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8th-Sep-2008 09:27 pm(no subject)
Hey guys! I figured now is as good a time as any to stick some shameless self-promotion in front of you.

So, what have I been doing when I wasn't posting to livejournal and completely ignoring my flist? I been busy, man. Topmost among them?

I got a writing job.

Now, when I say "got", I mean I sent off a bitchy email to Lucy Magazine and they decided I was just PEACHY keen. "Job" means I do work for a portion of the website profits, and hope like hell they will eventually reach levels closer to non-zero than they are now.

"Writing"... well? I'm the advice columnist. A bitchy, aggressive, hard-assed advice columnist. I plan on being right all the time, but I also plan on making readers cringe a little and wonder just who in the hell actually writes to this harpy and asks or abuse. Yeah.

So far, we haven't been able to find anyone who wants me to tell them what to do. SO. If you or a loved one needs a little tough love, go over to www.lucy-mag.com, and check out the front page. There's a blurb there telling you what to do, which consists of emailing me at advice @ lucy-mag dot com.

So, please? Tell your friends? Spread the word?

Ok, first? I got twittered for the first time. I have now officially run the gamut of un-begged-for quotes in all relevant social media.

Apropos of the twittering (and if that sounds dirty it's because you're eight years old) I may get syndicated in someone else's podcast tomorrow. Which is excellent, because it's a spoof that the spoofee loves! News at 11.

Also apropos of the twittering, I had the biggest day ever on Braindouche. Sweet!

Also, i totally podcasted. And successfully produced a spoof while I was at it.

Let's see... I got into a conversation about, um, Ira Glass, mostly, with the Some Audio Guy and after not sending him links to my website, he totally faffed around saying he loved my work after actually taking the time to go find it and listen to it. Love that. And then, THEN, he added my podcast to his blogroll. Which is an excellent compliment, until I realized that one of the other two dozen people on his 'roll was Bryan Fucking Cox. This only makes sense if you're a rampaging fan of Schnauzer Logic. Which I am. Trust me, it's most excellent.

I also made a new friend. A friend who's made it his personal mission to make the world pornier.

And I produced a dirty story reading for him.

And the book the story came from was sent to me by the publisher totally free! I asked, and they sent it. Score one for previous job experience actually proving to be relevant.

It didn't happen this week, but I'm on a roll. An online magazine wants me to be their bitchy advice columnist. It occurred to me tonight that I have absolutely no idea what I'll do about that, because I'm a complete fraud, but that never stopped me before. Thank you, blackperson.

Unless there's a plate hiding in the house somewhere, all my dishes are CLEAN, bitch.

I go on vacation on Friday. Go me!

And in breaking news, I just got an email that Some Audio Guy. He just wrote me up in his blog. This very fucking minute. He's smitten and charmed. I'm just plain stunned.

So. Whew. Ok, what's awesome with you?
For whatever reason, I've spent part of the evening surfing the net and reading up on Morgellons disease. If you're into amateur micro-photography or you're the type that considers sit-popping to be a fine art and hearty hobby, do a little google for some entertainment, but for the rest of you I'll give you a breif synopsis.

Morgellons was originally identified by a woman who's 3-year-old ended up with fuzzy lesions on his skin, and for all the world look like linty abraided bits, sort of like rug burn after rolling around on a new shag wool carpet. The doctors diagnosed her son with "linty feet" and her with Munchausen by Proxy. Undeterred, she hit the internet and a whole bunch of people popped up and said "me too!"

and thus a disease was born.

Morgellons may or may not be a real disease, and the CDC is currently trying to figure out if it's real or not, since enough people whined and bitched for them to take notice. There are lots of symptoms associated with morgellons, but the most common and distinct are reports of blue fibers growing in and under the skin. Doctors mostly think people who claim morgellons are crazy. Morgellons doesn't officially exist as a disease (...yet), so all cases are self-diagnosed.

~~~~(Franklin Veaux-style section cut)~~~~

Undiscovered diseases happen all the time. I'm willing to believe that there are a small number of cases of Weird Unknown Skin Disease among the morgellons masses. I have a chronic skin disorder that has few treatments, no cure, and plenty of doctors that don't believe it exists. Weird shit erupts from my body all the time. It hurts like hell sometimes, and it itches others. My mom has it, we think some other women in my family have had it, and a friend of mine has it. Still, hydradenitis suppuritiva mostly only officially exists in europe.

I am not without sympathy. People who claim to have morgellons disease are suffering. Suffering is bad.


The thing is, I also have Sensitive Delicate Skin(tm). I cut and scratch pretty easily. I have allergies that make me itch sometimes, so I'm always breaking out in little scabby bits. Strong toothpaste, applied liberally and left to sit a moment, will leave a wee red mark that hurts a little. I also tend to pick my scabs and zits. Sooo... at any given time, I'm a bit of a mess.

This is significant, because when I look at pictures of morgellon's sufferers, and there are lots of pictures, I mostly see very familiar stuff. Scratching. Picking. Scabby grossness. Largely self-inflicted ick. It looks like me, only it's usually worse.

When it itches, you scratch. If you scratch too much, you might hurt yourself. People with morgellons itch a lot. however, when you find 4 hooves and a tail, your first guess shouldn't be a zebra. Unless you're in Africa.


I'm willing to buy that there might be something new going on, some of the time, maybe. Medicine is weird like that. The problem is that morgellons communities are full of zebras. A mysterious disease that is defined by weird shit growing on and under your skin associated with strong itching is going to attract a lot of compulsive pickers and people with very fucked up connections between their brains and their bodies. It's difficult to not think it's all in their heads when paranoid morgellon sufferers have serious discussions about dissociating from their own hair.

Every community (and probably disease) has it's whackjobs. This is an extreme example, but if you spend some time in the morgellaverse, you might start to be reminded of the effect of magnifying facial mirrors. Lots of makeup mirrors, if you flip them around, will give you a 3x magnification. These things are bad for self-esteem. Even if you have good skin, if you sit down and look at your face in one of these magnification mirrors, you'll see every tiny flaw and hair and pore and it will make you crazy because you didn't KNOW your skin was so IMPERFECT. Morgellans sufferers pick crap out of their skin, then throw it under the microscope. Morgellans pages are covered in photos of little bits of crap at 60x magnification or more. they keep picking. they keep looking. It'll make you crazy.
Hey you.

Yes, you. LJ addict. Stop being surprised that I'm posting and listen up.

It's come to my attention that you totally don't get enough email. No, it's true, I understand. Ever since you signed up with Gmail and got to see what a really good spam filter looks like for once in your miserable life, things have been a little, well, lonely for you.

I understand, really. You went and signed up for MySpace just for the friend notifications and facebook for... some... reason, and you reinvested yourself in the social potential of yahoo groups. It's ok. I've been there. And I have a solution for you.


Ok, one in particular. Dani and I have been making and selling jewelry, and in the coming soonness, we'll be firing off a monthly newsletter keeping the world abreast (...hee.) of our business adventures. It'll have discount codes (that I get to design, suckers), monthly gift certificate giveaways, and possibly ferrets.

Iffn you would like to voluntarily receive the newsletter, you can comment here with an indication of your preferred email, or you can email Dani at sweettarragon dawtcom.

If, on the other hand, you are positively linked to us by blood, sweat or beers, you're just gunna be signed up. It means we love you. Really.

Any questions?
17th-Jun-2008 12:14 am - I can't believe that worked.
Dear Universe, Dear Internet, and Dear Friend List:

To all those slapdicks who've decided that forced joint stereo is bad and eeeevil, fuck you. If I want to use LAME to mix and encode a happy selection of mono and stereo tracks, the encoder decides it hates my voice and makes me sound like a giant mpeg compression artifact and makes me question the value of my 5 dollar microphones. If I force joint stereo, on the other hand, I sound like me. Slapdick FAIL, joint stereo FTW.

Love and Audacity,
11th-May-2008 09:19 pm(no subject)
hey arcadian72, have you seen this paper on The Wedge Strategy? Any opinions?
11th-May-2008 04:50 pm - Sunday Afternoons with Mer and Dani
Dani: No, honey, they weren't Gregorian muppets.
23rd-Apr-2008 10:21 pm - Living in the future is cool!
Ok, more than a few of you won't be impressed by this, but I am. I just got a new cell phone, one of those mp3-player mashup types, with a camera and a tip calculator and a bunch of other garbage, too. One of the features is that it comes with a 1 gig microSD chip to store your songs on, which I thought would be very useful, beyond just the phone. The size of it just makes me boggle. How cool is it that a gigabyte media device is smaller than my thumbnail? I mean, if we actually had to use them for stuff, they'd get lost all over the place, but it's still cool.

cut for pictures of hardwareCollapse )
... so I'm setting it free. 

How would you take "unstructured time", package it up, and sell it to the moms who worry their overscheduled kids are overscheduled?
Yes, I've been gone for a million years. If I missed anything important, tell me.


Lately, I've been wandering around the Gifted community and blogverse. Partly, it's to see if I can find any other "gifted" adults who didn't take academic routes, and see how they deal, and partly it's a practice in self-mortification to try and exorcise some old demons from the Enrichment Room.

To my mild surprise, aside from the Mensa crowd (shivers), there aren't a whole lot of adults blogging about what it means to be an intellectual outlier*. Most of the gifted community is made up of parents of "gifted" children, and I put that in quotes for for a reason. As much as I hate to say it, a huge portion of these parents are looking for some wonderful reason why their children are special, and are completely deluded. And I'm gunna bitch about it for a minute.

Ok. Your kid is smart. I get that. Congrats. That your kindergartner or first grader is vacuuming up information on bugs or fish or astronomy or, god help me, dinosaurs, and can rattle off statistics and technical names like there's no tomorrow, is perfectly freaking normal. It isn't a reliable sign that your kid is a genius. Oh, your dinosaur-obsessed little boy also hates school and is bored? Also pretty normal. (Not that you probably shouldn't address that.)

You. Over there. Your child melts down in crowds, in response to loud noises, bright lights, rough clothing, in response to anything frustrating, and having her routine changed. Her speech was seriously delayed, she doesn't make friends, displays obsessions, and she just doesn't sleep right. She doesn't look anyone in the eye, and she just doesn't seem to get it sometimes? Yes, I agree that your little sally may be quite brilliant, and yes, childhood diagnoses if all sorts of things are way out of hand, but standing there and holding your breath until your face turns blue isn't going to change the fact that your kid might be gifted with Aspergers. You might want to look into that.

Your kid could read at 4, and at 6 has a firm grasp on 9th grade algebra? That's wonderful. So can a frightening number of kids in Asian countries, because the Asian educational boards figured out that younger kids are more willing to embrace abstract concepts than older kids. Just because your kids can do things you couldn't at the age doesn't mean they're special. If your mom gave you the opportunities you gave your kid, you may well have been able to do it, too. Calendars and schedules can be astonishingly arbitrary if you let them.

Oh, you don't want to pull your kid out of public school because you're afraid of the social opportunities he'll miss despite the fact that your child's teacher punished your child for reading the textbook too fast and the administration told you flat out told you they won't do anything about it? Just shut up.

Aaaand you. With the "bad kid" who is really just misunderstood. If you'd quit spending every waking minute fighting with the school psychologist and harassing the special ed staff and threatening your kid's teacher and fighting for a new IEP eval and just sat down and parented your fucking child a little bit, you might get somewhere.

Nrg. Gifted children present special challenges to both educational systems and parents. It's tough on everyone, especially the kid. There are tons of people on these websites that have legitimately gifted kids and equally legitimate problems, but the sheer number of delusional parents who are trying desperately to prove to God and everyone that their kid is special is just mindblowing. What makes me crazy is that they go on these websites bragging about how they are clogging up the special ed system fighting for little Johnny and taking away often profoundly limited resources from the kids who actually need them.

Yes, I have anger issues about this, and they're apparently not resolved yet. I'll try not to keep whining about it.

* I've decided that I really can't stand the word gifted. There might be some people with specific gifts, be it art or music or math or language (I'm looking at you, Cait) or whatever. I don't have any specific "gifts", I have a faster processor, I have a completely different OS, an enormous HD, buggy defrag software, and possibly a RAM upgrade compared to virtually everyone I meet. I've had enough IQ tests to know that they don't know how to test me effectively because it's just too goddamn high. I'm different, and as often as not, it's a liability. It doesn't feel like a gift, it feels like a birth defect. Right now, I'm very interested in Catana's concept of "high cognitives", because it bothers to make a quantitative distinction between high achievers and people like me. I can think of one other person reading this right now who would qualify, and unless it's you, it's not you. 
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