I was at a talk by Col. Chris Hadfield when he mentioned a problem with space sick bags. He said that when you use a space sick bag, without the force of gravity to hold what's come up down, it has a tendency to bounce off the bottom of the bag and float back to the top. Not ideal.

I was thinking about that while trying to get back to sleep last night, and I realized that the solution might be to redesign the shape of the bag. If you were to indent the bottom of the bag (with, say, a v-shape), anything bouncing off it would be reflected not directly back at you but off to the side.

Of course, it could still ricochet off the side of the bag and come back to you. To discourage that, you'd want to taper the sides in. Make the bag more triangular.

Doing that, however, still has its disadvantages. Without gravity, up and down are arbitrary. A bag which tapers out from the top, considered upside-down, is a funnel. To prevent that, you'd want a shoulder at the top. Or, better yet, a tube going partway in. (You need a valve to close it off anyway, right? If you make that tube a little longer, you're fine.)

But then... a triangle with a notch cut out of the bottom seems familiar. And, come to think, having that notch be asymmetrical could have some advantages. And, really, why not have fun with it if you can?

I present to you what, to the best of my late-night figurings, is honestly the ideal shape for a space sick bag:

The Starfleet logo.

It'd cost a little more to manufacture, but it just might be worth it.

(I sent a copy of this, without the crude diagrams, to NASA. It'll be a couple of weeks before they can reply, but I'm interested to hear what they make of it.)
hatman: HatMan, my alter ego and face on the 'net (Default)
( Oct. 24th, 2014 01:48 pm)
For all you knitters out there...

Fabulous Hooker shirt/hoodie. It only gets made if they get 50 orders within the next 5 days. I've chatted with at least one friend who would really enjoy it, and I think maybe some of you would, too?

(Image description: Hoodie printed with the phrase "I am a fabulous hooker" with a picture of a knitting hook stuck through a ball of yarn.)
hatman: HatMan, my alter ego and face on the 'net (Default)
( Oct. 24th, 2014 03:47 am)
Got my new sleep medication in the mail on Wed. Only took, what, 5 months?

It came just as I was about to go to sleep for the day. (I was in bed, but alone in the house. The dog heard someone at the door and barked. So I went down, got it, and put it away.) Opened the box the next day. The box was big enough to fit a couple dozen paperbacks. Inside were some instructions and paperwork. And a brochure with no text. Open it up, and a friendly man and woman take turns reading you the information. (Remember, almost all the patients who take this stuff are totally blind.) Oh, and one little pill bottle. Filling up the rest of the relatively cavernous box was a big sheet of oversized bubble wrap.

I read the printed instructions from the pharmacy. (They'd asked before mailing if I needed them in any special format - audio or braille or whatever.) On the sheet and again on the bottle, it said the medication must be stored at 77 F (25 C), but that it can be stored "briefly" at temperatures from 59 - 86 F (15 - 30 C). Also, it must be kept away from moisture. And light. Wow, this stuff is sensitive! Good thing I brought it in from the front stoop; it's been pretty rainy. But, oh no! It was overnight downstairs, where the temperature was well below 77! (Was I going to need to buy an incubator for the one little pill bottle?)

I called the manufacturer's hotline. "Oh, that. That just means you need to keep it at room temperature. Don't put it in the fridge or near any heat sources, and you should be fine."


But also... huh? If that's what you mean, then put that on the label. What's with the scary specificity?

Then again, among the safe places to store it that she listed was "medicine cabinet." The instructions also clearly say not to keep it in the bathroom. (Most likely because of moisture.) I think I'll call back today, see if I can check with someone else...

Anyway, I've got an appointment with the sleep doctor next week to let her know I have the stuff and go over instructions. By then, my sleep schedule should be coming around towards normal. I'm going to have to hold my sleep schedule steady for weeks or more to give this stuff a fair try. (The friendly people in the brochure told me that it can, for some people, take weeks or even months before the stuff has any noticeable effect.) We'll see how it goes. But this could get rough. And exhausting.
hatman: HatMan, my alter ego and face on the 'net (Default)
( Sep. 2nd, 2014 10:36 pm)
September, as best I can figure it:

Wed 3: Wake up in the evening. Drive all night.
Thu 4: Check into the hotel in the morning. Go to bed. Wake up a few hours early (maybe 4pm). Attend the funeral. Give the widow whatever support and company I can after. Spend the night (my daytime) in the hotel room.
Fri 5: Go to bed in the morning. Sleep late. Check out in the evening. Drive all night.
Sat 6: Arrive home in the morning. Try to stay awake for the day.
Sun, Mon, Tue: Adjust sleep schedule. Sleep. Rest.
Tue 9: Anna arrives 9pm. (May need to send parents to pick her up.)
Wed 10 - Fri 19: Tour around with Anna.
Sat - Thu: Rest. Maybe take care of some doctors' appointments.
Thu - Fri: Jewish New Year
Sat 27: Fly to Vancouver for 2 weeks. Visit with friends. Be in charge of the VCON registration desk.
hatman: HatMan, my alter ego and face on the 'net (Default)
( Aug. 31st, 2014 11:37 pm)
Wrote this a few weeks ago, after I finally gave up on getting any sleep on the plane whatsoever:

Light is amazing. It moves as fast as it is physically possible to go. And it moves across impossible distances.

Somewhere, 10,000 light years away, a star burned. It sent out light in all directions. Some small portion of that light traveled, not in our direction, but towards where we would be 10,000 years later as the Earth sped and spun through the vastness of space.

It went between stars. Past planets and moons and comets and asteroids and more.

It came to Earth. It headed right for you. But it was daytime, and you didn't notice. You couldn't sort it out from all the much younger light around you.

Still it came. This time at night. But it was a cloudy night, and so it was blocked.

Still it came. On a clear night now. But you were in the city, surrounded by street lights and house lights and car lights. So you didn't notice.

Still it came. But you were indoors, and the light couldn't make it through the wall.

Still it came. You were outside on a clear night, far from the lights of civilization. But your eyes were closed. Or you were looking in the wrong direction. And so you didn't see.

Still it came, but it was in the frequency we call ultraviolet, and so you could not detect it.

Still it came. And this time, everything was right. It had come so far. Not a million miles; it could do that in a matter of seconds. Not billion miles; it could do that in under a day. It had been going that fast for 10,000 years. Since before the dawn of human civilization.

A photon came all that way, and it crashed into a single electron in the back of your eye. And that electron gained the tiniest jump in energy. And that jump got turned into a signal.

At the same time, another photon, this one from 5,000 light years away, hit a different electron in your eye.

And another from 15,000 light years away.

And more from incredible distances apart, all converging on your eye, where they are absorbed. In a way, gone. Their journey over.

But the signals from all those absorptions combine in your brain, and you can see it. The Milky Way.

You look at it in wonder and see its beauty.

And then you blink, and the light bounces off your eyelid. And then you go inside to sleep.

And somewhere in your body is a tiny bit of energy from a star 10,000 light years away.
hatman: HatMan, my alter ego and face on the 'net (Default)
( Aug. 31st, 2014 10:46 pm)
I should probably post something here. It's been a long time. It's just been a crazy summer and I haven't had much chance to catch my breath, let alone organize my thoughts. I've been neglecting all my social media.

The last month or two of my life... )
hatman: HatMan, my alter ego and face on the 'net (Default)
( Jul. 9th, 2014 01:15 pm)
In the week since I ran out of Xyrem, I've been sleeping a lot and feeling particularly exhausted. Not as bad as February, but well below par.

It's the middle of the night for me now. Slept about 3 hours. Woke up from a dream where I finally lost it and got seriously pissed off with the relative who has been living with us for the last several years. Not sure why, since he's been away for the last week or so. But maybe it wasn't really about him and he was just a convenient symbol. Anyway, I woke up from that because of the apnea, and now I can't get back to sleep.

I go through periods where I feel relatively okay. Tired, but functional. And then I just feel really tired, but push on. And then there are times where it feels like my mind is starting to crack (again).

I wish I could figure it out. Is this because of the Xyrem? If so, is it because the Xyrem was helping, and now I'm crashing because I don't have it? Is it because I'm going through withdrawal? Or is it the opposite? Did the Xyrem screw me up for a month, and I'm so tired now because I'm recovering from the damage it did? Or is it something else entirely?

It should be getting better, but I don't know. And it's hard to think.
hatman: HatMan, my alter ego and face on the 'net (Default)
( Jul. 6th, 2014 09:18 pm)
Slept 10 - 11 hours a night since I've been off the Xyrem. Plus the 12 hours to make up for waking up to see the sleep doc. Still flat out exhausted. I don't know if this is (supposedly nonexistent) Xyrem withdrawal, if I'm recovering from being on Xyrem (because it was somehow making things worse), or what.
hatman: HatMan, my alter ego and face on the 'net (Default)
( Jul. 3rd, 2014 04:56 pm)

On the one hand:

Man of Steel was an awful movie that was in no way about Superman and went out of its way to chuck all prior Superman continuity from any medium and any resemblance to a comic book movie.

Ben Afleck is attempting to play Batman. I must admit that he did a good job with a terrible script in DareDevil, but still...

The title "Batman Vs. Superman" is... let's just say "not promising."

On the other hand:

The movie will be Wonder Woman's first feature film appearance. Second, if you count the Lego Movie. (Yeah, take a second to absorb that.)

Given that... do I see the movie or not?

In other news: I slept 12 hours to make up for not sleeping yesterday (because I had to go see the sleep doctor). Took me two hours to get out of bed, and I'm still too tired to think.
hatman: HatMan, my alter ego and face on the 'net (Default)
( Jul. 2nd, 2014 12:58 pm)
Good news: New restaurant site is looking very promising. Negotiations have not formally opened, but I'm optimistic.

Medium news: Saw the sleep doc. She's going to look into getting me medications. But it might take a while.

Bad news: In order to see the sleep doc, I had to wake up at 10. I'm semi-nocturnal now, so I didn't get to sleep until 6. And my blood sugar was high, so I did not sleep well. Also, it's hot and humid today. So, basically, I feel like total crap. And it's supposed to be raining for the next few days, so the humidity isn't going away any time soon. Just have to wait it out and try to rest up as best I can.
hatman: HatMan, my alter ego and face on the 'net (Default)
( Jun. 30th, 2014 08:37 pm)
Not having a good day today. Don't know why, but I'm just tired, woozy, and in pain. Yay.

Also, I'm almost out of Xyrem. They were supposed to have called me today about their discount program, since insurance denied it. Seeing the doc on Wednesday. I'll see what she's come up with. We may decide to give up on Xyrem for now and try the other medication (for the non-24 thing), since the two apparently may conflict. I'll see what she has to say. (Unfortunately, I'm semi-nocturnal right now and she only has morning appointments. So I'm going to have to miss half a day's sleep. Ironic, no?)

I wish I could tell if the Xyrem was really helping me, but the trips I've taken have disrupted my sleep enough that I just can't be sure. Would I be even more tired right now if not for the medication? Or has it had no appreciable effect? Maybe I should see if I can get another sleep study done.

Side note: I'd filter these entries so as not to clutter your feeds, but one of the few people who actually does still read my journal is using RSS. And I figure I'm posting at most once a day, so it can't be that bad, right?

In other news: The deal to buy out the guy's restaurant lease fell through. We're looking at other locations again, and I'm stuck with the legal fees and everything else. I guess that's the way it goes. But we've got a line on a promising space. I'm excited about it. Rent is higher than I'd like, and it's currently a white box so I'm going to have a lot of build costs and inspections and whatnot. But it's a good location and a nice space and I'd rather put the money towards buying the equipment I actually want than give it to someone else to buy out his lease.

Sleep log for the last few days )
hatman: HatMan, my alter ego and face on the 'net (Default)
( Jun. 25th, 2014 04:34 pm)
Home. Finally. Good to be back in my own bed. Slept a lot last night. I needed it. What a year this is. Months of being too sick to do anything. Just as I get better, I drop everything to visit a friend (who thankfully is back home and seemingly doing well so far). Get half a night's sleep before flying out with the family to Colorado, but too tired to do much while out there. Did get a couple of good days at Rocky Mountain National Park, though. (Also, a sunburn.)

Got home to find that even though I'd given my cell number multiple times and specifically said I was away from home and not to call there and called back to tell them I still needed help... there was a message at home from a tech who mumbled something in a thick accent, left a callback number, and never bothered to check back or try the cell number.

Trying to catch up on sleep now. Kind of spacy from that.

In a few weeks, we leave for the annual family trip to MA. But I fly out from there to the meetup in London, then fly back to MA to be with the family. Not sure what's going on in September. Might have a friend come visit from Greece. Might drive out to see the friend again (who hopefully will still be out of the hospital and doing reasonably well). October, I fly out to Vancouver, where I'll be the registrar for VCON. No idea what happens after that. I can't remember when I've bounced around so much.

Sleep log )
hatman: HatMan, my alter ego and face on the 'net (Default)
( Jun. 21st, 2014 03:03 pm)
We live in a country where, thanks to President Reagan, we don't spend on infrastructure but spend more on defense than even the Pentagon wants.

Except that the highway system was originally developed in part in the name of national defense. Being able to move troops and supplies and equipment rapidly across the country is important.

Maybe therein lies the solution. If we could get the Pentagon to declare infrastructure spending as vital to national security, maybe we could actually start fixing our bridges before they collapse.
hatman: HatMan, my alter ego and face on the 'net (Default)
( Jun. 18th, 2014 04:32 pm)
I'm really thinking that my CPAP needs to be adjusted for this altitude. But it's hard to find good information on that. I've checked a few sites. Supposedly, the CPAP I'm using self-adjusts for altitude. But there are several experienced CPAP users who say it still needs to be bumped up a bit. They say the math is easy, but don't provide any way to find out what the math is. I have calls in to my doctor and my CPAP supply company, but no one has called me back. I may just increase the pressure tonight (or set it to auto) and see if that helps.

Last night's report )
hatman: HatMan, my alter ego and face on the 'net (Default)
( Jun. 17th, 2014 12:16 pm)
Friend who was dying of cancer is not yet dead! Her prognosis seems to change by the day. Still, I'm glad I went. It did us both good.

Thing is that their income is very limited right now. With her that sick and a toddler running around, a job just isn't possible. Household income is mostly from disability, but it's now being supplemented by sales commissions.

If you're in the US and would like to buy makeup, lotions, jewelry, or the like, you can shop at their Avon page.

If you'd like some scented wax (sort of like a cross between scented candles and plug-in room fresheners), scented stuffed animals, and other such smelly things, you can browse the Scentsy page.

They won't take donations, but every sales commission helps. Signal boosting appreciated. They're good people, and this is the only way I have to help them.

The last week on Xyrem )

Sleep doc still hasn't called me back. I need to know if she's taken care of the insurance paperwork, when I'm supposed to see her again, and why my apnea last night was so much worse than it's been in ages. Tried calling just now, but no one picked up. Will try again in a bit. Maybe it's lunch break?

ETA: Insurance denied the Xyrem. Doc is working on it.
hatman: HatMan, my alter ego and face on the 'net (Default)
( Jun. 10th, 2014 11:35 am)
A good friend who has been slowly dying of cancer took a sudden turn for the worse. I'm looking into dropping everything to fly out there tomorrow.

In other news:

Xyrem day 4 )