February 15, 2009

V is for Valentine…by Lisa Cole

I liked this, so I thought I’d share.

V-Day.com | Lisa Cole’s Blog

Posted at 4:27 am in: Art , artists , Feminism , videos , Women , youtube
February 12, 2009

Life Like Weeds

So, over the past couple of days I’ve been doing some thinking and I’m in a much better place than I was before. I think, as my birthday gift, we are going to go ahead with the newspaper subscription because aside from the cost, I can’t really see any reason not to and neither can Blake.

Another bonus I thought of with the newspaper is that, we have this big porch in the front of our house that no one ever uses, especially me, because I feel too exposed there, like every car driving by is watching me and thinking bad things about me, so one of my immersion therapy steps for the summer, when I have the kids all day, could be to stay out there for as long as it takes to read the paper – or at least a section or two of it. (The summer presents a lot of unique challenges for me as I’m not comfortable going places with my kids and they’re too young, in my opinion, to stay home by themselves, which means I won’t be able to do a lot of the things I have planned for the spring and there’s a good chance of me backsliding.)

And that brings me to my garden. If you’re new to my blog, which a lot of you are, then you don’t know about my garden, so allow me to tell you about it.

In the spring of 2006, on the May 24 long weekend, Blake and I held a “Keep Off the Lawn” party where we and some very good and dedicated friends tore up my front lawn so I could plant a wildflower garden.

This was the original idea, to make a large sign that read “Grow Dammit!” which had the possibility of ruffling some feathers in our very conservative, churchy town, which would then become overgrown with wildflowers so you could barely see it and then a “Please Keep Off The Lawn” sign would be placed at the front of the garden, as a joke since there wouldn’t be any lawn to keep off of. For some reason, my friend Sondra and I thought this idea was hysterical and things just kind went from there.

So, on the May 24 long weekend of 2006 (as I said), our friends Sondra, Mariko, (aka Korpsy) Scooter, Alex, (aka Lexibadger) Jesse, Jen and even my mom, all took part in the desecration of my front lawn and at the end of the weekend, seeds were sewn.

Here is a picture of the lawn before the party:

Here are some pictures of the desecration in-progress:


(More pics of the party and devastation can be found here.)

To help fund the project, I sold “PostTards” I made of what I hoped the garden would look like eventually, using a picture of my house and pictures I cut out straight from the seed packets that were used IN the garden, many of which were donated by friends of my site.

Since the original idea of the large “Grow Dammit!” sign became impossible, I just painted one on canvas, varnished it like crazy and it’s still going strong today:

Throughout that summer, and every summer after, I’ve documented and taken pictures of what grows in my garden and posted it in my Live Journal. Originally the project had its own Live Journal community, which I intended to open up to other front yard growers, but then I got busy and couldn’t afford to keep the paid account so I just moved everything to my personal Live Journal. All “Keep Off the Lawn” posts can be found here, under the “kotl” tag.

Here’s what the garden looked like the first summer:

Here’s what it looked like the second summer:

And here’s what it looked like last year (not as pretty…and there’s a reason for that, which I’ll get into in a minute…):

Last summer wasn’t a very good one for me. I was severely depressed and my agoraphobia was in full force. First of all, the garden itself was under performing, partially because of the seed I used (about 10 lbs of wildflower seed, a lot of which turned out to be what I’d consider weeds) and partially because I was afraid to leave my house to pull the weeds and tend to it. In prior years, I did a lot of digging up of certain flowers and moving them to better places and last year I just didn’t have the energy or motivation to do it.

Part of my agoraphobia is that I have this idea in my head that every car driving past is looking at me (which they are) and that they’re all thinking bad things about me, like I’m fat or I’m ugly or my house is crappy. Also last year my neighbours built a patio out back, which looks directly into both our back yard and our front yard and they spent every waking moment out there. I couldn’t leave my house without them wanting to have a conversation…so I just didn’t leave my house and let my garden run wild. I didn’t even water it so a lot of things died.

I spent the entire summer anxiety-ridden over the garden. Afraid of what people driving past were thinking about it, afraid that the town was going to cite me because of the weeds, afraid that people who commented on how wonderful it was in past years were disappointed in me…so many things. I couldn’t even go outside to take proper pictures of the things growing in it, so I was also afraid of disappointing the people who I knew read my blog and looked forward to “KOTL” posts. It was like a cycle, I couldn’t work on the garden because I was depressed and afraid and then I was even more depressed because my garden wasn’t what it used to be and I really really loved my garden.

So, in the fall, I told Blake – and the internet – that the garden would be no more, that we were going to mow it down in the spring and plant sod over top so I’d never have to deal with it again. This was partially due to depression and anxiety – and to be honest, the prospect made me really sad – but also because we had intended to put our house up for sale and it would be easier to sell with a front lawn instead of a garden.

But then the economy got hit pretty hard and layoffs started happening left, right and center and at this point, we’re just lucky if Blake, my husband, keeps his job. Plans change and it’s looking like we’re going to be living in this house for at least another 3-5 years until the economy picks up and we can afford for Blake to find a better paying job with less security.

But I still wanted to sod over the garden and be done with it, until now.

I realized over the last couple of days that I really really like my garden and sodding over it is like admitting defeat. It’s like giving into the illness of agoraphobia. I had a long heart to heart chat with my neighbour yesterday that really changed things. I explained to him about my depression and my agoraphobia and also explained that the main reason I didn’t do any work in the garden last summer was because I was afraid of them. He told me how stupid that was and at this point it is because we’re actually pretty good friends now, and I decided, definitively, that the garden will go on, as it has since we moved here, this summer. And I’m going to go out there and I’m going to pull weeds and I’m going to rearrange flowers and I’m going to take pictures and I’m not going to be afraid of anything. And I’m not going to have any anxiety over it, in fact, I’m going to take pride in it.

In the past, people in town have asked Blake where we live and he says “y’know the house with the garden?” and they say “yes! we love that garden!” so why should it be anything to have anxiety over?

When I’m sitting on my front porch reading my newspaper, the people in the cars going by aren’t going to be thinking “what a fat, ugly cow”, they’re going to see me and think “hey what a neat garden, I bet that’s the girl who made it”. And as an added bonus, the garden makes the front porch less exposed, so maybe the people in the cars going by won’t even see me.

So the plan this year, is to figure out a way to buy some seeds (I’m effing BROKE) and make it the prettiest damn garden I can. I think the garden was at its best when it was mostly cosmos and bachelor’s buttons, filled in by various wildflowers, so that’s what I’m going to do. I want to buy 2 lbs of bachelor’s buttons and 2 lbs of cosmos and call it a day. With that, and the fact that all of last year’s wildflowers went to seed in the fall, the garden should be totally full and with a little TLC, it should be as beautiful as it was in 2007. I don’t know where I’m going to get the money to do this quite yet, but with all things, I’ll figure something out. Unfortunately right now I don’t have any paintings coming down the pipe for sale, so that’s not really an option, but I’m confident, like I said, that I’ll figure something out.

And of course, I’ll also be planting sunflowers in the back, but I think this year I’ll forgo the usual morning glories because I don’t have anything for them to climb on and having them climb onto the sunflowers didn’t work so well last year. I think I’ll plant pansies in my window boxes instead.

So that’s the state of my garden and sort of the state of my head right now.

February 10, 2009

Fuck February.

This is not a good time of year for me and like clockwork, I find myself particularly mentally fucked these days. My shrink, whom I saw yesterday, has upped my medications slightly to help compensate, but I’m not optimistic that it’s going to make a difference.

My mind is all over the place and I’m angry with myself. I just want to shrivel up and cease to be.

You may recall that part of my plan for immersion therapy (to overcome agoraphobia) was to get my dogs harnesses, Lucky in particular because he has separation anxiety and I can’t leave him tied up outside of stores or anything because he slips his collar and runs away, causing me more anxiety and the whole point of having him with me is to relieve anxiety. ANYWAY…the harnesses are here, in Canada, thanks to my friend Ronny whose address I had to use to order them because this particular kind was only available from a company that doesn’t ship to Canada and they’ve been here for oh…about three weeks now. And I’ve known this. And Blake can pick them up from Alex’s house at any time, but I haven’t told him to and figured we’d get them the next time we see Alex & Ronny because what’s the hurry? And honestly, I think I’m stalling on picking them up because I’m afraid of what the harnesses mean. The harnesses mean that I have to take my dogs outside in the big scary world for a walk. The harnesses mean I no longer have an excuse not to, except for fear. Just writing about the harnesses and walking the dogs makes me feel sick to my stomach. And I’m mad at myself because getting the harnesses and using the dogs as part of my therapy was my own idea, I paid for Lucky, who was to be my “emotional support animal”, with my very own money made from selling paintings.

I also can’t seem to create and I think the reason why is in the same vein. My plan was to paint and sell paintings all winter and save the money for the spring so I had money to take with me on outings, such as going to the grocery store with Lucky to buy him treats, or working up to going out for lunch or going to the dollar store (which actually closed a couple of weeks ago) and maybe even eventually working up to being able to drive the car to take the kids strawberry picking in July so we can make strawberry jam. But I’m stuck, I can’t paint and I think the reason why is because I’m afraid to. Paintings means money and money means, again, that I have one less obstacle to overcome in order to begin my immersion therapy and I am so pathetically afraid of immersion therapy I’m frozen in place. I can’t do anything.

All I do these days is eat (which is a friggin’ joke due to this high cholesterol/borderline diabetes shit), sleep (a lot and sometimes not at all) and think and it’s probaly that thinking that’s causing all of this trouble. I can’t paint, I can’t even journal. I feel like I have no outlet because letting it all out means admitting things I don’t want to admit, like the fact that I’m terrified of getting better or even trying to get better.

And I’m sad. I am so fucking sad. I’ve been in Suzi Blu’s chatroom the last few nights talking about my past and my current issues and I think I’m in mourning for the person I used to be. I mean, 6 years ago I was a single mom, driving to Toronto on major highways in my own car to get to college, managing my own money, doing my own groceries, paying my own bills. I’ve been on my own since I was 15 years old, taking care of myself and then eventually, my kid. Up until 6 years ago I was a force to be reckoned with, totally independant and absolutely fearless. I met every challenge dead in the eye, with bravery, and succeeded in everything I tried. And I wasn’t afraid to try!

And then I married Blake and it was like…before I married him, I couldn’t afford to lose my shit because if I did, i was fucked, but marrying Blake meant that I didn’t have to carry all of these burdens alone and I could finally relax. Except I ended up going from one extreme to another and maybe that’s just my bipolar nature, I dunno. There has to be a balance though, right? Somehow? I don’t know how to do it. I don’t know how to live in this world anymore. I’m lost. And that scares the hell out of me. I don’t know how to fix me.

And worse (and I realize I’m starting a lot of paragraphs here with “and”) I don’t know what kind of life I want to live. I’m lucky in that I’m pretty much free to choose, but the thing is I can’t. I don’t know what my perfect day would be. I have next to no direction beyond the walls of this house.

And something I’ve realized is that, living outside of the real world for so long, I’ve lost my sense of time and that just makes things infinitely worse. Like, say I wanted to go downtown in my little town for lunch. I don’t know what time I’d have to wake up or how long it would take me to get ready to go. And I don’t know how long it would take to walk to the restaurant and I don’t know how long it would take to get my food and eat my food and walk back. And I don’t know what time I’d have to leave the house to do all of this so I’d be back home in time to be there when the kids comes home from school. I can’t even begin to estimate. All of those steps appear to be an all day affair in my best estimation, even though I know that’s wrong.

And it’s so frustrating because I used to be able – nay, I had to – fit so much into my day before when I was a productive-ish member of society. I used to have no choice but to fine tune my time management skills, especially when I was going to school for advertising.

Yesterday on my way to my shrink’s appointment, I saw our town’s new homeless man for the first, and probably the last, time and I wanted to scream and cry and kick my feet because there’s a version of me inside me somewhere who would have told Blake to pull over and that version of me would have given the man whatever was in my wallet and asked if I could take his picture. God, you should have seen him…he was like the battered soul of Santa Claus in the off-season and the light was perfect. I’m in serious mourning that I missed that shot, I’ve been kicking myself ever since. Hell, the version of me who would do that would probably also be able to drive myself to my own shrink appointments, if we had a car for me to do so.

Last night while watching The Daily Show, I decided, y’know, I want to be the kind of person who reads the newspaper. I used to really like reading the newspaper when I went with my aunt to the coffee shop every day, even if the paper did happen to be the Toronto Sun when I prefer the Star. So, in trying to define the kind of days I want to have and the kind of life I want to live, I decided that starting my day by maybe eating something (which I don’t normally do) and reading the newspaper – or at least parts of it – was something I’d maybe like to do. And then I got thinking, the first step of my immersion therapy is supposed to be going to the end of the driveway and back every day until it’s not a big deal anymore. If you’ve been following my blog, I was assigned that particular duty in, oh, September or so, and thus far I haven’t made it out there. And the reason I haven’t made it out there is because I feel like an idiot walking to the end of my driveway for no real reason and I feel like the people in the cars passing by are all wondering what the fuck this crazy person is doing at the end of her driveway. But if I had a REASON for going to the end of the driveway, I could probably do it. Like say, to get the paper. So I went to The Toronto Star’s website and found their subscription page and did the math and a 7 day subscription to the paper is like, $233.00 plus tax. Our budget just doesn’t allow for that so once again, me and my big idea is thwarted.

And it really sucks because in my head the newspaper became central to other scenarios. For example, if I took one of the sections of the newspaper with me to the restaurant in town or the coffee shop or the park or wherever, there would be something to focus on, something that would tell others to leave me alone and something with a time limit. So the newspaper could grow with my degrees of immersion therapy.

But maybe that’s a stupid idea and maybe that’s just another excuse, like Lucky and the dog harnesses. I don’t know. At the very least, it would get me to the end of the driveway, even if I ultimately holed up in my house and read it. But it doesn’t matter anyway because I don’t have enough money to be the kind of person who reads the newspaper.

And I know I posted about this, either here or in Live Journal, or both, but I still haven’t found a decent messenger bag and this item is integral to my leaving the house. Of course, the only place we’ve looked is Wal*Mart, but I don’t even know where else to look. Do stores even exist that just sell bags? Like at the mall or whatever? (And if it is at the mall, then that’s a problem because I can’t do the mall thing.) Any websites that SHIP TO CANADA would be helpful.

I’m just scared. I have winter depression, which sucks, but at the same time I’m so fearful of spring and having to leave the house that it’s like spring’s coming too soon. I’m not ready! :o(

At the same time, I’m so totally frustrated with my current life and my current incarnation that I feel like I spend my days gagging on it. The frustration and anger at what I’ve become consumes me.

And of course, my birthday’s in 18 days and every year my birthday is cause for extreme stress, but this year it’s worse because it’s my 30th and I am FREAKING THE FUCK OUT. Not about getting older, that doesn’t bother me, but what to DO for it. I fear that if it goes uncelebrated, I’m going to ultimately regret it, but I’m out of ideas. I did want to get a tattoo but for one, it’s probably not a good idea so close to surgery and two, we don’t really have the money to do it. Or at least…the money would probably be better spent on other things. I don’t want to get drunk. I don’t want a party. I don’t want to go anywhere. I maybe want chinese food…that’s all I’ve got. I do want presents though, so once again, if you’re inclined, here’s a good place to start.

I don’t even know what to do about this surgery and Dr. Dickhead. Even my shrink thinks I should probably get my family doctor to refer me to someone else but for some reason I’m so afraid to do that. At the same time, i don’t trust this Dr. Dickhead to either botch my surgery somehow on purpose or say that he didn’t see any endometriosis and thus, there’s no reason to refer me to the specialist in Toronto and my shrink says if I have these feelings I should probably go to someone else. And she’s probably right but I’m scared to. This man has made me afraid, he beat me down. I’m scared to go through that again and I’m worried that the next doctor won’t have the contact(s) in Toronto for me to have laser surgery done. Dr. Dickhead was a) hard selling me on Lupron, b) being completely condescending and c) trying to scare me out of surgery altogether in favour of Lupron. I’m scared that he’s going to like…make me wish I chose the Lupron. I just don’t trust him. But like, I already signed stuff and the surgery date is already set and evertything and I’m not a boat rocker, so I don’t know what to do. It’s eating me alive though, I’m so stressed out thinking about it. I’m not strong enough to even deal with this., but at the same time, it’s not like anyone can deal with it for me. My surgery’s scheduled for one month from tomorrow, so I feel intense pressure to make a decision as soon as possible and I just don’t know what course of action to take from here.

So I think that’s pretty much it, I think I’ve laid it all out there. I don’t feel any better for having done it but it’s easier sometimes for me to blog these things and have Blake read them so we can talk about them than to explain verbally. Text really is my primary means of communication.

The inability to create is what’s really fucking me up though because no matter what, I’ve always been able to turn to that as an outlet, brushstrokes and pencil marks calm me, but I just can’t right now and it’s killing me. I’m supposed to be getting this boy painting done for Wes’ birthday on Friday and I just can’t bring myself to finish it. He’s still without arms, he’s still in the state he was when I posted pictures of him last week. So not only do I feel like a total failure as an artist right now, I’m a failure as a mother too because this is what Wes wants the most for his birthday and here I am unable to deliver.

I just can’t win when I am my own worst enemy.

And with that, I’m done.

What The Bleep (Debunked)

OMG I’m actually losing sleep over this, which is totally fucking stupid.

Someone I like a whole lot, and I won’t name names to protect the innocent, argued with me recently regarding the film “What the Bleep Do We Know”, basically stating that all of the “science” in the movie was true. It was fairly obvious by the conversation, which ended up being me against like, 12 other women, that I wasn’t going to get anywhere with my arsenal of links refuting the film, so I dropped it and just agreed to disagree.

But I can’t get it out of my head, so for my own sanity, and so I can get some sleep, I’m posting all of this.

First of all, read What the Bleep’s own Wikipedia page. Go on, I’ll wait.

….

Too lazy? Here are some quotes:

The film was also discussed in a letter published in Physics Today that challenges how physics is taught, saying teaching fails to “expose the mysteries physics has encountered [and] reveal the limits of our understanding.” In the letter, the authors write “the movie illustrates the uncertainty principle with a bouncing basketball being in several places at once. There’s nothing wrong with that. It’s recognized as pedagogical exaggeration. But the movie gradually moves to quantum ‘insights’ that lead a woman to toss away her antidepressant medication, to the quantum channeling of Ramtha, the 35,000-year-old Atlantis god, and on to even greater nonsense.” It went on to say that “Most laypeople cannot tell where the quantum physics ends and the quantum nonsense begins, and many are susceptible to being misguided,” and that “a physics student may be unable to convincingly confront unjustified extrapolations of quantum mechanics,” a shortcoming which the authors attribute to the current teaching of quantum mechanics, in which “we tacitly deny the mysteries physics has encountered.”

According to João Magueijo, reader in theoretical physics at Imperial College, the film deliberately misquotes science.

The American Chemical Society‘s review criticizes the film as a “pseudoscientific docudrama”, saying “Among the more outlandish assertions are that people can travel backward in time, and that matter is actually thought.”

And my personal favourite:

David Albert, a physicist who appears in the film, has accused the filmmakers of selectively editing his interview to make it appear that he endorses the film’s thesis that quantum mechanics are linked with consciousness. He says he is “profoundly unsympathetic to attempts at linking quantum mechanics with consciousness.”

More on David Albert, and remember, this is all just from Wikipedia alone:

David Albert, a philosopher of physics and professor at Columbia University, who according to a Popular Science article, is “outraged at the final product,” because the filmmakers interviewed him about quantum mechanics unrelated to consciousness or spirituality, and then edited the material in such a way that he feels misrepresented his views.

More quotes:

Skeptics such as James Randi described the film as “a fantasy docudrama” and “[a] rampant example of abuse by charlatans and cults.”[20] The Committee for Skeptical Inquiry dismisses it as “a hodgepodge of all kinds of crackpot nonsense,” where “science [is] distorted and sensationalized.”[21] A BBC reviewer described it as “a documentary aimed at the totally gullible.”

Journalist John Gorenfeld, writing in Salon, notes that the film’s three directors are students of Ramtha’s School of Enlightenment, which he describes as having been called a “cult.”

So back to David Albert, the philosopher of physics who was in the movie and who knows more about quantum physics than you or I, here’s what he had to say about his involvement in the film to Salon.com:

David Albert, a professor at the Columbia University physics department, has accused the filmmakers of warping his ideas to fit a spiritual agenda. “I don’t think it’s quite right to say I was ‘tricked’ into appearing,” he said in a statement reposted by a critic on “What the Bleep’s” Internet forum, “but it is certainly the case that I was edited in such a way as to completely suppress my actual views about the matters the movie discusses. I am, indeed, profoundly unsympathetic to attempts at linking quantum mechanics with consciousness. Moreover, I explained all that, at great length, on camera, to the producers of the film … Had I known that I would have been so radically misrepresented in the movie, I would certainly not have agreed to be filmed.”

That Salon.com article, entitled “Bleep” of Faith, is actually a good starting point in understanding who made the film – Ramtha’s School of Enlightenment – pretty much proving that it’s propaganda for the cult – I mean, “school”‘s – agenda.

Remember Dr. Masaru Emoto from the film? The guy who claimed to be able to change water molecules by taping words to the outside of the vessel holding the water? Total bullshit. Need proof? Here ya go:

Try this on for credibility: A Dr. Masaru Emoto, who boasts certification from the Open International University of Alternative Medicine (???), has made remarkable discoveries about “the concept of micro cluster water.” Floating along in his muddy stream of awareness, Dr. Emoto began to study the effect of altering water by various factors of “vibration” and “consciousness.” These words are immensely popular with quacks, though they’ve no notion what they mean. Are you ready? He studied water that had been altered by music — healing music, classical music, heavy metal music, and so forth.

And he has “crystalline pictures” that reveal how water responds to these influences! As he says, this begins to reveal that water is alive, that it is conscious, and that it responds to applied force by a rearrangement of its inner crystalline properties. Wow! Ah, but that only got him started. It gets better….

Inspired by these revelations, he decided to study the impact of human consciousness on water and its crystalline order. Dr. Emoto believes he has demonstrated that human thoughts and emotions can alter the molecular structure of water. Now, for the first time, he says, there is physical evidence that the power of our thoughts can change the world within and around us.

We can see the distinct difference, for example, between crystals formed under the influence of the word, “prayer,” and nasty hard rock music. How can we doubt?

Dr. Emoto found that water that had been consciously altered by the simple imprinting of a “word of intent,” would change. Water that was imprinted by “love,” “gratitude,” and “appreciation,” responded by the development of complex crystals — essentially “snowflake” crystals obtained by evaporation and cooling — and an excellent effect was produced by combining the words “love” and “gratitude,” as any fool can plainly see in the illustration. But water that was mistreated by negative intentions became disordered and lost its magnificent patterning. In fact, it often took on grotesque forms of resonance, he says.

Then he really got into the swing of pseudoscience, simplifying matters by just writing words — in any language, of course — on pieces of paper and taping them to a clear glass container to see if anything happened. Positive words like “love” and “thank you” produced beautiful and delicate crystalline patterns, we’re told. He tried “You Make Me Sick. I Will Kill You” and he observed distorted, frightening, muddied patterns. We show here the pattern produced by this last phrase. He even experimented with names like “Gandhi,” “Mother Teresa,” and “Hitler,” and the same kind of results occurred. Wow, again!

And, not to our surprise, Dr. Emoto discovered that the water crystals dutifully form up in response to different ethnic versions of the languages impressed upon them. Here’s the expression “thank you” in both Japanese and English. You can see the distinct variations, can’t you?

Well, if that didn’t convince you that Dr. Emoto might not have both oars in the water, try this, a quotation from him in answer to his thoughts on what the crystals are: “I came to the realization that these crystals are spirits.” Okay. Where’s the door….?

Let’s spend a moment to wonder about how such a view can be brought about. Dr. Emoto might very well believe that he’s doing science. But he’s not. He does no double-blind procedures, for one thing, which dooms these amateur efforts, right from the beginning. If he were to be blind to which words were being used to influence the water crystals, his search through the results looking for confirmation, would be inconclusive. I’ll risk the JREF million-dollar prize on that statement. If Dr. Emoto wants to win the prize, let him agree to perform his tests in a double-blind fashion, and I predict he’ll get fuzzy results that prove nothing.

- James Randi

Oh but that big meanie James Randi may be easy to brush off, but how about Masaru Emoto’s own Wikipedia page? Want some more quotes? Here ya go!

In the day-to-day work of his group, the creativity of the photographers rather than the rigor of the experiment is an explicit policy of Emoto.[6] Emoto freely acknowledges that he is not a scientist,[7] and that photographers are instructed to select the most pleasing photographs.

Please sir, may I have some more?

After the lengthy review of Emoto’s research methods and results, I have come to believe that Dr. Emoto is offering pseudoscience to the masses in the guise of defensible research. Only time and review by others will tell if there is any truth at the heart of Mr. Emoto’s claims, as Emoto himself thoroughly believes in his findings but does not value the scientific method or community. What is truly fearsome is the great numbers of people that accept his words as proven facts without looking deeper to find out if his claims are truly justified. While I respect Dr. Emoto’s desire to save the Earth’s water from contamination and pollution, unless he can produce a scientific paper and get it published in a scientific journal, I believe that he will continue to be ignored by the scientific community, and his claims will never be soundly proved or disproved

—Kristopher Setchfield, (BA, Health Science) from Castleton State College (Natural Science Department)

So, Masaru Emoto’s a quack, the main physicist in the film wishes he was never part of it…hmmmm could the film maybe be bullshit?

Try these links on for size:

“I decided to see “What The (Bleep) Do We Know!?” (sic!). I had avoided this film, as it looked like what Murray Gell-Mann calls quantum flapdoodle – distortions of quantum physics to support a mystical viewpoint. But the “what the bleep” meme is growing, so I decided I should see it for myself. Now I’ve seen it I can confirm that it does distort quantum physics to support a mystical viewpoint. But it is much more than that. Much worse. Hilariously so, in fact.

This post is rather long, but please read it to the end – there is a surprise there that will astonish you, I promise. But I should start with the science. Or, I should say:

The “science”"

- What the (Bleep) Were They Thinking?

“The fact that the science is being distorted and sensationalized here is not at all surprising. What puzzles me the most is that by making quantum mechanics the heart of the movie, the filmmakers have fallen prey to a crude form of reductionism which is usually regarded as the enemy of New Age ways of thinking. By focusing so much on basic physics, the filmmakers do not seem to realize that they are shooting themselves in the foot. One moment they talk about all kinds of emergent phenomena, such as global consciousness, that go far beyond the reductionist worldview. The next moment they seem to suggest that the physics of fundamental particles explains human behavior! Even if we grant that quantum mechanics tells us that particles can be at two places at once-which, of course, it does not-how can one then assume that such bizarre effects work their way right up to macroscopic dimensions with no attenuation in order to determine human behavior? As many scientists and philosophers now realize, even if matter is fundamentally governed by the laws of quantum mechanics, this does not entitle us to suppose that chemical and biological phenomena will follow those same forms of behavior. This is to say nothing of even larger leaps such as the question of whether human behavior is dictated by the laws of physics.”

- Review: What the #$*! Do They Know?

“The purpose of this post is to educate the reader about what this movie is and is not. It is not a cool cutting-edge movie about quantum physics, as its marketing leads the innocent to believe (actually only the first half is “about” quantum physics — the rest is “about” how people are enslaved by their own unhappy thoughts and beliefs). While in many ways this is a feel-good movie offering common-sense advice (think good thoughts about yourself and your life), the “science” presented as backing up these ideas is mostly fallacy — fallacy taught as fact by the “Ramtha School of Enlightenment.””

- What the Bleep Does Ramtha Know?

“If you see this movie and like it, it says some scary things about the rigour of your mental processes.

You really only need to know four things:

1) The movie purports to be truth, not fiction.

2) You have to believe in mediums, Atlantis, and spirit channeling to buy into the premise, since the core of the movie is a 35,000-year-old Atlantean Cro-Magnon channeled through a new-age spiritualist.

3) The experts are either are new-age loonies (not scientists), misquoted, or quoted in a misleading fashion. It is impossible to be a reputable scientist and to support the film’s assertions.

4) They have the physics wrong. Quantum indeterminism does not manifest itself on a macro-scale, only at the quantum level. That’s why it’s called QUANTUM indeterminism.

This movie could be fun if it was fiction (after all, some of the elements sound a lot like StarGate plots), but they are dead serious: they want you to believe what they say, and Ramtha’s School of Enlightenment wants your money.

You wanna see some real miracles? Go buy the boxed DVD set of Nova”

- IMDB’s comments page for What The Bleep

And there are a million more links out there by people who actually KNOW quantum physics, who all call bullshit on this movie. I mean, don’t you find it interesting that all of these people who KNOW quantum physics argues the film’s credibility, yet it’s all of the people who DON’T know quantum physics who are all “oh this film is wonderful, it explains complex science in terms even laymen can understand!” Uh, I’m gonna take the opinions of those who actually know what they’re talking about over…the other  group.

Also, do you really want to even get me started on Ramtha’s School of Enlightenment and that whole deal? Because that’s just wacky. Just read their Wikpedia entry, that’s all a thinking person needs to know….but here’s a fun quote anyway. :o)

In 2004, three members of the RSE produced a controversial film that combined documentary interviews and a fictional narrative to posit a connection between science and spirituality, called What the Bleep Do We Know!?. The film has been criticized heavily by the scientific community due to its presentation of quantum physics.

(My bold.) Darn that pesky “scientific community” and their cotton-pickin’ “facts”! What the fuck do they know?

And if What the Bleep wasn’t bad enough, they came out with What the Bleep: Down the Rabbit Hole, which was like a “director’s cut” with a whole lot more Ramtha. Here’s one hilarious review of it, I’m sure you could find more with a little Google-fu.

Here’s the thing, though: I believe in a lot of woo woo concepts, myself. Here are a few:

  • I wholeheartedly believe that some people have psychic ability (although the idiots you see on TV, like Sylvia Browne – whom I’ve seen in person – are not among them).
  • I believe with every fiber of my being that karma is real, or at least my own interpretation of it is. I live my life by the “3x rule” because of this. Without a doubt I believe in the human soul, as far as we’re powered by energy and that energy is released when we die, and transferred to other things. I even go so far as to believe that if you live a “karmically neutral existence”, that you DON’T reincarnate and that is my goal here on Earth because dammit, I don’t wanna come back, especially as a cockroach or something or worse, another human being. Eff that.
  • I believe in the law of attraction.
  • I believe in ghosts.
  • I believe in aliens. (Although I’m not sold on the idea that they fly around anally probing rednecks.)
  • I believe in the collective human unconscious and that through this, we are all connected and that we all have the ability to “tap in” to this giant pool of global thought.

But the thing is, with the possible exception of aliens, I ACCEPT the fact that science isn’t on my side with any of those beliefs in either fact or theory. (And aliens only get a partial pass because it’s mathematically unlikely – some say impossible – that life only happened once and that we’re alone in the universe.) Maybe one day that’ll change, but today is not that day and this “documentary” twists and perverts actual science to fit its agenda and mislead the viewer, who, presumably, knows very little about the concepts bastardized in the film. I’ll admit that I’m one of them, but I know who to listen to and who not to and I’m sorry, but I’m going to take some crazy bitch who supposedly channels a 35,000 year old Atlantian with an industrial sized grain of salt.

Anyway, that’s all I have to say on the matter. Maybe now that this is out of my system, I can sleep.

Posted at 11:32 am in: documentaries , Movies

FUCK I Can’t Think of a Title

My husband is a gay homosexual.

Posted at 12:30 am in: Blake
February 8, 2009

The Bloodhound Gang Loves Your Vulva

Three Point One Four – The Bloodhound Gang
(Also it sucks that there’s no real video for this song, but I guess it’s not really MTV friendly, so it makes sense. But still BOOOOOOOOOO.)

Posted at 4:07 pm in: Music , youtube
February 6, 2009

Okay I’ll Love My Vulva, But Fuck The Rest

I don’t even know where to start, I’m so drained from thinking about it.

Yesterday was a long day: Pelvic ultrasound, half an hour away, at 9 in the morning, then a dentist appointment in the afternoon and following that, an appointment with an OB/GYN in the same town (half an hour away) as my ultrasound.

During the ultrasound, the technician found a cyst about three or four times the size of my ovary on my right ovary. I thought “that makes sense, when I hurt, I hurt the most on my right side”. So that went fine. The technician’s finding will go to both my family doctor and the OB/GYN I was going to see that afternoon.

Dentist went fine, it was just a cleaning and a general checking things out kinda thing and I’m proud to say that for the first time in about 3 years, I have no cavities. Yay!

So then we headed back to that town half an hour away to see this OB/GYN my family doctor had referred me to. We’re going to call him Dr. Dickhead, for that is what he turned out to be.

But first, some backstory for those not in the know: I have Stage IV endometriosis. I had my first surgery for it when I was 16, my second when I was 17 and my third at 22. I have done everything under the sun from accupuncture, to buying hundreds of dollars worth of herbs, to meditation, to having crystals put on me to being on the birth control pill for a year straight – without breaks – so I wouldn’t have a period at all. The surgeries helped me to get pregnant with both of my children and in that respect I’m lucky because endometriosis is one of the leading causes of infertility among women and some women never get pregnant, but I did. It took longer than it should have, but I did. And they say endometriosis is supposed to go dormant while you’re pregnant but mine didn’t, in fact when I was pregnant with my son, it got worse.

The only treatment for endometriosis I haven’t done, and refuse to do, is go on this drug called Lupron, which you go on for 6 months and it puts your body in a state of pseudo-menopause. I haven’t done this because a) the drug can cause bone density loss and with my family’s history of osteoporosis I don’t want to rock the boat there, b) I don’t think it’s healthy to put your body into menopause, even for 6 months, long before it’s time for your body to experience that, c) the side effects are horrible, like menopause and d) (and this is a new one) with my history of mental illness and the fact that I’m not the most emotionally stable person in the world, I just don’t think it’s a good idea. I do not want this drug in my body.

With my last surgery being almost 8 years ago and my pain getting to the point of unbearability every month, I decided that it was time to have another surgery. The surgey is called a laparoscopy and it’s fairly simple: they make a one inch (or smaller) incision in your belly button and another just above the pubic hair line and they use a gas to blow up your abdomen so they can see your girly bits better with the scope (through one incision). With the second incision, they use an instrument to either cauterise or laser off any endometrial adhesions they can see. It’s done in a hospital, they put you out for it, and then you spend the next 4 days on the couch taking wonderful drugs and recovering.

With all three of my previous surgeries, my periods became bearable – but not pain free – for about a year or two following. Then gradually, as the endometriosis continues to grow (because it’s impossible to get all of it) the pain begins to increase. There is no “cure” for endometriosis, only therapies and surgery is one of those therapies.

So, I went to Dr. Dickhead to get the ball rolling on surgery #4, as it’s been (as I said) 8 years since my last surgery and things have become unbearable again. No amount of heat, Ibuprofen or Tylenol with codeine has been effective at curbing the pain I’m in almost daily, with the worst days being during ovulation, a few days before my period and 4 excruciating days during my period.  Sex has become nearly impossible as it hurts both during and after, and not just for a few minutes or hours after, for days after.

Dr. Dickhead appeared to be a nice, older Irish gentlemen with a nice receptionist and a nice office with a ridiculous amount of magazines. When he called my name, I stood up and walked towards him and he asked if I wanted Blake to come in with me and I said no because I’ve been through this many times before, I consider myself extremely knowledgeable about the disease and figured “I got this one”. Looking back, I now regret the decision to go in alone.

I have never ever in my life met a more condescending person. When I left his office, I was in tears, feeling 5 years old.

He said to me, like I was a kindergartner, that there were three options for the treatment of endometriosis and asked if I knew what they were. I said yes. He explained anyway. The first option is medical and that is either Lupron or going on the pill for a year straight without periods. I explained that I didn’t feel Lupron was an option for me and that I’d gone the pill route a couple of times with little success. And then he argued with me. He spent 5 minutes telling me the virtues of Lupron and explaining that “if the side effects are too rough for you, we can counteract them with some estrogen” and basically trying to push this drug on me, this drug that I’ve been declining for 15 years because I don’t want it in my body. And then I argued with him about estrogen. I don’t want synthetic hormones in my body. He argued with me about that saying that they’re perfectly safe and exactly the same as what my body produces blah blah blah and that I didn’t know what I was talking about. I replied with, “Well, Oprah does…” and he said “Yes but Oprah isn’t an MD” and then I said, “No, but Dr. Christiane Northrup is and she says they’re bad news.”

But the fact that he was arguing with me about it, treating me like I was a naughty child and trying to push me on it, was really pissing me off. I said no, now fuck off and let’s get to the next option.

He eventually did, but not before saying that Lupron had an 85% success rate. Keep that in your head. 85%.

So the next two options for treating endometriosis are surgical. I forget what he labeled the first one, so we’ll just call it “invasive” and the second one is “radical”. Invasive surgery is the laparoscopy that I’ve had three times previously and he asked me whether in my previous surgeries did they cauterize (burn) the endometriosis or use a laser. I said cauterize. He said that he doesn’t believe in cauterization as a useful method of removing endometriosis and his reason why, while delivered in a completely condescending way, actually made sense. When you cauterize something, it burns and turns black. Endometriosis IS black, almost chocolatey, so with cauterization, it’s impossible to see whether or not you’ve gotten all of the endometriosis, whereas with the laser, the endometriosis is vaporized until the doctor sees healthy tissue. That makes sense.

Then he said that the hospital in the town half an hour from us doesn’t have the laser used to perform the proceedure and likely neither does the hospital where I had my first 3 surgeries or that’s the method they would have used. For me to have laser surgery, I would have to be referred to an OB/GYN in Toronto, which is 2 hours away. “That’s fine,” I said. To which he replied that laser surgery also has an 85% success rate and then he continue on to explain radical surgery.

Radical surgery is hysterectomy, which is where they remove the uterus but the ovaries remain so as not to put the woman into menopause. However, because the ovaries still remain, the endometriosis still runs rampant as it feeds off of the hormones created by the ovaries and basically removing the uterus is done so it’s basically “one less thing that hurts” and since most of the endometrial lesions are found on the uterus itself, it’s a fast way to remove the bulk of the disease. Although more often than not, the endometriosis just goes to other places in the pelvic cavity like the bladder and bowels. With the uterus there, it mainly sticks to that general area of the pelvis and leaves everything else alone. This method of surgery also has an 85% success rate.

Now, WHY they don’t take the ovaries too in going the “radical” route, I’m not entirely sure and I’ve never asked, but I decided a long time ago that hysterectomy is not an option for me, even though I have no intentions of having anymore children and it’s basically a useless organ to me at this point. The thing is though, as painful as they are, my periods make me feel normal, they let me know I’m okay and I’m not giving that up until it’s naturally time to do so: when I enter menopause in 15 or 20 years. And even if they did take the ovaries too, I don’t believe it’s healthy to go through menopause earlier than you’re supposed to. Menopause triggers a lot of funky shit, such as the beginning of bone density loss, and I’m not going there. I can deal with the pain of my uterus, I cannot deal with even the mere idea of broken bones.

It was at this point where Dr. Dickhead basically started trying to scare me out of surgery and into taking the Lupron, but I stuck to my guns and said, no, I want the surgery. If all three treatments have the exact same success rate, I’m going to go with the one with the least amount of side effects, the one that I’ve had three times and that I know will give me some relief, if only temporary.

That’s when Dr. Dickhead said, okay, this is how it goes down: I have to have TWO laparoscopies. He’s going to do the first one up here where I live, just to look around and write a report that he then sends to the doctor in Toronto who will then do the second surgery within 3-6 months where they actually use the laser and clean shit up.

Dr. Dickhead thought that this would scare me into Lupron, I could tell by his tone and how he was looking at me, but I said “fine, let’s do it. If this is how it’s done, then let’s get the ball rolling”. Then he tried to scare me further by “telling me the risks” of laparoscopy, which are that there is the slight chance that one of the instruments they use could puncture my bladder, my bowels or hit an artery and I could tell he was trying to scare me because he asked, “did your other doctors tell you that?” in like, this tone that said he couldn’t believe that after everything he’d said I was still going to go ahead with this, to which I replied, “yes, they did, but I believe in your competence so I’m not all that worried about it”. And he sort of sighed and said, “okay, whatever you want”.

That’s when I told him that I’d had an ultrasound that morning and they found this cyst on my ovary and I asked if the doctor in Toronto would take care of that while he was in there too. Dr. Dickhead told me not to worry about the cyst, that it was just a normal part of ovulation and that it shouldn’t be causing me any pain. Then he smugly “explained” that endometriosis doesn’t show up on an ultrasound, which I already knew, but he assumed I didn’t. So I told him I knew that and said I wasn’t sure why my family doctor sent me for it in the first place.

According to Dr. Dickhead, this “cyst” is the bubble that develops when the ovary releases an egg and that it happend every month and it’s no big deal. And at the time, I took his word for it because I didn’t even know how ovulation worked and since I’m a few days from ovulation, that explanation would make sense. However, when I got home, I read a little bit about ovulation, even saw some really cool pictures of the process and the bubble that develops as the ovary releases an egg is about 20 mm/2 cm in diameter, not the 60mm/6 cm that the ultrasound technician told me this cyst was. I guess we’ll see when I go in for the first surgery, which I found out today has been scheduled for March 11th, with my pre-op appointment on March 4th.

I spent most of yesterday afternoon and evening in hysterics. The way Dr. Dickhead treated me was above and beyond the worse anyone’s treated me in a very long time. People like him are the reason I started retreating from the world in the first place. I can’t even explain what a dick he was. Here’s an example though: He asked me what medications I was taking, so I gave him the list and then he asked me if I had any drug allergies, to which I replied that I didn’t, but that I was prone to having bad reactions to anti-epileptics, to which he smugly replied, “oh well, Gabapentin [one of the drugs I'm on] is an anti-epileptic”, as if I was lying about having a sensitivity to them, plus, I don’t think he wrote my sensitivity down. (But I’m not sure.)

It seems a little unnecessary to be basically having the same surgery twice, especially when my history of endometriosis is so well documented, but if that’s how it’s done, that’s how it’s done. Blake called the Dr. in Toronto today to double check that this is, indeed, how it’s done, but his office was closed. The answering machine was pretty blunt about referrals though, so I think this is all on the level and not a case of Dr. Dickhead wanting to milk the system like I previously suspected. It just sucks that I have to do it twice. Surgery is a very big deal to me and having to do it twice has me a nervous wreck, especially since, because of my treatment, I don’t trust the doctor doing the first one. He’s just the kind of asshole I can see making me wish that I’d gone the Lupron route, by either making a mistake with the scope or saying that he didn’t see anything to laser off so I don’t get the referral to the guy in Toronto.

Oh, and at one point I said to him, “I’ve been dealing with endometriosis for half my life,” to which he cut me off and said “Well I’ve been dealing with it for longer than you’ve been alive.” Um, no, you haven’t been “dealing” with it, you have no fucking CLUE as to what it’s like to deal with it you pompous asshole. You have no idea what I go through every month and what I’ve gone through for the last 15 years.

So I don’t know what to do. I don’t especially want this guy cutting into me, but at the same time, I don’t feel I have much of an option. Blake and I did a doctor search on the Ontario government’s website and there aren’t too many OB/GYNs in our area and none that are taking new patients. And even then, not all OB/GYNs do surgery outside of c-sections, so Dr. Dickhead very well could be the be all that ends all and I just have to suck it up if I want to get the laser surgery with the guy in Toronto.

I guess the good news is that I’ll only have to deal with Dr. Dickhead twice more: once for the actual surgery and then again two weeks later for the follow up appointment.

I do know though, that once this is all over & done with, I’ll be telling my family doctor what a dickhead this guy was and that he should think twice about referring women to see him.

So that’s how my day went yesterday. I am not a happy camper.

Posted at 5:00 pm in: Endometriosis , Health , Women
February 3, 2009

Oasis by Amanda Palmer

I can’t stop watching this, it cracks me the fuck up.

Posted at 9:38 pm in: Music , youtube
February 1, 2009

A Boy Without Arms

This is what I’ve been working on this week, it’s for Wes for his birthday on the 13th. (Wes has been asking me to do boys since the fall.) He’s going to have jewels in his crown and he’ll be holding the word “inspire” once he has arms.

Posted at 10:02 am in: Art , Wes

« Previous Page « Previous Page Next entries »