Monthly Archives: July 2007

The Smell of Chlorine

WordPress does a nice job of monitoring what terms people enter at search engines that subsequently direct them to our blogs. It turns out that many of the searches that lead people to HalfAwake are along the lines of “how can I swim without water going up my nose”. These keywords are being directed here via my “Sink or Swim” post, where I discuss my own fear of water going up my nose, and my eventual acceptance that there’s not much you can do about it.


I’d like to elaborate on this issue a bit. First of all, as far as your ability to continue living is concerned, water going up your nose is not a serious problem unless it goes up so far that you begin to inhale it. My friend from highschool Earl could string a wet noodle into his nostril and back out of his mouth and then use it to floss his tonsils, and he seems to be OK. I don’t know anything about the physiology of the nose, but I think it’s a generally sensitive area, and that is probably why getting water up there is uncomfortable for most people (probably not Earl though). Furthermore, if you are panicked or nervous when the water does enter your nose, I think you are more likely to actievely pull it into your lungs. As I said in my previous post, getting water up my nose got less bothersome for me once I put myself through it many times. The water still goes in there, it just doesn’t make me want to call for the lifeguard anymore.

That being said, you can take steps to help prevent water from entering your nose. Here are the things that I have empirically found to help:

  • Think about the position of your head when you jump in. Experiment and see if certain positions work better for you.
  • Also think about the position of your head when you do rotary breathing. I’m still a very weak swimmer — I can barely swim fifty meters at the altitude I’m living at now. I don’t understand it well enough to draw a picture, but I have learned that at certain angles, my nose is much more likely to take on water during rotary breathing. If I’m careful, I can avoid it.
  • Make sure you take a deep breath before going under water or jumping in.
  • I’ve never used them, but my friend Paul had alot of success with nose-clips. They do keep the water out of your nose, but may also cause some uncomfort in your ears if you swallow while you have them on.
  • Practice ‘bobs’ (dunk your head, exhale rapidly, come back up, take a deep breath, repeat). When you do bobs, some water goes up your nose from the force as you enter the water, and from the bubbles as you blow the air out. Start out doing the bobs slowly, and only do a few. If your can work to the point where you can do many consecutive bobs, it will probably help you learn how to avoid getting as much water in your nose (and how to tolerate that water which you cannot avoid).
  • Holding your nose when you jump in helps, of course, but it’s sort of like putting a bandaid on your headache.

Let me reiterate again that I’m a terrible swimmer and certainly not a doctor of any sort. If water going into your nose makes you cough or have trouble breathing, then don’t push yourself. I’m only suggesting that water going part-way up the nostril isn’t always as bad as you may fear, and you might be able to learn to manage it better.

Author’s Note: I just saw that one search for “water up nose pain excruciating” led someone to my blog. Please, if water going into your nose is causing any pain, let alone excruciating pain, see a doctor.


Posted by on July 23, 2007 in No Easy Days



Chore Wars


Where I live, we have a negative reinforcement system for making sure that the chores get done. Basically, when you are more than 15 minutes overdue on completing your chores, my housemate sends you a threatening e-mail and tells you that your mother never really loved you. This probably does help make sure the chores get done on time, but I sometimes wonder if there could be a way to encourage everyone to pull their weight through positive reinforcement.

Chore Wars might be just what I was hoping for (link via Penny Arcade). This website allows you to create a middle-earth style RPG character that earns experience points whenever you complete a chore in your home or office. You can join a party with your housemates or officemates and “compete” with them to see who earns experience points and levels the fastest. Characters also have minor levels of customization such as ‘Appearance’ and ‘Natural Talents’ (my natural talent is totally ‘Paying the Bills’). It’s like World of Warcraft for the OCD amongst us.

This system is second only to Phoebe’s suggestion that we earn stickers and candy for doing chores.


Tags: , ,

The Hungry ATM

I went to make a harmless deposit at the local ATM yesterday and after the transaction was through the machine ate my card!  (It tried to eject the card a few times, but it was getting stuck on something in the ATM, and so it gave up and ate it).

Now I have to wait a couple weeks for them to send me a replacement.

Leave a comment

Posted by on July 15, 2007 in Entertainment


A Week of Dental Hygiene

The ADA recomends that we clean between our teeth with floss every day.  I’ve never kept up with that schedule – I haven’t even come close – and I don’t think anyone else real or fictional does it either.  I think at maximum I floss once per week, and on average it’s probably once every few weeks (back when I had braces I flossed less than once per month). 

At the same time, in my life I have only had two cavities, and I attribute those to my moving to a city that does not add fluoride to the water supply.  Besides that little hiccup, my dentist always tells me that I do a great job cleaning my teeth and to keep up what I’ve been doing.  I do brush 2-3 times a day.

I like my teeth, and I don’t want to have them replaced.  They don’t grow back, it stinks.

So before I moved to New Mexico, I implemented one of my short excercises in self-discipline.  I committed to flossing once every day for seven days. 

The first day I had the normal pain from not flossing for a few days.  The second day wasn’t so bad either.  By the third and fourth days, I really wanted to stop.  The flossing didn’t look like it was doing anything catostrophic — there was no blood — but it hurt quite a bit.  And the pain didn’t stop after I flossed.  It lasted all day…  It wasn’t excruciating, rather it was annoying.

I made it through the seven days, and I was glad to be done with it when I stopped.  I decided to go back to my weekly flossing routine.

The one benefit I did notice was that now when I do floss  it doesn’t hurt at all.  I think I worked out some of the “kinks” in my gumline.


Posted by on July 12, 2007 in Alchemy, Garbage In, Garbage Out



I find this site to be fantasticlly entertaining…  Does that say something about me?

Leave a comment

Posted by on July 9, 2007 in Entertainment


The Edge

I ran a 4th of July 5K, and I ran well, but the experience overall was just ‘so-so’. I don’t feel like competing anymore. Pushing myself when it starts to hurt seems impossible, and in the midst of races my mind often wanders… It was bad enough when my mind would wander from the race itself to the pain in my body; now I find myself thinking about seemingly random (and usually negative) parts of my life that have nothing to do with running.

Focus in races might be something you have to practice, and I’m definitely out of practice at the moment. Maybe my ability to concentrate on racing is gone for good?

1 Comment

Posted by on July 4, 2007 in No Easy Days



Fear of Flying

Last week I got stuck on a teeny 19 passenger plane in stormy weather, and I was pretty nervous.  I know saying I was “stuck” on the plane makes it sound like I was somehow trapped in an unexpected situation, and that’s exactly the image I’m going for — forces beyond my control or comprehension forced be to ride a bucking bronco over the warm Colorado Rockies, and I was not psyched about it.

I mentioned to one of the other passengers that I was nervous and she was shocked.  “Haven’t you ever ridden on a small boat?” she asked.  She explained that the tossing and turning of the plane as it travels is the same as the restlessness of a small boat of rough waters.  I explained that it was a little different, you know, because we were 27,000 feet in the air.  But still, for the rest of the flight every time the plane lurched one way or the other I just imagined that I was in a boat in choppy weather.  Thinking of it this way helped me remember that when the plane made an unexpected move one way, it would most likely recover smoothly.  It definitely helped for the rest of the flight.

Leave a comment

Posted by on July 1, 2007 in Garbage In, Garbage Out