Coriander / Cilantro Hater

So, let me give some background – for years I tried to like curry when I went out and could never get past something that I didn’t like.  I didn’t know what it was I just knew curries out (and some in) were just plain disgusting.  Don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed the spiciness of my food, I’ve always loved rice but something in the food just put me off.  Then, I met a friend, from Asian decent who told me, “maybe its the coriander”.

I had no idea what he was talking about!  I mean, yes I knew coriander was a herb, I knew it got used in Indian food (also in Mexican and Thai) but could this be the reason why I hadn’t liked curry for so long?  So, me, him (and others) went for a curry and when I ordered mine, I specifically asked for mine with no coriander.  (Fellow coriander haters, you know the look the waiter gives you when you say this?  He gave it to me good.)  Anyway, food ordered and I waited with anticipation, would this be yet another curry I wouldn’t enjoy or would it be a taste sensation?  The result, it was a revelation!  The curry was absolutely divine!

coriander

So, I had finally discovered why I didn’t like curries and Mexican food.  Now, I just had to remember every time I went out to say, “no coriander”.  (One time after, I specifically ordered a curry with no coriander but forgot to do the same with the rice and it was laced in the stuff – lesson learnt.  Just because you say no coriander on the main, doesn’t automatically mean they won’t put on your sundries.)  The same applies when I/we go food shopping, every time there is something new I/we scour the list of ingredients two or three times just to make sure the deadly ingredient isn’t there!

It seems, I am not alone a quick google and I found this website which certainly made me smile!  But for those who don’t understand, here is a list of points to note:

  1. Coriander just tastes like rusty nails or a bitter, soapy mess and if I wanted to eat my dinner on the floor of a DIY store, then I would!
  2. Coriander is just plain disgusting.   Whether there’s a little or a lot, as soon as I taste it, my food is ruined!
  3. Chefs, please note – I do not require half soggy pieces of coriander, “garnish”!
  4. Fellow haters, as I said above you must have received the look of horror on your waiter’s/waitresses face when you tell him/her that you do not want coriander!
  5. You might be lucky, see it on the menu, so you ask them to leave it out, and when you receive your meal, it’s covered in the stuff!  Perhaps I should have lied and said I was allergic!
  6. We all have that one friend that says, “just try it, you might like it”. Do they not understand my pain!?
  7. On a number of occasions, I’ve thought, oh its ok, it’s just flat leaf parsley.  I take one bite and discover it’s actually coriander.  I want a refund!
  8. Mexican food, one of my favourites but the food is laced in coriander!  Either in the guacamole or the salsa … or both!  No, no, no!  Wrong!

I think I’ve made my point, coriander is evil!

Follow me on Twitter.

~PAL

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How To Be A Transport Enthusiast

Hugo, who I follow on Twitter posted this rather humorous post about being a transport geek enthusiast the other day.  I checked with her that I could post it which was duly consented.  Give him a follow on Twitter, oh and also check out his, Zone 2 (was 1) Tube Stations World Cup

How to be a transport enthusiast: in Twitter thread form because I should have a blog instead and can’t be bothered.

  1. Be prepared to lose a lot of friends. This is absolutely fine, you don’t need their toxic viewpoints anyway. Rule Number One is that you must do you.
  2. You’ll probably travel alone a lot. Don’t kid yourself with what certain documentaries say – having someone with you is NOT the norm. You should be OK with this too – other people can cramp your style anyway and this way you don’t accidentally lose them.
  3. Do your research yourself. Don’t accept what people tell you – come up with your own opinions and discover the facts yourself. You’ll find most things people try and tell you are spread across the Internet already – or in books. Read books too. Best weapons in the universe.
  4. Your map collection is the cornerstone of your hobby – not your merchandise. (Unless you’re more of an items collector, in which case Rule One applies.) A branded T shirt does not an enthusiast make, it’s not compulsory. Neither is a duvet cover or anything else like that.
  5. Keep your eyes and ears open. Ours is a changing world – and the clues to the past and future are everywhere. Bridge over nothing? Probably means a lost railway or river. Road diverts to avoid area? Perhaps it’s earmarked for future development. There are no coincidences.
  6. Dress for the occasion. Make sure it’s comfortable, it’s warm and it’ll keep you that way. And no, it doesn’t have to be an anorak – it should be an anorak if and only if you like wearing anoraks.
    Make sure you wear good shoes though. You never know where you might end up.
  7. Have fun. You’re in this because you enjoy it. You’re the person who takes a thing of hate and makes it a thing of love. The one who doesn’t hesitate to learn new things. People spend millions to be one tenth as happy as you can be. So buckle up, this bus is about to move.

You’ve Got Mail

Probably not the most apt title because you’re probably all thinking of that 1998 film with Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan.  (Along with a whole heap of other films, it’s another one I haven’t seen.)

Instead of writing about junk email spam, which drives me equally crazy, last year I thought I would conduct some sort of experiment.  I wanted to see how much junk mail me, or my wife would receive over the course of the year.  Here were my so called rules for a piece of post to be classed as “junk”.

  1. It had to be junk mail – i.e. not a bank statement, bill, birthday card etc.
  2. It had to be addressed to either one of us and not to, “Homeowner” and the like.  (If it did, it wouldn’t count.)
  3. It had to arrive between 1st January 2017 and 31st December 2017

That simple and so for the last year, I’ve been collecting junk mail.  Despite telling the “winner” to stop sending out material to me, they continue.  Here are the results:

Company Addressed to Quantity
Capital One The wife 1
Consumer Refund Service Me 1
Talk Talk Me 1
Legal and General Me 2
Legal and General The wife 1
Sky The wife 3
Severn Trent – Home Serve Me 4
Nationwide Building Society Me 3
Nationwide Building Society The wife 1
Barclaycard Me 8
Barclaycard The wife 8

We have our winner guys!  16 times, 16 times(!) Barclaycard wrote to us.  I phoned them at least once to say we weren’t interested and yet they still write.  Just imagine if they’re sending 8 letters out per person in the country over the age of 18!  And we wonder why this country is in such a mess financially!  Barclaycard, Nationwide and other financial institutions, stop it!

This is my pile of junk from 2017 – see you in early 2019 for 2018’s results!

(Oh and yes, I will be tweeting Barclaycard and Nationwide this blog post!  See you on Twitter!)

New Year, New Me?

What are normal new year’s resolutions?  In fact, what are “resolutions”?  According to the dictionary they are, a formal expression of opinion or intention made”.  I guess its a good job that I haven’t made any then isn’t it!

We can all want to have that “formal expression” of the “intentions” we want to have for the coming year, we can all want to be better than we were before.  Looking at myself, I am not perfect – far from it!  Yes, I do some of the, “good things” in life.  I go to church, label myself as a Christian, give a fair bit to charity regularly, I try to be the guy that would give you the shirt off his back if you needed it etc. but that really doesn’t make me any better than the next person.

Along the way, and throughout 2017, I am sure I have annoyed you at least once – sorry man, I am only human.  In the same way, if you annoyed me, it’s ok, lets move on together, new year, new slate?  If we’ve gone past that stage, and reconciliation isn’t possible, due to my stubbornness or yours, that is also ok – have a great 2018 and all that life throws your way, through the good times and the not so good.

I am a firm believer that everything happens for a reason although I am not a believer in fate or chance.  Sometimes it can be very apparent why things happen to us, but other times, we can be wondering about “stuff” for the rest of our lives.  There are a lot of things that have happened to me, even in the last year or so, that at the time I thought I wanted so badly but now, I am so so glad that I don’t have it.  Some things, even some people, can be toxic for us and it takes a strong person to walk away from them.

So, as I said at the beginning, I am not going to make any new year’s resolutions, as I’d never stick to them fully.  The only thing I want to do this year is to keep this (my blog) more up to date and when the doors of life swing back into my face, try not to be disappointed because something bigger and better is coming my way.

Happy New Year!

~PAL

One of Three – Complete

A long overdue post – simply because nothing was happening … until a few weeks ago.  A couple of hospital appointments, a phone call to chase it, a dental check up and it was finally going to happen – I was to start my Osteoporosis treatment.  (Cue: suspense music!)

I had had a few appointments with my consultant, who continues to be intrigued by my case.  (As I’ve said before, given the severity and the fact I’m not(!) a post menopausal woman, I don’t fit the “norm” for this.)  I last saw him (my consultant) back in September who told me treatment (Zolederonic Acid), with my consent, needed to start as soon as possible.  We talked through all the possible side effects but ultimately, the final decision was mine.  Given the fact, I’m a couple months away from my third year anniversary of my ankle breaking, and not wanting another, I agreed that we should press on.

One of the (few) associated side effects is Osteonecronis of the Jaw and so before I could start treatment, I needed a dentist appointment.  Having gone a few years ago and getting fleeced a small fortune, along with this being the place that probably gave me a reason to dislike needles, I went.  Fortunately, my teeth were fine and only the standard clean and check-up were required.

And so, on the 5th December – it was treatment day, one of three.  (They will repeat these infusions once a year for three years.)  Not liking needles, it was certainly a day I was not looking forward to and my high blood pressure reflected this but needs must and so in I went.  She, the nurse, sat me down, and went through the usual identity checks.  At the end, she admitted to me, that she had read my case notes and was very shocked at the state of my bones, given my age and gender.  (Where have I heard this before?!)  She was telling me that most people that come in for treatment are pensioners and hadn’t treated someone my age before.

She setup the infusion and gave me the, “slight scratch” to get the needle in.  It was more of a, “slight scratch”, but it went in …or so we both thought.  She checked it, with water, and saw that the needle had, “popped out” and so she had to put it in again.  It was even worse the second time, but she got it in and so treatment began.  I was also given a cup of coffee (well, coffee flavoured hot water) and biscuits, I felt could get used to this, I felt like royalty.  We were all done in about 30 minutes or so with no adverse reaction.

     

On the evening, the flu like side effects began, but only slightly.  My neck felt stiff and achey and my side hurt too.  This was gone the next morning and so I thought I was over it … then, come lunchtime I felt absolutely freezing (I’m never cold) and then hot again.  (Now I really was becoming a menopausal woman suffering hot and cold sweats!!)  Powering through work, I came home and was in bed before 6:30pm.  The following morning stiffness came back and I generally just felt rubbish for about 3 or 4 days.  But then, as quickly as they came, the side effects went – hopefully the drugs will improve my bone density, time will tell.

To be continued …

The bottom of the bell

Yesterday was another Osteoporosis appointment at the hospital and I had planned to post about that as my Osteoporosis journey continues.  I thought to give some kind of update but that’s going to have to wait until I’m in the right frame of mind.

One thing that did get discussed yesterday was the bell curve of bone density.  (As I’ve said before 0 to -1 is “normal” bone density, -1.1 to -2.4 is Osteopenia and -2.5 and below is full on Osteoporosis.)  At a previous appointment, letter and again yesterday the doctor and professor both said again that my case was severe.  I was quite … dismissive of the word “severe” and thought to myself quietly, “nah … its not that bad”.

Anyhow, here is a bell curve:

bellcurve

Yesterday, I asked the professor, “how old are my bones”?  He explained that at my age, I should be at the very top of the curve  Basically, you develop bone density and as you get older (40’s onwards), bone density starts to drop off, which is normal.  In time, many contributing factors (age being a prime one) starts the decline.  Anyway, he said, I should be at the top of the chart, at the very top of the bell … but I’m not.  I asked him where I was and he said, “oh you, you’re right at the very bottom you have severe Osteoporosis”.  (The word, “severe” came out again!)  Again, I was still almost like, “yea whatever”!

Now, I’m part of an Osteoporosis support group which is useful for information but I’ve just read this.

score

The lights have now suddenly gone on!

By way of reference, I’m 37, typically Osteoporosis is more common in women, and my score in my spine is -4.5.  This now has really hit home.  I don’t expect sympathy, I’m just a little shell shocked by this news and wanted to blog it.

Take a chance

Nothing profound really but felt the need to blog about this.  Yesterday, at work, I went to the toilet.

Upon my arrival at the toilet, what do I see but a £1 coin down the toilet.  This quickly got me thinking, do I wrap my hand in toilet paper and grab the money out?  (For the record, I didn’t and as far as I know, the money is still there!)  But this got me thinking, if I’d have taken a chance, I’d be a £1 up.  Life can be about making the right decisions and choices, about, “taking a chance”.

money

Whatever crossroads you’re currently at and you’re not sure, why don’t you, in the words of Benny Andersson and Björn Ulvaeus, “Take a chance“?

Incidentally below, are my favourite euphemisms for going for a wee)

  1. Talking to grandma slowly
  2. Spending a penny
  3. Draining the radiator
  4. Emptying my tank
  5. Going to water my horse
  6. Paying the water bill
  7. Writing my name in the water

~PAL

More calcium please …

Happy New Year!

Not blogged in the longest time, mostly due to writer’s block and not having a clue of what to say.  But the new year is here, welcome 2017 – boom!  What are your hopes for this year?  What do you expect to achieve?  What do you want from this year?

Me, I think I want answers.  Let me back track and tell you a very quick story …

In late 2013, I was limping around and after much persuasion (and nagging!), I went to the doctors and got a referral to the hospital who confirmed I broken my second toe.  How?  Who knows!  I assume by stubbing it on the bed but I really don’t know!  Fast forward to February 2015, whilst in Belfast, I break my left talus (the sticky out bit of your ankle).  I had surgery on it in April 2016, which I still don’t think is right now, and diagnosed with post traumatic arthritis in September 2016.  Long before my op. I was told by a friend (a recently retired GP) to try and get a DEXA scan to measure my bone density.  I mentioned this to my GP who smiled when I asked for the referral.  She told me, because I am a man and young, I’d be low priority.  I waited and in around May 2016, I think, I got my scan done.  Went back to the GP who confirmed it was negative.  I had/have Osteoporosis or brittle bones.  At this stage, I was quite laid back about the whole thing thinking it wasn’t that bad as I thought, it was a woman’s disease.  I went to the hospital again in October 2016 for an official appointment and a chat and it seems its a lot worse than what I had first thought.  I’ve been diagnosed with severe Osteoporosis!  (For informational purposes, a T-score of 0 to -1 is considered “normal”, -1.1 to -2.4 is Osteopenia (the stage before Osteoporosis) and anything below is considered full on Osteoporosis.  My T-scores were -2.4 in my hips and -4.5 in my lower spine.  So yea I have it pretty severe in my back!)

That’s where I am now.  I am currently awaiting 2 hospital appointments, one for my ankle and one specifically for my bones.  How do I feel?  I feel …

    • Old.  I have joined a Facebook group for people who also suffer from Osteoporosis.  It’s kinda strange seeing people’s stories.  Some of these people are 30/40 years older than me who have marginally better scores than me.  Occasionally, I still get ID’d when buying alcohol (get in!) and so it appears I have the looks of someone under 25 but medically, I have the bones of a pensioner!
    • Paranoid.  The weather at the moment is frosty and cold in the mornings and so walking to and from the bus stop for work etc. I am paranoid of slipping over and breaking something else!  Yesterday, we went to Sainsbury’s to get a few things.  It had been raining and the entrance hall ramp was all wet and slippery.  My son was holding my hand and as he went tearing down the slight ramp to the entrance, he slipped on his butt nearly taking me with him.
    • Why me?  My GP told me that majority of people who suffer from Osteoporosis are either:
        1. Middle aged women who have gone through menopause
        2. Black people as they don’t absorb the sun (Vitamin D) very well
        3. Older people because as you get older your bones start to wear away

      bones

I don’t fit any of these (although number 1 is questionable! LOL!) so it will be interesting to see where it all stems from because at this stage, they don’t know why I have Osteoporosis.  I intend to blog my journey with this condition/disease and give an update on my progress.  My next bone appointment is at the end of January, next update then.

~PAL

Cross cultural

Not blogged in ages – down to … a lack of inspiration and ideas mainly.  Saw someone last night who told me to get blogging again and someone else again tonight, who didn’t know I blogged.  But now, I have an idea, something to blog about …

In 27 days time (on Monday 8th August), I’m going here …

Romania

Well, more accuratly to Constanța, which is on the east cost of Romania.  I am out there for 2 weeks as part of a course I am doing.  For the first 3 days, we’ll be learning Romanian culture and Romanian Sign Language and then we’re off.

It’s worth pointing out at this stage, the Romanian signed alphabet is similar, although not the same, as the American Sign Language alphabet.  I actually learnt ASL fairly recently at a days workshop.  Initially, I felt like I was back in my early days of learning sign, but towards the end of the afternoon, we watched a film and I found I was actually understanding the signs without the subtitles!  Hopefully, the same will be true in Romania with their signs.

Back to Romania … after the first 3 days, we will be doing kids clubs, crafts, games, dramas, meeting the local Deaf people … and other things as they crop up.  All the events are geared towards Deaf people or CODAs (Children of Deaf Adults).  There is 14 of us in the group, 4 hearies and 10 Deaf people.  It’s going to be interesting to see how both sets of groups adjust to the new language and culture.  Nervous?  No, I don’t think so.  Apprehensive, maybe a tad!  Rebekah and I (and another guy in the group, Jay) have been to Romania before when our friend got married, who is now living out there with his kids and Romanian wife.  So, culture should be fine but back then we didn’t know any Romanian signs.

This reminds me of a funny story whilst we were out there.  From the hotel one night, Rebekah, Jay, myself, along with two other guys told a taxi driver we wanted to go to a “night club”.  Harmless right?!  We got there, it was very dark and dingy with no music playing.  We thought nothing of it and carried on talking.  An hour or so passed and the music still hadn’t started.  It was then, whilst looking around, that we realised we were in the wrong place!  Men were muttering sweet nothings to ladies that were there, it had seedy lighting … yes, we’d ended up in a strip club! (Ooopsie, sorry mum!)  Turns out that we should have asked for a “disco”!  I wonder what the taxi driver when four blokes and a girl got into his taxi, asking for a strip club.  Did he think we were all Rebekah’s pimps!?  Ha ha!

Anyhow, I’m going to try and blog everyday whilst I am there but it depends on availability of WiFi and how busy we are.  Failing that, I will try and write it down the old fashioned way and do a blog when I get back to England, on the 22nd August.

Till then, ‘la revedere’!  (The Romanian word for, ‘goodbye’.)

Oh and this, if you’re on Twitter – please retweet this.  Thanks

tweet

~PAL

Registering yourself

Not blogged on a deaf related subject for a while, partly due to nothing to say, partly due to being busy with work.  At the moment, signed off from work, has given me the chance to sit back, take time out, drink copious amounts of coffee whilst downing painkillers!

Anyway, registering yourself – why can’t deaf people register themselves as deaf?  I mean, I’ve looked on a few websites and you can register yourself as partially sighted or blind, but you can’t register yourself deaf – how come?  Maybe it is a certainty that as you get older, you will lose some of your hearing, so maybe the view is taken, “tough, get over it”.  But I’ve noticed, that if one registers one’s self as blind or partially sighted you get various benefits or concessions.  At a very quick glance, you’d get :

  • A blind person’s tax allowance
  • Reduction (50% off) your TV license
  • Blue badge (for free parking)
  • Free cinema pass for your carer

These are just items I have found looking very quickly but why don’t deaf people qualify for these?  I remember talking to TV licensing before and they said, they viewed TV as a “visual affair” and so that’s why deaf people don’t get the reduction on their TV license.  Granted a lot of programs now do include subtitles, but have you tried watching the news live with the dreadful accompanying (not accurate) subtitles?!  A lot of catch up television doesn’t include subtitles and so if you don’t watch it the first time, well you’ve missed it.  I don’t see the government giving out free PVR‘s for deaf people to record onto?

The same goes for subtitled cinema, they tend to only show one subtitled showing of said film, miss that because you’re working, and you have to wait for the DVD.  (Both times of late my wife has been to the cinema to see a subtitled viewing … and the subtitles weren’t turned on.  Really?)  My wife doesn’t expect me to be her interpreter (or the kids for that matter) but why should a blind person get their friend in for free whereas a deaf person couldn’t get their hearing friend in?

Parking – Ok maybe deaf people don’t need a blue badge to park, but there are places, such as at airports and other public places that have a barrier that you need speak into.  The deaf person can’t hear what’s being said and can the operator understand a “deaf voice”?  I remember quite recently, a well known, almost famous (in the deaf world) deaf guy was “trapped” in a car park and couldn’t get out.  In the end, he had to phone his hearing wife on the phone and she had to speak to the man (through the phone) into the barrier.  Is this really equal access?!

I’ve noticed that items are readily produced in braille or large print such as the latest EU Referendum tosh that the Government spent £9 million on, but when deaf people want it in their first (or preferred) language of BSL, they often get over looked.  Why?  I’ve just done a very quick bit of investigation.  There are 20,000) Braille users vs. 90,000 BSL users.  (Both of these are approx. figures.)  Yet the EU Referendum package wasn’t translated into BSL.  Erm, why not? Shouldn’t you treat one sensory loss as you’d treat another?  It isn’t fair!

Government – sort it!