Best Kept Secrets – Popcorn and Gastric Motility

I want to know everything. I’m not one of those “oh, maybe I’ll look that up when I get home,” folks. I usually attempt to find answers straight away via my PDA or verycleverphone and if that proves unfruitful I’ll make a note and continue my search when I’ve made my way home. Perhaps this doesn’t seem all that unusual to you folks inside my computer and others who spend a great deal of time managing connections to the Information Superhighway (Route 0001) – but I have plenty of wonderful people in my life who find it rather strange. That or they have no idea how to properly query a search engine and they rely on me to find things for them. I have one sweet friend who unintentionally mixes sayings up to tell me, “the best kept secrets are those Denise hasn’t looked up.”

So, it seems rather strange – even to me – that I had no idea that coconut oil was what made movie theatre popcorn such a delight.

See, popcorn is my favorite food and for years I’ve popped it on my stovetop with vegetable oil. Like any good Alton Brown loyalist I tried peanut oil but I wasn’t a fan of the taste and went back to my old ways. I was content with my popcorn so I never thought to look into it – until recently. I guess even our favorites can get dull and I wanted something closer to that salty pot o’ golden kernels we find at the multiplex. So, I looked it up … and there is was, everywhere: coconut oil. A couple of nights ago I popped the absolute best smelling popcorn. My kitchen really did smell like the AMC Theatre I grew up going to. I tasted it, kids, and saw that it was good.

Popcorn lovers: use coconut oil. The jar even says it makes a “soothing body oil” so if you don’t like the corn, it’s not money wasted.

I’m glad I finally looked this up.

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A few years ago the gastroenterologist I was seeing took a look at the results of my gastric empty study and said something resembling “well, like I thought, nothing wrong here. Look, you just need to calm down, I don’t see any reason you should be in the pain you claim you’re in.”

I hated this guy. It’s not like I was some crazy drug seeker or I’d surely pick an organ whose pain you could treat with narcotics. He talked to me like I was a huge baby that couldn’t take pain (and, yes, he had no idea of my non-gastric medical history – but this guy probably would have said that a shattered femur was nothing to cry over) and was of the opinion that Crohn’s was no big deal to live with. Turns out, though, after going over my records with other doctors, the only thing this gentleman properly diagnosed after endoscopies, colonoscopies and testing me using every which method radioactive material can be passed through the digestive system, was that I was lactose intolerant – and it was his nurse who performed that test and the results are pretty damn easy to read.

I trusted him, though. Perhaps it was the white coat, the way he chuckled when he looked at test results or the expert manner in which he talked down to me about everything from my health to the Tampa Bay Lightning – but I truly believed that he at least knew what the proper results should be from a test that he, himself, had ordered performed on me.

I trusted him so I never looked it up.

If a doctor ever tells you that 178 minutes is a fine number to have as a gastric emptying half-time, walk away and find another gastroenterologist.

I spent the evening crying like a baby … no … crying like my heart had been broken … when I was told what the acceptable numbers were and just how far off I was. Lifestyle change is now needed – even more so than I had to make for Crohn’s – and, with how bad my stomach looks, perhaps some drastic (surgical) measures. I’m not looking forward to these things but I’m so glad that I now know. I know the pain has an actual cause. The days and weeks where I simply couldn’t eat were not just because I was “stressed out” and needed to “calm down.” I’m so hurt that someone I trusted to know what was going on was just so wrong, and worse, hurtful about it. I’ve always dealt with the most wonderful doctors and always been so involved in my healthcare (be your own advocate – no one else knows you the way you do!) – in fact, I’m friends with some of the specialists I see and would never expect someone to be perfect because they held the title of “medical doctor.” I expect everyone with that kind of power over someone’s life, though, to be kind – even if they’re faking it. It’s a part of the job.

I don’t think I’m going to become a completely untrusting person now – but I’m going to trust myself a little more. I’m not ready to start self-diagnosing but I am ready to start looking things up right in front of my doctors and asking more questions. Afterall, I know how to do things politely and until recently I was paid to research but, most of all, I know how to uncover the best kept secrets.

Things To Do When You’re Sick

When you’ve been stuck in bed – or at least around the house – for a week, things can get pretty boring.

Trust the sick girl on this one.

Now, I’m never really bored. My favorite thing to do when I need to relax is Wikipedia article hop – and I can get lost in that for hours – but this simply doesn’t cut it for an entire week.

Here are some things I found myself doing during this latest flare. Think: “limited mobility” and “nerd.”

  • Organizing and updating my Outlook contacts. Now every person I know a birthday, anniversary, spouses name or nickname for has this information noted in my contacts on my computer and my phone.
  • Learning to talk like the lady in my phone – MS Voice Command – so she’ll understand what I’m saying.
  • Writing reviews for everything I own on This way I’m helping humanity and my fellow consumer while I’m stuck under my laptop.
  • Organizing and backing up files (mostly pics, vids and music) on my home server.
  • More fun with Outlook – assigning pictures to contacts, ya know, in case I forget what they look like. This is something I always thought was silly but, hey, I had nothing better to do.
  • Organizing my purse and laptop bag with smaller bags for everything inside.
  • Researching sodas I’ve had in other countries or parts of this one and then order them.

Yup – I suck at finding things to do while I’m sick. Send me suggestions.


I have finally combined my PDA and my cellular phone utilizing nothing more than the power of the debit card. These things happen when you have faith.

And, yes, it did take me long enough, thank you.

My Dell Axim 51v has a beautiful, huge, responsive touch screen and is loaded down with the after market essentials like a registry editor, a task manager, a program to make it a remote for, like, any TV – but I found that even though I loved her so dearly I was getting sick of carrying her everywhere. She wasn’t only great to show off but capable and quick. Some days, though, I felt loaded down and I had to choose between her and the phone. The phone always won.

The phone, though, unlike a simple PDA, must always be within reach. I could put my Axim in it’s case and let it fall to the bottom of my laptop bag or purse and that was fine. It was protected from harm and that was first and foremost. The phone, on the other hand, not only didn’t have a touch screen to look out for but it was a clamshell so it was it’s own little fortress.

My new verycleverphone (a Sammy SCH-i760), though, needs something special and, as is usually the case, I know what exactly I want.

I’ve been salivating over this phone for months and when she finally arrived in my hands – unprogrammed, thanks to the not so clever smartphone selling gents at the VZW store … good thing I have half of an idea what I’m doing – I realized that I had no idea what I was doing. Alright, I know Windows Mobile like the back of my hand and I’m pretty sure I’m keen to the phone thing – but I wasn’t sure of some key items. Screen protector or not? Metal, rubber or something else for a case? Cradle? Holster …?

So I started researching my options. Since this phone is targeted at a small niche market (the Connectivity Cult) it’s proving difficult to find high quality after market cases and holsters. Especially those that don’t look completely butch – and for those of you that know my “business lesbian” look, it’s obvious that I could use a little touch of girly. Or at least not an extra touch of manly.


(Imagine less makeup – this is me wearing my game-night countenance with my IT clothes.)

I won’t lie to you, either. There is a certain side of me, as I’m not a Fashion Administrator, that wanted to embrace my inner-geek and buy this gadget holster to wear around everywhere. If I can’t have a blaster on my side I may as well have my second choice weapon readily available.

On to the Point:

I figured out almost exactly what I want – but I have yet to find it. I want a fitted case with an extremely strong snap on belt clip – similar to the i-volution case from Vaja. I want it to have a removable (zipper? snaps?) flip open screen cover and, like some of the Vaja cases, have the flash card holsters inside. I also want a small sleeve on this removable cover … tight, like in a wallet … where I can throw in a debit card, my drivers license and a few bucks.  I would also prefer that the keyboard not be covered in plastic.  That annoys me.

I’m even flexible on whether or not the flap-cover is removable – but it’s gotta have the sleeve.

(ETA: the reason I wanted the cover over the face to be removable was so that I could have screen protection when I needed it but also pull that bad boy off when I’m using the phone for long calls – that way I don’t have a flap sticking up making me look like I’m using a big ol’ oversized flip-phone.  Thanks for asking.)

Here’s where I’m, apparently, asking too much. I want it to have two little hooks, one on either side, and a thin, color matched strap with an adjustable drop length similar to that of a cross body purse.

I got the small cell phone bag idea while I was looking around eBags and stumbled on the Baggallini Flip Phone Bagg and fell in love with the idea of a cross body bag whose primary purpose was to hold my phone. The straps come off and it has a belt clip which, in my world, is essential. Chicks pockets aren’t big enough for gadgets (even my RAZR’s itty-bitty form factor annoyed me when I shoved it in there) and I’m more than a power-user, here- I need my device with me at all times while I’m working. You can also use the short strap to attach the bag to your purse or laptop bag. I love the idea. Something like this could simply be dropped in a purse or thrown over your shoulder on it’s own – depending on what your needs were at the time. This teeny, tiny bag, though, is too big, IMHO, for belt clipping. I’m afraid it would look and feel like a fanny pack.

So I want a smartphone on a string, basically. But sometimes on a clip. Also with a little, tiny sleeve.

How do men get by without purses?

“Justin” is a Kid Name

I have only known a few adults named “Justin,” but every one I have met has failed to convince me that the name is befitting a grown-up. For some reason – and I’m almost sure that I’m the only one who even has thoughts like this run through their head – I only think the name sounds appropriate on children. I feel pretty much the same way about the female names “Ashley,” “Brittany,” “Emily,” “Lindsay,” “Tiffany” – well, a lot more girls names than boys. Especially since the only other boys name I really feel that way about is “Dustin” which, we all know, is just the poor-man’s “Justin.” In my head, there are some names that just sound like they belong on children that aren’t meant to grow into adults – or, perhaps, are meant to grow into adults that act like children.

I’ve never looked at a fully grown man and thought, “he looks like a ‘Justin.’”

Use of diminutives and common nicknames for adults can be weird sometimes, too – but at least you can get away from that. “Robert” definitely sounds more grown-up than “Bobby” (and “Bob is just too old sounding). Same with “Billy”-”William”-”Bill” and “Joey”-”Jospeh”-”Joe.” Chick names don’t suffer from this as much, in my humble O, because we’re allowed to be cutesy, especially if it’s only part of the time.

But, “Justin” … I really think that sounds like a kid name all around.

That’s just me.

Whatever – my name sucks. I dig it, ya’ know, since it’s my name but no man has ever been like “Denise, what a beautiful name!” I wouldn’t believe anyone if they told me that, anyway. It’s peak popularity in the States was apparently in the years 1955-56 where it ranked 23rd – not exactly modern. In ’55 it shared it’s ranking on the dudes side with the name “Dennis.” That’s pretty interesting, I suppose, since that’s the name my father and brother share. Also, considering that neither of them ever broke into the top ten, it’s pretty weird to see them sharing a ranking at any point on the time-line. At least it’s a grown-up name, right?

Oh, hell, now I’m second guessing whether my name is a grown-up name or not.

Either way, “Justin” is not. That was my point.

I’d love to find out what other people think about this grown-up name business but, seriously, who would even waste their time thinking about this? I almost can’t believe I do … I’m a pretty busy person whose brain is typically used for decisions in matters that are much more pressing.

Still, though, “Justin” equals kid name and “Dustin” … well that ones just weird – like a dirty “Justin.” Where did the name “Dustin” come from, anyway? “Justin” was an early Christian martyr or something (at first I thought he was the argonaut guy but that’s just ’cause I’m tired – corrected myself as soon as I said it out loud). It’s also probably not a good idea to give someone a name whose beginning could be pronounced by kids with an exaggerated first syllable to color it’s holder as retarded – trust me. At least it’s good to be “just.” It’s never good to be “duh.”

… and those are my thoughts on the name “Justin.”

Love Me Dead

Like any good hammer, when I die I want my body converted into radio waves with a text information tag included, RDS style – from LF all the way up into the micorwave spectrum – and sent off into the dark so aliens from the future can DX me and send word back to my heirs for a QSL card.

I have this sinking feeling, though, that this isn’t really going to happen.

Thinking as an alive person – and I often do – I have slight issue with both common options of being burned up and being buried deep under ground. Being thrown into the ocean is slightly more appealing than those choices, I suppose, but still not ideal.

I don’t really mind being confined to small spaces – in fact, I’ve always kind of loved the security of it – so a mausoleum-type deal seems alright. Especially if it has a bench of something so people can come visit me – oh, and electrical power and internet access (or mobile phone reception) so I can have a computer set up from which they can read me Wikipedia articles and try to describe new Lolcats (Living – Ur doin it wrong). Also, this way, when I come back as a zombie, I can do a little research into the world in which I’ll be wandering out into. Everyone has a better survival chance with a little understanding of their world – even zombies.

I really do like the idea of someone keeping me in their house – but the fact that I don’t want to be burned up or embalmed (hello, I am already filled with fluid, no need for formaldehyde, Douche bags!) probably doesn’t make keeping my decomposing body around seem like much fun for those picky-ass breathers. If someone did want to keep me, though, I’m perfectly fine with being rolled up in a blanket and thrown in the closet or under the bed. Like I said – I’m cool with tight spaces. Be wary, though … if you keep me in your house you may end up as my first zombie meal. Just something to consider.

There’s always the Lenin-style permanent display but, to be honest, I think I’d feel pretty awkward with all those people staring at me. If my dead body somehow ends up with healing powers, though, I’ll make the sacrifice.

I think I’ve just figured it out and this is totally doable – unlike making me into a carrier wave. I want to buy a garage with just enough space for my car. It must be nicely chilled so that I last a while. My car must have a full tank of gas (my Evo takes premium, kids) and I’ll need the remote to the garage door on my passenger-side visor. I want to be left in the drivers seat. There should be a bench so that people can come spend time with me without having to get in the car – but they can if they want to – I think that’d be pretty cool. This way, if I never turn into a zombie, I at least have a nice rad, comfortable, fun display case and people will see how freakin’ cool I was. If (more like “when,” IMHO) I do turn into a zombie, though, I’ll totally have a sweet ride instead of walking around all “ggggrrrrrrr” with my arms stuck out like a T-Rex.

Or the regular old mausoleum thing is OK, too.

Thank the Lord For the Night Time

I’m an insomniac – I always have been. I have to be so tired I can barely stand before I can slow my wandering mind down enough to allow me sleep. I have spent many evenings laying in my bed, staring up at the ceiling trying not to think but most of the time I give in and Wikipedia-hop till four or five in the morning.

I didn’t get home from work until 0030 – late game and then a friend needed a flat replaced with her spare – and since I actually worked until 2300 I’m pretty tired physically but even now I can’t stop my thoughts. Once a question creeps in I have to find the answers to alleviate the brain-strain-pain.

I NEED to know everything about Myanmar (or should I call it Burma?) and the military junta there – NOW!

On my way home from work tonight I almost called my mom and last night I did call one of my best friends pretty damn late. I think one issue with my particular brand of insomnia is having absolutely no natural awareness or sensation about what time it is. I’ve called friends at midnight on a Tuesday thinking it must only be ten or so – in fact, I’ve just never been much of a clock watcher. Maybe I’m flashing a constant 12:00 and my clock just needs to be reset.

Sometimes I get my best housework done in the middle of the night. My fully-clad pots and pans aren’t dishwasher safe and since I hate washing dishes (for a reason that makes me seem like I should be put in a padded room – it has to do with my not enjoying being only partially wet – weirdo) they tend to sit in the sink and “soak.” Sometimes I’ll walk through the kitchen for a snack at 2am and see them there and just get ‘em all cleaned up. The stupor brought on by the lack of shuteye makes busting out the Bar Keepers Friend and scrubbing the pots seem like no big deal.

I’m so tired now that a post about my inability to sleep seemed like a nifty idea. What’s with that?

I’ve had quite a few people in my life – mostly men – who can fall asleep anywhere and almost any time. I can only sleep in a bed or on a sofa, fully prostrate and with covers up to my eyebrows. I can never sleep in a car and you won’t find me falling asleep if there are people around me, no matter the relationship, that are still awake. I’d like to, though. Talk about a strange thing to find romantic – I’ve always wanted to be able to fall asleep in the arms of someone who is still awake. What’s weirder than that – the fact that when I do sleep, I sometimes dream about that.

About my dreams – the little bit of sleep that I do get is filled with amazingly vivid, realistic, exciting dreams. It’s like an IMAX experience every night and I’m one of those who will wake up and have to take a few minutes to get my bearings, realize where I really am and shake off the emotions left by the things I imagined while asleep. My dreams are so wild – just so damn cool sometimes – that I have to restrain myself from trying to have conversations with my friends about them … and I never forget them.

Isn’t it strange how something as natural and seemingly simple as sleep can draw forth so many words from an exhausted girl at one-thirty in the morning? Isn’t it strange how I can be so extremely warn out from a work day that didn’t end until after the evening news was over and still not be able to find sleep? I kind of hope it’s not all that strange ’cause, hell, this has been going on as long as I can remember and I don’t want to be strange! Not while I’m awake, at least … which, for better or for worse, is most of the time.

Ornithologists and Birdwatchers: Hear My Cry!

Dear people that know about such things:

I’m desperately seeking information about a bird. Whether this is one bird or an entire school/herd/pack/tribe, I haven’t an idea. This bird lives in the north Tampa/south Pasco area and I do not know if it is a native or invasive species.

This bird is definitely nocturnal. It tends to sing it’s … song, which sounds oddly similar to a car alarm … at about 0230 EDST every. single. night.

chiiiiiiIIIIIIIIIIRP. chiiiiiiIIIIIIIIIIRP. CHIRP, CHIRP, CHIRP, CHIRP, chIIIiiiiiiIIIIiiiirrrRRRRrrrp, chIIIiiiiiiIIIIiiiirrrRRRRrrrp, CHIIIIIIIiiiiirp, CHIIIIIIIiiiiirp - sorry, my bird-to-English transliteration skills are truly lacking.

I’m wondering a few things like what type of bird this might be, what it looks like, what it eats, what it’s natural predators are, whether or not it’s flame retardant and/or worth any money on the black market.

Please feel free to contact me any time, day or night. I simply can’t sleep until my, uh, curiosity is quelled by knowledge about this interesting creature.

Please help me,

Denise Sisko

My Box of Cheez-Its Called Me a Loser

I was going to buy Cheez-Its anyway (they’re yummy) – so, why not buy the box that could have a free toy?


I like sports cards. I like autographs. I really like Cheez-Its. What’s to lose?

How about … my self esteem.


I hate to be a presumptive bastard but I kinda figured that if there’s no card in the box then I’m out of luck and, conversely, if there is a card in the box then I get to keep it. Did I need all that fine print … which covers the inside of the box? How much legalese do you need concerning a Kristi Yamaguchi card?

And, seriously, who needs their box of Cheez-Its reminding them that they are a loser? Excuse me – “not a winner.”

I already knew that, thank you very much. I’m sitting at home – alone – with bronchitis and eating Cheez-Its. No disclaimer necessary.

Breaking News?

Deborah Palfrey has allegedly committed suicide here in the Tampa Bay Area (at the home of her mother in Tarpon Springs). This is according to the NEWS ALERT Fox 13 just broke in to bring me.

So, I guess it’s interesting and all … I mean, in a sick, voyeuristic kind of way … but is it really the kind of thing you interrupt other shows for? Would they do it for me?

“… she was found wearing her blue spandex and clutching a photo of Steven Stamkos.”

I guess we’re just feeling special that she chose our area. Hmmph.