Chaos! Clamor! Cacophony! Crepuscular gatherings!
At least some of these things are bound to happen when the Helpy-Chalk Clan, Cyrus, E. Messily, YK, and innumerable lurkers (who support this post in email) show up at Local 16 this evening. 7pm.
Cummerbunds strongly recommended.
The golden age of blogs came and went, and after a lot of pruning and dead blogs, the blogworld seems to have stabilized. The manic blog energy poured into Facebook, which now seems to be in decline, and while Google+ is certainly making a bid to capture the energy, it's not obvious to me where the energy will park itself now.
In the heyday of blogs, I set up a secret identity for myself, ie hello everybody, and I've doggedly maintained the two lives. There are only two people who knew me in real life before knowing my blog identity: the friend who told me that LiveJournal exists, and Jammies. There are a handful of people who met me first as Heebie, who now lovingly humor my web of lies when they hang out with people who know my other name.
Facebook discourages secret identities, and I've never felt like I could freely use it as a platform to say what I'm thinking.
Lately I'm wondering if future platforms will be increasingly inhospitable to secret identities. LizSpigot shared with me in Google+ the other day (originally written by a third party)
In the hangout earlier today someone asked if Google+ was taking down profiles when users didn't use real profile pictures.
I said I didn't believe we were but would check. It turns out we are not currently taking down profiles with profile pictures of non-people unless they otherwise violate our community standards (example: they shouldn't be obscene).
At the same time, please remember Google+ is committed to helping people connect with people they know and to feel safe sharing and communicating. We believe using real names and real profile pictures is the best way to create that kind of environment. Thanks for the great questions today!
(First, fuck you Google for feeling entitled to decide the question on my behalf.)
I've always operated under the premise that secrets are black and white: if you don't want it known, do not tell anyone. But there's a fuzzy middle ground - if you don't want it widely read, make it slightly cumbersome to find. Lately I'm wondering if I'd find it hard to write if I ventured into the fuzzy middle ground of secret identities.
The problem, of course, is that it's a genie in bottle, and I'm heavily invested in Heebie Geebie, so it would make me sad to start over.
A mother in Georgia has been convicted of vehicular homicide for crossing the street on foot with her kids when a driver struck and killed one of them. The hit-and-run driver has served six months and been released; the pedestrian mother may be sentenced to up to three years. (From Tedra's FB feed.)
Holy crap, panic!
I forgot what I was going to say.
A colleague told me that when she worked in a bank, it was a problem that Hispanic women would turn down raises because they didn't want to bring home more money than their husbands. They had to get creative and compensate the women with extra vacation time, or benefits, or something. Typically the woman had been at a desk job for a few decades, while her husband was a blue collar worker.
I can believe it would be destabilizing to a marriage. On the other hand, how nuts is that, that bringing home your due compensation would be destabilizing? (And this is a perfect example of why economists are terrible at predicting economic behavior.)
Meetup in NYC the night of July 31? Since I will have insane jet-lag I can stay up aaaalllll night long. Karaoke time! With the minor caveat that I have to get up the next day and fly to Martha's Vineyard, but at 8 pm, so wev.
Separately, we should consider that certain kinds of anti-psychotics really, obviously work, for some value of work. They make you feel weird and gross etc., and I believe caretakers overmedicate patients to make them tractable rather than to make them happy. Nonetheless, some shit happens when you take risperdal, right away. You are unquestionable less psychotic, whatever else is wrong with you. I have had this experience. How am I suddenly an unreliable narrator, a victim of the placebo effect, when I tell you that bupropion works for me when I suffer episodes of serious depression? I take a maintenance dose, which I up when I get more depressed. Prozac, OTOH, can eat a big fat dick as far as I'm concerned. I know that because I tried taking it to treat my depression and it didn't do shit. I'm sure you'd all take my opinions about my asthma inhaler seriously, so...?
The CIA may have set up a fake vaccination clinic in Pakistan to get a sample of Osama's family's DNA.
But this phony vaccination campaign, if true, really pushes the boundaries of "almost." Around the world this will touch the very deepest sources of mistrust, fear, and hatred of the big, technological United States. We will (in this narrative) lie to people about basic questions of family health; we will prey on parents' concern for their children to lure them into situations where we can take samples of their tissues and fluids; we will say one thing and do another -- under white medical-technician jackets and a humanitarian guise. We will suggest that no aspect of our international presence is immune to penetration by spies.
They did give out real vaccines, though. When I started posting this, I thought they hadn't, which seemed truly heinous. In contrast, this is no big deal!
I take all manner of drugs, partly because I am just generally ill with some poorly-defined immune system ailment. This causes doctors to think I am crazy instead of sick, which is irritating. Bounce with me, people. "Can I get a fuck you to these doctors from all of my bitches/who don't love hos, they can't diagnose?" Yeah, anyway. Being in serious pain is just depressing, not being able to do stuff you want to do. That's related to real-world concerns, and it's possible that that sort of depression is rational. But the doctor should still try to get rid of it or you won't do your physical therapy and will just lie in bed taking morphine and watching CSI: Miami. Additionally, old-school anti-depressants can have a pain suppressing effect taken at lower doses, so you might as well take those too. If you're me, say, or my sister.
Then there's this other thing, called DEPRESSION which is not like being sad. It doesn't even particularly resemble sadness. It's more like paper-thin cutouts of demons are taking turns eating your heart. Like you look up into the corner of the room: why should I care about this arrangement of forms, and then you look at your hand and say: why should I care about this arrangement of forms? And then you look back at the corner of the room and you wonder if something terrible is about to tear through from the other side. And every single morning when you wake up, even before you open your eyes you think, fuck, I'm not dead. And there's a helpful part of you that just continually suggests you should kill yourself, all the time, every day. I could step in front of this bus I hear roaring up the lane behind me! Thanks, brain!
Depression like this feels weird and gross and indescribable. Maybe some people have major depression that isn't like this, that's just being very unhappy. I don't think so. Depressed people are affectless, relentlessly negative. I know'em when I see them. I see some people get off drugs or alcohol and...they're basically normal people who got addicted. Many others get sober and then, then they have a chance for their psych medications to work properly! Because they're mentally ill! I have gone off my meds for some ill-defined "real self" bullshit reason, and I almost died. I am never doing it again. I am going to take antidepressants for the rest of forever, because if I don't: I get depressed. My brother has pulled this like 4 times. He never tells us till he's well off them. FUCK. It's major depression time, people, how's this going to go? (Spoiler alert: it will suck.)
Boosted from Thorn's comment on the other thread: "There are two things I recommend from experience. One was inpatient hospitalization on a teen psych unit. I've never forgotten the feeling of peace when the door locked behind me and I felt like all the pressure in the world had lifted off me." Seriously, the psych ward is the most relaxing place in the world. They take away those teeny nail scissors, and nothing bad can happen.
So, maybe doctors are over-medicating low-income children whom they shouldn't be, and if that's the case it's bad and should be corrected. But in general, maybe people are suffering from serious mental illnesses A LOT, and they should take medicine that will help them. Like, when we can fix it better, we'll look back and say, Jesus, all those poor people were just wandering around untreated! They must have been miserable, hostile shits to everyone! I think it's pretty clear the doctors don't know exactly how they work, or why they work better for some people than others. It takes patience to try different meds and see which works for you, and you might experience psychotic episodes when you get one of the wrong ones, but it's worth it when you find one that causes you not to be depressed. You might still be unhappy, or crazy, but you won't feel that feeling, that rotting meat puppet feeling, that "I turned the gain all the way down on the amplifier" feeling, that foaming froth of unreality that will come pink and bubbling out of your mouth when you lean over on the toilet and open that door under the sink and drink the Drano, all in a fluid, continuous movement.
Sometimes one's partner doesn't want to hear all the things the dentist said about tongue scrapers. I'm just saying: it happens.
The other day I found out a friend had never heard of Eritrea. Just had totally missed that there was even a place in the world with that name.
I was surprised but quickly realized there are undoubtedly places in the world I've never heard of. Only recently did I actually learn some actual things about Bhutan. I definitely couldn't have put it on a map a year ago.
Via Felix Salmon a two part essay in the NYRB on the failings of modern psychiatry. I liked it because it was consistent with my prejudice that pychiatrists are little better than witch doctors. Unfoggers may be more critical.
The articles are very good. I hadn't realized that drugs for depression stack up quite so dismally against placebos. I was not surprised by the flood of pharmaceutical money all over the place, though.
(One small bone to pick: Restless Leg Syndrome is real! Ever since I was a very small child, I complained of itchiness deep in my legs, especially when I was trying to fall asleep. It gets really bad if I don't exercise for a few days and during pregnancy. I bounce my legs a lot when I'm sitting.)
I'm still, frankly, rather pissed about how gleefully the US marched off to invade (expensively, it turned out) Iraq, so I have a hard time taking anyone in Washington seriously when they talk about cutting spending. So mostly? I like to imagine Majority Leader Cantor saying, "I'm Doug. And I'm outta…here."
Escapism: try it today.
We watched the first two episodes of Wilfred last night. It's really funny.
It's about a depressed, suicidal guy (Elijah Wood) who believes that the dog next door is a man dressed up in a dog suit, and their relationship. It was first a British* show, so it's probably more authentic or funnier to watch that one. The creator of the British** show plays the dog in the American one.
update: * Not British.
Sometimes state flags make me laugh. But not always.
One guy's actual social media background check.
I'm going to be having a discussion about supporting first-generation college students in a few days. I was not first-generation. When I try to imagine it, it seems like it would be super intimidating, plus the normal assortment of trouble with time management and hard classes, and possibly more family obligations. What else? What am I missing? Were you a first-generation college student? I'd like tap the collective experience here, but let's pretend we're talking about average ability students.
I really don't understand quantitative easing.