Posts Below
10/8/2016 - My nice, now "organized" room :-) (Journal)
9/21/2016 - Link: "It's Impossible to See all the Dots on this Optical Illusion at Once" (Science)
9/19/2016 - How to make Saxon/C into a PHP extension for PHP 5.6.13 in Lucid Puppy Linux 5.2.8 (Puppy Linux)
9/1/2016 - The death of Star Trek actor Anton Yelchin was possibly a result of software-controlled car parts (Software)
8/26/2016 - Link: Free eBook Giveaway from Hay House Publishing (Books)
8/25/2016 - Zippable pillow protectors: better than plastic bags for organizing things (Self-Help)
8/14/2016 - Oxalates and their interference with the absorption of nutrients (Health)
8/10/2016 - Link: "A Palace Was Unearthed Where Legend Places King Arthur's Birthplace" (History)
8/7/2016 - Sandstorm (Software)
8/2/2016 - Still trying to quit tea; hoping quitting will reduce my headaches (Health)
7/29/2016 - DemExit (Activism)
7/29/2016 - Chicory and barley: reputedly good for dental health, etc. (Health)
7/25/2016 - Bash Script: flexishacheck (Software)
7/22/2016 - Teeccino: An Excellent Alternative to Coffee (Food)
7/18/2016 - Links: Free (as in Freedom), Libre, Open Source Agriculture (Food)
7/18/2016 - Link: Rosetta Stone for Unix (GNU/Linux)
7/17/2016 - International postal systems: more reasons I'm glad to be an American (Business - And Charity)
7/13/2016 - Going to try a standing desk (Health)
7/11/2016 - Dancing: probably more interesting than many other forms of exercise (Health)
7/9/2016 - Synonyms for the word "Antifragile" (Languages - English)

Welcome to Astroblahhh.Com. This site, consisting of both blog and non-blog pages, features a gradually growing assortment of miscellaneous things on a variety of topics. I, the author of most of the stuff on this site, usually go by the name Apollia on the internet.

This blog was generated by the WordsPlatz blog software, which I wrote from scratch.


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My nice, now "organized" room :-)
Saturday, October 8th, 2016
12:06:06 GMT


I've been doing much better since quitting caffeine and my electric blanket, which I believe was interfering with my sleep quality even more than caffeine alone was.

So, I was finally able to make my very cluttered room a lot nicer to live in.

My phone's camera takes unrealistically dark, dull-looking pictures, so I edited these pictures' brightness, contrast, saturation and gamma (whatever that is) in mtPaint to make these pictures look closer to (or better than) how my room really looks.

Look how clean and organized it is!!!!! ;-D

Larger Size

Original Picture without brightness, contrast, saturation, and gamma adjusted with mtPaint

This is the best it has ever been.

That's the especially cluttery corner, next to my big window, which features my low-cost alternative to curtains - taped together pieces of scrap paper.

Part of my office chair is visible at the lower left, and the red thing next to that is part of my standing desk.

Here's the other side of the room:

Larger Size

Original Picture without brightness, contrast, saturation, and gamma adjusted with mtPaint

My standing desk still needs to be decluttered. But the rest - well, it's hard to see how I could improve on that. ;-D

Quoted from another blog post:

The wide painting isn't by me, and I don't know who painted it. Astonishingly, it was only $2 - two dollars - from a local live auction!

The smaller, more colorful picture is a Thomas Kinkade print called The Garden of Prayer, and if I recall correctly, it also was just $2 - two dollars. Found it at a local thrift store.

Here's the stuff at the top of that shelf:

Larger Size

Original Picture without brightness, contrast, saturation, and gamma adjusted with mtPaint

The shiny silvery blue metallic map of the world was from a local live auction in 2013, and it came with with a second map of the world which is in the second-nicest corner of my room. Both of them together only cost $8 (eight dollars) total, if I recall correctly.

I think the small vase on the right is made of very tarnished copper. It's quite heavy for its size. It might have been from a Goodwill thrift store or some other thrift store, and was probably under $4 (four dollars). I intended to someday clean it and probably sell it, but I still haven't gotten around to that.

The baskety vase was probably from a Goodwill thrift store and probably less than $3 (three dollars).

In the center is a greeting card or postcard.

Here's the second-nicest corner of my room:

Larger Size

Original Picture without brightness, contrast, saturation, and gamma adjusted with mtPaint

Actually, maybe this is the nicest corner of my room, because of those 3 lovely little works of art.

I originally bought those world maps with the intention of selling them, but, I ended up keeping them, since I usually am too busy with other things to try to sell things.

The blue/purple/etc. carnival glass was around $24 (twenty-four dollars) from a local antique store in January 2003, and that's the most I ever paid for something to decorate my room.

The pastel flowery vase was from a Goodwill thrift store, and was maybe something like $2 (two dollars).

Most of the rest of that shelf:

Larger Size

Original Picture without brightness, contrast, saturation, and gamma adjusted with mtPaint

And part of my 3rd and final shelf:

Larger Size

Original Picture without brightness, contrast, saturation, and gamma adjusted with mtPaint

The picture is part of a 1994 or 1993 Dinotopia calendar, and the red thing holding it up there is a screwdriver.

Finally, junk isn't constantly getting in my way anymore. I can easily open my mini-refrigerator, and roll my office chair around part of my room! I can actually walk between my bed and door!

Now I have room to bellydance without having to stand on my bed!

And, I finally know where my towel is.

Now, the world will be my oyster. :-D

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Link: "It's Impossible to See all the Dots on this Optical Illusion at Once"
Wednesday, September 21st, 2016
06:27:32 GMT


Quite cool:

It's Impossible to See all the Dots on this Optical Illusion at Once
Sept. 12, 2016 from

A more detailed article:

Here's why you can't see all 12 black dots in this crazy optical illusion
Sept. 13, 2016, from

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How to make Saxon/C into a PHP extension for PHP 5.6.13 in Lucid Puppy Linux 5.2.8
Monday, September 19th, 2016
19:15:31 GMT

Puppy Linux

I wanted to be able to use XSLT 2.0 with PHP (my favorite programming language), so I figured out how to compile Saxon/C into a PHP extension.

According to Saxon/C's official home page, Saxon/C provides "XML document processing for the C/C++/PHP platforms", and "In particular, Saxon/C provides processing in XSLT, XQuery and XPath, and Schema validation".

I ran into a few problems trying to make Saxon/C into a PHP extension on my Lucid Puppy Linux 5.2.8 version 004 system, but, fortunately, I was able to solve them.

I still didn't figure out how to make all of the Saxon/C example PHP scripts work, but, 3 out of 4 work fine for me.

To compile software from scratch in Puppy Linux, it's often necessary (or convenient) to use the DevX file of development tools for your Puppy Linux.

My page of Some Puppy Linux Basics explains more about DevX files, and if you need the DevX for Lucid Puppy 5.2.8, it's available at this link:

If you're using a different version of Puppy than Lucid Puppy 5.2.8, that DevX probably won't work, so you should instead download the DevX released for your Puppy.

Also, if you're not using Lucid Puppy 5.2.8, please bear in mind that the instructions in this blog post might not all apply or work for you, since different Puppy Linux distros, and probably even different versions of the same Puppy distro, can differ quite substantially from each other.

And here's how to load SFS files.

Here's a list of required other software. Perhaps slightly different versions would also work, but these are exactly what I used.

The below instructions assume you already have PHP 5.6.13 and Java 1.8.0_51 installed.

Here's how I made Saxon/C into a PHP extension.

  1. Unzip the file "" to whatever folder you want.

  2. Open a terminal window in that folder, and type this command:


    That program will then give you a prompt that looks something like this:

    Enter destination path[/root/00-ApWorkspace/Saxonica/Saxon-HEC1.0.2]:

    You can press Enter on your keyboard to accept the default path, or type in a different path. If all goes well, a list of files that are being installed will be printed, and in the end, it will say:

    Saxon-HEC 1.0.2 has been successfully installed on your computer.

  3. Next, open the Saxonica folder, then the Saxon-HEC1.0.2 folder.

    There's a "" file you can read if you want.

    There's also a "php-library-module" folder, containing "", an already-built PHP extension. It might work if you happen to be using the version of PHP the Saxon/C home page says that extension was built for - PHP 5.5.9. But, I tried it with PHP 5.6.13, and it didn't work for me.

  4. Open the Saxon.C.API folder, then open a terminal window in that folder, and type these commands. (The "phpize" command will only work if you have PHP installed):


    ./configure --enable-saxon

  5. Here's where I had to diverge from the instructions in the "" file.

    Originally, running "make" didn't succeed for me because I had Java installed in an unconventional place, and "make" needed two Java-related files which "make" couldn't find: "jni.h" and "jni_md.h" (and probably others as well).

    "make" also needed a file from somewhere in the Saxon-HEC1.0.2 folder.

    So, to let "make" know where to find those files, I had to edit the "Makefile" in a text editor.

    In "Makefile", find line 31, which looks like this:


    Change that to something like this (but customize it with the paths where you have Java, and where you put the Saxon-HEC1.0.2 folder):

    CPPFLAGS = -DHAVE_CONFIG_H -I/root/apbin/Java/v8u51/include/ -I/root/apbin/Java/v8u51/include/linux/ -I/root/00-ApWorkspace/Saxonica/Saxon-HEC1.0.2/

  6. Next, in the terminal window opened at the Saxon.C.API folder, type this command:


    After "make" succeeds, the compiled "" PHP extension will be in the "modules" folder.

  7. Open the "modules" folder. Then, go to wherever your folder of PHP extensions is, and copy "" into that folder.

    For me, that folder was:


  8. Then, to enable the extension in PHP, edit your "php.ini" file. You might have multiple php.ini files - I have one at /etc/php.ini and one at /usr/local/lib/php.ini.

    In the extensions section of your "php.ini" file, put a line like this:

  9. I also had to create a symlink at /usr/lib/rt/ pointing to the "rt" folder in the "Saxon-HEC1.0.2" folder, since otherwise, errors happened, sometimes with PHP, and sometimes with the Hiawatha web server (which sometimes gave me an Internal Server Error).

    In my system, the "rt" folder was in this folder, but it will probably be elsewhere on your system:


  10. To make sure the extension was installed successfully, you can have PHP run the phpinfo(); command to print a list of installed PHP extensions and other info.

    You can even run the phpinfo(); command from a terminal window with this command line:

    php -r "phpinfo();"

There are example PHP scripts in the folder Saxon-HEC1.0.2/samples/php. "xpathExamples.php", "xqueryExamples.php", and "xsltExamples.php" worked fine for me, but "validatorExamples.php" had an error which I don't yet know how to fix.

Also, I think I ran into Bug #2677 - Saxon/C PHP API getErrorMessage does not report useful error.

However, more detailed error messages are readable in my Hiawatha web server logs, which, on my system, are located at:


I made this little PHP script called display_last_5_lines_of_hiawatha_error_log.php to make that log easier to read in my web browser:

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The death of Star Trek actor Anton Yelchin was possibly a result of software-controlled car parts
Thursday, September 1st, 2016
12:14:21 GMT


I was very saddened to find out today that the actor Anton Yelchin, who played Chekov in the recent Star Trek movies, died possibly because of the software-controlled "e-shift transmission" in his Jeep Grand Cherokee, which was involved in a recall. He was only 27.

So, I updated this blog post again:

The "Internet of Things" and "Pervasive Computing": Some of the Worst Ideas Ever

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Link: Free eBook Giveaway from Hay House Publishing
Friday, August 26th, 2016
22:51:48 GMT


I heard about this free (as in price) eBook giveaway from an e-newsletter from Hay House Publishing:

Free eBook Giveaway - Hay House

I particularly like the fact that the books are provided in a variety of formats. My favorite of the formats provided is EPUB format, which I can read in my web browser with the EPUBReader add-on for the Firefox web browser. (That add-on also works in the Pale Moon web browser, which I prefer over Firefox.)

Then, using the Stylish add-on for Firefox (or Pale Moon), I can easily change the text's color to anything I want, and give the text a dark background, which makes it far more pleasant for me to read.

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Zippable pillow protectors: better than plastic bags for organizing things
Thursday, August 25th, 2016
11:54:46 GMT


For most of my life, I used plastic bags and cardboard boxes of various sizes (usually overly large, heavy, and difficult to move when full of junk) to "organize" things in a mostly inadequate, chaotic way.

But, recently, I finally thought of a great new innovation - putting things inside zippable pillow protectors. I prefer pillow protectors because ordinary pillowcases often don't have zippers. And sometimes ordinary pillowcases are so nice and soft you might be reluctant to use them for storage.

Compared to noisy, unsightly plastic shopping bags or garbage bags which easily get torn and often have no built-in way to completely close them - zippable pillow protectors are quieter, nicer to look at, easily closeable, and tend not to rip.

I don't have a closet, and I don't have space in my room for a clothes rack, so, now I keep different categories of clothes in different zippable pillow protectors, which makes them much easier to find than having them in numerous cardboard boxes or a giant mixed up pile.

I haven't yet thought of or found a good way to label them, but will update this post if I do.

(Addition, Sept. 22, 2016, 10:00 PM EDT. Using safety pins, I attach small rectangular papers labeled with the bag's contents. Each bag gets two labels - both near the middle of the zippered edge, on both the front and back of the bag. I should maybe use something a bit sturdier than plain paper, since plain paper might rip easily.)

It turns out both plastic bags and pillow protectors are bad for any non-rugged dressy types of shoes, since those can easily get crushed and creased. (I was always so oblivious to fashion that I didn't realize that until this year!) And I guess any clothes you don't want getting rumpled might be better off hanging somewhere instead of crammed into a bag.

But, for most of my clothes and my more rugged shoes, pillow protectors are perfectly fine. As for my more fragile shoes, I'll just stick those in small cardboard boxes.

I want to get a lot more zippable pillow protectors to hold many other categories of stuff, like plastic bags, boring junk mail I don't feel like going through yet, old receipts, other old papers I don't really care about but don't want to just throw away, and whatever else.

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Oxalates and their interference with the absorption of nutrients
Sunday, August 14th, 2016
01:39:27 GMT


(Here's my site's disclaimer again, since this blog post is about health-related topics, and I'm not a health care professional, just a layperson who sometimes takes an interest in health and nutrition.)

Since earlier this year or late last year, and also on occasion even as far back as 2006, I've sometimes had jaw aches, mostly on the right side. Fortunately, that has been scarcely bothersome at all compared to my headaches.

However, earlier this year, sometimes I mistook that jaw pain for possible toothaches in my top and bottom backmost right teeth - except usually the ache felt more spread out rather than localized to my teeth. (I was similarly confused by some sore spots on my gums which were quite probably from gum disease - but I think that's probably a problem separate from my jaw pain, since my gum issues mostly went away months ago thanks to Vitamin C.)

When I saw the dentist in February, I found out the only cavities I had were on the opposite side of my mouth, and they were all so small I didn't even need to be numbed to get them filled.

I almost couldn't believe there was nothing wrong with my right backmost top and bottom teeth. But, the pain wasn't consistent, and it seemed like drinking enough liquids and taking magnesium helped. (Taking magnesium, Vitamin C, and drinking more liquids were all ideas I found and tried on my own - none of those were suggested to me by the dentist.)

However, my jaw aches have been more of a problem lately, especially the past few weeks. Usually the effects of magnesium on me had been far more noticeable - in addition to seeming to probably reduce my jaw pain and rid me of some annoying twitches near my right eye, it made me feel calmer and better able to sleep, and it sometimes made me feel very tired if I took it anytime I wasn't well-rested.

But lately, I've been feeling like magnesium hasn't been working as well for me.

So, that made me wonder if somehow some new factor in my nutrition (or life) was making me extra deficient in magnesium.

A while back, when reading about chicory (one of the main ingredients in Teeccino, an excellent "herbal coffee"), I ran across this page which said chicory is high in oxalates and not recommended for people with arthritis or who are prone to kidney stones.

So, I started reading about oxalates, and found this page which quoted some unknown other source which said:

“oxalates strongly bind to minerals and vice versa (e.g., calcium, magnesium, zinc and potassium), and reduces the absorption of your minerals as they both come out via your urine.”

And the Antinutrient page on Wikipedia also mentions oxalates.

I also somehow ran across stuff related to Vitamin C and oxalates, such as this page, which says "vitamin C can be metabolized to oxalate".

That interested me because I had started taking two 500 mg Vitamin C's per day back in April, since it seems to tremendously help with my possible gum disease.

But, I think it wasn't until the past few weeks that magnesium started to seem significantly less effective for me.

Maybe some of my ailments are side effects of quitting caffeine. It's hard to judge since I didn't carefully log exactly what things happened when.

But, my current top theory is that maybe all the extra oxalates I've likely been getting lately from Teeccino and (to a lesser extent) from Vitamin C have maybe been interfering with my magnesium absorption.

Though I've also read that even just being extra stressed out can contribute to magnesium deficiency, and that could definitely also be a factor for me.

(Addition, Aug. 15, 2016, 5:08 AM EDT. This blog post I found describes a slow recovery from caffeine withdrawal which took up to 5 months! So, I now think it's very possible that caffeine withdrawal is a bigger factor in my ailments than I realized before.

Here's a blog post by me where I've been adding updates on my efforts to quit caffeine, or at least reduce how much I consume.)

Anyway, since Teeccino lacks caffeine and thus isn't addictive, it will be easy for me to experiment at some point with temporarily abstaining from Teeccino.

And also, now that I've sampled the majority of Teeccino flavors, I'll be less likely to drink more than one mugful per day. A lot of why I drank so much was simply to try all the new (to me) flavors as soon as possible.

But, I quite like Teeccino, so for now, I'd like to keep drinking it daily, and find a good way to adjust my diet to compensate for the possibly higher amounts of oxalates I've been consuming.

This aforementioned page says near the top that "High doses of vitamin B6 may decrease oxalate production".

So, perhaps having more Vitamin B6 might help me. For years, off and on, I have been taking Nature Made Stress B (which also contains Vitamin C and zinc). But I often have neglected to take it, since it tends to upset my stomach unless I eat something soon before (or soon after) taking it. I usually don't eat a large breakfast, so I can't just take Stress B first thing in my "morning" (or whatever equates to morning for me, due to my severe sleep issues).

I'll just have to do a better job of remembering to take Stress B after I eat enough food.

I already tried taking extra magnesium. A few weeks ago I started taking Nature Made magnesium citrate (except, unlike that page, my bottle just says "Softgels" instead of "Liquid Softgels").

I got magnesium citrate because I read in various places that some forms of magnesium are better-absorbed than others.

But I was surprised at how little effect magnesium citrate seemed to have on me compared to magnesium oxide. It's reputed to be better-absorbed than magnesium oxide, and (until lately), even just 1 Nature Made magnesium oxide seemed to have very noticeable effects on me, sometimes making me feel very tired about 2 hours after taking it (unless I'm well-rested enough that it just makes me feel more relaxed and calm).

However, I started taking magnesium citrate around the same time I started drinking Teeccino, so, maybe that's why the magnesium citrate seemingly doesn't have very noticeable effects on me.

I also tried extra Nature Made magnesium oxide. At times, it seemed to do surprisingly little for me - at one point, I tried taking 3 at once, and didn't feel much difference. Though at another point, I tried taking 2 at once, and a few hours later, it seemed to make me feel crappy (literally).

So, I think maybe I'd rather get extra magnesium from my diet instead of supplements, or at least just avoid taking more than 1 magnesium oxide at a time.

I've continued to take 1 serving of Nature Made magnesium citrate daily (in my "morning", usually). But, judging by my jaw aches, I suspect I need even more magnesium than that.

Perhaps another good approach might be to consume additional amounts of other nutrients that oxalates are reputed to interfere with the absorption of.

This page suggests consuming more calcium.

And this page says:

"When you're taking magnesium, you need to consider calcium, vitamin D3 and vitamin K2 as well, since these all work synergistically with one another. "

Unfortunately, judging by this other page, Vitamin K2 sounds like it might be a nutrient which might be hard to get directly in a purely vegetarian diet. (Reminds me of the difficulties with getting some forms of Omega 3 in purely vegetarian ways.)

However, this page points out various things suggesting that it might be possible for the body to convert Vitamin K1 into Vitamin K2.

I hope that's possible, since I'm pretty fond of kale (which has a lot of Vitamin K), and I could (and probably should) eat kale more frequently.

(Additions, Aug. 14/15, 9:41 PM/12:46 AM EDT. There seems to be conflicting info on the web about whether kale is high in oxalates or not. Here's a page that says it's low in oxalates. I tried to find the Harvard data that page referred to, and found something, though I don't know whether or not that's what that page was talking about. But the file "Oxalate Content of Foods.xls" says kale is low oxalate, with 2 mg of oxalates.)

I also am fond of gouda cheese, but it's kind of expensive, and I still feel guilty about not being 100% vegetarian.

I wish I could have figured out the perfect cure(s) for my various ailments before posting this. But, oh, well.

Magnesium not having such a strong effect on me as it used to was just such an unusual difference for me that it seemed worth investigating and writing about, even though I'm not a health care professional nor anyone else who is officially licensed to come up with theories about any of these topics.

As more details come to light, I might update this post in the future.

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Link: "A Palace Was Unearthed Where Legend Places King Arthur's Birthplace"
Wednesday, August 10th, 2016
17:32:57 GMT


Found via the Smithsonian Magazine email newsletter:

A Palace Was Unearthed Where Legend Places King Arthur's Birthplace
(Aug. 5, 2016)

I always liked King Arthur stories, so, I thought this was cool.

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Sunday, August 7th, 2016
05:05:19 GMT


I recently heard about a very impressive project called Sandstorm which makes installing web apps (like WordPress or MediaWiki, and many others) as easy as installing phone apps.

Sandstorm Demo

One reason I'm so pleased to have run across this is because I had been idly wondering for years if there might be good ways to make my and others' web apps easy to install other than using a combination of my Puppy Linux Setup Kit and Astroblahhh GLMP-GTK, plus VirtualBox to make them hopefully more secure.

I don't have the expertise to judge Sandstorm's technical and security merits, but, from the perspective of a user, I find Sandstorm very pleasant and easy to use.

And, as the author of some amateurish (yet still useful at least to me) web apps (and other things), I'm definitely interested in someday seeing if I can easily convert Astroblahhh Desktop and/or the WordsPlatz blogging software and/or the Eryss astrology software and/or other and/or not yet created things into Sandstorm packages.

To my surprise, I was able to successfully do all the steps in Sandstorm's packaging tutorial while using Lighthouse 64 Puppy Linux 6.02 Beta 2!

I don't feel up to writing a complete set of instructions on how to install everything in Lighthouse 64, and it would probably be better for me to just add scripts to my Puppy Linux Setup Kit to automate most everything.

But, here are a few notes.

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Still trying to quit tea; hoping quitting will reduce my headaches
Tuesday, August 2nd, 2016
12:03:28 GMT


(Addition, Sept. 26, 2016, 6:12 PM EDT. Since I've added so much to this post since I first posted it, I decided I ought to add a link to my site's disclaimer, and also point out yet again that I'm not a health care professional, just a layperson who sometimes takes an interest in health and nutrition.

I'm 35 years old, never attended college (partly for financial reasons, and partly because of my severe sleep issues and shyness), and I have a GED instead of a normal high school diploma.

So, please don't blindly assume I know what I'm talking about, and please don't blindly assume that my ideas or personal health habits necessarily have any merit.

This blog post is a personal diary of how things have been going for me in the process of trying to free myself from caffeine, and my thoughts and speculations on the possible causes of my headaches and other ailments, and different things I've tried, or which I'm considering trying, to alleviate my ailments.

I hope it's interesting, but none of it is intended as health advice. Please be careful, please use common sense, and please don't blindly mimic me. It's quite possible that some of the things I tried, or will try, are, or will be, quite stupid. If you need health advice, please consult a health care professional.

End of addition.)

Quitting caffeine has been getting tougher for me. I'm aware quitting it abruptly can lead to nasty withdrawal symptoms.

But, in my eagerness to be done with tea forever, I guess I rushed too quickly through the gradual-decrease phase and tried too soon to stop drinking it completely.

Result: headaches.

I was hoping approximately 12 ounces of tea per day wouldn't be that hard to get unaddicted from if I really tried, but, darn.

I guess I better keep quitting gradually instead of abruptly. Fortunately, simply drinking tea makes me feel better pretty quickly.

However, I no longer like the taste of tea as much as I used to, since Teeccino (which is "herbal coffee" with no caffeine) tastes so much better to me in comparison. So, I'm going to try to mixing my tea with Teeccino. (I wasn't mixing the two before because I wanted to see what pure Teeccino tasted like, and I was hoping I could quit tea sooner and less gradually.)

(Addition, 4:03 PM EDT. It turns out they both taste better separate, at least the way I tried to mix them. Maybe with effort the mix could be improved, but I don't feel like making the effort, since I doubt the mix will ever taste better than pure Teeccino.)

For many months, I had been noticing a craving to have more than just a single 12 ounce mug of tea per day. Not immediately after my first (and usually only) cup - but instead, annoyingly late in my "day", approaching my bedtime (which could be literally any time of day or night, due to my severe sleep issues).

I nearly always resisted the urge. But, maybe that craving was an indication I was even more addicted than I realized?

Even when I wasn't actively trying to quit tea, I got headaches on occasion. But, because I seldom went much longer than a day without having tea, I usually assumed those headaches weren't caffeine-related. But perhaps a lot of those headaches actually were from insufficient caffeine?

So, maybe at least some of my problems with occasional "random" headaches will finally go away once I get free of caffeine addiction.

Additions, 7:22 PM/7:46 PM. Here's an article from Smithsonian Magazine about what caffeine does to your brain.

Today it seems I mistakenly drank too little tea to totally get rid of my headache. I'm so annoyed by this I think I might go ahead and just immediately quit completely, so I can hopefully get through this withdrawal nonsense as quickly as possible.

So, I'm probably going to be particularly boring and useless for a while, since I'm going to continue mostly avoiding stressful things, and probably mostly read a lot and binge-watch Netflix and YouTube.

Addition, 8:50 PM EDT. Just found out from this page that my former usual daily tea only contains about 40 mg of caffeine per cup.

That sounds like a tiny amount. But, maybe it isn't tiny for me, since I'm only 5'4" and maybe 120 lbs. (Just guessing since I don't have a scale.) In any case, tea definitely has had very noticeable effects on how alert I am and how well I'm able to concentrate, and also tends to improve my mood.

But, the good effects don't last long enough for my liking, and I'm tired of feeling overly tired without caffeine, waking up feeling insufficiently rested, and especially tired of the possibility that perhaps a lot of my headaches are related to not drinking enough caffeine at the "right" time, whenever that is - which might be particularly hard for me to figure out due to my messed up circadian rhythms.

Hopefully the withdrawal won't last too long because I already had been working on gradually decreasing my tea intake. At the moment I'm feeling mostly OK, just tired now, probably partly because the last time I slept, I only slept about 4 hours because of a headache.

Addition, Aug. 4, 2016, 1:08 AM EDT. Spinning in my office chair and making myself dizzy distracts a bit from my headaches!

Additions, Aug. 4, 2016, 6:18/6:35 PM EDT. No headache since maybe 1:30 AM. But, I've been pretty tired (even after a long sleep), anxious, and foggy-minded.

I guess I probably am hypersensitive to caffeine, though at least I'm not so hypersensitive that I experience nothing but negative effects from caffeine. But I think roughly 12 ounces of tea per day must have been at least a little too much for me. But maybe if I simply drink less per day, that will work for me, hopefully with all good effects and no bad effects?

I got a new, larger mug earlier this year. Didn't realize that might cause me trouble. But even the previous amount I was drinking might have been too much, if caffeine withdrawal was a significant factor in a lot of the headaches I've gotten over the years.

Addition, Aug. 4, 2016, 7:30 PM EDT. I figured out that my supposedly 12 ounce mug might actually hold more than 12 ounces, since I was able to pour 2 nearly full cups of water into it from an 8.5 ounce styrofoam cup. I don't have a measuring cup, so I can't measure it more exactly, but, it now looks like maybe I had been drinking close to 16 ounces of tea per day.

Trying to quit tea has been such an annoying disruption to my life and ability to get anything done that I've decided to resume drinking tea, but from an 8.5 ounce styrofoam cup instead. I just had some and already feel a bit better.

Additions, Aug. 4/5, 2016, 7:50 PM/12:51 AM EDT. I still don't want to be stuck drinking tea for the rest of my life, so, my next caffeine reduction strategy will be to add a small amount of this Mount Hagen organic instant coffee (or this cheaper pack of 2) to my Teeccino.

I tried that coffee a few years ago and liked it a lot, so I'm guessing the flavor will probably blend well with Teeccino.

Addition, Aug. 7, 2016, 6:10 AM EDT. No headaches lately, and I got the coffee, and it's good in (or out of) Teeccino. Maybe I'm doing better overall with less caffeine, but, it's hard to tell at the moment, since yesterday, I had to wake up unusually early (for me), and didn't go back to sleep yet, so I'm quite tired now. I still feel like I want to take a long vacation from everything stressful.

Here's the most interesting article I've seen recently about caffeine and its effects:

Coffee Time: How caffeine shifts our circadian clocks.
(Sept. 17, 2015, from


"The way caffeine works on cells in the body might be different than how it works on the brain."


"jet lag isn’t just the fact that your brain is in another time zone—it’s that your liver might be in a different time zone than your brain.”

Addition, Aug. 8, 2016, 3:51 PM EDT. I don't feel perfect yet, and I still feel like I could go back to sleep again soon, but, upon waking up today, I think I felt better-rested than I had for several months. No headaches, and I feel overall calmer.

I got my new mug (which I thought was 12 ounces but actually was larger) back in February, so I guess I had been at least slightly overdosing on caffeine since around then.

Additions, Aug. 9, 2016, 3:46 AM EDT, etc. I wish I had gone back to sleep, but I didn't. I thought I felt better-rested than usual, but that feeling didn't last long.

I don't know if still having a little caffeine is helping, or making things worse. I think now that I'm so close to having no caffeine, I'll just go without it completely for a while.

I guess another possible contributor to my various ailments might be Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), but, for now, I don't want to get into the details of why I think that. I'd rather focus on positive things.

Addition, Aug. 10, 2016, 1:21 PM EDT. Got a headache last night, and gave in and drank some coffee, which didn't fully get rid of it. but I'm OK now. It is definitely nice to feel like sleep is doing me more good than it had been.

Addition, Aug. 11, 2016, 6:07 PM EDT. No headaches, and my old vigor has been coming back after probably months of absence. Even though I had to get up overly early for something today and am thus tired, I still have felt better than I had in a long time.

So, maybe I finally really will try bellydancing and a standing desk sometime.

It seems like I'm OK as long as I don't have too much caffeine. So, yesterday evening and today, mostly just for flavor's sake, I put a small amount of coffee - probably less than a teaspoon - in my Teeccino.

Addition, Aug. 13, 2016, 9:46 PM EDT. Had to wake up too early for various reasons on Aug. 12th, so wasn't doing as well yesterday. Slept longer today but am not as energetic as I was on Aug. 11. (Perhaps that energy came from the small amount of caffeine I might have had that day.)

Still, no headaches. And, no caffeine since Aug. 12th or possibly Aug. 11th. I got my Teeccino Boutique Sampler on Aug. 11th, so I mostly avoided putting coffee in them since I wanted to see how they tasted without it.

Another symptom I neglected to mention, which has been a problem for maybe years now, is that I often wake up very thirsty, and this often wakes me up repeatedly while I'm trying to sleep.

And I've had some jaw pain from time to time. My current top theory on that is, maybe it's from magnesium deficiency caused by consuming too many oxalates. (Oxalates are antinutrients found in many common foods.) So I wrote a new blog post on those topics:

Oxalates and their interference with the absorption of nutrients

Addition, Aug. 14, 2016, 1:02 AM EDT. Oops, getting absentminded. Judging by what I wrote above on Aug. 11th, I definitely added a bit of coffee to one of my Teeccinos that day. So, actually, I've been caffeine-free since Aug. 12th, not the 11th.

Additions, 1:30 AM EDT, etc. Don't know when I'll feel normal again (without resorting to caffeine). But, even though I've felt tired, I still feel less tired and better-rested compared to the past several months. But I think I better keep avoiding stressful things and instead do less challenging things like reading books and watching videos.

Despite my tiredness, I've still been learning a lot from The Art of Unix Programming by Eric S. Raymond. I wish I had read that years ago.

Addition, Aug. 14. 2016, 7:20 PM EDT. Decided to probably continue adding small amounts of coffee to my Teeccino, since I like the taste, and even a small amount of caffeine seems to make me feel better and more capable of getting useful things done.

Addition, Aug. 15, 2016, 4:55 AM EDT. I found a blog post by someone who reported experiencing caffeine withdrawal symptoms for up to 5 months!

I'm actually comforted to know it can take that long, because I was worried that I should be much more recovered by now, and worried that maybe my various remaining ailments were caused more by other things than by caffeine withdrawal.

So, that helps rid me of some anxiety. I also read that muscle aches can be a symptom of caffeine withdrawal, so, that could at least partly explain my jaw aches.

That blog post's description of Month 5 gives me something to look forward to.

However, I'm going to probably slightly increase my daily coffee dosage, because I think I need a bit more to minimize my withdrawal symptoms.

Addition, Aug. 18, 2016, 9:07 PM EDT. My jaw aches have been fluctuating between being mostly gone, and still being slightly there. Perhaps magnesium, kale, ground flaxseed, and/or Nature Made Stress B helped.

The past couple days, I had to wake up too early for various reasons, so, I'm probably tired just because of that. But also, I think even the small amount of coffee I had - maybe about a teaspoon - probably made me stay awake longer than I otherwise might have.

So, I'm going to try having an even more minimal and less frequent amount of coffee, like, less than a teaspoon and not daily. My main goal is just to minimize caffeine withdrawal symptoms.

I think I need more sleep, so I don't expect to accomplish much of anything in the very near future. But, in the past few days, I made some progress with XSLT and VUE: Visual Understanding Environment. Which is actually getting me interested in learning more about functional programming in general.

Additions, Aug. 24, 2016, 3:03 AM EDT, etc. Aug. 23rd was the first day my jaw started feeling mostly back to normal! Still been tired, but that's partly because of having to wake up too early. But even so, I've still been feeling more well-rested than I did before trying to quit caffeine.

And I've even made surprisingly good progress with XSLT, though I still find it pretty confusing. But I finally did manage to extract node label data from a VUE: Visual Understanding Environment concept map!

And, I think I want to learn more about one of the most mystifying programming languages I've ever encountered - Haskell. Things that take many lines of code in other languages can be squeezed into much fewer lines of code in Haskell. Much fewer, but much more indecipherable, at least for me so far.

So, I hope to read Learn You a Haskell for Great Good! and Real World Haskell at some point. I sure hope I have the brains to learn this stuff. :-)

I guess this is a particularly good time for me to study Haskell, because if it turns out to be hopelessly difficult, I can blame my caffeine withdrawal symptoms, tiredness, etc. And if I actually do get somewhere with Haskell, I'll feel particularly pleased with myself for being able to do that despite my caffeine withdrawal symptoms, tiredness, etc. :-)

I still have been having less than a teaspoon of coffee daily, but hopefully will start skipping days soon.

I think more often than not, throughout my life, ever since I was a child, I have been regularly consuming some amount of caffeine, either in the form of caffeinated soda, tea, or more rarely, coffee.

I wonder if I was always more sensitive to caffeine than I realized? Maybe this is yet another possible cause of my severe sleep issues.

Of course, I always knew better than to drink caffeine too near bedtime. (Even as a child, I was aware that was a bad idea, thanks to being told by my relatives.) But maybe I always was so caffeine-sensitive that the sleep-disrupting effects persisted longer for me than they do for many people?

I very much doubt that completely quitting caffeine would completely cure my my severe sleep issues, since I think there were probably times in my life when I wasn't drinking caffeine regularly and I still had sleep problems. But, I'll just see what happens, I guess.

Addition, Aug. 24, 2016, 6:36 AM EDT. One difference in my life yesterday compared to all the other days I've been decreasing caffeine is that I got a lot more exercise than usual. Had to walk around a lot.

And, also, I finally tried my $10 (ten dollar) used bike for the first time since I was given it a few months ago. I hadn't ridden a bike since I was maybe 9 or something, but, it seems science was right - I hadn't forgotten how to ride.

And I even managed to avoid falling off at all, even despite zipping around a corner at slightly worryingly high speed, due to not realizing that the brakes were controlled not by pedaling in reverse, but by squeezing some things attached to the handlebars.

Should have made sure I knew how the brakes worked before I started going a bit fast, but, oops. :-) Going uphill and into some grass also helped slow me down.

Anyway, I just found it interesting that my increased exercise coincided with my jaw aches being quite reduced. Though I don't know whether or not exercise actually had anything to do with that, since correlation does not necessarily imply causation.

Addition, Aug. 26, 2016, 2:39 AM EDT. Had no caffeine from the evening of Aug. 23rd to the evening of Aug. 25th. But, it seems like I need to keep having it to avoid getting in a bad mood. So I guess I'll keep having it daily, but keep gradually decreasing the amount.

Still have been getting jaw aches. Haven't gotten anything interesting done. I actually fell asleep at an unusually early time in my "cycle", though only for a few hours. I think maybe I fell asleep because I've been eating dried sour/tart cherries, which are reputed to contain a lot of melatonin - even more melatonin than walnuts, which themselves sometimes seem to have a pretty strong effect on me, and sometimes seem to make me sleepy in less than an hour (unless I'm already quite well-rested at the time I eat them).

Earlier this evening, all my relatives (all of whom also ate those dried sour/tart cherries) also went to sleep earlier than usual, even though one had also taken a nap during the day.

I had two small handfuls of dried sour/tart cherries a few hours ago, and have been on the verge of sleep for a long time since then, though I've been successfully resisting it so far. However, I think maybe I better avoid eating those except when I really want to feel sleepy.

Addition, Sept. 4, 2016, 11:01 PM EDT. I tried decreasing my caffeine probably too soon again - a small amount of coffee every 2 days. Now I've got a bad headache, and also a cold-like symptom - a slightly cloggy nose. I wonder if it actually is a cold.

I really wish I could just quit caffeine completely and immediately, but, that doesn't seem like a good or feasible idea with these horrible headaches and inability to get much of anything done. At least my jaw aches have been pretty much gone since a few days ago.

Next, I'm going to get some small measuring spoons so I can measure more precisely how much coffee I'm having.

Addition, Sept. 5, 2016, 3:34 AM EDT. Had a small amount of coffee in my Teeccino several hours ago, and have been feeling better since then. I was afraid it might not help since I had a similar amount around maybe 6 AM on Sept. 4 and actually felt worse several hours after that. But, I guess now, maybe I've accumulated enough caffeine in my system to reduce my withdrawal symptoms.

Anyway, hopefully just measuring the coffee more carefully, and having it daily, but continuing to decrease the amounts, will help.

I haven't been totally unable to do anything lately. Until yesterday, I think I was mostly feeling OK, which I guess tricked me into thinking I was less caffeine-dependent than I actually still am.

Been glancing at lots of different legally-available ebooks via my local library website Clevnet. But, I actually borrowed then returned so many different ebooks in such a short period of time that Clevnet automatically restricted me from borrowing anything else for 7 days! (Addition, Sept. 7, 2016, 9:07 AM EDT. Seems it was only 5 days, since now I can borrow books again!) I mistakenly thought the only restriction was that you could only borrow 20 books at the same time. I don't even know where I could have found out (without accidentally reaching the limit) that borrowing and quickly returning 100 books (or whatever number I borrowed) isn't allowed.

I guess in the future, I better use the Sample feature more, instead of briefly borrowing entire books just to see if I actually want to read them.

Fortunately, I still have 15 already-borrowed books to look at. Probably the most useful ones I have are:

Addition, Sept. 9, 2016, 4:27 PM EDT. Today, I received these measuring spoons, with these sizes: "1/64, 1/32, 1/16, 1/8, 1/4, 1/3, 1/2, 3/4, 1 teaspoon, 1 Tablespoon, 1-1/2 Tablespoon and 2"

So, today, I had 1/8th of a teaspoon of coffee in my Teeccino. Looking forward to decreasing the amount of coffee, because I've been feeling too tired again lately.

And I just got these books (among many others) today on Clevnet:

Addition, Sept. 10, 2016, 8:21 AM EDT. Been reading Adrenal Fatigue For Dummies, and that has gotten me interested in getting a blood pressure monitor, especially since this one only costs $19.99.

I've only had a very small amount of dizziness lately - just for a minute or so while I was sitting (or partway lying) on my bed several days ago or something. But maybe back in April, I remember once I felt dizzy and faint when I stood up, though that quickly passed.

Dizziness has definitely not been a frequent symptom of mine, so I'm not particularly worried about it - just curious. I've never known what my blood pressure is since I never had a way to measure it myself.

The book also suggests taking your temperature. This interests me not only because of my possible adrenal fatigue, but also because I think I've sometimes read on the Niteowl mailing list that your temperature and your circadian rhythms are related.

So, I wonder if maybe frequently taking my temperature will give me some sort of insight into my possible Non-24-hour Sleep-Wake Disorder.

I feel vaguely tired and wish I could go back to sleep, but, despite briefly trying, I wasn't able to fall asleep again after sleeping from around 8:20 PM to 4:10 AM.

But, I feel like I'm able to concentrate pretty well (even though I haven't had any coffee yet), and I managed to finish reading XSLT For Dummies. I feel like I learned a lot and am well-equipped to proceed with the little XSLT project I began days before finding XSLT For Dummies.

I don't feel very physically energetic, but I feel eager to read a lot more and quite possibly get back to my XSLT and Perl coding.

Additions, 8:40/8:43 AM EDT. Yesterday I found out that there are two new Star Trek Continues episodes that I haven't watched yet! One from May 28th, and one from Sept. 3rd.

Addition, Sept. 11, 2016, 9:29 AM EDT. Yesterday evening I had a slight headache, perhaps since I had only 1/16th of a teaspoon of coffee yesterday, but that's gone now. My jaw aches have been recurring a bit, but, hopefully they'll go away as I continue to decrease caffeine.

Being reminded yesterday of the connection between temperature and circadian rhythms made me wonder (again) if perhaps my electric blanket has been causing me problems.

Despite the hot weather, I still have been using my electric blanket all year, since I keep my room pretty cold with air conditioning.

So, since someone just happened to give me some new non-electric blankets recently, I decided to use just them. Today, I woke up around 5 AM since I finally got cold, but, I just put on an extra blanket and went back to sleep for another few hours. And I might have stayed asleep even longer, except my nice, big, heavy old keyboard (which is so old it has a PS/2 plug instead of a USB plug) fell off my bed and woke me up.

So, I slept from about 8 PM to 8 AM today! I haven't been keeping a spreadsheet of my sleep lately, because I haven't yet figured out how to make a Gantt chart (or whatever else I need, whatever it's called) using Gnumeric. So, I mostly don't have nice charts of my sleep patterns yet. (Ooh, maybe this is another thing XML and XSLT might be useful for?)

Anyway, though - I think most of the time for months, I've usually only been able to sleep a maximum of 6-8 hours and often less, which has seemed weird for me, because I used to be able to sleep longer, and it often seemed like I needed to sleep an extra amount of time (like maybe 12 to 15 hours) to make up for getting too little sleep in the recent past.

Probably the longest I ever slept was about 25 hours. I don't remember the exact circumstances or when exactly that happened, just that it was probably sometime in the past 10 years. But, I think probably I was just recovering from having been awake far too long for some reason(s) soon before that. It probably sounds unhealthy to sleep so long, but if I recall correctly, I felt much better after I did that, and I quickly and without trying got back to my "normal" (for me) schedule after that.

So far today, I haven't even had any coffee yet, but, I think I do feel more rested than usual. This seems like a pretty promising result, so, I think in addition to caffeine, I'm going to quit my electric blanket that I've been addicted to, too. :-) Should have tried that sooner.

Addition, Sept. 11, 2016, 1:02 PM EDT. This has been my most high-energy day in a long time! I hadn't even gotten out of bed yet when I wrote the preceding paragraphs.

But after getting out of bed, my increased energy was really noticeable. I actually feel largely back to what used to be normal for me (when adequately rested) - having so much energy I almost don't know what to do with it!

I have more of a spring in my step, and have been cheerfully zooming up and down stairs, and fidgeting a lot more. :-) Doing physical things seems much more effortless now, rather than a chore that I need willpower to force myself to do. And learning to bellydance seems a lot more feasible now. :-) (I actually scarcely tried bellydancing ever since I first mentioned it, and also scarcely tried my standing desk, which is covered with junk now, along with my office chair, since I usually hadn't had the energy to clean my room.)

Because of what I read in Adrenal Fatigue For Dummies yesterday, I was thinking I should try to avoid sugar more. And I was going to start that today - but I felt so much better today that I let myself have an unusually large number of chocolate fudge Pirouettes - about 12. And I still feel fine.

And now I'm having 1/16th of a teaspoon of coffee in my still not-yet-finished pumpkin spice Teeccino.

I'm so relieved. I feel reborn, or like I've youthened about 10 or 15 years. Hopefully this will last. :-)

Addition, Sept. 12, 2016, 8:37 AM EDT. Slept between almost 1 AM and almost 8 AM. I have a slight headache now, probably from too little caffeine, which I think is what woke me up.

Yesterday, I had a pretty good day, but started to feel more tired around 6:20 PM. Still, yesterday was very encouraging, and I think I still feel overall better than usual today.

But, the mental fogginess I seem to get when low on caffeine has been coming back despite my greatly increased physical energy. So, maybe I'll try a little more than 1/16th of a teaspoon of coffee. But, I think maybe I'd rather not have any coffee right now because I think I might like to go back to sleep soon.

Addition, Sept. 12, 2016, 11:36 AM EDT. Stayed awake. 1/16th + 1/32nd of a teaspoon of coffee wasn't enough to get rid of my headache, so I just took an Advil.

I think I'm going to just keep decreasing caffeine (or maybe quit it entirely), and use painkillers to deal with the headaches, since this has dragged on long enough.

Addition, 8:34 PM EDT. Without my headache, I definitely feel much better, just more foggy-minded than yesterday, and like I want to go to sleep again, but I still feel physically energetic. I suspect my sleep is more restorative now that I quit my electric blanket.

Yesterday was the most dramatic improvement I've had for months, and it coincided with me ceasing to use my electric blanket.

I'm sure reducing caffeine has helped me too, but I'm really surprised and delighted at what a difference quitting my electric blanket may have made.

Addition, Sept. 13, 2016, 1:17 PM EDT. Slept pretty well from around 2:20 AM to 9:50 AM. No headache, and I still have plenty of energy, though maybe not as much as when I had a little coffee and some chocolate fudge Pirouettes.

I suspect now that my problem probably wasn't adrenal fatigue (or maybe I had a bit of that before, but have recovered from it a lot). I think now my main problem was probably chronically poor sleep, primarily due to my electric blanket, and probably also because of formerly having too much caffeine, partly because of not realizing I had a 17 ounce mug instead of a 12 ounce mug.

And since quitting my electric blanket seemed to make such a profound difference so quickly, I now think caffeine was probably much less of a problem than my electric blanket - even though decreasing caffeine definitely seemed to help too, just not as much.

But, even though caffeine was quite possibly less of a problem for me than I thought, I'm still not eager to resume drinking tea or larger amounts of coffee. I'd rather totally do without caffeine for a while. Maybe I'll resume it someday, or use it just on occasion when I actually have a reason to forcibly keep myself awake.

But, since I'm not even sure if I ever did without caffeine longer than a few weeks or maybe months ever since the year 2000, I'm quite curious to see how life seems without caffeine.

Now that I feel so much better, I'm partway grateful for the very upsetting misfortune that happened to me earlier this year.

Before that happened, I already hadn't been at my best for quite a while, but, I wasn't feeling bad enough to seriously consider giving up caffeine or my electric blanket, and, while I was a bit worried, I rather cynically assumed maybe my tiredness was just an unavoidable part of getting older. (Or that maybe I was getting diabetes, or who knows what.)

But, after that misfortune happened, I was so upset and stressed out that it caused my tiredness to get much worse. So, that motivated me to look for solutions, got me even more interested in nutrition and exercise, and made me more eager than ever before to quit caffeine and even my electric blanket.

If that misfortune hadn't happened, it might have taken a lot longer for me to do all that, and I might have continued gradually getting more and more unhealthy and exhausted.

So... at least that misfortune had a silver lining in the end. It's still sad, but, that's life, I guess. Those were some really sour lemons, but at least this is some great lemonade, which might have changed the entire course of my life for the better, since now I have a lot more energy and ability to work on my numerous projects and goals.

Addition, Sept. 14, 2016, 1:10 PM EDT. Slept from around 1 AM to around 10:05 AM. Yesterday I sometimes felt like I was verging on a headache, but I've been fine today so far. A bit foggy-minded, but still plenty of energy.

The thing that currently most tempts me to drink a bit of coffee is, the hope of getting rid of the slight foggy-mindedness, so I can more easily proceed with my XSLT and Perl project that I've scarcely returned to working on yet.

But compared to a headache, this is scarcely an obstruction at all. I still managed to quickly brainstorm some probably good ideas for someone who asked for my feedback on something. I just feel a bit weird, and am a little forgetful.

Addition, 3:40 PM EDT. Just found this article: Vitamin C: Stress Buster

Good thing I've been taking at least two 500 mg Vitamin C's per day since last April, since judging by that article, it's possible I would have been worse off otherwise.

Lately it has seemed like I need even more Vitamin C than just 1000 mg soon after I wake up, because the lower left sore spot on my gums has been coming back. So, I'm going to take at least one 500 mg Vitamin C later in my day as well, in addition to my usual Nature Made Stress B.

Maybe I need extra Vitamin C due to caffeine withdrawal?

Thanks to my increased energy, I got a bit more creative than usual with cooking - microwaved some potatoes, then added butter, milk, and salt, and mashed it all up to make mashed potatoes. It was fairly good, though it seemed to be lacking something. Tried extra butter, which helped, and also some black pepper and nutmeg, which also helped, but I'm not sure yet what will make it perfect.

But, after eating that, I got tired. Actually, even before that, I was feeling a bit tired. I'm guessing this is probably related to having no caffeine at all ever since the morning of Sept. 12th. Still, I'm doing much better than I was before quitting my electric blanket. Even when sleepy, doing physical things now still seems much easier than it did before quitting my electric blanket.

Since I have no job or any other pressing reason to stay awake, I might just go to sleep sometime in the next few hours. Except I'd kind of like to read or something, so, that might or might not keep me awake.

Addition, Sept. 14, 2016, 7:55 PM EDT. Stayed awake to read. And decided to have 1/64th of a teaspoon of coffee, since if caffeine withdrawal is so hard on me as to necessitate an increase in my Vitamin C, I think I'd rather just keep easing off of caffeine instead of completely stopping it immediately. And I feel like I'm on the verge of a headache, and would really like to get some useful stuff done.

Addition, Sept. 15, 2016, 11:43 AM EDT. I'm not sure if it was Vitamin C or the 1/64th teaspoon of coffee that made me feel a bit better last night, but something worked.

Went to sleep around 11:40 PM, and today I felt like I slept so long and well that I was surprised to see it was only 8:59 AM instead of 2 PM when I woke up. Still lots of energy.

Addition, 7:36 PM EDT. Had 1/64th of a teaspoon of coffee in the morning, and another 1/64th around 6 PM since I was feeling some craving for caffeine. Tomorrow I'll probably just have 1/32nd of a teaspoon soon after I wake up, in the hope that I'll avoid craving it at any time approaching bedtime.

Haven't needed to take extra Vitamin C beyond my usual two 500 mg Vitamin C's when I wake up, since the sore spot on my gum has been OK ever since my first 1/64th of a teaspoon of coffee today, though it was bothering me a little before I had that coffee.

My energy lasted a while, and I didn't feel foggy-minded until getting tired around maybe 6:30 PM. Still, didn't get much done today. I watched TV, vacuumed a room (which is something I do rarely), and read a little. And worked a little on my XSLT project - made some notes and some hopefully good design decisions, but didn't actually write code today.

Addition, Sept. 16, 2016, 1:40 PM EDT. Netflix kept me awake, so, I slept between around 2 AM and 10 AM. Slept pretty well, and still have a lot of energy, though sometimes it has seemed like I get a bit tired after eating. Actually, I'm starting to feel a bit tired right now.

But everything seems better than before I quit my electric blanket. Even just thinking seems easier than it has in a long time. So, I've been making progress with XSLT.

As planned, had 1/32nd of a teaspoon of coffee in my Teeccino this morning.

My sleep schedule has been interestingly close to normal-seeming for the past several days, since I've been sleeping at night and awake during the day. I'll be quite surprised if that lasts.

I wish I had some nice sleep charts like these for recent months so I could get more of an overview of what has been going on with me.

Additions, Sept. 16, 2016, 7:10 PM EDT, etc. Had a nap sometime between 3:32 PM (the most recent time in my web browser history before waking) and 6:30 PM. Didn't intend or plan to, but, I had no reason to stop myself when it turned out I seemed to need a nap.

Before quitting my electric blanket, I seldom was even able to fall asleep for a nap, despite frequently feeling tired enough to do so. So, I think this is probably progress too.

My lack of sleepiness definitely hasn't been lasting all day (even though physical activity still seems much easier than it used to while sleepy), and if Netflix hadn't kept me awake last night, I might've been able to fall asleep any time from around 6:30 PM onward yesterday. But it makes sense that it might take longer than less than a week of good sleep for me to recover from the fatigue (or whatever) caused primarily by my electric blanket which I got back in Nov. 2014, and my mistakenly oversized tea mug which I got in Feb. 2016, which was 17 ounces instead of 12 ounces.

And also to recover from caffeine withdrawal, which (according to this aforementioned blog post) can take 5 months for some people. And I suspect that includes me, since even though I never drank a huge amount of caffeine, I think it affected me a lot more than it should have, since I now think I am probably much more caffeine sensitive than I originally realized.

1/64th of a teaspoon is such a tiny-looking amount of coffee, and yet I think I've felt a difference even just from that. Unless it's just a placebo effect - but, even if that's all it is, fine, since I'm definitely feeling better in any case.

Additions, Sept. 17, 2016, 2:30/2:42 AM EDT. Getting sleepy again. Been watching Marco Polo on Netflix. I know hardly anything about the real Marco Polo or that part of history (though the show makes me curious to learn more).

But it's a good reminder that I definitely prefer the part of history I'm now living in. I'd probably rather live in the future (assuming things get better and more like Star Trek someday), but, at least the present seems a lot better in a lot of ways than probably most of the past.

That show reminds me of some of my notions about my past lives. I kind of hope reincarnation doesn't exist, because life can be pretty depressing at times. But, believing that I might have future lives at least gives me even more motivation than I already had to try to improve the world. And to improve myself - since who knows, maybe it's possible to carry talents into future lives.

I'm well-aware that reincarnation might not exist at all, but, daydreaming about future lives (and what I can do in the present to improve them) is a lot more fun than thinking about things in the nearer future, like turning 40, 50, and so on.

Addition, Sept. 17, 2016, 3:57 PM EDT. Slept between around 6:20 AM and 12:40 PM. Had only 1/64th of a teaspoon of coffee today. Still feeling great, even without extra Vitamin C.

Today, instead of taking Nature Made magnesium citrate in my "morning" as I usually have been lately, I decided to try taking it closer to the end of my day.

Since magnesium can make me tired, skipping my "morning" magnesium might be why I haven't gotten at all tired yet.

Not much else to add, since my life is pretty boring. :-) I still am having trouble making myself do boring things like clean my room and finish my little XSLT project, but that's nothing new.

Addition, Sept. 17, 2016, 11:27 PM EDT. Today was my best day so far. Didn't get sleepy all day until around 11 PM. Though I definitely wasn't doing anything very physically tiring or even intellectually challenging today - I watched Netflix most of the day, read a little, and listened a little to an audio book.

I'm so relieved and grateful that I actually have been recovering from my fatigue! I'll never sleep with an electric blanket again.

Addition, Sept. 18, 2016, 4:09 PM EDT. Slept from around 3:40 AM to 10:30 AM, then from around 11 AM to 1:30 PM. Still lots of energy.

And I'm in an especially good mood now because I managed to get Saxon/C to work with PHP 5.6.13!

So, now I can use XSLT 2.0 with my favorite programming language, PHP!

Addition, Sept. 20, 2016, 2:04 PM EDT. Slept from around 5 AM to 12:45 PM on Sept. 19th, and 3 AM to 10 AM today. Still have had lots of energy. And, since I've read so many good things about Vitamin D, I've resumed trying to take it.

I already tried Vitamin D in the past, but, I always stopped quickly before, because it seemed like it made me feel jittery. But that could be because I wasn't aware that it might be best to have it in combination with other nutrients.

This page says:

"When you're taking magnesium, you need to consider calcium, vitamin D3 and vitamin K2 as well, since these all work synergistically with one another."

I'm pretty sure I'm not getting enough Vitamin K2 from my food, but, hopefully I'm getting a lot of Vitamin K1 from all the kale I now eat, and, maybe my body is converting that to Vitamin K2, if this page is correct.

Since Sept. 18th onward, I've been taking 5 Nature Made Vitamin D3 2000 IU per day, and definitely felt more jittery in the hours afterward, until taking extra magnesium. Yesterday, I took 2 Nature Made magnesium citrates with my Vitamin D, and for hours after that still felt so jittery that I took 2 more magnesium citrates, which seemed to make it easier for me to fall asleep.

Of course, at the moment, part of my jitteriness might simply be caffeine withdrawal, since I'm reluctant to even continue with 1/32nd of a teaspoon of coffee per day. On the 18th, I had 1/32nd, but on the 19th and today, I had 1/64th.

On the 19th I got a slight headache, a lot of jitteriness (especially after the Vitamin D), and felt almost like I was starting to get a stuffy nose, but, that went away by today, even before I had any coffee. Still doing pretty well overall, but, I think I'm getting a bit of foggy-mindedness from lack of caffeine, so maybe I'll have another 1/64th teaspoon of coffee.

It's not obvious to me yet what good Vitamin D is doing me (which is another reason I never stuck with taking it), but, I'm just going to keep taking it for a while and see what happens.

Addition, Sept. 20, 2016, 5:21 PM EDT. Had another 1/64th of a teaspoon of coffee. Soooo jittery! But I blame the Vitamin D, not the coffee, since before, I was perfectly fine with 1/64th of a teaspoon of coffee.

Next time I take Vitamin D, I'm going to take 2 magnesiums instead of just one. Just took a 2nd magnesium now. Might take even more than that if necessary.

Also, I'm switching to Nature Made magnesium oxide, since (if I'm not mistaken), it's cheaper, and it seems maybe about as effective for me as the Nature Made magnesium citrate, which I'm running out of. I might also decrease the amount of Vitamin D.

Or, perhaps I should just go out in the sun for 10-20 minutes sometime between 10 AM and 2 PM, as the book Vitamin D: The Sunshine Vitamin suggests. (Addition, Sept. 26, 2016, 3:57 AM. Now I'm not sure that's safe, so I'm quitting sunbathing until spring 2017. Explanation here.)

Addition, Sept. 20, 2016, 9:32 PM EDT. Having a 3rd magnesium, since the 2nd magnesium helped, but not enough to stop me from thinking I might be better off giving up on Vitamin D supplements (except sunshine) until I've recovered more from fatigue and caffeine withdrawal.

Addition, 11:38 PM EDT. Already feeling better. But, I think I will take Vitamin D (except sunlight) less frequently and maybe in smaller amounts.

Addition, 11:58 PM EDT. Found this interesting forum discussion about allergic reactions to Vitamin D. Looks like a lot of people seem to react much worse to Vitamin D than I just did.

But, since I don't know of any definite way(s) Vitamin D has benefited me so far, and taking it definitely didn't seem to make me feel better than I felt before taking it, I'm tempted to just stop it entirely for now (except for sunlight).

Additions, Sept. 21, 2016, 2:05/2:14 PM EDT. Slept between around 5 AM and 1:18 PM. Just like the other days, the jitteriness from Vitamin D(?) completely wore off (or quite probably the magnesium eased it) by the time I woke up, and I feel fine again. Still lots of energy.

And I even woke up in time to get some sun. But, I only did that for about 10 minutes since it was boring, hot (at least in the sun), and too bright to comfortably read. And I might easily get sunburned.

I guess sitting in direct sunlight might become more pleasant to do as the weather gets cooler, but, Vitamin D: The Sunshine Vitamin said:

"In Boston, Massachusetts, at roughly 42 degrees north, sun exposure is not sufficient for vitamin D production from November through February."

And here in Hubbard, Ohio, I'm at about 41 degrees north.

(Addition, Sept. 26, 2016, 4:00 AM. I'm quitting sunbathing until spring 2017. Explanation here.)

Another interesting thing that book mentioned was:

"The vitamin D formed in this way does not immediately travel through the skin into the bloodstream. This process takes up to forty-eight hours. Showering and scrubbing your skin within forty-eight hours of exposure could conceivably wash away the vitamin D on the skin's surface and prevent absorption into the bloodstream. This may be why so many people are vitamin D deficient despite hours of sun exposure. They may actually be wiping away the vitamin D long before it can be absorbed."

That problem won't affect me so much, because I rarely take showers because I rarely have to go out anywhere, and it saves money not to use so much water and heat, since my family keeps the heat turned off until someone actually needs to take a shower.

We've done this ever since 2005 when we couldn't afford to pay our gas bill for about 3 months in the spring or summer. Most of us got accustomed to usually only having cold water. (As for me, I just didn't take a shower for 3 months. :-D ) So, that company was really stupid for shutting us off, because we found we liked using less hot water and paying them less money. :-)

Fortunately, wasting less energy and water is probably better for the planet somehow.

Additions, Sept. 22, 2016, 3:09 AM/3:14 EDT. Had mostly a good day, except I started to get a headache around 6:20 PM. It temporarily went away after I had another 1/64th of a teaspoon of coffee, but, the headache came back around 12:40 AM.

I don't want to have more caffeine so late in my day, so, I just had an Advil.

I wish I could figure out the perfect amount of coffee to have for me to avoid headaches (and all other symptoms) and keep making progress quitting caffeine. I don't want to be stuck having to have even just 1/64th of a teaspoon of coffee per day.

Maybe a spreadsheet and some graphs would help me figure this out.

I sure hope quitting caffeine will cure most of my headache problems. It probably won't cure them all, since I'm sure many of my past headaches were probably related to insufficient nutrition, and others were likely from PMS, etc.

The symptoms of my monthly cycle - mainly the cramps - are so unpleasant it's similar to having an illness every month. But, fortunately, it's seldom bad enough after the first day for me to need painkillers after the first day, and usually the painkillers get rid of all the pain. I find it interesting how consistent and reliable that pattern has been ever since I was a teenager - in contrast with the mess my sleep so-called schedule has usually been for my whole life. The timing of the start of my cycle can be delayed a lot if I'm stressed out, but, once it gets started, the way it happens is very reliable - the first day is the worst, then it's much less bad after that.

Anyway, if quitting caffeine doesn't turn out to be a sufficient cure for most of my headaches, maybe I might as well keep having a tiny amount of caffeine, since maybe it actually helps more than it harms.

The one Advil I had isn't seeming effective enough - I'm still a bit headachy, and getting a vaguely stuffy nose, and am almost having nausea. So, I guess I'll just have another 1/64th of a teaspoon of coffee. Headaches and nausea interfere with my sleep more than caffeine does, I think.

It almost seems like a cold, but I strongly suspect it's just caffeine withdrawal and will probably go away when I have enough coffee.

I managed to clean my room a bit. Didn't do as much with XSLT as I did on 9/20 and early 9/21, but XSLT is a lot more fun to play with now that I can use it with PHP, my favorite programming language.

XSLT has been quite difficult to figure out, but, I love how it can accomplish so much with such relatively compact scripts. I'm increasingly fond of it and XML.

Addition, Sept. 22, 2016, 3:55 AM EDT. Already been feeling better for a while. Either the 1/64th teaspoon of coffee worked, or it took much, much longer than usual for the Advil to start working. Despite the coffee, I still feel tired enough to sleep.

Additions, Sept. 22, 2016, 10:27 PM/10:44 PM EDT. Slept sometime between around 5 AM to 1:30 PM. Still lots of energy, verging on too much. :-)

I skipped sunlight today. (Addition, Sept. 26, 2016, 4:01 AM. Which may have been a good thing. I'm quitting sunbathing until spring 2017. Explanation here.) Forgot to take any magnesium, so I've been a little jittery, but not as much as I was when I took Vitamin D. To try to calm down a bit, I took 2 Nature Made magnesium citrates (which is a single serving of the kind I have, which aren't liquid softgels). Despite that, I still have been a bit jittery, but I didn't take any more, since I didn't want to possibly make myself tired.

Felt close to a headache, maybe starting around 6:30 PM, so I had 1/64th teaspoon of coffee around then, and have felt fine since then.

I've divided my time between cleaning my overcrowded mess of a room, and struggling to figure out how to do something in XSLT which I assumed would be much easier than it actually is.

None of that is very exciting to do or to write about. But, it's so nice to actually really feel like doing things again. I was still capable of getting things done before solving my fatigue (particularly if I did them soon after waking up), but, it took a lot more effort.

Addition, Sept. 23, 2016, 4:01 PM EDT. Slept between maybe 6:20 AM and 1:15 PM. Got a bit of sun between about 1:36 PM and 1:44 PM, but not much, since direct sun is way too hot very quickly, and it felt like it might be very easy to get sunburned. Too bad I don't own a bikini - then I could probably spend even less time sunning. (Addition, Sept. 26, 2016, 4:03 AM. I'm quitting sunbathing until spring 2017. Explanation here.)

I guess my top goal for today should be to clean my room sufficiently so I can use my box fan again to block noise, so dog barking won't wake me up anymore, as it did today. (But at least our dog waking me up made it possible for me to get some sun at an appropriate time of day.) (Addition, Sept. 26, 2016, 4:03 AM. Maybe not as appropriate as I thought. I'm quitting sunbathing until spring 2017. Explanation here.)

And also, so I'll finally have enough space again to work on learning to bellydance, without having to stand on my bed.

But I might just go back to sleep again for a while.

Before I went to sleep this morning, I spent hours reading Dark Deception: Discover the Truth About the Benefits of Sunlight Exposure by Dr. Joseph Mercola, which is available from my local library's website, Clevnet. (So far, I only skimmed the other Vitamin D books I got from there.)

I really like that book, and I'm now quite convinced that doing something about my probable Vitamin D deficiency is worthwhile.

I particularly like the fact that Vitamin D might reduce symptoms of PMS, and also can help with dental problems. And tons of other things.

Additions, Sept. 23/24, 2016, 11:25 PM/9:15 AM EDT. Went back to sleep from around 6:20 PM to 10:15 PM, perhaps partly because of PMS (which sometimes can make me extra-tired. And the unpleasantness that follows PMS makes me even more tired). And maybe partly because I'm now trying to get by with as little caffeine as possible. I haven't had any coffee since Sept. 22nd, but plan on maybe having 1/64th of a teaspoon if I feel a headache starting.

Maybe I'm getting accustomed to lower amounts of caffeine, since I don't feel like I have as much foggy-mindedness now. I have a slight craving for coffee, but other than that, my most noticeable symptom has been a very slightly stuffy nose. And the sometimes recurring sore spot on my gums has been OK (actually absent) too.

I think I've been eating much better lately because I have so much more energy that I've actually felt like making food. Also, perhaps my appetite is better as a result of reducing caffeine. I've heard that caffeine can suppress your appetite, though there's conflicting info on the web about that, such as claims that caffeine only suppresses your appetite for a brief time.

But, if I'm somewhat hypersensitive to caffeine, then, maybe even the "brief" appetite suppressing effects last longer for me than the average person?

For many years, I often have had trouble with a poor appetite, and often ended up neglecting to eat for unwisely long periods of time. And at times I could scarcely stand to eat anything except yogurt, fruit, some kinds of vegetables, soup, milk, and/or juice (vegetable or fruit), since even the thought of other, more substantial foods was nauseating.

I often have had much more difficulty than the rest of my family making myself eat whatever food is around. And I wasn't just being "precious" or a "diva" or "picky". I think maybe in some ways I'm just a lot more hypersensitive and fragile than average, though fortunately some of that's reduced when I get adequate sleep.

Addition, Sept. 24, 2016, 9:52 AM EDT. Been awake all night. Hours ago, I felt almost like I was starting to get a headache, but that went away quickly on its own. So, still no caffeine yet. But I'm definitely feeling more foggy-minded and out of it, and definitely am craving some caffeine.

Definitely not in the best mood - I haven't even looked at any XSLT today but I still feel overwhelmed by it, and the mountain of other things I want to do which are likely to take a long time and be very difficult, especially if this foggy, out of it feeling doesn't go away soon.

Oh, well. I'll probably feel better once I make some progress. Even just finishing cleaning my room will probably make me feel better. Didn't attempt that yet, either. But, I still have lots of physical energy. Just didn't feel like doing much of anything besides reading the web.

Anyway, hopefully the longer I can tough this caffeine withdrawal out, the quicker I can fully rid myself of caffeine addiction. And hopefully Vitamin D will help too somehow. At the moment, one of the only reasons I'm staying awake is just so I can get about 10-20 minutes of sun sometime between 10 AM-2 PM.

I found a comforting blog post which says the author's migraines were reduced by 80 or 90 percent perhaps 2 months after giving up caffeine.

Addition, Sept. 24, 2016, 2:28 PM EDT. It was too cloudy to sunbathe earlier, so I got about 20 minutes of sun between about 1:05 and 1:25 PM, with some interruptions when I got up to check what time it was. It's nicer in cooler weather - 69° today. I sure wish sunburn, melanoma, and so on didn't even exist, since sunbathing can actually be pretty nice. (Addition, Sept. 26, 2016, 4:06 AM. I'm quitting sunbathing until spring 2017. Explanation here.)

I found this web page a bit discouraging, since it says:

"How to Engineer a Successful Day of Sunbathing


So, what does your day look like?

You awake after the greatest sleep of your life, having gone to bed at the appropriate time. This is essential for successful, safe sunbathing, since our ability to repair UV-derived damage depends on a well-functioning circadian rhythm. If you didn’t sleep well or are running on a chronic sleep deficit, you may want to hold off on the sunbathing until you get your sleep in order as your skin won’t recover as well."

So, maybe I shouldn't keep myself awake just to sunbathe. In fact, maybe I shouldn't sunbathe at all (even though, ever since quitting my electric blanket, I have been well-rested lately, despite my perpetually and possibly incurably messed up circadian rhythms). Maybe I'd be better off just taking Vitamin D supplements instead.

But, hopefully it's OK as long as I don't get sunburned. (Addition, Sept. 26, 2016, 4:06 AM. I'm quitting sunbathing until spring 2017. Explanation here.)

Despite the fact that bright light is supposed to influence your circadian rhythms by waking you up, I still feel tired enough to probably go to sleep pretty soon. So, I probably will - but maybe not, who knows.

Addition, Sept. 25, 2016, 4:12 AM EDT. Slept unintentionally briefly between about 3:30 PM and 7:39 PM. Our dog woke me up. But, I actually felt (and still feel) pretty good - I haven't been craving caffeine, I don't feel so foggy-minded, and I was more excited than I maybe should be to try to read pages like this:

XQuery 1.0 and XPath 2.0 Formal Semantics (Second Edition)

I almost dove into that, but, my family was going to watch Marco Polo on Netflix, so I joined them.

Now I'm sleepy again. But I'm feeling very encouraged by feeling so much better, not getting headaches, and not craving caffeine. Didn't expect to feel so much better so soon. Maybe Vitamin D from the sun is actually having good effects on me and my mood, without making me jittery, unlike the Vitamin D supplements. (Addition, Sept. 26, 2016, 4:08 AM. Not sure now how much Vitamin D I actually got from sunbathing at this time of year! And I'm quitting sunbathing until spring 2017. Explanation here.) Or maybe even the supplements helped/are still helping too, in addition to temporarily making me jittery until I boosted my magnesium.

Didn't get sunburned. (I wore no sunscreen, since in addition to often containing harmful chemicals, sunscreen can block the UVB light which causes your skin to produce Vitamin D.) Will soon receive a bikini and beach towel. (Addition, Sept. 26, 2016, 4:09 AM. I'm quitting sunbathing until spring 2017. Explanation here.)

Addition, Sept. 25, 2016, 1:48 PM EDT. Slept from around 5:30 AM to 12:18 PM. Better dreams than I've had in a long time. Only did a little sunbathing today, between 1:12 PM and 1:18 PM. (Addition, Sept. 26, 2016, 4:09 AM. I'm quitting sunbathing until spring 2017. Explanation here.) Still lots of physical energy, but I feel like I could go back to sleep already. Still feeling pretty good overall.

Addition, Sept. 26, 2016, 1:10 AM EDT. Slept a bit from around 7 PM to 8:12 PM, and only got up so soon because I wanted to watch the most recent episode of Marco Polo on Netflix with my family.

Started out feeling quite tired, but that went away. But now, I've got a bit of a headache, though not a bad headache so far. So, it looks like my caffeine withdrawal (or PMS?) hasn't been miraculously totally cured by Vitamin D. But, I'm glad to know that such good days are possible for me even while totally doing without caffeine. And who knows, maybe the Vitamin D did have something to do with that.

On Sept. 25 I read part of a website that no longer exists and is only in -, which was mentioned in a blog comment I saw somewhere.

Very interesting site, with a lot of impressive scientific-looking stuff I'm not particularly qualified to understand, about things like adenosine, etc. I was pleased to see that someone who seems to understand science, biology, and medicine far better than I do had much the same theory as me - that perhaps many headaches are actually caused by caffeine, which is too often overlooked as a possible cause.

I greatly look forward to seeing if quitting caffeine really will leave me headache-free (or mostly headache free). I don't think I ever quit long enough before to find out if that really would cure me. Even if it takes 2 months to greatly reduce my headaches, or 5 months to be rid all symptoms of caffeine withdrawal, I'm really determined to stick with not having any more caffeine. Especially now that I know really good days are probably possible in the quite near future.

Addition, Sept. 26, 2016, 3:43 AM EDT. Just found out that I actually probably shouldn't sunbathe at this time of year. This article explains why:

Little Sunshine Mistakes that Can Give You Cancer Instead of Vitamin D
March 26, 2012 from


"So how do you know if you have entered into the summer season and into the time of year, for your location, where enough UVB is actually able to penetrate the atmosphere to allow for vitamin D production in your skin?

It should be noted that this represents a very small portion of the total radiation from the sun that reaches the earth's surface. Much is filtered out by our atmosphere. So due to the physics and wavelength of UVB rays it will only penetrate the atmosphere when the sun is above an angle of about 50° from the horizon. When the sun is lower than 50°, the ozone layer reflects the UVB-rays but let through the longer UVA-rays."

That article also points out this very useful page:

Sun or Moon Altitude/Azimuth Table

See that article for info on how to use that page.

I mistakenly thought noon would probably be the best time of day to sunbathe - but, to my surprise, that website shows that recently, the sun actually had a higher altitude here in Hubbard, Ohio at times later than noon.

So, luckily, I actually just happened to sunbathe at some of the least-bad times of day available here in Hubbard, Ohio in the past several days. But none of those times were ideal, because when I sunbathed, the sun was always lower than 50° altitude - it ranged from 48.7° to a low of 47.6°.

Oh, well. I'm giving up sunbathing until spring 2017.

At least I'll soon be the proud owner of a beach towel.

Addition, Sept. 26, 2016, 6:19 AM EDT. Some pages claim that 45 degrees solar elevation angle, rather than 50 degrees, is the point at which the amount of UVB light you can get from the sun is too low to produce Vitamin D. Here's an example.

And here's a magazine article I found on The mention of 45 degrees is, amusingly enough, found on page 45 of the magazine.

So, maybe my time sunbathing wasn't wasted. But, I'm starting to feel rather put off by reading about things like photo-aging, DNA damage, and so on. Maybe I better just take Vitamin D supplements instead.

Additions, Sept. 26, 2016, 4:08/4:18/4:26 PM EDT. Slept well between maybe 7:30 AM and 2:13 PM. The headache wasn't too bad, so I didn't even take an Advil. Not sure what time it went away, but it didn't interfere with my sleep. I don't feel foggy-minded or out of it so far - feeling pretty good again. On second thought, maybe I do feel a bit spacy. But, lots of energy again.

Just found this interesting page:

Caffeine and Migraine

A couple quotes I found particularly interesting:

"Caffeine affects the activity of a naturally occurring and necessary brain substance called adenosine. Adenosine levels in the blood go up during migraine attacks. Furthermore, adenosine when injected into a vein can trigger migraine attacks."


"Carefully controlled studies show that caffeine doses as low as about 10mg can be reliably noticed by particularly sensitive people. These studies also show that more than 30 percent of people can feel the effects of 18mg or less."

I even feel a noticeable amount of extra alertness from a single chocolate bar, and that's not supposed to have much caffeine at all. (Google says 9 mg of caffeine for 1.5 ounces of milk chocolate.)

So, I've been avoiding chocolate too.

Here's another interesting (though jargony) page I'm sure I'm not fully understanding:

Adenosine and migraine
Feb. 1998 from


"2) activation of A2 receptors by adenosine causes a dose-dependent serotonin uptake by platelets. This inhibition of uptake could participate in the rapid elimination of serotonin in migraine sufferers."

I wonder if that means somehow increasing my serotonin might help reduce my headaches?

(Addition, Sept. 26, 2016, 5:10 PM EDT. Found a page with some answers:


"You might think that having low levels of Serotonin in your body could put you at risk of a Serotonin migraine and that the solution is to take more Serotonin - this is not the case. The following is what may happen if a person develops, 'Serotonin syndrome,' by having levels of Serotonin that are too high."


"Unfortunately, if a person's Serotonin levels are too low, they may also experience Serotonin migraine. It is important to pay attention to how much you take and the side effects. There are also easy ways to naturally stimulate the production of Serotonin. Regular exercise, relaxation, walking while the sun is out, spending time with a pet, or simply enjoying yourself are all ways to stimulate Serotonin production. All of these are also stimulate natural pain killers called, 'endorphins.'"

I knew (and still know) little about serotonin, so, I didn't know it was possible to get too much. I'll try to avoid that.

Personally, I am scarcely at all inclined to try to increase serotonin in any way besides natural ways, such as food that contains serotonin or which causes your body to naturally produce serotonin. Except I am willing to take Vitamin D supplements rather than getting Vitamin D via the sun.

This article about Vitamin D mentions that Vitamin D can help increase the production of serotonin.

Addition, 5:46 PM EDT. I should add that I am wary of Vitamin D in supplement form, because I have read about the possibility of overdosing on Vitamin D in supplement form.

Also, I could be wrong, but I'm getting the impression from what I'm reading on the web that Serotonin Syndrome might usually be associated with pharmaceutical medications which tamper with your serotonin levels.

The only medication I ever take is an occasional Advil (ibuprofen) painkiller (and I even try to avoid that). So, I could be wrong, but, I suspect I'm not at much risk of Serotonin Syndrome.

But, since use of pharmaceutical medications is worryingly widespread, I guess a lot of people might be at risk?

On the Wikipedia page about Serotonin Syndrome, the Causes section only contains one thing I sometimes eat in very small amounts - nutmeg. I put it in pumpkin pie and sometimes my mashed potatoes.

End of additions.)

From what I read, it sounds like adenosine has a lot to do with sleep.

Adenosine in sleep and wakefulness.
April 1999 from

"The inhibitory neuromodulator, adenosine, is a promising candidate for a sleep-inducing factor: its concentration is higher during wakefulness than during sleep, it accumulates in the brain during prolonged wakefulness, and local perfusions as well as systemic administration of adenosine and its agonists induce sleep and decrease wakefulness."


"When the activity of the wakefulness-active cells decreases sufficiently sleep is initiated. During sleep the extracellular adenosine concentrations decrease, and thus the inhibition of the wakefulness-active cells also decreases allowing the initiation of a new wakefulness period."

Over the years, I haven't carefully logged my headaches and their circumstances, but, I sometimes have had the impression that I tend to get headaches more often when I get tired, and that if I can manage to go to sleep despite them, my headaches tend to go away. (Though sometimes they came back within maybe a few hours after waking - but before, perhaps that had to do with my poor sleep quality from my electric blanket and perhaps also from caffeine.)

So, if adenosine contributes to migraines, and sleeping reduces adenosine, I guess that maybe might explain why sleeping sometimes seems to help my headaches?

And, if I understand correctly from this aforementioned article from Smithsonian Magazine, caffeine fits into (and blocks) adenosine receptors, and leads to there being a lot of unused adenosine floating around in your brain.


"and all the surplus adenosine floating around in the brain cues the adrenal glands to secrete adrenaline, another stimulant."

So, who knows, maybe excessive caffeine actually did give me a bit of adrenal fatigue for a while. (And stress made it worse, but above all, I think the worst thing for me was the poor sleep quality which I believe primarily resulted somehow from my electric blanket.)

And the same article says caffeine blocking your adenosine receptors causes your brain to grow more adenosine receptors. Which is fortunately supposed to be reversible.


"To kick the thing, you only need to get through about 7-12 days of symptoms without drinking any caffeine. During that period, your brain will naturally decrease the number of adenosine receptors on each cell, responding to the sudden lack of caffeine ingestion. If you can make it that long without a cup of joe or a spot of tea, the levels of adenosine receptors in your brain reset to their baseline levels, and your addiction will be broken."

I do believe it might take longer than that for some people, judging by what I've read by some people on the web. And a woman I know who gave up caffeine said it took months to feel normal again. (Meanwhile, a guy I know who gave up caffeine said he had no withdrawal symptoms whatsoever. But that's the guy who almost always seems to do amazingly well with amounts of sleep that would have been totally insufficient for me.)

I wonder if maybe a lot of the ideas on the site actually are right?

If I understand that site correctly, the basic theory is that, since caffeine increases people's sensitivity to adenosine, caffeine thereby makes people more headache-prone or migraine-prone. (Sorry if I got that, or anything else, wrong somehow.)

I don't agree with absolutely everything that was on the site, but, I sure hope some scientists are investigating those ideas, since, from my layperson's perspective, I find many of them quite interesting and plausible-seeming.

Addition, Sept. 27, 2016, 3:54 AM EDT. Had another very good day, though I didn't get much done - probably the most productive thing I did was update this blog post.

Lots of energy until I got rather tired around maybe 1:30 AM. Around maybe 3 AM, I started to feel almost on the verge of a headache, but, that feeling keeps fluctuating, so hopefully I'll avoid an actual headache. I suspect if I went to sleep around when I started feeling tired, I might have avoided that entirely. Probably ought to go to sleep soon.

Didn't clean my room more at all yet. And I still didn't do anything more with XSLT. I might be so stuck I might have to resort to posting questions on the internet. But, I'm probably first going to try reading things like the aforementioned XQuery 1.0 and XPath 2.0 Formal Semantics (Second Edition) and related pages. But not right now.

Addition, Sept. 28, 2016, 12:30 AM EDT. On Sept. 27th, slept between around 5:20 AM to 1:46 PM. I briefly woke up with a stuffy nose, though only on the left side. Went back to sleep and it was gone by the time I woke up. I think I forgot to mention that my jaw aches returned a bit on Sept. 26th and possibly other days, and I think I have that slightly now too, but it hasn't been bothering me very much.

No headaches so far. Have felt a bit tired, premenstrual, and increasingly spacy the longer I'm awake. But still lots more energy than before quitting my electric blanket. Also haven't been craving caffeine.

Today, I took five Nature Made Vitamin D3 2000 IU and two Nature Made magnesium oxide at the same time, then ate a bit of kale (for Vitamin K). Instead of just getting jittery, I first got more tired, then a bit jittery and more alert, but not as strongly jittery as the times when I took Vitamin D without much magnesium at about the same time. My mood has varied between anxious and good, but some of what I was feeling might have just been from caffeine withdrawal. Next time I take that much Vitamin D, I'll take 3 magnesiums.

Remembered I have a SitePoint Premium membership that will expire in December, so I spent a lot of time on there today, and also spent some time reading Clevnet books.

Definitely haven't had a difficult time concentrating today, even while jittery or spacy.

Addition, Sept. 29, 2016, 2:22 AM EDT. Slept between around 5:30 AM and 12:54 PM. It seemed like I had a sort of difficult time falling asleep, so maybe I should have taken yet another magnesium.

But, slept well enough, with better dreams than in the past. No headaches. I felt like I might be close to a headache for a few minutes sometime in the afternoon, but the feeling passed surprisingly quickly. Slight jaw aches.

And, a typical symptom (for me) of PMS - vague and unpainful lower abdomen sensations I call "preliminary cramps". (It's definitely not from bellydancing, because I still have scarcely even tried that yet.)

Still lots of physical energy, and I haven't felt foggy-minded, out of it, or very spacy, but for most of my day have felt vaguely tired (though not quite able to fall asleep), which could be just PMS or caffeine withdrawal, or both.

Also, it seems like I might need more Vitamin C, since my lower left gum sore spot has been coming back a little. (Even before quitting caffeine, that has seemed typical for me when having PMS and the unpleasantness that follows PMS.)

Hopefully my tiredness, etc. will improve a lot after my impending time of the month is over.

I wonder why PMS (and what follows) is so debilitating, and if sufficient Vitamin D might really make it less bad. Perhaps Vitamin D already is helping.

It's still much easier to get things done than it used to be before quitting my electric blanket. And I feel like I have a lot more time to get things done, since now my energy lasts longer, and it doesn't fluctuate as much.

In the past, I had the easiest time getting things done soon after waking, and soon after tea. After my tea wore off, I usually continued with whatever I was working on anyway without having more tea, but it was noticeably more difficult. And anytime I got a headache, I was pretty much useless.

It's really nice not having to deal with all the ups and downs from caffeine. And it's so comforting to know that even if I do get a headache, it might not be very bad, judging by the last headache I got days ago.

Despite today being better than possibly most days for almost the past 2 years before quitting my electric blanket (and caffeine) - today was a day when I was well-suited to mindless cleaning, since I didn't really feel like studying anything today or coding. So, I made some progress cleaning my room.

The highlights of my day were watching part of a Thor movie on TV, and Impractical Jokers.

Addition, Sept. 29, 2016, 5:10 AM EDT. Sometime after writing the previous addition, I ate some roasted walnuts - still one of the best-tasting things I've ever eaten in my life, which sometimes seem to have an interesting effect on me - I sometimes get sleepy after eating them, which I believe might have to do with the melatonin walnuts are reputed to contain.

Been getting quite tired, but, the reminder of melatonin gave me the idea of doing a Google search for "melatonin adenosine" (without quotes), just to see how those two things might relate to each other. So, I've been staying awake to read.

I found this page very interesting:

New Details About How Melatonin Triggers Sleep
Oct. 14, 2015 from


"They first exposed both the normal zebrafish larvae and the genetically-mutated zebrafish larvae to a regular pattern of day and night--14 hours of light and 10 hours of darkness. This established the larvae with circadian clocks that operated in sync with the light and darkness. Then they moved both types of fish larvae to an environment of complete darkness. The fish that produced melatonin naturally maintained their normal circadian cycle of sleep and wakefulness, even in the absence of routine light exposure.

But the genetically-mutated zebrafish, which were incapable of producing any melatonin, lost all circadian pattern or rhythmicity to their sleep. Without melatonin, the fish larvae could not maintain circadian cycles of sleep and wakefulness. This was a surprise to researchers, and strongly suggests that melatonin is not just useful and helpful to circadian sleep-wake cycles, but essential to them."


"Researchers gave both normal zebrafish larvae and the melatonin-deficient larvae doses of a drug that stimulated adenosine. The two groups of fish reacted in very different ways. The adenosine had no effect on the normal zebrafish larvae. But among the melatonin-deficient fish larvae, researchers observed significant changes to their sleep. The genetically-mutated fish larvae began sleeping normally, in patterns like the fish that were able to produce melatonin.

This phase of their experiment suggests that one function of melatonin may be to help trigger the adenosine build up in the brain that in turn leads to feeling the need for sleep.

These findings also suggest that melatonin may be a bridge between the two powerful systems that govern sleep: the circadian system and the homeostatic sleep system. We know these two systems both exert influence over sleep, and together create our basic 24-hour cycle of a long, consolidated period of sleep followed by an extended period of wakefulness. But science has yet to establish or uncover a direct, concrete link between these two systems. This research offers a lot of new detail about how melatonin actually may work on behalf of sleep, as well as the first evidence of a direct connection between our two sleep systems."

Also found this other page which explained the "homestatic sleep system" in a bit more detail:

The Science Behind Why We Sleep
Oct. 24, 2013 from


"The homeostatic sleep drive process regulates the drive to sleep based on the amount of time we're awake and how much energy we're expending. The chemical adenosine binds to adenosine receptors during waking hours. The more you do and the longer you're awake, the more adenosine you accumulate, making you feel tired. It's your body's way of saying you've done enough, and it's time to quit. While you sleep, this chemical is broken down and adenosine levels decrease. Therefore, scientists feel that adenosine is the way the body keeps track of how much sleep you've gotten, and how much sleep you need. If you don't get enough sleep, the adenosine in your body is still remaining when you wake up, making you feel groggy. The next night you may sleep longer to rid your body of the extra accumulation of adenosine."

I feel a bit silly for not having known already about the "homeostatic sleep system". But, I guess I just have been so preoccupied with things other than my severe sleep issues, and so convinced they're probably incurable, that I just never read in sufficient detail about sleep to stumble across (or notice) that term before.

I wonder if I'm similar to those abovementioned abnormal melatonin-deficient zebrafish. Except I don't think my body is totally incapable of generating melatonin, since I do tend to get more alert in response to light and more drowsy in response to darkness or dim light - just not enough to be able to reliably make myself go to sleep just by turning the lights off. So, I'm definitely not exactly like those zebrafish.

But in any case, maybe unwittingly tampering with my adenosine and adenosine receptors by consuming caffeine might have caused even more chaos in my sleep patterns than my messed up circadian rhythms alone made me prone to.

But I don't really know exactly what causes my sleep issues or if it's anything to do with being melatonin-deficient, so, I'm just speculating/thinking aloud here.

Definitely glad I'm no longer accidentally tampering with my adenosine via caffeine.

I sure hope eating foods with lots of melatonin can't mess me up somehow, because walnuts are my favorite nut. Not that I eat them constantly - they're too expensive for me to do that, and besides, I don't have to eat a large amount of them to satisfy me (or for them to possibly make me sleepy).

I tend to avoid eating them until I'm about ready to go to sleep, though if I recall correctly, they don't seem to make me tired when I'm well-rested. And they definitely don't seem to make it impossible for me to resist going to sleep, though perhaps they would if I was absolutely exhausted before eating them.

And neither do dried sour/tart cherries, which I read have a lot more melatonin than walnuts. But I almost wish they had less melatonin, so I'd feel more comfortable eating them more often.

Addition, Sept. 29, 2016, 5:55 PM EDT. Slept between around 6:30 AM and 1:56 PM. No headaches, and I feel like I'm a lot more energetic and alert than yesterday. Might have slept better today. Maybe I didn't sleep as well the other day because I still had some magnesium deficiency from the Vitamin D I took the other day.

Around maybe 11:30 PM on Sept. 28 and 6 AM on Sept. 29th, took 2 Nature Made magnesium citrates (a total of 4), partly because my jaw aches started to get worse soon before I went to sleep. And now I'm out of magnesium citrate, so, I'm going to be using only Nature Made magnesium oxide from now on, unless/until I try some other kinds of magnesium.

Definitely not eager to try to take Vitamin D daily, because even just one makes me feel jittery. But, if I understand correctly, Vitamin D accumulates in your system rather than passing through it quickly. (This page says "Vitamin D accumulates in fat tissues where it is stored for a few months.") So, I don't think I need to take it daily.

Haven't accomplished much yet today, but, I guess I'll just try to finish cleaning my room. Then, my cat will be able to visit me again.

Addition, Sept. 30, 2016, 12:59 AM EDT. Still not tired at all yet! No headaches, either. Made a lot of progress cleaning my room. It was almost like an unwinnable game of real-life Sokoban that has dragged on for years. Except now, I've almost won. :-)

I'm basically a hoarder, so, I have lots of stuff (or junk) in lots of boxes. (I should probably sell at least some of it.)

As of today, most of the boxes are now in good out of the way positions. About all that remains is for me to sort various loose junk, formerly plastic-bagged junk, and clothes into various zippable pillow protectors. Then, I'll toss those newly-filled bags in the newly-uncluttered corner.

One of the best things I did was box up a bunch of books to make room on a shelf so I could have another place to set things down, so hopefully now my standing desk won't acquire as much junk anymore.

I was quite pleased to find my 3.5mm to RCA cord which lets me plug my laptop's audio into my stereo. So, now I can listen to Clevnet audio books while I clean.

Perhaps I'll be done cleaning in another day or two.

Additions, Sept. 30, 2016, 7:12 AM/7:52 AM EDT. Started getting tired around maybe 2:15 AM, but stayed up anyway. Didn't do any more cleaning, just browsed the web.

Anyway, I was just reflecting on how it was not only unfortunate but possibly also fortunate that over the past almost 2 years, I mysteriously (until I recently figured out why) got increasingly fatigued, primarily because of starting to use an electric blanket in Nov. 2014, and accidentally increasing my caffeine dosage since Feb. 2016 because my new tea mug was larger than I knew.

If I hadn't resumed using an electric blanket (I also had used one years before that until it broke, but I forgot what years), nor accidentally increased my caffeine dosage, then, it's possible that I might have gotten my life together a lot more in 2015-2016, because I would have had a lot more energy to do it. Though I would likely have still been plagued by caffeine-related symptoms such as headaches, and ups and downs instead of a far more pleasant steady amount of energy, since I probably never would have had sufficient reason to quit caffeine.

But overall, perhaps that might have been a quite good outcome, especially if I somehow succeeded in figuring out how to make an adequate living.

But would it have really been the best outcome? I'm not so sure, because in all the downtime I had, I learned a lot, and came up with some pretty good ideas which I might never have thought of if I had been overly busy with trying to make a living, which very easily could have been a thoroughly time-wasting, hamster-wheel-like pursuit, and I'm not at all sure I ever would have succeeded or thrived.

I don't know if I ever will anyway, but, I feel far better-equipped to do so now than I did back in Nov. 2014. These last 2 years didn't go totally to waste, since I was far from totally stifled in all that time - otherwise I would have tried to do more about my fatigue much sooner. But my decline had been (usually) so subtle and gradual that I originally misattributed it to getting older, or possibly getting diabetes or something.

Addition, Sept. 30, 2016, 8:49 PM EDT. Slept between around 9:15 AM to 2:13 PM. Was up for a little while, but felt like I needed to sleep more, so, I started trying to go back to sleep around 2:50 PM. It took a while, but I think I fell asleep maybe around 3:30 PM, and woke up at 6:08 PM. Feeling rested enough now. And, no headaches.

I wonder if my sleep patterns are becoming a bit more regular than before quitting caffeine. Someday, I need to make some more sleep charts.

My main goal for now is to keep cleaning my room and hopefully get it all done. The only problem is that I might need even more zippable pillow protectors. Which isn't insurmountable - if necessary, I can just toss the remaining junk back in the pile in the corner, similar to how it used to be, but somewhat more organized.

Or I could just use more boxes, which at least are sturdier and less annoying than plastic bags. But for clothes and other light objects like junk mail, I prefer zippable pillow protectors, since they hold more than the now mostly small boxes I have, and I don't have to hold them upright (or tape them shut) to keep things from falling out of them.

Additions, Oct. 1, 2016, 6:30 AM/6:43 AM EDT. Still lots of energy, and been awake all night. And I made some progress cleaning my room. So much progress I'm willing to post a picture. :-)

This is the nicest corner. I edited the brightness, contrast, saturation, and gamma in mtPaint because the original picture was so dark and didn't really look as nice as it actually looks. However, the below actually looks even nicer than it looks in the real world.

Larger Size

Original Picture without brightness, contrast, saturation, and gamma adjusted with mtPaint

Clearly, I should pursue a career in interior decorating. (Just kidding.)

The wide painting isn't by me, and I don't know who painted it. Astonishingly, it was only $2 - two dollars - from a local live auction!

The smaller, more colorful picture is a Thomas Kinkade print called The Garden of Prayer, and if I recall correctly, it also was just $2 - two dollars. Found it at a local thrift store.

I've only bought a few things like that in my entire life, since I usually didn't have much money, and I don't really have too much physical space for merely decorative things. Most of the others are in the second nicest corner of my room, which I forgot to take a picture of.

I guess most of my excessive stuff is books bought for usually extremely low prices (or given to me). Too many books and only 3 shelves, so most of the books are now in boxes.

It's definitely a lot nicer in here than it used to be. But I still need a lot more zippable pillow protectors to put the remainder of my unsorted clothes mountain inside. (I never took much interest in clothes, but some people just love giving me clothes.)

Unfortunately, my room is now even less cat-proof than it was. I just have too much junk in precarious stacks, since it turns out the only way I can keep this much stuff in my room without it being intolerable is to try to maximize my use of vertical space.

So, since I'm not yet ready to sell off a lot of stuff, and can't afford to move someplace where I'd have more space, I'm giving up for now on the idea of making it possible again for my cat to visit me in here.

Starting to get sleepy now. Perhaps it will take another day or so for me to finish cleaning, or to get so impatient that I'll just put the rest of the junk back in the other corner.

Additions, Oct. 1, 2016, 8:50/8:59 PM EDT. Slept between about maybe 9:45 AM and 3:25 PM. Still was tired, but had trouble falling asleep again until sometime after 4:16 PM, then slept until 6:05 PM. Also was a bit headachy at times, but it wasn't that bad and didn't last very long. I think I had a bit more energy before eating, but, have mostly just wanted to go back to sleep, which is probably from PMS.

So, I mostly haven't done anything with the junk mountain between my bed and door, even though I now have several more zippable pillow protectors. Maybe I'll just go back to sleep, since even with both my lamps on to make my room as bright as possible, I still feel tired.

I'm not too worried that this might be my old fatigue coming back, because this tiredness is a very typical PMS symptom for me. Also, I still feel better and more energetic than I did before quitting my electric blanket.

Additions, Oct. 2, 2016, 5:30 PM/5:46 PM EDT. Didn't sleep until sometime after 11:14 AM today, then slept until about 4:31 PM. Stayed up on Oct. 1 to watch TV with my family. Then I got a headache, but nonetheless returned to XSLT, which kept me awake even more than my headaches did.

Because of the headaches, that was probably my most difficult day since completely stopping caffeine, but I still think it's probably more due to PMS than caffeine withdrawal. But it wasn't that bad - surprisingly, despite my headaches, I made a lot of progress with XSLT.

5 hours of sleep tends not to be enough for me, but, XSLT might keep me awake again. Also, I still need to clean up all this junk in my room.

No headache yet, and also not feeling that tired yet.

Addition, 5:49 PM. On second thought, I probably could go back to sleep at any time. But making progress with something as difficult as XSLT is exciting.

Addition, Oct. 3, 2016, 3:09 AM EDT. It was impossible to continue to ignore my room's chaos, so, I stayed up and cleaned my room some more, since I wasn't tired enough for my tiredness to stop me.

There were numerous other times in all these years when my room was tolerable, but it was never this well-organized before. Recovering from fatigue certainly hasn't "cured" my hoarding (which I don't consider much of a problem anyway, compared to my lack of space and lack of enough money).

But at least my hoarding is much more manageable now that I have the energy and inclination to deal with all this junk.

No headaches so far, but, too tired to continue cleaning, so, maybe I'll get it done in another day or two.

Addition, Oct. 4, 2016, 2:51 AM EDT. On Oct. 3rd, slept from sometime after 9:51 AM to 3:24 PM. Was woken up by cramps, and my time of the month starting. Was feeling bad at first (and later after my first Advil wore off), but have been mostly fine thanks to Advil.

Been varying between a bit tired and very tired, but, at times, I have been plenty more energetic than I'd expect to feel at my time of the month - especially the 1st day, which reliably tends to be worse than the other days. And, no headaches.

But, I mostly haven't felt like doing much of anything besides watching TV and reading books, or going back to sleep. Probably should have gone back to sleep, but there were too many things I wanted to read and watch.

This wasn't as difficult as my headachy day, but at times it was the closest I've felt to being back to my old fatigue. Which is quite typical for my time of the month, so, I doubt it's my old fatigue coming back, and I look forward to probably recovering soon.

Additions, Oct. 5, 2016, 12:14 AM/12:20 AM EDT. On Oct. 4th, slept from sometime after 10:37 AM to around 6:32 PM. Still no headaches, and a lot of my energy came back. Took an Advil to deal with cramps, so now I'm pain-free.

But, I'm still not in the mood to do much of anything, and going back to sleep doesn't seem out of the question either. Read a bit, wrote a bit, but didn't accomplish much at all today.

I took 2 Nature Made magnesium oxides before sleep, which I think helped me sleep longer and better than the other days (when I neglected to take any magnesium, and didn't have walnuts either).

Definitely feeling better than yesterday, but, as usual, I'll be very glad when this monthly nonsense is over.

Addition, Oct. 5, 2016, 9:49 AM EDT. Slept a bit sometime between around 2 AM and 4:17 AM, and probably could have slept longer, but I needed another Advil for my cramps.

Even such a short nap helped with my tiredness and mood. Still have only felt like reading rather than putting away my small mountain of still-disorganized junk, but I'm sure I'll get around to that eventually.

Maybe I'll nap some more. During my time of the month, I sometimes wish I could just sleep for about 5 days straight until it's over. :-)

This is the first period I've had since quitting my electric blanket. I was hoping it wouldn't be so tiring, but, it still is even despite recovering so much from my fatigue.

I'm so glad I don't have a job and/or school, because those would definitely be harder to do now, even if I didn't also have severe sleep issues.

Hopefully someday the USA will have menstrual leave in some sensibly-implemented form. Or better yet, hopefully someday people won't need to have jobs or money to be able to have pleasant lives. Maybe technology will make that possible someday. A Star Trek-style replicator would be so wonderful and could end world poverty, hunger, etc.

Addition, Oct. 5, 2016, 11:41 PM EDT. Slept between sometime after 2:50 PM and 11:10 PM. Woke up briefly sometime during the day - was achy and my left nostril so clogged that I felt like I had a cold. Don't know if that could be caffeine withdrawal or really a cold, but in any case, I took 2 Vitamin C's in case that might help, and went back to sleep. The aches and congestion are gone now.

Still feeling rather tired after all that sleep. I sure hope this all goes away when my period is over, since I am getting afraid of my old fatigue coming back. But for now I'll just assume that my period is to blame. And maybe my caffeine withdrawal is worsening? I don't think I've had any since Sept. 22nd. But I haven't craved caffeine ever since the last time I mentioned not craving it (early Sept. 28).

Addition, Oct. 6, 2016, 12:11 AM EDT. I also have that very bothersome foggy-minded, out of it feeling I haven't had in a while. But, I think I might have the energy to finish cleaning my room today. Not having to climb over a small junk mountain to get in and out of my room (or bed), and having an easier time finding stuff, will definitely reduce some stress, save some time, and improve my life.

Addition, 12:54 AM EDT. Definitely not as tired as my old fatigue. But maybe sleeping even longer would be a good idea. Still not really in the mood to clean.

Addition, 3:43 AM EDT. Feeling much better after eating. Sometimes I seem to get more tired after eating, but this time, I got less tired. Maybe I just need to eat better. Probably, because when I get too tired, I sometimes get pretty lazy about preparing food. For example, I think all I ate yesterday was some cereal, goldfish crackers, walnuts, and my usual vitamins.

But, fortunately, today, I remembered we have corn on the cob, which is surprisingly quick and easy to make using the microwave. To make it, all I had to do was peel off the husk, wash the corn, put it on a plate, microwave it for a minute or so, put butter and salt on it, then eat it. Quite good.

Addition, Oct. 6, 2016, 1:17 PM EDT. It took all the rest of the night and morning, but, finally, my room is sufficiently well-organized for now (in my opinion). It's more practical now because things are mostly out of the way and theoretically more easily located than before, but it's still messy and boxy enough to feel like home. I'm surrounded by cardboard skyscrapers - and, loving it. :-)

Ran out of both zippable pillow protectors and patience, and kept losing already-labeled zippered pillow protectors in the mess, so I mostly stopped trying to sort things and just divided the junk into bags of clothes and non-clothes. Still didn't put all that stuff in the corner yet, but now I can actually walk between my door and bed.

And I can once again sit (and spin) in my office chair, and even travel a bit around my room in it.

Now, with that pretty much done, I can return to more important things, like bellydancing and XSLT.

Very sleepy now (but not until I started writing this). But no headaches (though a few hours ago I felt like I got close), and my aforementioned foggy-minded, out-of-it feeling went away a long time ago.

Additions, Oct. 7, 2016, 3:14 PM/3:18 PM/3:39 PM EDT. On Oct. 6th, slept sometime between 2:19 PM and 7:54 PM. Meant to go back to sleep, but ended up staying awake. Didn't do much, just browsed the web. Felt fine, except for some slight jaw aches.

Today, slept sometime between 6:10 AM and 1:12 PM. Other than an odd cramp in my neck, I feel fine. (Except a bit tired because dog barking woke me up earlier than I naturally would have woken up.) And my time of the month is almost over.

I think I'm convinced now that probably my fatigue is resolved (or well on its way to resolving), and not likely to recur (except slightly around my time of the month). And I'm not sure how much caffeine withdrawal is affecting me anymore. So, I don't know if I have much more to add to this blog post. I guess I might still add to it a bit, but probably less frequently.

I'm going to just keep taking it easy and avoiding unnecessary stress.

Additions, Oct. 8, 2016, 8:10 AM/9:15 AM EDT. Slept sometime between 6:19 PM and 12:27 AM. Definitely feeling back to normal now. Been wide awake and energetic all night (and morning, so far). And I took some more pictures of my room.

Not much else to say, I guess. My next top goal is to finish the XSLT project I've been working on from time to time since August. That will help pave the way for many of my other projects.

Addition, Oct. 11, 2016, 4:40 PM EDT. On Oct. 8th-9th, slept sometime between 6:56 PM and 1:53 AM. On Oct. 9th, slept sometime between 7:30 AM and 10:53 AM. On Oct. 10th, slept sometime between 2:52 AM and 4:17 AM, and 9:01 AM and 10:35 AM. On Oct. 10th-11th, slept sometime between 9:09 PM and 4:15 AM. And on Oct. 11th (today), just took a nap sometime between 2:04 PM and 3:20 PM.

I often haven't been sleeping as well as I should, but, I've still been doing much better compared to before quitting my electric blanket (and compared to my time of the month). Even when insufficiently rested, I have usually had much more energy than before.

Maybe Nature Made magnesium citrate (which I ran out of) actually does work better for me than Nature Made magnesium oxide to make me more relaxed and able to sleep better. Or maybe I just need more magnesium than I used to for some reason.

Have avoided headaches, though at times I got close. I've sometimes been having the problem of sometimes repeatedly waking up very thirsty.

But, I think I have a better appetite now that I quit caffeine, even though I still need to eat better. And it's also helpful that, thanks to cleaning and rearranging my room, I can once again run my box fan to block noise while I sleep.

I think I better keep avoiding stressful things for a while, though. So, that means my websites are likely to be even more boring than usual for a while, because even posting blog posts can be too stressful for me.

And I've still mostly been avoiding my public email and mostly haven't been maintaining my forums. So, sorry if anyone wrote and is awaiting a reply or something.

I just still don't feel up to dealing with a lot of stuff, other than my software projects.

Addition, Oct. 12, 2016, 6:15 AM EDT. Got some more Nature Made magnesium citrate, and slept sometime between 7:30 PM and 2:51 AM. I woke up thirsty a few times again, but, slept better, and am definitely feeling better now. So, guess I'll just keep taking magnesium citrate.

Still going to keep avoiding stress for a while. But fortunately for my software projects - though I often find programming difficult (especially XSLT), I don't find it stressful. Compared to stressful things I'd rather avoid, programming is relaxing. It's also a lot more satisfying than leisure activities that accomplish little beyond momentarily amusing me, and which don't give me so much hope for a better future.

Addition, Oct. 13, 2016, 5:28 PM EDT. On Oct. 12th-13th, slept sometime between 9:05 PM and 2:49 AM. On Oct. 13th, slept sometime between 4:57 AM and 8:54 AM.

Been sort of tired (but still not as bad as before quitting my electric blanket). But, I think maybe that's largely related to my poor eating habits - habitually neglecting to eat enough (especially if nothing available appeals much to me), and usually avoiding going to the trouble to prepare any food that is too time-consuming or elaborate to make.

I think maybe caffeine used to veil the true impact of my poor eating habits, by making me artificially feel energetic despite eating poorly. So, now that I'm not having any caffeine, now I'm more easily able to observe fluctuations in my energy levels from eating or not eating.

I think I was doing better before I ran out of goldfish crackers. Going to get more soon.

I sure wish I had a robot chef, but I'd want one which is free (as in freedom), libre, and open source.

Addition, Oct. 14, 2016, 4:29 PM EDT. Today, slept sometime between 2:25 AM and 8:16 AM. Felt a lot more energetic, but nonetheless went back to sleep from sometime between 10 AM to 4:08 PM. Still feeling like I could sleep longer, so maybe I will. Haven't eaten anything yet today.

Addition, Oct. 15, 2016, 10:58 PM EDT. Still no headaches, though I've sometimes gotten close. Yesterday, ended up staying awake since I got invited to a movie.

Yesterday, I didn't constantly feel bad, but I had moments where I felt nauseated, and I was often tired and sometimes had that foggy-minded, out of it feeling again. Sometimes I wondered if I was fighting off a cold, or if I still had caffeine withdrawal, or something else. Or just poor nutrition in general.

I think the best I felt yesterday was a little while after I first woke up around 8:16 AM, after I drank some water.

I keep waking up very thirsty and sometimes with a slightly stuffy nose. And it sometimes seems like I need extra Vitamin C later in my day to make the sore spot on my lower left gum go away.

Today has been much better, even though I only slept sometime between 8:51 AM and 2:07 PM, and have been sort of tired since maybe around 6 PM. I think eating better yesterday resulted in me waking up feeling much better today.

I think I also do better when I don't skip Teeccino. I was running low on honey for a while, so I drank Teeccino less frequently to try to avoid running out of honey. But today I got more honey, so I was able to return to my daily routine of having one mug of pumpkin spice Teeccino soon after I wake up.

And, now I have goldfish crackers again. I find it comforting to have them around, since, unlike many foods, they're not something I have to struggle to make myself eat. I actually have been craving them and their saltiness. So, maybe now I'll sleep better as a result of not going for so many hours eating hardly anything.

An annoying symptom I hadn't mentioned before, but have had off and on for maybe months (and maybe even since before quitting caffeine) is feeling too often like I have to urinate. But it's not a constant symptom - it comes and goes, and I think it tends to get worse when my nutrition is poor. It also seems to sometimes get worse toward the end of my day.

Quite possibly one reason I wake up so thirsty is because of not drinking that much before sleep because I don't want my sleep interfered with by needing to go to the bathroom. But then my sleep gets interfered with by thirst. :-/

I wonder if maybe I have some kind of possibly adrenal fatigue-related electrolyte imbalance issues. Here's another interesting article on that topic.

So, maybe that's part of why I crave salty goldfish crackers so much and why I seem to feel significantly better after eating them.

Haven't gotten very much done lately. Did a little bit with my XSLT project. But mostly I've been lost in Clevnet books or Sitepoint Premium, or random web browsing.

I sure hope I'm really recovering from my fatigue. Maybe sometime I should really start bellydancing or otherwise exercising.

Addition, Oct. 16, 2016, 9:54 AM EDT. Slept sometime between 12:39 AM and 8:11 AM. I didn't even have magnesium or walnuts before sleep, but somehow felt sleepier and like I was going to sleep better, and I think I did.

It seems like I have more pleasant dreams when I sleep better. I almost never have flying dreams, and when I do, they're usually scary (and not really flying), like a car flying off a cliff. But today, I dreamed I and a few classmates were flying by holding onto ropes (or sitting in seats hanging by ropes) hanging off of a giant bird. I was a bit scared the first time, but the second time, I was totally calm and just enjoyed the beautiful scenery far below (castles and greenery), even though I had no way to control where the bird was taking us. But it was somehow a perfectly safe and reliable method of transportation for our school.

I had a very gentle landing at the edge of a forest, and it might not even have been necessary for me to grab onto a tree branch to make sure it was a gentle landing. Then, to my nastier classmates' amusement, I accidentally stepped in a massive pile of dinosaur droppings, and consequently had to go clothes shopping, but fortunately, there was a Goodwill thrift store nearby and I had enough money to buy whatever I wanted.

I also had another nice dream today before that, but don't want to go into detail. Nice but not perfect, similar to the other dream.

I still woke up thirsty at times, and also either too hot or too cold. But so far I feel pretty good.

Addition, Oct. 17, 2016, 1:35 AM EDT. Had a mostly quite good day. I think I started to get a bit tired around maybe 4:50 PM when I was watching a documentary on Netflix, and increasingly tired after that. But, there were days when I got tired much sooner than about 9 hours after waking, so this is definitely progress. I think those 9 hours might have been the most energetic I've been since my time of the month ended.

I think quite possibly I really have had the problem of adrenal fatigue-related electrolyte imbalance, since I felt (and slept) so much better so soon after resuming eating my current favorite salty snack, goldfish crackers. And also haven't had the frequent urination problem.

Still, didn't get much done - mostly just talked with relatives and watched TV together, and cooked a shared meal of microwaved mashed potatoes, since I had the energy to do so. And, in the evening, had to fix a glitch with my websites, which kept me awake a bit longer than I otherwise might have stayed awake.

I have a bit of a headache now, perhaps partly because of staying up. And maybe partly because I might need to drink more liquids in general. And perhaps partly because I might actually be getting an actual cold. Not sure, though.

But today, my nose got slightly stuffy while I was watching TV, which was unusual since lately I usually have only had that problem at times when sleeping. So, I took 2 more Vitamin C's a few hours ago in case that might help.

I guess I better keep taking it easy and avoiding stress.

Additions, Oct. 17, 2016, 10:57 AM/11:12 AM EDT. Slept sometime between 3:26 AM and 8:30 AM. Wanted to sleep longer, but, have been vaguely headachy, with a slightly stuffy nose, and woke up thirsty again, so I took 2 more Vitamin C's and tried to go back to sleep, but couldn't.

I think this probably is a cold rather than merely caffeine withdrawal symptoms. So, I guess I probably ought to go back to sleep whenever I feel capable of doing so. Interestingly, I feel like I have quite a bit of energy, despite this possible cold. Energy-wise, at the moment, I'm definitely still doing better than I was before quitting my electric blanket.

But I feel out of sorts, my gum's sore spot has been acting up a lot lately (which I suspect means I need even more Vitamin C), and the worst part is the headache, though I don't think it's as bad as a lot of my former headaches.

To help deal with my possible adrenal fatigue-related electrolyte imbalance, I'm going to try an idea suggested in this article, even though I'm not sure if I have a "severe" case of adrenal fatigue. Quote:

"In severe cases, I have recommended adrenal fatigue patients keep a glass of salted water (salted to taste) by their bedsides to drink first thing in the morning before rising. Doing this appears to greatly improve their ability to function in the morning."

For all this time, I've been drinking plain water when I wake up during my "night" or in my "morning", even though for my entire life, I usually found plain water to be one of the least appealing of all beverages (though it's more tolerable if it's ice cold), and I doubt I ever even got close to drinking 8 glasses of water a day. (But this article says the idea that people need to drink 8 glasses of water a day is a myth. So, in that case, it's likely good I never made much of an effort to drink so much.)

Never thought of adding a little salt to my water, but I definitely like that idea and will try that soon.

Addition, Oct. 17, 2016, 4:35 PM EDT. Still haven't gone back to sleep yet. My headache has decreased, and I think eating yogurt and a tomato (not mixed together :-) ) particularly helped. My slightly stuffy nose also has decreased (except I think now my nose is running a bit, which is preferable in my opinion), and my gum's sore spot has gone away again, so probably the extra Vitamin C is helping.

I added a couple small raw garlic cloves to the mashed potatoes I'm eating as I write this, since someone I know has recounted various stories of garlic being amazingly good for quickly getting rid of various infections and illnesses, and I've also read various good things about garlic on the web, like this article.

I should probably start eating garlic more often. I just need to more frequently eat food which garlic tastes good in, since it would be pretty unpleasant to eat by itself. Pasta would be especially good.

Ooh, that reminds me of this idea I forgot about - Oatmeal: A Decent Substitute for Pasta.

Addition, Oct. 18, 2016, 2:22 AM EDT. Slept sometime between 6:40 PM and maybe 1 AM, though didn't give up on trying to go back to sleep until 1:38 AM.

Slept better this time. Didn't wake up as thirsty, and no stuffy or runny nose. I do think slightly salted water is better for me. For me, it only takes a tiny amount of salt to change the taste. I'm not sure exactly how much water I had in my glass, but, I put in only 2/64ths of a teaspoon of salt, then ended up diluting it with slightly more water to make it less salty.

Yesterday, feasted upon another great salty snack - croutons. I meant to eat them on a salad, but I ended up eating a bunch of them straight out of the bag. They always were one of my favorite parts of a salad. Rather than embellishing a salad with croutons, I probably ought to embellish my croutons with salad.

Feeling pretty good now, but I'm going to keep taking extra Vitamin C and try to work some more raw garlic cloves into my food, and won't hesitate to go back to sleep if I feel like it.

Addition, Oct. 18, 2016, 1:43 PM EDT. I felt pretty energetic, but didn't do much last night besides look at Clevnet books. I actually didn't even eat anything - just had two 500 mg Vitamin C's and one 500mg Ovega 3. I'm probably going to quit taking Ovega 3 if the price doesn't go back down, and already wanted to quit taking Ovega 3 because it contains carrageenan.

Just not sure yet what other Omega 3 I should switch to. I wish salmon (which is high in Omega 3) was a fruit or vegetable. I miss salmon and other fish so much sometimes. Even though I wish I could be vegetarian, I'd be extremely tempted to eat fish if I wasn't afraid of mercury and other pollution.

Slept sometime between 9:18 AM and 12:36 PM, but felt like I slept much longer. Didn't wake up as thirsty as I frequently had been, and I just overall feel much better than I did during the bad parts of Oct. 17th. So far, I no longer feel like I have a cold.

I wonder if maybe my second-worst problem after my electric blanket was my possible adrenal fatigue-related electrolyte imbalance? I'm so glad I stumbled across that idea, since now I have more specific ways to try to make myself feel better than my former somewhat vague (though sensible enough) solution, "eat more often and more nutritiously". Ways such as eating salty food, drinking slightly salted water, and eating foods containing potassium. So far, that really seems to help me.

Maybe it would also be good for me to regularly take more than just two 500 mg Vitamin C's per day, and eat raw garlic cloves more frequently.

Addition, Oct. 19, 2016, 2:07 AM EDT. Finally started getting tired much later than I expected, around maybe 11 PM. Had a very good day. Didn't get much done - just read books and watched TV. But, if I reliably continue to feel fine, clear-minded, adequately rested, and unheadachy, it will probably be much easier for me to get things done in the future.

Addition, Oct. 20, 2016, 1:54 AM EDT. On Oct. 19th, slept sometime between 2:40 AM and 9:58 AM. I woke up a bunch of times, but, still wasn't as thirsty as I used to be. Had a lot of energy all day and didn't start getting tired until sometime after 12 AM.

I'm amazed at how much better I'm doing, since I looked up how long recovery from adrenal fatigue can take and it ranged from less than 6 months to 18 months - a year and a half.

But, I guess fixing my possibly adrenal fatigue-related electrolyte imbalance, and eating better in general, may have done wonders for my sleep quality. And/or, I fought off my mild possible cold.

At the moment, I don't feel like it's going to take 6 months for me to recover from adrenal fatigue, and/or whatever remains of my caffeine withdrawal. Still, I doubt it's a good idea to push myself too hard, so, I'm going to keep avoiding stressful things.

Additions, Oct. 21, 2016, 1:12 AM/1:19 AM/1:27 AM EDT. On Oct. 20th, slept sometime between 7:37 AM and 1:33 PM. Still felt a bit tired so wanted to go to back to sleep soon, so ate nothing and had only Ovega 3 and Vitamin C.

Mostly, Clevnet books kept me awake, so I didn't go back to sleep until sometime after 6:19 PM, then slept until about midnight. Woke up a bit thirsty with a slightly stuffy left nostril, which cleared up after drinking some unsalted water. (I recently was too lazy to prepare a glass of salted water.)

I don't think my stuffy nose is always a cold symptom, and I don't really feel like my possible cold is coming back. But, I guess I can't slack off too much anymore with managing my possible adrenal fatigue-related electrolyte imbalance (which until recently I didn't even realize would help me so much), and I should maybe try a bit harder to not neglect to eat.

I feel like I could maybe go back to sleep soon, though my energy is still tremendously better than before quitting my electric blanket. And overall lately, I've felt far more clear-minded, instead of foggy-minded and overwhelmed by stuff like XSLT. Even just thinking feels much easier now that I'm not so fatigued. But also, I'm probably just getting more used to XSLT.

Addition, 1:25 AM EDT. At the moment, judging by various typos, I am a bit absentminded. And I definitely feel like going back to sleep.

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Friday, July 29th, 2016
17:05:30 GMT


I'm unhappy that the election was rigged against Bernie Sanders, so, I'm going to participate in DemExit by exiting the Democratic Party.

I don't yet know who I'll vote for.

I recently heard that George Washington thought political parties are a bad idea in general.

And I never liked the fact that many people instantly make snap judgments and jump to wild conclusions about people and issues based on a single-word label like "Democrat" or "Republican".

So, maybe I'll just stay out of every party from now on.

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Chicory and barley: reputedly good for dental health, etc.
Friday, July 29th, 2016
13:02:44 GMT


I recently started drinking Teeccino, an "herbal coffee", which got me curious about some of its ingredients, such as chicory and barley.

I was very pleased to find these articles.

Antimicrobial and anti-adherence activity of various combinations of coffee-chicory solutions on Streptococcus mutans: An in-vitro study
May-Aug 2014, from

The Health Benefits of Roasted Barley Tea With Chicory
June 23, 2015 from LIVESTRONG.COM

One of my least favorite things about ordinary tea (without chicory or barley) was the damage I suspected it (and/or the sugar I put in it) might be doing to my teeth and gums.

(Addition, 9:28 AM EDT: Actually, here's an article which says black tea 'combats bacteria linked with tooth decay and gum disease'. Which surprises me, since I never felt like tea was helpful at all. Vitamin C seems to do my possible gum disease tremendously more good than tea. After having tea, I was always reluctant to put off brushing my teeth, for fear that my gum soreness would come back. End of addition.)

So, I'm very happy that I was able to quit ordinary tea, and am now only drinking Teeccino, which tastes so good it made it easy to give up caffeinated tea and coffee.

I seldom drank coffee to begin with, but until trying Teeccino, I drank one 12 ounce mug of tea per day.

I like Teeccino more than any herbal tea I ever had, and more than any decaf coffee I ever had. Teeccino also compares so well to the best caffeinated coffees I ever had that I can't even decide which I like more, so I guess it's a tie. And Teeccino even makes my favorite caffeinated tea seem relatively boring and weak in comparison.

Even flavor alone would make me stick with Teeccino. But the reputed health benefits (which also go beyond dental health benefits) are icing on the cake.

Addition, Aug. 13, 2016, 10:09 PM EDT. I read on this page that chicory contains high amounts of oxalates. (Oxalates are antinutrients found in many common foods.)

So, I wrote this new blog post:

Oxalates and their interference with the absorption of nutrients

But for me, I think the benefits of chicory and other foods with oxalates probably outweigh the possible drawbacks, so I'm going to keep having them.

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Bash Script: flexishacheck
Monday, July 25th, 2016
13:07:57 GMT


Here's a boring but useful enough Bash script I finished today:


I made this because the not-yet-finished (nor released) renovated Apollia's Puppy Linux Setup Kit (APSK) is going to use SHA-512 checksums to verify that various files are intact, or got downloaded correctly.

Actually, if I recall correctly, the released APSK already does check the SHA-512 checksums of downloaded files. But I want the renovated APSK to be far more flexible - and flexishacheck definitely helps with that, since now I won't have to update checksum record files just because a checksummed file got renamed.

I also want the renovated APSK to be able to use other things to verify that downloaded files are intact, such as GPG signatures.

From what I understand, two different files sharing the same SHA checksum or GPG signature is supposed to be extremely rare, even if the two files are only slightly different. But unfortunately, I'm quite far from understanding all this stuff as well as I'd like, so I'm not sure how helpful (or not) SHA checksums and GPG signatures will really be. But I assume checking SHA checksums and/or GPG signatures is at least better than just blindly trusting that a download succeeded and got the correct file.

At least I've been learning a lot from my struggles to renovate APSK and understand checksums and GPG. At this rate, I don't know if I'll have APSK renovated even before the year is over, but, I'm going to keep trying.

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Teeccino: An Excellent Alternative to Coffee
Friday, July 22nd, 2016
21:32:18 GMT


I sometimes run across articles which suggest that it would be healthy to give up caffeine.

I actually mostly don't drink coffee, and I only drink 1 cup of caffeinated tea per day maximum - but I'm definitely addicted. (Edit, Aug. 13, 2016, 10:42 PM EDT: Actually, I drank one 17 ounce mug which I mistakenly thought was 12 ounces.) I've tried repeatedly (though not very determinedly) to gradually give it up, but I just like the taste too much.

It's probable I'd consume less caffeine if I simply switched completely to coffee, because I only enjoy coffee which is very diluted with water and cream. (Otherwise, coffee tastes unbearably bitter and horrible to me.)

But, my goal is to mostly stop drinking any caffeine, since I think maybe I have adrenal fatigue, given that I have sometimes been unusually tired lately despite going out of my way to avoid stressful things for over a month now.

There are various non-caffeinated herbal teas I like. But, I wanted to try something totally new to me.

So, today, I tried Teeccino, which is made of chicory and other tasty ingredients.

I tried a "tee-bag" of the Maya Chai flavor. And, I liked it! I could definitely distinguish it from coffee, but it was still quite good, coffee-like, and better than any decaffeinated coffee I've ever had. (But I should probably point out that I never tried a wide variety of decaf coffee, nor even caffeinated coffee.)

Teeccino "tee-bags" seem to take longer to steep than probably most tea does. I didn't carefully follow the instructions - I stuck the bag in a cup of cold water and microwaved it, which I think worked well enough.

Rather than removing the bag, I decided to just leave it in as I was drinking it, and see how long it would take for it to get too strong for my tastes. I don't know exactly when that happened, but it seemed to take a long time, maybe over 10 minutes.

Similar to the way I drink coffee, I liked it best with a lot of cream.

I greatly look forward to trying all the other flavors of the sampler pack I got, and I think Teeccino will definitely assist me in hopefully finally really giving up caffeine, or at least drinking a lot less caffeine.

Addition, July 30, 2016, 11:14 AM EDT. Here's a new blog post by me which could be of interest to Teeccino drinkers:

Chicory and barley: reputedly good for dental health, etc.

Additions, July 23, 2016, 3:23 AM EDT, etc. The way I sweeten my tea, coffee and Teeccino is usually:

I used to be able to just use any random brown sugar from a grocery store, but I find that difficult to use anymore because the above makes everything taste so much better in comparison.

Anyway, I just tried the Chocolate Mint flavor of Teeccino. I liked the Maya Chai, but I love this! It reminds me of Andes mints in liquid form, but more subtle. I think I like it even more than hot chocolate, because hot chocolate (unless you make it from scratch) tends to be overwhelmingly sugary, and with this, I can control the amount of sweetness.

Addition, July 30, 2016, 12:27 PM EDT. By now, I've tried all the flavors from the sampler pack.

There are only 4 flavors I wasn't so fond of - Orange, Maya Chai, Almond Amaretto, and Chocolate.

But, I liked (or loved) them all, and all of them were superior to any decaf coffee I've ever had. And it turns out mixing multiple flavors together is fun, so, I might eventually buy even the ones I'm less fond of just to see if they'll taste better as components of my own custom blends.

I already got two 11 oz. packages of ground Teeccino from a local store. The store had only had 4 flavors (and only 2 I particularly liked), so I got Java and French Roast.

For me, coffee machines are too much of a time-consuming nuisance, even though I don't have a non-libre coffee machine with DRM. :-) But fortunately, a coffee machine isn't necessary to brew ground Teeccino.

On various pages on the Teeccino website (like this one), it says "The exact same Teeccino grounds are in the Tee-bags as in our 11 oz. bags." And Teeccino's website sells empty tea bags. (But I already had some of a different brand - I got 100 on sale for 99 cents from a local store.)

I considered getting a metal tea infuser, strainer, filter, or teaball. Particularly to my liking was this one (but beware of the volume in that video around 0:46 to 0:55). But, in the end, I decided against any metal tea contraption, because I was worried about things like, where was this manufactured, exactly what is it made of, how was it made, and is it really safe?

Teeccino takes minutes longer than ordinary tea to steep. I'm not sure exactly how long, but it probably varies depending on how strong or weak you'd prefer it to be. And also depending on which Teeccino flavor it is.

Filling my own tea bags was a bit less convenient and more messy than buying already-filled "tee-bags". But, I love being able to choose the amounts to put in, and being able to easily mix multiple flavors together.

In my 17-ounce mug, I like both pure Java (with about 3 non-heaping spoonfuls) or pure French Roast (with some amount less than 3 non-heaping spoonfuls, since 3 initially seemed too strong for me, though I soon got used to it and liked it anyway).

But I also like combining Java and French Roast, with 2 non-heaping spoonfuls of Java, and less than a spoonful of French Roast (since just 1 spoonful surprisingly seemed a bit too strong for my liking). And I'll be trying other combinations too.

I think maybe I'm unusually sensitive to strong flavors (especially in light of my inability to drink undiluted coffee). A former coffee drinker I know very much enjoyed an 8.5 ounce cup made with 4 spoonfuls of French Roast! (Addition, Aug. 2, 2016, 2:08 PM EDT. That person said 2 spoonfuls is just as good.)

Here is my mostly indecisive ranking of all the Teeccino flavors from the sampler pack, which no doubt will vary depending on my mood:

  1. Chocolate Mint - Still my favorite! But it seems too much like dessert for me to use it as my usual tea replacement. And also, chocolate (including Teeccino flavors containing chocolate) contains theobromine, which has effects similar to caffeine.

  2. Java - I never had real java, so I can't compare this to that. But, it's definitely good. Mixing it with a small amount of French Roast enhances it for me.

  3. Vanilla Nut - Better than all the vanilla teas I've ever had. I seldom have found a vanilla tea I've really liked. (Hedley's Vanilla comes to mind, but I don't know if that's even made anymore.)

  4. Hazelnut - Reminds me of Almond Amaretto, but somehow more agreeable to me.

  5. French Roast - Amongst all the Teeccinos (including the ones I'm less fond of), this one seems to have the strongest, most intense coffee-like flavor.

  6. Mocha - I don't remember many details about this one, but it was good. But since it has chocolate (and therefore, the caffeine-like substance theobromine), I should probably usually avoid it.

Here are the flavors I'm less fond of. They were all good enough for me to finish my cup, but I liked the above more.

However, the below might still be interesting components to mix into custom blends - so, for that reason, I might buy these too eventually.

  1. Orange - I figured this was one of the flavors I was least likely to like, because I seldom like any fruit tea. (The only exceptions I can even think of are Gevalia Ceylon Cinnamon Orange and Blackberry Spice, which I love.

    And a notable pseudo-exception is Twinings Ceylon Orange Pekoe tea - which has nothing whatsoever to do with orange fruit. It's simply a black tea - but for some years, it qualified as my #1 favorite daily tea, until I tried PG Tips.)

    Fortunately for me, it turned out Orange Teeccino didn't actually taste very orangey. I liked it a bit more than the Maya Chai.

  2. Maya Chai - I don't think I would have even guessed this was a chai if I tasted it without knowing what flavor it was. It's still good, though. But the name makes me compare it to chai teas I've had. And since I've had some really excellent chai teas, this scarcely compares at all to them.

    But this is a favorite of the aforementioned former coffee drinker I know. That person said they liked this because it's strong.

  3. Almond Amaretto. This is another flavor which the aforementioned former coffee drinker particularly liked, which I didn't like so much. The smell of this reminded me of anise, or something else I mostly don't like. (Not sure I know the correct name for the scent I'm referring to.)

    It reminded me of a weird Celestial Seasonings tea I had a long time ago called "Almond Sunset", which I also found rather disagreeable (though sometimes intriguing).

    Even though I didn't like Almond Sunset that much, it saddens me to find that Almond Sunset was retired. Yet another reason why it's better even for food and drink recipes, including tea, to be free (as in freedom), libre, and open source.

  4. Chocolate. Even though I love the Chocolate Mint flavor - for me, the plain Chocolate flavor didn't compare well to ordinary hot chocolate. Still was good enough to drink, though.

There are numerous other flavors for me to try. I'm most interested in trying Pumpkin Spice, since I love pumpkin pie, and one of my favorite teas is Bigelow Pumpkin Spice.

I'm also interested in French Vanilla, since I've had a surprisingly hard time finding vanilla teas I really like, and Vanilla Nut Teeccino was better than all of the vanilla teas I ever had.

So, I'll probably try this Boutique Sampler next.

Addition, Aug. 13, 2016, 5:36 PM EDT. I tried all the Boutique Sampler flavors. Here's my current ranking of everything, which will also probably vary depending on my mood:

  1. Hazelnut

  2. Pumpkin Spice - For some reason, I usually like most pumpkin-flavored things. I haven't had Bigelow Pumpkin Spice in quite a while, but I'm sure this Teeccino is least as good as that, and probably better.

  3. Chocolate Mint

  4. French Roast

  5. French Vanilla - Might have a stronger vanilla flavor than Vanilla Nut. I'll try comparing the two more carefully at some point.

  6. Java

  7. Vanilla Nut

  8. Mocha

  9. Caramel Nut - I'm almost tempted to put this in the group of flavors I'm not so fond of, except I probably liked it a bit more than them. Pecans were never a favorite nut of mine, even though I'm capable of enjoying them.

And the flavors I'm less fond of. They were all good enough for me to finish my cup, but I liked the above more.

However, the below might still be interesting components to mix into custom blends - so, for that reason, I might buy these too eventually.

  1. Orange

  2. Maya Chai

  3. Almond Amaretto

  4. Chocolate

  5. Southern Pecan - I wasn't sure what I'd think of this one, since pecans were never my favorite nut, but, I actually really liked this great pecan pie.

    Anyway, the Teeccino Southern Pecan flavor seemed to improve the longer it steeped (or the more I got used to it), but until it reached that point, I was considering discarding it. But, it somehow gradually became tolerable. So, I suspect maybe it might be good for me in small amounts as an ingredient in a custom mix.

And I finally found a flavor I found undrinkable:

  1. Chocolate Raspberry - I seldom like fruit flavor in tea or coffee, especially if it's raspberry. I'm not even very fond of most fruit pies (except pumpkin, if that qualifies as a fruit). People around me liked the smell of Chocolate Raspberry, but, I didn't even like the smell. Both its smell and taste reminded me too much of medicine. So, I had to discard it.

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Links: Free (as in Freedom), Libre, Open Source Agriculture
Monday, July 18th, 2016
14:57:07 GMT


Ever since I saw the documentary Gasland several years ago, I've been increasingly worried about farms, groundwater (or any water), nature in general, and also places where people live, possibly getting contaminated by pollution from various forms of industrial activity.

And I also think it's quite distressing that unless you pay extra to buy organic food, you're stuck buying food which quite possibly had pesticides used on it, or which might have been genetically modified (GMO).

And, as someone who has at times had a rather inadequate diet simply due to lack of enough money, I've sometimes daydreamed about how nice it would be to be able to grow my own food on my own farm, or in a greenhouse, or something.

So, today, I was very pleased to run across the below links, since perhaps free (as in freedom), libre, open source agriculture will someday help alleviate some of the above problems.

This Ag Innovator Wants to Find Your Broccoli by IP Address
(June 10, 2015 from

MIT Open Agriculture Initiative

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Link: Rosetta Stone for Unix
Monday, July 18th, 2016
04:22:16 GMT


This looks useful, even though I haven't used most of the operating systems mentioned on this page:

A Sysadmin's Unixersal Translator (ROSETTA STONE)
OR What do they call that in this world?

Usually I use Puppy Linux. And, reluctantly and relatively rarely, I sometimes use Mac OS.

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International postal systems: more reasons I'm glad to be an American
Sunday, July 17th, 2016
03:37:03 GMT

And Charity

Today, I received a bra purchased on Amazon and shipped from a seller in England. (Despite the fact that I like Richard Stallman's page of Reasons not to buy from Amazon).

And on the outside of the package, on a "Customs Declaration" label, was some rather personal information!

In a column that said "Quantity and detailed description of contents", it said "Lingerie" (in handwriting). And, in the "Value" column was a handwritten price quite close to what the buyer paid for this bra on Amazon.

Obviously I'm not very embarrassed, since now I'm telling the world about this by blogging about it. :-)

But still, I think it's an obnoxious invasion of privacy. Here in the USA, we don't have to list the contents and value of our packages on the outside of the package for any curious postal worker or resident of our homes to read.

At least they didn't list my bra size. :-)

Back in 2012, I received a package from a friend in Europe. That package's contents and values weren't listed on the outside - but, I was astonished when that friend speculated I might have to pay some sort of "customs" fees just to receive it.

It turned out there actually were no fees for me to receive it, but I was shocked that that's even a problem in Europe.

Here in the USA, we have nothing like that. We can receive as many gift packages as we want without being oppressed by fees.

It amazes me that oppression like that is apparently considered normal in Europe. I think it's terrible and unfair to everyone, whether poor or rich.

But it's probably particularly harmful to poor people, because if anyone mails a poor person in Europe a package of stuff to help them out, the poor person might not be able to afford to pay the oppressive fees to accept the package! And the more the package is worth, the higher the fees.

Also, I'm guessing this nonsense probably isn't any good for the economies of Europe, because it probably discourages people from buying and mailing each other gifts for the holidays, birthdays, etc. It also probably discourages people from buying things online even just for themselves.

It wouldn't surprise me to find that the USA's economy and sales of products sent via physical mail are probably thriving a lot more than Europe's economies and sales, just because of the above problems imposed by Europe's postal systems.

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Going to try a standing desk
Wednesday, July 13th, 2016
21:19:19 GMT


Yesterday, in my family's basement, I was able to find an old rolling table which is tall enough to use as a standing desk for my laptops.

Why did I want a standing desk? Because I keep running into articles which suggest that standing might be healthier than continually sitting.

And it will make it easier to do a wider variety of random exercises (or bellydancing :-D ) while continuing to work on my computer at the same time.

However, here's a partly negative article about standing desks:

From, Sept. 29, 2014 - There's a huge hidden downside to standing desks that no one told me about

So, I'm going to be careful to avoid swollen ankles. Though I think I might have avoided that without even trying, because I'm so fidgety that I'll probably seldom stand still for long at my standing desk.

(Addition, July 13, 2016, 6:28 PM EDT. Another partly negative article:

From, Feb. 17, 2015 - 5 Ways Your Standing Desk Is Doing More Harm Than Good

So, judging by that article, it seems that alternating between standing and sitting is probably better than constantly standing or constantly sitting. And also that fidgeting is good.

I'm definitely not interested in overdoing standing, exercise, sitting, or anything else. So, hopefully it will overall be good for me to get more variation and movement into my habitual routines. End of addition.)

I wonder if lying or sitting in bed is healthier than sitting in a chair all day? My computers are usually next to my bed, and I shift positions a lot more than is possible in the average chair.

Another thing I found in the basement was a nice swiveling office chair I didn't even know we had.

And it turns out that despite being 35, I still like spinning around in an office chair about as much as I did when I was 5. :-)

So, who knows how much standing and other exercise I'm really going to do now. :-)

But since I have a laptop, this chair won't necessarily interfere with my computing too much. It will at least be amusing to see how well I can program while dizzy.

My next task is to clear enough junk out of my room to make adequate room for these delights. Cleaning isn't my favorite thing to do, but at least it has more immediately perceptible good results than the average boring exercise.

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Dancing: probably more interesting than many other forms of exercise
Monday, July 11th, 2016
11:27:56 GMT


Like many other computer programmers, I probably ought to get more exercise.

But most exercise sounds boring to me, or otherwise inconvenient. There's a swimming pool I could go to, and I have a bicycle, and I could always go on walks, but, I much prefer to avoid people.

So, I think what I might prefer do instead is, stay in my room and try to learn bellydancing, and maybe other types of dancing too. :-)

I don't know if dancing is the best possible exercise for me, but, no doubt anything is better than nothing, or just fidgeting and walking around my house.

And becoming a good (or otherwise amusing) dancer seems like a much more fun goal than becoming capable of performing ever-larger quantities of ungraceful, boring, repetitive exercises such as sit-ups and squats.

It might also result in some amusing videos someday. :-)

Though I actually wouldn't mind an exercise bike or a non-motorized treadmill to use while I work on my computer stuff. Then I could just mindlessly get a significant amount of exercise while I get more useful things done at the same time.

Maybe I should convert my bike into an exercise bike.

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Synonyms for the word "Antifragile"
Saturday, July 9th, 2016
20:49:33 GMT


Last edited July 10, 2016 at 1:05 AM EDT.

One of the best books I read in 2015 (or, ever) was Antifragile by Nassim Nicholas Taleb.

I was recently reminded of this book by the fact that my Toughbook CF-C1 overheated and crashed yet again. (Clearly I need to stop leaving so many web browser tabs open.)

But, at least this annoyance was a pleasant reminder of the antifragility of (and resulting from) my Puppy Linux Setup Kit. :-)

Crashes actually benefit my setup kit, because they give me some additional good reasons to stop procrastinating about enhancing my setup kit.

And, thanks to my setup kit, I'm able to recover quickly from not only relatively minor crashes which only require a reboot, but also from serious hardware breakdowns which would require me to switch to a totally different computer, which would be a far more inconvenient disruption if I were still dependent on an OS installed on a hard disk.

I can switch to another computer pretty much seamlessly and have everything back to normal in minutes. It's tremendously nicer than having to slowly rebuild a broken Windows system by manually reinstalling Windows along with all my lost Windows software.

A while back, I thought of a possibly good synonym for the word "antifragile". At least, it's hopefully clear enough if you're a Star Wars fan. But, in case it's a spoiler, I won't say exactly the word I have in mind.

This page from the Movies & TV Stack Exchange explains the famous scene from one of the Star Wars movies that made me think of this idea.

Other possible rough synonyms include phoenix-like or hydra-like.

I had trouble thinking of many more synonyms, though. Which sort of makes me wish I already automated the addition of comment sections to my blog posts.

Click this link to display the blog comment thread hosted at the Eryss.Com Forum:

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