foods still tended to trigger the flushing of my guts).  I mentioned this to my doctor, and he hypothesized that my acid reflux was being triggered by a bacteria, and the mono had actually attacked the bacteria as well as my own cells.  It is unusual but not unheard of to have a virus attack two completely different cells.  What was also interesting was that the mono virus went for my liver; it usually aims for the spleen.  More on that later.

Well, over the past year to year and a half, it's been coming back.  At first I was just having difficulty eating yogurt in the morning, which I just figured was because it was too thick.  But it got worse, especially around February where it got to the point where I could hardly eat breakfast and actually culminated with me throwing up after eating.  (Not eating breakfast was particularly a problem, as I t get another chance to eat until lunch and I get HUNGRY).  So I scheduled an appointment with the doctor in Tecumseh.  He couldn't figure it out, but thought it might be a proton pump problem with acids (yay for being a science guy and actually understanding that!).  So he put me on some meds that were suppsed to help.  Other than some really uncomfortable muscle soreness for a few days (a common side effect), they did nothing.  I had to go back anyway for a BSA physical to work NOAC this summer, so I told him what was going on again and he prescribed Nexium and scheduled an upper endoscopy for June 1st.  After having to deal with the fact that insurance would not pay for it and the medicine cost $200 (and I didn't even know if it would work!), I got a generic for a tenth of the price and started that Sunday.  At first, I didn't notice much change...and then guano hit the fan.

Yesterday resulted in greater discomfort than normal, and it continued all night and got even worse as today went on, along with lightheadedness.  Needless to say, this worried me a little so I called the doctor and he told me to stop taking the medicine (I figured that was a given) and I got my upper endoscopy scheduled for May 4th.  Hopefully that will get me some answers as to what the heck is going on.  It's really stressing me out (and I don't get stressed too easily).  I considered taking a personal day this morning because of the stress, but I realized that work has nothing to do with my stress and doing so would a) allow me to dwell on it more, which would not end well, and b) stress me out more with sub plans.  Also, I tend to ramble when I'm stressed, if you can't tell...

One thing that many people have mentioned to me is a gall bladder problem.  Now, I'm not saying that's what it is, but I do have similar symptoms.  What interests me is the possible connection with mono.  (Disclaimer: The following is merely a hypothesis and has not been confirmed by any sort of medical personnel; it is solely based off my own somewhat-more-than-average informed conjecture.)  The fact that the liver and the gall bladder are so closeley linked (the liver makes bile, the gall bladder does what a bladder does best, stores it) is interesting.  Suppose I was developing gall bladder problems due to storing too much bile/letting it sit for too long.  Liver problems arise due to mono and suddenly there's less bile produced.  The gall bladder gets cleaned out as the bile is now needed, and takes a while to reaccumulate to the level it was at before.  Again, that's just a working hypothesis, but I find it interesting.

So anyway, on May 4th I will be put under for the first time in my life (not thrilled) and hopefully I will get some answers from this upper endoscopy.  And I am VERY grateful it is an upper endoscopy and not a lower one.

Also, do not expect many blog posts to be personal, as I prefer writing reviews and stuff, but this one has been nagging me a lot.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Pregnancy, Or Why Stretch is Freaking Out

At the time of this writing, I am 22 years old, going to be married in 84 days, and following many of my friends on Facebook and otherwise as we graduate college and our future lives really start to take shape.  Of course, this means life-changing stuff.  My first shocker came freshman year when my roommate happened to be engaged.  That threw me for a bit of a loop, but this whole engagement thing became the norm and I eventually fell into the "trap" as well, becoming the first of my close friends to wind up looking at flowers while they were still enjoying the single life.  I managed to nail two stereotypes in one go; becoming engaged fresh out of college (something I did NOT think would happen just a few years ago until my wonderful fiancĂ©e decided to mess up my plans) and becoming engaged to someone at Doane.  Seriously, that college (and I imagine many others) has a ridiculously high rate of "inbreeding".

*Generic Welcome Post*

I feel that an introduction is in order.  Hello, I am Jacob Leuenberger (not the Jacob Leuenberger that is a murderer, mind you!), better known on the internet as Stretch Longfellow, a moniker that I created in middle school after being given the nickname Stretch.  After repeated attempts to shake it, it more or less has stuck, and is also the name I publish the webcomic Spoofy Randomness under (there is a link to the three most recent comics to your right, as well as a RSS feed link to this blog, FYI).  I had taken up blogging about random thoughts on Facebook, but given the recommendations of some of my friends I decided to go public.  I took all of my Facebook posts and put them here as well, but anything from this point on is BRAND NEW STUFF (well, until you've read it).  You will eventually notice a recurring theme of Doctor Who reviews as I analyze each Doctor (if you haven't read my Eighth Doctor review, FOR SHAME), but I intersperse other material as well, such as this next one. (Also, I tend to abuse comments in parentheses.  Fair warning.)

Friday, March 23, 2012

The Eighth Doctor: Worst Doctor Ever, or the Second Coming?

Another reason why Fox is not allowed to run TV showsThe Eighth Doctor, portrayed by Paul McGann, has been widely critisized, and with good reason.  He only makes one "real" appearance in TV canon (later appearing as a sketch in John Smith's diary and using old footage in The Next Doctor and The Eleventh Hour), and this appearance has many marked flaws.  Doctor Who: The Movie suffers from being a direct-to-TV movie made in 1996, and given the absence of Doctor Who at the time (it went onto hiatus in 1989 and did not return in TV episode format until 2005) much question was given as to the canonicity of this movie, which wasn't resolved untl John Smith's diary showed the Eighth Doctor.  As a result, McGann is only really known for this single appearance, a failed back-door pilot by Fox to bring Doctor Who to America, and what a flop it was.  Note: For two reasons, I'm going to ignore radio dramas, books, and comics for two reasons.  1) They are not generally considered to be canon, and 2) I know little about them anyway.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Ramblings About British Television, Blu-Ray, And Stuff

Look at me, all high-tech and whatnot with Smurf-colored DVDs.First of all, I haven't seen what the big deal is about Blu-Ray. My picture looks plenty fine and I didn't see the need to pay extra money to get Blu-Ray discs, as well as needing to buy a Blu-Ray player to play the expensive discs.  That being said, Laura's mother was kind enough to buy me a new DVD/Blu-Ray player for Christmas (I had been hooking my laptop up to the TV with an S-TV cord of dubious quality and irksome inconvenience).  When looking on Amazon today, I found that Season 1 of Sherlock (second greatest current show, in my opinion) was available on DVD and Blu-Ray for the same price, which also happened to be fairly cheap.  I figured now that I have a Blu-Ray player, I might as well take advantage of it and see if it's worth it, so I ordered the season.  In a few days, we'll see if Blu-Ray lives up to the hype.