Tag Archives: Boston MA

o-ring

30 Mar
The o-ring of my Bialetti moka express maker changed shaped last night. It’s no longer usable. For a few month it had been “moribund” but usable. And I *used* it. Average of 3 pots per day.

I have had this Bialetti coffee maker for 2 years, now. I got is second (at least) hand, in New-Zealand, early in the trip.

I am attached to this coffee maker, for a number of reasons. So I will resume looking for a spankin’ new o-ring. Last time I tried, a few months ago, I wasn’t so successful. I almost purchased a whole set in the shop of a purveyor of Italian goods and delicacies in Roslindale. They didn’t have the 4-cup model. Otherwhise I’d have got it just for the ring.

Update:I found o-rings in France, I brought them with me, and I’m happy to report they fit perfectly. I think it’s neat.

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My inner world

18 Mar
Amy and I mentioned inner worlds in a conversation the other day. Mine has music as a background. It is pretty much like the outer world, I reckon. Well, no, scratch this. It’s messier.

My inner world has loads of samples of music. When I stop and think about it, I can pinpoint what song, or what melody. And I can trace why this particular one is in my head, most of the time. There is something else than music. There are sounds. Sounds that I heard. They repeat in my head until another sound worth of being repeated takes over. They are jingles. They can be short sentences too. Either ones I’ve just heard, or ones that I constructed myself. Either I’m practicing my side of the conversation in my head, or it’s just my thoughts or bits of my thoughts that play. I move on to thinking about something else, or doing something else, and if I pause, a jingle is still playing. It’s not bothering me.

But there are occasions when this is bothering me. For example, when I’m under stress and I’d love to focus on something else than the music or the jingle. Impossible. It’s as though the volume is turned all the way up, and any thinking relevant to the conversation or situation at hand is banned from the setting.

In an effort to put a name on this tendency to reproduce jingles and sentences or play them in my heard, I looked up the “symptoms”. The closest I found was echolalia.

Echolalia: The involuntary parrotlike repetition (echoing) of a word or phrase just spoken by another person. Echolalia is a feature of schizophrenia (especially the catatonic form), Tourette syndrome, and some other disorders. From echo + the Greek lalia, a form of speech.

In a book by Robert J. Waldinger, “Psychiatry for Medical Students”, the part on “Thought Process” ( chapter four, “The Mental Status Examination”) is particularly interesting. I think perseveration applies to me.

Rate and flow of idea. Patients frequently use the term racing thoughs to describe being flooded with ideas and unable to keep up with them. This condition is often seen with anxiety as well as in those with psychosis (e.g. mania, schizophrenia.)
Circumstantiality involves thinking that is indirect in reaching a goal or getting to the point. This style is common in obsessional people and in schizophrenic patients.
Blocking is a sudden obstruction or interruption on the spontaneous flow of thought, perceived by the patient as an absence or deprivation of thought. It is seen in patients with schizophrenia and in those with severe anxiety states.
Perseveration is the tendency to emit the same verbal response again and again to varied stimuli. This may range from constant repetition of one word or phrase (e.g. “night and day, night and day, night and day…”) to an inabilit to shift fhe focus of conversation away from one particular topic.

Other abnormalities of though process. Abnormalities of thought process may include the following:
Neologisms are new words or condensations of several words that are not readily understood by others. This disturbance is seen in patients with schizophrenia and organic brain syndromes (e.g. a paranoid man used “plickening” to mean “the plot thickens”).
Word salad is a jumble of words and phrases lacking comprehensive meaning or logical coherence. It is characteristic of patients with schizophrenia.
Echolalia is a parrotlike repetition of another person’s speech. It is observed in patients with mania, among other disorders.”

Now I’d love to hear about others’ inner worlds :)

Shake and bake!

15 Mar
Talladega nights is an awesome movie. Amy and I watched it again last night. Sacha Baron Cohen is fantastic.

I wanted to blog about it and at the same time I didn’t want to, considering my previous entry involves NASCAR. I wouldn’t want people to start thinking I’m a NASCAR fan. I am not a NASCAR fan. I’ll admit this just one thing: I like to drive fast and I like to think I do that well.

My favourite lines:

Ricky Bobby: Dear 8 pounds 6 ounces baby Jesus, new born, not even spoken a word yet.

Ricky Bobby: Dear little baby Jesus, who's sittin' in his crib watchin the Baby Einstein videos, learnin' 'bout shapes and colors. I would like to thank you for bringin' me and my moma together, and also that my kids no longer sound like retarded gang-bangers.

Jean Girard: [drinking from a small cup while driving his race car and being bumped from the back] you spilled my macchiato.

Ricky Bobby: Really, smarty-pants? What did French land give us?
Jean Girard: We invented democracy, existentialism, and the blowjob.
[...]
Herschell: Yeah? Well we invented the missionary position... You're welcome.

I’m not spoiling it anymore for you. It’s hilarious, really. Well, just this one thing: I don’t think you can win a race in reverse, even in the US and A.

Nascar vs. Gladiators

12 Mar
At brunch today (yeah, we indulged), I saw a commercial for nascar on ESPN. My reaction was “shake and bake!”. Amy’s reaction, after “hah!”, was to wonder about the waste of fuel it was to have cars drive in circle. I couldn’t argue. Amy said “you’re going to say it’s awesome”. Yeah. I said it was a race and that the tracks were not always circles; some are oval (boring) others have curves. Pretty lame argument.

I said it had never occured to me before what a waste of fuel races were.

Later in the day I was indulging in a nap (it was a day of indulgence) and as I was drifting toward slumber, I had a mental image of a crowd of car racing spectators. The image changed to that of an arena filled with a crowd of roman gladiatorial games spectators.

In my half asleep state, I was likening nascar and gladiator fights. Further thoughts brought the following: it’s still better to waste fuel than execute wild animals, slaves or criminals.

At which point, I thought I really needed to sleep.

[All about NASCAR and Gladiators on Wikipedia.]