[Scrap] A Random Assortment of Letters

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[Scrap] A Random Assortment of Letters

Postby Wa'Djinnabi on August 5th, 2019, 12:14 pm

This got posted in a group chat I am in and I don't want to lose this information on wine.


One bottle of wine = 750 ml or 1/5 of a gallon
One Barrel = 60 gallons – 25 cases or 300 750 ml bottles
One Ton of Grapes = approximately 700 bottles of wine
One Acre of Vineyards – Low yield for high-quality wines = 2-4 tons
One Acre of Vineyards – High yield for less expensive wines = 10 tons

Uh, other stuff to come?
Maybe in a proper box code?
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[Scrap] A Random Assortment of Letters

Postby Wa'Djinnabi on August 21st, 2019, 12:09 pm

Djinn's Book Club of One


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The Lies of Locke Lamora
Author: Scott Lynch
Genre: Fantasy
Format: Audiobook
Warnings: Not for children
Blurb: An orphan’s life is harsh—and often short—in the mysterious island city of Camorr. But young Locke Lamora dodges death and slavery, becoming a thief under the tutelage of a gifted con artist. As leader of the band of light-fingered brothers known as the Gentleman Bastards, Locke is soon infamous, fooling even the underworld’s most feared ruler. But in the shadows lurks someone still more ambitious and deadly. Faced with a bloody coup that threatens to destroy everyone and everything that holds meaning in his mercenary life, Locke vows to beat the enemy at his own brutal game—or die trying.



Djinn's thoughts:
The Gentleman Bastard Series, starting with The Lies of Locke Lamora is perhaps one of my favorite series. It has an excellent mixture of everything you could ever want, action, intrigue, magic, humor all wrapped up in excellent prose without being too gaudy.

The setting is endlessly fun. In this book the city of Camorr is a sort of fantasy Venice but with a much darker underbelly. It is a city of thieves and blood where the organized crime has brokered a peace with those in charge where the nobles will not be the targets of thieves and the city watch will not root out the gangs the run the streets. The city itself has a magical feel to it. Great towers of indestructible elderglass pierce the sky and absorb light from the sun only to radiate it after dusk, glowing into the night. Always it is made clear that the humans were merely squatters among the ruins of the elderen.

Naturally, the main protagonist rides that line that the brokered peace is established on. He is a thief, a theatrical thief who mainly conjures elaborate, hair-brained schemes to con the wealth nobles and merchants out of their fortunes. Truly, the schemes are where this author shines. There is a section of the book that I simply love where the MC needs a suit to go to a fancy party and manages to implement a multilayered plan to pose as a body guard to get a wealthy banker's suit off of him....who he later meets at the party. Ha.

The only off putting feature is the tendency for the author to bounce around the timeline. His flashbacks can occasionally decrease tension. However, he does use it to clever effect at certain points, creating a twist by simply allowing an event to happen and flashing back to the process of the MC setting up the scenario to act as the reveal.

It is a book series that doesn't pull its punches and is willing to very seriously imperil their characters. The only downside is that at the time of writing this its been 12 years the author has only released about 3 of the 7 book series. So we are in for the long haul on this series.

I am going to do more reviews but if you have time and read none of the other book reviews, you should definitely look into this one. I highly recommend this book. It has a greatness that is difficult to articulate and I really wish more people looked into it.


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[Scrap] A Random Assortment of Letters

Postby Wa'Djinnabi on October 24th, 2019, 12:58 pm

Past two weeks have been sorta rough. I just got through a bit of a medical scare that was a bit of a rollercoaster ride. It started with my throat closing up. It was strange though, I could breath fine, I could talk, I could eat and drink, and yet it felt as if my throat was clenching up and it was difficult to just reflexively swallow. At first I thought it was an allergy. It happened just after I had a meal, I mean it makes sense right? Odd, but allergies tended to come on quickly, though they are rare to manifest outside of childhood. Maybe I was just that unlucky. I was at work when the first symptoms showed up, it wasn't just my throat clenching up, it was nausea. Like being on the edge of throwing up and the only reason why I wasn't losing my cookies was through sheer willpower.

Well, I didn't throw up. I managed to make it through my shift, lucky that shift was short and I had cleared leaving early with my boss earlier in the week. I made it home and the nausea slowly ebbed, but my throat felt like someone had a fist around it and was squeezing. But still, I could breath and I could tamp down my rising panic by focusing on that. I could breath and I did not need to go to the ER. But I was ready to get help at a moment's notice. I was almost afraid to head to bed that night, what if I passed away in my sleep? Well. I survived guys. Haha.

The next day (saturday) I woke up in relief without that particular issue. It seemed that sleeping had managed to ameliorate whatever was going on. This in my mind lent credence to the allergy theory. I went to visit my parents and we had a relatively simple dinner. We then retired to the living room to chat and watch TV. While resting on the couch, it came back. Again after a meal, again the nausea and the tightness in the throat. Interestingly both meals had rice, so maybe that was it? Well. Again, sleep provided some relief, though this time it was not complete. My throat still managed to feel tight. That next day I simply was not hungry so I did not eat. I made my appointment for a doctor for the next day.

For context I hadn't seen any doctor for about 4 years, basically since getting my new insurance. It was very good insurance but their system for getting a new primary care physician sucked. So I spent that sunday going through a huge list attempting to get at least a voicemail machine to get that process going. I was perhaps 12 phone numbers in (without luck on any front) when I manged to get a person. Expecting a month wait time at least, despite my distress with my throat, that medical assistant was able to get me an appointment right away.

I arrived early, filled out paperwork, met with the doctor in minutes and had her time for probably an hour. We discussed establishing general care, where I was health wise, history with my family, ect. When we got to the throat thing, well she did not have the equipment to make a diagnosis, so she started with giving me referrals to specialists and suggested some diagnostic procedures. An Endoscopy, a Laryngoscopy and a barium Esophagram specifically. Makes sense, have to know what is going on before we can provide treatments. We did bloodwork, which was great, I hadn't eaten the day before so I was fasting. And I was to meet with the doctor the following week.

It was strange. Discussing symptoms with a doctor when not experiencing said symptoms at that moment. At the time I had plenty of fears, but nothing concrete. It was a ripe bed for anxiety to grow. And, so it did. I did not manage to get my appointments with the specialists that week. The referrals were no good and had to get different specialists numbers. The week passed and no answers were forthcoming. My bloodwork was normal* and I was to come back in 3 months for a check up, or until we had more information on my throat thing.

Another week passed. I will admit, I was reluctant to see the specialists. I had already had a colonoscopy about 5 years before for an unrelated issue and all I could remember was that osmotic laxative. Basically it is drinking two gallons worth of salty water as quickly as possible. I almost threw up. Man, I hate throwing up. Truthfully, it was a weakness to delay. My mind was creating phantoms and specters and I was spirally down into a depression. Part of it was the thought, "Is this my life now? Is this my new normal? Will I spend the rest of my life, however long that will be, feeling this way?" And it was scary. To be on the edge of nausea after eating nearly every day with a clenched throat for the remainder of the time was scary. At least while not knowing its cause. I am glad my boyfriend was there for me, even if he has to live away from me for school. It is such a little thing, staying up with me and playing farming sims with me. But it meant the world for me and I was able to relax. It allowed me to take my mind off my internals and it helped.

I also spent more time with my parents. It made me realize that I didn't spend enough time with them, I didn't show I cared enough. It was selfish though, I craved human contact, even if it meant just being in the same room reading a book. At the time I couldn't handle the long nights that I end up staying up due to my work alone. But, selfish or not I endeavored to spend more of my time with them. I wouldn't always have them after all.

I learned to eat in a way that helped minimize my symptoms. Which indeed helped. It tore holes in my theory that it was an allergy. Perhaps a mucus thing? I wouldn't know until i met with one of the specialists I hadn't yet made appointments with. Discussions with coworker and friend were what helped me overcome my weakness. She had gotten an endoscopy before, revealing gastritis from similar symptoms to mine. So it was just as likely that I also had gastritis and had to go find out what it was. I thought about it over that weekend and called the first on my list to make an appointment on that monday. The next day I had the appointment.

I was so nervous that night before that I couldn't sleep. I ended up late due to a mix up, but I made it to my appointment despite a long drive through southern california traffic. I described my symptons to the medical assistant and she gave me a nasal spray. Thinking nothing of it I took it in stride and as she left to get the doctor she mentioned they were sticking a camera down my throat. Yeah well, it wasn't quite so simple. They were going up my nose.

It worked though. The doctor had an answer for me, and on the first try even.
It was acid reflux.

Of all things, I was getting hit by an overproduction of acid. This acid was hitting my larynx, which is more sensitive then other parts of the throat, and it was causing it to inflame and swell. This caused a tightness in the throat and pressed against the gag reflex. My body was attempting to protect itself by producing more mucus and coating my throat, so it certainly did not help with the feeling of constriction. And eating increased the acid content in my stomach. Though oddly, none of this lead to heartburn.

The diagnosis started forming links in my head as well. I realized that I had been refluxing for a long time. I would awaken with bile in my mouth, choking and not able to breath. I had a lingering cough and slight change in my voice. All symptoms.

Relief was immediate. It is amazing the psychological toll not knowing can do to you over the course of just one week. I can only imagine the pain more serious medical issues can have. For my personality type, it would be mostly psychological. I am largely in my head and this tends towards overthinking. When facing the unknown, the worst possible outcomes seem likely. I don't know if by displaying weakness through this event means that I am weak in general. But if I am, I suppose I can accept it. I am no hero in a novel. I am just some dude, living until I am no longer living.

Well, I am on medication now. It hasn't fully taken into effect but I can feel improvements. It is time for some lifestyle changes though. Acid reflux will go away if I make some improvements to myself. And really, I should have been doing this sooner. More of my weakness, perhaps. But, I think that this event has catalyzed a change in me. I am not sure where it will take me, or when that change will finish. But it has me thinking, and hopefully not overthinking.

My words

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[Scrap] A Random Assortment of Letters

Postby Gossamer on October 24th, 2019, 10:39 pm

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There's something so terrifying about not knowing what exactly is wrong but absolutely knowing something physically IS wrong.

I'm so glad you got a doctor, actually went to see them, got established care, and then saw the specialist. Your quality of life will be so much better now. We all deserve to be comfortable, as well as pain and anxiety free as we wander through life.

And for all you folks who aren't already muddling through the forties or fifties... it's in your late twenties and early thirties you really need to pay attention, get a baseline on your health, and make sure you have trusted professionals in your toolbox. Because honestly? These mystery things will keep happening and creeping up on you the older you get. An arm will hurt, headaches will encroach, a back will give out, carpel tunnel will cause you to drop pots of boiling water, etc etc.

I can't help but wonder how badly your health suffered with you just stressing out on what was wrong, losing sleep, and experiencing what I can only guess is a crap diet or crap set of eating habits due to what you felt after eating. One of the kindest most beautiful things you can do for yourself is to TAKE CARE OF YOUR HEALTH.

I'm also glad you realized how much your partner and your parents mean to you. It's never too late, right? So often we don't truly think or get appreciative of the people who support us until its too late. It's not that we don't appreciate them, it's just the awareness isn't in the forefront. Hug them, spend time with them, and do for them what they do for you. It makes life better all around.

Thanks for sharing this. I enjoyed reading it - not that you were suffering - but in the fact that I can relate to all the frustration, fear, and anxiety over health and can only hope that when you get things straightened out in your stomach... you can really love your body for how much it does for you as well.

Jen




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