J.D. Moyer

sci-fi writer, beat maker, self-experimenter

A Good Life Is Made of Small Things

My father-in-law is dying. He most likely has only weeks to live. As dying goes, he’s doing it really well, surrounded by loved ones, with good professional home-hospice care. He’s a renowned poet and translator, well respected, loved by hundreds if not thousands of students, ex-students, colleagues, friends, and family. He’s lived a full, uncompromising life, and was lucky enough to fall deeply in love, once again, in the last few months. The house where he’s staying, in the Berkeley hills, has a stupendous view of the bay. He’s cogent, self-aware, and taking on this final challenge with grace, courage, and an open heart.

The situation has made me think about what’s important in life. That’s something I think about a lot, but now more so than ever.

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My 2018 Motto

My 2018 motto is “no rushing, no slacking.”

I’m going full tortoise.

Many of the problems I’ve created for myself in the past couple years have come from rushing around. I broke my foot trying to get somewhere in a hurry (on a skateboard, in the dark). I accumulated a huge number of rejection slips because I hastily submitted short stories that weren’t completely polished (some were later accepted after a few more rounds of editing). I injured my stomach by eating too quickly, drinking too much coffee, and letting myself get stressed out.

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2017 Personal Recap and Thoughts for 2018

Qoöl NYE 2008 at 111 Minna

Hello readers! Hope you had an excellent New Year’s Eve. I had a quiet celebration with my family this year–we made cheesecake, played Clue, and watched a Jane Austen movie on Netflix. While I fondly remember my nights hosting New Year’s Eve parties, deejaying afterparties until 5am, drinking too much whiskey, and trying to keep track of the night’s door revenues, I’m glad my current lifestyle no longer requires such excess. Those were good times, and I’m glad I survived them (and profited), but the stress level was consistently high. I remember the night one guest accidentally set her hair on fire (thanks Hsiao-Wen for dousing the flames). I remember the night when a huge wad of cash fell out of my pocket in the back room of the DNA Lounge (honest employees–it was all there when I went back to find it). I remember the stress of trying to serve five hundred guests free champagne between midnight and 12:10am (thanks Jackie, Beth, Dawn, Kia, and everyone else who made that happen year after year). I remember when a patron, exhausted and drunk, fell off his barstool and cracked his head on the floor. Ultimately the poor fool was fine, but my friend Aly fainted at the sight of blood. Her boyfriend Dave caught her in his arms and swept her away.

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Apple Cider Vinegar for Acitinic Keratosis

For about a year I had noticed a very small (about 2mm by 4mm) patch of rough, scaly skin under my right eye. Sometimes it would heal up, but mostly it was slightly rough and red. I was pretty sure it was a small patch of acitinic keratosis, a skin condition that can develop into skin cancer if untreated (pretty common in the over-40 blond/blue-eyed set). I’d had them several times before in the same general area, and each time I’d gone to the doctor I’d been treated with cryotherapy (a tiny spritz of liquid nitrogen). After the treatment, the area would scab up, and when the scab fell off the skin would be pink and smooth underneath.

But … I didn’t feel like going to the doctor’s office. With my broken foot and gastritis, I’d spent far too much of 2017 in hospitals and doctor’s offices. So I did an internet search to look for alternatives.

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What Gig Needs to Do to Succeed

Almost two years ago our family embarked on a “One Month No Car Experiment” that has extended nearly two years. Since our daughter switched schools to one that is not within easy walking distance, we’ve once again been considering buying or leasing a car. But carpooling with our friends and the existence of the East Bay car-sharing service Gig has allowed us to postpone that decision, perhaps indefinitely.

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Berberine as an Alternative to Statins?

Illegal to pick–get your berberine from somewhere else.

In the course of researching various supplements to cure my gastritis, I’ve come across quite a few interesting chemicals. One of them is berberine, a benzylisoquinoline alkaloid found in goldenseal, Oregon-grape, Californian poppy, and a number of other plants. Berberine lowers LDL cholesterol without any effect on HDL cholesterol. Could berberine be an alternative to statins? The linked study used large amounts (100mg/kg), but smaller amounts may also be beneficial.

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