Well, I dropped out of the 30-day blogging challenge after 20 days. Ironically, I think part of the problem was that I tried to get ahead. Most days I would write a post in the evening, either just after the kid went to bed or just before I did. On day 20, I posted at lunch. That broke my routine, and I forgot to post the next evening.


I finished a few posts I’ve been working on for a while, so that worked out. There were several things I noticed that turned into what I hope made interesting commentary. That’s two wins. But then there were the days of filler, too. It’s not like I need to keep “I hate the 405” on its own page, after all. (Besides, that’s a given.)

Things I Learned

I really don’t like writing about current events or politics these days. On Friday the 13th, I couldn’t think of anything else to write about, but couldn’t start. I ended up reading Tumblr for some idea to jump off of, and found the Epi-Pen infographic. Then I went a whole week deliberately not writing about Paris, Beirut, or refugees.

If I wanted to keep the volume up without regard to focus, I think up plenty of ideas during the course of a day. I just have to (1) write down the topic so I remember and (2) find the time/inclination/brainpower to do the writing.

I wrote more about my kid than I expected. Probably more than I’ve written publicly in quite a while. This isn’t a parenting blog by a long shot, but in addition to costuming and art, I used several family conversations as jumping off points.

When I obsessively listen to a show for a week, I come up with lots of things I’d like to write about it. I followed Chess with a Les Misérables binge, and now I’ve got about five Les Mis-related topics on my list.

If you can’t think of anything to write about, ask your spouse for a topic.

I’m actually more comfortable sitting on the couch and writing on my tablet than firing up my computer and sitting at my desk. That surprised me, but the Galaxy Tab S2 is sooooo much faster than the Nexus 7 it’s ridiculous. And hey, couch!


6 Random observations.
4 Amusing photos that fit within one of the site’s long-running categories.
3 Articles I’ve been working on for a while and finally got around to finishing.
3 Follow-ups to older posts or series.
2 Reaction pieces.
1 Interesting photo that I cross-posted from Instagram/Flickr to satisfy the goal.
1 Total filler that I would delete if it weren’t for keeping a record of how far I got in the challenge.


  1. Mixed Emotions/Halloween/Comikaze
  2. Fruit Basket Case
  3. So Much for SudaSudafed
  4. I “Liked” Twitter Favorites
  5. Phone vs. Camera
  6. WiFi is the New Color TV
  7. Gloom ahead, blue sky behind
  8. So that’s where Vaporware comes from!
  9. Aaaargh!
  10. Genre TV Update
  11. Chess (Musical)
  12. Les Mis/Chess: Cosette vs. Florence (and Eponine)
  13. Epi-Pen How-To
  14. Symbolic Costuming: Stage vs. Screen
  15. Coin Slot For Your Cell Phone
  17. Panorama Fail: Chalk Edition
  18. Is the ransom note look obsolete?
  19. Too Many Notifications
  20. Oddly Specific Advertising


A great visual explanation of how to administer an epi-pen to someone experiencing severe anaphylaxis as a result of a food allergy, bee sting, etc. Plus commentary from Tumblr.

I’ll add: Absolutely don’t be squeamish if someone needs you to do this for them. Once I accidentally bounced the epi-pen off my leg when I jabbed myself with it during a severe reaction. You need to jab and hold it. Basically none of the medicine actually went in. Fortunately I carry a two-pack and was able to use the second injector, and I’m still around to tell the story.

Wow. A study finds that only 54% of patients experiencing an anaphylactic episode requiring an ER visit or hospitalization get an epinephrine prescription within a year, and only 22% visit an allergist or immunologist in that time. (via this week’s FARE newsletter)

The article treats this as an education/compliance issue, but I have two big questions:

  1. How many of these patients discussed the incident with their regular doctor? It’s possible that more than 22% followed up with a doctor, just not with a specialist.
  2. How does insurance coverage correlate? If you don’t have insurance, it’s expensive to see a specialist, and expensive to get an Epi-pen (though there are generics now that are a bit cheaper)…especially after you’ve just received a bill for thousands of dollars for the emergency room.

Regarding #2, the study looked at “healthcare claims,” so if I’m reading that correctly, they may have only looked at people who do have insurance. If that’s the case, I wonder if it would be possible to break it down by type of insurance: HMO vs. PPO, do they charge a higher co-pay for specialists, etc. Our current system could do a lot more to encourage preventative care.

For the record: The first thing I did when I got home from that San Diego trip was to order a replacement Epi-Pen, and Monday morning, I called up my allergist to schedule an appointment. But then, I already had an allergist, a prescription, and insurance.

Help me raise funds for FARE and their mission to promote food allergy research, education, and advocacy.

I’ve been attending San Diego Comic-Con for more than 20 years, but this was the first time I left the con in an ambulance.

I’m OK now. Though I might not be when I see the bill.

It started at lunchtime. We went to New Break, an independent coffee shop near Ralphs, which we’d been to before. They were offering samples of a blended peanut butter banana coffee drink, and while I really wanted to try their blended mint mocha, it was safer to skip something made on the same equipment.

What I decided on was a Mexican Mocha. Generally, these add cinnamon, maybe nutmeg or chili powder. I’ve had drinks with that and similar names, and Mexican hot chocolate, plenty of times. I didn’t ask what was in it, but I had just told them I was allergic to peanuts when I decided to skip the blended drink.

I considered getting it iced, but there was some confusion as to what was included in the lunch deal, so I got it hot instead. That turned out to be a wise decision, since I probably would have started out chugging a few ounces of a cold drink.

Two sips in, the back of my throat and my lips started tingling — a bad sign. I stopped, flagged over one of the baristas, and asked whether there were any nuts in the drink. She didn’t think so, but said she’d check.

I pulled out my emergency kit, took my Benadryl and Pepcid, and set my Epi-Pen on the table in case it progressed. I probably should have just taken it right then, but who wants to spend the afternoon in the emergency room instead of Comic-Con?

Meanwhile, the coffee shop staff had been unable to find ingredients for the mix, and had to call the owner to confirm that yes, there were peanuts in it.


Over the next hour, it felt like the reaction was under control, so I figured we could return to the convention center. Unfortunately, anaphylaxis can take several hours to run its course, and medication can wear off before it does. Continue reading

Allergic Living reports on a peanut allergy treatment study that shows a great deal of promise. Called sublingual immunotherapy, or SLIT, it’s surprisingly simple: Introduce a small amount of peanut protein in drops beneath the tongue each day, slowly ramping it up over time.

After 44 weeks of the daily doses, 70 percent of those getting the peanut powder could tolerate at least 10 times more peanut in an oral food challenge before showing symptoms than they could have at the outset of the study. In a follow-up challenge at 68 weeks, they could tolerate about twice as much again.

It’s a similar premise to allergy shots, which work well for airborne allergens but not for food. And while I’m creeped out by the idea of deliberately ingesting something that I’m used to avoiding because it could kill me (this has to be done under medical supervision!), like so many other things it’s all about dosage. It makes sense that it could work.

The main drawback is that 30% of the participants didn’t show improvement, though the people running the study suspect that it’s a matter of finding the right dosage for each patient.

The article mentions another problem being that the amount tolerated is relatively small: they could eat the equivalent of two peanuts before experiencing allergy symptoms.

I say: Two peanuts? Are you kidding me? I would LOVE to be able to safely eat that much!

So it’s not enough to eat Thai food or PBJ. It would mean I can stop worrying so much about cross-contamination! I’d still carry my epi-pen around, but I’d feel a lot safer about, say, drinking a milkshake at a restaurant that also serves peanut butter shakes, or eating an eggroll at a place that also has kung pao, or eating a chocolate chip cookie that’s been stored on the same shelf as the peanut butter cookies.

One question I do have is how effective it is at reducing sensitivity to similar allergens. Would taking the peanut treatment help someone tolerate legumes better, or are they different enough to require a separate course of treatment?