rachelmanija: (Book Fix)
[personal profile] rachelmanija
Illness memoirs, like child abuse memoirs, have a number of pitfalls. They’re about depressing topics and so are hard not to depress the reader, they’re often by people who don’t write professionally and so are not well-written, and as the subject is inherently self-focused, they can very easily come across as self-absorbed. Even if they manage to avoid those problems, many are valuable works of self-help, self-revelation, community-building, comfort, and calls to action… but are not interesting to someone who mostly wants to read a good book.

This one is a good book.

Julie Rehmeyer, a mathematician and science writer, chronicles how chronic fatigue syndrome/myalgic encephalopathy (CFS/ME) crept up on her until her entire life had vanished and she was frequently completely paralyzed. While she desperately tried to find a treatment, she instead encountered an array of quacks, snake oil salesmen, nice but useless therapists, nice but useless doctors, a patients’ community full of apparent crackpots, and medical literature claiming that it was a mental illness caused by, essentially, being lazy and whiny.

In desperation, Rehmeyer finally starts listening to some of the apparent crackpots… and when she applies her scientific training to their ideas, she finds that stripped of the bizarre terminology and excessive exclamation points, they sound surprisingly plausible. With her entire life at a dead end and nothing left to lose, she reluctantly decides to try a treatment which is both radical and distinctly woo-woo sounding.

And it works.

But unlike every other “How I cured/treated my illness by some weird method” memoir, the story doesn’t end there. Instead, she not only researches and theorizes about how and why it might have worked, she interviews scientists and doctors, and even arranges to do a double-blind experiment on herself to see if it’s a real cause of her symptoms or the placebo effect. I cannot applaud this too much. (I was unsurprised to find that every article I read on her book had a comment section claiming that her results were due to the placebo effect.)

Lots of people have suggested that I write about my own horrendous illness, crowd-sourced treatment, and jaw-dropping parade of asshole doctors who told me I was lying, a hypochondriac, or crazy. While you’re waiting… read this book instead. Though it’s not the same disease and she was treated WAY better by doctors, a lot of her experience with being beaten over the head with bad science and diagnoses based purely on sexism was very similar. As is much of her righteous rage. I am way more ragey and less accepting than she is. But still. It’s similar.

Overall, this is a well-written and honest memoir that shines a welcome light on a poorly-understood illness. Rehmeyer's perspective as a science writer provides for clarity, justifiable anger, and humor as she takes apart the morass of bad science, victim-blaming, and snake oil that surrounds chronic fatigue syndrome. It's informative without being dry, easy to read and hard to put down.

Through the Shadowlands: A Science Writer's Odyssey into an Illness Science Doesn't Understand

What the flying fuck?

Jul. 23rd, 2017 11:59 pm
desertroot: Agave - a smooth and spiny desert plant with wildflowers growing in front (Default)
[personal profile] desertroot
We listen to our dark-ass Hungarian/Austrian musicals for a while and feel better than we have in a while?

What the fuck?

How does that even work?

I mean... it's like Romeo and Juliet the extra-dark Mad Max Fury Road version?

And the others...

-Dylan (& others)

Art Nouveau Tarot in progress!

Jul. 23rd, 2017 01:57 pm
desertroot: an abstract painting that looks like a warm night with firefles or stars in it. (night magic)
[personal profile] desertroot
Here's a picture of the vaguely Art Nouveau inspired tarot we've been working on.  It's the first 3 cards of the major arcana, and the last.  The first and/or second layers of painting are done, but they all need one more pass for details and final shading!

We've been kind of dreaming of using an Art Nouveau tarot, but all the ones I see… Don’t interest me?  They’re too human-focused.

So we were just thinking - we could make our own mini-deck! :D

Especially since we're trying to brush up our art skills to make a couple of decks we have in our mind, but in the mean time we'd still like to explore some of the symbolism that will be in them some day... now!  And mini-decks, besides being easier on the hands, also need less finicky perfection of detail.

Art Nouveau is a much loved an powerful style for us, one we've always admired.  And has links to romanticism, especially german romanticism.  It just has a lot of feelings for us.

A set of four tarot cards in progress, they show images like cats and moons and tree branches, they are square instead of the typical rectangle.

The Fool         The High Priestess
The Magician   The World

Yes, these are square instead of the typical rectangle!  But e figured if we're going to do this weird, we might as well go all the way and mess around!

We considered hexagonal or round cards, but we found a place that will print custom tarot decks, and the hexagonal and round cards are quite a bit more expensive, while there are some quite reasonable square sizes!  And we like how these are looking in the frame!

(no subject)

Jul. 22nd, 2017 10:02 pm
alatefeline: Painting of a cat asleep on a book. (Default)
[personal profile] alatefeline
A superlatively skilled and gifted Bard of my acquaintance is seeking themes for writing prompts. Some selected themes will be the basis of upcoming Poetry Fishbowls, a regularly scheduled audience-participation event, which results in the writing of excellent poetry. Much of the artist's previous work has been in serial narratives featuring vivid characters of variously marginalized identities.

http://ysabetwordsmith.dreamwidth.org/11059588.html

Please go suggest themes! What topic do you really wish someone would tackle that never comes up? What genre, mood, symbol-set, or aesthetic pleases you?
jewelfox: A portrait of a foxgryphon with a beak, black fur, magenta hair, fox ears, and a neckband with a large jewel on it. (Default)
[personal profile] jewelfox

Read more... )

* I mean straight as in "heteronormative," and not as in the genders of the participants.

sandy river swimming

Jul. 21st, 2017 08:33 pm
alatefeline: Painting of a cat asleep on a book. (Default)
[personal profile] alatefeline
This afternoon I went to the Sandy River.

Read more... )

this red tape is made of blood

Jul. 21st, 2017 01:24 pm
alatefeline: Painting of a cat asleep on a book. (Default)
[personal profile] alatefeline
Paperwork headdesking: a simplified transcript.

Warnings for major complications of the 'bureaucracy is literally trying to kill you' sort, systemic transmisia & ableism & classism, capitalism devouring its young.

Read more... )

FUCK FUCK FUCK. *sound effects of smashing things, ripping with vicious claws*

I'm going out. *doorslam*

ETA: I did indeed go out and that was good. I went swimming in a river! And other things have come along that need dealt with, sigh. Thank you for all the support, both those of you who have commented and anyone reading and well-wishing later. I may close comments here shortly because I need to move on mentally; we'll see. <3

Hamilkitties!

Jul. 20th, 2017 03:09 pm
rachelmanija: (It was a monkey!)
[personal profile] rachelmanija


Curious Alex.





Erin, waiting for it.

writey thing

Jul. 19th, 2017 07:46 pm
alatefeline: Painting of a cat asleep on a book. (Default)
[personal profile] alatefeline
Actually worked a bit on the Writey Thing for the first time, I think, since April.

I somehow drabbled. This is pure setting-background scenery-brainstorming sense-detail, came out in second person for no particular reason, dunno if it will be in the story, but I have got to be writing on the regular, I need that habit and that mode of expression. I'll take it.

Mentions food, wilderness. Here it is.

Read more... )
alatefeline: Painting of a cat asleep on a book. (Default)
[personal profile] alatefeline
got sucked into computerland for a bit

going for a walk

will check things when I get back

went and did stuff

Jul. 18th, 2017 08:59 pm
alatefeline: Painting of a cat asleep on a book. (Default)
[personal profile] alatefeline
Petted FOUR cats on neighborhood walk this morning. Porch Cat, Calico Neighbor Cat, the little bitty mostly-white calico who seems to be their neighbor and rival, and a black and slightly-tuxedo cat out for a walk with his person.

Did a bit of chores of the paperwork-y sort, and communicated reasonably well with S about chores’n’stuff.

Sent my sibling B a picture of me with my genderqueer-flag-striped cat-face button!

Today met up with the excellent [personal profile] kengr at Powell’s City of Books in the afternoon. We had a great conversation. Hooray for people I like to talk to actually living somewhere nearish! Did not buy ALL the things though I was tempted. Also I got a couple of books by C.J. Cherryh, who is a very good writer. Mwahahaha.

Had a great walk. [Content note: Exercise, food, brain weirdness, body weirdness] Read more... )

Found some things that might could be useful while walking. Made tentative plans/options for hopefully-productive tomorrow.
jewelfox: A portrait of a foxgryphon with a beak, black fur, magenta hair, fox ears, and a neckband with a large jewel on it. (Default)
[personal profile] jewelfox

Kinfolk still offers a one-size-fits-all-who-seek-it lifestyle solution with little tolerance for mess. The increasingly rarified image of luxurious simplicity that it projects is far from possible, desirable, or even recognizable for everyone.

-- Kyle Chayka, "The Last Lifestyle Magazine"

It’s hard to identify with something so empty at its core.

-- Also Kyle Chayka, "Welcome to Airspace"

Thoughts on voluntary versus involuntary simplicity, with a side of socioeconomic privilege )

Simplicity, for me, is less of a goal to aspire to, and more like the Tao Te Ching's uncarved block. It's the most useful thing in the world, because you can make anything out of it. And like the air in a tire, or the space in between the spokes of a wooden wheel, sometimes you need it in order to function.

An Experience that's happened...

Jul. 18th, 2017 12:33 pm
desertroot: Agave - a smooth and spiny desert plant with wildflowers growing in front (Default)
[personal profile] desertroot
We'll be adding to this and trying to say more as we get it more put together.  But we're going to try and put *something* down now.

~

Sometimes now…

My veins feel like they are full of life but also ashes and poison.

I can feel weariness and death like slow poison swimming in them and mingling with life and blood.
Dragging us down towards we know so well what.  Just as our blood buoys us up.

A few times I’ve gotten lost in it and the agony and weariness became a sort of sweetness.  And the intensity of this awareness burned through my body like a flame.

Unmoving but filled with it. Unable to move, to cry out - but crying out inside in pleasure just the same.  Caught up in His embrace (and Life’s) and then everything…

Left with a faint residue of heat and healing.

~

After this we had a day where we had the first real solid meal in ages.  A big one too! (as opposed to one snack a day with solid food and the rest being yogurt and Ensure)  Actually we had 2 meals that day!  And felt good after instead of every system having difficulty with it!
 
~

Before this, we spent some time in the crypt (not quite literally, we'll explain later, but an actual place.)  With "A Nervous Splendor"  And  "The Road to Mayerling: Life of Rudolf" and "Elisabeth" so near... The two serpents inside us.  Just lying on the floor sleeping,  shivering faintly, and weeping.  We felt so heavy after that we didn't know how we would make it to see the next  night.

And then...



Today

Jul. 18th, 2017 01:04 am
jewelfox: A portrait of Rei Ayanami from the Evangelion series as an anthropomorphic albino red fox, in a sleeveless lavender top. (rei)
[personal profile] jewelfox

I waited awhile for the internet person, who still didn't show up.

I felt sick from eating unfamiliar food, and from forgetting to take my medicine for almost eight hours.

I discovered an old and unusual game that was still kind of interesting.

I made soup.

delight as a daily practice

Jul. 17th, 2017 09:58 pm
alatefeline: Painting of a cat asleep on a book. (Default)
[personal profile] alatefeline
Things which have, today, delighted me:

Improvements in my overall mental and physical functioning of late; most especially, the energy to do small practical things and random acts of kindness without nearly always stalling out somewhere between the idea and the result.

People being happy about things I have said and done for them or for the world in general: an online friend who got a package, a physical-space neighbor who is possibly on the way to being an actual friendly acquaintance, a partner who gave & got help, listening, and smiles, a passerby who called us superheroes for putting out a smoldering leaf pile where someone had tossed a cigarette.

Petting numerous cats. So many! So fluffy! So purr! 3 of 4 cat sightings successfully negotiated to pets on my morning walk, plus 1 kitty this evening on the way back from the car. Cats yesterday, too!

Our garden plot. The shade of the central fig tree is extraordinarily peaceful. In various plots, there are strawberries, blackberries, raspberries, and blueberries in some stage of bearing fruit. In our plot, we have lots of herbs, lots of things growing that aren’t harvestable at the moment, and a tremendous bumper crop of green beans! I am managing - so far - to handle totally-reasonable-in-origin worries about watering enough, weeding enough, and logging required community service hours despite the entirely unreasonable level of anxiety the provoke. With the rich compost that I nurtured on my shovel and the herbs that I grew in my mouth and the sun on my back and the wind on my face, it’s pretty doable.

Dreamwidth, and the community I find there. Thanks.

AI movement

Jul. 17th, 2017 09:53 am
alatefeline: Painting of a cat asleep on a book. (Default)
[personal profile] alatefeline
AI teaches itself to walk, run, jump inside a physics simulation. Comes up with a flappy runny sometimes-sideways walking style. Looks inefficient to many self-appointed experts. Works well.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gn4nRCC9TwQ

I am feeling my robot side today. And angry that people have a problem with flappy arm running.

*zoom*

EDIT: Note to self: Write a proper video transcript/descript to share, darn it!

Also

Jul. 15th, 2017 06:09 pm
jewelfox: A portrait of a foxgryphon with a beak, black fur, magenta hair, fox ears, and a neckband with a large jewel on it. (Default)
[personal profile] jewelfox

We've been borrowing the neighbours' wi-fi for the past week. >_>; Supposedly we're going to have our own internets on Monday, so please look forward to streams ...

... in between getting a shared bank account with [tumblr.com profile] alias-pseudonym, getting shoes purchased / repaired, and meeting up with an old friend.

Dungeons and Dragons in a nutshell

Jul. 15th, 2017 05:53 pm
jewelfox: A portrait of a foxgryphon with a beak, black fur, magenta hair, fox ears, and a neckband with a large jewel on it. (Default)
[personal profile] jewelfox

Hyperallergic's Michael Press is Dispelling the Myths Around the Hobby Lobby Antiquities Case:

Looting involves destruction and loss of information on a truly massive scale: not only do the objects themselves lose all contextual information, but after being looted, any object deemed valueless on the antiquities market will be discarded or destroyed. Looting pits may be quite deep, and all material located above the looted artifacts is destroyed or lost. This is one of many serious problems with collectors’ buying, and scholars relying on, unprovenanced artifacts – artifacts without a clear, traceable chain of custody back to an archaeological excavation.

But we must also remember that this is a case of theft. In such cases, the real loss is not “ours” as Westerners or as scholars. It is above all a loss for those from whom the artifacts were stolen — the Iraqi people.

How many games have I "innocently" played, where the point is to loot ancient and priceless artifacts and sell them? I don't think I can look at those the same way anymore. Sort of like how Nekopara goes from "creepy" to "terrifying" after reading Ewen Cluney's Nekomimi Land. This is outright cultural theft.

Family and religious stuff, plus innuendo )

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