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([personal profile] siderea Aug. 18th, 2017 11:44 pm)
(h/t [personal profile] fiddlingfrog)

UrsulaV bats it out of the park:

https://twitter.com/UrsulaV/status/898201836800364547/photo/1

(Note, this requires clicking through to see two images.)
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([personal profile] siderea Aug. 18th, 2017 10:45 pm)
The conference is over, and I am super tired and omg why do my feet hurt? I didn't do that much walking, and indeed spent most of the last three days sitting. The physical spaces the conference was held in were agreeably compactly laid out, so I didn't have do a lot of hiking down halls to go from one session to the next. But I feel like I've walked for miles.

I'm being cagey about the identity of the conference because of reasons. Suffice it to say I spent three days getting my radical on with people who, hmm, could be said to identify as "psychiatric survivors" – people whom the mental health system has done profound harm and violated their human rights – from around the world, many (most?) of whom might be described as activists and there in that capacity, some of whom are also clinicians or ex-clinicians or psychology researchers. Lots of very explicit intersectionalism and inclusivism. Very emotionally intense, super intellectually stimulating, enormously morally compelling.

Since the default assumption at the conference was that attendees were psychiatric survivors, I was "out" about not being a psychiatric survivor myself but a mental health professional and there as an ally. That was... a very hard experience to describe. To do such a thing, and do it ethically, is extremely demanding of energy, because it entails such a high level of self-monitoring and attention to others, at literally every second. Yet at the same time, it was so wildly validating of my ethical values as a person and a clinician, in ways I hadn't even realized I was hungry for, it felt very spiritually nourishing and emotionally supportive. I realized after the second day that just in the program book and in the presentations I'd attended, that I'd heard the word "humanistic" more times in those two days than I'd heard it used by anybody not me in the previous five years. Or maybe more. I'm a humanistic therapist, and I'm literally welling up again just reflecting on that, and how clinically-philosophically isolated this reveals me to have been. And, my god, the first, like, three times the term went zipping by I thought, Hey, do they know what that means, technically, to a therapist? Ah, they're probably just using it as a synonym for "humanely", as lay people usually do. And it became clear that, no, at least some of the people using the term really did mean it clinically. And I was like Oh. They don't need me to explain it to them. They already know. Which, is, like, the fundamental unit of being understood. Talk about your being called in from the cold.

I went to this conference thinking of myself as an ally, someone there to support another people as they do their thing – an in a really important sense, that is exactly right – but to my surprise, I discovered that these people, despite not being clinicians, were clinically my people. I wound up doing a hell of a lot more personal sharing than I would ever have expected – certainly vastly, vastly more than I have ever done in a mental health professionals context. It was like, I suddenly realized I was in an environment in which I could talk about how furious I am that I am forced to use diagnoses on patients without their consent, how frustrated I am by how the bureacratic systems in which I must work compromise the integrity of the treatment I try to provide, how disgusted I often am by the conduct of colleagues and mental health institutions (I discovered the wonderful expression, "psychiatric hate-speech"), how indignant I am at all sorts of idiocy and injustice and unfairness in the system – all the things I am so careful never to say because of how poorly my colleagues may take it. (Not my imagination: The last session I attended drew quite a number of clinicians, who were all "AND FOR ANOTHER THING!"; the presenter afterwards told me she had presented the same talk at a conference on the philosophy of psychiatry for an audience that was half psychiatrists, and, in contrast, they were furious with her for her temerity.)

I got to have conversations about capitalism and disability, culture and identity, the history of psychiatry, the history of nationalism, what you can and can't do inside the health care system, other countries' nationalized (or not, where mental health is concerned) health care, and how money affects mental health care; I heard a slew of what I would call "mental health radical coming out stories". I met someone who is as into the history of the DSM as I am, and someone who has written an academic article about the ethical and clinical problems of diagnosis. I got politely chewed out once, early on, for using oppressive language, and then immediately apologized to for it, them saying ruefully that they have "a chip on [their] shoulder" about mental health care professionals and shouldn't have talked to me like that, and I assured them I was there to be chewed out and have my vocabulary corrected and was fine with it; I'm pretty sure they were way more upset about what they said to me than I was, and I feel bad about putting them in that position by my ignorance – but we've exchanged phone numbers and I'm hoping I might yet make it up to them.

There was a point where somebody asked me something like whether I had been learning a lot at the conference so far, and I thought a moment and replied that I had, but, "I am at this conference not just to learn things. I am here because, as a person and a clinician, these are my values."

So it was an experience that was weirdly simultaneously hard and easy. If you had asked me four days ago I would have said that it's probably impossible for an experience to require a very high level of scrupulous self-monitoring and yet feel welcoming of and safe for emotional vulnerability and risktaking. Yet that was precisely my experience.

It was demanding and beautiful and powerful and huggy and astonishing and uplifting and I'm exhausted and weepy and have like twenty new best friends.
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([personal profile] siderea Aug. 16th, 2017 09:23 pm)
I have made a heap of all my spoons and then set the heap on fire.

Which is to say, I am at a conference. So far it's been a really good conference.

Imma gonna fall over into my bed momentarily.

ETA 8/17/17 21:16: Still conferencing. I move that henceforth anything called a "BBQ" must serve something cooked with barbecue sauce; absence that criterion, it is a "cookout".

Someone at the conference gave me copy of this drawing which I hadn't seen before, and which made me tear up.

Bootstrapping problem: I still have to decide whether or not to try to get there in time tomorrow for the morning talks, or catch some additional Zs; the problem is I am now so exhausted my judgment is not just impaired but kind of non-functional. Normally, I'm pretty good at blowing things off to get more rest. This is, however, effectively a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, of which I would like to make the most.
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Local clinicians: I just got the mailing for this fall's Harvard Med Psychiatry Dept CE trainings, and at the Dec 1 & 2 session "Treating Couples", kinda buried in the list of presenters are Esther Perel and Terry Real. It's astronomically expensive, like all Harvard Med's stuff, but if you're a sufficiently hardcore fan, there you go. (Some of the other names on this list may also be famous people I don't recognize.)
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([personal profile] purplecat Aug. 14th, 2017 08:41 pm)




I've no pictures from last week so have another from the week before. This is the approach to Housesteads fort from the East. Imagine what that must have been like when both wall and fort walls were more than a couple of feet high!
Via [personal profile] conuly, Why Medicaid Matters to You, by Prof. Sharona Hoffman, of CWRU. tl;dr: Because Medicaid is not just for poor people, it's how old people (and younger disabled people) pay for nursing homes. So it's for you, too, unless you plan on dying young and healthy.

The article has some interesting stats in it.

(I'm morbidly curious to know where you can score a private nursing home room for only $92k/yr. I presume it's somewhere very rural and far away from here, with terrible care, because by Massachuetts prices that's an incredible bargain.)
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([personal profile] siderea Aug. 13th, 2017 12:00 am)
1) I feel the need to share that the lamp in question, I got from Aunt C – who spent her entire working adult life making lightbulbs for Sylvania. The fact that I can't manage to find adequate working replacement LED bulbs his is either the most ironic or most appropriate thing ever.

2) Okay, I'm now in correspondence with the manufacturer of one of the sets of 5W bulbs that didn't work. They asked about the competitor bulbs that worked, and said they will scare some up to compare with their product. ETA 8/13/17 11:10PM: I have just got a full refund and a thank you note for supplying such detailed information, which is being passed on to the R&D team.
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([personal profile] siderea Aug. 12th, 2017 03:03 pm)
I am frustrated with how my writing has been going of late. It's been difficult. I find myself having trouble keeping my focus on what I'm writing.

As you may have noticed, I tend to write about whatever I'm thinking about. Normally, that's (1) my psychotherapy clients and the issues that come up when working with them, (2) minds, more generally, and (3) the larger world around me, i.e. current events, politics, sociology, anthropology, economics, etc.

In an important sense, what I write about is my reaction to what I encounter in my life.

Right now my life is very rich in contact with the healthcare industry. There's D's health issues, my health issues (nothing new and alarming), my clients' health issues, and current events having to do with health insurance and medicine. So I have about a million and one things to say about healthcare.

Except that even I am getting bored of healthcare.

And, perhaps more importantly, I really have other topics that it feels to me would be much better use of my time. In this day in history, I don't think tackling problems in the US healthcare system is at all the best use of myself – as important as these things are, it feels a bit like rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic.

This is not a general sense of futility. I have a huge amount of things in my head that I think sharing could be a very useful contribution to the Very Long Game. I understand what is going on in the US right now very, very, very differently than almost every other commentor. This is what I ardently want to be writing about.

If I could – ugh! – just get my head clear of all this incredibly boring healthcare stuff.

So what's been happening on the back end here, in Siderealand, is that I am oscillating rapidly and not at all profitably between the previously alluded to monster healthcare post (or series) and tackling some of the Very Long Game topics – interrupted by the occasional hot take on current events (you have no idea how badly I want to respond to the Sexist Googler Memo, while at the same time very badly wanting not to have to finish reading the Sexist Google Memo, much less start again from the beginning this time taking notes) – and never actually getting any one thing finished. I'll try to work on the monster healthcare post and my mind will wander off in boredom; so I'll try to work on something more important, but then I'll have to treat a patient or get my own medical care or deal with D's health issues, and my attention is wrenched back to healthcare and healthcare-related observations flood my mind. Argh.

I've been feeling unwell, physically, in ways that are also making concentration hard. This makes the VLG stuff particularly daunting, because it involves having to explain a lot of background and conceptual stuff to get where I am trying to go. I mean, that's the whole point of the exercise. And that takes - or so I find – a lot of concentration to do at all, much less well.

So, for instance, today was supposed to be a writing day, but I woke up, for no reason I can tell, exhausted and having trouble marshalling words. *throws hands up in the air* Before writing this, I took a break to play some flash games and, wow, does my judgment and reaction time suck.

So I guess we'll see what I come up with. Sigh.

ETA: Ahahah, and I managed to initially post this technically wrongly, trying a second time, see if I manage to get it to my journal.

ETA2: I feel I should mention, part of why my contact with healthcare is up is that my clinical caseload is up: I have more patients. Which is wonderful and makes me happy.
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([personal profile] siderea Aug. 12th, 2017 12:47 am)
Of particular note to my fellow geek clinicians: just published in the US was Superhero Therapy: Mindfulness Skills to Help Teens and Young Adults Deal with Anxiety, Depression, and Trauma, by psychologist Janina Scarlet, PhD.

It draws unapologetically on her own personal experience of identifying with the X-Men to heal from the trauma of radiation poisoning, subsequent chronic illness, being a refugee, and being bullied.

I haven't read it yet, just excerpts, but it looks lovely. Illustrated by Wellinton Alves of Marvel and DC.
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jadelennox: Wendy from the middleman: "I save the world in my own way." (middleman: wendy saving the world)
([personal profile] jadelennox Aug. 11th, 2017 05:22 pm)
I wrote a poem. It is extremely fetid, alas. I was having some politics and genealogy angst I couldn't get out otherwise.

Mother of Exiles )
historical notes )

Now here's a good poem: "In Exile," by Emma Lazarus.

In Exile )
So, I previously asked about LED lightbulbs for my lamp that takes S11 shape, E17 (aka "intermediate") base, 40W bulbs.

I went forth and ordered bulbs. I got a pair that were 4W and 4500K that only put out 300 or so lumens and were very blue-white. They worked, but it was like being in an aquarium, and not good for reading, so I decided I need to find bulbs that were brighter but with a warmer color.
So I ordered a pack of 5W, 470 Lumen, 2700K bulbs.

They didn't work. I put them in the socket, flicked the switch back and forth, and nothing happened.

I figured I was shipped some dud bulbs, so I reported them defective, and got my money back.

But I still didn't have bulbs I liked, so I tried again from another vendor, ordering 5W ("40W replacement"), 3000K bulbs from a different manufacturer.

They didn't work either.

So at this point, I don't think it's that the bulbs are defective, since now I have four of them that don't work, from two different manufacturers.

???

UPDATE:

I have four sets of bulbs:

0) The last two incandenscants that worked, but which are now both burnt out. I have kept them as references.

1) The first pair of LEDs bulbs, the unsatisfactory weak 4W blue-white ones. They still work fine. They're what I'm using now.

2) The second pair of LED bulbs, which are 5W/2500K, and don't work.

3) The third pair of LED bulbs, which are 5W/3000K, and don't work.

I have discovered that the incandescents have something in common with the (working) first pair of LEDs that the (non-working) second and third pair of LEDs don't: the contact on the bottom of the bulb on the non-working LEDs is a smidge – like half a milimeter – longer.

I repeat: the non-working bulbs are a teeny bit longer in the contact that goes in the socket. The little bump on the end.

I have no idea what to do with this information. Like, why are these bulbs slightly the wrong size to fit in my lamp? But still called E17? And why is it that it's the 5W bulbs that are like this? Are all 5W LED bulbs like this? Is there a way to shop for bulbs that will fit my lamp? Is there a way to fix my lamp or the bulb so these will work?
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([personal profile] siderea Aug. 10th, 2017 11:58 pm)
(h/t Metafilter)

Ah, the trials and tribulations of garage bands. The bickering. The struggling for bookings. The desperation to get noticed by industry decisionmakers. The unexplained discharge of huge electromagnetic/nuclear forces.

A short "sci-fi rock-and-roll adventure" film about a small band with a big problem: an inexplicable tendency to burn down the house. Literally. [13 minutes, Vimeo]
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When I was a child (1970s and 1980s), bread was different. Some types of bread – particularly rye and pumpernickel – were dense and crumbly, not light and squishy. This was why, as I understand it and found it so myself, they were preferable for meat sandwiches (e.g. ham on rye) or sandwiches with runny fillings like tomatos.

But today – literally today, I was just at the grocery – bread sold as pumpernickel and rye are as fluffly and yielding as white bread. They have no solidity, no heft. And they work terribly, IMHO, under load.

It's not just the breads in the bread aisle like this either; the fancy gourmet stuff in the bakery area is the same. You can sometimes get crusty loaves of one thing or another, but under the crusts it's all squishy. It's been a while since I've seen "peasant style" cakey loaves of whole grain flours.

And while the problem is worst for rye and pumpernickel, I have gotten the impression that mass commercial sliced wheat breads have also changed in texture, having gone from grainy and crumbly in my youth, to glossy and fluffy today.

I'm not imagining this, am I? What the hell happened to bread?

Is it still possible to get a traditional, dense pumpernickel in the Boston area? I mean, by the loaf; all the restaurants I have gotten sandwiches at still have a source for real, sandwich-weight pumpernickel, so clearly there's a wholesale source. Is there a retail one?
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([personal profile] kareila Aug. 6th, 2017 11:55 pm)
Almost back to the daily grind. School starts Tuesday, and church choir practice resumes on Wednesday. It seems too soon, but at the same time I'm ready for a change. Hopefully having my days be more structured again will help with my focus; I feel like I've hardly gotten anything done this summer, apart from the big furniture rearrangement and a few knitting projects.

I finally upgraded my iPad mini to iOS 10. I knew the change would be painful, but it was time. Apparently I need to keep it there, because now it keeps telling me that some of my frequently used apps won't work with iOS 11 unless they're updated by the developer, and most of the affected apps seem entirely abandoned. Sigh.

I went to see Dark Tower on Saturday night with the usual suspects. Thankfully it wasn't too terrifying - the most horrific part of the evening was having to see the trailer for IT again. It was fun trying to spot references to other well known Stephen King stories, and I really liked Idris Elba's character. After the movie, we went to B&N, where I found a hilarious book by Tim Leong called Star Wars Super Graphic. It's like what Edward Tufte might create if he became the guy who keeps track of the extended (revised) canon of the Star Wars universe. Of course I had to buy it. Will enjoyed reading it as much as I did.

Did I mention that Will spent at least part of his summer binge-reading the XKCD archives? I discovered a few days ago that if I ask him about a specific XKCD comic, he can remember at least the approximate number. "My normal approach is useless here?" "That's in the 50's or 60's." "What about Little Bobby Tables?" "Exploits of a mom? That's early 300's." He's also been studying the extended oeuvre of TMBG lyrics, because clearly he wasn't nerdy enough already.
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([personal profile] purplecat Aug. 6th, 2017 08:02 pm)








24 miles. My feet ache terribly however, thanks to the advice of the wonderful [personal profile] fififolle and a small souvenir shop in the Northumberland National Park, they are at least encased in Compseed Plasters. B. was initially deeply sceptical about these, but since one has remained glued to the ball of my foot all day today, he has come around.

No wall to be seen, though there were occasional earthworks, but once we had crossed the M6 and reached Carlisle (which B. keeps referring to as Cardiff), the walk was mostly dominated by the Solway Firth, including the little faux Roman hut at the end of the walk in which you could get the final stamp in your "passport".
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