I’ve been super busy, but here’s a quick textual update on my good self:
I got myself the Sony Alpha 99 on the 23rd of October 2012, and I’ve been enjoying it. It’s just as the specifications are, as expected, not really exceeding expectations, but the dynamic range and ISO performance exceed the previous champion of high ISO amongst the Alphas, the Sony Alpha 900 (at least, according to DxO Labs, and I agree with their ratings.) I haven’t gotten around to doing a side-by-side comparison in terms of ISO and dynamic range, though. I’d be comfortable shooting at ISO6400, for sure.
I helped organize a photo exhibition on the 17th of November 2012 for the Rakan KL Day. Rakan KL is a people’s movement for the heritage preservation of Kuala Lumpur. I also exhibited photos, but pictures of that will come later – I did say this was a textual blog post, didn’t I?
I dropped by a pharmacist for my usual dose of topical steroid cream and she suggested that what I had was in fact topical steroid withdrawal, and tried to sell me some non-steroid alternative. I was skeptical and bought nothing from her, but I went home and looked it up – so perhaps I was having that, instead of classic atopic dermatitis! I had eczema during my childhood, which explains why I am fair and don’t play sports – I could not go out in the sun much or I’d sweat, scratch, and bleed. This went away thankfully at the age of 12, only to reappear after a prescription of insecticide lotion (for bed bugs) that triggered eczema again. I had thus been a regular to the Dermatology Department of the Kuala Lumpur General Hospital, where I’d pay RM5 per visit, and the ever-changing, rotating dermatologist would prescribe steroids. Hydrocortisone for the face, and something stronger for the rest. These would run out, and I’d have clear skin within 4 days, but after 2 weeks, the flares would come back, and I’d go visit the pharmacist. I found cheaper Malaysian variations of bethamethasone-17-valerate, but at some point some pharmacist gave me Dermovate, which was the “Superhigh Potency I” clobetasol, but I did not know it then. Needless to say my body got lazy to make its own cortisol/steroids to fight inflammation, so it became dependent on steroids.
I got a bit of ‘roid rage upon calculating that I’d been on steroids for 15 months and the hospital didn’t bother that I’d been on it so long, so I quit steroids cold turkey one 10th of November 2012 ago. The flare is there, and it’s taking its own sweet time, but I do find that getting a lot of sleep, like 12 hours, really helps reduce the inflammation. The problem then is the itching and scratching and scarring that comes with it, with the risk of infection. Some days my skin flakes like crazy, which is a good sign, as it means the skin is healing. The flare will clear eventually, and I’ll have a period of clear skin before the next flare, and this flaring is expected to continue from 10-30% of the time I was on steroids, which means I should bear with it for 5 months. Doable, I guess. Also, each subsequent flare gets weaker and shorter, but the first one’s not over yet.
I’ve been a pescetarian for 14 days, from 20th November 2012 onwards. This means I’m a half-assed vegetarian who eats fish. This was done in hopes of getting the first flare out of the way, reducing all possible histamine intake. Those 14 days did not include today, where I broke it to subside a case of gastritis and all fish options nearby would take too long. Geez I thought I was supposed to be immortal with such a diet!