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February 26th, 2013

01:11 pm: I have been back at work since last Monday. Not by any means back to normal functioning, but I had got to the state where I thought it was best to try. I have trying to take it a bit easy, mind, avoiding the normal rush hour. They have moved me into a quiet part of the office on Monday (having put in a couple of partition walls), which is helping so much.

I have not updated much. So, I have been continuing to not take any painkillers - I think the last I touched was some ibuprofen late in January. I went to a private neurologist a bit before that, and was told more or less the same things as the first neurologist had said, but he actually explained stuff, and agreed that diagnostic tests ought to be done. I am now waiting for another NHS appointment to try and persuade this one of that.

That happens at the end of March. By then I will have not taken any NSAID or opiates or over two months, which should rule out side-effects from frequent use of those as a cause of the new symptoms. I have a small stock of sumatriptan which is magic, but I am also trying to avoid using more of twice times in any seven day period, because the internet thinks those can also cause medication overuse headaches. Right now I would love dearly to take one, but I have only 2 left and I already took ones Thursday and Saturday. Maybe I could try a codeine: it has been a long time.

Because it's those new symptoms that are continuing to really scare me. The phasing out and the feeling of shifting pressure inside the head and eyes, possibly circulatory related. As this continues I have been able to get a better handle on what triggers it. Lying down is a killer, and so is closing my eyes, or not thinking about anything. I still have no idea about what might be doing that. Google suggests sinusitis, which is another thing to add to my list of things to be worried about, might be another autoimmune thing, and would also explain why the virus I had early in Jan really knocked me out.

Additionally, would you believe it, my joints hurt a lot more now that I'm not taking any painkillers. Shocking, eh. This entry was originally posted at http://morwen.dreamwidth.org/396193.html. Please comment there using OpenID.

February 22nd, 2013

09:39 am: The World of White Bear
I haven't interpreted something overly literally for a while. Let's figure out the logistics of this thing.

spoilers for Black Mirror: White BearCollapse ) This entry was originally posted at http://morwen.dreamwidth.org/395906.html. Please comment there using OpenID.

February 3rd, 2013

01:30 pm: Risk Legacy: Session 2, Game 5
(Don't worry: no spoilers. Very mildly misrembemberedfictionalised.)

Bat eyed my pile of resource cards suspiciously, from her position immediately on my right. How many were there, and was it enough to win me the game? Probably not, I said, honestly. Nobody had won twice so far (you get a handicap for having won), and besides which, Steve, who had more material and a better position than me, was sitting there to my left, ready to pounce on Bat's overstretched lines.

Steve assured us he would do no such thing. He had been hoarding cards, yes, but only because he wanted to open the "30 troops and a missile" box, and he wasn't going to be able to do that just yet. What's in there? We don't know - I haven't looked at spoilers - although from its size I have speculated that there may be additional plastic pieces. I haven't quite got to the point of rattling it around. I tried to intimate that he couldn't be trusted, but really this was a desperate attempt for me to avoid being wiped out. I could come back - there were still valid starting positions in Asia and South America (our strategy is evolving, and by this, the fifth game, we've got to the point where we're not even bothering to try to hold continents other then Australia, as nobody will let you), but crucially I would then be starting with half my initial troop count, and would not be able to cash in my cards that round, and would probably be entirely elimated by my next turn.

I bolstered this argument with a crude attempt at coercion: that if she attacked me and failed then I would certainly look very unfavourably on her. But this isn't War on Terror. There are no secret deals here, no blackmail.

Bat decided that there was nothing for it. She couldn't risk my victory. I had to go. Territory after territory went. But the dice were cruel, and it came down to the purest of dice-rolling contets: two soldiers at the end of her over-extended supply line staring across at one sad little troop in Alaska. d6 against d6. My defender's advantage held, and my little man survived.

Then it was my turn. "Zerg rush", I said, showing my resource cards. 25 troops from that, I got, and three for existing. At least I was left with little doubt as to where to put them. First order of business was to reclaim my headquarters, in Asia. I attacked with full force across the Bering strait (the one concession to sphericity in the game). The feeble defending force could not resist, and Kamchatka was mine once more. I progressed down the coast of Asia, taking my HQ as I went, and then reached a decision point at Southeast Asia. Did I think I could win? If I couldn't, then the sensible thing to do was to consolidate, and maybe take Australia and knock out Rayner. But I'd spent my cards, there would be no second chance - and the game is called Risk.

There was still the small detail of the disposition of my forces. I needed to take three more headquarters. One of these was in New Guinea, which means splitting up my forces, as there was no route. I needed to decide how many to send off to occupy Indonesia. The dice, again, were kind to me, and the six or two troops I sent off succeeded in their mission.

Meanwhile, the main force continued along the Asian coast, taking India (long-standing victim of an ammo shortage, and, in a remembrance of 1984, a territory that had changed hands multiple times just for the resources, and was never defended by any of us), and heading westwards. Again, I was forced to split my forces: the HQ in Africa was not particularly well defended, but going from there to Northern Europe would have been murder. I dispatched just enough to take the African one, sacrificed a troop to take the city in Southern Europe, and then was in spitting distance of the fourth and final HQ I had to take. It came down to a final dice roll, as before, the clash of d6 against d6. And I won, just barely.

And so I became the first of us to sign the board for a second time. I named Australia (which is already where my major city is), and we opened the appropriate packet. What was in there, you say? Well, you'll have to find out for yourself. This entry was originally posted at http://morwen.dreamwidth.org/395320.html. Please comment there using OpenID.

January 31st, 2013

04:27 pm: the GP appointment
So, obviously the GP focused on the bit at the end of the OHA letter that mentioned I'd sought treatment for depression that one time (2001/2002), and the entire neurologist's letter where he says anything that isn't a result of medication overuse is psychosomatic, and wanted to refer me to a psychiatrist.

I saw the GP's referral letter. He really crudely outed me to Homerton Neurology, for no reason I can think of.

As I just said on twitter:

Thinking about it, neurology is going to be a bit of of a minefield for #TransDocFail, isn't it. It's not something that neurologists are trained in, and I could imagine them deciding it's a mental illness. And then once you've declared someone has a mental illness you are more likely to write off problems they report.

So, that.

And they'll know that you shouldn't say that it's a mental illness, so they won't write that, but they'll let it inform their decisions silently.

I have an appointment to see a neurologist privately tomorrow, because I need a second opinion and there is no way that I - or my work - can wait around for another month for another short appointment. If I'm going to be dismissed again by another neuro person I at least want it to be quick. I have no idea if this is going to be covered by insurance ("pre-existing condition"), but hey, I don't care. I need that diagnosis.

But what happens if I continue to get the runaround? It doesn't even bear thinking about. This entry was originally posted at http://morwen.dreamwidth.org/395049.html. Please comment there using OpenID.

12:43 pm: the neurologist's letter to my GP
"However, over the past nine months there are different symptoms. She said things started when she had two occasions when she felt dissociated for a few hours, with some general shakiness of all the limbs. She got quite upset about these. She was seen at the City Migraine Clinic at Charterhouse, they gave her Domperidone and Ibuprofen for acute migraine attacks, as well as 10mg Amitriptyline for prophylaxis. She tried to increase the prophylaxis but got sedated at 20mg."

not accurate, I got sedated at 10mg and didn't even try the 20mg because of this.

"I understand you changed this in the summer to Atenolol 50mg, but she subsequently stopped this because of the lack of efficacy".

not accurate, I got changed by the Charterhouse clinic again, and stopped because I got frit that this was causing the new symptoms from November.

"Please note that Atenolol does not really work as Propranolol in headache prophylaxis. Nevertheless, her symptoms got a bit better in the summer.

However, there were various issues including stress at work and she obviously spent more time at home than at work."

Not over the summer! The summer was brilliant! I'm not sure where the hell this "she obviously spent more time at home than at work" thing came from. I didn't say anything like that, and it's not true. Does he think he's Sherlock Holmes?

"From November 2012, she has been getting a different type of headache which is daily in nature, pulsating, usually on the left side all the time, feeling itchy, and she has been taking a lot of analgesics with daily Ibuprofen with Codeine on top, sometimes every few days."

This is true.

"In addition she also has none physical symptoms with lapses of concentration, she may stare at things for some minutes, she has poor sleep and is not refreshed in the morning, she has become more anxious, she feels that she has word finding problems, and her memory and concentration are worse."

I think anyone who knows me and has seen me recently would testify that this is more than me "feeling" I have word finding problems.

"She admits to some reduction in her mood."

Gee, you think. Note how this is couched as "admit".

"The neurological examination was entirely normal."

I'm not qualified to comment on that.

"There was a bit of muscle tension around the neck."

That would be caused by my hypermobility, by the way.

"The patient has chronic daily which is not migrainous. This is exacerbated by analgesic over use. I suspect that main culprit can be linked with her poor sleep, anxiety and possible low mood, hence she has got various other non headache symptoms, including concentration, memory and word finding difficulties."

I had poor sleep then, because I'd been trying to avoid taking analgesics. It's not been poor generally.

"I have reassured her that there is nothing untoward from the neurological view point,"

I ask you!

I was not "reassured" in the slightest by that appointment.

"and in order to get better that it is important that she really tries to reduce the analgesic used, for example, down to two tablets a week level."

I stopped. Since the 13th I stopped outright for about two weeks, and have only broken this to take 300mg of ibuprofen, one time it got particularly bad, and then on Tuesday I think I tried a Paramax. Neither had any substantive effect. Overall the withdrawal of analgesics hurt like hell for a few days but the head symptoms are not back to more or less how they were. Funnily, my joints hurt a lot more than they did prior to this! (he didn't ask me whether I needed to take painkillers for other reasons. I do.)

"In terms of restarting the prophylaxis, I will leave that to your capable hands. I told her that, in fact, the main thing to treat the underlying poor sleep and anxiety in order for all the symptoms to improve."

I do not have underlying poor sleep and anxiety. What poor sleep and anxiety may exist is largely caused by a health service failing to diagnose me properly, and my skepticism about whether I will just magically get better in the absence of any treatment.

This entry was originally posted at http://morwen.dreamwidth.org/394898.html. Please comment there using OpenID.

January 25th, 2013

10:08 pm: And then I took 300mg of ibuprofen, because I just can't stand being in this state any more. No effect yet. This entry was originally posted at http://morwen.dreamwidth.org/394566.html. Please comment there using OpenID.

06:58 pm: The appointment on Wednesday went well. It was more an occupational health assessment than a diagnostic appointment, but I will get a letter out of it that I can wave in front of my GP next week saying that she thinks I should have all sorts of diagnostic tests and see various specialists. I have not taken any painkillers since the 14th. This has been... interesting. Most obviously the joint pain has come back. Headwise, things were rough for the first week, but now I think it's levelled off into a kind of brain fog. I am doing particularly badly at speaking and remembering to eat and just generally coping with pottering around the house. I don't know if I should start back up on the ibuprofen or not. So very tempted. This entry was originally posted at http://morwen.dreamwidth.org/394472.html. Please comment there using OpenID.

January 15th, 2013

05:42 pm: For our future reference. RISK probabilities (per attack), with the rules you get when you open the box. These were done stochastically, so forgive any minor inaccuracies (and be amazed by any large inaccuracies) risk attack probabilitiesCollapse ) I worked this out with a program today. Yes, I am trying to relax. Why are you looking at me strangely. This entry was originally posted at http://morwen.dreamwidth.org/394064.html. Please comment there using OpenID.

January 14th, 2013

08:12 pm: Well, that was supremely pointless.

I am asked some basic questions about my medical history, and examined in a manner that involved no more equipment than a hammer. I mentioned most of the main points that have been scaring me. The general attitude of the consultant was "why are you even here?"

Apparently sleeping better and taking less painkillers will fix my problem with not being able to sleep and being in constant pain. i.e. the same answer the neurologist I saw in the early 2000s came up with. No further referrals, no follow-up, no scans, no tests, just a big fuck-off letter to GP saying that I wasted his time.

WHAT THE FUCK DO YOU THINK I HAVE BEEN TRYING INTERMITTENTLY FOR THE LAST TEN YEARS. THIS SET OF SYMPTOMS IS NEW. IT IS SCARY. I GET PAINS IN THE JOINTS THAT CANNOT BE ADEQUATELY ACCOUNTED FOR BY STRESS OR SHIT THAT I NEED TO TAKE PAINKILLERS FOR. I HAVE NOT BEEN SATISFACTORILY ASSURED THAT SOMETHING LIKE EPILEPSY OR VASCULITIS (WHICH YOU WILL REMEMBER WAS ON MY MRI SCAN THAT THE CONSULTANT REFUSED TO CONSIDER OF ANY IMPORT) HAS BEEN RULED OUT.

I am going to prove this one and for all by doing what he says. This will mean not being functional for quite a while. Funtimes!

01:07 am: I have mostly recovered from the deathplague, which made the prospect of my return to work last week entirely moot. Tomorrow I have a neurology appointment, after which I will report back and see what happens. I am hoping to be able to return soon because I am getting BORED. There's only so much X-Men one person can read.

In between bouts of getting angry at the newspaper, today we played a game of Illuminati, with this custom card.

We also played, the five of us, our first 3 games of Risk Legacy. After the third game we opened one of the packs of extra rules and cards.

I was looking for a new boardgame anyway, as it's been a year or two since I bought a new one for the Pembury Tavern), but Kieron Gillen reviews it here, and that piece is what tipped me over the edge into deciding to buy it. It is everything he says it is, I can't imagine playing another board game when we that set of five people assembled. But no, we're not keeping it in the pub. That would be far too much like sharing someone's sex toys.

This entry was originally posted at http://morwen.dreamwidth.org/393948.html. Please comment there using OpenID.

January 7th, 2013

04:06 pm: I have had ups and downs. I returned to Leicester for Christmas, spent three nights there, came back, and had a suprisingly decent new years period, even managing some socialising (including a NYE thing).

I attempted to work (from home, obv) the last three days of last week. I fixed one bug from my list, but this was overall a frustrating experience. It felt like there was a brick wall in my head.

I got a better idea of what was going on with that on Saturday, when some of the usual suspects gathered at my house, and we tried to learn bridge. It was interesting how bad I was at this. I already know the basic trick-taking mechanics so could actually participate (we weren't doing bidding) but I was failing to keep track of fairly basic things like whether aces had come out, sometimes was making really stupid game-losing mistakes, and completely failed to follow the overall scoring mechanism.

Looking back at it this makes sense of the mistakes I was making with my debugging, where I was able to successfuly use the skills I have internalised (finding out what code was going wrong; it helps that I'd written that code), but then got very confused about why it was failing to work (because I'd changed something else, temporarily). I.e. I am able to excercise existing skills and remember things I knew, but just not remember new things.

Otherwise: I have been continuing to have staring episodes, particularly when I'm just sitting there quietly. Bits of my brain feel numb. Mostly it's the left hand side but today it seems concentrated on the right hemisphere, just for a change, and is actually properly hurty. I can feel a general pulsating inside my head which feels like it's my pulse, which is still terrifying. (I have had my blood pressure checked many times recently and no it is not particularly high, so I dunno.) The tinnitus is still ongoing. It doesn't help I've got this cold or whatever that's going around. I've been bunged up since last week, and I was pretty badly ill on Saturday, too. Popping noises keep happening inside my head, which I think is sinus related, but still. Do not want.

December 17th, 2012

11:19 am: 11 days since my last update.

I have decided now that the atenolol is not helping. I continued with it for all of last week, got Quite Bad on Sunday (I think) again and then decided to give it a rest.

Last week was better than the week before. I did some writing for the X-blog (it has actual readers now! I've even met one of them), and got out of the house a bit more. But I have found my limits, and discovered I am still overwhelmed by crowds, prone to distraction, and have had episodes of feeling faint. No absence seizures, that I've noticed, but intermittent aphasia.

Today I went back to the GP, laid out all that. My general bloods have come back OK and I am going to Neurology at Homerton Hospital on Monday 14th January. I am so pleased about this.

December 6th, 2012

09:46 pm: Yesterday continued OK. I had people round (as I do on Wednesdays) for watching things in the evening. We watched the first two episodes of the Sarah Connor Chronicles (or as I keep calling it The Sarah Jane Chronicles. We liked them and will continue to watch the series.)


Today's GP appointment went about as well as could be expected. They don't know me, they don't have my notes, I had a lot of medical history to get them up to speed on. I had fasted and therefore was able to have a blood test that morning. I have an appointment on Monday week.


Head has been fair. It got a bit weird last night but then I woke up as bright as I get these days. While waiting for the GP I felt things bursting or something in my head, and my fluency noticeably declined immediately, which is further indication of something Not Quite Right.


If I do not get a referral to a neurologist at that appointment then I am going to throw money at the problem (whether or not it is covered by work insurance). That is, I have decided, my limit. I Need To Get This Sorted Out. No, Really.


walked back home (via a much-needed lunch in Wanstead) with khalinche. Pleasant walk - hadn't done that journey before. I chilled for a bit at home before heading into town to pick up comics. Home again now. Ate. Going to settle down and read a good chunk of The Hydrogen Sonata now.

November 29th, 2012

05:19 pm: I wrote an UnNews for the first time in nearly six years: UnNews:Guilty: Paul Dacre looks stunned as appeal against press regulation is rejected

LONDON, United Kingdom -- Paul Dacre looked stunned this lunchtime after he dramatically lost his appeal against statutory regulation of the press.

Dacre, 64, and his newspaper had high hopes that he would be free to return home after spending the last 17 months hiding in his office in Goebells House, Kensington, wanted for the killing of British journalism.

As Dacre realized the enormity of what Lord Justice Leveson was saying he ceased his usual torrent of foul-mouthed swearing and abuse of foreigners, and instead sank into his chair sobbing uncontrollably while his family and friends hugged each other in tears.

A few feet away Hugh Grant, John Prescott and Christopher Jefferies, who had flown in especially for the verdict remained expressionless, staring straight ahead, glancing over just once at the distraught Dacre family.

Lord Justice Recursion said that "Whether prosecutors provided 'quotes for publication' in advance or not, there can be no argument that the description of events in the courtroom when the guilty verdict was read out was anything other than fictitious licence."

Prosecutors were delighted with the verdict and said that 'justice has been done' although they said on a 'human factor it was sad several old people would be spending years not just being able to arbitrarily make shit up any more'.

Following the verdict Dacre (and his co-defendants Desmond and Murdoch who are less attractive and therefore only mentioned in passing in this article) were taken out of court escorted by prison guards and into a waiting van which took them back to their padded cell at HMP Broadmoor.

All three will be put on a suicide watch for the next few days as psychological assessments are made on each of them but this is usual practice for long term Daily Mail readers.

Suri Cruise was not available for comment.

This entry was originally posted at http://morwen.dreamwidth.org/393461.html. Please comment there using OpenID.

September 10th, 2012

10:29 am: [REDACTED] On A Spaceship: An Adventure in Time and Space

I keep seeing people on the internet claim that it felt like "Dinosaurs On A Spaceship" was a 6-part story compressed to 45 minutes. Let's work out what that 6-part story would have been paced like.

Doctor Who: Dinosaurs on a Spaceship spoilersCollapse )

Yeah, I don't think I want to watch that version.

September 7th, 2012

04:13 pm: Nuke 7.0 public beta

August 26th, 2012

11:37 pm: AvS
Ignoring the issue of the morality or utility of software and design patents (I don't much like them, professionally or ideologically), isn't there a deep malaise in a legal system where big companies sue each other so much?


The point of having codified laws and writing all these patents down clearly and getting an office to approve them is so that it should then be obvious to all parties involved what actions are prohibited and what aren't. There will always be some fuzziness over shades of meaning or edge cases that weren't thought of, or genuine disagreements about meaning. And there will always be people dishonestly trying it on, and having to be squashed legally.


But this big patent apocalypse that's going on, isn't it completely unprecedented for as many big companies in an industry to be suing each other? Neither Samsung nor Apple are at SCO Group levels of unreasonableness - they're sensible people, and for them to be contesting this means their lawyers reckon they've got a chance. Which means that these state-granted monopolies on products that are becoming increasingly important in the world economy really are that ambiguous. And it's not just Apple vs Samsung - how many tech companies are suing each other right now in patent suits? How many are about to? If there were this many disputes about real property rights, then the law would be clarified pretty damn clearly, either by statute, or by a precedent. But here there's no commonality. "infringing" has to be carefully evaluated for each individual claim. This could be perhaps managed when you had one or two or three patents per product, but it simply doesn't scale.


Computer-related patents were dysfunctional, I knew that, as they could be used for nefarious ends, and were often granted for ridiculously trivial things. But I see now they have failed to even be clear law. If Samsung's legal department can't tell whether they've trod on someone else's patents, what hope the independent developer?

August 17th, 2012

12:11 pm: Doctor Who: The Dalek Invasion of Earth
Me and my new housemate have been watching Doctor Who from The Start, from 1963. Got up to "The Dalek Invasion of Earth", watching episodes and recons (full recons, apart from "Marco Polo", which we watched the condensed DVD version of).

It is amazing how much more watchable the era is when in order, compared to my previous attempts. It's fascinating to see it using all sorts of storytelling techniques that would be abandoned by the 1970s and 1980s (Dalek Invasion cross-cuts between two exposition scenes where characters are being told more or less the same thing, to liven it up! It won't start doing this type of thing again until the Cartmel era.) The move to colour seems to have really harmed the ability to light things moodily.

Rather wickedly, I showed episode 1 of Dalek Invasion to housemate without revealing the name on the box. (Clearly it was structured so that the Daleks are the episode 1 cliffhanger reveal, but this secret was blown in pre-publicity.) She spent the entire episode figuring it must be the one where the Cybermen are introduced (because of the Robomen) and is now possibly unique in being surprised by the shot of the Dalek coming out of the water.

The ending is abrupt. We're not the first to notice that, of course, but Susan never even got to say goodbye to Ian and Barbara.

This entry was originally posted at http://morwen.dreamwidth.org/391971.html. Please comment there using OpenID.

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August 1st, 2012

10:44 pm: We just watched Spaceballs. We were wondering whether it referenced anything specifically from Return of the Jedi, but couldn't think of anything for a few minutes. Until someone pointed out that Jabba comes from Jedi, of course. The special editions have successfully changed our perception of the original film, it turns out.

This entry was originally posted at http://morwen.dreamwidth.org/391910.html. Please comment there using OpenID.

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