Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Humor: When Reality Interferes With Your Satire

In my last post I referenced a communication from a friend, indicating his in-progress development of a product for the blind. It turns out he was joking! Here is a case where sloppy use of language and unknown information led us both down a primrose path. However, of the two of us, I definitely wandered the most.

My friend does indeed do work with cell phones, so when I ran into some accessibility related information about cell phones I forwarded the information to him. He, ever being ready for a good laugh, saw a chance for some humor and fired off the response I referenced in my last post. He claimed to be developing a (sic) "brail touch screen cell phone to make it easier to read." Since he is intimately familiar with what is and is not doable on a cell phone, the above was satire, obvious and clear. Like reading a reference to a flying truck.

To me, a member, no matter how loosely, of the blind community, this assertion was a brilliant idea whose time had come. I have a habit of not paying all that much attention to word meaning. "Touch screen", "display", hey, if I touch it and it feels like Braille, its a touch-screen, right? WRONG! My friend's misspelling of Braille, should have alerted me to the possibility of a lack of knowledge on his part, in reference to Braille and current technology. I saw it, but assumed he was just doing his geek-speak. A hyper version of the English language designed to save time and keystrokes. As in: 'np' instead of 'no problem'. A device saving eight keystrokes. Over the course of a day, this can be a substantial time and work saver. You type just enough to get the idea across and spelling be damned! I imagine after several years of texting to one another we'll dispense with words all together and simply 'character' back and forth! (I'm using satire here!)

Within the blind community there is a sad state of affairs in regards to Braille usage. Many blind people don't know the system and don't use it. They get by using recording devices of various types. I have tried the 'tape only' system and found it really wanting. Braille to a blind person is like paper and pencil to a sighted person. Yeah, you use your computer, blackberry and other techno toys, but you do occasionally need to write something down on a piece of paper. You sighted folks, think of a world where you couldn't physically write things down. Forget about taking notes at meetings, sharing a phone number, or even a reminder scrawled on a Post-It note. You can function, but it absolutely hinders your 'flow'.

The Braille and non-Braille camps are similar to the tug-o-war between PC and Mac users. I confess, I can't resist taking the well-practiced swipe at my (unfortunate) PC using friends, who never fail to meet my challenge. It is a similar fight within the blind community, however, lacking all humor. Because the ability to get employment is involved, both sides are serious and, at times, a bit hysterical.

I have a totally blind friend who would swoon over a cell phone with a Braille display. She is forever complaining about how difficult it is for the totally blind. She is processing grief work. This fact keeps me from ranting at her to "GET OVER IT!" I am, however, more sensitive to the issues because of her real and imagined problems.

Now, a lesson in Gmail usage and proper English. Yes, I'm going to be arrogant, whether I'm right or not, just because I can. If you have an email stream of several replies to an original message in Gmail, all these communications are saved in one physical email in your inbox: me,Terry (3). If you are really stupid and accidentally DELETE the above email, further additions Terry might make aren't registered through your inbox. Why? Because the original is in the trash! (Sheepishly, hehe, lesson learned).

Now, an English lesson for my beloved friend. A 'post' refers to a BLOG (post) and an email, refers to an EMAIL! Since when have we started referring to posting email? Maybe you folks talk like that on the East Coast, but out here in California, posts are in fences, or blogs and email is NOT called a POST. Thank-you very much!

I rejoice over this classic 'failure to communicate'. In years gone by I would have panicked over this state of affairs and cried. Now, I simply laugh. I have a habit, I am sure drives my friend crazy. I see something he does on one of his websites and fire off an email praising the change (I misidentify), with no detail of where I saw the change. I always have to reply back to his confused questioning. "Snow, on my website, where?". It is getting more and more fun being alive in this world of ours. Playfulness is lurking around most corners and I'm loving it.

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Dealing With Memories In Real Time.

One of the joys of my 'recovered' life is the assurance that recovery is real, ongoing and evolving. One of the surprises of this journey is how even pleasant memories can clog up your thinking, like a phone system with overloaded circuits. In my last post, I experienced one of the rare 'happy' moments from my childhood. It felt wonderful to let my mind remember and my body re-experience that calming affect of a beloved animal. I figured I was all done and expected no further information from my little seven-year-old self.

Now, I realize that there is also the troubled, confused and terrified seven-year-old who still longs to be whole. Before, when I was in the throws of active retrieval of the painful memories, the more subtle difficulties were swamped by the gross mistreatment, neglect and abandonment grief work I had to engage in. I want to try and share what I'm learning in a new stage of memory recovery. A good memory surfaces and because it is good, you let it happen. No tears, flashbacks, or need for assistance. There are issues of confusion which also surface, but since they are subtle, I don't immediately realize what is happening.

The other subtle issues begin to come forth. For me it is a tremendous fear of rejection based on sharing too much of the 'wrong' kind of information. The adults in my world were usually in various phases of drunkenness, so their irrational reactions make sense to me, now, as an adult. As an open and growing seven-year-old, I had to force myself into 'secret agent' behavior, just to survive. If I had a real feeling: "don't show it. Think about it first, evaluate the risks involved in sharing it and assume, no matter what I do, it'll probably just get me screamed at." I always talked to myself, as there wasn't anyone else around.

My aunt had bought me one of those glow-in-the-dark rings. It was a blue stone and I really loved it. I just thought it was the neatest gift I'd ever gotten. I knew my aunt always felt unappreciated, as when drunk, this was one of her favorite 'rants'. I felt really happy inside, that I could both share my joy and make her happy at the same time. Man, did I call that one wrong!

She started to cry and screamed out that all the work she'd done for me meant nothing, but I liked a damn dime-store ring! The lecture was one of her three hour rant-o-thons and I promised myself I'd NEVER make that mistake again! But in the 'big' picture of recovery, this little emotional lesson got buried under the more pressing problems of survival. Now it is safe and my confusion can emerge and find healing. Here's what happened to me.

Fear of rejection from friends is a major part of my temperament, and it would still be so, if I had a 'normal' childhood. Us talkative, performing, romping types are terrified of being rejected by the people we care about. I know this, and try to keep that nagging "Do they really like me, or are they just being nice?" doubt tamed down, usually through prayer. I love people like myself, talkative, emotive, performers, romping and playful spirits. We are all very sensitive, and don't have a problem letting you know when we are surprised, irked, joyful or confused by something you do. I love that direct communication, as the subtle stuff just goes right over my head. I miss it completely.

I forwarded some information to a buddy who works with mobile devices. He responded that he did like the information because he's working on a new product. Something for the blind. My heart soared, since, with the duties involved with my church's website, I've put my own 'project for the blind' on hold. I wanted to really talk to my friend. One of my long emails, full of questions, opinions and my talkative 'me-ness', but I found myself shutting down. It was truly strange. I stared at the email and did nothing. I felt this absolutely crazy fear, and avalanche of negative assertions: "Oh, geez, you've already emailed him several times. He doesn't want any more from you. One of these days, he's gonna tell you to shut up and go away. Don't be stupid, he's just to polite to tell you to get lost, but if you keep forcing yourself on him, he may find the ability to over ride his normally considerate nature." (Note the perfect mind-reading, future-predicting and entirely NEGATIVE quality. This is an example of an "old tape". It has been a real long time since I heard THAT particular old tape. I shut down my computer and went to bed.

My buddy, aware of my passion to help the blind community was wondering why I didn't react. True to both of our natures, he was right out there: "What no response...?". Not realizing my little seven-year-old was calling the shots I moved right into panic mode. "Oh no. Now I will get into trouble, because when I share how I feel, he'll know I was lying, or I would have shared it last night..." This is the moment I realized who was trying to handle this situation. Other things were happening which seemed out of the ordinary. I wasn't picking up on observations - mis-reading (not understanding) references to things I'd said, earlier in the day. Once I spotted my poor little seven-year-old trying to do my totally alien life (from her point of view), I realized that I am still involved in remembering, healing and self-integration. Oh man, I get tired of this!

But, it is okay to explore being seven in a healthy world. The pastor's wife at church is another playful spirit, and when we get together, one or both of us get 'shushed' by the class leader, because we are talking to each other and not being attentive to the class! My church seems like it has been designed to facilitate my mental health. The class leader will admonish us, but she's trying not to laugh, as she does it.

I have found new levels of prayer and trust in God. I actually cried at church, in gratitude, last Sunday. God is bringing up all that subtle stuff, so when I recognize its around, I can pray about it and he heals me. This is the new process for me. I used to not react to an incident for days or weeks, now I am reacting in hours, or minutes. I'm getting healed. I'm getting free.

Friday, May 26, 2006

Why I love Samoyed dogs.

When I was about seven or eight years old, I was invited over to the home of one of my Aunt's friends. Her family owned two of the most beautiful, friendly and gentle dogs I've ever encountered. Two yappy, but very loving Samoyeds. They are cold weather dogs like the Husky, but adapt fine to warmer climates.

The owner gave me huge marrow-filled bones to give to the dogs. I would dig out the marrow for the dogs and they never tried to hurt me in any way. They both understood what I was trying to do and would sit patiently, in front of me, with tails wagging, until I'd dislodged the marrow. I'd give them both half of it, along with a bone. These dogs are very affectionate, with long, soft white fur and a frisky personality.

The only drawback, I remember, is they are talkative. If you don't like yappy, noisome creatures, a Newfoundland Hound would be a better choice. That breed hardly barks at all. Samoyeds love to play, with each other, or any humans who are so inclined.

I spent many comforting hours with these awesome creatures and hope to get a dog sitting job one day, with a Samoyed. I love this photo of a running Samoyed. I called the picture BornFree.bmp. I got it off the net, but since I'm not planning on selling it, I think its okay. Now that true recovery is a part of my world, I am remembering the gentler moments of my life. For me animals were a life-saver. Animals sense when you are ill, physically, or emotionally. They will attempt to soothe you as best they can. I feel like the dog in that picture, finally able to romp through a good life, safe and free.

Monday, May 22, 2006

Common Sense Applied To Christianity.

Oh my, The Da Vinci Code movie is coming out and all radio religious is going stark-raving mad. "Should, or should you not go? (take your child, dog or x-mother-in-law?). To hear some folks talk about this book, to actually read it may turn you into a Satanist! A similar argument to: if you hang around homosexuals, you might turn into one. People Pa-lee-ee-se! Take a breath and sit down. Cybergal has some light to shed on all of this. Having the absolute ability to over react, I've already done that for you. I can save you much time, energy and angst.

Christianity takes a leap of faith to accept, or reject. To actually learn about Christianity, I suggest sitting down with a book called The Bible and slowly reading it. You can read it in a year, or read it in five years, depending on whose plan you follow. What I, or anyone else says about this, or any other subject, should be INVESTIGATED by you, before believing the opinion.

I hated all things Christian, but when I decided to actually give Jesus a chance, I started with the four Gospels and read them like I'd read any other story. I have to say, it is a story that is interesting, but a bit strange. Since I was a Baha'i' at the time, I had a lot of data from the Baha'i' viewpoint,showing how they were right and Christ was wrong.

I basically started over. Following The Baha'i' faith wasn't working any more and I really liked the part of Jesus work, where he healed people. I knew I was totally screwed-up and had no idea how to help myself, at the ripe old age of 25. My march to Jesus took over 5 years and was not smooth, or easy. Like most people who finally straggle up to an alter somewhere, I was broken inside, hopeless and desperate. Desperate enough to run naked down any street, if that would make things better. So before running naked, anywhere, I decided to try Jesus. (Real spiritual, right?)

I hate to work hard, so when Dr. Gene Scott held out the carrot of just listening to him talk about the Bible, instead of me reading it for myself, I went for it. After 14 years and a bankruptcy, mainly caused by hysterical religious giving, I decided to actually read the Bible for myself. (Yeah, stupid is as stupid does). Now, I'm at a healthy small church near my home and I'm having a wonderful time in the world of religion. But, I still read the Bible for myself, no matter how much I respect my pastor. A really good sign of a healthy church and or pastor, is one who encourages you to check out what they preach. The pastors and churches that don't want you to think for yourself, by questioning, or investigating their teachings are not good. Buyer Beware!

For those of us who are Christian, we've come to believe stuff about Jesus, God, the devil and life. If this 'stuff' is based on the Bible - the entire Old and New testaments, you are probably pretty stable when confronted with something like The Da Vinci Code, Holy Blood, Holy Grail, or The Jesus seminar. If you haven't been studying, or paying very close attention, these things can blow you right off balance.

Mainstream Christianity believes Jesus is divine and human at the same time. That he actually physically died at the crucifixion and then re-gained his physical life again at the Resurrection. A whole lot of people, some even claiming to be Christian, refuse to believe some, or all of the above. Numbers aren't the only thing which can be 'cooked' to render a lie. Research can be 'cooked' also. It basically comes down to who are you going to believe?

If I look at you, wave my hand over your head and tell you that you are giving off 'cancer' vibrations, I would hope you'd ignore me. If, however, your Medical Doctor says that you have a malignant brain tumor, I'd hope you'd pay very serious attention to that information. The difference is the credibility of the source.

While it may be true, that I can detect a 'cancer' vibration, the chance of it being reliable is very small. The chance that your doctor and hospital completely mistake several test results, all pointing to a brain tumor is also slim. Again, who is the most reliable source of information?

One study says caffeinated coffee is good for you, while another study says it is bad for you. Some guy on late night talk radio claims the Queen of England is really part of an alien race, which appear to be six-foot-tall reptiles. This last story is completely ignored by even the way-out-there press. Who are you going to believe? We all know this, until someone writes something about Jesus Christ.

We all believe that religion and love are similar. Both are effortless to obtain and maintain. Both will last forever. Love is a commitment and a lot of work. Religion is also a commitment and requires life-long upkeep. Salvation is indeed free, but the upkeep is a job you will have for the rest of this life, as you slowly lose more of the 'old' you and take on more of the 'new' Jesus-like you.

I have a lot of atheist friends and find much real pleasure in kicking Christianity around with them. They always come up with questions I never thought of and answers which make us all laugh, at times. When one of my atheist friends proclaims they've found a book 'proving' that Jesus isn't God, I'll read it, but I take it with a grain of salt. Sure, when you throw out 85% of the New testament, what you are left with doesn't look too divine, but why would I choose to do that?

When my pastor gives me a book, as part of a class, and tells me to read it, I am open and trusting. Why? I assume this person wants to assist me on my spiritual journey. One of the most devastating mistakes I made, was trusting a pastor, who rejected 85% of the New testament. Now, I'm a bit less open, no matter who recommends a book.

The Jesus seminar took the New testament and 'blackballed' anything they felt violated scientific law. (any miracle, etc.) and actually rejected around 85% of the Gospel accounts. With that set of assumptions, they concluded that the Bible has no more authority then any other book. Since I believe The Bible was divinely inspired, I give it far more weight, then I do to the latest 'how to get organized' book. I had to learn not only what I believe, but why I believe it.

I really have a problem with The Da Vinci Code. Since it is a very well crafted 'who done it?" story, it moves fast and captures and sustains your full attention. What I hate about this book is the claim that the 'research' is accurate. And I'm related to the Tooth Fairy! Dan Brown doesn't make one or two little errors, but inflates reality, or ignores it completely, consistently throughout his anti-Christian rant. It is a free country. I think you all should read the book and probably skip the flick. I've heard it is not nearly as good as the book. Many fine books have trouble making the transition to the silver screen. Check out the claims.

One example, are there 666 panes of glass in the pyramid outside the Louvre, or are there 673 panes of glass? This could have indeed been a typo, but there are many other 'lose' ends in this book. I dare you to read that book and then spend several weeks reading the 4 gospels: Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. There are amazing errors committed by the so-called British historian.

Now, who cares? Why does it matter? Because, I believe we humans have a 50 year span of time to answer one question that will determine our eternal destiny. Yes, it is a test, but it is an open book test, and you have 50 years, give, or take, to accomplish the task.

Some of you don't believe there is an eternity, yeah, that is a leap of faith also, but what if you are betting on the wrong horse and spend eternity in 'the smoking section'? That was what made me seriously consider religion at all. Sure, if this is all there is, let's make the most of it, get mine and to hell with you. But, what if there is an eternity, we can't perceive, like we can't normally see electricity? Be careful about the assumptions you make to rule your life, it is a true drag, when you realize that you have basically 'wasted' most of your precious time being a fool.

Here's my reasoning on the time of the big test. Figure most of us live 70+ years. I figure the first 20 are the prep time for the test. Getting the skills we need to do this long open book test. 70 minus 20 yields 50 years of time to answer one question. Are you all ready?

"Who do you say I am?"
Jesus Christ speaking.
You have two choices.
  1. The only real God, proved by the claim and fulfillment of the Resurrection. Therefore Jesus is The Lord of my life.
  2. Not divine, any path leads to God, therefore I don't have to worry about it.

Its an open book test, but I'd be careful which opinion I'd bet on. The Da Vinci Code is entertaining FICTION, but a very bad source about who Jesus Christ is.

Sunday, May 14, 2006

How Do I Prove I'm NOT Abusing My Medication?

I take 2 psychiatric and one heartburn medication every day. I absolutely don't remember the names of these medications. The two psychiatric medications are both restricted. People have been known to use them as 'party' drugs. I am given 100 generic Prozac at a time, but the tricyclic anti-depressant is restricted to 30 tablets at a time. Needless to say, I'm down refilling something every 30 days.

I also tend to forget which pill is what drug. I usually just bring in the empty bottle and that solves the problem. Today I made several really bad errors. 1) I left the empty bottle of the tricyclic at home and 2) assumed I could just remember what was what and the pharmacy would figure it out. No, no, very, very bad set of moves! As I said, I don't mess with medication. I do what I'm told, no more, no less. So, the thirty pills were gone again. I thought they were the generic Prozac. I told the pharmacists as much and within 10 minutes I was ready to leave, with new pills.

Then the Odyssey began: "are you taking more then one pill a day?"The clerk asks, while frantically interacting with her keyboard. I immediately realized I was in trouble. This is one of those situations like: "how long has it been since you stopped beating your spouse?" There is no win on answering that question. The very first thing an active drug abuser does, is to deny they are abusing drugs!

I patiently ran through my explanation and was told I had to see the pharmacist before they'd give me my pills. They didn't even ask for my co-payment, a really suspicious sign indeed. So, I'm confronted with a kind Japanese lady who begins to really grill me on my pill taking behavior. She kept asserting that I'd just had a 100 pills given to me on 3/29 and although they'd give me 30 more today, they wondered how I'd managed to go through so much medicine in a month. It finally hit me, that maybe they had refilled the wrong pill. Sure enough,once I corrected the error I'd made in the beginning of this transaction, I was again free to leave without any further special meetings. Man, I will NEVER, NEVER neglect to take my empty bottle of pills with me to my HMO again. I am thankful they care, and are careful. But, I had a real attention span trying to figure out how I'd prove I wasn't abusing my medication! Woo-Wee.

Saturday, May 13, 2006

A Hospitalized Friend And The Grief Process.

A lazy Skype chat is interrupted yesterday, by a sad phone call from a friend. Her grown daughter fell in their home, severed an artery in her leg, spent a week in ICU, and now is in a regular hospital room. My friend doesn't know if her daughter will ever be able to walk again, or how long she'll have to remain in the hospital. I numbly make arrangements to go and see her daughter, calling the daughter on the phone and noting the tears in her voice.

It is now 5 AM and I've been scouring the net looking for how to be a good visitor. I suddenly realize that I'm in grief. I know from personal experience about some of what NOT to do when visiting someone who is ill. The usual stupid stuff, like, telling them your troubles, claiming you know how they feel or going into hyper-religion on them. But, I keep wanting to go back over the scary fact that this twenty-something gal may not be able to walk again. This is my grief work and I have to face it before seeing the daughter, or her mother. It just plain-old hurts.

Her mom and I have had a rocky on-again-off-again kind of relationship. I am no counselor, but this lady is driven by her own needs to try and make me into her counselor. So, I've hung back. I've always liked her daughter, but we've never really gotten to talk, as the daughter saw I was attempting to stay friends with her lovable, but at times, crazy-making mom. I know God will help me to be helpful tomorrow. From the research I've done, being a decent visitor is mainly about not staying too long and LISTENING. I remember the worst example of nurse-bedside-manner I've ever experienced.

I was at the blind school, in my thirties, finally learning how to use a white cane and all the rest of how to do life, if I ever lost my sight. I had the flu, but was also depressed over my complete inability to connect with people. The staff nurse comes in and sees me curled up with my Bible. I was so emotionally out of it, that I didn't read God's Word, but I slept with this bible in a zipper case. Everyone loved that Bible, and after she looks at it and hands it back to me, she asks:

"Why don't you have any friends?" (I believe there is a TV series: "Just Shoot Me")? That had to be the absolute worst thing this lady could have asked me. Fever and all, I fell into uncontrollable crying, which she couldn't and wouldn't deal with. So, she got up and left my room. I remember turning back to God, as suddenly, I was alone again! What a question!

Then there is the hysterical-religious approach. "No matter what... Be thankful, God is good." These things are both true, but not necessarily something I will utter tomorrow. If the daughter wants to pray to, or rage at God, I will listen and follow her lead. The last thing she needs is some fool who has no idea what she is feeling, wanting or needing, to turn super-spiritual on her.

It is interesting, that the sermon last night was on having the wisdom to know when to be quiet! My favorite proverb:

Prov. 17:28 Even a fool, when he holdeth his peace, is counted wise: and he that shutteth his lips is esteemed a man of understanding.

I count my own blessings, that I have enough mental health to truly be available to listen to the concerns and pain of another person. It is one of the ways I say "thank you" to all God has done and is still doing for me.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Watching A Friend Fall In Lust.

I just did a thorough rereading of some email a friend shared with me. She is convinced that her life will become whole when she finds the person of her dreams, that (pseudo) psychics have told her about. (For a price, of course). If it was possible to complete a life via another person, I'd have done it by now. What I got for my effort was some of the best sex I've ever experience AND being beaten for two years. Batterers are charismatic, charming and other centered, until they capture you. Then they reveal their unbelievably selfish and out-of-control "true" nature.

People asked me why I chose to abandon everything I couldn't carry on my back, when I finally fled from this abusive relationship. It is simple. Because these people can be so charming, when it suits them, I was afraid of being enticed back, if I had any contact with this individual. I learned the hard way, that whirlwind, we're involved immediately, relationships are a recipe for pure disaster.

I have come to trust my platonic friendships as real, on-going and precious. I have come to trust my judgment, about how much to 'risk', with whom and when. Healthy people are cautious. They've been burned, and have seen others burned. Real anything takes time and effort. If you need a quick test for lust, try this. When you think about this person, are you interested in their thoughts, or do you just want to get naked somewhere with them and 'have at it"? We all have moments of temptation, but as someone said at church:

"There is a difference between a bird landing on your head or letting that bird hang around and build a nest in your hair". So true.

I am deeply saddened by where my friend appears to be headed. She has known this man, (via email, and phone) for less then a week and they are both discussing, erotica. She tried to slow him down and although he tried to temper his emotions for her benefit, he ended his email with: "kisses," Red flags are up and flying, but my friend doesn't want to hear about it. I have had a sad feeling about this gal for awhile, as I watch her psychic 'helpers' drag her ever deeper into the idea of getting her man, (complete with a physical description) and encouraging her continued travel down this path. It is really true, that money can buy almost anything. The one psychic who called my friend on her lopsided life-approach was completely rejected as being 'inexperienced'.

Here's the deal. Sex is the LAST piece of the relationship, not the appetizer. Religion knows this, hence the prohibition against out-of-marriage sex. See, us females release a hormone, the first time we have sex with a partner which gives us that "goofy" quality men are so mystified by. For the men, sex is NOT the same as for the female. After sex, a man is satisfied physically and when spiritually evolved, emotionally connected to his wife. But a man can have sex just for the physical release. Women aren't wired like that. We tend to want to "nest", and swoon. One comic put it perfectly:

"You totally lose your mind. He calls you up and leaves a message like: 'Gawd I hate these damn machines,' and hangs up. You collapse in romantic fantasies, until reality finally dawns and you are left asking yourself: 'what was I thinking?'"

Health proceeds slowly. Our over-sexed culture believes that to have sex, is like kicking the tires on a possible car purchase. God designed sex to be the capstone on a healthy pair of friends who have committed their lives to each other. The three good marriages I'm familial with ALL involve on-going effort for and towards each other. Lust is effortless, love is not a feeling, but a commitment of the will. I fear for my friend. As in so many other experiences watching people making my former mistakes, I feel old and a bit drained, as they innocently ignore my warning about the up-coming cliff. Telling me all the while that I'm wrong, as I watch them fall and disappear over the edge.

Friday, May 05, 2006

When Reality Is Scarier Than Fiction: What We Don't Know About Nano Technology

I will give you my bias now. When it comes to genetic engineering and nano technology I'm completely irrational and scared to death. I attempt to moderate this sense of doom by educating myself to what the learned men and women of real science are up to. For a long time, this has kept most of my drooling terror at bay, but, now, thanks to a pod cast of Science Friday for 4/28/06, I am completely over the edge. Today I speak of nano technology. (When I find out a similar condition exists for genetic engineering, I'll upload another tale of terror).

What is nano technology? It is non-living things which are man made that are so small, they can float around in your body without (supposedly), bothering your 'intruder' defenses, or your immune system. There is great hope for this world of tinsy. Medical critters which can cruise your blood stream and 'eat' up all that bad cholesterol, or other 'problems'. Tinsys which will 'eat' things like PCB's and other environmental scourges. The list of the potential 'good stuff' is long and (like all utopias) inviting, tempting and SHORT SIGHTED!

To my knowledge no man-made utopian scheme which has been tried by real people has worked as envisioned. Literature is full of these tales, fictional and otherwise. Science holds out the promise, that when they find something new, they will TEST IT before releasing it into the consumer marketplace. What will they test it for? Oh, small things like, will it accidentally kill you, if you use it? (poison). Will it kill you if you use it incorrectly? (eating a cosmetic, or a car wax). Over time, will it hurt you? (toxic buildup). These aren't unreasonable questions to ask. Like most of us I ASSUMED they weren't only being asked, but ANSWERED before new products were put out for us to use.

The scientists are checking, but only in a limited way, when it comes to these nano-things. They are checking to see if they irritate the lungs, if inhaled. Good, but they are using this stuff in dentistry (inside your mouth) and haven't checked if when you swallow, you are accidentally introducing them into your bloodstream through your stomach, or tissues on the way to your stomach! (Compared to this reality, no sci fi book I've ever read comes close to this level of fright).

What about cumulative buildup, over time. Maybe one filling won't bother you, but what about when your dentures, or bridge contain nanos? Lead builds up in the human body, with no way to get rid of it. I don't believe nanos leave us either, but, like real scientists I don't know for sure.

Add to this the comforting thought that the word 'nano' is being used as an advertising gimmick. Its presence on a label name, may just mean 'small'. Remember the problem of attempting to find milk without the growth hormone given to the cows? It was written into laws, that companies DID NOT have to declare whether or not this hormone was present or not. God, I love the free market! Same with genetically altered fruits and vegetables. They don't have to inform us if it is real, or 'wacko-tech'. Like everyone else, I've made the adjustment. I buy it, eat it and hope I don't sprout new body parts, on some bright future Friday morning.

We have nanos in dentistry, cosmetics, car wax and clothes. Man, buying second hand may not only be economically intelligent, it may save my life! I know, I'm being irrational and everything will be all right! Sure, can we talk about asbestos? I hearken back to a political campaign between Lyndon Johnson and some republican. Johnson's positive slogan was: "In your heart you know he's right". His opposition shot back: "In your gut, you know he's a nut". We are running way, way too far ahead of ourselves and I fear things I can't see, protect myself from and / or don't understand.

Monday, May 01, 2006

Humor: Getting Work The CyberGal Way.

I love listening and reacting to various pod casts. If I like them I bless their email, or comment message lines with some content from CyberGal. As a low vision person I have a laundry list of things I wish web designers would stop doing on the Internet. So, when I was asked my opinion, I ranted, raved and probably rambled in a long email discourse.

Like every other disabled person I've ever met, I've tried and tried, over and over to get self-sustaining, gainful employment. Well, I have some part-time work, but without my Social Security I'd be homeless really fast. But, I still crank out a resume, or cover letter from time to time, in that never die hope... You know, I practice interviewing skills, pack and repack a multi-colored parachute and generally attempt to be ready for that bright day when employment opportunity comes a'knocking.

All of this for naught. For naught I tell you! (This is so funny, I can hardly type it.). I got an email reply to the afore mentioned web-o-rant. I was asked if I wanted to be interviewed on the pod cast AND would I be willing to be available for a possible paid slot in a usability study. (If the customer will pay for the study, they will pay me to be a guinea pig!) My potential boss ends his correspondence with "What do you think?" All that work to get work! I've been wrong all along.

Those of you who've followed this blog awhile, have no doubt that when CyberGal has an opinion, I have no problem beating it to death, right? That the more frustrated I get the more humorous I tend to become, right? Now, I can relax!

Here are the steps to employment - The CyberGal Way:
  • Shoot your mouth off.
  • Accept a job!

And people don't think God has a sense of humor!