Aw, poor widdle terrorist!

I know you’re all torn up to hear that Eric Rudolph is mis­er­able in prison.1

“Using soli­tary con­fine­ment, Super­max is designed to inflict as much mis­ery and pain as is con­sti­tu­tion­al­ly per­mis­si­ble,” he wrote in a let­ter.

No, real­ly? That’s part of that whole deter­rent fac­tor, ya know? Jail isn’t sup­posed to be a vaca­tion. Maybe you should have con­sid­ered the pos­si­bil­i­ty of los­ing a lit­tle time in the moun­tains before you took to being a bomber, Rudolph?

Of course, he still has his life to com­plain about, unlike some of his vic­tims.

My real ques­tion, I sup­pose, is why is this news? What is our atten­tion being redi­rect­ed away from?


1 http://www.ajc.com/hp/content/shared-gen/ap/National/Eric_Rudolph.html?cxntnid=amn121106e

Will there be a cure?

I respond­ed to a post in a friend’s Live­Jour­nal, in which she talked about a friend of hers who has just been diag­nosed with chron­ic fatigue syn­drome. Her friend was very upset that my friend did­n’t believe there is a cure for fibromyal­gia or CFS (at least, there isn’t one right now). This is part of my response.

I think that the fact that there’s final­ly acknowl­edg­ment from the CDC and the like that CFS is real, and research prov­ing that FMS is real and show­ing a genet­ic link, is very promis­ing. That great­ly increas­ing the prob­a­bil­i­ty of research being done that might find a cure, or at least decent treat­ments.

But no, I don’t real­ly look for a “cure” for either dis­ease. I think the best we’re going to see for some time is bet­ter treat­ments for the symp­toms. I’m fair­ly cer­tain that both dis­eases will be found to be genet­ic weak­ness­es trig­gered by envi­ron­men­tal con­di­tions that dam­age the ner­vous and/or immune sys­tems. Gene ther­a­py may be able to repair some of that dam­age. Maybe. Germline ther­a­py might offer our descen­dants the pos­si­bil­i­ty of not pass­ing the genet­ic weak­ness­es on to their chil­dren.

But - not expect­ing a cure does­n’t mean that I don’t pay atten­tion to the research and the lat­est infor­ma­tion avail­able about treat­ments.

I think hop­ing for a cure, in some ways, can be a way of try­ing to shift respon­si­bil­i­ty for how we pro­ceed to the med­ical estab­lish­ment. If there isn’t one com­ing, the only improve­ment we’re going to expe­ri­ence is what we man­age with what’s avail­able now. The improve­ments we make in how we eat, move, sleep, inter­act, etc. are up to us, and they can make a huge dif­fer­ence. We can get some relief from cur­rent­ly avail­able med­ica­tions by work­ing with our doc­tors. We can use var­i­ous tech­niques to improve our cog­ni­tive func­tion­ing or prop our­selves up despite fibro fog. And if we aren’t sit­ting around wait­ing for some­body else to hand us a cure, we’re more like­ly to do those things.

Finally, home & cat stuff

The last install­ment of the update — home stuff

Sam and I are adjust­ing to sleep­ing at a new height. Yes — height. I’ve lust­ed after a cap­tain’s bed for some time, because of the stor­age pos­si­bil­i­ties and how much more walker/wheelchair friend­ly our bed­room would be if we could remove some of the fur­ni­ture that would be made extra­ne­ous by real under­bed stor­age. Well, we got one via Freecy­cle this past week!

It’s a queen size frame, so our cur­rent (very, very good) mat­tress and box frame fit. That was an impor­tant con­sid­er­a­tion. And the head­board is real­ly neat, with shelves that are very handy for one of the alarm clocks, and my glass­es, and tis­sues, and so on.

The trick is that this cap­tain’s bed was orig­i­nal­ly designed for a waterbed. The box frame fits into the box where the waterbed mat­tress would fit, and you have a sur­face that’s about a foot high­er than our old bed. Then the mat­tress goes on top of that, and we have a bed that I have to use a step­stool to climb into.

It is an impos­ing edi­fice! We will no longer be chas­ing our shoes and oth­er items out from under the bed, nor can the cats hide under the bed. There’s one less rea­son to run the Room­ba (it does a good job of chas­ing dust bun­nies out from under beds). And we have twelve big draw­ers of addi­tion­al stor­age!

The donor was a real gem. She actu­al­ly brought the bed here to us, since we don’t have a truck. It took her two loads to do it, too, in her tiny lit­tle pick-up. She told me that she just want­ed to be sure that it went to a good home. Her moth­er was with her, and told Sam that it was her late part­ner’s bed, and that it pained her to see it. I thanked her pub­licly for going above and beyond any­thing that could pos­si­bly be expect­ed, and we’ll be pay­ing that kind­ness for­ward for some time.

The attic is insu­lat­ed, as of Fri­day! That should make a nice dif­fer­ence in our util­i­ty bills and win­ter com­fort. Now we need to get into the crawl space and find the source of a draft (and mouse entry!) under the kitchen cabinets/dishwasher, and we’ll be quite snug.

Kiyoshi, the junior cat, has been neutered and giv­en his first round of shots. He seems a bit calmer already. He and Shel­ley aren’t bud­dies, but they are a bit friend­lier now that he’s set­tling down. They can get along well enough to share Shel­ley’s heat­ed win­dow perch. She’s will­ing to put up with him as long as he’s being inof­fen­sive and bring­ing extra body heat into the equation–unless he tries to take the posi­tion clos­est to the win­dow. Then there’s trou­ble.

At 18, Shel­ley sel­dom leaves the kitchen, where the perch and her food are. The lit­ter­box is in the laun­dry room right off the kitchen. We’ve got a lit­tle seat­ing area in there, so she gets a fair amount of atten­tion. Kiyoshi roams the house, hang­ing out wher­ev­er Katie is when she’s home. Shel­ley is the kitchen cat. She’s los­ing weight, which is wor­ri­some, and she’s got cataracts. Her hear­ing is going, but she does­n’t seem to be in pain or have a bad qual­i­ty of life, so as long as she’s rea­son­ably hap­py, we’ll just keep nurs­ing her along.

And that’s about it. Bor­ing, but wordy. That’s me.

Gaming & Podcasting & TV, oh my!

Sam has start­ed anoth­er pod­cast in cahoots with Bill Wal­ton. This one, Square One, is for com­plete­ly new gamers. Check it out — they’ve done a good job. I’m in one episode, though I don’t think that one’s up yet.

Sam and I are part of a group play­ing Out in the Black, a Seren­i­ty RPG mod­ule, that’s being record­ed for the After Seren­i­ty pod­cast. The first episode has already been put out on the feed, and the sec­ond episode should be out soon (we’ve already record­ed it).

At home we’re still play­ing Raven­flight togeth­er. Silken Moon­light is on hold ’til Son­ji can join us again. She’s always too busy to play from about Sep­tem­ber to Jan­u­ary each year. Sam recon­nect­ed with some­one we gamed with in the past recent­ly, and we have hopes of gam­ing with a group he’s part of before too long.

We (Sam and Katie and I) have been watch­ing the first sea­son of Veron­i­ca Mars on DVD. It’s a good show, with a bit of a non-super­nat­ur­al Buffy feel. We’re also watch­ing the last episodes of Alias. The con­trast is inter­est­ing, to say the least. Since we get around to watch­ing maybe one episode of one or the oth­er a week, it’s slow going.

I final­ly fin­ished watch­ing Rent, too. Sam and I have both found that movie to be a dread­ful ear­worm gen­er­a­tor. I picked up the sound­track CD at the library this week­end, and will try lis­ten­ing to it ’til I’m sick of it. Maybe that will help.

Sam has a small TV in the kitchen, and he always has some oth­er series going in the DVD play­er there to keep him com­pa­ny while cook­ing if some­one isn’t in the kitchen with him. The cur­rent one is Penn & Teller — Bullsh*t! The Com­plete Sec­ond Sea­son. I thought I’d watched that, but appar­ent­ly I mis­re­mem­bered. Penn is awful­ly atten­tion-get­ting, even with­out a visu­al.

Reading

I just fin­ished read­ing Born in Death by J.D. Robb (Nora Roberts). It’s the lat­est in the Eve Dal­las series and a good read. I took a break from The Star Scroll, part of Melanie Rawn’s Drag­on Prince series, to read the Robb book. The series is good, and I enjoy Rawn’s writ­ing, but I went straight into this series after read­ing the first two books of her Exiles of Ambrai series, so I need­ed a break and took one when the library called to say that BiD was avail­able.

I have to say, though, that I’m more than slight­ly put out over the Exiles of Ambrai series. I got these books through some­one on Freecy­cle, and I could have sworn that I made sure I had all the books of the series before I began read­ing them. I read book one, The Ruins of Ambrai, and went imme­di­ate­ly into book 2, The Mage­born Trai­tor. They were won­der­ful! Then I could­n’t actu­al­ly put my hands on book three. No prob­lem, I thought. I should be able to buy it, right? Vol­umes one and two were put out in 1994 and 1997, respec­tive­ly. Sure­ly book three, The Cap­tal’s Tow­er has been out for years by now!

Um, no. And it does­n’t real­ly seem very like­ly that it will be out. I real­ize it isn’t some­thing Rawn did on pur­pose or would have cho­sen, but dammit, I want the rest of the sto­ry NOW! This is why I usu­al­ly try so hard not to read series that haven’t been ful­ly pub­lished! I mean, the Eve Dal­las series isn’t a series in the same sense as the Exiles series is–each book stands alone. There are some issues that were car­ried over from one book to the next, espe­cial­ly in ear­li­er nov­els. But you could pick up any of them and be sat­is­fied by the book itself. The Exiles sto­ry has been left hang­ing. The arc is unfin­ished. Fan­ta­sy trilo­gies are dif­fer­ent than detective/mystery series. They just are.

Hmph.

School update

School is going along fine. In fact, anoth­er semes­ter is almost done for me, and Katie’s almost at the end of her semes­ter, too. She’s kick­ing ass and tak­ing names. Now that she’s set­tled aca­d­e­m­i­cal­ly, she’s stretch­ing out into some extracur­ric­u­lar stuff and mak­ing more friends. We’ve man­aged to con­nect with a Girl Scout troop, (final­ly!) despite sil­ly paper­work slip-ups.

I think I need to rearrange my class­es for the next part of the semes­ter (I’m already reg­is­tered), but this unit’s class­es are going very well, and I’ve actu­al­ly learned use­ful (in one class) and inter­est­ing (in the oth­er class) stuff.

I had told the school when they ini­tial­ly did my tran­script eval­u­a­tion that I did­n’t have as many upper-lev­el cred­its as they said I had, but they insist­ed that I’d done my major work and would­n’t real­ly lis­ten. Weird­ness­es kept com­ing up, and I kept push­ing about things like the Hope Schol­ar­ship not com­ing up in my finan­cial aid pack­age. Some­one final­ly said, “Oh — you aren’t eli­gi­ble because you already have a bach­e­lor’s degree.”

What? Um, no. You see, I’m in the Bach­e­lor’s Degree Com­ple­tion Pro­gram because I don’t have a bach­e­lor’s degree yet. Capiche?

Well, it seems that when Mer­cer Uni­ver­si­ty sent over my tran­scripts, they could­n’t man­age to just pull the tran­scripts for Cyn­thia Rober­son (my name when I attend­ed that school) with my Social Secu­ri­ty Num­ber and my Mer­cer Stu­dent ID. No, they also sent over Cyn­thia Armis­tead­’s tran­script — some­one whose name was Cyn­thia Armis­tead when she attend­ed Mer­cer and got a bach­e­lor’s degree, some­one with a dif­fer­ent SSN and MSI and mid­dle ini­tial. And instead of notic­ing these dis­crep­an­cies, my school blithe­ly entered this tran­script in and gave me cred­it for her work!

So there’s been a whole big deal about get­ting all of my tran­scripts again, and re-eval­u­at­ing them anew, and chang­ing my planned class­es to reflect the results. I’m get­ting two sorts of atti­tude from the bureau­crats I have to deal with in straight­en­ing out this non­sense: peo­ple who obvi­ous­ly think I should have shut up and tak­en the cred­its, and peo­ple who think I was try­ing to pull a fast one (hence the busi­ness about them get­ting all my tran­scripts again, direct­ly from my old schools) and re-eval­u­at­ing them).

For­tu­nate­ly, the class­es I’ve tak­en so far are class­es I need­ed to take. Yay. The class­es that start in a cou­ple of weeks are in ques­tion, so I need to talk to my so-called “advi­sor” about them. The “advi­sor” is the per­son who deals with every­body who is in the bach­e­lor’s degree com­ple­tion pro­gram. She does­n’t do indi­vid­ual advis­ing, real­ly. She does­n’t give a fly­in’ flip about me or my plans, abil­i­ties, back­ground, etc. She meets with stu­dents once, when they enter the pro­gram. That’s it. That’s the plan. She does­n’t want to see us again. She’s not hap­py that she’s had to talk to me more than once.

I was just way spoiled by my mar­velous advi­sor at South­ern Poly, Dr. Mark Stevens. Nobody else can live up to that stan­dard. But this woman should­n’t have the same title. She’s a paper­work-stam­per.

I’m actu­al­ly enjoy­ing the data­base por­tion of my cur­rent business/computer course so much that I’m look­ing at which tech­ni­cal con­cen­tra­tion in the bach­e­lor’s degree com­ple­tion major would give me the most oppor­tu­ni­ty to go deep­er into the top­ic.

Oh — with the oth­er per­son­’s bach­e­lor’s degree tran­script, I had some­thing like 91 trans­fer cred­its. That’s the max­i­mum you’re allowed to trans­fer into the school. With­out her tran­script, just using my cred­its, I’m com­ing in with 79 cred­its. The sci­ence class I’m tak­ing now should have been my last “core” class, but this school counts “Sci­ence, Tech­nol­o­gy and Soci­ety as a 400 lev­el class. The STS class I took at South­ern Poly was a 200 lev­el class. So one more core class, some busi­ness and man­age­ment stuff required for my major, and then the tech­ni­cal con­cen­tra­tion cours­es. Three full semes­ters, at least, maybe four, since there may be pre­req­ui­sites required for some of the tech­ni­cal con­cen­tra­tion class­es that I don’t have yet.

That’s not too bad — just anoth­er year of school, real­ly. Wow. I can see the end.

Planned Parenthood of Georgia Offers Free Emergency Contraception 12/6/06

From Planned Par­ent­hood of Geor­gia:

Free EC! Decem­ber 6, 2006!

We’re cel­e­brat­ing increased access to emer­gency con­tra­cep­tion (EC)!

EC can safe­ly and effec­tive­ly pre­vent preg­nan­cy if start­ed with­in five days of unpro­tect­ed sex. Every­one, regard­less of age, can get EC at Planned Par­ent­hood — and now, for peo­ple 18 and old­er, EC is avail­able over the counter. Stop by one of our five Geor­gia health cen­ters on Decem­ber 6, 2006, and receive FREE EC (one per per­son) to keep at home — just in case.

Planned Par­ent­hood of Geor­gia, Inc.
Atlanta ~ Lil­burn ~ Mari­et­ta ~ Augus­ta ~ Savan­nah

1–800-230-PLAN

————————————————–

Vis­it the web address below to tell your friends about this.

http://www.ppaction.org/join-forward.html?domain=ppga&r=x11er3n1SSQw

If you received this mes­sage from a friend, you can sign up for
Planned Par­ent­hood of Geor­gia Action Cen­ter at:

http://www.ppaction.org/ppga/join.html?r=x11er3n1SSQwE

Researchers say pain from fibromyalgia is real

Not that it’s news to those of us who have it, but it’s good to be val­i­dat­ed!

Fibromyal­gia often has been mis­di­ag­nosed as arthri­tis or even a psy­cho­log­i­cal issue. Increas­ing­ly, though, the sci­en­tif­ic knowl­edge about fibromyal­gia is grow­ing, and a new paper from the Uni­ver­si­ty of Michi­gan Health Sys­tem says there are “over­whelm­ing data” that the con­di­tion is real, is char­ac­ter­ized by a low­er pain thresh­old and is asso­ci­at­ed with genet­ic fac­tors that can make some peo­ple more like­ly to devel­op fibromyal­gia. …

“It is time for us to move past the rhetoric about whether these con­di­tions are real, and take these patients seri­ous­ly as we endeav­or to learn more about the caus­es and most effec­tive treat­ments for these dis­or­ders,” says Richard E. Har­ris, Ph.D., research inves­ti­ga­tor in the Divi­sion of Rheuma­tol­ogy at the U‑M Med­ical School’s Depart­ment of Inter­nal Med­i­cine and a researcher at the U‑M Health Sys­tem’s Chron­ic Pain and Fatigue Research Cen­ter.

The name of one of the authors of the paper, Dr. Daniel J. Clauw, will be famil­iar to many of you from oth­er stud­ies on fibromyal­gia. He says that, “In peo­ple with­out pain, these struc­tures encode pain sen­sa­tions nor­mal­ly. In peo­ple with fibromyal­gia, the neur­al activ­i­ty increased. These stud­ies indi­cate that fibromyal­gia patients have abnor­mal­i­ties with­in their cen­tral brain struc­tures.”

Sci­enceDai­ly: Pain From Fibromyal­gia Is Real, Researchers Say

Since some have asked

Our mail­ing address is
2107 N. Decatur Rd #474
Decatur, GA 30033

Might I please have yours? In case we actu­al­ly man­age to get such things out at any point in the com­ing year. I don’t promise that such things will go out in time for Yule, though 😉 A clue as to the best way to address an enve­lope so as not to leave out any­one in the house­hold who would might feel slight­ed would be appre­ci­at­ed, as I don’t like acci­den­tal­ly hurt­ing any­one’s feel­ings.