20 April, 2017

Ongoing post, Update day to day life IV, June 4th 2016 - now


I try to give an insight in my own life and dealings with rosacea. I also try to gather information that might be useful for everyone with rosacea, especially subtype 1 with burning, flushing and skin redness. I happen to be a bit unfortunate in that I have this condition for a long time already, and unlike many others, I haven't been able to get it into remission. I know it is more uplifting to read about someone who has beaten rosacea, but I like to write about the struggles that come for those who haven't achieved this. I realize it might feel scary to read this, compared to a happy ever after story, but rosacea comes in so many different forms, severities and variations, and there are so many ways in which you can control your rosacea (including diet, skin care, herbs and supplements, medication, IPL/laser, red light and so on) that I hope people take this blog as a source of information mostly, and an account of what it can be like to live with rosacea secondly. I am an unlucky minority, but that doesn't mean that you cannot beat this condition.
  


April 20th 2017


After a month long flare, my skin seems finally to have calmed down a bit again. Which is a relief as having a burning and more than normal red face, without much respite and regardless of your usual anti inflammatory diet and other happy life triggers, is beyond depressing. Add to that the Easter holiday - I somehow miss having a family in weekends, especially Sundays, and during holidays - and you get a lethargic and grumpy person who hardly feels the urge to stop watching tv series and other forms of mindless procrastination. Instead I had to go to an Easter meal with a group of people I didn't even know well, which is daunting for me even when I'm in good shape. Now it was draining; trying to appear care free and cheery, trying to ignore a burning glowing face, trying to avoid the worst trigger foods without looking like a rabbit who only eats salad (yet who isn't model thin anymore, like before I started mirtazapine for my flushing). I was happy to be home again, frankly. And to be able to put the fan back on. 
I am past the initial awful years of rosacea, when the anxiety and depression of having all these skin triggers, and no longer having normal, reliable, stable skin anymore, hit me like a ton of bricks. Having this for 18 years already now, made me live with rosacea almost half my entire lifetime by now, so you do get used to the craziness of hypersensitive skin and constant flush tendencies eventually. I don't think I really ever got my complete care free and bubbly old self back. sad to say, and I don't mean it in a dramatic way, but I think many people with rosacea openly or inwards dream about a week of respite. A week off, and what we would do then. There was a threat once about this on my beloved Rosacea Forum, and the majority of people mentioned days at the beach, in the sun, drinking alcoholic cocktails I remember haha. Then eating double sized pepperoni pizza's with buckets of red wine with friends, then going on outrageous dancing fests. All the stuff that we don't do with complete care free attitudes anymore these days. 

But despite getting used to all this, I still have periods of feeling down. The depression can be awful.. I usually force myself to be busy busy busy then, with writing or freelance work, reading, meeting friends, organizing or tidying things, getting lost in movies or tv series, or anything really that distracts. I usually find after a given time that I feel better again then. Like waves passing by. 

Something else that bothers me these days is that I hear and read all sorts of future promises that scientist talk about and say are in the pipeline. I've seen videos of limbless people controlling robotic bionic arms with brain implants, steering them simply by thinking about it. Scientists are working on the exact mapping and understanding of our DNA now. They are already rebuilding pigs with DNA deviations now, to make them grow older or without illness. Soon, we will become even more integrated with technology. After all, most of us already have symbiotic relationships with our phones these days, so that step isn't even as big as it might sound to be now :)
Some people these days have shown severe addiction and anxiety and restlessness and obsessive thoughts if they couldn't touch their smartphones, while participating in psychological tests to investigate these things. Especially when they heard pings, but weren't allowed to touch the phone.

I think that at some point in the future, nobody will be eating meat that came from an animal anymore. The lab will grow meat in the future. Labs will grow meat for consumption, that isn't made from dead animals. It will look and taste exactly the same, but be made through gene therapy;
it would be a sample taken from animals, which is then grown. Or even cloned and copied indefinitely. Our current times might feel very modern to us now, but they will be old news sooooo soon from now.  We seem to be really on the tipping point between an old world without even mobile phones and the net, and the future that is full of technological advances and automatization and such.
They can probably soon take a cell from your skin and from someone else, and turn it into a living baby in the lab. Or take just your own cell and make a clone from it. And add to that, that existing people can live 150 years at least by then, and have the ability to replace their organs when needed, by perfect copies of their original organs, through stem cell therapy, growing the perfect replicas in the lab that do not cause any rejection issues. There are some scientists that believe that people have already been born that will live for hundreds of years.
Yet here I am, anno 2017, still stuck with a malfunctioning body. With a skin that is out of order and a body with all sorts of auto immune diseases, for which nobody even has found a cure yet. It's absolutely hopeless making sometimes, having all this knowledge about advancing technology, yet being burdened with something that most likely will be a thing from the past sooner than later. Most likely just out of my reach. Soon they most likely can create new healthy skin for everyone, with repaired DNA. 

I made a little video with pictures of my skin these days. I cut the pictures in half for some reason, i think so that the focus is on the rosacea/cheeks, and not so much on the overall face.


Luckily, a lot of people with rosacea can eventually find a treatment that works for their skin, calming things thoroughly down or even going into remission. Granted, the flushing subtype 1 tends to be a bit more difficult to treat, but there are options, including anti flushing medication, anti inflammatory medication, diet changes, natural supplements or laser/IPL treatments. I know so many people who used to have subtype 1 rosacea so very bad and who got it almost completely under control eventually. I happen to be unfortunate in that IPL didn't work for me and even made me a lot worse during my first ever treatment. And I'm unfortunate in that my flushing is quite severe and hasn't gone into remission (yet). But I keep on track with the things that do help me and my rosacea is a lot more bearable now than before I saw Professor Chu and started anti flushing medication. 
And for everyone still out in the woods, I would advice to take things one step at a time, and to
make a list of all the treatment options and all the medication and supplements you think you will want to try. And to start testing and find out for yourself what works and what doesn't.

All rosacea cases might look alike, but I think they are often very different. Just the difference between subtype 1 and 2 is already profound. Rosacea seems an umbrella term for skin conditions that all deal with redness and inflammation, but which are otherwise quite diverse. Flushing and burning requires different treatment usually than permanent 'solid' skin redness and bumps and outbreaks. Antibiotic creams and pills often work for subtype 2, and if not there are also Soolantra cream, low dose doxycycline (oracea), topicals like tea tree oil and low dose roaccutane even to help out, but none of these are typically a solution for subtype 1 rosacea, with red hot skin and flushing that comes and goes. Subtype 1 is often much more about blood vessel disorder, or underlying firing up conditions like allergies or auto immune diseases or hormonal or central nervous system things, that make the blood vessels widen even more. Often people with subtype 1 also have thin and sensitive skin that doesn't protect anymore. There is a lot less known about this one, and demodex mites and bacteria are less often playing a role in subtype 1 than in subtype 2. And when people have underlying auto immune diseases, then these can be like a fire under the rosacea. Many people with rosacea seem to actually have a digestive disorder of some sorts, or auto immune diseases, may it be thyroid disease, IBD, asthma, arthritis, erythromelalgia, lupus, allergies or another one. There have been people with full out rosacea skin, who turned out to have a mast cell disorder and a histamine intolerance, or a food allergy all along. Then fixing that problem or cutting out allergens can be enough for the skin to recover. So it is complex.. That's why you need a good doctor or dermatologist to help put the puzzle pieces together and do additional testing. Typically dermatologists want to rule out lupus and carcinoma cancers, which can give a rosacea like skin appearance. But then there are other skin conditions that might look like rosacea, including regular acne, eczema, dermatitis and seborrheic dermatitis. 

Anyway, when you struggle with a red and flushed face, I would personally approach this problem very strategic, which helps you eliminating possible causes and treatment options, and also might help you to feel at least a little bit of control, in a situation where your skin will feel definitely out of control. Control taken away by rosacea and its many flare triggers. When your skin normally was a protective shield and something that was just there, just functioning as normal, it can be devastating when it suddenly stops protecting. Stops functioning as usual. On top, rosacea flares might not always look look you are on fire to the outside world (and sometimes they do), but even pink cheeks can feel to you as if they are on fire. And that is a frightening sensation.  

Some people asked me if I think that subtype 1 rosacea automatically turns into subtype 2, if you let it roam free long enough. I don't think so. Or it didn't happen to me at least. It does seem to happen to some others, if I am to believe the literature on rosacea. But for me, I have had type 1 for 18 years now and I have never developed into stage 2. Sometimes a long period of facial flushing makes my skin break out a bit in small red bumps, but they are the result for me of face swelling and inflammation, not of a bacterial issue with the skin. They go away soon enough again for me , and when I can control my flushing for longer periods at a time, I don't seem to get the break outs either. 
However, I can trigger them by using skin care products that my skin reacts to..
With subtype 1 rosacea, with coming and going redness and flushing and burning, you need to focus I think on getting the flushing under control I think. The longer you can stop the flushing and the longer you can bring the redness back to a more normal skin colour, the more chance the skin and blood vessels have to calm down. I flushed for a year straight in 2005, no exaggeration, and I was convinced that it was the death stabbing for my skin. that I would never be pale again, that my blood vessels would have spread and spread into this vast red network, never to be normalized again. But only a week into my new anti flushing regime, and my skin could look pale and normal again for periods on end.. I don't have big visible veins I must stress, no telangiectasia. 

When you go to your doctor or dermatologist and you want to try a certain medication for your rosacea, then I would advice you to print out medical papers, ideally from Pubmed or so, that states that research found this or that medication to be beneficial for rosacea or for the treatment of hot flashes. On my blogpost on my medication I have already provided links with every medication I take. Doctors might feel unwilling to prescribe these medications for good reasons, but sometimes they also just don't know that there are ways to treat the flushing and burning. This is one of the most debilitating aspects of rosacea, yet there is very little information out there or research done on how to treat this aspect of rosacea. The medications that my London professor uses to treat his rosacea patients are not specifically designed for rosacea. Yet they have a long standing record to treat other conditions, of which we can benefit. Luckily there is research done for each and every one of them for the treatment of hot flashes and sometimes even for the treatment of rosacea. Use that information to show it to your doctor. they don't always know every little corner of the specializations of less well understood conditions like rosacea.
It might also help to print out some patient reviews, especially The Rosacea Forum is a massive database of decades of rosacea patient information and experience. And in case you flare, but not on the day of your appointment, you might want to consider printing out a full flare picture of yourself. So that the doctor sees what your skin can look like on any given moment. It is also important that if you feel pain and burning, that you emphasize this to your doctor. Rosacea is all too often seen as a primarily cosmetic condition. And though it sometimes is just that, often it also gives a lot of neuropathic pain and skin tightness and downright acid like burning. The amount of skin redness can be indicative for the level of nerve pain, but doesn't have to be. I used to just get pink in my early days, yet I would feel like my skin was on fire all the same. It was very difficult back then to explain this to my family and friends. And even to my GP.

My blood vessels seem hyper reactive; anything can make them dilate and get the heat and blood gushing. I have literally asked doctors, in my worst year, if I couldn't get a skin transplant. Crazy as this might sound, I thought about skin burn victims and how someone like Katy Piper doesn't seem in pain. She had a horrendous acid attack on her skin. You still see her scars, but when I was burning up in a never ending inferno, I rationalized that her skin at least seems robust now, even though you can see she had injuries. She can wear make up, she can go to dinners, she can go out. 
And since the skin everywhere else on my body looks and behaves normal, I have asked doctors back then what the options were to just get some skin off my back or something, and patch my face up with non burning, non red skin. I know this might sound offensive to actual skin burn victims, but at this point I just wanted the burning heat and pain to stop. 
But I was told that they can't do a skin transplant, and they wouldn't do it for something like rosacea anyway. But even if they could and wanted to, it would be futile in the end (or so these two doctors I brought it up to claimed), because apparently it are the blood vessels underneath our facial skin that are defect, and inflammation in the body attacking the facial skin on top, which would both, with time, ruin the newly transplanted skin too. The big feeding blood vessels are not replaced with a skin transplant and when your rosacea is a result of malfunctioning blood vessels, inflamed blood vessels which have a tendency to spread and unnaturally branch out, it would be a matter of time befoe the new skin would be affected too. I am still not sure if I buy that verdict btw. Because perhaps a skin transplant would at least make sure that there is no more nerve pain. But it is all theory, because there seems no way any specialist would do something as drastic as a skin transplant for a condition that is still seen as minor and cosmetic as rosacea. It's a silly what if question, nothing more. 

Oh, and I've also been sunbathing again lately. My vitamin D levels are really low, every time I have them tested. And since vitamin D3 supplements make me flushed (maybe the dose is too high, maybe the synthetic D3 is not digested well by my body, who will say..), I resort to sunbathing! On advise of my internist doctor. I don't burn but tan quickly on my body skin and so I am told to sunbathe on sunny days for about 30 minutes a day, around noon (so that there is enough UVB radiation) and without sun screen... I built myself some lame sun bed, where I hide my face behind the door, but have full body sun exposure. Well, minus the bikini of course. I also put a fan on so that i don't have my face heat up. it's quite joyous to have a warm body for a change! I got a good tan already too. I think that in summer my rosacea is less bad than in winter and partly I think this is because the cold winter air makes my skin more red and dry, but also partly because I have more vitamin D in my system in summer.








March 24th 2017


There has been more traveling this month and my skin is pretty red all round, unfortunately. I've ended up in an obsessive cycle of fretting about toothpaste, and I am using the regular fluoride toothpaste again for some time now, and my skin is consistently 2 shades more red... I feel terrible about it all, I can't keep making my skin worse. I'm already cooling most of my day. I pretty much live behind a fan, attached to it as f it were an IV-machine, and only going out when it's cool outside. I have had complete nightmares with my teeth the past years. Always perfect teeth until I stopped using fluoride (and in all frankness, it also coincided with me happily increasing my sugar intake at the time). Well, you might all know the story by now, but had 3 cavities some years back and the filling material made me purple. I couldn't take it anymore after 3 weeks and had the fillings removed, then replaced by another filling, which did the same thing. Dentist with his hands in his hair, yes, I did look really worrisome indeed.. face swollen up entirely, skin the colour of a blueberry.. In the end the back molars are invisible even when I laugh out loud, due to my small mouth, so they could go. Get them out!!

That helped a lot, my skin eventually calmed down once the chemicals were out. (I add pictures from the dental problem period below this update). But it left me fairly petrified. Ever since I have extreme anxiety over the dentist and last November another back molar had a cavity too. Needed to be removed surgically in hospital too, which was a complete nightmare to convince these surgeons to not fill it normally. And once I managed to do that, it took them an hour of cutting and pulling and torture to finally get this super strong, all the way back in the mouth molar out (metal crams to get my mouth open wider, causing a tear in the mouth corner, brr). Then the top broke off and the root was stuck deep in the bone, and the surgeon was fresh out of med school, and struggling on for a full hour. Not that it was her fault by the way.So this is a Marathon-Man type of obsession with me now. Great, to add to the regular rosacea stress. SO I brush and I floss, preferably with a fluoride free toothpaste because it makes me less red, but I use a fluoride one in the evenings now, just to be on the safe(r) side. Then i bought fluoride rich bottled mountain water, to swiss in my mouth now and then (my antihistamines and mirtazapine give me dry mouth), and then on top, to top off the neurotics, I now and then rinse with betonite clay ("remineralize"). Not to be brushed with, because it is abbrasive and scrubs too much, and brushes off your enamel and gums otherwise. And I avoid sugar and I drink with a straw and I obsess about little dents and spots on my teeth. A day's chore. Life's a peach for me, currently :)

Luckily, otherwise I am not feeling overtly depressed. Or anxious. Although life with constant burning and painful skin and the bags of things to avoid aren't particularly uplifting. I'm keeping myself busy though, with work projects I luckily love, or writing or reading or movies or chats with friends. Walks too. Meet ups when I am not feeling too burned up. Life could be a lot better, but life could also be a lot worse.

Good versus bad skin periods the past few weeks:



 

 




Holland had political elections over a week ago. We had our own right wing populist in the works, called Geert Wilders. He needed to win the most seats in order to have any power. In the polls (yeh, those polls again..) he had a lead, but in the end the alterations our current PM had with Turkey gave our PM an excuse to show his muscles and act all PM-like and that made him gain some extra votes and seats in the end. So Wilders did have more votes and seats than he had 4 years ago. He won in a way, but then again, he lost. The thing is, nobody wants to rule with him and not just because he is anti immigration. More parties are these days, including our own chrrrristian CDA party, and some others, they all picked up on the Muslim/immigration negative waves that go through the country. But Wilders' party (PVV) did rule some 5 years ago with the VVD (the equivalent of the American Republican liberals I think, or the British Tories perhaps) and CDA (the christian conservatives), only for Wilders to walk out on the coalition within half a year or so. I forgot the details but they had to have new elections all over again in no time, because Wilders just walked out. So nobody wants to have him on board again. Not just because he has some right wing ideas. He is a ticking time bomb. And another sweet trait of him; he wants to cut down even more on people on the dole, crank the nazi regime up even more. I'm not on the dole, but I read that it is already a stasi regime now as it is, with dole people needing to ask permission for even a week of holiday. 

They now force people to take any job that is offered to them and make sure they keep that job. Or else they are cut off or cut down in welfare. They force people to travel up to THREE hours a day for a job, if they are offered one that is far away. They can force people to move to an entirely other part of the country if they are offered a job there. Anything you inherit or gain or possess has to be reported and you are cut in your welfare there too. They are allowed to barge into your house at any given time to investigate whatever they want. Get a bf or gf? Then they can pay for your living cost and you are cut. Dole people are forced to do shoveling or whatever it is they can find them to do as a payback for getting welfare money. I am all for people working, but then there must be suitable jobs on offer as well. Punishing those with no means to work, simply because they cannot work, I don't support. But maybe this is rooted more in the way Holland has been a welfare state for so long. My mother sat for the Labour party in local government for some time, we just grew up with these ideals and not just ideals; it also was reality in the 80's and 90's. I believe in the benefit of a welfare state, where those with the highest income pay relatively more taxes than those with very low income. And where the roads are well, education is good, hospitals are running, people are having affordable health care and there is a safety net when you cannot work for whatever reason. Luckily this is still the case over here. But since the 2008 crisis, a lot of safety nets have been removed here, by a more right wing cabinet in politics. Especially the elderly and the chronically ill paid a heavy prize. 

Despite the economy going a lot better by now than in 2008 (and the way budgets were tightened in the past 5 years surely played some role in this), welfare people are cut to 70% of minimum wage and they want to cut it back even further, while the middle classes and the rich are getting more money from now on and lesser taxes. How is that fair? Many poor people cannot afford to go to the doctor anymore, as the premiums for health care are around 130 euro at the least per month, with an own risk of close to 400 euro. I am through my own risk in the first two months of the year! That is almost 2000 euro a year. We used to have a state owned health care system. 50 euro a month, and you were fully covered for everything, from medication use to hospitalization to the dentist. It all went downhill once the Dutch state allowed corporations to take over, and when they privatized health care. The same thing happened with public transport, the post system, electricity, part of education and so on. Even hospitals are run by an army of managers now.  

I voted for the green left wing party Groen Links. I agree only partly with them however.. But the party that I want, doesn't exist. I want a socialist party that both wants to cut immigration down, limiting it to political refugees but not as much allowing economic refugees anymore, ánd who lets the poor share in the good economy and doesn't kick them when they are down, or forces them to have penalties for not working when there simply are no jobs for people too old, or too sick, or out of the working place for too long. Now they get fines, even when there is no work. While the rich are getting it better all the time. The whole division between the 1% and the rest has been growing steadily since the 1970's and I wished there was a better spreading out of the money, with much more of the wealth spread over the middle classes. Like it was the case back in the 1950's. But nowadays the choice is either between socialistic ideas about the poor, but also a leftist point on view on immigration, or a far right party who has a good grasp on immigration but wants to butcher the poor even more and throw all dole people on the street to suffer. 
Over here there have been problems with immigration and integration for a long time now. Some places are riddled with crime and poor integration, Gouda for instance. Places in Sweden look like the new caliphate by now. Documentary makers trying to film in Stockholm ' ghetto's'  are beaten up and choked these days. Charming. (I know those links are Daily Mail material, but there are plenty of other sources, from those newspapers and individuals who decide to speak out instead of wiping this stuff under the carpet). 

Anyway, during our elections, the international press was out in great force to see if we would start a string of right wing nationalism in europe with a 'Nexit'. Didn't happen and I am not surprised. Because the thing with the EU is that Holland relies on the EU. Its a very small country with a big economy that leans on trade and businesses a lot, and they reallllly benefit from all the EU trade deals etc. We're not big enough to pull a Nexit off, most people think. I'd love to get rid of Brussels bureaucracy maze, but the EU membership has brought Holland a lot of good, financially. Besides; the middle classes and upper class group is too big, and they have no personal interest in upheaval of the economic system, that comes with leaving the EU. I think the EU is a nice construct, but burdened by a huge immobile clog of diplomats and bureaucrats in Brussels, who aren't chosen democratically, and who make the whole enterprise quite slow and heavy and even corrupt. 


But that wasn't all that can be told about the election time. There also was a bit of a Turkish mess; a couple of days before the election here, there was an alteration between our current PM (Mark Rutte) with Turkey, and it gave our PM an excuse to show his muscles and act all PM-like and that made him gain some extra votes and seats in the end. More then the polls were showing, up until then, and his adequate actions seemed to have given some swinging voters a push towards his party. 
So, what happened here? We were basically having a mini Turkey riot here last week. Their minister wasn't allowed to land here, as I understand, because he wanted to campaign in Holland for Erdogans Turkish elections. The nerve haha, and that during Dutchie election times. Our PM (Mark Rutte) wouldn't have it! But in the end, it seemed a coordinated showmance bromance. It gave Rutte here a good 5 extra seats in the end (going by the polls at least), and Erdoğan needs a foreign enemy for his own elections. So that he can distract the attention from himself and create some unified enemy in the EU. Their campaign was not going well in Turkey, from what I heard, because there is noone left to attack. The kemalists are already defeated, more or less. But now PM Mark Rutte was the national enemy. Or more precisely, the State of Holland. And lets face it; with so many Turkish citizens, Holland is a bit like a 2nd Turkey anyway. Maybe 3rd, after Almanya (Zurmany). It caused riots in our streets, from Dutch Turks who were very upset with this decision. They attacked the police, made fires, demolished some things that stood in the way. The stuff one does when one is miffed. Haha, I even heard that some Turkish trolls were sending angry messages to François Hollande instead (Frances president). Just 2 countries further mate, no biggie!

Or they were writing poor English in the midst of their hate tantrum: 

So overall, Erdo needed this collission just as much as PM Rutte did. Evil tongues in newspaper columns even hissed that it was all done in agreement. Tsk tsk tsk... Especially after Erdoğans party lost 10 percent of their votes. I heard that he didn't let other parties form coalitions, and called for new elections in the most cunning way: He gave his own party the order and duty to form a coalition government, but they waited until the very last day with this. Then they declared that they couldn't. Then Erdoğan waited until the very last day and declared the need for another election I'm not making this up. Of course, many people died in between. They said: "To end this chaos, vote for us". So people did. Erdo in return said that the opposition failed. Which is why I did like this Eddy Izzard clip/history lesson. People don't necessarily care if you murder your own people. They mainly care if you kill people in the country next door. But autocrats...killing their own people? Oh well..

A journalist last week claimed that Erdoğan's party was preparing an advertisement in February, revolving a football match; Turkey vs. some Foreign country... In it, the referee is biased, and is consistently making poor decisions. Then suddenly a small girl (with headscarf of course) rushes to the pitch and gives a red card to the European referee... I don't think it is a coincidence that the one female minister he has in his entire cabinet, the one we declared ''persona non grata'' here, was the one pushed out in the European limelight. Seems that he managed to solidify his support in Turkey once more. But he is bad news of course. Apparently he had an alteration with Israel once. In fact, he ''fought'' with them for years. Left Davos because of Ariel Sharon. And did it help his career? I'm sure it did. A humanitarian aid ferry was sent to the Gaza Strip, although Israel said they wouldn't allow it to reach the shore. They insisted anyway, to which Israeli commandos assaulted, and 8 people died. Two things were significant; deputies of his party were destined to be on that ship, but decided to stay in Istanbul at last minute, and after a couple of days, Erdo shook hands with the Israeli army, over some multi million euro deal for the modernization of tanks.

And to make a link with Holland, here it was interesting that a couple of days before these incidents in holland happened, Petrol Ofisi, the biggest oil company of Turkey, was sold to the Dutchies for 1 billion 368 million Euros. Makes me wonder if the whole alteration last week between our PM and Turkeys minister was staged and fake. Given that it was a win win situation. Besides, the consul general of Holland was not in Ankara when all hell broke loose. Did somebody told him to take some days off? Luckily over here that fuss only lasted a couple of days. I bet the people in Turkey have been living like that for 15 years now. 

And a little side joke; this foreign minister we had beef with said "I don't know what type of tulip are you'' to Rutte. He clearly implied that he is an ''ass tulip'', which sounds mighty strange to us, but it's an insult in Turkish slang. Not that anyone here picked up on it at the time haha, But a very diplomatic joke on the European world stage indeed. Their English is excellent of course. After all, their most beloved sultan Mehmed II was a polyglot and knew Greek, Serbian, Persian, Arabic and Latin.



I also watched the tv series Fargo lately.  Together with a "rosacea friend", both on one side of the computer and world. Very nice. We went through season 1 and 2, and the overall concept was taken from the original 1996 movie Fargo (Coen Brothers). Quite good. Season 1 has Billy Bob Thornton in it and has a very cold and cool feel, it's good. Season 2 has a very different tone, very late 70's, very Tarantino cool, really worth your time if you care for that stuff. Especially with Kirsten Dunst is acting superbly in season 2. I never liked her much, but here she is awesome and I also want to learn the Farogese accent right away! I have no idea whether that kind of Germanic (?) accent is typical of North Dakotans. I guess it is American with Scandinavian/German influences. 
This 2nd season is set back in time compared to season 1, and focuses on the father of the main player in season 1, agent Molly Solverstone. In season 1 he is a retired diner owner, seemingly disillusioned by the police force. Here in season 2, we have a flash back and see him in the prime of his days, and we get an impression of what exactly happened with him at that time. Molly is still a little bairn here. The whole cinematography is warm and fairly cool I felt. There is an undercooled slapstick humor to it and tons of references to Coen movies. 

Kirsten Dunst (Peggy) accidentally hit and runs a gangster kid, who just murdered out a whole diner. She and her butcher partner Ed are like the Joneses in many ways and are faced with the dilemma what to do. Really good stuff this. Peggy proves a freak in all sorts of ways, but her husband is too
slow to process this. It is more of a classical gangster story than season 1, but with that typical Fargo undercooled humor and slow motion elements to it. There are rivaling gangster groups/families, competing for control of the north. One figure, a black guy named Milligan, is just as cool and eager of quoting as Samual L Jacksons character in Pulp Fiction. Here he isn't limiting himself to the Bible, but he quotes all sort of stuff, including the absurdist Jabberwocky poem from Alice in Wonderland, during some tense scene preceding a murder fest. I loved that absurd touch. It made that poem sound so ominous. And when he is held up by Molly's grandpa, played by a Donald Sutherland lookalike (Ted Danson), Milligan wiggles out of trouble with a magnificent smart story of a world in conflict.. and then identifies the (murder)scene as peaceful in comparison. So he can be let go haha.


One of Penny's excuses for most of the shit she had herself end up in, is that it is simple to have the right reaction to certain challenges when they are given to us in isolation. She says that we understand the nature of the test, and what the logic of the situation is, only when that logic is disembedded from the larger flow of experience. Or has a clear contour somehow. But in real life it is not like that. In real life, she said, we live like in a dream. At least she is. Instead of living in the museum of the past, she is always inebriated with her dream made of the gloss of magazines and the taste of hopes of self-improvement. She is almost annoying in her crazy antics. She seems mostly drunk with her desire to leave the little northern town and replace it for something grand (California in he dream), whereas her partner Ed, the butcher, has completely different goals in life. When someone asks him what's the point of everything, he says: "That's the American dream. Shop ownership, and three piggies under a blanket."

Peggy was lulled to sleep in life, she hoards magazines in her house to offer some peek on a way out. But now she is awakened. And when she is awakened she becomes a feral beast, a violent cat. She is sufferable still when she has that mystique of what is driving her, but once the mystique is gone and it becomes clear what is driving her, she becomes completely insufferable. She is in constant denial, distancing herself from any situation. She is serving us with beans - something we are biologically conditioned to be attracted to. But at the same time poking us with a knife for no reason. She attacks someone, and at the same time is referring to the Geneva Rights Convention. A favorite line at the end (when there is a trail of destruction left behind, and she is still talking about her own goals in life), is when the cop says, in disbelief: "People are dead, Peggy".. Perhaps another character, Dodd (one of the Gerhardt criminals) summed it up neatly: "Satan is a woman".

In the series there is another character that seems drunk: Carl the lawyer. Only he is mainly drunk from alcohol. Carl is beyond hilarious btw and here he is asked to defend the butcher, and comes in roaring from alcohol. Part of his statement ("Out of the way, tool of the state!"/"Gulag magic tricks"):




There are countless themes running through this series. One of them is this almost western like good versus evil theme. With cops Lou and Hank both braving the crew of bad hombres, which are nearly sketchy, cartoonish and slapstick at times. Another theme is the corporatization of the Reagan days. (Reagan even makes a cameo). I liked how mafioso Milligan got rewarded for his bloodthirsty results, by giving him a broomstick sized office with a typewriter ("they're not just for secretaries anymore"), and the mentioning that money is now to be made in economics. I think that overall, the whole series reads like a metaphor for the Reagan times. Or as a parable for the Reagan 80s — the consolidation of businesses and human spirit. Mergers and takeovers are hard, bloody work. Regular people will pay the price, butcher shops will close. But the rewards, for a few anyway, will be too many to count. For the rest of us, including Mike Milligan, the "warm champagne of corporate praise" is nothing more than a mid-level desk job and a 401k. Milligans typewriter was a closing circle thing too; an electric typewriter salesman basically set all the events in motion in the first episode, when he asked a Gerhardt thug to go intimidate a judge so he could still get his loan to buy the new stock of electric typewriters.






This was me before the tooth troubles and this during:




 






I don't know why, but lately my skin seems constantly flushed and burned up :(
Things seemed to go much with my skin better back in 2013, when I look back old pictures. I don't know what causes this poor rosacea. Maybe it all started to deteriorate once I started to use make-up, back in the end of 2014.. I have no proof for this, and only had it on for maybe 2 days a year. But I feel that in the past years, my rosacea has been pretty active and giving me constant burning and heat problems. I look less pale than some years ago too.. Especially later in the day and in the evening.

OH and by the way; back in July last year I had hair thinning? Really losing clumps of hair and especially at the temples, my hair was really thin. I think it was the result of stress. Because it happened a few months after a very stressful period. Ever since I have done nothing different. No hair pills, no supplements, no different shampoo. And my hair is back to normal now. First picture was 8 months ago, 2nd is now:

  



Some of the foods I ate the past months
(all gluten and dairy free, low to no sugar, organic meat and vegetables)











March 2nd 2017

Long time not updated! There wasn't that very much to update on, in my defense. The dreary European gloomy months of January and February tend to be quite miserable. Rain, cold, grey. For many years now we had temperature records, and therefore the typical northern winters with blue sky and crispy air and snow and ice are replaced by this sloppy depressing weather.

My itchy cheek hives got worse after my last post, then disappeared, and by now, there are 4 small hives back on my cheeks. I think I get them from a combination of factors: exposure to cold air (like real winter cold air, not 16 degrees in spring or summer - thanks to airco). Plus my cat allergy... I shouldn't cuddle my cats so much, I know, and I should keep at least the living room and my own bedroom cat free. Bedroom is actually cat free, but the living room... less so. I hoover every day and ventilate, but these cat dander particles that can cause allergies to flare, get stuck to everything, including furniture and even the walls :( But I love them too much, and the hives mainly happen in winter (maybe because the cats are pretty much 24/7 outside if I give them the option during good weather in spring and summer...). Here my little Piotr is doing his favourite game lately (I didn't train him in any way! Cats shouldn't be forced to act like dogs.. this special fella just thought out the "fetch the mouse" game all by himself).

video



I had a very long travel day today, basically 15 hours in a train..  From south of France to the north of
Holland. The train did drive 300 km an hour half the time, but still took me such a long time, and more important; had me stuck like a sardine in a bloody hot, small space. It was really warm in there actually and they have no ventilators. Obviously, windows cannot be opened either at such speeds :)
So I brought my SOS bag with me, with ice cubes, frozen gel packs and my tiny handheld fan. Being still self conscious, and having a dude sitting tightly next to me both parts of the trip, I tried to hide the fan. I watched quite a few The Walking Dead episodes in the train, and placed my laptop bag next to the laptop, and had the small hand held fan up behind the bag. I'm fairly sure people either saw or heard it, as it makes a bit of a growling sound, and me having the bag up awkwardly might have made it seem even more obvious, but the fan did help me. It was around 22 degrees Celsius in there, but I managed to arrive in Paris with only a moderate pink face. NO odd stares when I had to ask people stuff. That gave me some renewed confidence. Enough in fact to buy some forbidden foods; fresh croissant and pain au chocolate, hahaa. So good, so simple, so breadey. No big flare afterwards either.

My plague boils at the height of their power:

  


I had to hang around at Gare du Nord for some time, as I didn't want to rush while having to change stations (which is a bit of a trip in Paris..), so I hung around the entrance, where cold air came in. I would have preferred to walk around the Parisian streets and have long stares at the handsome and well dressed people out there, but there was a persistent drizzle rain that blew in your face, whichever way you turned. Oh well.. I managed to make some pictures from behind the glass of train and bus, just to prove I was actually in Paris.. The part of the trip to Rotterdam went pretty much the same as part 1 of the trip; the train was too hot, another dude in fancy clothes sat next to me and we made great effort again to not squeeze an inch of leg surface against the others.  Like the first dude, this one fell asleep halfways through the journey and slumped
his legs well over the imaginary (but therefore not less real) seat boundary. I watched more Walking Dead, used the small hand fan and I didn't end up too red. Still far more red than normal looking people.. Some teenage girls giggled when I passed by to go to the bar in the train, and I'm sure more people have this problem, but when I know I look red (I can know nowadays, going by the level of skin burning I have; today it felt fairly painful, tight, hot and sore), I do make everything revolve around me me me. Including people giggling. Even when they don't actually look in my direction :) But apart from that I was in a good mood and zen in my own Walking Dead bubble. I have had trips where my face was so badly flushed, so painful, so f*cking hot, that it was almost unbearable to sit things out. In a small hot space, with smartly dressed people who notice everything that deviates from the polished norm. Boy, do I stand out then with my radioactive coloured face..


In the last part of the trip, something happened that gave me a good feeling, and made me wonder if I honestly wasn't red, or, perhaps, that some people really do not notice it as much as I think they do, or at the least do not care too much. I sat on the balcony of this regular Dutch train. No mandatory seats, and the balcony is more cool. I had a choice between one balcony part with one chair (yessssss), but, it was facing the trains loo (noooo). The other side was empty too but had 4 seats. Tricky, at rush hour you basically can be sure it will be taken by at least one other person. Which is what happened. A guy who reminded me of Gael Garcia Bernal in Mozart in the Jungle sat next to me, carrying a dangerous looking, black samurai case. There was place in the rest of the train. Why did he chose to sit next to me? And what was in that dangerous looking case he was holding?? Well, it turned out to be a wooden walking stick. I still didn't understand why he had to carry his walking stick around in a protective case. Until he started to play the stick. Ok, it was a flute of some sorts. Beautiful sound it made however, mostly because the guy played really entrancing Middle eastern sounding tunes. The sort you'd expect they use to get a cobra under your spell. Before I could wonder who the cobra was here, he stopped again. I pretended to be reading my book, but then kicked myself up the behind, and showed some interest. After all, I was the only spectator here. It was technically speaking a private concert for me. I felt kind of flattered actually, even though he didn't even look at me the whole time.

So, some people are really bubbly and outgoing. I used to be a bit like that, throughout my childhood and adolescence. Not über bubbly, not hyper happy without a clear reason, but spontaneous and direct enough, when the situation called for it. I never overshared really, and probably was a bit reserved as well. But nowhere near as restrained as I am since rosacea hit me. Now I prefer to be left in an invisible cocoon, with earphones on and ideally black sunglasses too, and a big hat in which I disappear. I have gotten so very comfortable in there, that the thought of just telling this guy that I liked that bit of music, made me worry he would shout back in harsh tones: "Whoa!! That was a strange thing to say to me?!". I would definitely go more red in the face then.. Apologize confused: "No, really, I Am sane. Really!" Trying to rapidly climb back to solid ground. Would a potential combination of redness and embarrassment, would that be worth the entire undertaking? And worse; I would thén also feel uncomfortable and self conscious for the rest of the trip. And packing up my bags and demonstratively changing seats would just seem too High School bitchy, even for me..

I have these 'what ifs' going on in my mind fairly often, also when it comes to telling obnoxious people to shut the beep up when they shout through their mobile phones in a silent train part. Or give some kick ass reprimand to bullying teenage girls. I decide not to nowadays, because you can bet it will turn me red. And then you can bet even harder on the type of shit I will have hurled back at me. I didn't get laughed at over my looks back in the days. So I spoke out. Now, it would feel like the biggest humiliation to be openly mocked over my scarlet red blob of a face. Probably - to explain this to women without rosacea - comparable in scale to telling any sized woman that she is FAT! The shock and horror on their faces.... even if they are slim. It is just a low blow. Well, these days I'm rather called FAT than an overripe tomato..

Anyway, I got over myself and treadled on what I thought was neutral territory; general enough to be done with it with a single lined response. But acknowledging the fact he just played some pretty good music all the same. I asked if that tune was Middle eastern perhaps? That it sounded really nice. The guy was all friendliness and warm facial expressions and said it was indeed Middle Eastern, specified the geographical region a bit further and then spoke for an hour about his ME music, Turkish politics and the Santiago walking trail. Luckily I know a bit about all those topics, but I was genuinely surprised that he kept talking and didn't end my curiosity in an awkward way. Shows me again that I don't look a monster necessarily, and that a kind word and some interest shown might actually get you some interesting responses in return. Nice actually. And so very simple, when you think about it.






High speed in the TGV: 

video


In Paris, I think this was Place de la République:

video















January 18th 2017

Side topic, but I feel persuasive about this one: I don't use deodorant. I don't sweat much and prefer to keep hygiene good with a wash here and there. I worry that antiperspirants cause breast cancer. Here is some more on it. Please be careful with all the parabens, aluminium, chemical perfumes and plastics you spray onto your armpits and the area so close to your lymph nodes and breast tissue.. They can be found back in (cancerous) breast tissue after inspection. They don't belong in our body and god knows what bad they can cause there.
This article in Time Magazine tells me I am not completely bonkers for doing this:


"Research has detected parabens—a category of chemical that acts as a preservative in some underarm and personal care products—in women’s breast tissue, though how those parabens got there and what happens when they are in breast tissue is unknown. In Darbre's experiments, combining different parabens with human cells creates activity that may contribute to the development of cancer. 

Harvey has looked into the ways cosmetics interact with your body. He says wiping these chemicals under your arms and on the sides of your chest or breasts “could provide a route of almost direct exposure to underlying tissue containing estrogen receptors.” Both parabens and aluminum are “estrogenic” chemicals—meaning they interact with your body’s hormones or cells in ways similar to estrogen. That's concerning, because excess estrogen plays a role in promoting the growth of cancer cells, according to the National Cancer Institute. While many experts think cosmetic chemicals like parabens have only "weak" estrogenic activity, Harvey doesn't agree. He says, "It is often quoted that parabens are thousands of times less potent than estrogen in terms of their estrogenicity. This can be misleading and ignores actual exposures."


Harvey says his own calculations suggest these cosmetic chemicals may "significantly add toestrogenic burdens." Because of that, he says he questions the wisdom of including any chemical with known hormonal activity in your personal care regimen. But until he and other researchers are able to explain—and demonstrate—the ways these chemicals cause health problems, no regulatory changes are likely. That’s because unless a chemical is proven harmful, regulators allow you to eat it, smoke it, brush with it or slather it on your body. Finding that proof of harm is a difficult, costly and time-consuming proposition. Darbre says researchers can’t simply mix some human cells and some chemicals in a test tube and watch for cancer to pop up. So where does that leave deodorant and antiperspirant users? Largely in in the dark, Darbre says. “People want a simple fix,” she says. “Unfortunately it is not simple.”

Until more is known, consumers are in a bind. “Avoiding certain publicized chemicals is only the tip of the iceberg,” she says. Darbre says she switched to a twice-daily regimen of underarm cleaning with soap and water. (“No one has yet complained!” she jokes.) Frequent pit scrubbing may seem unnecessarily laborious—or just plain weird. But if you're concerned about the chemicals you rub on your body, regular bathing might seem like an attractive alternative.





 






January 21st 2017

Ugh, I'm struggling. It's one of those torturous winters again. It might not look like much on picture, but I have little hives (seemingly) all over my cheeks and they cause me two problems:

1. They itch
2. They make the skin under and around it very hot.


I literally feel the raised areas burn when I put my flat hand on them, even when the rest of my cheeks can be cool to the touch. This in turn stirs up my overall flushing and burning. My cheeks just feel tight, itchy, hot and burning. I'm having trouble all the time with keeping my skin pain and flush free lately. The diclofenac helps a bit, but only a bit, and some days it seems to help nothing at all. I am a lot more red and a lot more flushed and burned up now than in the fall. This just reduces my days and current life into trying to get the burning and flushing down. My skin feel like it's had a bad sun burn; very sore, tight and hot. I'm just sick of it to be honest. Day in day out, I even dream about it at night, as I can't control flushing nowadays at night, something that is much less of a problem when I don't have a bad flaring period, or when the temperatures are a bit less cold outside. I am miffed because I try to do everything right; not have it too cold or warm indoors, keep humidity up but not too much that it causes flushing, avoid the cold wind outside, use my uvb lamp to not have a complete zero level of vitamin D in my system. It just isn't working right now.

What makes me worried is that these strange hives only started to bother me in the winter of 2010 I think it was. I thought at the time that it was a side effect of plaquenil, an antimalarial I was trying out to cut down on my skin inflammation. I discussed it with my derm, I was convinced they were allergy hives from the plaquenil use. He already said he found that unlikely, but I was convinced enough of it to drop the plaquenil (and my eyes started to get gritty too, definitely from the plaquenil). But every winter since they came back. I am sure now it is related to cold weather. Either some allergy, but since I only get these welts on my cheeks, I suspect it is a local problem; that my facial skin just doesn't function well and has some lymph drainage issue perhaps? If it was a strict cold weather allergy, wouldn't I also get these eruptions on my hands, neck etc? It is getting me down nevertheless, because cold air used to be my 'friend'. It used to be a relief to have cold wind on my face. Now I get burning itching welts from them :( It just feels like I get more and more restrictions, when the list of triggers is already so darn long to start with!

I'll discuss it with my doctor next time, but right now I don't even want to sit in a waiting room. I'm too sore and flushy. I cancel pretty much anything, that isn't strictly necessary.
Then there is my ongoing worry (obsession by now) with my teeth. I don't want anything new happening, in terms of cavities, as the fillings they tried on me some years ago all made my rosacea unbearable. I need to keep my teeth in impeccable state and that includes fluoride toothpaste, according to my dentist and surgeon. But I get the most crazy flushing and deep redness when I use a fluoride toothpaste, even an organic one with no other irritating ingredients, like spearmint, sodium lauryl sulfate, propylene glycol, cocamidopropyl betaine, sodium benzoate and benzoic acid. Below I show some pictures of the one I use and the list of ingredients. The only thing I can think of that would give me such a crazy response (I uploaded pictures before, earlier, of a mega flushed burning face, every time I used it).




So I received a nice message on the Rosacea Forum from someone who read this blog and this person came with a great suggestion; a toothpaste called Tooth Builder. I bought it, it has no fluoride but it does have ingredients that helps to limit bacteria and plaque and such. Very mild, and I use it now and I love it. It doesn't give me a skin flare, it has a nice taste, it's foamy but without having the common detergents that are responsible for the foaming properties of toothpaste and that can cause skin problems, for instance the Sodium lauryl sulfate, a common irritant. Below some pictures of it:



I like it, but I am worried about its lack of actual remineralization power, like fluoride has. Perhaps the calcium they added helps a bit, but as far as I know only fluoride actually remineralizes teeth. There is also a lot of bad press on fluoride though, not least because it's a toxic waste product, and it's also linked to neurological and IQ issues, or so I read here and there. My main issue with it, however, is not a long term possible problem, but the actual instant flushing it gives me. Bad flushing :( I wished it was different.

I looked online if there is a link between fluoride and rosacea. Dr. Richard Gallo, chair of the dermatology department at the University of California at San Diego and a doctor who has done previous research on rosacea, states that: "toothpaste can cause irritation or allergic reactions in people with certain sensitivities, resulting in rashy bumps around the mouth or, perhaps, rosacea, a chronic condition of redness and skin sores that might be confused with traditional acne".

"One of the instructions we give to patients with rosacea is to think about the toothpaste you're using," Gallo said. "People can be allergic to just about anything, but toothpaste's mint and cinnamon flavorings, which can include the allergens balsam of Peru, cinnamic aldehyde and peppermint and spearmint flavors, are major culprits in skin reactions". Trouble is, 95 percent of 153 toothpastes evaluated in a study did not list the specific flavoring ingredients, so people wouldn't know to avoid them, researchers wrote in a study published in September in the Journal of Clinical and Aesthetic Dermatology. And it's not easy to find toothpaste without any flavoring.
But sometimes a skin flare-up has nothing to do with an allergy and is instead irritation. Some dermatologists have suggested that fluoride is an irritant causing perioral dermatitis, a rash of tiny red bumps around the mouth that is usually brought on by topical steroids. But few studies have proved the link, and the claims remain "unsubstantiated," Gallo said.

The article comes with a final advise: "If you worry your toothpaste may be responsible for your skin reactions, try switching to Tom's of Maine natural toothpastes, which have all ingredients listed and explained at tomsofmaine.com. Some are made without sodium lauryl sulfate or fluoride."

I never looked into Tom's of Maine natural toothpaste, but I did find another toothpaste that has no fluoride, nor sodium lauryl sulfate. It's called Theodent, and uses a raw material that is also found in raw cacao in its toothpastes. And better, it claims to be as effective or in fact more effective than fluoride when it comes to remineralizing and strengthening tooth enamel. I only read a limited amount of studies, and with small scale studies you really never know for sure whether or not the main company has a stake in the methods and outcome, but this pubmed article states that the active ingredient of Theodent, theobromine, is effective at hardening the surface hardness of teeth. 


In an in-vitro study, twenty-four freshly extracted human third molars were collected for the experiments. "After baseline microhardness measurements, they were incubated either in 100 or 200 mg/l theobromine for 5 min. The control group was kept in distilled water." After a demineralization and remineralization process, the surface of the enamel of the molars was checked on their microhardness and researchers found a "consistent and remarkable protection of the enamel surface was found with the application of theobromine."



This research also confirmed the enamel strengthening effect of theobromine, and that it was stronger in that respect than the brands Sensodyne or Colgate. An abstract from the article:
"A toothpaste that contains a natural chocolate extract was more capable of remineralizing exposed dentin, which could reduce dental hypersensitivity, than fluoride-based toothpastes, including Sensodyne NuPro (GlaxoSmithKline), according to results from a randomized double-blind clinical.
The study evaluated the enamel-strengthening potential of Theodent (Theodent) toothpaste containing the patented compound Rennou (Theodent). The active ingredient of Rennou is theobromine, a compound that is prominent in chocolate; it also contains calcium and phosphate. Thoedent does not contain fluoride."


I bought all three types of Theodent toothpaste over a space of a couple of months; the children's version is mild and has no spearmint (I prefer it), but it has a lower percentage of theobromine than the 300 white series of Theodent. Which is really expensive btw.. Therefore I bought the kids version and the normal adult version first, both are around 10 dollars. I didn't flush from both (and preferred the kids version because it actually tastes like chocolate :). But because I'm so petrified about keeping my teeth tip top now, I also bought the high strength version (I don't dare to mention the price..). I honestly don't know if this brand is as effective as fluoride is said to be when it comes to preventing dental carries. It feels like a risk to me, but then again, I just can't deal with severe flushing due to fluoride tooth paste daily. Others might be fine with it, I don't want to scaremonger anyone, but I am in serious distress over the type of skin reactions I get from fluoride. 

I also realize that my antihistamines and other medications might cause dry mouth, and that dry mouth is not very beneficial for healthy teeth. So I make sure I drink enough water and keep salive in my mouth, so to speak. I also try to eat like the cavemen did, who I found out upon some researching had surprising good teeth. Sugar and simple carbohydrates are a pest for dental hygiene I read and well... those two also seem to worsen my skin inflammation, so that's a double motivation to stick to more vegetables and protein. 


But regardless of toothpaste worries, overall I'm just miserable with my painful skin at the moment, and fairly bored with the amount of pampering and coddling my skin takes. And even then it sucks most of the time. I feel so much more upbeat, energetic and outgoing when my skin isn't burning so bad and just behaves. One thing I'm glad of however, is that I don't have itchy eczema. Maybe pain and burning is a tad bit easier to handle than burning and itching inflamed skin.. Fingers crossed I won't get that, ever. These itching hives are enough already. On top, my lungs are playing up again too. I suspect it's just the cold air and the mild flu I'm having.

A friend with rosacea has a ton of symptoms that mimic mine, including inflamed knees, rosacea, seb derm, tiredness and much more and she was recently diagnosed with mixed connective tissue disease. Doctors expect lupus in her case. I don't try to be a hypochondriac here, but my ANA auto-antibodies have gone up the past decade, from zero to 1:40 and 6 years ago 1:80. It has to do with the amount of autoantibodies they find in the blood, which are an indication for auto immune disease. I'll see if my doctor can have me tested again, hopefully the number is similar, but if it went up again, who knows, an immunologist might take all my symptoms serious? For lupus, doctors usually look at numbers above 80:1 (actually, they look for quite a bit higher a number), because a small percentage of healthy population also has low positive ANA blood results, despite having no auto-immune disease. But I do have auto immune problems, I have all sorts of inflammatory blood markers and auto immunity blood results. Not dramatically bad, but just mildly positive. Which is annoying, as I have inflamed sore knees for decades already now, despite being in my 30s only, am generally tired, and been diagnosed with a host of inflammatory conditions like colitis, Raynaud's disease and allergies. Now my lungs are having low grade inflammation for over a year already and my skin is just one red inflamed mess often. I just hope there is some over arching explanation for all these symptoms. Maybe another blood test can give a better diagnosis, but I'm not really getting my hopes up. 


Someone asked me on the Rosacea Forum about the exact effect my anti flushing medication has on my skin: 
"I read some of your other posts where you mentioned that you had a unsuccessful (bad) ipl experience. Did you develop constant background redness before this ipl, or only after this ipl? When you mentioned that you use medications to keep your redness and flushing at bay, do you mean that your background redness is gone / you have your pale skin back when you are on medications?.

[Also] I still believe your condition was caused by steroid. the doctors' so-called "predisposition to rosacea" actually does not make any sense. Think about this logically: if 100 people get affected by same amount of radiation, then 20 people get cancer, but the rest 80 don't. for those 20 cancer people, no doctor will say "Hey, you get cancer because you are predisposed to cancer!". Instead, it is naturally accepted as that radiation caused those 20 people cancer! In terms of why the other 80 people who don't get cancer, doctors will say "they are healthier, stronger resistance to radiation!" one thing doctor won't say is "those 80 people are not predisposed to cancer". For those 80 people, it will take a lot more radiation to cause cancer in them. that is the only difference. Same logic applies to steroid induced rosacea. Some people get affected by even 1 time application of topical steroid, while some people display symptoms only after many years of application. It only means some people have strong blood vessels resistant to steroid while some people have weak vessels to steroid."


I replied:

"What the medication does for me, is to not have me flushed and beet red 24/7 anymore. I do get very red and flushed still, especially now in winter or in the heat of summer. But I can have lighter skin if not flushed and when I keep cool too now. I'm subtype 1 with a lot of crazy flushing, the redness comes with the flushing. It's not permanent in a way, as when I am all cooled up, I can look fairly pale. I just flush at the drop of a hat and go from scale 2 to 8 or 9, if you'd want to scale such a thing. Much more red now than before the IPL and on a much bigger skin area (everywhere that dr zapped me) than before. 
Yeh I had an unhappy IPL experience. I did have redness and flushing before the IPL. But mainly on my upper cheeks. On the apples of the cheeks so to speak. Not full face. And I could have pale skin too when the flush calmed down again. So no 24/7 constant redness. I didn't need a fan all the time either back then. But after that IPL I flushed and went (still go) red all over my cheeks, the entire cheek area, and chin and ears too. And a much deeper shade of red also, compared to before. So there has since been redness and flushing where there never used to be any, and I flush about 20 times more, like; a lot more and severe ever since. The year right after that IPL was the worst. Then I was given anti flushing medication. 

You might be right. I never fully understood what happened there and how I could go from no flushing to getting a flushed face most evenings or from a host of triggers.It might be indeed what you just wrote, that these steroids get to some people sooner than to others. The ****ty thing is; you can't turn it back, you can't 'undo' the few days of steroid cream use. I looked up teenage pictures lately to look for signs of early rosacea there and the only thing I found was a drunk night on holiday where I had some mild redness on the upper cheeks from the alcohol. Nothing I could notice unless I looked in a mirror, no obvious flush heat and burning. That all started right after the steroid use."


The Forum Member wrote in response: 
"I am always "amazed" at how little responsibility those doctors are held accountable! People who drive cars and accidentally hit and hurt someone are always held accountable; then why not those 
f-cking doctors who prescribe steroid like napkin dispenser and those f-cking doctors who zap people with lasers without carefully consider the patients full history and skin conditions but just want to "collect" more patients/laser sessions and make money!!! Those doctors' crimes are way more severe than drivers who hurt people during accidents!!!
How long did you wait between the steroid (hydrocortisone) cream and that ipl? Do you mind of sharing the reason that you chose ipl instead of some pdl (eg vbeam, ktp, yag) initially? Have you tried any pdl after that ipl then?" 


I replied:

"Yeh it made me very angry and upset indeed, and I'm not alone. I know several people who had their skin worsened quite significantly by doctors and their IPL/laser machines. It makes most fuming that the doctors just say that their machines cannot be held responsible and that it must be rosacea's natural progression. They do walk off and forget about you, while you are left with a life in tatters. And worst of all; they had you sign a contract before it all started, so you have not a leg to stand on, if you want to stay within the legal side of the law. 

The steroid cream was used in 1999, the IPL in 2005. In between I first tried all sorts of natural treatment options, acupuncturists, herbalists, basic rosacea treatments like antibiotics and creams. Nothing worked. I was already on this forum back then and just rode the IPL hype that was going on already at the time. I got this doctors name from the forum too. I visited him in England a separate time, to ask for test patches but he dismissed that, said it wasn't necessary. I have regretted this bitterly. I understood at the time that IPL was 'best' for flushing and base redness. I don't have visible blood vessels, which was thought to be the thing to use laser for. Later those insights seem to have changed, I think the consensus here is now that for flushing the v-beam or some other ype of laser is actually more effective. 

I had test patches with pdl laser after 2005, first with my local dermatologist, then the late Dr. Crouch helped me a lot, doing all sorts of test patches for free; pdl, yag, also Lumenis One IPL. None of the lasers gave me any pale skin response. The Lumenis One did with certain triple layer settings, but when we did a full face treatment in 2006, it gave me a month long inflammation and redness all over my face. Took NSAID medication to calm things down and in the end, that IPL didn't help me but didn't make me worse either, so no drama that time, luckily. Crouch thought I am not a good candidate for laser nor IPL, as my skin is too reactive and sensitive and I have some light sensitivities too. Then in 2011 and 2012 I had part of my lower cheek test patched with v-beam perfecta, just to be sure that one could help me (Crouch didn't have that type of laser) but it showed no effect whatsoever, and I didn't dare to do a full face treatment as a result. That's the score. I am too afraid I'll make matters worse with either laser or IPL as it stands now."



Ok, have to add something upbeat too. This made me chuckle last week: week long warnings about an upcoming 'snow storm' in London are met with a flurry of tweets mocking meltdown in the capital:

 








There's been beautiful winter conditions in Holland too, only we don't fret about snow, but more about ICE.... Every winter there is talk of a nature ice skate tournament in Holland, in the north, and you won't believe the level of excitement this evokes in people. It's even a main news topic on tele. Some kids can skate before they walk. They are talking about the chances of an Elfstedentocht, like every year. A 200 km ice skate tour, on natural ice, across the province of Frysland. A mythical tour, because we haven't had one for the past twenty years. It was simply too warm all those winters after 1997 to organize an Elfstedentocht. Nevertheless the ice masters gather every winter in the hope of preparations for one. The best one to date was also the coldest one, the Elfstedentocht from 1963. In fact, that year they had the coldest winter in Dutch history (or as long as temperatures have been measured). This is the absolute heart of Dutchness:

Minus 21 degrees it was at the start. People still talk about this race. It was epic, people were admitted to hospital halfways with frozen eyeballs (for real). It's called The Hell from '63. It comes close to Argentina '74 and Germany '78 (both touchy topics and football/soccer related). People were dragged off the ice, completely dazed and lost, farmers found ice skaters kilometers off track, totally astray. Darkness, ice, wind. Frozen toes, fingers, noses, you name it. The wind was hard and made it feel Siberian. There were cuts and tears in the ice, it wasn't sweet sailing. 200 kilometers in total and the winner, Reinier Paping, did it in 11 hours.

I heard back an 80s song the other day, The Wind of Change on the radio. From the Scorpions. Might have been early 90s and I still have no clue what he sings in the first 2 lines haha: "I follow damosqua, and down to gonki paw"?? Either way, I wonder now if people really wanted the wind of change, if they knew back then what they were in for. I wouldn't, it could have stayed the 80's for ever if it were up to me. A Flemish psychiatrist said in an interview that he sees problems with the generation of today. That young people in his practice can look at him with an empty, non understanding stare when he asks them how they are doing. This is a culture of images, young people are used at visuals, and many cannot even find the sufficient words to describe their own feelings anymore, he states. They rather resort to emoticons. Many can mainly like things, and don't have the vocabulary to describe it when they don't feel good. Unhappiness is a massive taboo in today's world of Generation Z and beyond. It's all about personal happiness nowadays, but he pleads for a bit more humbleness in fact.

I notice this too of course. Life is flashy and fast for the friends around me. Jobs, young family life. But that is not enough. They need to be spiders in a big web, and also be social in the weekends, keep up large social groups of friends and family, go out, look trim and young, travel, be great spouses or partners of course. And that is wonderful, but there seems very little space for when it all doesn't go fantastic. We see the happy times magnified on social media, but rarely the struggles. It might be part of our image culture of today, one where we can control our own image with snap chat filters and one sided personal updates. But when you live on the periphery of life in a way, like I feel I do, then it can be demoralizing to feel there is not much I can chime in with. There isn't much space for being sick and ailing and unable to keep up with the fast life. Or so it feels sometimes. I have a couple of friends in my same age group, who all suffer from chronic illnesses, and they seem to feel more or less the same about this. It's almost a bubble we live in; even when we meet up with our busy and successful friends from a past life, we never really fit in seamlessly anymore. We are in a lower gear, we have to live a more quiet and restricted life. Of course there are always loved ones who understand that, but I do wonder sometimes if the pace of life is getting faster and flashier nowadays than it might have been some decades ago. In general I mean. 

So anyway, this psychiatrist states that he feels that we're at a border of the liberal consumerist system. People seem obsessively occupied and focused with being happy, he says. And not just regular happiness, but extremely happiness. Improbably high levels of happiness. It's never enough. Abnormal obsession with becoming happy. As if that has become the main goal of life. Aristotle already thought about this btw. But he lived in a different society. 
It really isn't, but our consumer society is trying to sell it to us this way. And by consumerist message, we can do all sorts of things to achieve this, but usually we have to buy stuff for it, like wellness weekends and self help books and courses, and we can especially purchase a lot of products for this. Flashy cars or expensive clothes are sold as the pinnacle of success in the west, something we deserve if we work hard. Something we are entitled to. Happiness is connected to big mansions. In reality, there is no significant simple correlation between money alone and happiness, with exception of dire poverty and extreme richness, which both make more unhappy according to statistics. But otherwise, money alone doesn't statistically make people more happy on the long term. But those who are successful and at the forefront of society, those who look sunburnt and have designer glasses and long legged blondes with them, they say: "See, I did it all myself. My happiness is my merit". 

Maybe it has a bit too do with the secularization of society. No more afterlife paradise means that we have abolished the promise of afterlife happiness. Now most think there is nothing after death. Or maybe there is something after death, but the tendency is to make sure that we have sufficient happiness here and now, just in case. And we look for happiness more in kicks and in exceptional stuff than we did before according to the doc. Always faster and better. People flock to the big cities, thinking it's there that they must find happiness. Not in the ordinary, always looking for it in the exceptional. That is tiring for our neurological system. Just doing nothing is getting increasingly more difficult for youngsters. Just try it; have a bunch of teenagers sit in a room for a day without the right to check their phones. Or maybe for a few hours even. Tough for many. There seems to be a constant addiction to impulses, pings, and kicks. And life can't be like that all the time. Peeks come with descents. Highs and lows and such. But many young people seem unable to deal with that. Life must be one long stream of events and highs. 

On top we have a grabbing culture, fueled by greed, who isn't focusing primarily on developing our own personal talents. Success in today's culture is often about grabbing as many bonuses as possible and pushing others out of my way. Doc sees a risk in this and fears that our society is heading in a direction where attachment becomes a problem. Where people no longer flourish in a predictable environment, where they can safely make mistakes, experiment and be loved unconditionally. Because for more and more people, their identity is linked to the image they create of themselves. The way they like to be seen and perceived. Your glass frame fashion is your identity, your fashionable clothes; that what the outside shows. And when someones identity shifts, because of illness for instance or economical misfortune (not to mention the inevitable losses you'll suffer along the way, or the ageing), more people now than before seem to lose part of their identity. Whereas your identity should be rooted, and be steadfast. Not so easily blown to pieces when some unhappiness seeps in. Those people can become literally sick from a bit of unhappiness. 

Happiness in our society is seen as our own earning, but unhappiness is seen as a psychological condition. Depression, personality disorders, all sorts of diagnoses that people seek because they cannot deal with the fact that they cannot be unlimitedly happy. They want a pill, to feel good again, so they can return to the hectic life out there of the successful and the happy, as if nothing is the matter. Keeping that illusion of happiness up. And pills do work, a bit. Making the people who take these pills think they are no patients. People nowadays are diagnosed when they show even the slightest deviation from the norm. With all types of abbreviations. ADD, ADHD, lots of D's in it usually. 

Maybe people should stop this obsession with happiness as the goal of life. Perhaps it's better and more calming to aim to live a good life. As in; being a good person, doing some good in the world, in whatever way. That's why I always bitch about social media. Not because I am against it an sich, but because the social media I do use make it obvious that people often filter out all the regular things, all the sad things, the things that go wrong, and only highlight their life's highlights, in an ongoing stream of little lights, and it helps create the crazy world of today. It's a big part of the hype and the craze. And maybe the world sometimes needs a slower pace. Time to walk a bit, think a bit. Time, not always as an economic factor. It's easy talking for me probably, as I am more or less forced to live that way now. I can go out and about all the time, but being bright red and in burning pain makes it very hard to enjoy much of that. I am best of when I keep calm when my skin plays up, and make the best of my day when my skin behaves. It's not easy though. Especially not when you had all this from your late teens on. I do feel left out at times, like I am existing instead of really living and experiencing a whole lot. But it is what it is... Some people don't experience anything at all. My sister died over a decade ago, I do think of people worse off, when I get in one of these wallowing self pitying moods. It helps in some ways. And it also helps me to refocus and realize that life isn't about being happy all the time, for most people. Feeling sad sometimes is normal, no matter what social media makes you believe; it's part of life or a consequence of someones situation sometimes, not necessarily a psychiatric disorder. Happiness has probably more to do with being born at the right place, being loved by your family and friends, having the right financial opportunities to study and to meet the right people. With good or bad luck, in fact. 

This also usually cheers me up, in the CATegory lame catness:







January 16th 2017

I re-started with an old medication, that I used to take for years, between 2007-2010; diclofenac. It's a non steroidal anti inflammatory (NSAID), and I feel it is dimming the redness a bit. It's not helping me with flushing, but I feel that while taking it, the background redness is not as deep. I have been taking 100
mg a day for the past three days and I feel my overall redness and skin inflammation is a bit less now. The pictures I show here are taken in the morning, after waking up, so I am always a bit less red then, and gradually during the day the redness increases for me. So this was my absolute palest moment of the day. nevertheless, I woke up red the weeks and months prior..

The downside of this medication is that you need to be really careful with your stomach. It's quite harsh on the stomach lining. I take my dose with a proper main meal, never on an empty stomach, or it feels like it burns an ulcer right away. It won't right away of course, the pills have a protective coating, but they are linked to ulcers after long(er) term use, so you need to be careful with this one.

It's still a lot more safe to try for your rosacea than resorting to steroids, either topical (absolutely not wise to use any steroid cream when you have rosacea, or a tendency to blush and flare, it can really make things a lot worse), or systematic; even taking prednisone orally is a risk when you have rosacea, and it can trigger rosacea too, in those with a predisposition for rosacea. But not necessarily. Some people with rosacea take steroids short term and it doesn't affect their rosacea. And in general, many people take steroids for all sorts of health problems and never develop skin problems from it. But people with pale skin, a tendency to sunburn and blush, do have a higher risk to develop a flushing or rosacea skin problem, after using corticosteroids. This risk is unfortunately not something that dermatologists and GP's are always aware of.

ephemerality wrote about this on The Rosacea Forum:
"Steroid induced rosacea does not requires long term usage of steroid. for some people, even 1 time application can do all the damage. don't believe the standard BS thrown out there by those "medical professionals". everyone's body is different;everyone's blood vessel flexibility/resilience/stability is different. maybe, it is true, for majority people, it takes months of steroid to develop rosacea red face; and there are people who never develop red face no matter how long they keep using steroid. however, for a small number of people, the full steroid damage only requires very short times (days, not even weeks). 

There is no possibility to persuade those medical professionals to admit/believe the severe danger from steroid. biggest tools (pretty much the only tools) western medecines have are "antibiotic" and "steroid". by playing with those 2 things, pharma comps and docs have been able to make tons of shxt loads of money. especially those dermatologies, without steroid cream, half of them would show up with dumbface and lose job right there, because they really have and know nothing else to offer patients. It is all about money! 1 unlimited supply in the world for derms (and docs and pharma comps) are people. they can keep making money, have their "respectful careers", and pile up assets for their children, as long as general population keep believing their fooling with the notion that "short-term steroid use does not cause problem" and "steroid usage under direction of your doctors is safe". What consequence is there to them when they ruin our faces!!! they will just get new patients and keep doing the same thing, and anyway, some people will be fine, and some will be ruined!"


I agree with this post-writer. In 1999 I only used a hydrocortisone cream for around 3 or 4 days in the area around my mouth and nose, a bit on a cheek, and developed rosacea, flushing, redness and burning seemingly overnight from it. It was ridiculous really. The problem is that for some people with rosacea, doctors do prescribe short term use of steroids (either something like prednisone, or a cortisone cream even, in an attempt to bring inflammation down) and some do fine on it, and it doesn't hurt their rosacea. But for some others, it does make things much worse. You just don't know beforehand if you'll be fine with it, or if you are one of the unlucky few who have their rosacea worsened by it. My dermatologist always says; it's Russian roulette to use any steroid, if you are a heavy flusher. I'd not take the risk. He warns me against any type of steroid use, including steroid nose spray and eye drops.

The worst part is that the steroid use is often not even strictly necessary.. I had some mild eczema at the time, and it really didn't require a steroid cream, but I never had skin problems prior and never thought a short period of use could pose such risks. I didn't even know of the risk. I feel that doctors, both dermatologists and GP's, need to be aware of the fact that steroids can trigger rosacea in those with a higher risk for it, like a tendency to blush, to sunburn and people with pale skin that easily goes red. It sometimes really is thrown at patients as an easy fix for all. It also rarely cures you from anything, as steroids merely suppress symptoms, and topical steroids not only thin the skin in the long run, but they also make the skin addicted to some degree to this cream (weaning off gives often rebound symptoms). So just be careful with steroids, if you have rosacea.








I also have been eating healthy and been using my UVB narrow lamp, to (almost) naturally and slowly increase my vitamin D levels now that it's winter here. Read more about it here.









January 12th 2017


Happy new year and I hope that everybody reading this had nice holidays and enjoyed the festive days with minimal skin discomfort! I have a horror time with my rosacea unfortunately. It's been basically burning since the start of December, when the weather turned cold and the central heating went on. In summer, my skin can be pale when it's not flushed over something. Now I'm a constant red blob. My whole face feels sunburned badly and even when I fan it and have indoor temperature not too warm, not too cold, not too dry, I still look super red. It's permanent redness, apart from it being seasonal :) I also have seb derm around my mouth and nose and forehead, as usual with winter and the lovely cold weather hives are back too. Currently having 5 on one cheek and 2 on another :(
I am trying so bad to not fab with super cold air flowing on my skin, but every darn winter it's the same story. And every fall my skin looks and feels relatively good, and I vow to NOT let it get too bad in the upcoming winter. I just cannot avoid it it seems.
I'm pretty darn miserable to be honest. It's draining to have a burning glowing face even during sleep, when you're supposed to rest and have a break from it all. I even have a glowing rosacea flare in my dreams! And thanks to mirtazapine pills I have vivid eventful dreams every night, but when I'm having a sore face, it always features in the dream.

I just hope this nightmare ends again in spring. It's been close to 20 years now that I have this rosacea thing ruining my life more or less and it still didn't burn itself out, as my derm predicts and hopes will happen, eventually, with older age.. I am very doubtful, the amount of flushing and redness I'm getting can surely not just heal overnight? I do notice that my hormones play a role in the severity, the week before my period is definitely the worst of the month in terms of rosacea.

Sigh. I had nice Christmas days nevertheless. My best friend, her partner and their two kids came over and stayed for 5 days. It is lovely to have bouncing kids around for so long, and they áre lovely, but it was a shock of the system in a way (the system of the child free - or childless if you please) and neither the cats were very used to all that noise and the amount of toys everywhere. They mostly fled outside hehe. It was fun of course, but also full on with hyperactive kids and their cat allergies and the biggest mess the house has ever seen. Have had an overdose on dinosaurs and sharks, but who doesn't love dinosaurs and sharks.

We had traditional Christmas sweets, opened gifts at 00.00.01s of the early seconds of Christmas day (Ready? ... hang on.. GO!!). We ate lots of codfish (otherwise Jesus Christ will doom us to burn in hell like heathens for eternity for not eating fish). Admittedly, codfish is the go-to fish when it comes to the consumption of seafood. I can see how God would have a deadly serious concern when it comes to the whitefish. I heard the Meijers had salmon on Christmas! They’re well and truly in trouble, doomed forever.

I explained my friends that I was having a bad skin flare period and they are always understanding. But they are also naturally cold and used to 23 degrees Celsius in their own home, so I felt I had to compromise and had it warmer in the house than normal. But I was already flaring anyway, even with the heating off, so I tried to make the best of it. It was hard at times as they're all amazing cooks and everybody enjoyed fabulous foods and I was usually stuck with the bleak (but lovingly made) version of things. Oh well :)

I wonder if it depends on the kid in question and the way they are raised, or whether alll Kinder equal High draining levels. I also contracted the sniffles from my friends' kids, who both had the plague. In terms of material worldly possessions, Capitalist Santa brought me a book on the history of discoveries that I asked for. Oh and we watched a movie from 1939; Love Affair, which was charming. And not even the first movie about a romantic meet up on the Empire State Building. Cary Grant made a remake of it decades later, but that wasn't the original, and apparently the 1939 one with Charles Boyer wasn't either.

Koshka, one of my cats, needed to be taken to the vet last week for apparent flu and a swollen eye. He got a course of antibiotics, an anti inflammatory but also a gel for the eye that contains both antibiotic and a steroid gel.. The doc put the drops in his eyes and I feel terrible about this, but I haven't used it since.. As I am petrified of him licking his eye and transferring the steroid cream to his fur and me patting him and having it on my hands, and then without thinking touching my face with them. It's fairly neurotic, I do realize that, but topical steroids started my entire rosacea nightmare (and only a few days of using it sparingly on my face). I am just so worried to push my flushing and burning over the edge, as things are already pretty poor often. I also have had much more redness and burning and swelling of my face since that vet visit, so I've grown paranoid about the steroid eye gel. Luckily, the oral antibiotic- and anti inflammatory course is helping him a lot, and I rinse his eye with a saline solution. I also didn't see him lick the gel out of his eyes when carrying him home but this sort of worrying is making me feel slightly crazy. If his eye had not improved, I would have used the gel, with tons of precaution measurements.


I went to a Thai friends food truck opening night last night. It was her first night and it was packed! She made all her food from scratch and I don't think she expected so many people. It was nice. I couldn't eat any of the dishes, except for a super mild one with prawns, beansprouts, tamarind and noodles. Delicious, especially to have such different flavours from my regular diet.
It was extremely cold and windy and I think I developed a couple of extra cold weather hives overnight.. Oh well. I wanted to say goodbye to her and her Thai help at some point, and he unexpectedly gave me 3 kisses on the cheek. Normal custom, but I usually try to avoid it, if possible, but it happened so quickly and he had definitely something on his skin :(  My bet is some aftershave, it was a pleasant scent, but not something I like on my crazy skin. And it burned, but I had to drive quite a while back home first to get it off with water., Should always bring bottled water and cotton pads over with me probably, but I tend to forget.. It's awful how everybody wants to kiss, and more awful to have to think about these things all the time.


All this painful skin flaring gave me the opportunity to take a little break from the ongoing computer work (art reviews, art columns and lately very successful horse race betting and mathematical analysis so that it's not betting but chance prediction, resulting in some profits, woohoo). But now I was so sore and red that I've been binge watching one of the best TV series I've seen in a while: Westworld. (I know, I used to say that of Game of Thrones too, but their last seasons were slightly more meh. Not this car music theme cover though!).










Westworld features Anthony Hopkins, Ed Harris, Evan Rachel Wood and many others. Stunning and extremely thought provoking. Well, for me at least :)
Just to warm you up for it a bit perhaps, it deals with interesting themes like memory, its value and desirability, what makes us human, what it takes to become human, what it takes to dehumanize, and coming to a higher consciousness. It's brought like a dream in a dream in parts, but always to support the broader story and to visualize something much more profound to the viewer. It made me question consciousness, morality, free will, my inner voice. It is about a struggle for inner purpose and inward journeys. How do we define consciousness in a world where we are creating machines that will be so good at mimicking humans that it can fool ourselves? Machines that are many times stronger and million times more intelligent than us? Will we lose control in the end?
And with regards to our memories: how many of them do we really need and want? Hosts can have theirs erased (like in Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind). But it makes you think of your own memory too; memories can be destructive and life changing. Removing the worst memories can make people, or hosts in this case, perhaps better and less tormented beings. If you were given that option, would you take it? Erase the worst memories? Many will say no, because memories are part of your growing process as an individual, and they can shape you and you tend to learn from them too. Are such functions acceptable with the worst memories, when they could be also destructively dragging someone down? In this series, memories ("reveries") are deemed vital for consciousness.

In this show, a theme park is created for well paying visitors, to relive the old western days. All the actors in this theme park are robots however. 'Hosts'. They look just like humans and are programmed to behave almost the same as humans. Only the good observer will notice that they operate in behavioural loops. Guests can do whatever they want with the hosts; be taken along on exciting story lines and adventures, or downright abuse, rape or kill them, which happens at a staggering pace.
The hosts are invented and created by a genius, Dr Ford (Anthony Hopkins). But the park is run by a corporation. This corporation, Delos, has no empathy or personal connection to these hosts and no pity for the shit they are made to go through. It's the corporate world that uses these hosts and wants to make big money out of them. It is set in the near future, no date is given but its the future and we never really see the real world and what it turned into in the mean time (it is possible to puzzle together a date though, around 2052). We only hear that it's cruel and harsh and that rich humans like to pay big bucks to go to this western themed, old fashioned theme park, where they can play a role in the many set up story lines, and do whatever they want. Be their own hero. Unlike in the real world. But it's clear that corporations run the show, as they also run the show in Westworld, or try to do so.

In theory, androids can only closely mimic human behaviour and develop something that might look like consciousness and sentience, but never the real deal. Everything they do, say and think is programmed in the end (with some space left for improvisation, in the series), whereas true consciousness requires more than that. Things like free will and self awareness. But how do you recognize human-like consciousness? The show constantly explores artificial and human consciousness. We're shown hosts (the androids) who regularly display authentic seeming and appearing, believable emotions, across the whole range of human experience. From grief to rage, love, care and so on. There seems no limit to their forms of expression, living their life fully and thoroughly within the “dome” of their personal experience. Exactly like all of us. Or at least exactly like the perspective shown in The Matrix: all of us live within a certain dome of fiction. Pain only exists in the mind. It's in a way imagined. So what's the difference between our pain and that of an android programmed to experience it just the same? They are lifelike, but not alive? Pain only exists in the mind. It's in a way imagined. So what's the difference between our pain and that of an android programmed to experience it just the same?

Yet, there is a clear difference because the hosts are coded, all of their emotions are scripted and they're programmed to remain under human control and within clear limits. Because they are potential hazards, once things go wrong, being so much more strong and intelligent than humans. They cannot really hurt human beings (apart from the odd slap, scratch or catch the kinetic energy force from a non punctuating bullet - pretty much like we discuss often for our invention!). They cannot see certain things they are not supposed to see (they can technically see the, but it is blocked from their consciousness). These hosts have been limited to perceive certain specific things. That they cannot remember their previous “lives” (and if reincarnation exists, neither can we). None of that really touches directly the problem of “being conscious”, but are about control; fail-safe mechanisms, designed so that human beings can guarantee and preserve total control. Held prisoner for human beings pleasure.

In our own lives, there seems to be no threshold that makes us greater than the sum of our parts. We probably can never entirely define consciousness, because for all we know, consciousness doesn't even exist. Compared with the consciousness of apes, dogs, cats. Animals such as dolphins, horses, and certain birds are quite intelligent. They can learn from experience (sapience,) in some cases faster than humans do. What most animals lack is sentience, or the ability to comprehend and conceptualize emotions. A dog will miss you, yet it doesn’t have the intellectual capacity to recognize that it misses you. It is an on-off switch to a dog, a state of you’re being home versus you’re not being home. We as humans are fairly sure that there's something special about the way we perceive the world, and yet we live in loops as tight and as closed as the hosts in Westworld do, seldom questioning our choices, content, and most humans are told what to do next.

Because we are also programmed, by all sorts of influences but ultimately by evolution itself. It has a simple rule set: species must survive and reproduce. Because we need enough food and resources for this, we create competition. If we fail in any of those two, we die. That's it. That's probably the meaning of life. That some geniuses add things that soothe us along the ride, like music, art, books, is only making the ride a bit more pleasurable, but ultimately, no different. And some actually strive for higher things, for culture, for universal wisdom and truths, even religion if you want to stretch it (although I think religion caused most suffering and misery on the planet too). But the majority of mankind isn't occupied with that Enlightened stuff. And ultimately, everything else is just a story we tell ourselves for how we got here and what defines us. But how different are we really from androids in this show, you wonder when watching Westworld? We're all programmed and wired just the same.

The androids are different from humans and not just because they are created by humans. We have freedom of choice, and they are programmed to act and choose based on a predetermined set of instructions. We constantly question our choices, through retrospection. We have self awareness, we know what we are to a certain extent, they don't until they become self aware. One of the hosts in the show didn't know that she was a robot until she was told and until it was proven to her. We can define consciousness, we just can't account for how it arises. It's the state of being self aware, being able to perceive, and responding accordingly to one's surroundings. If the hosts in the show would ever reach that state, it wouldn't come easy,  so you can argue that there isn't much difference between the android and humans. Or you can also argue that none of us have free will, as Sam Harris does. Sam defines free will as the belief that you have the ability to make decisions independent of your genetics or conditions. It is about whether the choices are free of stuff we can't control. If we can't control what's making us do what we want then we don't have free will according to Sam.


So in a way, one could that that the androids are only different from humans, because they are
created by humans and not by evolution, and bc humans can control them. With a different story, we're different people. Without a narrative of self, who you are, where you came from, how you got to now, perhaps we're no different than the hosts. There is no divine or predestined meaning to anything, only the meaning we ourselves create and impose on our lives. And it can be completely altered by a different story.

In this show technology mimics and eventually tries to trump evolution. The series deviates from the 70's movie in several ways and is much more complex, compelling and ambitious in comparison I think (although you need to see things within their time of course).
So, Westworld is a great show, but it needs a few episodes to grow on you. A few episodes, before it feels the makers are no longer toying with basic concepts. It starts off straight forward seeming, but as the story progresses, it opens up a fascinating world.

It also discusses your 'inner voice'. In tribal times, people dedicated it to God. The key to unlocking “Westworld” has to do with Julian Jaynes’s theory of the “Bicameral Mind”. In it, Jaynes suggests that the human brain has not always functioned in the same way. 3,000 years ago, men and women  lacked the linguistic tools for self-awareness and introspection. Their actions were instead determined by a back-and-forth between the part of the brain that’s “speaking” and another part that listens and obeys. Something Jaynes describes as a kind of hallucination where a commanding, external “god-voice” intervened when they had a decision to make. The brain is a fascinating organ.

As explained in this very short clip:

I never looked at Michelangelos painting like that, crazy once you see it, how anyone could have missed that. I take it that it was his covered up criticism on religion and the catholic church.




Some pictures of my poor skin. I wonder if I should start taking diclofenac (NSAID) again, as my skin inflammation seems to go through the roof. So sick of the burning.. I need to occupy myself with other things, hence the postings on here about things I read or watched or that somehow interest me. Or else I go mad I feel.










I also love watching a travel (reality) series called The Amazing Race. It is an American program, but I first watched the Australian version, before realizing it's an American original. They are at season 28 now over there, and I've seen at least half of them, probably a lot more. It's amazing relaxation tv for me; it takes you to all sorts of countries I will certainly never visit in my lifetime, and makes you feel part of a group of people in a competition. It's lovely. You have couples, a group of couples, who race each other in countries around the world, with sometimes simple, sometimes more daunting challenges set up in each country; usually having
something to do with local habits or cultures. The show won 8 emmies (for what that's worth), it's well made and has a good budget, so they can actually travel the world and go to fantastic places. Its strength is not just that, but also the way in which you get to know these competing couples well. The show makers said they never cast for drama, they don't instruct people to create drama because viewers would see through those sort of tricks, and when you cast well, it's also not needed. Being in a competitive race with a partner of some sorts, where every new leg, every new challenge is putting them to the test, creates drama and conflict naturally. And even then, it's not about the conflict. It's just nice to see real humans who show their true colours when on a quest like this. And it's exciting tv because every leg has so many exciting moments. There are road blocks where one of the two of each couple need to complete it (and they only get a hint of the challenge before they need to decide who does it; with a male/female team this can turn out to be the wrong choice sometimes, if it involves a dancer choreography for a man for instance, or a strength challenge for a woman). But then there are also detours, where teams need to choose between two tasks that are different, and they do not know the details apart from a sketch of what is involved. It might turn out one is much more time consuming for some than the other task. There is risk in their choice and it keeps things a bit unpredictable. Good teams can go home due to a single mistake. That keeps it very vibrant to watch. You tend to root for some team or another, after all.

The way the program is shot seemed initially a bit fast and flashy to me, but I got used to it and now love the amount of energy and smiles the American contestants have. Sure, some shout a lot, they can be a bit brash, their teeth seem too white sometimes, but I just love the enthusiasm most have and the way they hug complete strangers in Armenia or Colombia when they successfully finish a challenge. You can tell they aren't used to all the hugs, for instance the stiff Swiss people in the Alps, but who gives a toss, these people are loving their travels and are erupting sometimes almost with joy and cheers. Maybe people hug a lot in general in the USA? I don't know, it's not a normal habit over here, but you can tell that wherever this program goes in the world, there is usually a positive response to their jubilant ways. Nice.




I saw this cool map of the scale of the universe, from smallest to biggest:

http://scaleofuniverse.com
(Press start, then use the zooming device).
It made me think of time travel, black holes and whether or not there could perhaps be multiple universes, instead of just the one we have knowledge of now? Not that it isn't big enough haha. There could be many other universes behind/around 'ours'. And could black holes perhaps be doors to other black holes in our own universe, at the least? Worm holes and loopways? All that matter that it sucks in has to end up somewhere. Or could black holes perhaps lead to other universes?

Some scientists are trying to tackle the entire problem of the big bang. Because it makes little sense to my limited brain that all the powers of the universe erupted out of nothing. So two groups are debating and investigating whether or not the big bang could be a collision between other universes, ones we haven't discovered yet. Or, whether or not our universe could be like a balloon, inflating and deflating all the time, creating big bangs time and time again.
Wished I was smart enough to be a scientist dealing with such a topic. These black holes are the floor drains of the universe, the cosmic vacuum cleaners. They even suck up light and natural laws! They are the villains in Einsteins world. Hollywood seems very interested in black holes too (Superman/ The Black Hole / Interstellar / Planet of the Apes / Futurama).

Gravity has always been a bitch in the past, Jules Verne wanted to go to the moon and thought of a cannon, shooting a rocket to the moon, as to defy gravity. In reality, cannons can only launch a rocket to 150 km height. Then gravity takes it back. It would be possible, but a bullet would need to travel at least at 40,000 km. an hour (one round around the planet in an hour, and 11 km a second). But light goes much faster; 300,000 km per second. In 1/10th of a second it travels around the world. So you can easily send light to the moon. On Jupiter (11 times bigger in diameter than Earth), the escape velocity is already 6 times bigger. The sun is 100 times bigger than the planet and needs an escape
velocity speed that's 60 times faster than what we need on earth for something to escape from its planets gravity. And when a star is big enough, its gravity will become so strong, that it can even bind light to its surface! (John Mitchell). That means that the biggest stars are black. That was already discovered in the late 18th century. Fascinating thought, that the blackness we see in the sky at night, between the stars, could contain tons of gigantic stars that are so heavy that they swallow up light.




You have small, medium and large stars. The smaller they are, the more peaceful their life will be. The big boys live short, powerful explosive lives (the type of star Patrick Bateman would have chosen if he was given the options). Our sun is a small star. A modest one. Only lived 5 billion years and is halfway through its life. It will slowly burn up and get hotter and hotter in temp. as it nears it's ending. By then it will be too hot on earth for oceans to exist, they will all evaporate. That's when the sun will slowly but surely expand, becoming a red giant and he will eat up the planets one by one, starting with Mercurius, Venus and then Earth. The remnants of the sun will be visible as a planetary fog and if any humans still exist then, they'll have to find another place to live. The ashes of the sun will eventually be squeezed in a very small star. Its atoms are pressed together with enormous pressure, making it super compact and turning the sun into a white dwarf, the size of the Earth, consisting of carbon and oxygen. Small but heavy.  It has an afterglow for a long time.

Funny enough, though the white dwarf future of our sun would be comparable in size to Earth, it
would still retain the mass of our sun. You could only imagine how long it would to radiate that level of energy in the form of convection and light. Long enough to where it is theorized the universe is simply not old enough (at fourteen billion years) to have formed any black dwarf stars. Even the very first stars after the Big Bang wouldn’t be old enough to have devolved into a black dwarf yet. I can only imagine what that would be like.

The medium and large stars have a different
faith. We can hear them, just like we can hear Earths cosmic sounds; triggered by charged particles that move past the magnetic fields of the Earth. Every planet has its own sound. Jupiter sounds super ominous!! I love Saturns sound too, you can almost hear its rings. And here are a bunch of them, Neptune literally sounds like the sea. I find them fantastic





There are 2 space travelling Voyagers on their way now to new solar systems; they left in the 70s and they are already in the interstellar space now. They not only can record the combined sounds of our entire solar system, but they also have a present for any possible life in other stars (a couple of 100,000 years to go before they reach them). And the present is a golden record, with audio of our earths sounds, voices, animal sounds, music, welcome messages etc.
When you think about the Fermi paradox, then there must be other planets out there with life forms. Given how many stars there are and how relatively easy our planet developed intelligent life. 'Where is everybody?'. The chances of there being intelligent life out there that started before our system here
are big, and that meant they would have had all the time to develop and master the universe. And to find us! Why don't we see them? Is it too difficult to create life? Did civilizations destroy each other too quickly in nuclear wars? Or could planet Earth be like a nature reserve, that is watched from afar like some experiment, showing a primitive way of living? Maybe our lives are showcasted every night on some far away planet for amusement? The Kepler is searching for planets near other stars that could have potential life forms. Kepler found already 5000 candidates, who could potentially be exoplanets.

There are also stars making Pulsar sounds. I'd say they are audio lighthouses in the galaxy. These medium stars make space sounds too, and they sound very rhythmic. Those sounds are the remnants of a medium star that crashes and implodes. You hear the atoms crashing together, until their atom centres meld into one big atom core. The material of such a neutron star is so compact and gets so dense that a small hand sized rock would there have the same weight as the entire Mont Blanc. One grain of sugar on there would be as heavy as a million kilo bags of sugar here (or as 5 sperm whales).
The ricketing sounds also has to do with the whirlwind tornado shaped movement; the turning speeds up as the diameter decreases. The fastest swirling pulsars go 1000 times round per second. Hence, another cause for these sounds. They give a strong radio signal also therefore.
So it has to do with the demise of these medium big stars.

Sometimes you see a new star in the sky at night, it's usually very bright and only stays there a few months; a Supernova. Bethlehems Star might have been one! But there are more over history, another one was well documented in 1054, 4 July. In Chinese sources, in European texts, and even in paintings from Indians this new and very bright star is documented. Now we know that it was a spectacular star fog with a very bright pulsar.
In the Milkyway we have 100 billion stars, more or less, and what is outrageously fabulous (I think) is that one exploding Supernova produces the same amount of light as all the stars in our Milkyway together. Just wow. In those explosions, all the elements are produced (nitrogen, oxygen, iron) to build planets and life. We're all created by star dust, yes. Cheesy as it might sound. But if a Supernova explodes close to our planet, it's kind of dangerous too. We have currently a star (the right shoulder of Orion, a red star - 1000 times bigger than the sun) that isn't very far away from us, and is building up to explosion. It will happen between now and 100.000 year, scientists predict. Those living then will see something spectacular; a star giving as much light a a full moon.

So small stars become white dwarfs. Medium stars become neutron stars with radio pulsars. But what happens with the real big stars? The heaviest stars? Einstein made a theory about them. He said that space is curved and a heavy star can make space bend. Gravity can be unlimitedly big. So strong that it also hoovers up light. For a black hole, our Earth would be nothing less than the size of a key ring. If you or I would be approaching a black hole, we'd have to obviously stay away from it, but it will pull at us and the closer by you get, the more gravity pulls you in and tears you apart ('spaghettification'). But what Einstein said is that when you come closer to a heavy object and when gravity increased, time slows down. If you live on the top floor of a flat and I on the ground floor, you live 1 millionth of a second faster than me. If we'd fall in the black hole, this would have big consequences. Its crazy but if you would watch me, from a distance, being attracted by the black hole, you would have an entirely different experience of it than me. For me, I would go past the point of no return and be pulverized, but you would see me approaching the outer ring of the black hole, and the closer by I get, the slower I will seem to move to you. And before I even reach the entrance of the actual black hole, the image will freeze and stop for you. You will see my contour and shadow fade out, that is all you will see of the process. Beautiful eh? Thanks to the relativity theory.

In 1939 Einstein thought out something else. He thought that 2 black holes can be connected to one
another. Space is curved, so two points that normally lie millions of light years away from each other, could be brought together if space curls up and bends enough. A worm hole. You would throw a ball in worm hole 1 and could see it come out of worm hole 2. Time and space are more or less the same, so a worm hole that connects two points in space, can also connect 2 points in time. That could theoretically enable time travelling. But that brings all sorts of problems, like the paradox that you can go back in time, prevent your parents from meeting and prevent your own birth.

An isolated black hole is difficult to see. All it does is bending space, like a lens. But sometimes a black hole stands next to another star, and it can then suck that star empty and you can see that. You see the matter being sucked in the black hole. They fast turning matter gives off röntgen radiation. The most special black hole is the one standing in the center of the milkyway (called Sagittarius A star). It is much bigger than other black holes and has the mass of 4,5 million suns. It must have consumed millions of stars already, or perhaps it was created at the very start of the universe. Our sun makes circles around it. And every solar system has these black holes. Violent stuff! We might feel its effect, going by Einsteins theories. Space and time can be deformed, waves can be formed, and a black hole emits gravitational waves. Stretchings of Space that travel through the universe. If it passes us, we will all stretch out and back again shortly (but only the length of an atomic center). But special devices can measure this.

Stephen Hawking discovered that black holes don't necessarily have to be black; instead they can emit some sort of light. Quantum mechanics offered this loophole in nature's law. Some particles are sucked up by the black hole and gone forever, it goes to the end of time, while some other particles can bounce back from the edge, can move freely and starts to glow. They can glow, because black holes emit warmth radiation (but this goes very slowly). It also proved that black holes do not let everything they absorb disappear. It is still there, though cut up and mashed. It's like confetti, coming out of black holes. On the horizon of the black hole, all the information of what goes in is stored. You could say that the horizon of a black hole is like a movie screen. And that we are illusions, brought up by the black hole. And the black hole is the entire film.

And did you know that the largest unit of measurement in Metric is the yottameter? Those are so damned large, the universe as know it is roughly 930 yottameters in diameter. Yes, we have a unit so large that the entirety of existence can fit within a thousand of them. Check it.


We need to develop the means first to travel a lot faster, if they want to colonize a planet outside of
our own solar system. Rest mankind they will ruin every planet they get their claws in. As it stands now, space shuttles take 165,000 years to read the next solar system with a conventional rocket, IF we were even ready to launch it with enough speed (which we can't). And the voyager spacecrafts would need 10,000's of years. And the faster New Horizons spacecraft would take 78,000 years to reach our nearest star system (alpha centauri) or the nearest Earth-like planet (Proxima B ). And then there is the problem of the distance that a rocket can go being limited by the amount of rocket fuel that it can carry
currently.

But I'm sure they'll figure better space crafts out sooner or later. There's already the (Star Trek) warp drive idea, where space is distorted, and it pushes the spacecraft forward at a speed faster than light - not breaking Einsteins universal speed limit therefore (bc if it did travel at the speed of light, time would be slowing down and its objects mass would inflate to infinity, as its speed energy keeps infinitely adding to its mass; that's not something we can work with in terms of spacecrafts). Wave riding in a warp bubble of flat space, and it's space itself around the bubble that moves faster than light, which is perfectly fine with Einsteins theories. Space can indeed travel faster than light and already did so in the past, after the big bang. So, also no g-force problems for staff on board either then, since only the region around the bubble moves, and the spacecraft is just carried along and therefore doesn't interact with relativity/laws of speed of light. Like teleportation, time dilation, binding points in space so that they are temporary close together before stretching apart. Problem is that it would need quite a LOT of energy to create this warp bubble. And even more problematic; the type of energy it needs. It's all great in theory to bend space to create a propelling force (by creating a gravitational field that pushes away, instead of an attracting gravitational field), but it has to do with negative energy density, and we haven't found matter with a negative energy yet.. (but quantum mechanics does predict that it exists). Worth investigating because it would reduce the travel time to alpha centauri to a few days


Although scientists are even trying to work on that:
"Krasnikov proposed that, if tachyonic matter could not be found or used, then a solution might be to arrange for masses along the path of the vessel to be set in motion in such a way that the required field was produced. But in this case the Alcubierre Drive vessel is not able to go dashing around the galaxy at will. It is only able to travel routes which, like a railroad, have first been equipped with the necessary infrastructure.The pilot inside the bubble is causally disconnected with its walls and cannot carry out any action outside the bubble. However, it is necessary to place devices along the route in advance, and since the pilot cannot do this while "in transit", the bubble cannot be used for the first trip to a distant star. In other words, to travel to Vega (which is 26 light-years from the Earth) one first has to arrange everything so that the bubble moving toward Vega with a superluminal velocity would appear and these arrangements will always take more than 26 years."


And in order to place all this infrastructure, you could argue that an Alcubierre Drive is needed in order to create an Alcubierre Drive So not really going anywhere yet.


Some more pictures of my skin the past month.
 

 





And in comparison, my skin in summer a couple of years ago: 





December 14th 2016


Have had a bit of a shit time, rosacea wise. It's been cold here and as usual, my seb derm is flaring (around mouth and nose), and the first hive (urticaria-like, fluid filled bump) appeared on my skin today as well. I think it might be cold urticaria. That usually signals the winter phase in. It must have something to do with poor lymph drainage in my facial skin perhaps. I looked it up once and some kids seemed to get urticaria and hives from cold weather. Needed to be wrapped up warmly all the time. Of course, I can't really do that, unless I want a mighty red flared face. And using a fan makes the temperature and wind seem even colder. I try to keep the indoor temperature around 16 degrees Celsius, and to not let it drop too far below, but when my rosacea flares and I'm all hot, it's very appealing to throw all the windows open..

People with rosacea are in general more prone to get winter rash. Please check this link if you think you have this: http://www.healthline.com/health/skin-disorders/winter-rash Just make sure to NOT follow up their last tip, of slathering topical cortisone cream on your skin!! NOT good for rosacea.

I came across a video from a woman who has "Dysautonomia, autonomic neuropathy". Found it on youtube. (Just click the play button left under, I uploaded the video directly).
video

Good day. Scroll down for
bad flare picture.
I'm not sure if what she has is entirely similar in symptoms as what I have with my rosacea (or based on how she describes her symptoms at least), but what she goes through in this video is what I go through day to day myself! A friend of mine is tested for connective tissue disease at the moment. She has rosacea symptoms as well; the red skin flares, the burning, seb derm at times. Raynauds (when you get red hot hands and feet, especially in midst of winter or in a very warm environment - another type of blood vessel disfunctioning). It's such a puzzle sometimes to get things diagnosed. Especially when someone doesn't have full blown symptoms. A slightly elevated and positive ANA blood test result, for instance. Indicating auto immune related inflammation, but not quite high enough to be called lupus, for instance. Or higher than normal inflammatory blood markers. Something's not quite right, but no immunologist sees red warning bells ringing yet. I have all of that too and a host of annoying symptoms. Knees are always painful and inflamed (since my teenage years really). Bowel inflammation, which is diagnosed as colitis, but it's all on a microscopic level, so not quite to the magnitude of Crohns Disease, and therefore mostly overlooked by a general practitioner. Been diagnosed with Raynauds' syndrome, but it's not bad enough for me to discontinue my beta blocker or clonidine tablets. They make Raynaud's worse, but I do not mind that, compared to having some relief from the burning face.
I've got allergies, clearly rosacea problems, my ear cartilage gets inflamed all the time. But there is not really a conversation between the different specialists who diagnosed one or the other. I mainly focus on suppressing my rosacea symptoms, therefore. It's a shame, I wished someone would dig deep into the root of all these different manifestations of inflammation and, I think in my case, auto immune activity.

This friend might start with plaquenil, an anti malarial medication that has great anti inflammatory effects. I tried it for some months and had sore eyes while using it, but that is a very rare thing to happen. I might retry it in the summer (still have a box left of the plaquenil tablets). I hope it will help her with her symptoms. My London dermatologist prescribes these type of antimalarials sometimes for difficult to treat rosacea patients. Plaquenil is more widespread used by lupus patients. As I said, it calms down inflammation in the skin and is not a steroid, which is good. Rosacea and steroids typically do not go well together, and cause worsening of the rosacea in the long run.

So, what else have I been up to? Working on articles, trying to stay cool, I try to keep my exercise up when the weather allows for it. Or I use my state of the art treadmill otherwise :) With the sun being down around 5 pm already here, it's nice to have a treadmill in the house, so that I can use it in the evening if I want to. I have been feeling a bit low now and then, as I just hate my life, for the most part. I can't eat what I want and am sick of my healthy diet most of the time. When I do cheat with food, I pay the (rosacea) price pretty much right away or by the next morning. And even when I eat healthy and stick to the boring palette, I still end up red and sore often. I'm basically wrappen my entire life around controlling my skin. Staying cool. Avoiding this and that, the sun, the heat. I hate it. It's hard sometimes to stay positive, because there really is no relief in sight for me, I feel. I go to bed with a burning face and I either wake up with one, and if not, I'll surely develop another burning attack in the course of the day. I have no kids, I chose that but I'm not always happy with that decision. I just don't see myself in the right state for it, both mentally and physically. I have good friendships, but it's annoying to always be the odd one out. Going out drinking is not really an option and the times I do, I feel like heading home as soon as my face starts to heat and redden up. It's like being a walking danger road sign. No thanks.. Luckily enough people adjust to my environmental needs in order to keep relationships up. That's very nice actually. But I'd rather not be in a position to be the odd one out. And to be able to be more free and spontaneous and cheerful again, like I used to be before this hell started. But don't worry, I'm usually in a good place mentally, usually busy with a thousand things that have my interest. You get used to stuff, even to all this rosacea craziness.
The current cold weather isn't helping with my redness. My dad and friends tend to say; "Oh, you must love the colder weather, right?". In theory yes... In reality no, because it flares the rosacea too! Not for everyone, but I have permanent red cheeks and burning seb derm rashes nowadays. And then there is general life that doesn't always go well.

Two week ago I sat in the train really early in the morning and a person was killed on the rails :(  As in; committed suicide with the help of my train. I sat all in the front and we had just left a small station close to town, and the train wasn't even on full steam, when suddenly the conductor pulled the breaks really forcefully, then a big boom. Train was standing still for 2 hours, doors closed, as the recovery team came. I did bring my small portable hand fan with me, and a gel pack that was defrosted and heated up within 30 minutes, as it was roasting hot in there. In fact, I was so hot and it was so warm in there, that I said to the conductor that I have asthma and can I please get some fresh air, a door open? I felt a bit of a con woman for bringing up asthma, but after a full year of lung inflammation and shortness of breath, I felt it was the quickest way to have some fresh cold air. Explaining rosacea to a conductor, I'm afraid I would have spent the entire two hours trying to explain rosacea and still not have had access to an open door at the end. Often people put little value to what they do not understand. But now he took me to the conductors place in the front and let me sit by the open door, but said I shouldn't look out of the train. Best not for me. I didn't. But I did hear all the conversations of the conductor and the help teams. A woman apparently suddenly stepped onto the rails, and the conductor was really shocked. Said he couldn't believe that a stop train at relatively slow speed could cause such a collusion.. She was dead under the train :( After 2 hrs the train could continue. I feel a bit sad about it all tbh, it was so graphic, even though I didnt see much.

The poor woman, now her pain is over. I'm afraid that with the holidays closing in, there are
frequently more such incidents. It is odd that people would choose a train as a method of suicide though. There has to be hundreds of ways one could go about this without the mess or pain. Then again, perhaps their last moment is one of amusement, knowing what an inconvenience this will be for everyone involved. But all in all, I think the train jumping is quite a harrowing thing to have the train driver go through. Avoiding any type of mess altogether might be difficult, but there are specially trained teams normally to deal with the aftermath. Train drivers are not qualified trauma workers. To see someone standing at your track, looking you often in the eye and for some hard working man to have to try to avoid the collision is quite something to drop on someone elses plate. I saw a docu about some train drivers who had to stay home sick for long times, due to the psychological impact of it all. That the rest of the passengers might miss their oh so important little meetings and dates, sure, that might be a bit of black humour perhaps and not a big deal usually. They don't have to witness it first hand though, visually I mean.

I also read about a Dutch man of 41 who was an alcoholic. Smart and studied one, but he was granted euthanasia in holland when he convinced his doctor he has no hope of recovery and suffers. I'm for euthanasia in cases where there is suffering with no outlook on improvement (think terminal cancers),. But a 40-something year old woman with terrible ear screeching sounds in her ear, tinnitus, was also granted it some years ago. That woman had it really bad. They had the tv viewer hear for one minute what she heard all the time, which was the equivalent of a screeching water kettle, a train putting on the breaks and more horrible high pitched sounds. I couldn't even keep the tv's audio on for half a minute, it was deafening and maddening.

Just, odd that alcoholism is a valid reason too apparently.. It's an odd case and a single case so far too, the euthanasia for alcoholism. Especially for someone in his early 40s, with young kids, which makes it even more unusual. As a rule of thumb over here, you can make a case for yourself in front of a commission and your doctor, and they will debate then whether or not you are eligible for assisted death. It's meant for people with terminal illnesses, who want to avoid last stages of tremendous pain, but the boundaries have been stretched. In Belgium a 20-something girl with a life long depression battle also was allowed euthanasia last year. Also caused quite a stir. But if people are completely responsible and sane and have an ongoing wish (the process to determine this tends to take up a long time), based on health stuff that is clinically demonstrable, they can make a good case. I think in many cases it's more humane than to have them jump off towers and in front of trains. In Wales a young lad had a severe rugby incident and ended up in a wheelchair, paralyzed from the neck down. He went all the way to a clinic in Switzerland, paid 10,000 euro and had the euthanasia as well. One could wonder why animals are helped out of their misery, but some people are pushed to the brink of desperation without any such help.

This is the story of the lady with tinnitus and euthanasia eventually, btw, with English subtitles:
video



The woman with tinnitus
A youth friend of mine said a decade ago that he felt people at the age of 65, or make it 70 perhaps, should all been given an euthanasia pill. All said in jest, I hope! But he felt it was not fair on younger generations to keep them alive for 2 more decades by then, when all they do is burden the system. I think that's easy to say at age 30 haha. By that time, many might have just finished their active working lives and are finally enjoying some travels or downtime with family.
But it will be a problem, right now we have the gray wave of baby boomers who cause disarray in the system. Hospitals are full. Last week there was code red in many hospitals here, because elderly who had the sniffles went en masse to the ER and refused to leave, taking up beds as they had nobody else to go to. Kids and grand kids didn't want to take care of them or take them in. So important surgeries had to be cancelled for younger patients. That's what you get with all those slashings and cuts for the public sector here. Pensioners homes are for a good 50% closed.




I also try to keep following the aftermath of the American elections. It's been interesting. I know I almost wanted to see how The Donald would do, instead of the corrupt Hillary Clinton, but the way he is filling his Cabinet now is highly worrying.. I read that the conspiratist Alex Jones, one of the few who supported Trump, is now having to jump through hoops and twist himself into a pretzel, to explain Trump's appointees that he is installing in his cabinet. Jones' audience is very much about "drain the swampers", and violently against Hillary for the very reason that she is so corrupt and cozy with Wall St. billionaires. Now Trump is making her look like Jill Stein. So that's kinda fun to witness.  

Now Trump seems to be filling his cabinet with the very people that corrupted Washington and brought about the crash of the economy. Lobbyists and hedge fund corporate managers, who helped bring about the global economic meltdown. He apparently was saying something to the press along these lines; "Well...  you know.... that's all we have now, is lobbyists. All the good guys have gone... but uh, don't worry your pretty head. We'll bring in non-lobbyists eventually.... It'll take time you know..." 

Not to mention batshit behavior from Pence, thinking being a homo can be cured with prayers.

Or trying to push a bill that would require women to hold funerals for their aborted fetuses. And how about this guy Ben Carson? Didn't he believe the Egyptian pyramids were designed to be grain silos, instead on tombs for the pharaohs? I mean, if Sarah Palin could be considered, and she is, then why the hell not?

A real shame that Bernie Sanders wasn't given a real chance by the Democrats.. Sanders, who has 40 years of experience in government, fighting for the middle class, pays his taxes, has zero scandals to his name, has no corruption to speak of, has seemingly never exploited people for his personal gain, has never cheapened or promoted himself in any way, and has never been caught in a proven lie.
I always though it was mainly the Republicans that plotted electoral fraud. I learned this time, the Dems are nearly as bad. The DNC apparently did much of their fraud during the primaries, to throw Sanders under the bus. I heard that State reps threw millions of likely Sanders voters off the rolls in California, New York and other states, by voter registration schemes that targeted voters in certain areas.

It's fascinating also, the level at which journalists seemed to hold back when interviewing Trump, but also Hillary btw. It was a bit frustrating to see them being interviewed, or even talked about, while going unchallenged. It was like watching a bank robber rob a bank without a gun. The bank staff is just doing what he asks. "You want me to open the safe?? Do you really need that money, it's not yours, is it? Oh it's all your money? Okay then. Here the safe is open. You seem to be in a rush to stuff it into the bags. Do you need any help?".

This election seemed to show a deep divide in the country. It wasn’t a coincidence perhaps that in the last few elections, roughly half the country supported one candidate or the other. Obama kept looking for “middle ground” that just isn’t there it seemed between these two Americas.
I wonder if the next generation of Democrates will be Hillaries, or will be Bernies..? On the one
hand, there are the establishment dems, who are probably busy blaming everybody for Hillary’s failure. Everyone except Hillary and themselves for pushing Hillary, that is. On the other hand, I assume there are also true progressives. And the millenials did support Bernie and would want someone like him again.

America has been lead and ruined in a sense I guess by the corporations for way too many years now, and this is reaching a critical mass. America might need to repair both the oligarchy that has become firmly entrenched in their system, and the destruction to the planet it is causing. Hillary is a neo-liberal and would not have repaired the damage I’m afraid. Hillary would just have been Obama 2.0 mainly (she wasn't even selling herself as more than that). With more of an emphasis on warhawking, and probably even more corporate influence peddling than even Obama. Who's entire White House was basically the new headquarters of CitiBank, I read. It requires a real revolution; a total remake of the system, to rid itself of the corporate dominance that has infected it and is tearing apart the lives of millions of good people. Not to mention what effect their policies are also having on other countries (of this, I’m less aware).



I also saw what must be the worst shoes on the planet: Cowboy sandal boots!
One could also say they have sort of a "Roman Empire" mystique. I can't stop giggling. Caligula goes Cowboy, lol. Who invents this?




I also saw the strangest tv series lately. Quite a fabulous series actually, where a Dutch couple, filmed by a Dutch documentary maker, had their old (deceased) dog cloned in Asia. It started as something like a prize quest: People could write up for the program and explain why they wanted their dog cloned, and one couple won and were followed by tv makers to Korea I think it was. Their old dog Job died and they were very attached to it and it was cloned, from some cells in a hair or something. It resulted in 2 pups! One died of pneumonia but the other made it past the 7 month isolation time and when they got their dog it was filmed too. And the dog was of course the carbon copy of the original, but also had inherited all the little habits and twerks, right up to the head movements of the original dog. And strangest; he had been isolated in Korea but once the owners and the dog met, the dog was instantly licking their faces the same way Job did, and rolled on his back, belly up, in submission. Very unusual. It made me wonder for a second. It's not the old dog of course, but the dog almost seemed to recognize them. Then you realize; no, it couldn't have recognized them. It has the other dog's DNA but not its memories. Just... strange to watch.

What's a soul anyway.. probably the add up from your vital brain functions, your consciousness and your personality? Directly related to physical and chemical components in your brain. Does a soul imply the separation of personality from the physical brain though? If someone ends up in a car crash and some of major brain components die off, but that person can still function physically, but lost the things that made them themselves.. The personality, the brightness, the sharpness, the 'soul'? Would that be a narrowing down of the soul? It's all technical, I do not believe there is a soul that flies off to God the moment the body dies. With this tv-program, you an recreate the body of the dog by duplicating the exact DNA, but their will never be the same 'soul' again. Just shows when you see sheep Dolly being cloned and having her dna copies standing right next to her, all alive. And all clearly having their own life experience. Maybe 'soul' is just a term to make a distinction between the robotic functioning of the brain, when it just performs basic human tasks, versus the lively brain when your personality is still active and the full brain capacity is activated.

Of course, the dogs behaviour was purely coincidental. He inherits the physical traits and character traits, but it's nurture versus nature and the dog was raised for its first 7 months in an Asian laboratory so they didn't nurture him at all, the owners. A lot of wishful thinking and über subjective association on their part most likely, once they met their dog at 7 months old. Even identical twins, when separated and growing up apart from each other, will differ significantly in important matters. But then again, some do marry men with the same name or looks or even date of birth. Probably a coincidence too.
I also heard that the Koreans are attempting to revive wholly mammoths :) Yes something out of Jurassic Park but they have taken advantage of global warming to go to Russia and search throughout Siberia for frozen dead mammoths and try to extract DNA from frozen meat. It would be so awesome!




With regards to future discoveries, and lingering on a bit more on this topic, it's interesting that throughout history, people have been anxious and suspicious, not to say negative, about the future and its prospects. When the new medium of cartoons came out, for instance, they were seen as the root of the withering away of youth, in terms of morality. In 1956 the US Congress even proposed to abolish them, because they would incite youthly disobedience. In no less than 12 states there were public cartoon burnings, in the early 50s. Later, MTV was protested to cause the debauchery of youngsters. Haha, maybe they were right there actually.

Even something as awesome as the first trains; there was widespread fear at the time that cows would die on the spot, when one passed by, from shock! And they feared that humans travelling with the train would choke, from the high speeds

In 1877, the New York Times wrote an article about the predecessor of the gramophone (the phonograph), that if the retched thing ever saw the light of day in peoples houses, "both book-making and reading will fall into disuse. Why should we print a speech when it can be bottled, and why would the next generation learn to read when some skillful elocutionist merely repeats a novel aloud in the presence of a phonograph. Instead of libraries filled with combustible books, we shall have vast storehouses of bottled authors." Lol. Bottled authors  The end of books! Predicted in 1877.

But our own future is more daunting, because of the high tech technology we already have and also

the speed at which discoveries and changes are taking place these days. I never realized this as much as when reading something from one of my favorite authors, Stefan Zweig, lately. He wrote really interestingly about the 19th and early 20th century in Vienna, where he grew up. He was a Jew and had a very good clear view on things I feel, also on the role of Jews in that society. He wrote about how his parents in the 19th century hardly experienced any major life changing things. A life from begin to end with no societal highlights and crashings. No life changing shocks or dangers. A life with personal highs and lows, sure, but small tensions in comparison, unnoticeable changes and smooth transitions, in a non changing space. The wave of time took most of them silently from the cradle to the grave. Most people in Europe were born, grew up and continued to live in the same place throughout their lives. The same city and often even the same house. He talks about Vienna and back there, in the 19th century, hardly anything of major upheaval happened. Whatever happened in the outer world, took place in newspapers and didn't personally knock on their doors. Sure there were wars, but often far away and not near the scale and magnitude of WW1 or 2. They didn't hear the cannons, and after half a year it usually already ended. They had a gold coin that never changed its value. Peoples rights were secured, everything went smooth and efficient. Everything was perfected and predictable, from loans to taxes, to dividend. Families knew exactly what they could spend, everybody had some spare savings for unexpected situations. Who owned a house could be certain that it was inherited by childen and grandchilden without any hurdles.

For babies in the cradle, people already started to save for their later lives. If the emperor would die, people knew with certainty that another practical and equal capable one would replace him. Nobody believed in wars or revolutions. Radicalism and violence were considered unthinkable in this age of Enlightenment. Security an certainty were the key words. And the wealth was broadly shared in Austria at the time, not just for the aristocracy. There were insurances for everything; against house fire, burglary, hail and storm, illnesses, old age, a dowry. Workers had united and managed to get social security and decent wages too, including health insurance. High levels of trust in the make ability of life and the power of efficiency. Liberal and honest. With disdain people looked back at earlier times and barbaric wars fought. Now people believed it would only take another century or so, until all evils were eradicated and mankind was thoroughly enlightened and ridden of all violence. All in the name of progression.

Stefan Zweig wrote also about this first part of the 20th century, when he himself lived, and how dramatically different it was from the lives of his parents and grandparents. That he lived a life in which nothing returned back to how it was. Nothing remained of the past. They experienced all the catastrophes which history usually throws at people over a long long period of time, but for Zweigs generation they came all at once. Quite an unfortunate time to live for many people, when you think about it.. They got the amount of shit that is usually spread out over centuries; one generation dealt with a revolution, another with a coup, a third with a war, a 4th with a famine. A 5th with the bankruptcy of the state. And blessed societies and generations dealt with none of the above. But now all of that was thrown at them over the time frame of one generation.
Zweig went through the 2 biggest wars of history,  and experienced them from 2 different front lines (pro German first, anti-german in the 2nd). Before WW1 he had everything, both in terms of possessions and in terms of individual freedoms. After both wars he had the lowest level of them since centuries. In the end he lost everything actually, incl. his life. He was both celebrated and despised throughout his lifetime, both free and shackled, rich and poor. Lost his home and country. Had revolution, famine, deflation, recession, terrorism, fascism, concentration camps, the Bolsheviks, epidemics and emigration, all within 40 years or so. He was raised in the haydays of civilization and ended up in utter barbarism. That does something with someones psyche..

At the same time, that time period showed immense technological advancements. In one wing beat everything that was achieved in the millions of years prior was surpassed in these 50 or so years. They conquered the sky with planes, allowed instant messaging over the globe with communication devices, the atom was spliced, many terrible deadly illnesses were beaten, penicillin is of huge importance surely (all these kids seemed to have died from tuberculosis). The highest heights and lowest lows he witnessed.

This author, Stefan Zweig, was fortunate enough to experience a period of time where the machinery hummed. Everything was well-oiled, and no one felt the need to throw a wrench in the works. Well… I suppose an Austrian did eventually throw a wrench in the works, but that was as much the fault of the Allied Powers as it was Uncle Adolf’s.

As a friend wrote, with regards to our modern 20th century times: "It made sense to give people the sense of freedom, to pursue their dreams of a well-paying job, a house of their own, a car that was paid for and replaced every five or so years. You saved to send your kids to university, and hoped that you were able to get this all done before the inevitable collapse that saw all the gains made funneled to the top. Now, we’re not even making those gains, which is why the illusion of prosperity is wearing thin. It is ramping up, which is why I feel that the big corporates must be feeling the experiment with capitalism and democracy is no longer in their best interest to continue. We’ll be back to our Potemkin Villages and Gilded Age horrors before long. Russia has already crossed that finish line, where they’re a marginal “democracy” in name only. America is only half a step behind, and the rise of the far-right in Europe will have the millennia-old conflicts rising up soon enough."


Anyway, time goes faster and faster it seems, in terms of drama, new developments etc. Those slowly flowing and splashing rivers of time in the 19th century is gone, I don't think we have it as dramatic and excruciating as the people living between, lets say, 1900 - 1950, which must have been THE most eventful and uprooting and dramatic time frame to have lived in in modern times perhaps? Certainly after the steady century before it. People were actually looking forward to WW1! Which tells a lot about how peaceful and uneventful it had been for quite some time by then. I wrote an article once about Franz Marc, a painter, who longed to go to the front, because he and his artistic brothers had not seen a war in ages and life had been so uneventful. How wrong they were, and his diary entries and letters become more grim and desperate as the war furthens and he dies at the front eventually.

With regards to our future, I still feel, despite knowing that there were always grumps about the future, that our future is actually grim. Because I imagine the robots, the artificial intelligence. Did you know that ultra rich people like Zuckerberg, the google owners and other Silicon Valley types pump money into foundations who dig into major discovery topics? XPRIZE for instance. Such foundations set themselves high goals, for instance; Increase the lifetime of humans. Solve hunger. If scientists or entrepreneurs like XPRIZE can achieve this, they get a dot of money from Zuckerberg&Co. This video shows that these types don't think small, when they sell themselves to the world:



Big and Bold. They set up some big goals and some already succeeded, for instance; getting a consumer (a normal human) into space. The medical tricorder from Star Trek, telling you what is wrong health wise as soon as you stroke it over the body (1966) is also an XPRIZE challenge. If anyone can achieve to build such a functioning device in real life, he or she gets 10 million dollar.



I heard of a Belgium guy called Walter de Brouwer who is very actively trying to produce such a device as we speak. And probably plenty more people scattered over the planet. Brouwer made an app that lets your phone measure your blood oxygen levels, blood pressure, heart rate, temperature. Not quite yet the device to diagnose uterine cancer, or meningitis though.. And even if they try, I fear it will be an app that basically checks for general symptoms and comes to the most logical diagnoses. Goes by probability, in other words. And they can be very wrong of course, because not all illnesses follow picture perfect script book classic symptoms. In other words; we still need doctors, even if someone comes up with a proper tricorder  But the app does register all these data mentioned over long periods of time. You can see high blood pressure problems arise, I guess, this way. Just like a simple commercial blood pressure pump and a notebook can do today haha. Maybe they can develop machines where you prick your own blood in the finger and can rule out not only simple diabetes but also all other sorts of infectious or immune related diseases, by quick blood analysis. That would be cool. I don't know how they will overcome the lab function and long lab cultivation processes though.. Not to mention the future devises that will be implanted under the skin or in the body, which can monitor out health much better. BRRRRRR for me, as I can't even handle sutures well, body goes into rejection immune response right away. Not to mention a metal device! Peace maker might be a problem too, so I am careful with my heart and live healthy.

I imagine that people a hundred years from now might be stunned that we just waited for nature to happen; for illnesses to strike, and then to treat the symptoms. That's what's happening now with pretty much all auto immune diseases, with cancer most often. In time to come they will engineer these health functions completely I think, and even get some DNA mapping which tells exactly what illnesses can be expected, and with gene therapy they will be filtered out. That will be the end of the genetic diseases as we know.

But on a side note; these things tend to be invented for the rich and the elite.. One could wonder, why they aren't solving more down to earth problems first? Like cancer, the upcoming drought and lack of fresh water. Poverty. Basic illnesses that still kill so many people. Overpopulation perhaps even. Why are we pursuing a medical tricorder when most humans would never have access to them? Maybe as another method of keeping the wealthy alive longer.
If you want to look at things in the most pessimistic way, one could say that everything we build, everything we create as a species exists to fuel the economic engine of our civilization. We’ve put far too much thought into thinking of shit to have people buy, and not nearly enough in how to provide them the opportunity to afford it. Now we’re left with fifteen kilos of stuff and a five kilo bag to hold it. In the mean time, rent goes up, tax-burdens are shifted onto the working class.


Ray Kurzweil wrote about future stuff, 'The Singularity is Near'. He is an inventor and did invent some things already, so he is taken seriously by quite some people. He also works at google, is some big shot there. Because google thinks he can predict the future. He thinks that one day we will be able to upload our brain to a hard disk, and therefore get eternal life, and are able to time travel  I'm not so sure if we have our own consciousness still then, I think that's the plan. You are supposed to live on in that hard disk, through that hard disk, even when your body dies. Life is perception and you can continue to have the perception then of travelling, eating etc. I don't get how this is exactly supposed to be possible though...
Kurzweil is very specific also about when this will happen: 2045. He follows Moore's Law for this. Every year, the amount of transistors in chips are doubling, since the 70's now. And therefore, the faster a pc becomes. In 1971 the intel 4004 processor has 2300 transistors. In 1979 the Intel 8088 had 29.000 transistors. 1985 - 55.000, 1989 - 275.000, 1993 had the Intel Pentium processor with 3.100.000 transistors. 2006 (Intel Core 2) - 291.000.000 and 2012 had Intel 62-core with 5.000.000 transistors. Soon we will have a chip that can think as fast as a mouses brain, if you follow this pattern, and in 2023 it should think as fast as a human mind, according to Moore. And in 2045 one chip should be faster than all human brains combined. I admit that the law of Moore and Kurzweil is a bit fundamentalist in this. Just because Moore's law kept repeating the predictable time line for the past 30 years or so, doesn't mean it will continue to do so in the near future.

Kurzweil won't make 2045 most likely, as it stands now (Born in 1948), which means he might just miss the boat! And he is trying to stretch up his life now with tons of pills, in order to be there at the Day of Days. I should still be around by then. I mainly wonder if we by then are still able to commit suicide and get out, once captured on a hard disk.



Some picture updates, good days versus bad days. 

 

 


 


 

 



  











November 18th 2016

Full blown flush + swelling (and burning) after using fluoride toothpaste for a while again. Will this sensitivity to everything ever stop?? Pissed off with this body and skin.







November 16th 2016

Have been using a lot of public transport lately and it's cold here and like an oven inside. Depressing. I bring my little handheld portable fan along these days and hide it behind a magazine or something. It helps a little bit. Not eating all day helps me a bit too, as soon as I start to eat the flaring seems to start or get worse.

I'll add some pictures below.
Been feeling a bit worn down in general. Been an unfortunate year with private life issues, a stalker, lung-related problems out of the blue, rosacea not all too great, deaths of loved ones and general low grade anxiety, which I didn't have the years prior. It's probably superstition at play, but I hope all of that shit ends right at midnight on January 1st :)

SO... What happened in the mean time.. Trump won. Quite a spectacle, not to say High Drama for many people (including Cher and Lena Dunham). I wasn't surprised with the outcome, well a ittle bit then, but not a whole lot, as we in Europe had seen the UK's Brexit show before, which went more or less along the same lines. Not the same thing, I know, but there are similarities.

The media were so far off both in the UK (with Brexit) and now in America. They weren't going out and listening to the people, only the sound of their own echo chamber, it seemed. Same with Brexit, to the point of patronizing and ridiculing anyone who could vote Go. I understand that it was a tactic of sorts, to frighten or belittle people away from the break with establishment. And there are very good reasons to be afraid of Trump as president btw. But perhaps the people in the mainstream media also thought that by repeating often enough how ridiculous that option was, would form a magic shield that protected against that very same thing. They repeated what they wanted to be true and reported it as such. I'd be just as disappointed in the media this election. They acted like the country was under war, and the first casualty was the press. I never really realized how much the press was corrupt, until this election. Then I saw it in the questions asked, and not asked, by the corporate shills that took on the role of debate moderators at the presidential debates. The entire mainstream media proved to be nothing more than a propaganda tool. No different than the right wing media. Both for Trump and Hillary btw. Although in the states, mainstream media seemed to turn out to be in the tank for the Hillary campaign. More propaganda, and less truth. Celebrities, they too ended up as mouthpieces for politicians.
Susan Sarandon supported Sanders, at the risk of great backlash against her, so she is royally pardoned by me

I read and heard how much shock and distress this election has caused. I am far away from it all and look at it with interest that isn't tainted by anxiety about the possible changes in my own life, so it's just an outsiders perspective, not really important either. But I followed the election race for a long time with my politics fanatical friend and we found the finale pretty spectacular. Just because the media made us believe it was a race already run, and we were mainly looking and staying up all night to see just with how many votes Hillary would win. But we both expected a surprise like this.
Perhaps it's as close to a revolution in the old sense of the word as we might realistically come these days, this wave of right wing politics sweeping over the western world, same in Holland and France and Hungary and Germany even slightly. Brexit went against the polls and the bookmakers and the highly one sided mainstream media, and here I wonder again how the polls and the predictions of the journalists could have been so far off. I suppose a lot of Trump voters simply didn't elaborate on that in poll requests, or tv stations polled too many of the same type of voters, or journalism didn't have a finger on the pulsing vein of the angry white underclass men. That plus the earlier mentioned echo chamber. Or stimulated to do so by people with special interests.

In Dutch tv programs, which were before the elections hailing Hillary and considered her the
president already, the main explanation for his win was an elaboration on the way social media and especially facebook and twitter helped him win the race. That was their analysis of this shock outcome, and I think they still don't really get it, but that aside. Some specialists said on this tv show tonight, that before social media, people would read a newspaper or watch a tv program, where you'd assume that the journalists and the editors would filter out nonsense and round up a balanced image of things. (I disagree a little bit there, because many mainstream media are heavy on the hand of one or the other candidate in this case, I didn't hear a neutral and factual program during this entire race, although I didn't focus on it thát much either...).  Anyway, they made an interesting point; that facebook tries to keep people scrolling through it as long as possible and therefore filters the content of their friends timelines. So a Hillary supporter will have seen mainly weeping, angry, defriending, rebellious fellow Hillary supporters comments and posts. If he or she wants to see the posts of Trump supporting friends, they have to go to their actual pages. Some might make it through to the timeline, but not too many, because getting annoyed means closing off facebook and that is not really the goal or aim. Quite cynical.
They said that Mark Zuckerberg had a bunch of coworkers at his desk earlier this year, who suggested that they would streamline the newsfeeds on Trump. Influence the information that people saw on the candidates. Something that is done in the TV series House of Cards. Zuckerberg declined officially, but who believes that anyway. Fascinating how many people get all their news through facebook and twitter... Also, they said that fb might need to start rounds of corrections of false memes. Like the ones circulating often, that Trump said in 1998 or something that he wanted to run for presidency for the Republicans, because their voters were the dumbest. Even journalists and politicians used that 'quote' all the time, and only recently someone said it was a hoax. I doubt it is in fb's interest to debunk anything though. The crazier, the more its shared and the more ppl are glued again to fb.

That was their analysis of this shock outcome, and I think they still don't really get it, but that aside. I don't agree that this was the pivotal thing that gave Trump the win. I think Hillary spent far too much time and energy with attacking Trump. Even some of her tv spots were using his footage again, even though it was meant to ridicule him, it still gave his ideas more airtime, more repetition. I think her campaign was too negative (like his in many ways), but that she didn't bring across enough what her actual plans were. That the economic situation for many former blue collar workers was on her agenda and mind. That she wanted to close the gap between the rich 1% and the rest more, create a wealthier and stronger middle class. She might have mentioned these things, but they got snowed under the barrage of Trump attacks. She could have gone to crime ridden suburbs and speak out against black on black violence. She could have hammered her strong points down peoples throats. She seemed smug too in the first debates with trump, which wasn't going down well with some viewers.

Perhaps the Old America won from the New America. Old winning from young, countryside from cities. White from black perhaps even. Natives from future refugees. Perhaps the old America resisted against what they might have seen as a future of immigration and fluid rules and globalization and modernization. The white, older Americans who feel they built up the country and were then abandoned. Hillbilly workers with lower education but who used to work in the industries and who might not feel that they have to work in hotel lobbies for 3 times as less wage instead. I can imagine they might feel that nobody in politics, in the government, is caring about them. Dropped by progressive America and then allowed to slip away. I'm just trying to understand how this could happen.

And if Trump was the king of twitter, then Hillary was the queen of critical talk shows. Seth Meyers
was always on her side, Bill Maher (he donated to her campaign), Stephen Colbert, Trevor Noah... just about everyone but the guy on "Redacted Tonight". Hollywood celebs spoke out for her in great numbers. Maybe the angry white jobless men from the midlands didn't give a toss about what Katy Perry and Lady Gaga and Robert de Niro think about things. They don't have to live in depressing circumstances and without jobs. Industry heavily decreased thanks to TPP, outsourcing and immigration. The old industrial states, Michigan, Pennsylvania, have helped him get the win. Angry Joe Sixpack with his pickup truck and mediocre future prospects. I read that his electorate consist mainly of middle classes, rich and well educated. Exitpolls said that 7 out of 10 university schooled people voted for Trump. That can't be right surely..

 I've heard how they're even told not to give a toss about those people by right wing media pundits. Told they are not "one of them". But the puzzler is that... Donald Trump is more "not one of them" than just about anyone else in the country. The man was born with a silver spoon in his mouth and a trust fund. He was given a million dollar 'loan' to start a business, then supposedly $220 million inheritance when his dad died (just a claim). You can even wonder if the first job he ever had to apply for, was being president of the U.S.! He avoided service to his country (a big issue with Trumpies) by giving an excuse that he had bad feet. Later he couldn't remember which foot was bad, so he said both of them. He not only eats pizza with a fork, he eats it in a gilded palace 40 stories high. He says how he relates more to hardhats than the necktie crowd, but he is an elitist nonetheless.
The only positive I see from that, is that he funded his own campaign more than she did, and he might, MIGHT, be more independent and less bought and paid for. But I read that he already hired a former Goldman Sachs banker, so so much for breaking the old lobbyist system..

So time will tell if he can stick to his pre-election promises. If he can set up a solid group of people around him. If the economy will actually grow, with rampant globalization and uncompatible prices in the East. At what cost it will all come. It feels like an earthquake just took place.



  


  











November 8th 2016

My skin flaring has gone down a bit in the past week, luckily. I'm still more (easily) red and flushed than 'normal' .. what is normal anyway? More than before I started the Tilade inhaler. And the colder weather isn't all great. It's nice that it's fresh outside and that I can wrap up and walk long hours, but going round friends houses unexpected is getting more tough, as everybody has the heating on 21 degrees at the least. It's a big trigger for my flushing and burning, especially when coming out of the cold outdoor air (which makes my skin far more red too but at least it feels cold instead of heat outpouring hot).
Some days all I can do is cool and work behind the computer with a fan on. Other days my skin is less reactive -might be due to healthy diet or state of hormones or mysterious reasons- and I try to get out and about a little bit then, to not feel as much of a hermit. I'm not particularly upbeat about these health issues dragging on, and seemingly expanding with age. Have had lung sensitivity all this year now, on top of normal rosacea-burning red face and sore inflamed knees and tummy. I try to eat anti-inflammatory foods and supplements, exercise moderately, keep flushing as much at bay as possible, but at the end of the day, regardless of sweet wonderful people around me at times, it's all clearly going into one direction with my life.

I don't see myself starting a big family, or getting into the normalcy of family living. I had a nasty response online on this, some time ago, but I guess the bottom line of that bit of criticism was that chronic illness or even rosacea specifically are no reasons for most people to change their ideas and desires about starting a family. And I agree there. If anyone wants that and can deal with the multi functioning tasks of motherhood, on top of health conditions, then I'm very impressed and I find it beautiful. I like to think that if my rosacea was a fraction of this daily burning madness, I would have gone for it too. Alas, it's not, there is always something with my health, I'm always exhausted, burned up or mulfunctioning in one way or another. I can barely keep up with a very mild attempt at work and social life. I don't see it happening for myself, and that's a conscious choice. But it makes me sad on some days, especially weekends, which are full of happy family life. There might be the option of fostering perhaps, but I just want to be on top of some health issues first if possible. With the risk of delaying such important decisions for ever. I try not to. I'm a bit sick on some days as well of the memory of 17 years now of trying to control and beat the rosacea symptoms I have, but still not being even close to remission, personally. It's constant controlling of things, until something flares again, or another health issue pops up again. I hope that with more age, and hormones stabilizing, I will get things under better control.

Read some interesting posts on The Rosacea Forum today, including this one. Made me a bit sad, but also is a situation described with which I can relate:


Eclara, 3 November 2016 wrote: "I have an unholy trinity of very very fragile pale skin, Sjogren's syndrome, and neurogenic rosacea. The result is rather extreme hyper-sensitivity and general agony. Severe dryness that presents as a sort of painful, dessicated tightness rather than flaking or scaliness; flushing; painful facial redness and swelling that changes the shape of my face; severe sensitivities to heat / cold / wind / sun; allergies to EVERYTHING. My face is so reactive I feel like I have no skin barrier. Lotion doesn't absorb, but sort of sits on top of my skin and gets progressively grubbier looking and more irritating as the day wears on. I am essentially allergic to the sun and am incapable of being outside in anything but 60-65 degree, non-windy, dark or completely clouded over weather. I can't wear a scarf or wear my hair down or let anything touch my face at all, really, because every touch steals precious moisture and the skin is so sensitive it feels like ripping a band-aid off a sunburn. I have to slather my face in huge gobs of vaseline and sleep on a silk pillowcase just to make it through the night.

I've tried the usual 'sensitive skin' products- Eucerin, Vanicream, Cerave, Cetaphil, etc- they all burn. I don't know what I'm reacting to in them, but the only product lines I can use are the 'intolerance' products from Avene and EltaMD's sunscreen for people who've just had skin procedures done. Makeup is completely out of the question as even the most basic and 'hypoallergenic' products leave my eyes raw and swollen for days after. I'm in the midst of my first real Sjogren's flare, and that combined with the seasonal change has made my skin even more intolerable (which honestly I didn't know was even possible but here we are). I am genuinely afraid of what will happen when we turn the heating on in the next few weeks.

I can't bear another 6 months of being so swollen I can't open my eyes all the way or recognize myself in the mirror. As much as I hate being trapped inside all the time, at least I can hide in the shade and air conditioning during the summer. There's no escape in the winter, it's back and forth between icy wind sandblasting my face and hot dry air roasting it. It feels like my entire face has been rug, sun, and wind-burned all at once and then sat in front of a fireplace for an entire day to dry out. It hurts to smile and open my eyes, and sometimes the swelling is so bad it's physically hard to do so.

I will take whatever advice you can give me. Dermatologists have been extremely unhelpful, they hear 'rosacea' and start pushing the sulfur soaps and metronidazole. The last few have just sent me to their esthetician who has been equally baffled. I have also developed what appears to be erythromelalgia or some kind of neuropathy with intense flushing in hands and feet, don't know if that's common around here but no doctor has been helpful with
 that either. Please help me, I am SO MISERABLE."



I also read a post from a person who seems to have beaten rosacea, after developing it ten years ago. He wrote a heart rendering update of his life in the mean time, and also shared some tips on what helped him control his rosacea. I think I can make out from his original post that he had p&p's, possibly also redness. I am not sure if he had flushing to deal with, but I'd be surprised if he didn't:


Milton, 5 November 2016 wrote:  "From 2006-2011 I was on anything I could find. Some worked, some were completely useless, here is what worked: 

1) Melonotan II really helped mask the redness but I got uneasy using a drug not approved by the FDA. Haven't taken it since 2010. Wouldn't recommend due to uncertainty of drug. 

2) Accutane - In 2007 I went on a low dose for about a year. I really haven't had significant papules ever since.
3) Gemini laser treatments - about 3 a year, they did wonders. Got pretty costly for a public servant. 
4) Aubrey Sea Buckthorn Oil Cleanser - nice gentle cleanser used up until 2014. 

From 2011-Present: 

1) The closest I have come to a drug is a prescription vitamin called Nicodan (started in 2014). Great drug if you can get it prescribed. Not using it at this point. 
2) Alot of Salmon, Avocados and other fruits and vegetables. I still get the occasional "junk" food but it's extremely limited. 
3) I lost 20 lbs and I do a lot of yoga and other exercises. I currently weigh about 180 and in the best shape of my life. 
4) I use a cleanser called Revaleskin Facial cleanser - it's about 28 bucks on Amazon and last me about 3 months per bottle. Not bad
5) Since 2011 I've had one Gemini treatment, 3 months before my wedding. Haven't had the need since. 
6) I use a moisturizer called La Roche-Posay Rosaliac Skin Perfecting Anti-Redness Moisturizer about 25 dollars a bottle but last me about 2 months
7) I use a anti-redness serum called La Roche-Posay Rosaliac AR Localized Redness Intensive Serum about 28 dollars a bottle last me about 4 months (don't use as much as moisturizer) 
8) I meditate every day to keep my stress levels down
9) Very, very little alcohol. When I was 28 and came down with Rosacea I was a weekend heavy drinker. Now I might have a beer ever 2 weeks." 


I bought a state of the art treadmill. To use during crazy hot summers, or rainy days, or bitterly cold windy evenings perhaps too. Yesterday for instance, I watched a documentary while walking on the treadmill. It rises about 1-10%. It has 12 pre-programmed interval programs too, where the speed and inclination changes automatically. I point a fan at my face while using the thing. I haven't had a single flush or flare yet, while using it, Have to add -although of lesser general importance- that I also have THE best walking shoes, of the brand MEINDL. German making of course. I've got 3 pairs of them by now, one high model, two low models. They are indestructible, water proof and you don't get a single blister when you first use them as they fit like a soft glove. It makes a big difference for a chipmunk like me with a natural predisposition to do nothing. I also used the treadmill on bare feet one evening but no, the shoes really make me going.

What else.. I don't want to whine or be too much of a downer, just because my health sucks at the moment, and I also had some fun things going on. Saw interesting programs, had some interesting discussions. I'll try to wrap up some of those too here, even though they are not directly rosacea related, but it's the sort of stuff that has my interest and keeps me focused on the rest of the world out there. Keeps my spirits up as well, you could say.




Saw this well known movie back the other week, Falling Down. I'm sure you know it. Michael Douglas, who goes on a rampage through LA when he gets stuck in traffic, can't change some money to call his ex wife, and then it goes from bad to worse. He got laid off from work, his wife divorced him and keeps him away from his daughter now. He just wants to bring her a birthday present, but the world is against him.

William Foster (Douglas character) is an archetype of the average American almost, with his white short sleeved t-shirt and tie and those once mainstream but later outdated 50's style brown rimmed glasses. They might have even symbolized creepy people later on, as nobody wanted to wear them anymore but racists and old fashioned conformists. He doesn't belong in this world anymore and his ideal (old fashioned?) idea of life, working to maintain your family lovingly, are all shattered. Yet he sees the modern world through ancient (cracked) glasses.

And this modern world is filthy, shitty, crime ridden, shown full of outcasts or arrogant mean rich people. Modern city life, riddled with gangs, homeless bums with entitlement issues, with poverty and crime issues and social diversion. I guess the city street is used because it shows all walks of life and harbors all good and bad life has to offer usually. Not sure, but cities can make for gritty, desolate, harsh circumstances to master.
Almost none of the characters in this movie are likable (i'm inclined to say they are also all pretty one dimensional - except the 2 main characters), only the detective seems very mild mannered and empathetic (yet he's the one who kills him). the rest are aggressive and/or arrogant, paranoid and/or abusive. Rude most of all. The jerk who won't let him use the phone boot in peace for instance. Foster has less and less patience with these types and soon goes all nazi on them. But I feel that initially he tried. But there's only so much a man on the edge can take.. It feels like a jungle out there, even though it's made of concrete.

I liked that as his path moves on and his set backs grow more serious, his defense weapon at hand keeps getting more heavy. And he just wants to go home.. Getting out of his car starts an Odyssey of sorts. He wants to go home. To the good old days and some archetypal place where his boss rewards his decade long services for the company, where his wife and daughter wait for him eagerly and smiling at the home he pays for. Where he has the basic life that was promised to him by the american dream. While looking for ways to go home, he runs into all sorts of people who hold him back, or dictate him what to do or where to go instead. He's literally chased away by a bum in the park unless he gives him something (and when he sees through the rambling lies he gets aggression in return). He can't walk straight on due to roadwork, when there is clearly no need for any, other than self regulatory employment securing. The Korean shop owner, where he wants to get some change, refuses unless he buys some and when he wants an overprized can of cola and still doesn't get the right pay phone exchange back, the shop owner is all about You Pay Oh You go Sih. No compassion and Foster then flips.
He can't sit on some insignificant gang land plot of land without being hailed with violence. he can't cross a massive golf course without being barked at and intended to be chased off. And if he does find support, it's from people more crazy and warped than him, like the neo nazi in the store. But Foster isn't entirely crazy, he hails racism and he seems sincerely offended when the parents of the little girl in the plastic surgeons villa think he could potentially hurt their girl. A  child!

I felt for him all through the movie and especially at the ending, when he has no escapes, nowhere else to go and his last piece of hope and idealism is killed. He didn't even believe that he was seen as the bad guy all along. Even though the police detective seemed to understand him fairly well in the end. I found it so sad that he felt all he had to offer in the end - rejected by basically society and all his loved ones - was some insurance money in exchange for his life
The detective was also disillusioned it seemed, but turned the other cheek. He stuck with a slightly needy and erratic wife, he accepted his shitty colleagues for decades, he understands the evils but he accepts it.

Foster was a traditional, dutiful man, patriottic, an engineer, he thought he had done enough in his career to ensure some securities, but they are all taken from him and the plastic surgeons of this world instead get the villas and the golf courses and the barb wired fences. Overall it might be seen as a metaphor for all sorts of things. Angry white middle class males who doesn't feel at home in modern society anymore, that is riddled with financial inequality, race issues, violence, changing social and political climate, financial crisis and no doubt back then the political correctness police was also already in place.
There must be so many people like Foster out there. Life treats so many people badly. Who see themselves locked away from the past, but unable to realize there is no way back. No wonder some of them had enough at some point and simply flip. Although this Foster had a dark side too, seemed to have some sort of personality and anger disorder. But mostly he seemed to have been unaware of anything while he was in his secure bubble of job, wife and kid. What seems strange is that he came across as completely clueless. He woke up one day and was shocked, shocked! that the world had changed so much from when he was a child. He didn’t understand how his hippy-dippy wife was (quelle surprise) histrionic and unreliable.The disrespect he faced from Latino retards protecting their shit-hole territory was not something he had even considered before being confronted by it. The cuntiness from the Chinaman at the corner-store also seemed to completely surprise him. It wasn’t even that the Chinaman was rude to him, but the callous lack of anything approaching compassion was more than Bill Foster was prepared to handle on such a crap day. At the same time, he lost patience with the small aggravations of his daily life and finally took action to stop them.

He abandons his car and walks rather than wait in traffic. He eventually destroys a traffic light rather than deal with its bullshit. He rages at two complete strangers because he was four minutes late for the breakfast menu in a fast-food restaurant. He sent a hail of bullets into the ceiling, and tried to assure all these people. “It was an accident! It was an accident!” It has a sensitive trigger, after all. Hilarious. He snaps at a hobo that is begging for money, claiming to have not eaten for days (despite the sandwich in hand.) He questions the very basic principle of sharing with those which will not pull their weight.

It was telling at that point that he chose to abandon his briefcase and keep the duffle bag filled with weapons. It was the conscious moment where he let go of his previous life and chose to seek his own form of vengeance on a world that has left him behind. The catalyst for this was earlier, as he seemed to relate with a black man protesting outside a bank. Jobless and called Not Economically Viable. Bill too was no longer ECONOMICALLY VIABLE. If nothing else, this was a story told with humour about a man that expected the American Dream to still work, to still exist. He worked hard, he should be prospering as a result of this lifetime of doing the right, safe thing. Instead, he was single, unemployed, living with his mother, and being fucked with by the scum of our society. But despite the plot, the movie is not heavy handed at all. It is also not a stretch of the imagination at all to see a person experience the same levels of bullshit and hassle that he did. It is a revenge-fantasy that people can relate to. We’ve all seen these parasites, and we’ve all wished someone would do something about them. Bill was the textbook anti-hero.

For all Bill’s rigid sense of justice, he was still clueless. His daughter wanted nothing to do with him despite being old enough to be in school herself. His hippy-dippy wife wanted nothing to do with him despite their both knowing their incompatibilities from the beginning. It felt like she was kicking him while he was down as his entire identity and world collapsed.

There was something about William Foster that seemed off. Michael Douglas was thirty-nine when the movie was made, and it is not unreasonable to assume William Foster was the same. He comes across like the studious boy from school that didn’t socialize much, never caused trouble. He followed the standard plan by doing well in school, got into a respectable university, and followed that with a respectable job. This is an age-old tale, I suppose. Not a lot to set it apart so far. I believe his mother even said as much when the police were interviewing her about the car being abandoned in the middle of a busy commuter street.
What seems strange is that he came across as completely clueless. He woke up one day and was shocked, shocked! that the world had changed so much from when he was a child. He didn’t understand how his hippy-dippy wife was (quelle surprise) histrionic and unreliable. I’m sure the warning signs for that particular phenomenon weren’t present from the beginning. The disrespect he faced from Latino retards protecting their shit-hole territory was not something he had even considered before being confronted by it. The cuntiness from the Chinaman at the corner-store also seemed to completely surprise him. It wasn’t even that the Chinaman was rude to him, but the callous lack of anything approaching compassion was more than Bill Foster was prepared to handle on such a crap day. At the same time, he lost patience with the small aggravations of his daily life and finally took action to stop them.

It was telling at that point that he chose to abandon his briefcase and keep the duffle bag filled with weapons. It was the conscious moment where he let go of his previous life and chose to seek his own form of vengeance on a world that has left him behind. The catalyst for this was earlier, as he seemed to relate with the man outside the bank. Bill too was no longer ECONOMICALLY VIABLE!If nothing else, this was a story told with humor about a man that expected the American Dream to still work, to still exist. He worked hard, he should be prospering as a result of this lifetime of doing the right, safe thing. Instead, he was single, unemployed, living with his mother, and being fucked with by the scum of our society.

It is true that we seem to have become a society of Bill Fosters. More heavily armed than ever, with a growing rage at injustices both real and imagined. At some point, the dam breaks and violent uprising begins. This has been the primary form of evolution in societies.



I saw this interesting article about "11 ridiculous predictions from the 1900 worlds fair, and 3 that came true".

In summary:

-Firefighters would have batwings and be able to fly while shutting down fires
-Hindenburg-like flying boats to travel in
-underwater whale pulled buses
-flying cars
-robots to apply our make-up and clean our bathrooms
-domesticated sea horses to travel on underwater- again.
-Boats that move over underwater rail tracks.. So many questions. How is this better than a normal ship? Is it limited to shallow waters? WHY IS IT ON FIRE?!
-Hehe I love this one; machines who drill the knowledge from books into our minds -somehow- 😊  I still dream about chips with information, like the ability to speak and understand Russian impeccably, which we might one day implant right behind our ears and upload all the data from in our minds 😊







The roofed city seems like a great idea until you remember things like, you know, drought :) We used to bicycle to school every day, over the flat Dutch farmland/countryside. 13 kilometers to school and then 13 back again. The wind was always coming from the wrong direction, you were always ploughing away to go forward. I always thought; why not build a transparent tunnel? Place big ventilators on both sides, and you will hardly have to bike, always have the wind in the back.
I also wondered why there hasn't been a garment discovered yet, like a transparent air bubble, that you can blow up around you in a matter of nano seconds when needed. For instance; when you fall off a building (it would protect you and make you land safely). Or when being threatened with a gun (it would deflect the bullet). Or how about ultra thin tooth condoms? You put them over your teeth and sugars and food acids will never again destroy your tooths dentin..

Not all of these future visions were as ridiculously off-the-mark as the ones above though. In fact, here are three more that were downright prescient. Like this prediction: We'll communicate via video chatting.




They totally called the invention of FaceTime/Google Hangouts/every other video chatting service that I use on a daily basis. To be honest, I kinda wish I had a holographic phonograph setup like this. It's way cooler than just staring at my laptop screen all day. And in the 1930's people came up with this prediction.. Skype, anyone?


That was rather spot on I think! Interesting how the reality is actually much more high-tech than was expected. Internet and computers are revolutionary and era defining inventions I think.


I find it both endearing and interesting, the futuristic stuff people came up with back then. I think it shows that there is only so much people can imagine, based on the reality framework of the day. They predicted the industrialization correct, but that was something that was already going at the time. Not such a big stretch therefore. Futurists tend to exaggerate interesting technologies but only a few steps further, it seems. Hence, the preoccupation at the time with flying things and underwater transport. No-one was mentioning self thinking robots, or computers even. The video chatting was a nice idea, but again, a combination of stuff already present; cinema was upcoming, the screen projections were known. Had someone come up with the concept of an image lighting up from within, and not coming from a direct and physical projector, well.. that would have been beyond brilliant I suppose. The stuff of visionaries.

And where are the giant seahorses today???

Btw, those images were made as a parody, I read, by a Parisian artist. They were intended to caricature and mock the petit bourgeousie and their habits and stretch them into the ridiculous for the future. Not quite serious Futurism most likely 😊 But it's still amusing to watch now I think.
But isn't it fascinating that a person who was born around the turn of the century, like my grandparents who were from 1910'ish, have gone through so so much... Grew up in basic houses with horse and carriages, no electricity or running water. No antibiotics. 2 wars. Then endured the 50s, the 70s, the 80's, drove over 100 km/h in cars, flew in planes, knew of computers (they died in the 90s).

I love the modern day access to information through the internet, but the prospects for the future aren't making me any happier, hence the living in the past a bit. Books from the older days are more all encompassing, have more depth to me. I like to read or watch about earlier times. It's escapism but also nice to have the historical distance now to look back on things with the knowledge of today. And to try to imagine what life was like back then. It makes my life a lot more interesting to do this, but that depends of course on personal interests.





I am lately watching a series on BBC, called The Victorian Slum. It's a reenactment. 4 modern English families are put in a complex like it used to exist in Londons East End in the Victorian times. Each week they go through all aspects of life like it was in a specific decade. Starting with 1860, stretching 1900. Some families are better off than others, some live with several kids in a one bedroom place, have no stove or a very simple one, have the old dusty bed linen and clothes just like it was those days. They need to work, like it used to happen. There is a couple who runs a little shop, where these people used to come for their dinner. Most had no means to cook and would buy a slice of bread with cheese, or a bowl of warm food. It would often be sold on the tick, meaning they had until Friday usually to pay. It was a system of credit based on trust, and needed to keep economy rolling in those days. Especially in the slums. These people lived in debt all the time. 90% of housing in those days was rentings, hardly anyone owned a home, and in the east End, people could rent as long as they paid. No need to show work contracts or statements of good behaviour. London at the time was already a vastly expanding city with booming (industrial) economy, but a large portion of the people were struggling nevertheless. Poverty was seen as part of the natural order of things. You were either born poor, or you fell into poverty due to your own moral failures, it was said.

LOL, so, by day 2 the people in this series were already full on complaining 😃 Too cold, sore back, poor bed, hungry, miserable, tired, and uhm.. cold again. One big kid of around 9 describes his inner depression sinking in once he realized there really were no chocolate chip cookies hidden anywhere. One bed so families of 4 snuggle up in the same bed, HA! One teenage daughter first sniffed and snored in disgust but eventually did admit that it brought them closer as a family, in all sorts of ways.

They need to find work in order to pay for their rental. One goes working in a bell factory (making those old fashioned bells by hand), another does wood furniture making. One family is Jewish and (high end) tailors in real life, and for the program are sent to Petticoat Lane (they're all wearing their Victorian garments of course) and given a stack of old clothes from those times and told to patch them up (all by hand!) into practical and sales worthy patch ups. Jews used to be very skilled in their home countries, but fled to England and had nothing when they arrived, typically, and had to start from the bottom. Half of them made their living from tailoring. All of the contestants do a poor job haha, where people used to make 1000 wooden furniture items a day (if they failed they got fired and without work they died), the legless guy makes 7 (of which 2 had errors). Of course, he had had no practice prior.
 Some women work from home, doing tasks like making match boxes from their living room. Such women would work around 16 hours a day and paid so poorly that they could only buy some bread from it. Single mothers had only 2 choices really if they wanted to earn money: do this piecework from home or become prostitutes. Kids were economically viable by the age of 7 or 8. Many sold foods on the street.

The money in the tv series is modern day money, but adjusted to the prices of the Victorian times. Britain at the time (1860) produced half the worlds cotton and iron and 2/3 of its coal. Armies of unskilled workers flocking to London, Glasgow, Liverpool etc to do all this work. It paid relatively well, they could feed and shelter their families from it, but there was never certainty about work for the next day. Retirement didn't exist. One of the men in the show has a false leg in reality and exchanges his high tech modern one for one worn in those days. There were many amputees as factory machinery wasn't safe. Without X-rays or antibiotics invented yet, there was only a 50/50 chance of surviving an amputation surgery. And afterwards people walked on crutches or with the most basic wooden leg.

By the 1870s, America and Germany started to compete in the coal, iron and steel markets, which were prior dominated by the English. Work regulation reforms and increased competition meant that employers sent more work than ever out to the unregulated slums, and for lower wages. So they had to work harder to have more quantity ready when working from home. Entire families helped out and worked up to 80 hrs a week. In 1873 there was a global financial crisis Foreign investment dried up, growth halved and unemployment soared. This long depression was felt for over 20 years! It was the end of Britains industrial golden age. People were poorer, wages were coming down, the cost of imported goods came down and the prices of products had to come down too. Of course, the rent stayed pretty much the same 😊 Landlords maintained whatever they could maintain. Guess some things never change..

Irish workers came in in large groups. Ireland was ravaged by famines. Irish were seen as vermin, like the jews. Some mocking prents represented them as the missing link between humans and chimpanzees:
They came with nothing usually as they spent all their savings in the journey alone. They would sleep in mass lodges (the doss house) with hangover benches as beds, or Four Penny Coffins. People would roam the streets looking for work, named 'tramping'. Parliament did nothing for these poor and stated these groups had the habit of not working in their bones. There was poor relief, but it stretches towards offering clothing and food, or commissioning someone to the workhouse, people had to plead for entrance in front of a board of men. Anyone seeming too much of a lazy slump were not allowed in. Only the ' deserving poor'. Poverty was seen as self imposed.

In the 1880's, able men would flock to the docks, looking for work. In the East End alone, ten thousand of desperate men would gather there in the mornings, trying to get work, when there was only work for maybe 6000 tops. They were too poor to travel elsewhere and had to wait hours in the morning, before gates were opened and they were driven into gates and an ion barred shed, where they were checked by dock managers, picked out when deemed good enough. The weak would fall down and be trampled. Brutal to hear a historian tell about all that.

In the 1870s the average life expectancy was 43, and in the worst districts and poorest cities it was only 28. 1 in every 4 children died. Complete social Darwinism! They were tough as nails, the ones who survived. Who made it well into adulthood without most medication, who survived infections and illnesses, who endured the hard living circumstances, who were able bodies. Those were the ones who could breed and reproduce and that's how it always has been in nature. Not anymore today. Yes in that respect, bullying is a challenge of social Darwinism too. People had no money for food some days, which they have the modern families go through as well. Such a stark contrast with todays absolute abundance of food. Things have improved a good deal if you look at it from that perspective, although many people still live in dire poverty and debt stricken today too, of course... Especially with the gap between rich and poor only deepening again these days.


Overall the people are pretty positive about the experiment, all saying how good a simply egg sandwich tastes when you're hungry. How in real life they're so busy that they are like ships passing in the night, whereas now they work side to side sowing, or doing other manual work, and actually spend time together. And cooperate together, making something work when something seems on the line (even when it's all a show). Others got emotional because they realized just how hard people used to have it. The hunger, constant working, poor living conditions, stress. The Jewish families mother was tearful because she realized what her ancestors had gone through and that her own mother had a wonderful life and she now has, and that the ancestors weren't there to see how their own harsh lives paid off for the offspring. Awww... They all love the sense of unity and community and happiness with the slightest thing going right.






Just heard this on the radio; a Dutch experiment where test people got paid to be isolated for one week.



Isolated as in: staying in some farm in Frysland, without television, radio, internet and mobile phones. They could still, read, write, cook, go out for walks. Everything except human contact with someone else. One Bloody Week...
                                  ........................

After 3 days some people started to show signs of schizophrenia and severe anxiety. People were instinctively grabbing their mobile phones, even though the sim cards and batteries were removed from it. Some couldn't even finish the one week and had to check out sooner. Most participants couldn’t take a week of semi-silence.

I can't imagine I would twitch an eye over such a week. It's interesting in a way, how addicted people are to constant contact with everybody, constant confirmation and distraction. Reminds me also of the Stanford Prison experiment. Those fuckers couldn't even play an obviously staged role play without resorting to torture within 3 days. It might come down to lack of self control?

One of my all time favorite books is A Man, from Oriana Fallaci, about Greek freedom fighter Alexander Panagoulis. She was quite a good journalist and had a relationship with him. He tried to kill Papadopoulos, the Greek dictator in the 70s. She made it into such a good book, and what will always stay with me is how he handled the years (if I remember correctly - read the book in my teens and again in 20s) of solitary imprisonment. At times in a tomb-like prison underground. In order to not go crazy, he befriended a little animal, might have been a beetle. He also fought a psychological war with his captors. Years of isolated imprisonment. One week of relative freedom; walking around, access to outdoors, to a kitchen, to books, HA!!!! He would have laughed about that I suppose.


On the other hand, prisoners in the Stanford prison experiment went batshit on day two. The first reaction of the guards was to put down the uprising with intimidation and violence. Not even three days in and they were starting to go full-on Abu Ghraib with an odd enthusiasm.
It took three days to recreate Lord of the Flies. Perhaps the one success of this experiment was to tap into the real dangers which are faced by both the incarcerated and their jailers without the preconditioning granted by employment at a prison or being a legitimate criminal. Almost all humans have a deep-rooted penchant for cruelty toward those they look down upon.





I've been in bed for long times last month due to the flu. Again! Hardly ever had flu throughout my life, until the past few years. Felt like a pensionado haha. Ugh. So exhausted and foggy brained. I binge watched movies, like Phar Lap (1983) and Seabiscuit (2003). I quite liked them both even though they were on the sentimental side, but they really got a bit of a hold on me with the 2 magnificent legendary race horses they depicted. Phar Lap is an Australian movie I think it was and like most aussie older movies I've seen; traditional, no nonsense, calm, sweet, straight forward. Seabiscuit seemed more ambitious as a movie I'd say, with beautiful cinematography and very good actors, including Jeff Bridges, Chris Cooper, Elizabeth Banks and William H. Macy (as "Tick Tock McGlaughlin, a pretty hilarious radio presenter), but I think that's mainly coming down to the 20 year age gap; the early 2000s were some of the years when very good movies were made, with a modern approach.

Seabiscuit was beautifully shot and integrated some world events like the stock market crash and the
lives of people outside of the horse racing (incl real footage and pictures, which I of course loved). So many people were laid off or lost everything after the crash, that horse racing went through a golden period; people loved the uplifting distraction it offered. But both movies were predominantly about horses who were overlooked by everybody when they were foals, despite having good racing bloodline (one too small and unsightly, the other had only interest in sleeping and eating, haha, and a particularly wild and moody temper initially). And both mistreated by humans, until some kind connoisseur notices them and gives them a chance. Typical Disney success story but there are also some surprises along the way. Nice how the actors were budding with the horse and I loved it because it gave me a much better idea of everything that goes into training a race horse. Not just the hours, but also the love, patience, disappointments, the sweat and tears. I love animals anyway (except snakes and fight dogs perhaps). There are some corny lines, about never giving up and sometimes all someone needs is a second chance, about rising from the ashes of adversity, but I didn't mind that too much. And the movie did a fine job at putting on film the races themselves. The tension and the speed and dynamics, the sounds, it was very well done. Think about the ben Hur or Gladiator like scenes with fast racings carts.

As IMDB stated:
"The story of `Seabiscuit' is actually the tale of four long shots: Charles Howard (Jeff Bridges), a wealthy self-made man and natural salesmen who's suffered both personal and financial loss through the Depression, Tom Smith (Chris Cooper), an aging horse trainer unsure of his place in the world with the ending of the frontier, Red Pollard (Tobey Maguire), a short-tempered jockey with various handicaps against him, and Seabiscuit, an undersized mustang whose been mistreated his whole life."

Red Pollard has one blind eye, which he keeps a secret to everybody until he is well an truly firmly in the saddle. Charles Howard lost his only son in an automobile crash - he used to collect fancy cars - and his marriage collapse after this event. Cooper is minimalistic to the core and is so well played. Man of little words, communicates better with horses than with humans but never corny or stereotypically portrayed. They all have flaws and the end sentence touched me a lot; Red Pollard says something along the lines of; we didn't help Seabiscuit, Seabiscuit gave all of us something to redeem our lives with, to live for. Awwww.

I could write this in my own words here but I simply agree with the imdb verdict:
"The story should have felt cliched and by-the-numbers, but a funny thing happened: the film makers took a nearly forgotten moment in time and managed to invest it with immediacy and suspense. The near mythic meeting of Seabiscuit and War Admiral on November 1, 1938 at Pimlico is an extension of the movie's overall theme; Seabiscuit, the representative of underdog hopes and pioneering dreams, and War Admiral, the recipient of champion breeding and training, a product of assembly line thinking."

You can tell they didn't cheapen out on the entire atmosphere, it felt real, and well made, well acted.
It took its time, it was soothing in that, but was so well edited that it never felt slack or boring. There was adversity, but not the kind where entire cities explode and evil aliens take over. In the end courage and kindness prevailed and it was nice to see a well crafted movie with such a message back. And of course it triggered my usual 'in the past everything was better' jingle again haha, but I do realize that todays times are the best for humanity as a whole as they have ever been, in many countries at least.. You only have to watch the high streets and see just how many middle and lower class people can walk around, consuming, spending money, dressing in the latest fashion. Having the opportunity in life to have kids and see them grow up well fed and medically looked after. No frontline in France you have to send them to either. But back then people wore hats. And suits and ties at the races. And they had courtesy.

The early 2000's was something of a high-point for movies, as they were beginning to experiment with the magic of CGI without going off the rails with it. It was around that time that Gladiator and The Matrix were released, and they were both quite good with stunning visuals for the time. Move forward a few years, and movies are more video games than films. The Matrix sequels in particular were egregious examples of that behavior.
Does it seem like the Great Depression is almost boilerplate when it comes to movies set to demonstrate the nobility of poverty? Such movies are acceptable, as they can depict rough financial circumstances with the caveat that things eventually improved, life become better. You watch a movie like Cinderella Man or O Brother, Where art Thou? and you are impressed with how they held up under such crushing circumstances. You could make a movie like that now, but that is liable to piss off the proletariat to where they get ideas of reformation.

What I like about movies such as Seabiscuit is that there is a deliberate pace to it. There are moments where the pace picks up or slows down, but it has the air of being well-made. An attention to detail that gives the audience a run-time that has been hand-selected to give them the best movie-going experience possible. A lot of movies have good elements, but it is the ones that take the time to make all the elements work that are considered amazing. Hundreds of sports movies have been made, and most are shit. Yet even a non-sports fan can find appreciation in a movie such as Coach Carter or The Fighter. When a movie is well-made, it can bring any topic or story to a wider audience. I believe Seabiscuit can do just that.
It also has eye for context and background story, making it a rich little time travel experience. The world it shows is detailed, actions have consequences. There are all sorts of larger background forces at work, hence the importance of the detailing here of the financial crisis. It needs to be a rich story with more factors at play than the main strive of the protagonist. This movie throws plenty of money on realistic costumes, extra's and locations. And the overall visuals, the colors, the hues, are all great. I read on imdb that the directors 6 yo son had just seen The Rookie and suggested to his dad to hire its cinematographer John Schwartzman for the job. Nice as it all has a warm tonal hue and is very pleasant to watch. I don't remember the music but think it is among the best edited movies I have seen, despite being a lengthy movie. It runs like a train. Americans tends to be good at this I feel. They might not always come up with the erratic artistic masterpieces we have over here, but on average their movies are solid and all round decent movies for a big audience. Perhaps American movies also tend to spell things out a bit more than the better European movies, and use subtext a bit less than we here do, but the acting is usually top notch and my dad tends to say that even C actors from the States tend to be better than any A actor we have here. I agree.

American movies are more clear I feel in their topic choice too. One theme, one problem that needs to be overcome, which really makes it a compact watching experience usually. European movies tend to be more vague in this. Often they are just reflections of a certain life. Representations of the suffering of a truckers family in Belgium, and there really is no imminent problem we are watching and waiting to be solved. Just a week or a month or a year out of the life of. Or a bored French girl who is a teenager and experiments with prostitution and the movie seems mainly used to portray this Lolita girl in as many provocative angles as possible. An aesthetic endeavor. Because the story is going nowhere. She tries it a while, she gets into trouble, she resumes to her old boring life. No closure, no solution, no all good endings. I am used to such movies, but I can understand that some American viewers might be puzzled about what the whole deal is exactly about the watching experience. But French movies tend to be impressions of something sultry and melancholic, about passages of youth or of mental anguish, that anybody could go through in life. very different types of movies.
When I then watch a strong themed American movie, you can just lean back and have the movie played out in front of you and the director seems to have taken care of everything. It's usually cookie cutter clean at the end of the movie what it was about and often left you with a good mood too. Not always of course and this habit might have been broken already now by long before by artsy movies. I don't recall Woody Allens movies often having a happy ending, nor a simple message  Was more talking mainstream movies.

And on top, there is often some morality chucked away in American movies. I don't always like it, Seabiscuit and I know many more, Big Fish is another favorite of mine that has it. There are tons of them to name really. And I guess you can say that such movies show us how to live a good life. How to make good and bad decisions. There is not one unambiguous answer, but there are all sorts of hues and tones provided about how to live a good life, make a good life. I kind of like that actually..
especially when it's reduced to bad and good guys, but I feel that the past decade this thing is shifting. Game of Thrones is a game changer in general I hope because it shows that one dimensional good or bad characters are and should be a thing from the past. It insults the intellect of the viewers. GoT is so much more realistic for the depth and mix of good and bad motives each character has been given. It should be this way. But I feel that American movies do have a bit of a moralistic tone now and then, and sometimes it makes for very heart warming movies, like with Seabiscuit.

People want to be taken onto a journey when watching a movie, or reading a book. You want to be taken in, grabbed by situations and characters and be submerged into another world, where we can learn from other experiences. In order for this magic to happen, there really needs to be a lot of stuff done and criteria met. But you need to be drawn into the world of the characters, and wanting to know how it ends.

Football, when it's a slow game it can be extremely tedious and boring for some. I think back in the days, in coal cities in england in the 50s for instance, families would live towards the weekend soccer match ALL WEEK  And devoured every second of the match, even when nothing significant happened mostly. Just, the atmosphere, being out, the sense of unity with the rest of the supporters, the smells, the sounds. I guess it is all fabulous when the rest of your day and week is dreary and more boring, haha. Nowadays, most people have so many stimulation and distraction. I hate sitting around doing nothing for long. Rather get the laptop open, check news or stuff I find interesting, work, socialize. Then 2 hrs of uneventful sport games are a dreary bore. But I also remember many ecstatic football matches. Where the silence before the storm only enhanced the final goal scoring.

Sadly, it seems movies like Seabiscuit are once a year, or every other year. Hollywood would throw all sorts of shit at the wall to see what sticks. If a movie did well, they made more. If it didn’t, they would move on. Now it is almost all terrible movies. Well, quite a lot. They focus-test this to appeal to the lowest common denominator to make money overseas. I can imagine a boardroom at a studio filled with executives, making lists of good movies to make this year.

You hear sometimes about actor this or that starring in a movie, and then they don't even make it into the cinemas.. Straight to dvd. I suppose that is how they serve countries like China and India then.. European art house movies are often very ambitious, but they do struggle under stereotypes or elitist snobbery in my opinion. Especially French and English movies follow very distinct patterns which tends to make them fairly predictable. Farce and predictable romance is a common denominator for instance. Or very slow pace and very little plot. French art house also likes to zoom in on beautiful kids that come off age, elite and intellectual couples who struggle or age. Or where one of the two dies.

The English can never let go of their stark and pretty outrageous class system. It is always playing a role in the background. It dictates how people speak, dress, conduct and they scan for all the signs at the first seconds of meeting someone else. Movies play with this always I feel, over there. And they have a sense of humor that can be wonderful, but I find the english often sink away in farce like comedy and traditional family or friend situations. That, or something to do with class problems (think The Remains of the Day, but there are countless of other examples really).

And what I like about the current approach to this, is that they also let go a bit of the predictability of the end outcome of such antagonists/protagonists. I keep citing Game of Thrones but it's just the best example for this I think; people were dazed and hurt and upset and angry even when Martin killed off Ned Stark in matter of episodes and chapters. The story hadn't even got going and he was already slashed off. It plays with the minds; who IS actually the protagonist here? And what happens when the characters we deem the main ones, the ring leaders, turn out to be just chess pieces in the bigger story? I find the level of surprise and mental fuckery that it created very appealing. There is no knowing which character will turn out to be the pivotal one at the end of the games. Tyrion might get most airtime but it might just turn out that Lord Baelish sits on the throne in the end, and we all watch back earlier series and put the pieces together only then about his real importance. For instance.

In marvel movies, it's often all so cookie cut (is that a word?) who will in the end win and prevail. Sure, the road towards it is nice, and there is a lot of other stuff to get out of the movie as a whole (sharp funny dialogues, dark concepts and premonitions about our lives and futures), but the characters are pretty much always predictable for me and therefore, for me personally, not as interesting.
GoT has realistic conflicts, motives and an error actually has capital consequences. No fairytale bulshit. I want to raw and stark reality pls, poured in some juicy drama. Martin created a cast of people, a huge cast, a massive world and what I disliked about Tolkien is the Good versus Bad theme. I find it too childish to reduce things to that. That's classic fairytale matter, but GoT is almost like a historic saga, it is so realistic. Error can mean death, just like in real human history. Get used to it, fuckers.

I love how the antagonists are switched to protagonists, how your concept of who is what and why is constantly tossled about. They have a vast cast and anyone can die. Many of my favorite characters died, and I liked some predominantly evil characters too. Either way, even the antagonists who never fully redeem themselves, they still get worked out and dug into psychologically as much as the 'heroes'. And even the heroes are severely flawed and not always in a cute way. In other words; like in real life and history.

I’ve seen a handful of movies in that style. A movie that doesn’t have a strong thematic element is not an immediate failure, but it has to achieve something. Be it a beautiful sense of capturing the human emotional state, or demonstrating the pointlessness of life as a French whore. A day in the life of a Dutch baker is not entertaining unless it creates a level of audience interaction. Otherwise, you may as well make baking tutorials on YouTube that does a piss-poor job instructing the viewer.

As to morality, we’re in the era of the anti-hero. We’re beyond the point where heroes and villains are a mainstay of the modern American cinematic experience. You’ll see good and evil in movies such as Marvel, because that is how the characters are developed. In most movies, I’d say it is more a matter of protagonist and antagonist. The protagonist is certainly free to have villainous elements, and many of them do. It is even somewhat popular to have what would otherwise be considered a villain be the protagonist. The problem that I see with their approach is that the antagonist is almost always reduced to being stand-ins. They exist solely to create conflict, to give the protagonist something to do. Even when the antagonist’s motivations make sense and create a legitimately interesting conflict, there is no there there. Darth Vader, Hannibal Lector, Norman Stansfield, Dracula, Annie Wilkes, Buffalo Bill, Magneto, and Keyser Soze are all iconic antagonists because they were as well-developed as their protagonists were. Both sides of the story creates these legends.

Game of Thrones works because they have realistic conflict. Everyone has their motivation. They may be sadistic, cruel, or outright insane… but they have a legitimate belief in their own causes. If nothing else, the author has brought these characters to life, even if they are people with actions we cannot condone. I think the books and show are as well-received as they are in a critical sense is because the author has created an entire cast of people.

Now imagine erasing almost all of them, and have Jon Snow as the sole protagonist. Everyone else present exists beyond the scope of Jon Snow’s understanding. He interacts with them, he reacts accordingly to characters whose thoughts and motivations are unknown to us both. It would be a much less interesting tale, wouldn’t you say? It would be a mundane franchise. When one looks to write a book or make a movie, it is not necessary to have an antagonist that is as well-developed as the protagonist. One simply needs to see that the protagonist is well-developed enough to make up for the other side of the coin. Most fiction doesn’t reach that particular standard. Compelling protagonists, sure. Just not a brilliant example.












  





(old picture)


October 23nd 2016

I feel such a mug because the inhalation spray I mentioned before, Tilade, worked so well initially. Lungs less sore but also, I was a lot less red while using it. But stupid rebound seems to hit me again :/ After a while of using it twice daily, I felt I needed more and more of it, or else I'd turn very red once the half life was exceeded too much and it stopped working. I assume it was some sort of rebound. I am a severe flusher and even a sneeze attack makes me all red, so as I write often, this isn't how everybody with rosacea will/would respond to Tilade most likely. Besides, it's not aimed at rosacea, I just noticed a pale skin while taking it for lung inflammation.

So.. I used it a full month. And within the 3rd week I started notiding that about 6 or so hours after using the inhaler, I had what felt like a weird rebound flaring, flushing and burning?? All red! I stopped the inhaler, had 4 days of allround terrible burned up skin, cancelled all my going out plans and grumped it out. Then it subsided a bit, and I restarted that Tilade puffer, just to see if it really was the inhaler in my case. And the same thing happened. Pale that afternoon (yesss!), then super red after not snorting the next dose. Now I've got the flu and a nose cold so my lungs back to where they were at the start of all this. And the weather change and cold temperatures have blown up my rosacea once more, so am being sick, with a red flared face. Awful week, my skin hates the cold weather. 

I try to have the indoor heating on a little bit, 16 or 17 degrees, and have my skin adapted to tepid (is that a word for this?) temperatures. The changes from cold to warm to cold temperatures have always been a trigger for my rosacea, and with everybody else out there having their heating on already too now, I want to avoid the Warm Room Flush Syndrome.

I also try to keep my indoor air a bit humid, around 60%, so my skin doesn't dry out too much. Someone emailed me about tips for erythromelalgia-related rosacea symptoms, I'll share them later. A London city IPL practice and another one from the mainland contacted me about advertisement options but I can't really do that on here, as I have had mostly trouble from IPL myself. Yes, it works for many others, but never has for me and a close friend of mine was dealt with scars from IPL, so no promoting from me.

I made sure that I didn't use a steroid, but am starting to wonder now if this spray might work in the same manner as a steroid after all? Given how badly my face is flared now and it's very hard to calm my skin down at the moment. Info I found online says it doesn't:

How does Tilade work?

Tilade inhaler 2mg (CFC-Free) contains nedocromil sodium which is a non-steroidal agent, with anti-inflammatory properties, that reduces inflammation by a mechanism that is different to asthma medications containing corticosteroid. Tilade inhaler works directly on the airway walls to reduce inflammatory reactions, by Inhibiting the activation of several inflammatory cells (such as macrophages and mast cells) at the site of inflammation in the lungs and preventing them releasing chemicals (like histamine, prostaglandin and leukotrienes) that mediate the inflammatory process. The overall effect is to dampen down the inflammatory process in the airways, reducing irritation and swelling to improve airflow into the lungs. This helps to prevent symptoms of asthma caused by swollen and inflamed airways, like wheezing, cough, tightness of the chest and shortness of breath. It does not relieve bronchospasm which happens during an asthma attack and needs a “reliever” medication to open the airways. 



Or maybe it's just the cold and the flu causing this flare.. Maybe the Tilade was great at blunting inflammation and histamine-release, and I just need to start using it again.. I don't know right now. Think I'll try to do nothing but use my regular regime of anti flushing medication and wait till my skin is more stable again, before reintroducing the inhaler. I don't want to make things even more messy and murky. Change one thing at a time, is the rule. When you deteriorate, stop the thing you introduced earlier..


Ugh, I hate winter coming already.







 






October 3rd 2016

Using an non-steroid asthma inhaler, Tilade, which makes my face a bit more pale


My skin has been a bit calm lately and it happened by surprise. I added something specific to my medications to help me treat my lungs, but it also seems to help my skin :)      
I've had my first ever bronchitis episode at the start of the year, that lingered on for a long time. Eventually, after different courses of antibiotics, things normalized again, but not entirely. I kept having a pressure feeling on my chest and some faint pains. Never had any lung problems before in my life, and when I went back to the GP, he said it could be some lingering inflammation. A corticosteroid inhaler would help me he thought, but I didn't dare to use it.. It might not be a problem for my rosacea after all, but I don't dare to try it and take the risk.. Reason being: my London derm advised me to avoid it if possible, as my whole skin issue started with the short term use of a steroid cream (coupled with stress and stopping my birth control pills overnight). I react so strong to steroids, either in sprays or creams, that in my personal case, he said it might be best to not risk triggering things again. Some patients he/I know used to have rosacea under control, only for it to flare right back up after something as simple as a steroid nasal decongestant spray. That's not to say that steroids will always do that to everyone, or that they aren't necessary in some cases, even for people with rosacea, who deal with additional health problems like asthma ( I don't have asthma!) or whatever else you might really need corticosteroids for. But given how serious my skin flushing and burning has been, and often still is, I personally decided to always look for an alternative if possible. 

Pictures left without Tilade (earlier pictures), right with (pretty much never wear make-up and old camera that doesn't have filters)
 



Without Tilade
So we waited in the spring to see if my body would clean up the inflammation by itself. But this summer I still had lung pain. Three weeks ago I had an X ray done (see pics. The top left white fields is from a lead apron lol. Bit over the top perhaps, but I had asked if I could wrap it around my cheeks.. This, because X rays in the past flared up my rosacea for weeks). The x-ray showed areas of lingering inflammation still, especially in the lower parts and sides of the lungs. Not pneumonia or anything, but the specialist said she'd call it bronchitis still. Inflammation, for sure. 




 



I went back to my GP who said it might be good to prescribe something to tackle the inflammation now, as 9 months is a long time to have this. Problem was that he would still suggest a corticosteroid inhaler. And didn't know non steroid alternatives. My dear friend Emma had helped me over time to read up on the topic and had come up with a handful of non-steroidal alternatives.




NON STEROIDAL ALTERNATIVES TO INHALED CORTICOSTEROIDS

*Singulair (montelukast) or alternatives are zafirlukast and Zileuton (Zyflo); Leukotriene modifiers, that treat inflammation in the lungs. These medications block the action of chemicals called leukotrienes, which occur in white blood cells and may cause inflammation and narrowing of the airways.)

*Cromolyn sodium (Intal®)
  Nedocromil sodium (Tilade®) (info(Cromolyn and Nedocromil sodium are in the same class and "nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory agents" which stabilize mast cells (linked to allergies). They reduce the release of histamine and reduce inflammation (by reducing the total number of eosinophils). My doctor chose Nedocromil for me, brand name; Tilade.)

*Theophylline (has some anti inflammatory effects)

*Magnesium sulfate nebulization (info)

*Omalizumab (Xolair) - is a long-term asthma control medicine for people with allergies, that works by binding to one of the antibodies that trigger allergic asthma attacks. It prevents IgE from triggering the inflammatory events that lead to asthmatic attacks).




By the way, Cromolyn is also used sometimes in creams to put on the skin if people with rosacea. I never tried this as I don't put creams on my skin as it all burns me too much, but here and here are some links that show that putting cromolyn solution on rosacea skin, reduces some of the redness. Dr. Gallo also did research about the topical use of nedocromil and cromolyn on rosacea skin and it resulted in reduced redness. Here is a link to his study. 


I have been given both Singulair pills and Tilade (nedocromil sodium) inhaler by my doctors. I had brought information with me about their effect on inflammation in the lungs, as the GP said he didn't know of alternatives for corticosteroids. After reading up a bit in them, doctors were willing to let me try it, as they knows I have a long history of rosacea problems and flaring, and I usually am extra red in the doctors office (heat, stress, waiting etc).

Singulair came with a special warning leaflet, stating this medication is known to increase the risk of anxiety, depression and suicide. I use an antidepressant at a low dose (remeron, 22,5 mg a day) for my facial flushing control, so I didn't think I would be particularly susceptible to these side effects. I googled them a bit online and saw a lot of complaints, but also people who used it long term and found that it helped a lot with their asthma/lung inflammation. And on top, on The Rosacea Forum, some people also mentioned how Singular helped with their rosacea symptoms. I took it for 6 days, and I probably had the placebo effect, I really wished I never heard about those specific side effects in advance, because it's hard now to pinpoint if I imagined them or not, but low and behold, I started to feel nervous and jittery after a few days of use :/ It wasn't depression, nor suicidal (as the leaflet had warned for too), but who knows what the anxiety could result in weeks, month down the line? I really didn't like the twitchy restlessness and anxiety. It's hard enough dealing with a red hot face that can start to burn at dozens of triggers every day without added anxiety. So after about 6 days I stopped the Singulair and started Tilade. I didn't start both at the same time as I wanted to be sure what medication had what effect. Sometimes when I introduce something new, it can flare my face. But when you start 2 new things at the same time, you'll never really know what does what.

Anyone, long story short; the Tilade is fantastic! The first days I like felt my throat swelled up a little bit in the hours after inhaling it and it made me a bit more short of breath, but that stopped by now. And within about 3 days, I felt I wasn't as red and flushed as normal. Complete surprise, as this inhaler is only supposed to treat inflammation in the lungs (which is where you inhale the spray into). It's been over 2 weeks now that I've used it and I still am more pale. I can go red and flushed still (hot showers for too long, stress, certain foods, the sun/heat) but when I skip my triggers, my skin seems more pale than normal. I told my GP about it and sent her a picture of my skin and she was happily surprised and said she is glad to prescribe it to me a bit longer. It doesn't have side effects for me, it's an older and safe medication, also given to children with lung inflammation (and an alternative in this to corticosteroids). I'll add some pictures below, some with my normal redness on a not so good day and some from yesterday (note: I still cool all the time to get it so pale; fan on low, coldpacks if needed, cool air):


First days using Tilade
   


A week into using Tilade
   


Pictures without Tilade (earlier pictures)

 



Lot of pictures, sorry, but I'm so surprised and happy with the paler skin.. Of course, things that work one moment might stop working the other. I had that happening before with neurontin and diclofenac. but who knows, the Tilade might help me with the skin redness, burning and flushing in the long run. Although I'm still not 100% sure that the two are related. It looks that way though. I'd never thought a local acting lung inhaler would have an effect on facial skin, but maybe it does.. 




I've been trying to find some explanations online of the effects of nedocromil sodium on rosacea skin. 

Although there have been trials done where it is applied topically on skin, I didn't find direct evidence of the inhaler being linked to rosacea treatment. However, Tilade inhibits mast cell activity, and there is information to be found online about how inhibiting mast cell activity in itself might improve inflammation in individuals with rosacea.

This follows a previous study, funded by the National Rosacea Society, that suggests that mast cells located between the vascular system and the nervous system are the key to triggering the inflammation seen in rosacea. And that mast cell numbers are increased in the skin of rosacea patients. The study found that the mast cell proteases recruit other immune cells, thereby amplifying the inflammatory response.

"A team led by Dr. Anna DiNardo, associate professor of medicine of the University of California-San Diego, found that mast cells play a direct role in the activation of certain types of cathelicidins, an enzyme involved in the innate immune response that is over-produced in people with rosacea. Studying the process in mice, Dr. DiNardo's team determined that when exposed to a neuropeptide called PACAP, mast cells produce enzymes that trigger the production of cathelicidins. In mice bred to lack mast cells, this chain reaction did not occur."




In this blog post, a blogger looks into the link between rosacea and mast cells and histamine, and came to the conclusion that the two are related. 

She wrote: "A study in the Journal of Investigative Dermatology, funded by a research grant from the National Rosacea Society, revealed that mast cell numbers are increased in the skin of rosacea patients. The study found that the mast cell proteases recruit other immune cells, thereby amplifying the inflammatory response. Demodex skin mites have also been shown to play a role in rosacea, by triggering the inflammatory response or blocking hair follicles. And that’s a great point I should elaborate on. The presence of these mites could be the actual mast cell trigger. Having rosacea therefore doesn’t necessarily mean that you have an actual mast cell disorder.
This is something I had to wrap my head around just last year. That some of us with histamine/mast cell symptoms, are experiencing them as a result of a primary issue, like mites on our skin, a bacterial or viral infection, rather than us having an actual mast cell disorder that is causing the rosacea symptoms."

As an aside here, Demodex mites can play a role in subtype 2 rosacea, and possibly in some cases of subtype 1. But there is still little known about this and a new cream called Soolantra has been out for a little while now (killing demodex mites) and seems to work very well for subtype 2 and for some cases of subtype 1. I asked my dermatologists about my own rosacea and whether or not they think I could have a demodex problem. They all said they don't think so. That they see demodex mainly being a problem with acne-like subtype 2 cases. But, it's a new field of research and nothing can be said with certainty about this.




The blogger highlighted that a study recently proved that mast cells ("the pesky little buggers that house histamine in the body") are a key culprit in causing eczema. It was also discovered that a protein called STAT5 plays an important role, as it can trigger major mast cell increases. Blocking STAT5, which along with histamine, lives in our mast cells, might not just prove important in the battle against eczema, but also in beating rosacea.


She also gave some valuable tips on how to deal with rosacea symptoms, looking at it from the perspective of rosacea being a histamine intolerance and mast cell activation disorder. She mentioned:

*Meditation and yoga
Meditation and yoga have both been shown to switch off/dampen genes related to mast cell/histamine disorders, as well as inflammation generally.

*Medication
Mast cell stabilizers and vitamin D.

*Supplements
Bioflavonoids like quercetin and luteolin, shown to be as effective as the commonly prescribed mast cell stabilizer sodium cromolyn. Quercetin is a mast cell stabilizing bioflavonoid, which prevents histamine release and is beneficial in the treatment of skin conditions. Many people over the years here have experienced improvement with it. This is another interesting thread on The Rosacea Forum about the use of quercetin for rosacea redness and flaring.

You can also find bioflavonoids in most brightly coloured plant foods. Vitamin D, usually a good bet for those with immune system conditions, including rosacea. Another study funded by the NRS focused on the role of vitamin D enhancing the production of human antimicrobial peptides cathelicidins (LL-37). These beneficial peptides, which normally help prevent inflammation, are “abnormally processed” in rosacea folks.

*Diet
Given that the bioflavonoids quercetin and luteolin are found in plant foods, why not eat the plants, whether or not you’re taking supplements or medication? In this blogsters case, she decided that nothing goes in her mouth unless it treats her. Here is the blogsters histamine food list and here are results of a Fasting Mimicking Diet. 

*Examine your beauty routine
"It might surprise you to learn that many common beauty ingredients are mast cell/histamine triggers. They’re too numerous to mention here, but I’ve found that almost all commercially available brands have these ingredients, as well as those that disrupt the endocrine system (more on that on the EWG website). The great news is that newer, truly natural brands like 100% Pure and RMS Beauty offer very stylish alternatives. To sum it up – if you can buy it at a generic store, it’s likely to cause problems. The aforementioned brands contain more natural ingredients, some of which actually possess antihistamine and anti-inflammatory ingredients like (real) moringa and coconut oil. You’ll find a full list of healing cosmetic products in the low histamine beauty book linked below."


It is always a good idea to see if you have food triggers. Also, there are many people with rosacea and other auto immune diseases who have good results with high nutrient anti-inflammatory diets. Don't underestimate the ways in which foods can help or further deteriorate your health issues. 




One of the tips from the blogster was to try out mast cell stabilizers. Could Tilade be a mast cell stabilizer and therefore helping my skin? Even though it isn't applied topically? How much of it comes through the lungs tissues into my blood and could get to such levels that it might (?) affect my facial skin and blood vessels?




And what are mast cells anyway? 

The blogster I found did a great job in explaining this:

"Mast cells are kind of the army barracks where histamine and others live. When our body’s in trouble, mast cells open their doors, allowing histamine and other inflammatory elements to be released in order to get to the site of an injury or infection, to get the healing process started. In addition to histamine, a number of other inflammatory molecules are synthesized, among them are interleukin and prostaglandins. These are all great things to have at our disposal, when they’re released, as needed, in order to help us heal.

The problem arises when some of us have too many of these mast cells, or unstable ones (you mean working in war zones affected my mast cells? Who knew?!), or just have too much histamine in the body because of a lack of histamine-lowering enzymes like DAO and HNMT. This leads to massive inflammation throughout the body, pain and misery, and undoubtedly years of misdiagnosis as doctors scramble to keep up with a never ending list of complaints.

Why are mast cell disorders so hard to diagnose? Mast cells are found in every organ system in the body – so yeah, we get a helluva lotta symptoms, usually rotating every couple of months (just to throw a monkey wrench in the works ya know?), and most docs have no clue what it’s all about."




How can nedocromil sodium help rosacea? 

I theorize here, because all I know is that my skin has been less red and burned up ever since I started the Tilade lung inhaler 2 weeks ago. Tilade is said to stabilize mast cells (linked to allergies) and reduce the release of histamine and reduce inflammation (by reducing the total number of eosinophils).
"It is not fully understood how nedocromil prevents inflammation, but it is thought to work by preventing the release of inflammatory chemicals from cells called mast cells.

Mast cells are cells in the immune system that become sensitised in response to foreign particles, or allergens. When this happens, they release chemicals, including histamine, that go on to cause inflammation as part of the body’s allergic response."

A trial with eczema patients who took nedocromil sodium orally (I assume in pill form) showed no effect compared to placebo on the eczema skin condition. Scientists did find that when it was applied onto the skin, nedocromil sodium helped to inhibit itch and skin flaring. 
I can't find studies about the effects of nedocromil sodium or cromolyn on skin issues when these drugs are inhaled. I did read that inhaled corticosteroids can in fact enter the blood stream, but in small doses. 

And
"When breathed in, some steroid medicine remains in the mouth and can be swallowed into the stomach and from there absorbed into the bloodstream. [..] Also, when given in very large doses (many puffs from a high-concentration steroid inhaler), the amount of steroid medicine that spills over into the bloodstream can become significant."


Nedocromil sodium reduces mast cell release, histamine and eosinophils (and thereby lowers inflammation). 

With rosacea, there are increased numbers of mast cells in the skin, located between the vascular system and the nervous system, that trigger the production of cathelicidins and thereby inflammation.

It makes sense that any medication (or supplement) that can reduce the mast cell release, could in theory reduce the inflammation seen in rosacea skin. I don't understand how (and if) Tilade could help here, as it is an inhaler that works on the lungs, but who knows. For now I enjoy the reduced skin flares and have my fingers crossed that the effect doesn't wear off too quickly. I might have to wait on an upcoming study:


"In their next study, also supported by an NRS research grant, Dr. Di Nardo’s team will determine whether use of a mast cell stabilizer known as cromolyn sodium will decrease symptoms of rosacea. In addition, they will test to see if levels of the enzymes tryptase and chromotryptase -- typically higher in rosacea patients -- revert to normal after application of the mast cell stabilizer, and which of the enzymes is more important in the process. These enzymes are believed to also play a role in the inflammatory process."








Some more info on newer, non steroid treatments for asthmatic inflammation:  
"Of non-steroidal agents that have well-established positions in asthma treatment, nedocromil and cromolyn possess significant anti-inflammatory effects, and theophylline and beta agonists possess some anti-inflammatory effects of potential relevance to asthma. In addition, there are a number of newer or alternative therapies that have theorized or demonstrated anti-inflammatory effects in asthma, including leukotriene modifier agents, anti-IgE, gold, nebulized lidocaine, cyclosporine, intravenous immunoglobulin, methotrexate, hydroxychloroquine, dapsone, and troleandomycin."

And some anti inflammatory supplements I want to try out soon,



The summer months have been OK, but quite hot. I couldn't go out swimming or joining friends on pick nicks too much and have been hibernating more days than not, which wasn't great fun tbh. It did give me more time to finish work and procrastinate, of which I will show off some results below.


Portugal has its first drone! They'll regret all their evil ways in the Middle east soon :) Portugal is coming for you!


I found some nostalgia pictures from the good old days. I have this interest in the 1950s, and not just in the USA (I'm Dutch btw), but the American 50s were kind of an archetype for us of the good life I guess. Back in the days when America had a strong middle class, when one dad could support his family, buy a house and a car one one income - a job he kept all of his life typically. There's something about these pictures that really attracts me.


Aside from the beauty of the composition and the colors, I guess I love the feel it gives me about simple life those days. This 'Road Closed' picture was taken in New York, 1958. St. Lawrence Seaway. I see a family in the forefront, dad wearing the archetypal white t-shirt. Mother has a typical 50s jump-/bathing suit on. Neat pony tale. The cars I find personally wonderful. The minty colors, the details, the class they ooze, the craftmanship that went into making them. The road is closed. Force majeure. There were no smart phones, no mobile news updates. You stood there and scratched your head.. went for a swim instead. What else could you do? Enjoy the moment, those moments that would later make up strong stories. The unexpected deviation of habit that turned out in quite a swell afternoon after the first confusion.

It really feels like they’re having fun, doesn’t it? I remember as a kid that my family and I would go camping each summer. Mobile phones existed, but no one had them. Even if they did, mobile phones in our childhood did nothing more than calls. You had a flashlight or a lantern if you wanted to read after the sun went down. The excitement of piling everything in the car, the drive to the campground. Your biggest concern was mosquitoes!

Which is what I see happening in this photo from 1958. No doubt the father in the white shirt was stoic if not a touch dour. “I said get your shoes on, goddamnit!” Yet there is no rancor in his voice. He’s smoking a cigarette and enjoying time with his family where he’s not worried about hippies or work or even that *&# Eisenhower. It is an adventure for his wife and children. When I see photos like this, it creates a feeling that life was good. Even if he might turn into some wife beater an hour late. At that moment though, life seemed good.

It might be a generation thing, but to me, seeing scenes like this one:

people seem forlorn at times now. Always in contact with everybody, every twitch needs to be shared to all your friends. Every ping requires an answer. Yet the people in these pictures might have been happier, with a depth of substance that just isn’t captured on Instagram. Less choices too in life, but not everybody is happy with endless choices. It isn’t digital photography versus film, or high-resolution versus standard definition. It is almost as if these people lacked a constant and inherent awareness of the fact that they are being or may be captured in an instant with photography. They seem more genuine for this. Either they take the opportunity of a photo being taken as something special, where you wanted to look your best for, or you see pictures where people do their everyday things and aren't at all aware of the concept of being shot like that. As photo cameras were not part of the everyday street scene yet. People being recorded in a snapshot. Our lives and social media presences seem fake in comparison, manufactured just to be seen.

I also wonder sometimes if the landscapes of our worlds, our individual countries, have changed a lot with the advancing decades. In the 1950's pictures, there seemed an order and sense of belonging to things. Things had their place. Stores that were run by family generations and were part of the community, instead of being placed strategically and solely to make money from an ever passing and changing stream of commuters. Now, everything seems to exists merely to generate revenue. A society of convenience, that thrives on change, instead of consistency. I like things to not change as much. For things to have a place. I prefer the same cafe that has been there for 50 years over the latest Starbucks. Because it never just stops there. Every self respecting small city needs, then, next, to have six Starbuckses! Because here the "Let's pay 5€ for some shitty starbucks latte plus a table to write my next movie script culture" has also landed... No match for the places where men with dirty fingernails eat fresh herring and drink beer to watch the football match. But who knows if those places will still be here, ten, twenty years down the line?

Binmen no longer exist today. They have shining badges with 'Environmental Manager' printed on it. That's lovely, it sounds important. You can call a ditch-digger a ‘dirt-relocation engineer’. At some point it became a slur to be a binman, after all, or to make sandwiches at Subway. You call them a sandwich ‘artist’ and slap a bandage on any potential wounded pride. That's the 21st century for us. But no matter how important they make the job-titles sound, it never-ever-ever translates to an increase in pay.





It's a shame in a way that everything that can, also will be recorded these days. In large quantities. For some people, it degrades having quality memories. Back in the days, you needed to make choices and selections. You had one film roll, maybe 2, you couldn't picture every meal. You saved your photos for the highlights. You used to take photos and keep them in boxes, or take the time to add them to albums. They were precious because they were limited and fragile. You watched them and wished there were more. But there were usually just enough. Family photos were considered among the greatest treasures a family could possess (well, for the well to do and middle classes at least, over here). The loss of them was a genuine tragedy in a fire or flood. Now, you add them to Instagram or Dropbox forever. Certainly more convenient, and it does prevent such tragedies. Yet we seem to appreciate them less perhaps?



I can't help but being nostalgic sometimes for the pictures of that era. I know, it was not as nice as it was presented to us, long kitchen duty hours for the wives, but still. It is easy to idealize a time long gone. Driving through your average pre-town center, the ugliness of the shop windows, the screaming neon lights, the rubbish, the weathered houses. Now, Holland is pristine and picture perfect in the city centers of old and big towns, a lot of money and government control to keep it all in tip top shape. But there are many pre-fab towns too and in other countries it can be just like that. I remember visiting Barcelona. Very high expectations, perhaps it all went wrong there already. Forget about the pretty Ramblas pictures the travel guides only show you; it's a city filled with cars and fast driving double car lanes. You first drive for a long long time through weathered outer city quarters; schmutzy, universal looking. As a kid you would pick places on the globe and imagine their pretty exotic nature. But things hardly look the same when you visit these places in adult life.










August 27th 2016

I've had a fairly horrible summer to be honest. Seventeen years of this rosacea shit, but this summer was very warm often and I am so sick of being a locked in the house patient. It's beyond depressing and usually I keep myself busy and try to keep some sort of a social life, but lately it's been tough. I don't see this changing in the near future, this constant hiding away from the sun or the warmth and the complete isolation I feel then. I seriously want to spend June, July and August in Iceland or New Zealand from now on. But I don't have the means for that of course. I don't know how the other people with rosacea who are housebound a good part of the year deal with all this, on a chronic basis. 

In the category weird but wonderfully awkward LP record covers (I selected three tame ones from the link):







  



August 26th 2016

I helped with the set up of a little 'art work' and an allegory of the grape harvest. We made a table, think Last Supper, and the guests consist of the sculls of wild boar. Hunters are guarding the place from both corners. Under the table, the hoof of a boar sticks out and a fan blows from the other side, so the table draping seems to be moving from the front (are there living pigs under the table?). I had recorded pig sounds playing on a loop. 



Dangers for the wine making come from:

-wild boar
-no rain or too much rain
-fire

And for the boars it's eat or be eaten.
It accompanied a projection and theater project, inspired by the work of Helga Novak. 
video


That show was a little bit creepy, with shouted German and surreal projections. There were crying children in the audience. And apart from some blank stares and shoulder shrugs, one older man complained out loud, especially about the projection performance, because he didn't understand a thing about it. In his rage he had calculated that 5 euro entrance fee x 100 people there, equals an amount that wildly overreached the costs for transportation and lightning for 'those crooks' Luckily he is insured for disappointments in life, and received 2,50 euro back :)

  
 





August 25th 2016

Received a present; a wig! :) So attentive, only was it supposed to be ash dark blonde, and turned out to be... ginger? Reddish by all means. I'm not sold on it yet but so happy with the nice gesture. Not that I'm going bald or anything, it's not too bad actually. Hopefully in fall the loose hairs stop entirely, now that thyroid issues are ruled out. Nothing beats your own hair. I was happy! Just not a big cheesy smiler by nature :D Had a good skin day too. 

  




August 20th 2016

I am seeing my dermatologist today (the German who resides closer by, I heard that Dr Chu is on sick leave at the moment, and I couldn't fly to London in short notice anyway). I'm still losing a lot of hair, it's been thinning ridiculously the past months. I don't dare to comb it too much anymore, and I try to postpone the hair washing for as long as possible too now, by wearing hair in loose braids and by not flicking it about too much. Nevertheless, there's constantly long loose hairs peeping out, or all over my clothes. Scalp still hurts too, on various and constantly changing places, as if some invisible hand is pulling the hair there.

So I've read up a bit on it all, and it seems that more people with rosacea have these symptoms. Especially these summer months it's been brought up several times on online forums and social media. In summer, people in general can shed more hair, I read. But I've never had a summer with these hands full of hairs, every single day. 

I have seborrheic dermatitis, and lost half my eye brows already over the years. No visible seb derm on my scalp though, with exception of some dry flakes now and then. No redness or real scaling however. Maybe doc can let me try Nizoral shampoo, I'm now wondering. I read and heard good things about it, also to limit hair loss, as seb derm can be a factor in this. I've had my thyroid levels checked a couple of times the past 10 years, but the last time was about 3 years ago, so maybe I will ask for another test. My mum has thyroid disease and said it caused her hair loss too before she got treatment. Paired with tiredness (one of those universal symptoms that go with more or less ANY illness); I easily sleep 9 hours a night, and regardless I always feel easily tired during the day.

HALF A DAY LATER: 
Ok, I saw my dermatologist and he agreed that there is some hair thinning compared to my normal hair. He said he saw it right away, and gave me a referral for some blood tests, which I had done right afterwards. He will look at my thyroid function (T4 and TSH), thyroperoxidase (TPO) Antibodies, hemoglobin levels and iron levels. We'll see next week what the outcome says. I asked if seborrheic dermatitis could be causing this and he thought it doesn't in my case. Nizoral shampoo was therefore not prescribed (darn... I would have liked to try it anyway). He said my seb derm flares in winter normally, not in summer and that is true. There's also no visible redness or real flaking on my scalp. I then asked if he thought my medication could be causing the hair loss, especially propranolol or clonidine. He shook his head and said he didn't think so, that it was a rare side effect and that I've used these meds for over 10 years now without hair loss. He wanted to check the blood levels first, to rule more obvious reasons out. 

I also asked if low dose roaccutane would be suitable for my rosacea. As I still have quite a lot of flushing, burning and redness on a daily/weekly basis, especially when it gets too warm in summer. He is an old fashioned German dermatologist and so far has been really good and thorough over the years. He also knows a damn lot about auto immune conditions, inflammatory diseases and thinks outside the box. For instance by putting connections between bowel disease and the skin. 
But now he shook his head and said "No. Won't help you. It's for papular rosacea or acne." I said that some people with my subtype of rosacea (subtype 1, with general redness, burning and flushing and no outbreaks from pimples etc) actually feel that low dose roaccutane lowers the inflammation and cuts down on their symptoms. He said no, for your subtype I advise against it. It could actually worsen your flushing. It works on acne in specific ways, but not because of its general anti-inflammatory effect. More in the way it changes sebum levels for instance. 'And', he said, 'it's a administrational nightmare, as you would need to have monthly blood work done. You don't want that, and it dries your skin out and you can't tolerate topicals.' 

I might ask dr. Chu for a second opinion on it when I see him again, although 8 years ago when I asked him about it, he said basically the same thing as my German doctor. Not good for your rosacea case.   



Update on the blood tests; all tests came back fine.. No thyroid disease, no low iron. I'm not sure where that leaves me. I ditched the latest renewed shampoo brand (a completely neutral/ poison-free one from Denmark) for now and returned to an old shampoo brand, just be rule out shampoo as a potential cause. And maybe the bunny boiler stalker who ruined my spring caused me too much stress? I read that hair can shed in a delayed response to stress, sometimes 3 or 4 months after the event. Who knows.





Overall and in general, my skin has been wildly swaying between pale and calm, versus red and flushed and burning lately. I often wake up pale (airco on if it's too warm and a ventilator blowing at a good distance and not too strongly). But I'm flaring and flushing many times a day and feel stuck behind a fan or in airco controlled rooms, now that it's just a bit too warm and humid outside for me. Only in evenings, when it's cooler, I feel more normal and my rosacea isn't flaring at the drop of a hat. What hasn't helped in that respect is the surprise visit from friends with their lovely kid, who are staying over for a couple of days. Almost preparing to leave again, in fact, and it's been so much fun. We visited places, went to a restaurant, had meals three
times a day together, played games. All nice and a lot of laughter but nobody liked it when the airco was on in the living room (so I switched it off) and I didn't want to be a problem for others during dinners and go all Spanish Inquisition on the menu, let alone drag a fan along all the time. So I had really flaring cheeks. Luckily I can calm things down again once I have my alone time and can cool a bit. I'm not avoiding social things for rosacea, and with my anti flushing medication, the severity of the flares is a lot less than what they used to be. Just.. this wasn't a good week for guests and for ignoring my burning cheeks. But that's life.

I've cut down on my exercise the past months, but am trying to crank it back up again these days. One or two hour walks in the evenings. Usually I listen to an audio book as well then. A friend, Dorothy, sent me an interesting link. This chapter talks about how exercise can increase the level of Cytokine-10 that can reduce the inflammation caused by Cytokine-6 (levels of C-6 can increase with stress, whether physical or emotional).  It's a simplified explanation, but very interesting. 


 I also read some interesting stuff about yellow light therapy. There is already red light therapy. I'm preparing an entire blog post about both, soon to come, but in short about it: NASA was the first to develop and use red light technology to stimulate plant germination and to treat injured astronauts in space. Different wavelengths of red light can help in the treatment of rosacea symptoms, helping to reduce wrinkles and fine lines and restoring damaged hair. It is recommended by some dermatologists and a lot of research has been done on red light therapy. It can help with the following:

*Reduce inflammation, tightness, itching flashing and pustules
*Even skin tone
*Increase collagen 
*Alleviate sun burns

In red light therapy, wavelengths between 620nm and 700nm are used. Home kits for treating rosacea and other skin conditions use wavelengths of between 630nm and 660nm. The wavelengths can be absorbed into the skin at a depth of up to 8mm or 10mm. The mitochondria in the skin cells convert the red light into a type of energy that:

*Triggers the release more fibroblast and collagen to improve skin elasticity
*Boosts a natural cleaning mechanism by the cells
*Lowers inflammation
*Boosts granulation of facial tissues
*Improves blood circulation in the face

That last one, improving blood circulation in the face, is not something extreme flushers will be happy about, but this improved blood circulation is temporary, and most users find that after using their red light device, the skin becomes more pale in fact. However, not everybody can tolerate red light. I have tried red light therapy back in 2005, but I was flushing so much and was so inflamed at the time, that I stopped the trial soon after, as I felt it made the redness and flushing even worse. But I think it was hard to determine objectively at that point, so now that I have my rosacea a little bit more under control, I will try it again these next months.

Yellow light and green light can also be used in combination with red light. Yellow light is said to have a soothing effects. When used with red light, yellow light can minimize red spots, reduce the appearance of blood vessels and soothe inflamed skin. This is a soothing type of treatment that is meant to calm skin that is irritated and reactive. Green light can also be used with red light therapy for rosacea to reduce flushed, itchiness, inflammation and tightness associated with the condition. It is said to be effective for the temporary treatment of rosacea flushes. 

I still have my red light unit (a hand held device), and bought some small units of amber and green light, to try out as well. It's a pretty cheap one for now, just to try it. For here in Europe, I also need a special lantern cord device for the lamp, and an electrical socket adapter. And in case they work, these seem affordable (or at least still pretty affordable compared to what else is available online: 


When traveling on the road the other day, it struck me once again how ugly Dutch petrol stations are. Nevertheless I like petrol stations. Although their charm can be heightened or lowered by the country they are in. I imagine one forlorn, dusty, desolate one in Texas or something and that seems all romantic and scenic. Or at a nice stop on the rout 66. There it must still have something romantic, connected with the romantics of travelling. The goodbyes, the adventure. The abandonment of the soul can be suitably portrayed by a desolate petrol station,I think. Maybe the soul is a petrol station..  But this only works for exotic gas stations, not for the ones in Holland.  Here it has the air of sadness, of gloom and mediocrity. The place where commuters from the suburbs eat their soggy sandwiches, while half the countries highways are stuck in traffic. Every day Holland has on average half a million people in a traffic jam, sometimes up to 1000 km of jams and the country is not even a 1000 km long haha. Every year the economy loses 800 to 900 million euro because of employees being stuck in traffic when they were supposed to be working.

I like petrol stations, but that is because I like the scent of petrol. A friend summarized the petrol station world as follow: 'A lone employee behind the counter, flipping through a magazine while waiting for the bell over the door to ring. Near-silence outside, outside of traffic. The any-port-in-a-storm attitude of the customers that are passing through. The locals would treasure it though, as it is  likely the closest source for a number of small things, where it isn’t worth driving twenty minutes to a box-store. Yet the faceless and depressing nature of the urban petrol station. Highs and lows in terms of traffic. The sense of danger at night.'
If you really think about it, a petrol station is a nice microcosm of the area around it. Even a nice, new station built in a depressed area would be a beacon of what was to come, an attempt at gentrification and bringing modernity to the backwards people.

Bit Jack Kerouac almost. They are in line with lonely, weathered diners along the highway for me. You need demoralized employees with tired, drawn faces there. Who've seen it all already. The atmosphere must be frozen in all sorts of ways. Those petrol stations are always more romantic for foreigners than for locals.
And what's also striking; people always look less attractive in petrol stations. Harsh, unforgiving light. All your imperfections magnified.  They seem to have designed it like that on purpose almost, to match the solitude and forlornness of those places. Nowhere is a human more like an impaired animal than stranded alongside a highway.





Or Robert Frank: The Americans. I wrote a little piece about him once. A Swiss photographer who had lived for about ten years in the USA, when he embarked on a 2 year road trip through the country in 1955 (funded by the Guggenheim Foundation, and together with his wife and 2 small kids), and he made an epic photography series about it. Epic, because his images were spectacularly unspectacular. Parking lots, highways. Diners, funerals, factory workers, people in trains, neon lights, families. The dream of grandeur. A man who owns three cars and a man who owns none. PETROL STATIONS of course. Hotel rooms..  Views from a window, showing nothing but rooftops, a street, a mine, smoke plumes. Nothing pretty, nothing that stands out. Forlorn. Quite raw too, in a way. The end of the world for some. Into the sad American night. And you wonder; what made him end up in that sad hotel room, with the white curtains, overlooking Butte Montana? And more so; why does he want to remember this image? Or at least eternalize it with a picture?


Frank had escaped the conservative and narrow minded life in Switzerland, and was the son of a German jew and a Swiss. He wrote at the time that the speed, massiveness and rawness of the States had taken his breath away.  He struggled with the harsh materialistic, soulless side of the American culture, but loves the sense of freedom and energy he feels there.
He had to narrow down 20,000 negatives until 83 pictures and Jack Kerouac wrote the intro of his photo book. It made him famous. Because more than anything, he documented the experience of being an immigrant. He shows America with the glance of an outsider. A meeting of Frank, who wants to become an American, with America. It gives his pictures a sense of distance and passion at the same time and what made his work most famous perhaps, is that it showed the Americans themselves a different image of their own culture and country, different from the clean cut and 'neat' image they had of it themselves. Not only winners in the pursuit of happiness, but also poverty, gloom, racism, violence, loneliness and backwardness. But Frank didn't want to make it a political or critical statement. Just showing a mixture of sympathy and desperation, I think. Capturing the fleeting moments. And what it is to drive into the sad American night.

Needless to say I do adore his photo's. Although one could say that they're perhaps also a bit predictable. A bit traditional and always with perfectly neat compositions. Compare that with the photo project of John Baldessari haha. Oh this short video on him, narrated by Tom Waits, is really worthy of your time I think.

John intentionally made pictures with a bad composition, calling them 'wrong':


I did like the whole approach from Robert Frank. And it is interesting to have an outsider look at your own country. See what they notice, see what they find striking for a countries identity. And hopefully see them come up with something more subtle and original than tulips and wind mills for Holland, or a desert cactus and the statue of Liberty for the States :) I think the freedom and speed of life in the States would appeal to me as well. I was very weary of Manhattan initially, but was blown away when I was there. It was a unique experience, and I've traveled to a ton of capitals in my life, but nothing quite compares. And the quiet dusty rural towns with sweeping fields and weathered petrol stations seem interesting to me as well. 


Anyway.. So yeh, as I wrote, my skin was calm and then the forelast week it was alarmingly fire engine red and flushed (now calm and pale again)... Coincided mostly with hormonal periods. I'm always working, am glad if I have some hours at night to go for a walk or read a book or watch series/movies. I have a laptop now, but back in the days that I had to write thesis research on a computer, I had the old grey boxes, and the screens would make my skin flush terribly. It might even have emitted UV light, fluorescent light, perhaps direct SUNlight because darn that thing was evil for my skin redness.
I do binge sometimes, but more in terms of watching series for days. Escapism is nice, and most people seem to just do drugs or alcohol instead, as a chemical vacation from the realities of their bleak lives. I remember the type of magical thinking from the early days. I used to think: if only I go to Turkey for three weeks.. then I come back and all is back to normal with my skin. (The opposite happened and it made things even worse - 50 degrees heat wave and added stress). Or; if only I buy this new cream. You know that it most likely won't happen, but if your rosacea came up out of the blue, then who can blame you for thinking the reverse can happen suddenly as well?




I've worked some late night 'bar shifts' last week. I'm really the back-up plan and that's fine by me. Had a bit of fun with the guest list. German group called for a reservation (the place is full and sold out stiff every night) and I didn't hear their name well and then forgot the part I did hear. Marked them as A. Merkel in the guestbook. The chefs were rolling their eyes and elbowing each other in disbelief on that day; Is that really..? I know, lame humor :) Or for Dutch acquaintances, I marked their name in the guestbook as 'Klootzak'. When the food is ready (it's like a food truck, ran by a top chef), they shout your name over the terrace over the megaphone, and you need to rush to pick up your plates, as the chefs have very little patience. So they were ushered as "Klootzak", instead of "Du Bois" or "Bellisant". Means Arsehole in Dutch, all the other Dutch and Belgium guests had a laughing fit. Oh oh oh, not even that funny 😉 

In summertime there is regularly a circus passing by these villages, surrounded by fields and vineyards. It's always the same, run by two brothers. They have weathered old dogs who jump completely reluctantly through hoops. After a few of those jumps, out comes the directors daughter with a cap for money, walking past the crowd. They have a girl with a little oxygen tank on her back and a straw in her nose, and she is introduced just like that. Cap goes round again for money. She takes a basket with an old snake, who can't even be bothered to come out of it on its own strength, so she picks it up and holds it up in the air. Applause. Cap. Acrobats try to keep 3 balls in the air. A clown freaks the few children in the audience shitless. There are 3 breaks, where you're tempted to buy half burned popcorn and all in all, you're out again within an hour and a half. 
But now the two brothers fell out. And so badly, that one took half his shares and left with the rising sun. Only to return the next week, and start his own circus, taking some of the original acts with him. So now we have TWO circuses in the village, and they are half as good as the original. When the first leaves, the second arrives a day later. And I'm making none of this up. 



I saw a very interesting interview the other night. It's a unique concept I think; a guest, often a thinker, a writer, a public figure, is invited to 'make' a television evening of 3 hours, with a set host, and they can talk about anything and show any clip they want. The good ones make it into a theme evening, where the videos underline a deeper analysis of things. The poor ones make it into a Me Me Me night (Here is a music video I liked when I was 18, and here is a comedy I like, and then - following the red thread - HERE is a football match I remember watching and getting excited about). But as I said, the good ones use all that time to show outstanding video clips of things we'd otherwise have never known of, and to delve deep into something.

This dude, Dyab Abou Jahjah, is a very controversial Arab from Belgium, but a fantastic debater and an intellectual. Atheist as well. He talked a lot about antizionism (he came from Lebanon as a refugee), and how this is often mixed up with antisemitism in his opinion. Well, you can agree or disagree with that of course. He also discussed the plight of the Arabs, but made it into a really interesting evening in general. Although the interviewer was acting slightly jerkish, being passive aggressive (or downright aggressive) towards him, not letting him finishing sentences, cutting off interesting elaborations he made and all with a screeching voice. The net overflowed with criticism on him. This guest had been demonized for a week prior to the show. Advertisements were even made to try to boycot the entire interview with him. Free speech is not for everyone, after all. But this guest did get airtime and even managed to make it into an interesting even, despite the interviewer. 

He showed a really interesting (I thought at least) clip from Leonard Cohen:
(from 3:23 onwards):


Cohen has some analytical political power. Here he talked about globalization. The fall of the German wall was the start of a new era, and while many people celebrated it and had idealistic views on the future (some even said it marked the end of history, haha), Cohen saw the darker side of it. That these walls represented a predictable structure in modern times;  organized chaos: West versus East, two great power blocks, polarizing ideologies and political stances. All structured. Communism versus Capitalism; it was all well contained for people. But once these structures were destroyed, everything was thrown open, and by then it is not just hopeful, but also dangerous. Cohen literally said in that interview: "The future is murder". And he was right, in retrospect. Not just the violence we've seen the past 15 years from terrorism. But there seems to be also an existential feeling of emptiness. Despite life being saver than ever, people often say they feel otherwise. When you look at statistics, it's all becoming better and better for people on average in the world. Oh I saw a fantastic clip about that one haha, on Danish tv. A researcher going full on to a presenter. Let me show it:



A Danish statistics specialist, who blew a right fuse in an interview. Basically, he says that he sees the big picture, the big numbers, not the way the news after 9/11 is set onto "breaking News" all the time. That's partly I guess why people in general tend to feel unsafe and afraid still, these days. But he gets very uptight with the interviewer. The clip has english subs. He also said that the world isn't more divided in rich and poor, despite the media telling us this. That the world has never had so many people who do well, who belong to the economical middle classes, as ever before. In ME countries, Asian countries, several African countries.  The gap between the richest and the poorest of them all might have widened, but overall, more people do well than ever before. Of all the families who can afford one flying holiday a year, half of them are from outside the western world, he said. Here he is interviewed in another English program.


But then I watched a bit more of this Rosling oracle, and am wondering whether or not he is merely an optimist against all odds perhaps. For instance; it's all lovely that the majority of the world population is doing better, but for someone who says he has the big picture in mind, he didn't give the numbers on how this increase of wealth in the rest of the world has put pressure on our natural resources, like never before. So far the rest of the world hasn't embraced fierce ecological solutions the way Europe has.
Also, I like his unusual grumpiness and directness, but in a way his message is quite PC after all; he explains that we aren't used to refugees. Seriously? After world war 2 and everything that followed since, we aren't used to refugees? Sure, Tanzania and Lebanon also had millions of refugees and didn't bitch as much as we do about it, but I wonder if he knows how refugees are treated in Tanzania and Lebanon. Not that I know that much about it haha, but I read that they are more or less set aside in a corner (AKA refugee/concentration camps). No welfare and free grand houses and friendly integration projects and free education. 

Things are probably better in many countries who used to have it rough, but over here it's said that my generation is the first one that will have worse living conditions than our parents had. Things that were taken for granted like sick leave and a pension are simply gone in many EU countries today. Portugal doesn't even have a pension of any sorts for handicapped or chronically ill people. All living out on the street. LOL, Portugal once employed 14 Brazilians by taking them out of the favelas to come over and work in Portuguese nursing homes. Wash the elderly in the middle of nowhere. How many were thankful for leaving their local hellholes you think, haha? Two of them. The others found themselves a way out in no time, with their schengen visas in hand and said goodbye to a plan which basically would assimilate them into the local culture. That's the future for many here... every person for him/herself... 

But, he almost got me there, with his positivity, that Rosling :D
And despite the world being safer statistically, perhaps -I think- there is also a danger coming from these interchanging times of today; effectively they can be more unsafe than the statistics show, because there is less predictability and certainty, and therefore more room for not only fear, but also actually dangerous developments. Look at nazi germany; it was in that interbellum, the vacuum times with a lack of clear identity, with shifting of the 'we' feeling, with constant changes, that the fear mongering and attacking of jews started. And we see it again today, in Europe with the far right winning politically. People feel unsettled and unsafe. The same goes for the migrants btw. 

But you can't always denounce all violence, he said. When you think of the freedom fights in Algeria for instance. Provoked revenge attacks, and it had the colonial occupation context. Maybe not all violence is similar, this TV guest stated. Bombs in a cafe is barbaric, but when the French bomb civilians with airplanes, and refuse to make peace.. Abou Jahjah said: At least here the attacker looks the victims in the bar in the eyes.. He finds that less barbaric than pressing a button for a drone to destroy a village, hundred of thousand of km's away.   

Interesting clip about a social housing project in St. Louis, America; started off as some utopian idea but went down the drain quickly:

A dramatic fiasco. An environment of fear, apparently. Or were the inhabitants simply too poor and 'barbaric'? Or maybe it was the fault of society as a whole? The same thing happened with a project from Le Corbusier in France btw.  Initially the government did maintenance work on it, but once that became less, the middle classes left and the poor streamed in. And it went down the drain. Maybe the government should have invested more in those flats? 

Maybe that housing project also collapsed because they still didn't have jobs at that point? Although even without a job, you can maintain the place a bit..

Back to Abou Jahjah. He said: maybe soon from now, europe will be made up by a majority of immigrants; no more block of one specific majority then, but a mix of minorities. Maybe it will all become better, if in the future those with mediocre talents get the same chances as the super ultra talented.  It's unstoppable anyway, over here. Immigration is a long standing fact. Nationalists want to go back to old times and truth be told, I might want that too on some particular bad days, but it's not going to happen. Even though it is nice to have a clear cut national and cultural identity. Maybe better make the best of integration and throw out the rotten fanatical apples. Create a new sensation of unity.

He also mentioned reading Colin Wilsons book The Outsider, as a teen and its effect. How some geniuses struggle all their lives with big themes like transformation of the self and of society, and how it makes them social outsiders. An outsider feels different from everybody else and can't change it much, many artists are this way. But in some cases it's society who pushed them into this position, and it's not by choice that they're in that boat.
Well, and that was it, mostly. I just picked a few things from that long long interview. 


I saw an interesting statistic btw;

Comparing Spain (ES) with Germany (DE) you see that they have about the same percentage of higher educated. The big difference lies in the amount of medium educated. They make the difference in terms of economy. Germany has job applications open, waiting for people to take the jobs, I heard from someone. Spain... well that country is in a little bit of a state currently, and since the crisis started here less than a decade ago. Not just because of poor management and corruption. They don't educate the middle section enough. 

Trickle-down economics doesn't always work. Thinking that the rich will spend their vast sums of money on a struggling national economy, is often a wasted breath.Tax-breaks and other gifts to the wealthy are often not reinvested back into the economy, but parked in tax-havens or otherwise removed from circulation. A country with a vibrant middle-class is a prosperous country, as the United States had proven. I like to look at the America of the 1950's, where the middle classes owned half of the GNP, and formed a large group. Families of 5 with father working and receiving one income, which could provide for a house (owned), a car, a holiday a year and well fed kids. 
If you educate the vast group of middle classes, and enable them to have a job, they will spend the income that supersedes their basic costs back into the economy. They will want to consume and buy entertainment products, invest in leisure activities and keep economy flowing. 


And how creepy is this robot; the facial mimics are so lifelike but the whole thing still looks 'off' and creepy. Is it in the eyes?

You know these robot things, they thought of marketing them at some point for the elderly as companions and such but it was deemed dehumanizing. As a friend wrote me: "Abandoning people like that and marginalizing them to the fringes to share what remained with a programmed golem. It says something about our society. What we value and to whom we dump the undesirables on. Care work is notoriously badly paid after all and left to those who have 'compassion' and a 'heart' to give themselves to it." 
I wonder now what's worse for these elderly people who need help ...a monotonous lifelike Chucky doll, or a deaf/blind/handicapped teenager who can only look at a mobile phone? Tough choice....

Although you can hardly call these robots life-like. As a friend stated it: "They are off and creepy because there is still a long way to go in terms of mimicking muscle tissue. You can see how the muscles move in such a doll, and it is in no way similar to a human face. Not just the level of subtlety, which is sorely lacking. The muscles move in a way that emboldens the impression that it is a clockwork mechanism. If they wish to make faces which resemble a human’s, they will need to stop fucking around with this bullshit and make artificial muscles, then artificial nerves which control them. Robotics is advancing much as video games are. They used to look like utter shit, pixels and Microsoft Paint-level graphics. Now they can look quite beautiful, even breathtaking in complexity. Even on the most expensive television, with the highest-end video game console made, you’ll still come far short of any realism. Not to mention that human skin is complex far more than our eyes can see. Texture and surface variation, etc. It would be extremely cost-prohibitive to make a realistic skin.."




As I wrote above, I love audiobooks. I've got hundreds of regular books too, my parents had big book shelves and passed a lot on, and I bought many books as well, but nowadays it's nice that you can multitask with an audio book: clean, garden, walk, do groceries, lay in bed with your eyes closed. I do still buy a lot of proper books though. Especially when an audio book was amazing, just to 'have' it, and the majority of older books aren't put on audio book versions anyway. Books have some benefits over audiobooks too after all, because you can make notes in them and mark the places where something interesting is written. With audiobooks, you need to write down the minute and the chapter, which you somehow end up never doing but making mental notes of doing later, later, and it's a nightmare to scroll back to these spots on your mp3 player anyway. We used to have a shop in Holland called ECI. It's gone bankrupt some time ago, but it was one of the ugliest book shops you'd ever seen, yet super popular. Because they offered special book deals: because it was a book club. It had several benefits: you were obliged to buy one book every 3 months. That's good, because then you can always say to your family or cat that it's not your fault that you came home with that expensive 2-part biography of Hitler, instead of the cleaning spray you had intended to buy in town. They also had magazines every quarter of the year. It only advertised books and music records (my main interests anyway). ECI used to have a better name, before it became ECI: Book and Record. And then the stores themselves; they had something very unheimisch about them; ugly ceiling system from the 80s, fluorescent lighting, long piled club carpet on the floor in the club colors red and blue. Like you entered a Star Trek book rocket. 

Only the 53 books that were featured in the magazine were on display in the store. The entire 
selection, BAM, on your retina. Always Stephen King, I don't remember ever being there and not seeing at least one Stephen King book. And often multiple titles. I'm not a mad fan, but I loved Misery. Hehe, You'd imagine that an axe wielding Jack Nicholson - "Heeeeeere's Johnny!" -  would hack his way into the ECI store, to exchange the ECI book.
of the week. The only way you could stop your membership to them, was by silently changing house and address at least 6 times and even then it was a wild chase to throw them off.   

I remember from childhood my parents big book shelves. We lived in a very simple box like house, completely in sync with all the other houses in the street. 'Doorzonwoning' it's called here: sun through house. Because the living room always had big windows on both sides, so you could see from the front garden straight to the back garden; plenty of sunlight guaranteed in the house, which
dutchies love. The majority also doesn't have curtains. No joke. You can walk through the city at night and see all aspects of home life passing you by. It's like live theater sometimes. So anyway, the only thing that made our sun through house stand out from the rest (and they could all see it) was this huge set of bookshelves. One wall full of books. I used to stay home sometimes from school, maybe 4 days a year with the flu, and lay on the couch all sickly and wallowing and read the covers of all those books with my last strength. Imagined what the stories would be about. The best of them, I now have in my own book case, as my dad likes to pass books on. Read them too by now. But I also order them alphabetically. And now a friend of mine said she thought I was in the autistic spectrum, because I alphabetize until the 3rd letter. I was happy with the compliment btw  She might have mixed it up with schizophrenia though. Archive work. Yet, at the same time (and maybe this is why she called me crazy in few words), there lies a pile of letters and administration and missed work deadlines opposite the bookcase.  

My parents, well my father, always gave one advice when we started dating (i'm not making this up
and neither is he a snob): if he doesn't have some half decent books in his house, run. Oh how post avantgarde pretentious that sounds haha. But you can make out a scary amount of detail from someones book collection..  And in front of the bookshelves was a large table, that my father had made himself. It was a large table and we used it at times to avoid a spanking from our parents :) Especially my mother was a lousy spanker. Feeble, slow, not with enough perseverance like my dad. So we realized at some point that hiding behind the table meant she had to run circles around it in order to get us. And we, fast as water, would of course turn rounds as well then, laughing loudly at her. Half the time she gave up and couldn't help smirking herself, the other half she called in the help troops (dad) and we weren't happy. We tried it with dad as well but he persevered, as I said, and neither did it make him giggle.


And last, here is another column from that NYT columnist I like, heather Havrilesky. She writes here about the hardships of growing up in these times:
http://nymag.com/thecut/2016/07/ask-polly-advice-lessons.html
nymag.com
Get ask polly delivered every week. Social media is pushing young people to the brink. Photo: Petri Artturi Asikainen/Getty Images For four years as the Cut’s ...
And if you care for that sort of advice columns (she is really good though), here she writes a very honest and straight up response to a delusional female dater:
http://nymag.com/thecut/2016/06/ask-polly-why-am-i-always-too-much-for-men.html




July 28th 2016
Skin has been behaving well lately. Went out and about this week, meeting some friends in town, going out for dinners, and as long as I stayed cool with ice water and didn't eat trigger foods, things were fine. Those people even commented that my skin looked calm this time. I hope it lasts, but it rarely does.. 

When I sat in the train the other week, I saw an old old olllld (as in; from decades ago) acquaintance get in. My skin was flared and puffy that day (train = warm = no air ventilation = sitting still = red and burning for me). I've become semi-good at pretending to not see someone, when they step into the train in this instance, or the bus for instance (pretending to crawl away in the little trash bin), but of course, 9 out of 10 times that person comes sit next to you anyway. "Gosh, what a nice surprise!" Then you can either sit it out, feign interest, or come with the motherload of excuses (and really an ultimate last-straw one); getting out at the next stop. But you can be sure that that one comes with consequences, like forgetting to take your bag out of the train, or  missing your plane, or finding out that the next train you take gets hijacked. You could of course also get out, rush on the platform to a carriage at the end of the train and get back in. But then you need to be very careful to avoid person X once you do get out for real. Awkward.,...

There are 5 donkeys nearby. They rotate in several meadows, but are always easy to find. When I'm in the area I feed them left overs, vegetables, old bread etc. There is a strict hierarchy but the last times I noticed that the group had turned particularly vicious onto the omega donkey. Kicking her, biting her, anything to make the boundaries clear and keep her separated from the group and away from the food source. But also when the food was all eaten, done and gone, she was still being harassed. Hurts me to see :( My mother told of a documentary they watched about reindeers, and one male being repeatedly expelled violently out of the group and left alone in the woods. He kept trying to be accepted, but alas. Then a year later, he managed to amass some female deers, but the group soon found him again and put up a fight. This time he fought back for his females, but he lost again. Lost the females and was all on his own again. Bold & the Beautiful, eat your hearts out. I swear, animals can have a pained look of sadness and loneliness in their eyes then...

It would be nice if, in the human world, bullying was restricted to the type of banter I encountered at youth camps; laughingly ganging up on each other to mock and magnify and parody-ize (how do you write the ongoing action of making a parody of someone in English?) everybodies worse character traits, greatest vanities, for all to see. Then have a few beers together, grumping along a bit first -hurt pride and all that-, then have a smirk and a laugh and knowing that you're still accepted and loved and that the group remains intact. Maybe when you have the safety of belonging, corrections of behaviour have an actual effect. But in school bullying, the cordon is often already closing around somebody before the hissing and scratching starts; they are already expelled from the main group and no 2nd or 3rd chances are given to renew yourself.  Just, it can be very harsh in schools I found.


I remember an odd girl in class, we were maybe 7 at the time. On the school board, in math class, long divisions were written with crayon. And we'd better pay attention, because long divisions were 'Important for later". I don't know about you, but I am more often hanging topsy turvy in a wall rack these days, than that I make a long division. But hey, that might still change of course. Our teacher, Mister De Koninks, with likely an added c or o or x in his name, in good Dutch fashion, had the habit of inviting the worst mathematicians to stand up and join him in front of the black board. They would then bobble and fumble there for a good 15 minutes, while Mr. Ko(o)nin(c)k(x)s kept yelling "wrong" until those kids would slink off, back to their seats. There was an immigrant girl in class, new. She was Russian, or perhaps from South Ossetia, we weren't sure, and she had been sitting in the back of the class quietly until then. She looked like your grumpy uncle from Belgium; harsh features, grim mouth. But perhaps, we imagined, that were remnants from her gruesome travel by foot from Chernobyl. Underway burning down kolkhoz farms and doing contract killings. Then hop, over the Iron Curtain, and after crashing some Hunebedden in Drenthe with her bare hands, she would have ended up in the back of our little rural, peaceful northern class room. She now walked up to the front of the class (think of that whistle tune that later gained fame in Kill Bill), her mouth in a tight stripe.
But what really had her interest, was the black board! Ours was moss green, had wheels and you could flap the outer parts inside and out. And you could roll it over the floor, casually and smoothly. What had been the case? Her silence all weeks came from her ponderings about this blackboard, having been brought up in a country of weight lifters, where the blackboards had still been rock solidly attached to the walls. Wheels under it had been nothing short of soft music of the future, back in Russia. With all her knowledge of soviet organs and iron ploughs, she had probably been observing that blackboard all those weeks, we now realized. Then she put her hands in the crayon box, grabbed the black board, looked from left to right and gave it a mighty lift. The side panels swept in and out and we sat there in a cloud of crayon powder, haha. Mr. Ko(o)nin(c)k(x)s was too baffled to reprimand her or ask about those wretched long divisions.

And did we bully her? Nope. She was exotic and interesting, even though she never fitted in.

I have good memories of my 'high school' (middle school it's called here, ranging from age 12-18 on average). Never liked the mass cliques, but made some friends I still see today and was only bullied for a short period of time (but enough to give me the scares for a year). I had this phase... it's quite pathetic and embarrassing to tell now, but I would have a few 'intellectual' friends and we'd read poetry from Byron and Shelley in our lunch breaks, dressed in black, me like some Pre-Rafaelite slash Jügendstill heroine with flaming red (dyed) hair and white powdered face. Not to be mixed up with the goths, because we didn't 'do groups', haha. And definitely not heavy metal goth, which was light years away from the real Byronesque-Brontë gothics. Ahum. And we would ask pretentious, vacuous questions, walking around like Socrates and interrogating pupils when they least expected it: "Tell me now; Mozart or Beethoven??"
Then having serious attempts at discussions about it. Only to soon replace either one of them with Bach, a few months later (getting through those stacks of classical cd's was work in progress after all). It would go something like this:
"'Beethoven. First should come Beethoven, of course. We can be short about that. He was the greatest musician in history, Mozart doesn't even come Im Frage. That passion, that inner turmoil, that tangible Angst and drama. And I know what I'm talking about, of course."
"No Bach. Bach is the greatest. The centre of everything. Those intertwining, yet combusting and collapsing melody lines. Those accelerations and complex compositions with heart wrenching melodic climaxes."
"Mwah.. Bach is kind of boring."
(The other puts up great eyes and a tormented expression when the words 'mwah' and 'boring' are uttered).
"And Beethoven could thank the Lord almighty that Mozart died so prematurely, or else it would have ended badly with that labourer".

Like the soccer boys would quibble about Pele or Maradonna, we didn't tolerate bullshit about dead composers, as if their latest albums had just been released. Oh the smugness and arrogance of teenage years. I added some pictures from those days in this post. No rosacea yet! Awwwww.. :/


Been also doing some serious window cleaning and gardening at tunes like this one. Amazing how even normally dowdy chores can resemble a revolutionary achievement that way :)



And that poem I added the other day, Boris Ryzhy. I watched a very nice documentary the other night about him. He hung himself age 26 (why are these geniuses so often tormented like this??). He told a lot about the kids from the Perestroika and in the docu, his sister went and visited the old concrete soviet blocks in the worst part of Jekatarinaburg, where they grew up. Most of his school mates had either been shot dead or ended up in crime. He told and wrote during his lifetime about the difficulties of coming off age around 1993, the Perestroika, and how his specific generation was a lost one: grew up in the wonderful communist fairy tale dream, of scout clubs, communal holidays, flag waving, dreams for the future, forced smiles. Then graduating in the year that the old Soviet Union fell in pieces. The Perestroika meant that anyone with a nose for business went into business. And the rest saw it from a distance, grew jealous and frustrated, and tried to take and grab the wealth they amassed illegally. Resulting in the bandit state the USSR became after capitalism was introduced (or perhaps already always was, if not explicitly than latently); a division in criminals and money makers. That type of radical change from the communist ideals was too much for his generation, who got stuck in the middle and paralyzed with the inability to handle the new situation. Having only ever learned the communist way.
Anyway, it was a sad docu, but a beautiful one. And maybe this is the same mechanism at work everywhere; the bigger the gap between have and have nots, the more radical the excesses that can be seen.  The harder it is made (or perceived) to catch up with the 1%, the more desperate the excrescences.



 July 27th 2016
 

A poem that touched me today:

Best take the tram...

Best take the tram if you’re going back to the past
with its bell, the drunk bloke next to you,
the grimy school kid, the mad old girl,
and, of course, the poplar leaves drawn in its trail. 
Five or six tramstops later
we ride into the nineteen-eighties –
factories to the left, works to the right,
no one cares, get out your fags, what’s wrong with you.
What’s that you’re mumbling, sceptical, something
like this is all lifted from Nabokov.
He was the 
barin’s son, you and I are the leftovers,
come on, smile, there are tears on your face.
This is our stop – 
posters, banners, here and there,
blue sky, red neckties,
somebody’s funeral, musicians playing.
You play along to them on your whistle 
and then float off to the beautiful sound,
leather jacket, hands in your pockets,
along that path of unending separation,
along that road of unending sadness
to the house where you were born, melting into sunset
solitude, sleep, the moulting of leaves,
come back as a dead soldier.

Boris Ryzhy

July 26th 2016

A friend with severe rosacea wrote me about her struggles with it. How being tied to the house, the fan, the airco in summer, was hard to tolerate. And that every outing creates flushing and burning and misery. I replied:


Hi X. Sorry for the slack response. I have written you one already ten times in my head. I have periods of depression too, on and off. Not deep deep depression, but low mood and energy and it takes me so much effort to pep myself up during such days then, and to keep in touch with family or friends or just simply get some work done. But now I'm feeling a bit better again. In Holland now it is only around 19 degrees I think. Compared to much higher temperatures, well over 30 degrees Celsius, where I was prior. In the other house in the south it's literally a prison at this time of year, even though there is airco. I can't be out much, even when we have lunch in the shade in the garden in the afternoon with a fan on, I get overheated and very red and as you know, it takes hours then in the airco/fan to get it down again. Now at home, wow, I've been in town 3 hours, not flushed.All fine. In and out of shops. Eating some chocolate even. Not flared, skin looks kind of normal at times. Been at my sisters all evening without fan or cold packs, not flushed. Played with the kid, he licked my cheek with a chocolate spread covered mouth (some form of banter/affection I understand), skin's not flaring. Whereas the past weeks in the heat and high temperatures of 30 and beyond, my skin had been only manageable with airco on non stop and fan. I know the horror this is. Yeh of course you sometimes wonder how to keep going with such a constrained life. Being locked at home and not able to join in your families outings and spontaneous fun, you must feel so left out and frustrated. Sometimes I also don't know how I keep going tbh, for such a long time now, basically it became a nightmare since 2004/2005. So that is a very long time of being a prisoner in your own overheated body. I love my nephew and friends kids and am daily sad about not having my own. I never thought I'd miss out on that experience. But I cannot foresee how to cope if the flushing and burning gets worse than this. It's just not possible for me now. When I travel, it's hell half the time, I'm red and flushed and hot and just eating ice chips and hiding behind a shawl and getting home asap. But it's also relief to change scenery and to do things, be out, watch the world go by, observe people doing their things, be on the go. I love that. 
I don't know hun, I just focus on the things I do have I guess. Distract my mind with hobbies and reading and writing etc. Go out when it's cool and dark and windy outside. Try to keep up my friendships and relationships, even when I feel like blocking everyone out sometimes. I am doing just the same as always; taking my anti flushing medication (clonidine, propranolol, mirtazapine and Xyzal). Avoiding my worst triggers (perfumes and air fresheners, direct sun exposure, heat, stress or distress, foods I don't handle well). I don't use anything on my face except some water-diluted jojoba oil around my mouth and eyes when needed. I try to exercise in the evenings when it's fresh enough. I think about people worse off than me when I am feeling too much self pity. As long as my face isn't burning up and flushed, it's not so bad.. 

I am trying niacinamide at the moment. Too early to tell if it helps me or not, but I'll keep you updated hun. 

I really understand the feeling of not being good enough, not fitting in, not being able to bring those things, that energy, that persona to the table within your relationships and life. If you've got this bad enough, it's a disability I think; you can't go out, can't relax in a restaurant or a spa pool (chloride! Heat! Food triggers!). The 'danger' is lurking everywhere, even the sun is one. Hard to explain people who haven't been through this themselves how hard it is to live so restricted and in the sort of pain that an inflamed and burned up face gives you. You wrote that your face can look like raw meat when you're out and about. It's utter horror, if there is some creator, you'd wonder why he/she/it invented diseases like this one (and most of the other diseases out there, let's face it). Did you know of an old German politician, Helmut Kohl, whoms wife had severe sun allergy? Even day light would give her terrible skin issues, she had to live in the dark, get out at night. She took her own life in the end :/ Sorry, not trying to end this message on a downer, but just underlining that I understand the daily struggles you have and to not underestimate the strength and perseverance it takes to make the best of it like you do. Pep yourself up every day, and keep hoping for improvement. You are a special and loving person, so appreciated by those around you, keep going. 
big hug, chin up gorgeous 


An interesting little (photo)article: https://birdinflight.com/ru/vdohnovenie/fotoproect/06042016-face-big-data.html I'm not speaking Russian, so I'm not sure what the concept behind it was. I doubt to 'body shame', maybe it tried to look into the friction between the public persona people create, now that we no longer have to rely on the States Photographer, for instance in the communist days, but can create our own image. And then compare it to the real life, unfiltered image of us. Or maybe it went the other way round and the photographer started to picture strangers in the subway and then went after their social media profiles to see the contrast.
What I find interesting is that people have neither so nice skin surfaces nor are as happy as they pretend to be. Aaand that looking down on smart phones gives you a double chin, haha.

Фотопроект

Конец анонимности: Идентификация случайных попутчиков


YOUR FACE IS BIG DATA
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July 25th 2016


I have been up and down, lethargic and energetic, a bit all over the place. Have been out to dinner and away on beachy day trips (avoiding the sun mostly and with cool breeze), a concert too, and then combined with days of locking in and watching tv series marathons. Busy with some work
related things, busy with new kitten. I am helping a couple of nights a week in a tapas place restaurant /bar late at night, polishing glasses, cleaning up, bit behind the bar. They have a massive aircon blasting away, so it's not a problem in summer temperatures. And I can leave whenever I need to, in case my face flares up too much. But it's good for me I feel, to be part of a little team. Even though it's a very modest contribution haha, maybe 'team member' is too glossy a term for it.
But it does work like a dynamo; after social evenings, I tend to get more interest in making appointments with friends in general, going out. The red post alcohol party flare has settled more or less now, but with the warm weather, it's not easy, having an easily heated up face..

I thought about my friend a lot, the one who passed away. The depressive states were on and off with him, which is an upside to the situation. He had his good times and he had his bad times, and he was lucky to have had the good times. A friend said about it that death is not a concern of the dead, that they are beyond any such mortal inconveniences. He is in a better place, even if that is non-existence beyond the memories of those who knew and loved him. Seems to sum it up well, indeed. Still, it is strange to have someone so lively and original and boisterous with language as he was, silenced. No comments on things I could have been certain of he would have commented on. Just nothingness.

I saw this article today on Victorian beauties. Made me go in complete awe, I love their faces. http://www.vintag.es/2016/07/beauties-in-edwardian-era-top-15.html
I'll add my personal favorites:

Beauties in Edwardian Era – Top 15 Beautiful Women of the 1900s

This era had many talented and beautiful women. And here are top 15 chosen by Vintage Everyday.

1. Evelyn Nesbit (1884-1967)

In the early part of the 20th century, the figure and face of Evelyn Nesbit was everywhere, appearing in mass circulation newspaper and magazine advertisements, on souvenir items and calendars, making her a cultural celebrity.

Her career began in her early teens in Philadelphia and continued in New York, where she posed for a cadre of respected artists of the era, James Carroll Beckwith, Frederick S. Church, and notably Charles Dana Gibson, who idealized her as a "Gibson Girl". She had the distinction of being an early "live model", in an era when fashion photography as an advertising medium was just beginning its ascendancy.



2. Lily Elsie (1886-1962)

Miss Lily Elsie made her name on the opening night of The Merry Widow, in London, on 8th June 1907. Overnight she had the town at her feet. On the stage Elsie seemed mysteriously beautiful with her perfect Grecian profile, enormous blue eyes, and hauntingly sad smile. Tall, cool, and lily-like, she moved with lyrical gestures in a slow-motion grace.

She was a true 'star' of Edwardian times, although the word was yet to be used in that context. Magazines produced special supplements about her, adverts featured her picture.

Although her fame and fortune came entirely from public appearances she was painfully shy. After just a few years on the stage she retired to a quite life away from the public eye. She did however leave us with hundreds of pictures, a few gramophone discs, and two films, to remember her by.



3. Maude Fealy (1883-1971)

Maude Fealy, the daughter of actress Margaret Fealy, was born in Memphis, Tennessee. At the age of three, she performed on stage with her mother and went on to make her Broadway debut in the 1900 production ofQuo Vadis, again with her mother.

Fealy toured England with William Gillette in Sherlock Holmes from 1901 to 1902. Between 1902 and 1905, she frequently toured with Sir Henry Irving's company in the United Kingdom and by 1907 was the star in touring productions in the United States.

Fealy appeared in her first silent film in 1911 for Thanhouser Studios, making another eighteen between then and 1917, after which she did not perform in film for another fourteen years.

Throughout her career, Fealy taught acting in many cities where she lived; early on with her mother, under names which included Maude Fealy Studio of Speech, Fealy School of Stage and Screen Acting, Fealy School of Dramatic Expression. She taught in Grand Rapids, Michigan; Burbank, California; and Denver, Colorado.

Later in her career, she wrote and appeared in pageants, programs, and presented lectures for schools and community organizations.




13. Ethel Warwick (1882-1951)

Ethel Warwick was a British stage actress. She was an actress, known for The Bigamist (1916), The Magistrate (1921) and Bachelor's Baby (1932).


During her teenage years, before becoming an actress, Ethel was a nude model, posing for, among others, James McNeil Whistler.


12. Geneviève Lantelme (1882-1911)


Geneviève Lantelme was a French stage actress, socialite, fashion icon, and courtesan. Considered by her contemporaries to be one of the most beautiful women of the Belle Epoque, she is remembered for the mysterious circumstances of her death: on the night of July 24/25, 1911, she fell from the yacht of her husband, Alfred Edwards.



I know that I'm gushing a bit about the Victorian era now and then, and possibly for the wrong reasons. Gothic novels and pretty dresses. Dramatic poetry. I doubt life was better back then. They’d have been crushed under the pointlessness of life. As a friend, J.W. described it: "Break your back all day in pointless labor for pointless pay that never allowed you to get ahead in life. Knowing you were little more than a beast of burden to enrich the Marquis of Danbury. You couldn’t leave, you couldn’t quit." You weren’t literate, so the only escapism was either opiates or the rudimentary theatre and cinemas they had at the time. After discussing it with him, I wonder if perhaps he is right in stating that the Victorian Era was the inverse of our own; that they sought small pleasures to make up for the pointless and harsh nature of their existence. He made some interesting points; now, many people have more distractions than ever. More westerners have less to complain about than back then, and a chunk of the problems we face seem the ones we create ourselves. The small pleasures in life have become our reason d'être in life. We do not have epidemics or plagues anymore. Many of us are free to go where we wish, when we wish. We have a non-stop barrage of entertainments. It all has to be brilliant and fun and outbursts of happiness, if possible, or life is close to 'meaningless'. 

Maybe people were happy in some way back then however, because they had a limited palette of choices. And a large chunk of predictability, habits and boxed in patterns to go through. Now, we have nothing but (seeming) choices. 
There is also so much expectation, and so much comparison and pimping up our lives on social media. 

Heather Havrilesky is a columnist and I really love most of her columns. Here she writes about the perils of being young in this time and era. She used to think, she writes, that the millennials were spoiled, self obsessed, entitled and overly confident. But now she thinks that in fact, millennials especially (but all of us to some extend) feel guilty and inadequate at every turn and compare themselves relentlessly to others. That they are turned inside out, day after day, by social media.                                                                          "An external mob is watching and judging and withholding approval. It’s impossible to matter, to be interesting enough. Many young people describe others as “a better version of me.” This is how it feels today to be young and fully invested in our new popularity contest: No matter how hard you try, someone else out there is taking the same raw ingredients and making a better life out of them. And the curated version of you that lives online also feels hopelessly polished and inaccurate — and you feel, somehow, that you alone are the inauthentic one.

Of course, you can bring against this that todays generation isn't killed as canon fodder in world wars, isn't dying from the plague or Spanish flu anymore (although now we have cancer to worry about). That such worries as described by Heather are luxury frivolity in comparison. But comparing to what has been rarely solves the problems of this day and age. 
And of course, only those miserable ponder about all this, it's pretty futile haha. 

I've noticed a ton of hair shedding btw. It made me go a bit OCD anxious and preoccupied with noticing every (long) hair that falls out. Because there are so many. Every time I rinse my hands through it, BAM, more loose hairs. And there are tons of them daily :/ At least 60 I'd say and probably more. Last fall I had the same thing and learned it could be seasonal hair shedding, Then over the winter, I could brush the hair again without strings coming loose. But this month, July, it's back and worse than before :( I even see some hair thinning at the scalp (not pictured). But when I show it to my folks, they say I'm seeing ghosts. I hope they are right. I made some pictures, but had the hair in a braid the night before (so it looks thicker now with volume etc), and I also threw it all to one side. I'll make a picture of the scalp perhaps soon, I don;t have my camera here at the moment (and don't own a smart phone). But it's showing more scalp than normal, I am sure of it :(

 


 It used to be so thick :/ Maybe it is from stress, had some very stressful months in spring (in personal life). But I'm also worried that some of the medication I take for my rosacea, propranolol (beta blocker) and low dose mirtazapine to be more precise, might be causing this. But then again; I've used them for over ten years and don't remember this happening prior. You'd assume... that it would have occurred sooner then? Or maybe not..

 




July 14th 2016

I went to a village party last night. Long tables and live music and food (melon with bacon, sardines and sausage, cornetto ice cream) and the obligatory awkward dancing afterwards. Didn't feel like going initially, but it usually ends up being a nice evening and it wasn't very warm, and my skin was still very calm and almost normal acting, so I pepped myself up and we went anyway. It was fun! Sat with a group of friends and acquaintances, which made it easier for me to get through the initial (2 hr) shyness. Some friends who know about my rosacea commented on how bloody pale it looked, and what I had been doing. I don't know really.. just the usual. It came to a point where everybody was getting pissed, as usual, and I had a bit of rosé wine with my water. And I wasn't flushed afterwards, not burning either. Just a little bit light headed, which was really nice again. Given that everybody else was tipsy already by then. Then I felt a gush of rebellion coming over me, and took a full glass of white wine. Still no burning face and my friend said I wasn't red at all after that one. Anyway, ended up with 3 glasses of white and rose wine, and a few late hours of silly dancing moves, and it was really nice actually.

Btw, this is Mishka the cat :) :)


 


Late at night, back home.. yes, more red. Felt my face burning and glowing as well. And now the next morning, it's pretty blotchy and feeling tight and warm. Also not as pale as it has been the past weeks... Maybe the alcohol didn't give instant blood vessel dilation, as it used to do when I was doing poorly with my rosacea (and everything more or less can kick it off). BUT alcohol lso is an inflammatory substance, so maybe overnight, it stirred up the redness and I have some papulas too now. Oh well, I won't make it a habit, for sure.



  

 






July 12th 2016

Skin is still behaving very well. I have new kittens and they are super adorable. They try to cuddle up in your neck or on your face preferably, lick your face, bite your nose, so I'm trying to condition them in such a way that face is forbidden territory. Nevertheless, my skin isn't flushed too much. If I eat gluten or lots of sugar or chocolate, I do get some break outs these days however, on top of general redness and burning. I never had many of them in the past, just now and then. They used to stem from intense flushing episodes, or evil diet treats (foods that aren't doing well with my skin). Maybe it's hormones these days that cause them to come up more often, or just rosacea progressing a bit. Either way, I put some thick white zinc cream on them, then after a little while I take the worst of the zinc cream off again with a cotton pad, and only a faint lighter dot remains, and the pimple (papula, whatever you want to call it), seems to dry out quickly then.
Having a red burning face is still the worst for me, so given that thát inferno is calm this month, I'm happy.

Went out for a meal with friends over the weekend, watching the Euro football final at the coast. Tried to pick the sensible foods, fish in this case; had a tuna tartare. It was raw but softened with very mild acids from vinegar and citron. Not too sour, not too acid'ey. Melted on the tongue, it was very nice indeed. My friends all had fish dishes too and we rotated them a bit so that we could have a bit variety.





It was warm and humid, but there was a little breeze. I don't drink any alcohol, in a bid to keep my skin calm, so I drank a lot of iced mineral water. Brought a little hand fan with me, but I didn't need it. Dessert was home made ice cream, a bit of a misstep (sugar, dairy) but soooo good. Oh well. 

Food in general; I try to be really strict. I mainly eat vegetable stir fries (courgette, broccoli, carrots, olives, sometimes fennel or green beans), lots of salads (with melon and olive oil and olives, sometimes some chopped up dates in it). Organic meat (minced beef/chicken), I love duck too and fish. Most fish goes OK for me when I take an antihistamine half an hour before the meal. I also eat organic eggs and potatoes, sometimes rice. I try to limit carbohydrates nowadays, prefer a plate full of vegetables or salads and meat/fish. I eat a hand full of pistachio nuts now and then too. I make my own ice cream (ice cream maker) with rice milk. Either add some raw cacao powder to it and a little bit of acorn syrup, or make it a sorbet with mashed up fruit (I made peach ice cream this way and melon one but you can do whatever you want really). The downside of the rice milk (or almond milk) is that it lacks fat. So the ice cream doesn't become creamy and rich. I tried adding some coconut oil (worked ok but gave some coconut oil clumps here and there, and the taste wasn't perfect either). I also tried adding some organic, thick full fat yoghurt, and that makes a lovely ice cream. But yoghurt makes me break out unfortunately. I also tried full fat coconut milk and that works best for me. But is very high in calories, unfortunately. 

Foods that make my skin very red right away are: peanuts. Alcohol. Old cheeses. Tomatoes. Bananas. Spices. Strong vinegar. Pork meat. Chemical looking candies. Milkshakes, fastfood. 

My meal today;  

 


And what I had to resist haha :) No, I didn't even taste one slice. Discipline, discipline :) 





July 3rd 2016

My cat hasn't returned. I suspect it got sick and shun away, or ate a poisoned mouse perhaps.. He had issues with recurrent urinary tract infections in the past. Neighbors would give him treats when he did tricks to get some, and they would usually be salt-laden, despite me warning that he had a salt free diet. I am not sure.. It's saddening, but there is still hope. Things are going well skin wise. Not a lot of flushing and my skin looks pale and pretty even in tone too. Had my GP and some friends and my parents comment about it, how calm things are now and how smooth my skin looks. Fab! It helps that temperatures aren't very hot over here, but not too cold either. Winter cold and wind makes me really red and gives the skin this dry, thick, ruddy coarse sort of complexion. And too hot means i'm just red and flushed a lot. I've been trying to avoid food triggers but when I cheat on chocolate or even cakes, so far my skin hasn't had a relapse.




My GP asked me why I thought my skin is so much less bad looking this week than it was 5 or ten years ago (I've had her as a general practitioner since 2002 or so already, so she saw me with badly flushed skin and with good skin over time). Added some pictures, they're always taken with a regular photo camera, I don't have a smart phone or any of those fake filtered flawless skin/photoshop devices. I'm not sure, but maybe age is a good thing here? My derm in London often said that he thinks rosacea can burn itself out with age. I never really believed that, but now have changed my mind. Broken blood vessels will not suddenly magically disappear when you get older, they need laser or IPL to get rid of, but what I have is mostly inflammation and dilated blood vessels from flushing. General redness from... well, a host of triggers. Hormones for sure are a trigger. The week before period is typically the worst of the month, rosacea wise. But now that I'm getting older, perhaps my hormone levels are dropping. Perhaps with age, my overactive immune system is slowing down. Which would be good in my case, as it stirs up the inflammation.

My skin can be crap one week and then a few weeks later all is calm and smooth again. I usually don't do anything different once I flare. Just stick to my anti flushing medication; clonidine, 0,075 mcg 3 times a day, sometimes upping it to 0,150 mcg if needed), propranolol, 40 mg twice a day, Xyzal 10 mg once a day and mirtazapine, 22,5 mg at night. I also try to stay cool, use a fan, keep temperatures low enough, try to eat healthy, reduce stress. Flares like the ones I get (more redness, burning and flushing, sometimes p&p's and red dot outbreaks), usually still calm down quickly for me, luckily.
So I don't add antibiotics or emergency medication to the mix anymore these days. My derm says to not change a winning formula - those anti flushing medication I mentioned - and to accept that it's best to avoid my worst triggers and just keep things as calm as possible. One day of ongoing flushing is usually followed by another one and once you've set those blood vessels off, it can be hard to calm things down. My way of calming matters down is those medication and using a fan (not too close by, as fans can create rebound redness if you put it too close by), or airco if needed. Sometimes a cold pack; frozen gel pack, wrapped up in a t-shirt (washed in perfume free washing powder). It's best to not put it on your cheeks too long or when it's too cold; you can cause frost bite (freezer burn) or your blood vessels can rebound once you stop with the cold pack. What usually helps me, is to combine it with a fan (and airco if needed in summer), and just pat it on my cheeks now and then, for short periods, and let the fan do most of the cooling. It is also helpful to put the cold pack (wrapped up!!) on your neck or chest.

I've been enjoying the Euro football tournament and been seeing friends and family. It's so nice when your skin isn't flushing at the drop of a hat. No cut short meetings in town because my skin is starting to play up. More than one appointment in a day possible.

  

 











June 12th 2016


My cat is still gone, and I have a very heavy heart about it returning, at this point. I am very sad still. Bit down too. I really loved that cat immensely. One of a kind cat, full of character and quirkiness and coolcatness.. Never had one anything like him. I'm really making overtime just going over and over what could have happened.
I learned in the past days that he had a couple of people in his territory who also adored him. Some have a wonderful deep garden, and said they had Bassie over regularly! They adored him. There was a guest house in the back of the garden with a bed and open doors, and he would often lay there and sleep. Shady, quiet, people who cuddled him. It starts to make sense now why he sometimes was restless to get out again after his meals. I adore him even more for it though, he knew to get the best from life.

Another neighbor gave him 5:30 AM cat snacks :) He also spent a lot of time gazing at the chicks of a neighbor with a tiny chicken farm.. He said even that my cat got hold of a few chicks and ate them, but I am not sure if that is really true. It made him a usual suspect, but I am most likely getting paranoid there (cat killers and all that). I am starting to think like a (sad) detective now, in other words....  I have a hard time believing however that Bassie walked away. I have also a hard time believing he could have been hit by a car (he was so afraid of even the noise of an approaching car). Could someone have hurt and killed him?

I can mope around like I have done so far, but that is no use for a rosacea blog, so I will leave it at this, until further notice about him returning (please, please).



The bad year of 2016 has continued to take its toll, we're not even half ways after all, with the sudden and very upsetting death of a Rosacea Forum member who has become a good friend of me over the years as well. IowaDavid was only 37 yo and a fantastic writer who won prizes with his short stories. He was super funny and smart, as well as helpful and kind. I know that sort of praise is always given at funerals, but in this case, it really is true about this gent of a man.. I've written for around 5 years I think with him, long emails, short messages, facebook contact. He let me read his fiction (it was really good, no kidding. I think it was now about finding the right (willing) publisher) and we discussed his writing. We talked about our lives and shared interests and we just got along I guess. About depressions also, and how to (try to) deal with them. Only a week or two ago he wrote me a long message and I replied, but didn't hear back. His family posted his obituary earlier this week on social media, which was a massive shock :( I am upset, and found out that many people who knew him from his extensive posting and helping on The Rosacea Forum were as well.


Yup, when it rains it pours.


My skin has been bad. Maybe it is the excessive cat cuddling with my other cat, or the summer heat, or from having dry skin, or from something else, but my skin is itchy and broken out in tons of small red itchy inflamed dots. It burns and itches at the same time. I didn't sleep much the past week though, had stress, cried a lot (salty tears aren't helping). I'm trying to eat clean now, take my anti flushing medication, put zinc cream on the red p&p's, keep the indoor air cool and humid and just hope it will pass again..


My skin before all this started:
 


 Now:



 








I also read some interesting advice on The Rosacea Forum:


"I'm just so fed up with all of this shit. Ive tried to do everything I can to get better. I quit drinking, I gave up all hard drugs, I try to avoid my triggers. yet all day non stop my face burns, I look like a freak, I feel defeated and emasculated. 

Recently the only thing I've been able to think about is drinking my fucking ass off, how else do you escape yourself? no matter where I go I cant escape from my hideous fucking complexion.

what kind of a fucking existence is this? what possible jobs can a person with rosacea thrive in?
I used to have so much optimism and hope for the future, I had dreams, aspirations, but now I'm just not sure about any of it. how can I land a good job or meet somebody who will love me when I can barely bring myself to go to the store? I know nobody can help me. doctors couldn't help me, my parents couldn't help me, I cant even help myself. If some guy walked up to me and put a gun in my face right now id just say do it. Fuck my life."



hg24 replied: "Julianjett! Just about everyone here has posted comments like yours or has felt they way you do. Don't give up, though. You just haven't found what works for you yet. I was a severe flusher - and I mean deep maroon, full-face flushing. Burning, stinging, swelling. It was most attractive. Not. Had to quit my job. Spent most of the last few years housebound. Etc.
Ants has a good suggestion. Beta blockers. Propanolol can help. (You have type 1 rosacea, right? Flushing, burning, redness?? Or do you gave type 2? Breakouts?)

Derms are woefully untrained when it comes to treating rosacea. Do NOT let them give you Mirvaso. But do talk to a derm or GP about a beta blocker. Clonidine is another option. Alcohol is one of the top triggers for rosacea - so good to get away from that and the drugs. Diet is key. Also, sounds too simple, but tons o' water helps. You want to focus on caaalming your system. Lowering inflammation. You want to get your nervous system and histamine receptors and digestive system to chillax.
Also, stay out of the sun and keep your skin well hydrated/moisturized. Don't fuss with it (cleanse very little, just splash with cool water). Too much cleansing/creams whips up the flushing, which whips up the nerves, which causes stinging.

So get to a doc and ask about a beta blocker. Some people benefit from an anti-depressant - it helps the nerves and somehow works on the CNS to dampen flushing. (I take Zoloft.) Also, you may want to take an antihistamine every day - but again, drink plenty of water as it can dry your skin. Don't give up! Your insides are asking for a rehaul. Write down a plan and go forth. You will get better! I did!"


Ants replied: "I rarely post on here as it upsets me more than anything but I really hope you've read the advise in this thread. I'm worried about you buddy, I've been there and went down a path which led me to debt, drugs, losing my job and frequent drinking. Tomorrow I start a new job and am trying to put all that behind me. hg24's post is gold, pure gold. Please please please read that word for word and TRY these before losing hope

1. Get on a beta-blocker ASAP - there aren't many side effects and they will help the anxiety / stress related flushing. I recommend starting on 2x40mg tablets a day and seeing how you feel.

2. Analyse your diet, say no to those one or two sweets or a packet of crisp or a can of coke. I avoid gluten, added sugars and cook everything fresh. With your diet, you need to be very SMART - just because it's healthy, doesn't mean it's good for rosacea or blushing. For example, smoked fish is very high in histamine but also very nutritious and healthy. One thing I avoid is tomatoes - it's a massive pain as tomatoes are in almost every sauce and curry you can name (oh and Pizza but I avoid that anyway due to gluten)

3. Try taking an anti-histamine daily. They help me but also destroy my sex drive so I no longer take - if you are taking, make sure a newer generation anti-histamine which won't make you drowsy

4. Look into a supplement called L-theanine - take it with a SMALL amount of caffeine (half a cup of black coffee) in the morning. I recommend these  https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B00J1CWK...EBAH68S7JMQBEF

5. Look at your cosmetics - find a natural shampoo, deodorant and shower gel. Don't use aftershave. If you want to go all out, look for natural toothpaste / mouthwash too.

6. If you're still having no luck, consider an SSRI.

7. Drink lots of water and stay as positive as you can.

8. If you like to work out, get a gym-membership in a gym which has air-con. I go red in my gym but I've NEVER blushed. Don't work out at home / on the road when you can make things easier for yourself in the cooler gym.

It has taken me SIX years to come to the above conclusions, through trial and error and I can almost control my symptoms. I don't even believe I have rosacea, I think I have Chronic blushing and a central nervous system which is way out of control. Read more info here.

Not to blow my own trumpet but I would have killed to have the above information provided to me. I've had to do years of research and trial and error tests to get to where I am now. Please please please stay positive and give them all a go."



Vice wrote: "Sorry man but I have been in your position as well. Flushed all the time and persistently red and almost beet red. Nothing anyone has said above with drastically improve your condition as I had done all that. However it will stop it getting worse. Rosacea unfortunately just gets worse and worse the longer it's left untreated. 

Here is how I am *slowly* fixing my Rosacea. 

Blast your face with an IPL laser they are about 200$ a treatment. They work. They destroy the cell infrastructure that has been created by the flushing. It will begin to reverse the effects and reduce flushing. Once having IPL you need to do as much as possible to avoid flushing. But do maybe 5 rounds of IPL and your redness and flushing will decrease by a minimum of about 50% I recon. Some people can eliminate it. 
You need to get more finances as money will be your cure here for controlling it. IPL is he way to go for subs type 1 in my opinion even though it takes slot of treatments to really make a dent."

And: "Stop smoking the weed, saves you probably 20$ a day if you go through a couples grams. 
When you listed all the beta blocker side effects it doesn't mean you get them. There is a chance you get a few. Your rejecting all the possible chances of helping yourself here so what was the point in your post. If you hate your redness that much, then get some bloody beta blockers, try them out if they are not good for you stop using them. It's as simple as that mate. 

Here is a list of what to do: imo


- Cut down the weed

- find a way of making more money or saving more or borrow from relatives do whatever it takes 
- meditate in the morning to try and call inflammation
- take colder showers 
- find a laser place near you and get at least one IPL done as it will have some effect I'm sure at relieving it - maybe get finance for this ?

From what I have been learning about this Bing it can be reversed but you have to hit it with everything you got. Laser the shit out your face so you destroy the blood vessels then reduce flushing , beta blockers aid in this 


If you don't take action it will get worse and sorry but money is a big help for all this. Start making it."



"Plus, instead of beta blockers, I would personnaly begin with clonidine."







June 5th 2016
My cat is still missing. Not a single sighting of him. It has been raining heavily and I was hoping so badly that he would return because of that. I don't understand why I'm so emotional about this; as in; I understand the emotions but I'm crying about the tiniest thing and hover between hope and fear.
In fact, I don't remember feeling this unsettled and crazy in a long time :( I'm completely losing my cool. The thought of my boy possibly suffering and locked in in a shed for instance, is driving me out of my mind. I posted missing cat flyers all around the neighborhood. I am thinking about putting flyers through peoples mail boxes, asking them to check their sheds and garages. In fact, I want to do a neo nazi on everybody and bang the door and ORDER a (personal if possible) inspection of their sheds. Right this instant!

Yes there are a lot of houses to cover. He used to have his own marked territory however.. Not like he went many blocks away. And he is afraid of loud sounds or cars. This cat is so attached to me.. when I was away a few months ago and he had a neighbor watch and feed him, he didn't wash himself all week and looked like a stray cat. Schmutzy, forlorn, lost weight, lost his velvet fur. Once I got back he was ecstatic. He was biting me in my nose and legs from joy, and purring and constantly cuddling up once I got back, and started grooming himself in no time again, looked super in a matter of days. He isn't fond of other people and hates kids. I cannot fathom that he would just relocate to a strange new person..                                                                                                   I'm reading frantically online about missing cats who eventually came back-stories. It's a painful process, waking up and having a hint of hope and energy to see if he is outside waiting for breakfast.. I wake up and rush down at the sound of any miauw or postbox or cat flap sound.  He has a habit of always, when he wants in, flicking the mail box metal door opening with his paws. Even in the middle of the night when he sees I have the light still on. I so badly want to hear that sound! When I go down to check on the sound and it isn't him, I feel even more disappointment and hopeless. This is turning into an obsession.

I know this might sound mental to some, but I feel all the grief stages are thrown at me at once; anger, sadness, tears, guilt, depression, hope. I keep thinking what I could and should have done differently. This cat was a family member, a friend, had such character and love. Even when I saw him walking up the driveway when I parked the car, would make my heart jump and make me pick him up and cuddle him. He always greeted me once I got back home, often waiting for me on the garden wall. 


Now I start worrying if I should have taken him to the vet perhaps, when he seemed more agitated and to drink and urinate more than normal. I wanted to... but then he seemed to do ok again and I was distracted by other obligations :( When he had a urinary infection some years ago, he wasn't boisterous and lean, he seemed in pain, he peed in the house, he was low on energy and didn't eat normally. Now all I saw was what seemed like him taking very long for a pee, but he ate and drank normal, he bounced in and out all the time, coming in with his usual rush and big jump onto the table the last time I saw him... I reckoned, if he was poorly, he wouldn't want to jump and be so full on energy.. I'm very doubtful now however and wished I had taken him to the vet anyway, and also that I had given him a GPS collar. I worry that he might never come back. It happened to another (older, semi wild) cat I had once, 6 years ago. After relocating, she just ran off and didn't want the new house. Never to be seen again. This is a different type of cat however. Very attached to the house and his territory. 

I also had very strange feelings and thoughts about him suddenly last week. When he was still around as normal. Not that I trust or believe those thoughts, but his red cat sister died 5 years ago (car) and a few days prior to that, I had strange thoughts too, in a Sophie's Choice kind of way; what if I (theoretically) had to choose between those two cats (at the time both 1 year old and both really magnificent cats), and I chose Bassie in my mind, and a few days later she was dead. When I told this to a friend he replied in jest:
"Sophie's Choice" about the Nazi's, making her choose between her two sons, because they had a daily "kill quota" to fill or something? You mean they also made women choose between their cats?? God damn. I'm just gonna come right and say it.... Those Nasti'z are really mean!

NOW last week I suddenly started to think about how old Bassie is exactly and that if he would die, I would contemplate having him put up like they do with deers sometimes. Not sure how to call that in English. Not that I really would do that, that's even too much for me, but I now am very worried that I had some creepy 'omen' kind of thought, again, and that it was some sort of a sign, again, of things to come. (Add the shrieking violins in the background with your own imagination). I know, crazy thoughts..  

I still hope he had the Spring Blues and will come back. He has never been away for more than the skipping of one meal so far though :(  Feeling like a crazy cat lady. My skin is also burning and broken out in p&p's. Emotions emotions. So far 2016 has been an utterly SHITE year for me. Nothing but losses, drama, heart ache and misery. Damnit. And sorry for all the cat talk. 




June 4th 2016

I have been reading posts about having your cat ran away on cat forums tonight, and also an article in the Telegraph titled 'My cat died, and it affected me as much as losing my dad' (I know, I know, quite a strong title/statement). Unfortunately my beautiful red male cat Bassie has not been home for 3 days now. He is an outdoor/indoor cat, basically as he pleases and it's a safe place to live here, with no dangerous roads or car speeding. I love him to bits and it sounds probably so ridiculous to people who don't have cats in their life, but he feels almost like a family member. Had him since he was 4 months old (now 6 years old) and we had cats all our life at home, growing up, but Bassie is something else. He always used to come with me on my evening walks, just walked along with me. He knocks the window and rambles with the post box when he wants in to get a snack. He sits with me when I type on the computer for work, staring at me, purring, biting my nose at times, just, being there. He sits next to me at dinner if I let him, always polite, never a paw on the table, eating all the vegetables and meat he is allowed to nibble on. He comes running towards me when I come home and scratches the door until I leave him in. He even sits on the bathroom sink when I shower, miauwing and joining my singing. 

He had a kidney infection a few years ago and ever since I am trying to give him special food (he is neutered) and watch for recurring signs. The past weeks, he seemed to urinate more, drink more, whine a bit more than he usually can. I postponed going to the vet, because he acted pretty normal otherwise; normal appetite, normal swagger and behaviour. But, different is that he hasn't been coming home for the past days. Not in the morning for breakfast, not at 5:30 sharp, as usual, to demand his dinner. This cat lives for his food :'( I have been through all the emotions the past days, literally crying at the drop of a hat. Obsessively thinking about my cat. Asking neighbors, calling him, walking through the neighborhood whistling and calling his name. When I come home, or wake up, there is only one thought on my mind: DID HE ALREADY ARRIVE BACK HOME?? No..  I worry that he needed to be taken to the vet and that I left it too late and that he curled up and died somewhere and we will never find him back. I worry that something else is wrong.

Neighbors say; Oh it's spring, he just had a wander, he'll be back. But he has never just disappeared. Then today, a neighbour said she hasn't seen her own ginger male cat for some days either and when she thought she saw him a day and a half ago, it was our Bassie. By then he hadn't been home for 1,5 days, so I have hopes now that he will come back. I can't help to feel completely sick with worry and dread however. I can't describe the awful pit in my stomach, and feel pathetic to fret this much about a cat. But well.. it is what it is. My skin was pretty OK. before all this started but it's a big red burning mess now. Crying makes it all 100 times worse.

PLEASE BASSIE COME BACK, WE NEED YOU.  





I wrote some more updates right before the cat went missing, here they are:
it has been nice spring weather over here. My skin hasn't been too bad. I've tried to stay cool and focused on finishing some work projects, making evening walks and watching tv series mainly. See a few friends occasionally. Read a book too.

A friend has written the most lovely thing the other day*. It really touched me. I had told her about a very unpleasant person who, for a little while, had tried to wiggle her way into my private life. It caused some drama and on top of that, she tried to ridicule me over my skin condition, calling me a vampire. She said it with a very dismissive, sour face, which gave me the impression that it wasn't the fantastic wonderful vampire that Winona Ryder played once she had in mind. But rather; a pathetic weirdo (my interpretation). I do not really know this person and neither does she know me, or what makes me avoid the bright hours of sunshine. Or my long history with all this. The ways in which it affected my life since the age of 19. She also doesn't know about how hard it is to be out in public when your face is deep red and people are staring at you. Or about the burning pain it gives. How difficult it is for me to avoid all my triggers and to try to live as normal as possible. She just knew that I have 'some sort of sun allergy', and how to use it against me to make me out to be some crazy oddityIt made me angry.
My friends (also has rosacea) nice post:

*"I am writing this for all the wonderful people I have met that carry the same burden as me. We have Vasculitis of the face, eyes, and ears. We are suffering. This means our blood vessels dilate to a point that literally scalds our skin..it's painful, it's torture. We don't love the cold, we don't hate the sunshine, and we're not lazy. If you work in a store and have to ask us why we have a fan with us or look sunburned then you need to stop being so cheap and turn your ac on, it's 95 degrees out for God's sake. Someone I deeply care for was called a Vampire..we are not vampires..we are beautiful caged birds trying to break free, unable to fly with weights on our wings. We seek compassion, not judgement...we just want to wake up and believe each day will be better than the one before and,try not to feel guilty or sorry for ourselves, as we think about others around the world that suffer with daily pain. To Scarlet, X, and X,, with lots of love. Find peace today.

Another friend joked: 
"Vampires and cowboys are totally looks I want to go for anyway so rock it haha add pirate to that list, I'd love to look like a pirate xD"



I also went to the dentist a few days ago. BRRRRR, nightmares for weeks already. I see the one my mum also has, because he is understanding of my allergies and an alround cool dude who takes my health serious, but the down side is that he is stationed in a town 1,5 hrs drive away from me. Which in Holland means you have to cross 1/3 of the country first.

Lately, I had been inspecting my teeth with the eye of Sherlock Holmes and a construction site lamp and saw some little dark pit in a molar. I also had some nerve shooting pains with sweet food (not that I eat much sweet food but also with cold water). I was pretty sure that black dot was a cavity. I don't want them, I have trouble with filling materials (allergies) and I never had any cavities in my life until two years ago, which was a lot of trouble. Ever since I've ramped up the maintenance work with brushing, flossing, gumline flossing, home made brews of coconut oil and calcium powder and minerals, to keep my beautiful pearly ones in great shape. Oh and hardly any sugar, which was the hardest part.
But that black thing bothered me and in some other far away molars, I saw some darker fissures as well. Bad bad bad news I was sure. Teeth pulling perhaps even. Made me very nervous and so afraid that I postponed the check up for 2 years, all in all.

Still, the other day, driving up there, I was sick from stress. Even in the car I thought of cancelling the appointment. But it turned out I hypochondria'd for nothing :)  All was looking good. The nerve pain appears to come from a minor exposed tooth root, very normal looking according to the dentist. The black dot is just a little pit in the dentin and it looks dark because... it is a pit. But it was solid, not soft, and more like a little stone that formed inside he said. No cavity and not a cavity in the making either. PHEW! Didn't know how soon I had to get out of that chair. Oh and the bonus point; gums were in great condition, hurray, pass me the chocolate now :) 

Yeh I'm feeling pretty invincible right now, I'll admit :D

One day of sugar pigging out today, then back to the caveman hunters diet. It's interesting.. I did some reading up and cavemen, you'd think they had horrible teeth right? But only a small percentage of them had cavities at all, most had perfect teeth. It only went downhill once the hunter/gatherers were replaced by farmers. The idea now is that grains and sugars and carbohydrates that are made into sugars are to blame. So sticking to meat and vegetables would be best, and I'm trying my best in that respect. Normally. Despite today. I ate too much sugar today. Not straight from the bag.. asif. It was cleverly disguised as a snickers for instance. Then that sugar rush causes lethargy and cravings for more sugar.
Homer knows what I'm talking about;






What else... The TV series I've been watching mainly is called Peaky Blinders and it is pretty good, for European standards.. A real life story (but dramatized) of a Birmingham family that goes into crime after WW1. It's really very entertaining and season 2 was a treat, lots of pace and nice twists and turns and exceptional acting. Two of my favorite actors are in it, Cillian Murphy and Tom Hardy. Sam Neill played an Irish detective, dead set on exposing the Peaky Blinders (name is said to be derived from the practice of stitching razor blades into the peak of their flat caps which could then be used as weapons) and their stashes weapon supplies. Every time something is missing in the house, or friends and I are looking to find something back, we now say "Tell me where ore the focking gons".





In terms of entertainment, I cannot omit that we watched the Eurovision European Song Contest this year.. And it caused a lot of complaining. Russia was mostly peeved that arch rival Ukraine won and it beats me tbh why, because the song was not that very great, I thought. In respect for the Great Russia I tried to tingle their anthem on the piano.
video

It almost seemed as if Ukraine won because voters had politics in mind, instead of music. Or maybe it's just me who didn't like the winning song, and besides, what does it all matter in the big scheme of things :) Besides, countries have voted for their friends and against their foes for decades in this competition.
Back in the days they had a live orchestra. Here are a few oldies from the euro song festival that were fairly good:






I don't know when voting exactly turned so political correct. I also like to see how the stages change with the decades. Johnny Logan for instance, the late 70s/early 80's, you'll see these strange stairs always on stage. It happened all the time then, see this one for instance. And also the make-up is very decade-orientated of course, in this and this late 90's UK/Swe winner there is still that awful nude coloured liver-like lipstick used (yes I used it too in my teens haha).




I also saw this article on young people having hundreds of facebook friends these days, but nobody who attends their birthdays;  





Book wise, I'm wrestling myself through Middlemarch at the moment (George Eliot, 1871), which is dreary but has good bits. Very hermetic posh language choice but when you strip it down, not much is said and happening, just the antics of a small village and its people. There's a town doctor with ambitions, a town beauty who is scheming, all the typical English ingredients for village drama, including the stereotypes. But, written by a great observant with excellent writing skills. I look forward to something more contemporary and with a bit more speed though. Middlemarch is even slow to my taste and I'm used to 600 pages Russian elaborations on mental states and drawn out dialogues..




In Holland, even in the train, the bus.. it's such an overcrowded country and literally everybody is on their cell phones it seems. Even in bars. I saw a really interesting documentary about it, it featured this clip from Brazil as well:


José Pedro Bortolino made that add. You put your beer in the beer cooler, switch on the button and the gsm-signal in your direct surrounding will be blocked. They developed it to make people think and create a discussion about just how much people are distracted by their cellphones etc. In Brazil people are said to be online literally 24/7, they do not live in the moment anymore but in virtual reality. When you are drinking beer with your friends, you should interact with them, and not be a slave of your smart phone, he says.

The docu was about how the world is becoming connected rapidly. There is hardly a spot on the world map that hasn't been made interconnected through mobile telephone masts or wifi. The aim is to allow every inhabitant of the planet to be online by 2020. So nowhere you have to be offline anymore, and everybody will have a smart phone most likely. What will that mean? Will the world become a glass fish bowl type of place? And the inhabitants from glass too, because you can be seen and traced everywhere? The docu focused on 'white spots'; rare places on the world map without network for internet or mobile phone. They are rapidly disappearing. And do we even want to be always online and available?

Facebook and google, companies like them, are ahead of regulation. They can basically do what they want and experiment how they want. By the time the legislation of different countries have caught up, they are so far behind already that it is a lost race usually. Google is currently using floating modems on hot air balloons, to create world wide coverage. They refuse to get into a conversation however; interviews are declined.

There is talk and planning of 'the internet of things', where little transmitter senders are attached to paint, clothing, car tires. Do we even know what effect that will have on humans and our health? There are people claiming to be electro-sensitive, they have a terrible life with all the wifi and radiation already around us, you cannot avoid it anymore unless you go and live in some of the rare 'white spot' areas (poor/middle of nowhere). They just produce new technology and implement it, without long term health studies, and legislation allows companies to do their thing in the name of efficiency and progression, and before you know it, there is no way back anymore. Technology and businesses rule the world at the moment it seems? To me at least...
But anyway, this docu was also about the effects of having constant online activity, constant use of smart phones, and how it distracts us. They interviewed Sherry Turkle, a university teacher at MIT, who used to be enthusiastic about the possibilities of the internet, and allowed her students to bring laptops and mobile phones into her college classes. She thought it would enhance their experiences; they could look stuff up. But she changed her mind. Students now have to hand in their cell phones and laptops at the entrance. Because in reality, it made her students lose concentration. It took her students away from the conversation in class and from interacting with other students. It was distracting them; they were shopping online or on facebook. And it also distracted the people sitting next to them, even when they didn't use the device themselves. Not anymore, they are forced now to hand them in and to be on the now. Research shows this effect as well. Totally distracting. 89% of Americans say that in their last social interaction, they took out a phone. And 82% say that it deteriorated the conversation. Funny point; people are all the time doing something of which people know that it isn't really good for them. Interestingly enough, it is especially parents working in Silicon Valley, the elite, who want their kids to go to Montessori schools with low tech education; no i-pads and i-phones but long conversations. Yet, they make sure the rest of the world has a lot of technology dominating their lives...

They also interviewed an Armenian poet, Aram Pachyan, who decided to live entirely analogue a few years ago. No more technology, just typing on an old type writer. When people called him, he felt they not only have his number, but also his life. He was an avid twitter and fb user when they were first launched, but developed an unbearable physical tiredness, and in the end didn't even pick up his phone anymore. Phones and computers distracted him so much that he couldn't concentrate on writing anymore, and he even went as far as saying that he felt he was suffering from memory loss whenever he looked at computer screens again, because social media were always lurking close by then. He felt depressed and cut off all social media and devices. Now he feels he has time to think again and to work.

Many apps and websites are designed to become addictive. In order for you to check in and return as often as possible, generating as much data for them as you can. Maybe people are starting to realize soon that there can also be too much of a good thing. Too much internet and mobile phone use. I love the south of france because people live there like in the 1940s. Hardly anyone stares on a cell phone, everything goes at a slow pace. But that is only a matter of time probably, before it gets as bad there as in the big cities. It makes people stressed out I feel, not concentrated, distracted. On edge, chased up, when you combine it with a busy life/work/social life. Plus all that online activity. It is almost like people in a bar, looking more on their mobile phones than actually interacting with the people in front of them, prefer their virtual reality online life over the real world.


Sometimes I am so very annoyed with the lack of medial discoveries, the lack of advancements for the treatment of rosacea, but also for some other chronic conditions. Then there are other conditions where huge progress has been made. But there is plenty to discover still. Maybe we just do not put the money into curing diseases, or advancing technology. In a way, AIDS research (very important of course!) was stretched for thirty years it seems, because perhaps sometimes it is more profitable to look for a cure than to find a cure. The common cold and influenza is a very profitable businesses. Tissues, cough drops and syrups, antibiotics, nasal sprays, chicken soup, anti-bacterial soaps, and hand-sanitizers. How much profit would disappear if we could dispose of the common cold? Polio crippled and killed people. We had scientists that could afford to find cures then. Cancer is also a big business. Chemotherapy is not cheap. Could we make it cheap? Absolutely. What’s the profit in that though?
(picture is with La Roche Posay make up on)

There are new cancer treatment meds on the market, which seem to really have the potential to halt certain types of active cancer. A girl in my town, in her mid twenties, has battled in the media to get her hands on them. Her doctors in hospital have done all they could to get their hands on them. Court cases, claims to the Pharmaceutical company who makes it, after months and months of claims she is approved for it and dies that same day. Those medication.. I realize that years of investment and research goes into them and that companies whoms aim it is to be a profitable company, need that money back. Through the prizes of successful medication. To also cover the costs of trials and medication ideas that never made it through all the test stages perhaps. But at the end of the day, medication shouldn't be a trading commodity in my book, not a means to get big profits over. Governments should ideally ensure that tax money is used to offer good health care and education, for all of us. Not just make the best health care affordable to the richest.

A friend said to me in this regard: I sometimes look back at the old scientists, the idealists, the dreamer types, times when people funded science simply to see where it would take us. It may lead to technological advances, or not. At least we’d given it a shot. We’d exhaust the line of inquiry and move on.

Has too much already been invented for big, massive, jaw dropping inventions to be made? Not thinner/bigger/smaller i-phone screens, but the serious important discoveries. Or do we lack great idealistic geniuses like we had them a mere hundred years ago perhaps? The level of 'discoveries' these days seem for a big part being attuned to consumerism, making our lives easier, but not necessarily better. Scientists being funded by big organizations might not help always, in that respect, if therefore it might need to have an economic benefit for the benefactors. Compared to traditional, idealistic 'truth searching' scientists of the past, perhaps. I might be wrong for sure though on this one. It's just a feeling.
I've been waiting a good 15 years by now for some treatment of my own conditions and nothing has been developed apart from more creams and antibiotic derivatives. It's cynical to think that big pharma and co have no interest in finding cures anymore, but it goes through my mind many a time.

Another friend wrote me in that respect however:

"I think in medicine we have come a long way. A family member died in 1984 aged 32 from a heart condition. Had it been nowadays, he would've lived a pretty full life. I used to see the first every heart transplant recipient every Monday because she came to see the doctor at work. But I did think by 2000 we would had flying cars :)"  



And finally some art:
Quite a spectacle, literally :)

In modern arts defense: It says something about contemporary art perhaps, that everything can be art and museum goers get confused about anything. There is a lot of good modern art out there as well but time hasn't created the distance yet to sift the good from the mediocre. We remember Monet and Picasso, but nobody even knows about all the crap artists gallivanting about back then. Sifted out by history. Right now we get to see all, the good the bad and the ugly, but modern art does seem a bit confused at times, for sure