Sunday, January 31, 2016

Banana Appreciation

This post is a bit random, but I was thinking recently about how bananas are very cheap compared to other foods and realized there are many other benefits of bananas. Here are some of the things that make them great:

1. They are cheap! As mentioned, bananas are consistently one of the most affordable foods available. They are usually around 39 cents per pound which comes out to about 12 cents per banana. What can you get for 12 cents these day? Not much especially when it comes to food. Also they are available year round!

2. They are convenient! Bananas have their own wrapper that is easy to open. They don't need to be washed and you don't need any extra utensils or dishes to eat them. They are quick to throw in with lunch or add to any meal.

3. It is easy to know when they are ripe. Unlike other fruits where it can be hard to tell when they are ripe, bananas are easy to tell simply by looking at the color.

4. They are healthy! They provide a good amount of calories as well as potassium, fiber and other vitamins.

What are some other foods like this that may be under appreciated?

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Pityriasis Rosea Stages and Progress

A couple months back I started getting an itch on my lower back near the waist. It did not look irritated or anything but continued for a few days. Next, I began to notice small red marks beginning to develop on my upper body. It had some resemblance to acne, but I could tell it was something different. It started with a few marks but each day it was getting worse.

The red marks began to appear on the chest, stomach, back, arms, shoulders, and neck. I started doing research to figure out what it could be. Based on the symptoms, I was pretty sure it was a condition called Pityriasis Rosea. Not much is known about what causes it and there is not really a cure either, but it generally runs its course and heals within a couple months.

A couple weeks in, the marks kept getting worse so I decided to make a doctors appointment. The doctor was not really sure about it and just gave a general diagnosis of Psoriasis. From my research and symptoms, I could tell my own diagnosis was more accurate. He prescribed some cream and told me to see a dermatologist if it gets worse. The cream was pretty expensive and considering it was hastily prescribed, I decided not to get it and would continue to monitor the progress.

Here is a week by week recap of the stages and progress my condition. Hopefully it will help give an idea of what to expect if you have similar symptoms:

Week 1:
Started with and itchy section on lower back near waist band. Not much visible difference in skin appearance compared to normal.

Week 2:
Red spots starting to appear around torso, shoulders, arms, and neck. They are about 1 cm but can get bigger. The red spots do not hurt and do not really itch, but start to become scaly and peel. Original spot now is noticeably red and still itchy.

Week 3:
More spots appearing. This was about the peak of the condition where I had the most spots covering the upper body. The spots did not go to the legs, face, hands or feet in my case.

Week 4:
Dry skin from the marks begins to peel off. Skin starting to heel. The earliest spots are beginning to fade while the newer spots are still clearly visible. Arms start to become itchy. Some spots on the arms are spreading in size to about 1 inch in diameter.

Week 5:
Torso continues to clear up. Red marks on arms and original spot at waist are still itchy.

Week 6:
A little more peeling. Torso is now mostly clear and healed. Spots on arms are now more itchy.

Week 7:
Arms are getting a little better and less itchy. Still occasional itch from original spot at waist.

Week 8: 
Less itchiness and spots are continuing to heel and improve. Looks like it is coming to the end.

Week 9: About 95% back to normal. Skin is mostly clear and itching has gone away for the most part.

For more testimonials on this condition, check out this site here which has many comments from people who have the condition and the treatments they have tried. 

Friday, January 1, 2016

Best Songs of 2015

Like last year, in 2015 I did not follow music closely as I have in the past, but I still managed to find some good songs throughout the year. This list excludes super popular songs that everyone already knows already. Here are Connected Isolation's picks for best songs of 2015:

1. Carly Rae Jepsen - Your Type

Carly Rae Jepsen had a great year with several hit songs including the popular "I Really Like You" and "Run Away With Me" but my favorite of all of them and pick for best song of the year is "Your Type". Carly Rae has a wonderful voice for pop music and in this one, the emotion really comes through.

2. Bloodhound Gang - American Bitches

BHG has been out of the spotlight for years, but they came back this year with a new album dropping late in 2015. The lead single from the album American Bitches takes on a little bit of a touchy subject but infuses creative and amusing lyrics as we have come to expect from the Bloodhound Gang. While many of their new songs are more electronic based, this one goes back to the roots with pop rock.

3. Lifehouse - Flight

Another band that has created great songs over the years is back with an epic new song Flight. It starts out slowly with an emotional feel and builds up to a power ending.

4. Ronald Jenkees - Try the Bass

Ronald Jenkees is an interesting music producer who may not have a huge following compared to some of the other artists out there, but he is extremely talented when it comes to making music. Here is a funky new song this year where he performs live on his Youtube channel.

5. The Mowgli's - I'm Good

In the mood for a straight forward catch pop song? The Mowgli's have you covered with their song "I'm Good". It has a summer time vibe and is easy to get into right from the first listen.

6. Meghan Tonjes - Oh Father

Up and coming singer songwriter Meghan Tonjes makes the list this year with an original song that is beautiful and heart felt. This is a live version that was first performed on her Youtube channel. Hopefully it will have a studio version soon!

7. Rachel Bloom - I Give Good Parent

Rachel Bloom burst on the scene this year with a new music comedy show Crazy Ex-Girlfriend. Each episode contains original songs and here is rap style song she did for the first season. If you like this be sure to check out her Youtube Channel and the CW Channel for more good songs.

If you enjoyed these songs, be sure to check out the Best Songs of 2014.