Life of Megan

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

One dollar--still worth something

A few years back, when I was home in Rock Hill visiting my family, I drove to Woody's Music Store to buy my brother a gift certificate for his birthday. In front of the store stood a huge bin of records, partially sorted, all for $3.50 or less. There was a jazz album I'd been hoping to try out at the time--most likely Miles Davis--so I thought I'd search through the bin. I have a record player. It can't do stacks or anything, but it's nice to have around. As much as I like technology, it's hard to beat the extra cracks and pops that you get on a record, especially when you're playing older music. Somehow, they just seem to add authenticity to the overall sound.

Anyhow, as I was looking for this album, which I never found, I came across a record called "Byrdland" by Charlie Byrd. I picked it up because the cover art was neat, it was only $1.00, and mostly because I was thinking of Charlie "Bird" Parker. Imagine my surprise when I played the record for the first time and discovered the music was not the bebop saxophone sound I was expecting, but a Latin-inspired jazz guitarist!

Still, though the price and my name confusion lead me to purchase this album, it quickly became one of my favorites. The sound is so unusual--distinctively jazz yet inspired by everything from bossa nova to Arabic themes--and so soothing that the music suits itself well to study or relaxation. It is fast enough to be appropriate for a romantic evening with dancing and subtle enough to enjoy with coffee in the morning.

When I finally bothered to look at the back of the album, I discovered notes by Anthony Tuttle.
If there are boundaries to the realm that is Byrdland, then Charlie's latest album, like his others, fails to define them . . . The sound? The Sound is All--jazz-orientated [sic] in mood and mood and scope, yet at times possessing a Baroque delicacy, at others a brooding Moorish flavor, then again an oriental sound or a flash of flamenco fire . . .
This is a great but short album, and if you get a chance, I recommend you give it a shot. You can buy a CD featuring both Byrdland and Brazilian Byrd at

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Queen of histimines

Three weeks ago, I went back to the allergist for the first time in a while. Rest assured, I'd been on a slew of allergy and asthma medicines in the interim between now and my last period of regularly seeing an allergist, but my sinus infections finally annoyed the docs at Gannett enough to earn me a new referral. I initially felt like it was pointless. I'm allergic to everything, but my symptoms don't usually bother me (except for the entrenched sinus infections). Allergy shots haven't worked for me twice already (though I probably should have given them more time on the second go-around). But I had the hope that maybe we'd find a way to get rid of the sinus infections, so I happily went.

I was really happy when they decided to do the RAST (blood) test for allergies instead of the skin test. Last time I had the skin test, my back was a giant hive. I read up on RAST and found out that it is suggested for people with atopic eczema, who often get a lot of false positives on skin tests. I was hoping this would be the case for me.

It wasn't. I'm allergic to just about everything. Worse than that--despite having taken my antihistimine without missing a dose for more than the last week, I had maximum reactions to two of the three follow-up tests they did today. The test for mold still looks like an allergy shot gone bad five hours after the fact.

I wonder whether my allergy symptoms really are mild, or whether I just happen to be used to them now.

So I have a new antihistimine, new eye drops, and I get to start shots on Monday. Some days, I think maybe I should go into electrical/materials engineering so I can spend my days in a super-clean, dust-free environment making silicon chips.

The good news is that I really like this office. Everyone is friendly and patient with their explanations, etc. I don't have to wait long to be seen, and I also don't feel like I'm being rushed out. It's a nice situation. I'm going to try to be patient with my treatments. Who knows? Maybe five years from now, when I'm done with my shots, I will be able to cut out a medication or two. =)