Friday, April 28, 2017

back remedies

I used to have disabling back pain.  Now it's under control.  I attribute this to several things I've done that help my back.

1. Caltrate + Minerals.  This supplement has been really amazing.  One thing I don't like, though, is that they've increased the amount of vitamin D in each pill.  The used to have 400 IU.  Now they have 800 IU.  The federal government recommends only 400 per day.  The higher amount is due to a national manic episode about vitamin D.  As a result of Pfizer increasing the vitamin D level in these pills, two doctors have told me my blood vitamin D level is too high.  I can't really use other mineral combinations, because either they aren't absorbed well enough, or they have too much magnesium, which gives me diarrhea. When the absorption isn't good, I still get back pain, or, alternatively muscle restlessness throughout my body

2. Shower, as recommended by a chiropractor: 5 minutes on my back as hot as I can stand, followed by 1 minute as cold as a I can stand.  I also do the yoga six motions of the spine under the hot water, every time I take a shower.  These are the cat & dog stretches, the puppy dog stretches, and twisting.  I've got to do a video of this, so people who don't know what I am taking about will understand.

3. Use of ice for the first 2 days after an acute episode of pain.  Again, as recommended by the chiropractor, it's 15 minutes of ice every hour, as needed.

4 Sleeping on my side with pillows between arms and legs

5. Daily yoga, exercise and/or weight routines, many of which are geared around the six motions of the spine, as well as strengthening abdominal muscles and back leg lifts..  I keep meaning to do youtube videos of my routines.  I have six different routines, which i keep rotating through.  I haven't got round to posting videos.  As my ex used to say, there is a shortage of round to-its.

6. Loose clothing.  I find tight clothing tends to send my muscles into painful spasms.  This includes waistlines and underwear elastic.  I am most comfortable in loose dresses. If I were a guy, who might not feel comfortable with dresses, would wear loose pants with suspenders.

7. Staying regular.  Constipation causes back pain.

8. Inversion.  See my headstand stool video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9UymDzN4U3U

9. Avoiding long uninterrupted periods of sitting

10. Doing the child pose for at least 30s followed by the rotation pose on both sides in response to low back pain.  Also useful: locust.

I should say, too, that carrying kids was a challenge.  I was in the chiropractor's office much more often when I was carrying pre-schoolers.


Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Apple update interfering with Microsoft Word for Mac 2011

This is very frustrating.  When Apple updates its operating system, suddenly old third party software doesn't work.  It makes me worry that Apple and the other software companies are in cahoots to force users to buy new software.  Unfortunately, I don't know if the government still cares about or enforces anti-trust laws.

In the present case, my Microsoft Word for Mac 2011 has developed a bug since an operating system update.  This is a screen shot of a "save as" function.


You will note that the "save as" window now extends past the bottom of the screen.  This prevents me from accessing the security options, such as adding passwords or removing identifying information from a document.

I had this problem earlier, because I was forced to buy Quickbooks 2016 and replace Quickbooks 2011, because of an operating system update.

This type of arrogance towards forcing the consumer to buy new software is infuriating.


Thursday, April 6, 2017

Song Release and photos from Villain contest

I've recently released my single, "Villain Song."

LINK:
ORDER THIS SONG ON CD BABY


ALBUM NOTES:


I originally wrote this song for a contest. In 2014, Jaguar had an ad at the Super Bowl with the slogan "good to be bad." The ad featured British actors who had played villains in Hollywood movies.

I wrote -- maybe tweeted -- Jaguar and told them I wished I could be a villain in a Hollywood movie. They told me that they couldn't help me achieve that goal, but that I could participate in their Villain contest. The prize was a trip to New Mexico and lessons from a race car driver driving their F4 around a racetrack. 

I decided that I would like to win this contest, because it might help me position myself as an actress who wants to play villain roles.

I originally understood the rules of the contest to include writing a villain song. Later, when I read the rules again it said that we only had to name a villain song that we liked, but I had already written the words and melody to this song. I put a YouTube video up of me singing only the melody. I tweeted them the link to the YouTube video, but I also named another villain song that I really like.

I didn't win the contest. I wasn't considered most villainous. 

However, I still had this song, so I decided to get it arranged. I hired my friend Stoddy Blackall to do the arrangement. He's a young singer/songwriter/pianist who is a graduate of the Berklee College of Music. I met him, because he was accompanying musical improv comedy in NYC and I have been studying musical improv comedy. I was always very impressed with his work as an improvisational accompanist. I found him to be exceptionally creative in a field of creative pianists. I think he's done an amazing job here.

Then I had this piece professionally recorded at the Outlook Recording Studio in Bethel, Maine. Conni St. Pierre, one of the co-owners, added a bit of percussion, to make it even spookier and more foreboding.

Cover photo by my son, Joseph McKenney-Barschall

Warning: violent, sociopathic lyrics -- but it's really for fun. I don't want to kill you. I just want to play a villain.

lyrics:

Chorus
-----------
I will use you. I will shed you
In my path, you are my tool 
I will use you. I will shed you
In my path, you are my fool.

Verse 1
-----------
In life, I choose to step with style,
And others serve, but for a while,
To fall beneath my striding boot,
Their slimed remains my triumph's root.

Verse 2
-----------
And those who think to thwart my plot
Will lie in shallow graves and rot
As I in glory rise to reign
And ever broaden my campaign

Bridge
---------
Compassion is a weak one's flaw
And friendship others' cloying maw
Alone I scheme to dominate
And soft ones see me far too late


MUSIC VIDEO


I'm also working on a music video for this song.  

In the music video, there will be a dancer who is my character's victim.  

The director of the video suggested that the song might by symbolic of my fight against cancer and that the dancer might represent the cancer.

At the time, I replied

I think, when you're talking about a dream, the dreamer is every character in the dream. I am the villain.  I am the cancer. I am fighting the cancer.  I am fighting me. The dancer is the cancer. The dancer is me.  That's how the subconscious works.  I've found that about my fantasies.
In retrospect, though, I don't really think the song is only about fighting cancer.  I think I'm angry about a number of things.  The villain character is also the personification of my general rage, not just about cancer.


Stills from video shoot



Stills from when I was in chemo and writing this song


Here are some photos Sheila Furjanic took of me when I was participating in the Villain Contest sponsored by Jaguar USA in 2014, which inspired this song.  I didn't win the contest, but it continues to inspire me creatively.  I'm working on a music video.

I was in chemo when I participated in the contest.  That's why I was bald. I hoped it would give me a more villainous look.  I may be in chemo again soon, so this may be my future as well as my past.