Friday, December 22, 2006

The Freeloader is GONE!

Well, it's been how long, 3 months off and on since my freeloading sister Amy showed up on my doorstep claiming she'll just be "crashing on my couch" for a few nights. Finally tonight she came and got all of her stuff and took it off to her new townhouse up at Northgate that she and a couple friends are renting. Merry Christmas, I have my apartment back.

But I have to admit, it's a bit different around here now. After 3 months I finally got used to having her around, and now it's a bit quiet around here. (Though I have a ton more space, now that I look around.)

Hmmm... no more hearing her cell phone go off at 6am while I'm trying to sleep. No more hearing her up until who knows how late in the morning before going to bed. No more piles of junk around the apartment that aren't mine. :) Ah... good times.

Now it's time for Christmas excitement. Saturday is a pretty slow day actually, I don't think I have anything of any sort of importance going on. Then Christmas Eve and Christmas Day festivities are ready for fun. It's beginning to feel a lot like Christmas.

Monday, December 18, 2006

Being sick is no fun...

I managed to be sick most of last week, which wasn't much fun at all. I rarely take any sort of drugs when I'm sick, rather just resting and surviving through it. The exception is when I have a cold and am so congested I can't really breathe well. For that, I usually keep a good stock of DayQuil (the gelcaps, not the liquid, bleah) on hand, because it does an amazing job of keeping your head clear and breathing. I still had some (that I probably bought a couple of years ago, and admit was a bit past its expiration date, considering how infrequently I find myself needing it), but it still worked wonders. On Saturday morning I ran out of it, so I stopped by the drug store to get some more. No problem, right? Well, mainly I wanted to not be sniffling all through Saturday night at my cousin's wedding (pictures in the online album, btw). I took the stuff in the afternoon and the evening, and neither time did my head clear up. Maybe the drugs were broken? Was my cold just so bad nothing could save it? Did I just imagine taking it? Something wasn't right. I got home Saturday night and took another dose right before I went to bed, usually ensuring at least a clear night's sleep. But I woke up about an hour later with my nose so stuffed up I could barely breathe. It was horrible! I finally made it to sleep (probably because I was actually getting better, not necessarily because any drugs were helping me) and slept through most of the night.

Sunday morning it was time to do some research. I look at the DayQuil box and what do I see, they have actually CHANGED one of the active ingredients that is supposed to solve all the sinus congestion. How dare they?!

Now for your education moment... if you have read nothing else, read this and learn...

DayQuil, as with most other over-the-counter cold medicines, used to contain Pseudoephedrine which does an amazingly good job at clearing sinus congestion. However, as the most unscrupulous world of illicit drugs also learned, is remarkably easy to break down into Methamphetamines. Thanks to recent legislation within our fine US Congress, laws to help restrict the sale of products containing Pseudoephedrine were incorporated into the not-so-aptly named 'Patriot Act'. As a result, most manufacturers have reformulated their cold medicines to replace the Pseudoephedrine with another less-easy-to-turn-to-meth alternative called Phenylepherine (also in a much smaller dose). This is the ingredient now found in DayQuil among others. I'm all for getting rid of bad drugs if there's a reasonable substitute, the problem is, Phenylepherine doesn't work! Several studies have shown Phenylepherine to be no more effective than a placebo at alleviating sinus congestion. WELL THAT'S JUST WONDERFUL! I might as well swallow a sugar cube when I have a stuffy nose... probably tastes a lot better.

As a result, yesterday I made a stop at the local Rite-Aid to look more closely at the cold medicine shelf. Looking at the boxes, most of the easy-to-find stuff is all using the new Phenylepherine. If you look hard enough though, for example, I found that there is another version of DayQuil called "DayQuil Sinus" (seems redundant to me), but infact, it's essentially the same as the regular DayQuil, but instead contains the ill-fated Pseudoephedrine. WAHOO! So I grab a box and take it to the register. Not so fast. The forementioned Patriot Act now mandates that ALL sales of products containing Pseudoephedrine require the purchaser be logged and limited on how much they can buy. As a result, it takes me 5 minutes while the kind, yet slow and not very computer-literate, cashier basically takes all the information off of my driver's license and enters it into the register. It's easier to buy a bottle of Jack Daniels than a bottle of DayQuil! However, I made it out with relative ease. Took the DayQuil Sinus and within 20 minutes, the runny nose was gone and I could breathe free and clear.

The moral of the story: KNOW what you're buying! Ask for the Pseudoephedrine by name! Know the differences! It's worth the extra trouble, especially when you're sick and the difference is between feeling better and being miserable.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

I'm dreaming of a White Christmas...

Last night I went to see the musical adaptation (for once, the movie came first) of White Christmas playing at the 5th Avenue Theatre. I took my sister Amy with me, mainly because she has seen the movie probably 124 times, and besides the complete song montage she sang while we were waiting for the show to start, it wasn't too bad. :)

As for the musical, an excellent performance. Most of the cast was outstanding... the chorus was excellent, the leads were entertaining, with the possible disappointment of the actress who played Judy Haynes, who did not impress me at all. Not bad in general or vocally, but she was a bit sloppy on the dance numbers which really stood out next to the outstanding performance of the rest of the ensemble.

I have to avoid trying to compare this production to the movie, because the movie is an American classic, to which there just is no comparison. Though in short, as in any adaptation, various changes had to be made, in this case some of the minor subplots and edges were rearranged or changed to be more usable on the stage rather than the screen. But the overall story remained intact.

On the technical aspects, the sets were impressive. The orchestra was outstanding. Breaking down the rating:

Cast: 4 stars - no Bing Crosby, but who is?
Script: 3 stars - too used to the movie, hard to handle many changes.
Technical: 5 stars - great sets and lighting and everything else.
Music: 4 stars - All the classic songs, with a great orchestra to back it up.

Overall Rating: 4 stars. I'd see it again... actually enjoyed it quite a bit. Nothing really to complain about here... more than that, lots of good things about it. A holiday classic worth seeing. I can't give it 5 stars though, because I've seen better.