The boring life of Jerod Poore, Crazymeds' Chief Citizen Medical Expert.

But wait, there's less.

Yet another food-triggered aura last night.  I'm especially out of it today.  Late-night lorazepam tends to make the next day disappear.

The latest culprit: cloves.  Compared with nutmeg there's not as much written up on cloves in the world of epilepsy support & consumer-oriented information sites.  The big difference is nutmeg is often written up by itself, probably due to having psychoactive properties.  Cloves get lumped in with any foods that trigger allergies, either in someone's experience or information that's being collected by someone who may or may not publish.  The thing that bothers me the most about the foods cloves are grouped with is they are all high in salicylates.  I've already cooked the food-free diet, a.k.a. gluten, bean and corn-free, and very low-salicylate.  One can do only so much with approximately 24 items (although if it were just for me I could expand it to about 34).

As for PubMed, the only thing about foods of any kind triggering seizures had nothing to do with what the food is, just if it had pesticide and/or herbicide residue on it or not. As much as I like to blame chemical-addicted agribusiness for my problems, it's not a factor.  The spices in question aren't organic, but I've been eating food that is across the spectrum from certified with eco-Nazi standards of purity to "it qualifies as food because people eat it.  As do the animals they eat."  As for cloves, there are a bunch of articles on how cloves are great as an antimicrobial, an antifungal, a treatment for way-too-rough sodomy, and an ingredient in a nice smelling, newage spermicide.  And for every article about how wonderful cloves & clove oil are, there's one about how some idiot ingested too much and fried their liver.  Nothing about seizures, except as a symptom when some kid ate too many pumpkin squares or something.


J.G. Ballard wet dream
A man staged over 90 car crashes at the nexus of high-rises and roundabouts.  His attempt to redefine himself within the context of the modern landscape was thwarted by the more modern technology of omnipresent cameras that captured fragments of his identity.  Fragments now easily merged together into a pre-crash whole.

Amateurs using the staged crash in an attempt to alter identity or circumstances are bound to fail.  Parents and others have used staged automobile accidents for over half a century  to prevent accidents caused by reckless driving and/or driving while intoxicated.  Parents have tried to alter the circumstances of their childrens' deaths via staged accidents.  Instead of achieving the desired results, rumors of Miley Cyrus' and Emma Watson's deaths due to automobile accidents spread like wildfire.

This bit of minor psychosis  brought to you by:

I'm So Happy I Could Kill Myself shirts

Picture via The Barrage

Alternate History Cartography

I collect antique globes, atlases and maps.  At least I used to, when I had money to spend on stuff like that.  Now I just appreciate the ones I own.  There are two mutually exclusive criteria I have, overlapping with coin, stamp and those rare currency collectors, that make a globe, atlas or map a prize find.  The first is the item became obsolete quickly due to political changes; the best being an item that shows a nation-state which existed only for a brief time.  Choicest find: a sketch-map atlas published in 1939 by Oxford University with a map showing an independent Ruthenia / Carpatho-Ukraine during one of the two brief times after the Munich Pact of September 1938 that Czechoslovakia broke into three states.  The final time, ending with the Hungarian annexation of Ruthenia, the creation of the Nazi puppet state of Slovakia, and absorption of the rest of Bohemia and Moravia by Germany in March 1939 came a full day after Ruthenia's final time as an independent state.

I wish I could remember the name of the movie loosely based upon Ruthenia's numerous changes in political status and being passed around from country to country in the first half of the 20th century.  In the Austro-Hungarian Empire sometimes they were under Austrian rule, sometimes Hungarian.  Immediately after WWI Ruthenia was independent, then part of the short-lived West Ukranian Republic and other variations of the independent Ukraine that existed during the Russian Civil War.  Then part of Hungary.  Then it was part of Romania when the Romainians weren't satisfied with Transylvania alone and they invaded Hungary during the near-constant, internecine Balkan wars (of which WWI was essentially a supersized version).  Then they were part of Czechoslovakia under the theory that big countries kludged together (Yugoslavia & Czechoslovakia  in Europe) were needed to keep dickish countries like Germany and Hungary in line.  Then within the span of a few months Ruthenia was independent, annexed by Hungary, part of a truncated Czechoslovakia, independent again and part of Hungary until the end of WWII.  After that Ruthenia was annexed by the Soviet Union and became part of the Ukraine SSR with the typically Soviet name of Transcarpathian (Zakarpattia) Oblast.  It stayed with post-Soviet Ukraine and kept the name.

So finding an atlas with Ruthenia as a nation, and a National Geographic map showing it as part of Hungary but of questionable status, were pretty geektastic.

Now there's a  Ruthenian independence movement, but it's probably Russian-sponsored shit-stirring.

I also have a globe with an independent East Timor.  From the first time they were independent, between November 1975 and July 1976.

Those are my favorite examples of quickly obsolete items.  The other is the title of this entry.  Any map can be wrong, but there's a special kind of wrong that I really appreciate: mixing borders, existence of nation-states, etc. from wildly different times and the cartographer's imagination.  The sort of thing you might see in an alternate history book, except it wasn't supposed to be a fictional map.

Or: the map collector's version of an upside down plane on a stamp.

I bring this up because of a recent post on Catholic Gauze.  Apparently someone at USA Today's weather department is living in a parallel universe, as their version of the Middle East and surrounding area is nothing like it is today, or any time since forever.  Some of the same quirks also exist on their map of Africa.  They're just including or ignoring all sorts of events that happened in 1990s.  All those post-Soviet -stans came into existence in 1991-1992.  Eritrea became independent in 1993.  North and South Yemen united in 1990.  The territorial dispute between Chad and Libya ended in 1994.  The "neutral zones" between Saudi Arabia and Iraqi and Kuwait went away in 1991, and on and on.   Plus Uzebekistan reaches the Caspian Sea, but I'll give them some slack on that one since the Aral Sea, for all intents and purposes, no longer exists (shrinkage 1973 - 2000 shrinkage 2000 - 2009)and the Garabogazköl Gulf/Bay/Basin along the eastern shore of the Caspian Sea was dammed in 1980 and evaporated into a toxic plain of salt, so it didn't exist between 1984 and 1992, but has been there since.  Those sorts of changes to major physical features can really mess with the cartography of adjoining areas.  On USA Today's weather map of Asia Uzebekistan's border is correct.

I have a few mid- and late-19th century maps of Europe, published in the US, that show alternate histories, but that can be chalked up to incomplete information and/or racism.  There weren't that many people from the Balkans living here in the 1800s, and those who were for the most part lived in urban ghettos.  So as far as US schoolchildren and self-educating adults were concerned the Ottoman Turks had complete control over all of the Balkans well into the 1880s.

My favorite alternate history is from the universe of Ohio Art.  When I had the cash to collect globes I bought any Ohio Art globe I came across because they are always so freaking wrong.  And they're the only globes I've found that could be the basis for an alternate history work of fiction.  I had one as a kid and I'm so glad I had a real atlas.  I can't remember who gave the globe to me, but I do remember being told in a passive-aggressive way that pointing out all of the errors to the person who gave it to me wasn't nice.

Here are some pictures from the largest of the Ohio Art globes I have, and the only one I bought off of eBay.  WWII and the years immediately afterward weren't too kind to the Communists. Of the wackier aspects of the geo-political world of the early 1960s in the Ohio Art universe:

Post-War alt. history Europe
Wow, Germany got to keep a lot of territory, and West Germany is a lot bigger than East Germany.  Look how skinny Czechoslovakia is.  Ruthenia is part of Hungary (again) and Istria (the peninsula south of Trieste) is part of Italy.  There's plenty of bad drawing all over the place (e.g. Switzerland, France), but Luxembourg and Ireland came out rather well.  The small Ulster is a bonus for Ireland.  Unlike Viet Nam, but like Korea, Germany has a single capital.  These are details of something, but other than an anti-Communist mindset I can't figure out if it's anti-Slavic bigotry, crypto-Aryan propaganda, or if the cartographer really had some kind of alternate history scenario going on. 

Post-War alt. history USSR
More bad news for the Commies.  Either the Russo-Finnish war didn't happen, or Finland kicked their asses harder than in our timeline, because that's what Finland looked like after WWI, not WWII.  The Baltic States and an enlarged Ukraine have some kind of special autonomy.  While the US didn't recognize the Soviet annexation of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, prior to 1991 we didn't think the Ukraine was anything special.  Even if it did have a seat in the UN General Assembly prior to 1991.  The Baltic state capitals are indicated with stars while the capitals of most African nation-states aren't.

Post-War alt. history China
And oddest of all, an independent Tannu-Tuva.  Tuva was nominally independent between 1929 and 1944, and even then was a Soviet client state.  In our world it became part of the Soviet Union in 1944.  Tuva is a kind of Temporary Autonomous Zone, a Mecca for wildly diverse groups of people, including Caucasian Buddhists, World Music hipsters, and rabid philatelists.

If you think the Soviet Union had it bad, take a look at the People's Republic of China.  It's 1919 all over again!

I can't tell if Kashmir is represented as disputed territory or independent.  The cartographer certainly liked Pakistan more than India, as West Pakistan is almost as large as India.

Canadian alt. history
Labrador: disputed territory between Quebec and Newfoundland, or autonomous region within Canada?  I know some Quebecois still haven't gotten over either Labrador being taken away or that boundary dispute.  You know, all that stuff that happened in the late 18th and early 19th centuries.  The Canadians really needed to bring Newfoundland into the Dominion after WWII because baby seals don't grow on maple trees, eh?

The countries of Africa and South America are just badly drawn.  Really badly drawn, but there is no instance of alternate history scenarios on either continent.

At least the planets on the globe's base are in order, unlike another globe from the same period.  That J. Chien & Co. globe has a really nice, albeit quickly obsolete, representation of the world c. 1964.  It sits on a base with the planets: Mercury, Venus, Mars, Saturn, Neptune, Uranus, Jupiter and Pluto.  OK, I can understand Earth being extraneous and a nonagon would be expensive and look weird to most people while an octagon can be pulled off the shelf.  But that order is unfathomable, especially since they put the distance from the sun with each planet. Talk about an alternate universe.

The funny thing is, I don't particularly like most alternate history fiction.  Go figure.

Pruning the Panoply

Blogrolls are limited to 125 entries.  I've spun off some of the entries from the Panoply of Humiliation etc. into a list of blogs dealing with the surreal, and deleted a couple that are unlikely to return.

Meanwhile an additional 25mg a day of Topamax is allowing me to drink caffeinated tea and work on crossword puzzles without an aura.  I might be able to be as partially functional as I had been a couple of weeks ago.

Bes vs. Bird

Split into two because I tried to take some still shots for fucking delicious. No luck, of course. Bes was still playing with the bird when I go to get the camera and she's half way done eating when I return with the camera. Figures.  What the video lacks in visuals it makes up for in sound.  Birdies are crunchtastic.


Time Travel: More Believable than al-Qaeda Getting an Antimatter Bomb?

I have the BBC World Service news broadcast on all night long.  It helps me sleep.  A little before 4:00 a.m. Mountain Time (10:00 GMT) I heard Dan Damon on World Update (their Facebook page for you social types) speak with Dr. Holger Nielsen regarding a test Dr. Nielsen and Dr. Masao Ninomiya have devised around the Higgs boson particle the geeks at CERN's Large Hadron Collider are trying to create.  According to Drs. Nielsen and Ninomiya the Higgs boson particle can't exist in a universe where matter already has mass.  The particle (or wavicle, as the boson could be like photons and be both particle and wave) is so god-like (it is known as the God particle) that it goes back in time to prevent itself from being created.  That's why the LHC keeps failing.  Their test would determine if the future can prevent a nasty present from fucking things up for them / us.

I figure in an eleven-dimension universe put forth in string-, or M-theory (If you like to read: What is String Theory? If you like to listen to someone explain it: String Theory Simplified) the time portion of space-time may seem linear to us, but it's not really a straight line.  Everything exists all at once, but isn't predetermined.  "Traveling back in time" is close enough for anyone who can't grasp anything outside of the concept of linear time in four-dimensional space-time.

As I understand it Higgs boson particles / wavicles and the Higgs field in which they interact with  nascent matter should exist again, and briefly, only when our little corner of Everything collapses back into one bigass singularity and there's another Big Bang.

So what does that have to do with al-Qaeda?  The proposed test was published in July 2008.  The same language showing up all over the place today was posted on Discover Magazine's blog as Will the LHC’s Future Cancel Out Its Past? in August 2008.  Today's New York Times has a really good essay about it The Collider, the Particle and a Theory About Fate. As I wrote above the BBC spoke with Dr. Nielsen about his proposed test.  Why?

Maybe this has something to do with it:

Preliminary charges filed against French physicist

PARIS — A French investigating judge has filed preliminary charges against a physicist at the world's largest atom smasher who is suspected of al-Qaida links, a judicial official said.
The 32-year-old Frenchman of Algerian origin, who works on the Large Hadron Collider, is suspected of involvement with Al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb, a North African group that targets Algerian government forces and sometimes attacks foreigners. He was arrested Thursday in France.


[James Gillies, spokesman for CERN] said that security controls to access the office where the suspect worked were fairly light but added that his "card didn't give him access to any of the underground facilities" and that there was nothing that would have interested terrorists.

"There's nothing in there that people can steal and use for terrorist ends, nothing at all. It's all about personal safety. There are areas where we have cryogenic liquids, high magnetic fields, particle beams and so on, where you need specialist knowledge to be able to go there," Gillies said.

CERN featured in Dan Brown's best-seller "Angels & Demons," which was turned into a movie starring Tom Hanks. The plot hinges on a plan to destroy the Vatican with antimatter stolen from CERN. But that idea is "pure Hollywood" said Gillies.

"If you run CERN flat-out it would take 250 million years to produce the quantity that was stolen from CERN in 'Angels & Demons,' Gillies said. "There are far more efficient ways of creating that amount of destructive matter. It's not here that that's going to happen."

So there's a sudden rush to dig up the bit about time-traveling God particles preventing a mini black hole from forming because that is less scary than Algerian terrorists getting an antimatter bomb?  Or CERN needs to cover its collective ass about an alleged terrorist being on the payroll.  Thousands of people think Holy Blood, Holy Grail, oops, Dan Brown's stuff is true, and the last thing CERN needs is a bunch of hysterical parliamentarians asking about missing antimatter that never existed in the first place, what sort of damage could a particle beam do if fired at a building, and what would happen if a terrorist smuggled a vial of cryogenic fluid onto an airplane.  So wavicles sending messages from the future via a deck of cards is one hell of a distraction.  Seriously. Read the paper

One could also imagine that more detailed calculations would determine whether
the effect from the future had to manifest itself not too far back in time. In that
case one could perhaps invent a type of card game with cards that had been shuffled many years in advance, and one only used the first six cards in such stack of cards.
They want to play Texas Hold'em with their future selves.

And I'm the one too crazy to hold down a real job?

Stupid, Tired AND Without Flavor

I had three aurae the last seven days.  There has been no real change in my medications.  I'm still taking brand Topamax, I got a refill of Teva's lamotrigine a couple weeks ago, and the most recent refill of protriptyline was from the preferred  Roxanne instead of Barr.  I've been taking Watson's lame-ass 5mg methylphenidate for the last two months.

The first thing I did is stop the methylphenidate.  That didn't do it.  So I stopped drinking caffeine and doing crossword puzzles.  That worked for a couple of days, allowing me to get the grocery shopping down.  Then on Friday I have another one, and I can't figure out why.  The only thing that was different was the addition of extra nutmeg in my breakfast.

I'm eating cream of buckwheat with bananas.  With my sense of smell diminishing I'm having to overspice everything.  Nutmeg as a seizure trigger?  I know that people get high off of nutmeg, so it's possible.  After I wake up from my lorazepam-induced nap I ask the Google about it.  All I can find in the literature about nutmeg and seizures or epilepsy is an article on using nutmeg oil as an anticonvulsant for toxin-induced seizures in critters.  I was able to find plenty of posts on various epilepsy support sites where people have reported nutmeg as a seizure trigger.  So no more nutmeg for me.  Blander gluten-free banana bread and I may as well forget about gluten-free gingerbread men.  The list of items for the permanent Lent gets bigger all the time.

Maybe if I can find out why nutmeg gets people high I could determine if it's a trigger.  What do I find?

Towards a better understanding of the psychopharmacology of nutmeg: Activities in the mouse tetrad assay  Sure.  Seeing how something affects mice is legit.  Even better they compared nutmeg with marijuana, amphetamines and morphine.

How did they compare the effects of those four substances?  By measuring the ass temperatures of the mice.  Seriously guys?  How the fuck do people get grant money that results in something like this:

While oral administration of all the nutmeg extracts at 500 mg/kg caused a significant increase in locomotor activity, the i.p. administration of DE showed significant reduction in rectal temperature along with a significant increase in tail flick latency at 300 mg/kg

They note various physical reactions, but the study was designed around rectal thermometers.  I wonder if focusing on inserting things into rectums had something to do with how they got their degrees as well as the grant money.

Some of the recently suggested studies from the latest incarnation Crazy Meds forum that no one is likely to do:

I had so many more on previous incarnations of the forum.

I think I went a little overboard by doing the Sunday crossword puzzle.  I should have done yesterday's.  I was feeling off prior to this post, it hasn't been getting any better.  Make that four aurae in eight days.

So I'm stuck, for now, staying stupid, staying tired and mildly depressed, and now with even less flavor.

New Boards on Crazy Meds Talk

The forum has some new boards:

As is usually the case when I add or combine boards I reordered boards in some of the categories.  The more popular antidepressants and anticonvulsants have moved up a bit. 

More new boards are in the works.