Sims Saturday – The Sims 4 – Desert Condo

Welcome to the first of what will hopefully be regular gaming posts here on Renlish. I’ve been playing The Sims since it’s inception and have owned pretty much all of them up to an including the most recent, The Sims 4. I’ve never really been a heavy gamer and I don’t own all every expansion pack that’s ever come out but I regularly dabble to wile away a few hours.

Until now I must admit my gaming goals consistered mostly of building booby-trapped houses in which I could torture and kill my Sims in entertaining ways. (The trait of a psychopath? I dunno…) But with Sims 4, I was more intrigued with the building aspect of the game. And of course with the great new graphics of the new Sims 4, I’ve got a new addiction.

It’s fun to build the sorts of house you could never really hope to live in in reality – because, y’know, stuff like supporting walls and underpinning are an actual Thing™. And you can’t have three-story houses where the middle story is nothing but a pool. With glass walls.

Soooooo… without further ado, here’s a new Sims 4 build.

Desert Condo

Desert Condo features a mezzanine-style, open plan living arrangement similar to what you would find in modern inner city loft appartments.  I’ve always been fascinated with the idea of living in that sort of apartment.  Being someone who needs a lot of light, the idea of a whole wall of windows really appeals to me, though the bills for heating and cooling would be attrocious.  But what the hey – it’s pretty!

Renlish.com - The Sims4 - House Build - Desert Condo

Renlish.com - The Sims4 - House Build - Desert Condo
Floor plan – upper floor
Renlish.com - The Sims4 - House Build - Desert Condo
Floor plan: upper floor (different angle)
Detail shots:
Renlish.com - The Sims4 - House Build - Desert Condo
The yard; enclosed decking with a pool.
Renlish.com - The Sims4 - House Build - Desert Condo
Looking across from the mezzanine into the ground floor.
Renlish.com - The Sims4 - House Build - Desert Condo
The office. I love layering plants!
Renlish.com - The Sims4 - House Build - Desert Condo
All the beautiful redness. I want this kitchen in real life!
Renlish.com - The Sims4 - House Build - Desert Condo
The lounge area.
Renlish.com - The Sims4 - House Build - Desert Condo
Lounge and entryway.
Renlish.com - The Sims4 - House Build - Desert Condo
Outside view.

Do you play? Here is a direct link to the Desert Condo on the Sims4 Gallery (via the web). You can find me in the gallery via both the web and in game under the username, renlish (no capital R).

Aldactone (Spironolactone) for Hair Loss

My experience with Aldactone (otherwise known as Spironolactone) has been interesting.

Please be aware that everything in this post is based on information I was given from my own doctor and should not be seen as medical advice! This is based on my experiences only. Please consult your doctor before starting any new medication.

Renlish.com - Aldactone for Hair Loss

 

My Story:

In July 2014 my hair started to fall out again. This would be the fourth time in a period of about 18 years. My GP ran the usual plethora of blood tests to see what might have been the cause. Unfortunately those results told the doctor and I very little about why it might be happening. Apart from being dangerously low in B12 and D vitamins and having a very high bilirubin reading, there really is no real medical reason my GP could find. I had not recently been pregnant/given birth so I couldn’t attribute the loss to those sorts of hormones either. So he sent me off to a well-regarded dermatologist who is somewhat of a specialist in hair loss.

The specialist examined me and told me what I already knew; I was experiencing an effluvium and he proceeded to tell me all about Telogen Effluvium. I will write another post about that later, though my response to his explanation was that I already knew I was going through that sort of effluvium. I needed know WHY so I could perhaps treat the cause and not the symptom. He then had a good, up-close look at my hair and reported that there was fairly extensive signs of follicle shrinkage.

In other words, Androgynous Alopecia, better known as female pattern baldness.

Women, like men, can lose their hair. Unlike men, for most women it’s a case of a diffuse loss all over the scalp though concentrated at the hairline and crown.

Sounds delightful, eh? No, not really.  This was not my specific diagnosis but the specialist did consider it a major contributing factor. There is no way to reverse the damage of the alopecia. The shrinkage* is permanent. However, the plan was to stop or slow the hair fall. This is where spironolactone comes in.

*Follicle shrinkage means that the hairs grow back finer and finer until they do not grow back at all.

What is Spironolactone / Aldactone?

Spironolactone, more commonly prescribed as the medication, Aldactone, is actually a diuretic that is given to people who are suffering from specific illnesses which cause fluid retention and high blood pressure.  Unlike regular “water pills” that you can get over the counter at your pharmacy, spironolactone is a potassium-sparing diuretic. As such, it can only be used to treat certain illnesses or symptoms and needs to be prescribed by your doctor and usage must be regularly monitored via blood tests.Taken without monitoring, it can raise the potassium in your system to dangerous levels, causing other disorders and illnesses.

That being said, of the handy side-effects of the drug is that is it also an anti-androgen which inhibits the body’s natural production of dihydrotesterone, the hormone responsible for hair loss.  At the same time it can also help with hirsutism and acne.  It is this anti-androgen which makes it an ideal medical treatment for hair loss, in theory.

I say in theory as it’s commonly thought that Aldactone can help regenerate hair follicles and make new hair grow – unfortunately this is not the case. It has not been proven to do so.

My Experience with Aldactone 100mg:

When I initially took the drug, I was advised to take half doses for a week as it may cause some dizziness.  That was good advice to get. My head spun after the first few doses but then things settled down.

I actually haven’t had any other bad side effects that I can think of.  Aldactone can make a mess of your menstrual cycle (as if it’s not messy enough! AMIRITE?!) however being on the contraceptive pill makes that a non-issue for me.

One GOOD side effect of the drug for me has been that my hair is nowhere near as oily as it used to be.  I was a 2nd-day washer.  My hair became very oily very quickly before I started on Aldactane, however I noticed within a few weeks of taking it I didn’t need to wash my hair nearly as often.  In fact, I can now get away with washing it once a week. The only time I really need to wash it is if I’ve been sweating or I want to style it nicely or I want to condition it because it’s looking a bit dry.  Otherwise it stays fluffy and pretty much “just washed” – which helps with the illusion of fuller hair, anyway.

I will admit that the lack of oily hair actually freaked me out a bit, so much so that I had to email my new hair loss guru, Lauren from Corner of Hope & Mane to see if it was normal. She was happy to report that it was.  Lauren’s blog is a great resource for people suffering from hair loss and a site that I found quite comforting when I was at my lowest while dealing with this problem.  I think I can attribute my feeling “ok” with things getting worse (if they do) to her.  So thanks, Lauren!

Another really good side effect is that the pimples on my face have all but vanished. Yes, I’m 36.  I should not be getting pimples, but I do and I’m a picker so I am grateful that the spots are gone.

One of the widely reported side effects of Aldactone is that it can cause what is reported as “the dread shed”, where there is a massive shedding of hair a few weeks or a couple of months into taking the drug. I will admit I have not had this yet.  Considering I have been taking the drug for four months consistently, I don’t think I am likely to experience it now but I will certainly update if that changes.

Has Aldactone worked?
Renlish.com - Selfie
Christmas 2014 – very thin hair.

Yes.  And no.

Maybe?

I don’t know!

I have been taking the medication at the same time as trying many other things.  I also suffer from pompholyx so I am constantly on the look-out for skin products that won’t bring me out in an itchy, blistery mess.  I changed brands of shampoo and conditioner twice (I’m now using Dermaveen shower gel as well as the shampoo and conditioner), I’ve changed brands of oral contraceptive, I’ve started taking B12, Flaxseed oil, Vit D, Biotin and a mega multivitamin to help with my deficiencies. I’ve even been using laser light therapy on my hair semi-regularly for about eight weeks. Any or all of these, together with the Aldactone may be helping.

The hair loss has been lessened, this much I am sure of.

Has it stopped?  Sadly, no.  At this point in time, unless it does stop fairly soon, I am seriously considering investing in some “helper hair” to see me through.

 

 

 

 

 

Reluctant Resolutions and Plans for 2015

I didn’t really want to make resolutions for the year.  For the past few years I’ve been avoiding making them because I know that putting any sort of pressure on myself for the year really only sets me up for disappointment by the time December 31st rolls around again. But I thought I would make a bucket list of sorts for the year. Stuff that I will aim to do but if I don’t, no big deal.

Last year was horrible. Mentally, emotionally, physically. Just horrible. There were some good parts and some pretty awesome parts but on the whole, 2014 can go right back to where it came from. I don’t want a repeat of it. It involved mental breakdowns, fights, friendships gone awry (more than one of those, oy), physical atrophy, and more. But it also involved a trip of a lifetime, some wonderful moments with friends and family and some small accomplishments.

I am sure this year is going to have a few bumps but I’m determined this will also be the year of trying to simply do better and be better.

So my 2015 Bucket List of Resolutions:

  • Lose weight. Derr. I haven’t got on the scales since just after Christmas and I was at 110kg… There’s been a couple weeks of solid nomming since then and I no longer need to wear a belt to hold my “fat jeans” up.
  • Drink more water. Going for days without a drink of water (or anything) is not good for you, mmmm’kay?
  • Exercise no less than three times a week. The body needs to be doing things. I’ve lost all my gym fitness over the last half of 2014 by simply choosing to sit on my butt at home.
  • Sleep!  My natural light sleeping patterns and stress-induced insomnia have been causing havoc and I average on five hours of sleep a night. For an elderly person, that’s fine. For me? Not so much… the bags under my eyes are so deep and blue that people have started asking me if I’ve been punched.
  • Read more books. I’d forgotten the joy of reading. That was brought back to me at Christmas when I managed to get through two very solid novels.
  • Write more words. This goes hand-in-hand with the reading. I noticed as soon as I got a little more reading done, the inspiration to write hit me. Go figure.
  • Create. Create ANYTHING at least once a week. Even if it’s just a doodle or an epic photomanipulation or a quick pair of earrings. Just create. I find my happy place when I am creating.
  • Learn something new. Whether it be just to cook a new dish or research a topic of interest or a new computer program, learn something new at least once every few weeks.
  • Stick to a project. This is a big one. I have lost count of how many times I’ve started a blogging or a photography project and it’s always lasted approximately 2.7 days before I’ve either forgotten or developed a case of the “can’t be bothereds”.

That’s my resolutions done.

Now, as for plans for 2015, it’s going to be a relatively quiet year, I think. I am going to concentrate on expanding my horizons, starting with this blog. I really want to get stuck into doing more beauty stuff with makeup and post some of the umptymillion looks that I’ve done on myself (I have to get better at taking selfies) and also learn how to do make videos for vlogging and gamecasting. I want this blog to be slightly more meaningful and useful than just being an occasional brain-dump.

I’ve made a good start on that with changing the layout of the blog with a great new face and menu system. Now I just need to add the content.

It, like I am, is ever-changing and always growing.

Or that’s the plan, anyway.

Ch-ch-ch-changes!

Hello, welcome to 2015!

As you can see, there’s changes afoot!

I’ve decided to go get a decent theme and set this blog up properly. So given on when you’re visiting, this blog may look really, really awesome or like crap.

If it looks like crap, come back in a few days.

Until then, I hope everyone had a fun New Years Eve and saw the new year in with a bang – of any particular sort you desire – and lots of fun.

Last one for the year…

An important message…

Renlish.com - Thoughts

Everyone, please have a very safe and happy Christmas (however you celebrate it) and a glorious, fun new year.

I will be back for 2015 with plans to get back into the business of blogging regularly with interesting things to show and say.

And for those who are still waiting for a review on the Lumosity thing, it is still being tested. I am brain training every other day or so – trying to remember to do it is a hassle and I have to set reminders on my phone, but in the short term I do feel more alert and able after doing the brief training sessions. Some of the games that I have encountered are fun, whereas others are harder and frustrating. Anything with numbers and/or timed is my nemesis. My only beef with the system is that you only get to play five short games per session with no option for any “free play”.

Over and out.

Broken Brains & Lumosity.

So, I have this Thing. It’s a Thing that causes me lots of trouble. It’s a Brain Thing.

And this will probably be the first time in my blogging history that I have admitted this “out loud” at all in any serious way.

Sometimes this Thing apparently makes my brain not want to work properly.

It started with a slight stutter that began in high school. Don’t ask me why it started then. It was early on, probably in Year 7 (that’s junior year of high school, I guess, for those of you who may not understand the Australian grading system). I was sad, lonely, friendless, depressed, being bullied by a particular girl who made my life a living misery for twelve solid months. I wagged almost a full term of my first year. How I passed I really don’t know. I think I was also overcompensating for a mouth full of metal – metal which I had for SEVEN. FUCKING. YEARS. For all the good it did me. I didn’t want to talk, I still couldn’t get my lips to move around the braces properly but then I would get so stressed about it that even when I could speak, the wrong words came out.

It was something which became more noticeable to me as I got older and as a result I simply got quieter.

It’s something that continued to the present day.

It was a few years ago now that I was hit with a scenario that will probably stay with me forever – because it made me realise that this wasn’t just a little inconvenience. This was an actual, serious Thing. I was stuck at home because my car – my lovely old 1978 Datsun 120Y Coupe (mustard yellow, if you please, with all leather interior) wouldn’t start. The battery was fine (because I’d only bought a new one the month before) so it wasn’t just an issue of jump-starting it and heading off. In my despair, I called the RACV for help.

I mean, seriously. This how ridiculous it gets – and I can laugh now but when it happened it was painfully embarrassing.

I was reciting my registration number and I said “G for Dad”.

G for Dad.

There was a brief yet intensely uncomfortable pause and then a snortgiggle at the other end of the line. I joined in, even though I was cringing and then said I was having a right shit of a morning and I was late for work and I really needed someone to come out and get my car started for me SO STOP LAUGHING AND PLEASE HELP.

So there’s that.

And now there’s the memory thing. I have been having trouble remembering things. Short term, long term, it doesn’t matter. There have been days where I have arrived at work and I don’t remember certain parts of my journey. For a twenty-minute ride, that’s impressive. A little bit scary. I have trouble remembering things at work that I should be remembering after 18 months being there. The list continues.

And numbers. Seriously, I hate it when someone calls with a problem with their account. It takes me forever to work it out – if I can even work it out. I don’t see numbers right. I cannot work things out in my head. I would be in serious trouble without a calculator.

I’m not smart. I would really like to consider myself intelligent but I know that I am not. I have a basic knowledge of many things so I can carry on a conversation well enough. But I am not smart. I have many friends who may disagree with me on this and while it would be sweet of them to say so, I know that what they perceive as intelligence may just very well be the fact that I am more perceptive than intelligent – when you spend a lot of time not talking because you can’t physically and mentally form the right words, you tend to observe and take in a fuckload of information. But at age 35 (almost 36) I would expect my brain to be working at it’s peak, not heading in the opposite direction. Intelligence I can improve on with practice but ye olde grey matter needs to be in working order for that to happen.

So with that in mind, I joined up with Lumosity. I’ve been doing some brain training which, if nothing else, makes me a little more alert afterwards. It’s basically playing a set number of games each day to improve brain function. Activities include things like memory, speed, reaction time, complex recognition, spatial memory and all that fun stuff. There’s a whole lot of science-y stuff around it but I figure that anything which will help my poor little neurons to pick up their game a bit is a good thing. I’ve also got mum and the manbeast into it as well seeing as how a family subscription was only $30 more than a single.

I guess I’ll report back in a few weeks and let you know if there’s been any marked improvement.

Dadisms, again.

Dad just posted this ripper on Facebook:

So, they have landed a washing machine size hunk of junk on a comet.
I am so impressed… Not.
Why would you want to?
To study the origins of the universe?
Simple.
There was this big mother-fucking bang, all the shit went everywhere… and here we all are.

(His words, I just corrected the grammar.)

It’s made me laugh far more than it was supposed to, really.

The Short-but-Epic Trip to USA for DragonCon 2014! (Part 4 – Day 1 of DragonCon 2014)

So Friday, the 29th of August (bloody hell that seems like a long time ago now) was the first official day of DragonCon 2014. I was all a-twitterpated and excited to get started on my first real con experience. However there was one minor problem…

I was fighting a losing battle against the dreaded Travel Lurgy. The cold which had remained hidden until the moment I sat my arse down in that first plane out of Melbourne, reared it’s ugly, snotty head in a proper manner. I had gone from a tickly throat and a bit of a cough to starting to feel claggy and unwell. Really unwell.

John was doing his best for me, as per usual – loading me up with medication we thought would help but what we thought might have just been a coughy thing turned out to be an actual cold thing. It wasn’t bad at that stage, I could deal with it. If it didn’t get any worse, I would be just fine with that.

When it came to costumes for the day, it was decided that Friday would be Firefly Day. Unfortunately, in my forgetful and somewhat panicky blondeness, I had left my costume neatly folded on top of my dresser – IN MELBOURNE. Not much help to me there, was it? I’d gotten dressed in civvies at that point, quite prepared to be the tagalong friend who carries everyone’s stuff (aka The Handler) and just enjoy the sights. Well, my mate Tracy wasn’t having any of that and in her preparedness, offered me a choice of Indian saris to wear so I could play Inara. Watching everyone else get dressed up made me maybe a tiny bit jealous (and foolish) over having no costume so I let Tracy wrap me up in a gorgeous black and gold number.

I’d like to note at this point that neither of us knew what the hell we were doing. Thanks to the Font of All Wisdom on Random Shit, aka Google, we managed to figure out how to put on a sari. So we wrapped and folded and wrapped and folded and pinned, pinned, pinned, and wrapped and folded some more until I looked like… well, me. In a sari. I was the blondest Inara you could imagine. I was also buggered if I needed to go to the toilet at any stage. There were pins everywhere. Absolutely everywhere. They connected the sari to my pants, my tank top, to itself. It was almost scary sitting down for fear of popping one and ending up with a pin ending up somewhere it ought not be.

So, I was Inara (chubby blonde version), then we had John who was Wash and Tracy and Grant who were Kayley and Jayne respectively. Naturally Kayley and Jayne have the biggest following in that show so Tracy and Grant got a load of attention. A couple people asked to take their pictures and then belatedly realised John and I were part of the group and called us in for a group shot when they recognised who we were playing.

Renlish.com - Firefly Friday
John, me, Tracy and Grant.

Yeah, we don’t fit the mold – but it’s still loads of fun.

And thus began my first foray into cosplay and conventions.

The first panel of the day was this guy:

Renlish.com - Patrick Stewart
His thinking face, maybe? I dunno.

That’s THE Sir Patrick Stewart there, folks. Sorry for the fuzziness. My camera couldn’t quite handle the lighting situation but… I was in the same room as one of my favourite classic actors. I was a little bit in awe. (Actually, a lot in awe. And it wouldn’t be the first time that’d happen too.) He is such a great speaker. So engaging and witty and absolutely adorable. Of course he was peppered with the usual questions about X-Men and Star Trek and it was great listening to him tell his stories. The hour-long panel went by so quickly.

Speaking of panels – there is one common thing that links them all.

THE QUEUING.

God in Heaven. I’ve never experienced anything like that before. Lines for panels went around the block and double-backed on themselves to head back around the other way. Queues snaked up the middle of buildings for several floors. People were milling everywhere.

Lining up to get into Sir Pat’s (we’re totally on casual name basis now) panel was an exercise in patience and sheer force of will. We had lucked out when we arrived and joined the line when it was just a few hundred strong. From where we stood, we watched what seemed like thousands walk past us to find the end of the line and it was like that for a good hour. I won’t mention the incident where one of the volunteers tried to get the small group of us in our area to move off because we weren’t standing in the right spot – even though we’d been told to stay there. Pigs would fly if we were going to join the end of the line at that point, not with the several hundreds/thousands who had tacked themselves on in all the time we’d been waiting. Needless to say, we scared the poor lass who, to be honest, was only doing what she was told as well. But she came through and made arrangements for us to stay where we were.

Oy. So, lesson learned. Turn up at least 90 minutes early to have a better chance of securing a place in the queue.

With that panel done, our next appointment was in another hotel to see a Firefly panel. This was pretty much the whole reason we dressed up.

We saw this guy:

Renlish.com - Adam Baldwin
A terrible picture of Adam Baldwin and panel moderator.

Adam Baldwin of Jayne Cobb, Firefly fame.

He’s a funny bugger too. He really took over that panel. Sadly Ron Glass (who was Shepherd Book in the show) was a late-comer to the panel, having been “caught in traffic” (I can imagine) and much quieter than Adam, though he had his moments as well. Grant was totally geeking out at this point. Adam is his hero from that particular show.

There was an amusing moment before the panel started where an Indian couple actually asked if I was in costume or not. Tracy confirmed that I was and they were impressed at the good job we’d done. We laughed and said there were pins everywhere and there would have been no chance of me putting it on by myself, to which they replied that Idian women grow up dressing in saris and still need the help of many hands and many pins to make it work. We felt rather proud of ourselves after that.

The last event of the day before we were totally wrecked and needed to eat was the Doctor Horrible Sing-a-long. John is a massive fan of Dr Horrible. I’d only ever seen a couple of episodes as they were being posted up online years ago. It was fun seeing the whole thing together in that environment.