Saturday, October 30, 2010

Introducing Godolphin, the Blue Wizard

As promised, here are pictures of me in my Lord of the Rings costume at the California Academy of Science... though after some reflection I decided that I was a Wizard rather than an Elf Lord, simply because the theme of the costume party was "Supernatural" and a wizard seems a little more supernatural in concept than an elf.

And so I made up a name that sounded LotR-ish (Godolphin is actually an old English family name, most notable for the extinct earldom created by Charles II for one of his cronies, but which only lasted two generations) and ran with it. Godolphin the Blue was a semifinalist, but not a finalist, in the Costume Contest... Caroline was also a semifinalist, though she had to practically mug the contest judge to get a semifinalist badge. As usual, whenever there's a straight woman involved, I am catnip and Caroline is anathema.

Here I am standing in the tunnel underneath the Rain Forest pond, which is a very cool display but didn't come out in the picture:

In the contest itself, taking a regal bow:

And riding a bronze Galapagos tortoise with Caroline (who was dressed as a fairy):

When I wore the costume to work yesterday, I left the wig off and just said I was a Prince of Gondor, which fit the look. I was the only one in a costume that day, as we hadn't planned a party and so nobody had felt encouraged to dress up... but that wasn't going to stop me! I paid too much for that outfit to miss any opportunity to wear it. Though I have to say, it isn't a very good garment in regard to temperature: when the room is warm, it doesn't breathe well, so I get all sweaty; and when it's cold, it doesn't keep me warm; and so on Friday when the temperature was going up and down all day, I got sweaty and then got cold, and it was very tiring.

Now tonight we are going to Slide, and this time I am going to be an elf lord, since I can carry my sword and have discovered which exact elven character I am going to be: Thranduil, King of Mirkwood, who is Legolas's father. A comfortably obscure character for whom nobody will have preconceived notions regarding his appearance... though in the cartoon version of The Hobbit, Thranduil is portrayed as being made of leaves and looks like a peevish cabbage.

Anyway, when more pictures are available, I'll be back to show them to you. In the meantime, have a spooktacular day!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Weekly Check-In

These last two weeks have been rather hellish. I've been down with this cold that just lingers and lingers and lingers... if I lose too much sleep, I display actual cold symptoms, but most of the time it's just fatigue and a numbed brain... and I've had it for over two weeks now. I know exactly when I caught it and from whom, Tuesday before last from a coworker whose desk I used after she'd been coughing all over it; and it has been making the rounds at the office, felling four at least besides myself.

One of the worst symptoms of this cold is a pervasive irritability that makes everyday annoyances feel like epic betrayals of human decency. Talking to Grandmother has been almost impossible, especially when she makes me repeat myself, or when she explains to me how to do something that I already know quite well how to do. And then at work, it's a strain on the temper all day long, being nice to people whom I would prefer to strangle with a barbed-wire garrote.

But it seems to be abating... I took another sick day yesterday (the third in the last two weeks, none consecutive) and spent the day in bed with the HBO series Rome. Nothing like some violence and sex and costume drama to soothe the savage breast. And over the weekend, I watched the entire Jeeves & Wooster series, which always makes me feel better... though I tend to spend the next few days thinking with an English accent and dropping words like quite and rather into my speech more frequently.

So now I'm trying to be well so I can go to my two Halloween parties without falling ill again. Tomorrow evening, Caroline and I are going to the California Academy of Science Nightlife Halloween party, to which I am looking forward with some enthusiasm, since I have been wanting to see the new Academy since it opened last year; and then on Saturday we're going to Slide, a rather nice little (straight) dance club near Union Square... we went there last year and had a lovely time, and are hoping to repeat the fun.

I'm a little irritated with my costume: an Elf Lord, though not any particular Lord of the Rings character... sort of a blend of Elrond of Rivendell (who I have recently discovered was half-human) and Celeborn of Lothlorien. So not only do I have to explain every time I tell someone about my costume that I am going to be a Lord of the Rings type of elf rather than a Christmas elf (as if), but then I have to fend off actual LotR fans with an explanation that I'm not going as any particular elf lord, but rather a composite character for whom I have not made up a name.

And then the elements of the costume have been disappointing and/or more difficult than expected. I bought an outfit along with a belt and sword frog from this medieval costumer in Ukraine, ordered it in May, and then didn't receive the outfit and frog until July, and the belt finally came on Monday... with dozens of emails between myself and the one (marginally) English-speaking Ukrainian at the costumers over the intervening five months. Here's essentially what it looks like, though I got it in summer-sky blue rather than red:

Then I decided to wash the tunic of the outfit, which was intensely scratchy (made of authentically medieval flax linen, and I think starched at that), and in the wash (cold water, gentle cycle, Woolite detergent) not only did it shrink a little, but one of the seams unraveled a few inches near the hem and the cuff buttons all broke apart. So I had to spend a good deal of time steam-ironing the fabric to stretch it to its original dimensions, and will have to do some stitching on the seam and either replace the buttons or rig up something with safety-pins to keep the cuffs closed.

Then I started working on the wig, which is very long (about fifty inches from the crown) and silvery white, and it proved more difficult than I had thought it would. I intended to do a braid at each temple drawn to the back, and then a stream of hair laying over the front of each shoulder and the rest hanging down in back. However, having never had hair (real or wig) of that length before, I did not realize that it would tangle inextricably down toward the bottom... so separating out hanks is impossible without actually ripping or cutting the tangles, which doesn't look very nice.

Then there's the sword, which really makes the outfit, but I can't bring it to the Academy and may not be able to wear it to work. But at least I don't have to worry about boots: I have three different pair to choose from... two pair are costume boots, with nice crepe soles but slightly cheap-looking, and one pair is regular women's dress boots in a quality BoHo style and thin leather soles. Much will depend on how far I'm going to have to walk.

Well, anyway, I am going to stop by the Halloween City store near my job during lunch today and see if I can get a more cooperative wig, perhaps one that is already styled in the elven manner (and brown, so that I can say, definitely, "Elrond, Lord of Rivendell") and maybe some ear-tips to sell the elf identity better. The whole purpose of the long wig was to cover my ears so I wouldn't have to do that, but the various failures and vagaries that I have experienced since trying to get down to brass tacks with this costume have made me uncomfortable with my concept.

I will of course post pictures as soon as I have them.


This cold has sent my moods all flooey... I always get depressed when I'm sick, as one might expect; but I also tend to forget to take my meds when I'm sick, the morning doses in particular, as laying in bed all day throws me off my natural rhythms. And since my morning meds are the Wellbutrin that is more of a pick-me-up than a hold-me-down, I slip into depression that much more easily. But I expect to recover the balance my meds have been giving me, once the cold symptoms dissipate.


I still weigh the same, between 225 and 227 every time I get on the scale; but I do it less often than I used to, I've rather lost interest in my weight these last couple of months. And I'm not eating very differently from usual, no binging or starving, so I'm going to call this my base weight for the time being. Maybe I'll get more in a fitnessy mood in the coming months... you never can tell with me.

And that's all I have to say today. Have a lovely week!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Weekly Check-In

I am so ready for the elections to be over... the ads are driving me nuts. When are we going to have an election reform bill that forbids expensive television and radio ads? I'd totally vote for that! Until I can vote in any way other than in person or by mail, all electioneering should be done in person and by mail... if I could vote online or through my TV or radio, then it would be appropriate to electioneer by those media.

But I suppose a lot of jobs depend on political advertising... if only the ads were clever and funny the way that ads for products are. There is one anti-Meg Whitman ad that makes me giggle, with a Pinocchio hat drawn on her and her nose growing, pointing out things she's said about Jerry Brown which aren't true. And there's a Carly Fiorina ad that absolutely slays me... it has all these rather dramatic claims about how partisan politics have ruined the state (neglecting to mention that Ms. Fiorina is herself a partisan) and shows dramatic Dorothea Lange Dust Bowl-type imagery, but it cites no actual facts, it's all insinuations and inchoate threats. Then it shows the most unflattering picture of Barbara Boxer in existence, which makes her look like an octogenarian dragon-lady, followed by a little blip of Ms. Fiorina (who is fourteen years younger than Boxer but looks much older) in flattering studio light approving the message.

The thing about these two super-rich CEOs running for office that I find kind of amusing is how they keep stressing that they have "real world" experience while the other candidates are "career politicians"... as if the political arena was not part of the real world, as if decades spent in government unsuits a person to work in government. Not only have neither of these women ever been involved in the political process before, they haven't ever before taken any interest in politics, with spotty-to-nonexistent voting records... how do they think they're suited for political jobs?

I almost want them to win the elections so they can get in over their heads and discover that politics and business are completely different animals. But I believe that between the two of them, the state would fall from being a bit if a mess to being a total disaster, and I don't think we can afford that just to teach these corporate overlords a lesson in politics.


So, in response to the sleepiness I was experiencing, I reduced my Seroquel dose by a third; and though I did not feel sleepy all week, I felt a lot of other things I'd rather not feel: depressed, anxious, horny, irritable... usually in turns but sometimes all at once. So I went back to the full dose and my mood returned to "normal" (or as normal as I have come to expect), and my sleepiness returned. I wonder what would happen if I tried cutting the third pill in half? I think I'll try that next week and see what happens.



And that's me for the week. Have a good one!

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Weekly Check-In

Well, it's been rather more than a week since my last check-in, but I've been kind of busy the last few days... completely obsessed by another waste-of-time FaceBook game. This time it's "Kingdoms of Camelot," which I started playing last Wednesday and have already risen to level 38 of 60, with the title of Archduke. The game goes a little slower once you get into the upper reaches, as it takes longer to upgrade buildings and resources with each successive level... for example, to build a Level 1 Cottage takes thirty seconds, while a Level 10 Cottage (the maximum level) takes an hour and a quarter; more important buildings take even longer, right now I'm upgrading to a Level 8 Alchemy Lab which requires 17 hours, and the Level 7 Wall I did before that was 32 hours!

So I was up to Level 4 on everything in my first city when I discovered another facet of the game, Alliances. There is a chat window in which you can visit with other game-players in your alliance and exchange tips and tricks, as well as contribute (by clicking) to their construction projects. I first joined a very small and inactive alliance just for its name (Rainbow Alliance) merely to join one, since that was one of my early Quests (tasks recommended by the game which are rewarded with resources), but there were only two people in it and neither of them played much... I already outranked them both by quite a margin when I quit the alliance to join a much larger and more active one called Pandemonium... again I liked the name, and it had fifty members already and appeared to be very interactive.

This was over the weekend, so I had plenty of time to devote to the game; and the larger Alliance was a lot of fun, it added a lot to the game... it linked me to a Wiki page about the game that helped immeasurably to figure out what I was supposed to be doing, and there is a separate website created by the Alliance's Chancellor in which we can share other game information. I now have two cities and have conquered six wildernesses (which increase your resources) and have huge armies scattered all over the map. I've also added about fifteen friends from the game and not only do I get lots of free resources that way, but I get to browse profiles belonging to people I would never meet socially.

So anyway, that has been occupying my free time for the last week... I expect I will start getting bored with it now, since the construction projects are all taking so long; there's no point in checking in more frequently than twice a day to start a new build and chat a bit with the Alliance. At the moment, I do check in frequently to assist with others' projects and monitor my cities' activities and make sure nobody is attacking me, but I foresee a waning interest. It is always thus.


My mood is good... but I decided to scale back on the Seroquel, as the sleepiness returned and started becoming problematic. So on Saturday I went down to 50mg instead of 75, and felt immediately better, have felt much better all week. But I'm noticing my mood is fluctuating more now... as always impossible to tell if it's the meds or just circumstances, but I may have to choose between being sleepy and being crazy. We shall see.


Nothing changing there. I'm the same weight and fitness level as always. I've been thinking about the gym more, but being so sleepy by the end of the day makes it impossible. We shall see, there, too.

And in closing, let me say this...