January 4th, 2006



Apparently spuddragon says this word when he means "Wake up!"

I am less nauseated than I was, and I feel popular. Also I am incognito as Mike Ford. I'll bet you didn't know that's what a Mike Ford sweatshirt does! It makes you indistinguishable from Mike Ford. Or so I assume; obviously it wouldn't work from the inside, and this sweatshirt is too small for anyone else in the house to demonstrate for me. markgritter suggested that he could tell me from Mr. Ford readily, but I think this is because I have a key to the house and am much more likely to take out our recycling.

I would blame this on weariness, but I started proclaiming myself incognito when I first put the sweatshirt on around 11:30 this morning.

Someone wanted me to talk about cheese. Collapse )

All night lj: Finland, Finland, Finland

Not surprisingly, some of you have asked Finland-related questions. One of you wanted to know why Väinämöinen and Ilmarinen were so interesting. Frankly, they're not. Väinämöinen especially is not the reason I became so enamored of the Kalevala. I think he's kind of a jerk. He's the mode of "hero" that means "main character," not "admirable person" in any way. There's sort of the Rumpelstiltskin thing going: the bad character is bad for wanting to have what the "hero" promised her. I like Ilmarinen a bit better than Väinämöinen, since he's a smith-hero, and there's some affinity there with Edward, my engineer-hero.

So there were a couple of things that caught me about the Kalevala that weren't Väinämöinen or Ilmarinen. One is that some of the passages are very funny indeed, and in a dry way that hits me just right. (I was reiterating on the phone to Daniel a few minutes ago that it's not that my chosen Minneapolis subculture is objectively better than my equivalent San Francisco subculture, it's that it's more suited to me personally. This is a bit like that.) Another is that there are all sorts of loose ends hanging around, many of them to do with women. I have the sense that Lönnrot did not see them as loose ends ("She's turned into a fish, what more do you want?"), but some of the male characters aren't even done when they've been killed by being chopped into teeny bloody pieces, so being a trout for awhile does not look to me like much of a crimp in a girl's style.

(My most-often-triggered Kalevala gripe is about people who want to treat the Kalevala as though it was hanging around whole cloth in Folk Tradition and was merely transcribed by Elias Lönnrot. Nonsense. Lönnrot drew on folk traditions like crazy, to be sure, but he pruned and ordered and edited and commented all over the place. He was, in fact, its author.)

Anyway. The loose bits of the Kalevala snag pretty easily for me. It is crafty. It is filled with magical stuff made by people. The magical stuff isn't just delivered from afar or passed out by spirits. It's forged and sung and painted and all sorts of things. And not in a grandiose work of art sense, where only the author's chosen types of humanity survive and thrive and people make a big stink about how artistic they are. There are magic fishing nets and cooking pots and metal women and who-knows-whats. And I kind of like that kind of magic stuff. It pokes good places in my brain.

(I have hit the punch-drunk stage of The Tired, again. ksumnersmith nearly made me aspirate tortilla by noting that on the drive down to the clinic, one arm could be markgritter's pokin' arm. I also feel cruddy, but I don't care as much as I did half an hour ago.)

Also, not entirely related, I really love "Finlandia." It cracks me up or chokes me up or sometimes both, depending on my mood: "But other lands have sunlight too, and clover, And skies are ev'rywhere as blue as mine." Yah, like that.

All night lj: miscellanea

So. Here I am, still awake. One of you asked where I find markets, and the short answer is Ralan. I also hear from people on the friendslist etc., and I sometimes use other lists. But mostly Ralan.

And one of you said she wanted to hear about books, so here you go: I like books. I even know some, personally. Do you have more Arlo Guthrie moments when you're tired? I know I do.

Also one of you wanted a post brought to you by the letter T and the number 3. I forget how that used to work, though. Am I supposed to think of things with a T sound? I don't remember what T is for. I don't think it's for trums. How about blankeT, resT, and Tired? Those are three things with a T sound.

Someone else asked what books I didn't like in 2005 and why. The ones I'd be able to write about are not the ones I really didn't like, because I just put down the ones I really didn't like. Mostly this was because the writing was so bad it made me screech. I don't insist on golden, deathless prose in every line of every book, but there are some tics that annoy me much more than they used to in a work of published fiction. I think happy and unhappy books are the opposite of happy and unhappy families -- well, it's more that I think Tolstoy was wrong about happy and unhappy families. But good books make me squeal in all different directions -- this one has an excellent father-daughter relationship, that one messes with genetics implications, the other destroys the Stanley Cup because what is wrong with you people? Ahem. Anyway, the books I really didn't like are mostly dull or banal or poorly written or all of the above. A few were overwrought instead, or poorly thought-through. The books I didn't love are a much more interesting category than the books I didn't like.

Someone asked about boots. Boooots! I am usually a hiking boot girl, and not only that but a hiking boot evangelist. For awhile I thought I was in pretty bad shape. Two miles into a hike, I would be ready to go home and flop on the couch. Then I got new boots, and the four mile up-and-down-hill trail that had kicked my butt the previous week was a pleasant walk. Moral of the story: if you're getting a fair amount of exercise otherwise and don't have any medical conditions that you know would affect it, see if you have good footwear, because it really, really matters.

My new boots are not that kind of boots at all. I'd be begging for mercy in much less than two miles in my new boots. (That may not be true when they're broken in, but I expect that to be somewhere around 2010.) But they are girl boots, and they are not weak girl boots, and they are not dominatrix boots. They are just strong girl boots. I looked at some that would have completed any "Viking merchant princess whose family trades with Muscovy" ensemble I chose to wear -- and frankly I bet I could pull that off -- but it isn't, shall we say, the goal of most of my outfits.

You may wear stilettos if you like, but I will not, not even in boots.

There are more things on my suggestion list, some of them incredibly thoughtful, others silly and fun. I will probably get to them because they interest me. I'm not sure I will get to them yet today. Whichever day that is. I'm going to go downstairs and work out. Then I will drink water and some cranberry juice. Then I will have a shower. Then Mark will wake up. Then we will go to the clinic. Then I will have my test. Then we will come home. Then I will sleep. Then I will relearn how to structure sentences more than one way. Okay? Okay.

All night lj: More miscellanea

I am now showered and very unsteady on my feet, and my eyes hurt.

Someone asks what kind of a calendar I have right now. Someone is a slyboots, since she gave me one of the two calendars we are using, but I will brag on both of them. The one she gave me is a bead calendar (Tibetan, I think it said?), where you have the arcs of wire with different kinds of bead on them, and you slide them around to say month, then day day, then year year year year.

My other calendar is the same as every year: a very punny calendar made by my aunt Mary, who is also my godmother. This year it has puns based on winged things and time references. (Other years have included things like "barnyard cliches" and "dinosaur artists" and "a cold-blooded musical.") There are also little quotes and birthday listings. For example, yesterday was Cicero's birthday. I don't get the fun of picking my own calendar each year, but I like Aunt Mary's better than most anyway, and I also don't have to go through the effort of picking my own calendar. So.

Someone asked what my first remembered toy was. I had a Snoopy dog. He had a "Joe Cool" T-shirt and a WWI flying ace jacket and hat, and I curled up with Snoopy and my blanket and could sleep anywhere. On a non-sleep-related theme, I remember getting a harvest gold play kitchen for Christmas and trying to thief my godfather's candle (which he had for the peace vigil later that evening) to put it on the burner so it would look more real. Dave kept saying, "You can't do that, Ris," and I kept explaining, patiently, "But I need it, Dave." I was always very patient with him. The same someone asked if I had a doll. I had several dolls, but none of them is standing out as A Very Special Doll. My dolls were less companions than props: you go there and hold still and I will sentence you to the guillotine. (The guillotine was my favorite Bad Thing when I was small. It made such a satisfying thunk and left little ambiguity: people in cartoons fell off high buildings and survived, but no one gets guillotined and wanders around bothering people ever after.)

Sleep dep EEG

I hope I'm awake for a short period before another nap. If I don't finish this before I finish the water, I'll just leave it sit and change the time stamp when I get up again.

markgritter's pokin' hand was more symbolic than anything: I stayed awake down to the neurologist's and even while sitting in the lobby waiting. I tried not to stare balefully at everyone who came from the back of the clinic. The woman who ran the test needed to ask me some standard questions like which hand was my dominant one and who was my primary care physician. Okay, sure. She also asked me questions about what I did and how I'd gotten there, and I wasn't sure whether that was part of the test or just her trying to be friendly, but I think I was more brusque than I generally am. When she started on the, "So...nuclear physics...and writing...?" path, I said, without opening my eyes, "I like to make things make sense to people." Is that it? I'm not sure it is. But after 29 hours awake, it seemed like the answer, and it was certainly an answer that cut the conversation off.

So having the electrodes on one's head: it feels just like it looks. Mostly cold and slightly gelatinous on the contact points. Also it's a little strange and '80s having the person apparently rat one's hair to get the right spots on the skull.

She made me look at various speeds of flashing light, which nauseated me, and then she made me hyperventilate, which also nauseated me, but at that point, sitting very still might have nauseated me, I don't know. And then she had me fall asleep a little, and then she woke me up again. And then it was time to pull the contacts off my head, get the preliminary gunk out of my hair, and go home.

My advice to anyone doing this is to figure out what you're going to have for lunch after the test well in advance, because your brain will not necessarily be up to doing it when you get back. Especially if you already used up some of the easier options of what snacks to eat at midnight and 3 a.m. You don't want to have difficulty going to sleep because your body has to decide between sleep and food.

I have no idea what my brain did for her, and I won't find out until two weeks from today. But at least it's over in the immediate sense. I really, really want to thank all of you who called or e-mailed and all of you who volunteered to be available. Enough people called me that I only had time to call one person on my own, and that got cut off by another call. So. I am feeling well cared-for. A little overwhelmed by how much, actually. You-all are Heroes of the Revolution, even if I don't actually have the caramel-filled chocolate medals to prove it. I know that for some of you, staying awake nearly 31 hours is not any kind of big deal, but that's not the flavor of body I got. It was a big deal for me, and you people made it possible for me to do this necessary medical thing. So thanks.

Not all night, just a little in the evening.

I'm on lj to stay awake again, this time until about 9:00 p.m. I slept for three hours after we got home, got up and drank some water and posted the last entry here, then went back to bed for two more hours. We went out for Mexican for dinner and watched a B5, and now I'm clinging to wakefulness with my fingernails.

There were several things I didn't end up doing last night because I was not very steady on my feet by the time I thought I didn't need to "save" them any more. The down side to this is that now we have an exhausted Mris and bathrooms that still need cleaning, etc. The up side is that I didn't have to try to keep my balance when I was tired enough to be dizzy. Which I am again/still.

Whoever told me not to plan anything for the next 24 hours was not kidding. Focusing my eyes is a lot of work right now. I may not make 9:00. Already I'm talking myself into 8:30 being okay.