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Allergies 101 for People without Allergies

I designed this infographic to demonstrate what allergy sufferers have to deal with. For me, this is the beginning of the peak of my allergy season, which will run until early June. While not all allergy sufferers have all of these symptoms of allergies, I do.

So if you do not have allergies, read, learn and understand our suffering.

AllergySeason101

Violin Sonata Progress

For the past three months I have been pecking away at my Violin Sonata No. 2. Well made some big progress in the past couple of weeks – the first movement is done! Second movement is in progress now. Third movement is 30% done. I was hoping to have this thing done by the end of April, but it’s more likely going to be mid-May. That’s fine with me, just as long as it’s done by then. I have several more pieces of music waiting in the wings.

If you haven’t done so, swing by my music site: opus.pixelworxfactory.com where you can hear my music. Enjoy!

New Look and New News…

So I decided the blog needed a facelift, as I have been using the same theme for almost two years. I really liked this new theme, so I went with it. Now onto the news…

On June 1st I will be relaunching my design studio, Pixelworx Idea Factory. After I graduated from the Art Institute of Pittsburgh, I had nothing to show a potential employer, I decided to do my own thing for 3-4 years and then find a job. I am relaunching the studio not as a primary source of income, I already have an amazing job as Lead Designer with Omnilert, it will be more of a hobby where I do a little freelancing on the weekends for extra cash. So if you want to check out the awesome new web site I have been working on for 2 months, on June 1st go to pixelworxfactory.com!

On the music front, I have been working (rather slowly) on a new composition – this time a Violin Sonata. It will be my second in this genre. I hope to have it done by early May at the latest. As soon as it’s finished I will post the info here so you can listen to it.

Last, but not least, I have relaunched my desktop wallpaper site – you know, those pretty pictures you put on your computer desktop? Or your smartphone? Well they’re all free for the taking. If you’d like to check them out head over to the web site – it’s called Walls. Enjoy!

That’s all for now! Thank you for following.

Why I hate Spring/Summer…

You know, people just don’t seem to understand why it is I hate spring and summer so much. They probably think, “Oh he’s just a winter kind of guy…” Well sadly, it’s not just that. There are specific things that happen to me in the spring and summer which emphasize my hatred for those seasons. Let me break it down for you…

Spring

A year after my family moved to Virginia, I developed allergies. I was 7 years old. As the years have passed those allergies have gotten worse and worse. I have been on allergy shots, I have taken more allergy medications that most people and nothing really provides any comfortable level of relief. So what do I experience now as an allergy sufferer?

Between early/mid-March running through early/mid-June I suffer from the following:

  • Severe post-nasal drip – imagine an almost un-ending flow of mucous running down the back of your throat, to the point it feels you’re drowning. As as result I am coughing and gagging most especially in the morning when I wake up and around sunset, because of this horrendous flow of gunk.
  • Itchy Eyes, Sneezing and Itchy Throat – Pretty much self-explanatory, definitely not a good time. People wonder if I had been punched in the eye sometimes because they’re so puffy and red.
  • Ear aches + Dizziness – My ears fill up with fluid to the point where my eardrums become inverted. The sinuses are so overloaded with stuff that I begin suffering dizziness from time to time, sometimes that can degrade to severe dizziness where I can’t even walk. At times my ears are so full of gunk, it impacts my hearing, and can be accompanied by tinnitus (ringing in the ears).
  • Sinus Migraines – What starts out as a mild headache in my forehead and behind my eyes can often degrade into a full blown migraine level headache with incapacitating results. I can’t look at anything bright, the pain and pressure becomes almost unbearable.
  • Sinus Infections – All that gunk up in my sinuses that can’t get out turns bad and bacteria move in and start causing mayhem. Sinus infections totally suck the life out of you – you feel like you are just at death’s door. You have no energy, even doing the simplest chore is a struggle.
  • Allergy Induced Bronchitis/Pneumonia – When that bacteria move down into my chest things go from bad to worse as I develop bronchitis relatively easily now thanks to allergies. If the variety of bacteria are immune to the antibiotic I take, well, then I end up with pneumonia. This has happened twice in the past six years – and keep in mind this is LIFE THREATENING!
  • Bloody Nose – As the trauma increases to the tissues of my nose, including bacterial infection, my nose begins to bleed on a regular basis, and takes a while to stop.

 

Summer

In the summer, while my allergy season comes to an end and my symptoms slowly improve over a period of a month or so, now I suffer something completely different. It’s called Reverse Seasonal Affective Disorder (RSAD). This is the opposite of the disorder that people have in the winter called Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). People with SAD get depressed in the winter because of the shorter days, a lot of darkness because of cloudy days and the colder temperatures. However people with RSAD have the same problem but in the summer months. Researchers have found it to be a biological condition where the longer, brighter, warmer, days contribute to the feeling of depression, fatigue and just an overall sense of not feeling well. They find that in people with RSAD light exposure triggers a signal from the retina in the eye to the suprachiasmatic nucleus, the brain’s pacemaker. That signal then gets relayed in a round-about fashion to the pineal gland (a small endocrine gland which produces melatonin, a hormone that affects the modulation of wake/sleep patterns and photoperiodic (seasonal) functions). The pineal gland then secretes melatonin (also known as the “darkness hormone” and too much of that (caused by excess light) or if the secretion is out of phase with sleep-wake signals, this is theorized as the cause for a season affective disorder. So I end up feeling depressed and washed out in summer. There are some days when it is so hot I literally feel like I have lead weights strapped to my body, and my heart rate goes flying just walking from my car to my apartment. The heat just sucks the life out of me, I have a depressed mood, feelings of hopelessness, worthlessness, and agitated rather than lethargic. My mood changes dramatically when summer comes, I am a lot more irritable and emotional. While working at home in my super air conditioned apartment is a plus – I still have to go out into that sweltering mess from time to time.

There really is no treatment for RSAD other than staying inside, away from the heat, and hanging out with people who also have this disorder. For the most part, being social and trying your best not to be grumpy is the order of the day, everyday. It’s very hard because this is a biological disorder that you have very little control over, if at all.

 

Winter 2016/2017

This winter was a bad one for me. It was as if the RSAD never fully went away. We had significantly warmer days, very little snow. When the really cold temperatures came in, I felt relief, but that was quickly snuffed out as all winter long we were on this temperature roller coaster. One day it would be 34 degrees, the next 57, the next 39, the next 62, the next 25, the next 56. That up and down nonsense wreaked havoc to my sinuses. I had more sinus related infections because of this, and ended up with a cold during a time that I rarely, if ever, get colds. It is now the end of February and rather than my allergy season starting in early/mid-March – it started in mid-February (a week ago) as pollen counts began to soar among the 65-70 degree temperatures. They say because of the lack of significant snow here in Virginia, the allergy season could be the worst seen in a decade.

Oh boy! I hope I survive this one. I have already had bronchitis once in January and now I have it again in February (as I write this). And that plus the pollen count going up equals bad every way you look at it.

 

Conclusion

Now you know why in the spring and summer I am miserable, irritable and not a very happy person. And also why I am so miserable and upset when winter doesn’t behave like winter – with consistently cold days for 3-4 months, lots of snow and no allergies. Now I hope you understand the suffering I deal with every spring and summer and you can throw aside your original thought of, “oh he’s just a winter kind of guy…” I am a winter kind of guy, but sadly the world can’t remain in winter all year long. That would be heaven.

 

Project Phoenix – A Worthy Contribution

So way back in 2007 a company called The Iconfactory released a twitter client called Twitterrific. It was an amazing app with amazing features and quickly ascended to being one of the best twitter clients available. With a huge user base, the app won awards and escalades. But sadly the company’s resources were drawn thin as the iOS version of the app required more attention, because iOS and it’s user base was growing at an incredible pace. Sadly that left Twitterrific for Mac out in the cold and it eventually waned into obscurity because it simply couldn’t keep up.

Now the awesome folks at The Iconfactory are wanting to revive Twitterrific for MacOS, but they need your help! For just $30 you can help get this project rolling and a fresh, modernized, Twitterrific app out into the world. For that thirty bucks you get not just the final version of the app, but also

  • Beta versions of Twitterrific for Mac
  • A registered copy of iPulse 3 for Mac
  • Packet of Iconfactory & Twitterrific Phoenix stickers
  • Final retail version of Twitterrific for Mac

There is also an option for $15, in which you will get the final retail version of the app. For more money you can get a t-shirt, more apps, and other great stuff.

So as someone who loved Twitterrific back in its heyday, I would like to urge you to support this project. I have nothing but the highest regard for some of the people working on this project, they inspired me when I was starting out as a graphic artist and have continued to do so to this day. Not only that but I feel that the new Twitterrific is going to be more like Twitterawesome. So please help out, contribute what you can and help Project Phoenix soar!

Head over to their Kickstarter page and take a look at their short video and let them tell you more about the project!

#supportProjectPhoenix

 

 

 

 

Don’t look back! Forget the past.

You know there’s a lot of pain and sorrow in my past. I lost my entire immediate family in a two year span. I have been in mourning, and I never even knew it. A friend of mine and I were having a heart to heart talk a few weeks ago and I was telling him about all the problems in my life right now, he said “Kevin, you’re still in mourning. You are still mourning the loss of your family.” And when I thought about it, he was absolutely right. You see the problem is, when we lose a loved one as close to us as a father or sister, it hurts big time. That hurt goes on and on even when we think we have moved on from it. You can be as strong as you need to be for your family during those times, but eventually those walls you put up are going to crack and fall down. When they do, things go a little haywire. Because you are now dealing with emotions and you don’t know where they’re coming from. The fact of the matter is, they’re coming from one place…

BEHIND YOU! IN THE PAST! FROM DAYS NOW LONG SINCE GONE!

So I have been studying God’s word, via a series by pastor James MacDonald of Harvest Bible Chapel (I love that guy tons), for the past several weeks trying to teach myself to think differently about a lot of things, and this is what I have learned so far: there are a large number of strongholds in my personality right now that need to be torn down, demolished, crushed and stomped on. One of these is the past and that gigantic pile of emotional garbage that is sitting there stinking up my life. It’s time to take out the garbage!

One thing James MacDonald used in one of his recent sermons is a rear view mirror. We have metaphorical rear view mirrors stuck to our foreheads. And when we’re sitting alone and our brain has time to overthink, especially during the holidays, about times past — we are looking into that rear view mirror and what we are revisiting is crushing our spirits, decimating the joy and peace God wants us to be experiencing in our lives by his grace and love.

So this year I challenge myself and I challenge you, dear reader, to rip off that rear view mirror stuck on your head. Throw it away! Don’t look back anymore! That doesn’t mean you forget about the lessons you have learned, but you toss out that pile of stinking, nasty, emotional junk that is clogging up your brain and keeping you from a state of happiness.

God wants you to be happy, and most of all He wants you to be planting your nose in his word and learning, listening, and becoming a better person – to live a life filled with love and encouragement for all those around you.  So don’t look back anymore. Yesterday’s gone…and no amount of prayer, tears or heartache is going to change what was. Instead, focus on the here and now, and what’s down the road ahead. If you drive looking behind you all the time, you’ll get nowhere good.

Have a great 2017!