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Lydy's Anarchist Revival Meeting

18th September, 2019. 2:36 am. In which I fear they will make the tubes kiss

Some five or so years ago, I had a colonoscopy.  The prep was sufficiently unpleasant that I have been extremely reluctant to schedule the recommended follow-up.  The actual procedure itself I do not remember at all, but after I regained consciousness, they told me that I should arrange to have a proper anesthesiologist, next time, what with me not really wanting to breathe during the procedure.  

For a couple of years, now, I have been having intermittent and not very serious, but extremely persistent GI issues.  There have been a constellation of symptoms, some of which have been uncomfortable, and a few a bit embarrassing.  I kept on assuming it would clear up, but it didn't.  I didn't mention it to my doctor earlier because, see: embarrassing.  Fairly recently, I had symptoms which could be caused by upper GI bleeding.   After having Dr. Google diagnose me with a couple three fatal diseases, I decided to go to my doctor.  Well, actually nurse practitioner, but she's been my primary care med person for years, and I like her a lot.  

She said that since I was due for a colonoscopy (read, very very overdue, but one of the reasons I like her is that she doesn't scold me), I should have one, anyway.  And if it didn't show anything, then maybe an EGD (esophageogastroduodenoscopy).  Musing aloud, she said, "Of course, if they don't find anything, they'll want to do an EGD, but if they do find something, they are still probably going to want to do an EGD, so, I think, I'll refer you to have them both done.  Maybe they can do them at the same time."

So, near as I can tell, they are planning on sticking a tube down my throat, another one up my ass, and see if they can't meet in the middle.  It would be difficult to describe how very excited I am at the prospect.  At least I will be absolutely unconscious for the procedure.  Yay?

So, where is that option where I become a brain in a jar?  Because I need that, stat.  

Later today, I need to call my insurance company and make sure they will pay for all of this.  Gods, I hate medicine in the US.

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20th August, 2019. 10:12 pm. Pokemon Go Friends?

So, the latest quest required I acquire 3 more friends.  If you would like to be my friend in Pokemon Go, and are not already, my Trainer Code is 0234 5347 6351, and my Trainer name is Lydydrew.  Mostly, you will get gifts from South Minneapolis.  Thanks in advance.  If you want me to be able to connect your DW name and your Trainer name, do drop a comment here (or send it to me as PM, if you don't want it that public.)  But strangers are welcome, and encouraged.

And to anyone wanting to hipster at me, "Are you really still playing that game?" the answer is, why, yes, and with great glee.  


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6th August, 2019. 7:03 pm. In Which the Ethics of the Lifeboat Exercise Is Trash

[personal profile] mrissa has a really lovely essay about lifeboats over at Uncanny, and you should read it.  Beware the Lifeboat - Uncanny Magazinehttps://uncannymagazine.com/article/beware-the-lifeboat/

Seventh grade was when I was first exposed to the lifeboat thought experiment.  Thirteen of us were assigned roles, and told to decide who to toss out, because the lifeboat could only hold twelve.  I do not remember what role I was assigned, but I do remember being completely unable to find a reason not to toss out the disabled twelve year old girl, which is what we eventually did.  I didn't find it all that traumatic, but it nagged at me afterwards.  

I think it must have actually bothered me a great deal more than I recognized at the time, because when I found out that the parameters of the lifeboat problem were a cheat, I felt furious and betrayed.  In real lifeboats, the parameters are not clean and hard.  A boat that is rated for ten can usually carry more, maybe many more, depending on the people.  The water is only a limiting factor if it doesn't rain, and there's no knowing if it will.  Food, too, is not a limiting factor in the way it was represented to me.  Over and above rationing, the waste from a lifeboat draws fish and birds, and lots of cast aways have used this to supplement the food on the boat.  Finally, rescue is neither certain nor predictable.  You do not know if there will ever be a rescue, nor do you know when it will be.  It could be in an hour, or a day, or never.  Everything about the problem was a cheat.  In looking at that, and the trolley problem, and the other thought experiments in this genre, my conclusion is that, whatever the intent, the effect of having people engage with the problem is not an exercise in getting them to examine their underlying ethical structures, but rather a way to force people to act unethically.  I think it desensitizes and damages our understanding of ourselves and our world, rather than exposing or exploring anything.

I do not know if this would be more informative or ethical, but I'd like to see some psychology department try this.  Set up the scenario the same way it was presented to me in seventh grade.  Give people roles, tell them to decide who to sacrifice.  Have them play it out.  When the finally decide who goes over the side, have the proctor describe the death in some reasonable amount of detail.  The goal here is not to traumatize, but to give everyone a chance to have second thoughts.  See if anyone jumps in to save the drowning person, and how the rest react.  Then have the proctor say, "As you stare at the surface of the ocean, at the space where the drowning person last rose, you hear a voice from a megaphone telling you to remain still, the ship will be there to rescue you.  After you are taken on board, cleaned and cared for, and asked how you are, and what you did while you waited for rescue."  Then, have the proctor ask each participant to re-visit their choice of sacrificing one of their own.  Ask them why they did it, if they would change their mind.  Guide them to seeing all the questions and possibilities they didn't consider when they decided on the sacrifice.  

Would this be a better framework for getting people to examine their underlying ethical structures, or is this just me still being angry 40 years later?  I am not sure.  But it would certainly be more interesting than what they put me through when I was 13, I tell you what.

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27th July, 2019. 9:41 am. In Which Coffee Is Not a Sharp Object, and This Is Just As Well

I live-tweeted this, but it was so very, very bad I just want to memorialize it at length.  

The coffee shop closest to my house is Butter, and they are really good people.  I woke up early on Friday, so I decided to go see if I couldn't find a dark Pokestop to conquer (I did) and then sit and eat an eclair and drink some coffee.  I had forgotten that Butter has entertainment on Fridays.  I order my coffee, and see that That Dude is up on the stage.

I do not know the performer's name.  He's this white guy who plays keyboards and sings.  To give him his due, he's on key, has a reasonable sense of rhythm, and generally his tempo is appropriate to his material. His material, on the other hand, is banal, the aural equivalent of watching paint dry.  (As an aside, he should keep Bob Dylan out of his mouth.  He makes Dylan sound pedestrian and bourgeois.)  His patter is irritating, consisting of talking about famous people he has worked with, and generally stuffed with self-regard.  One gets the impression he thinks he's one of the Greats, which the venue itself belies.  It's just borderline douchey.  He doesn't whine, and he doesn't trash other people, but it's just long on self aggrandizement and short on self-awareness.  

I sigh, and sit down at a table.  There are a few other people in the shop.  He makes eye contact with me, and I smile politely.  I am playing Pokemon Go, eating an eclair, and drinking coffee.  Little did I know the fate that awaited.

He starts with some patter.  He's got a reasonably good speaking voice, and just enough practiced charisma to gain attention.  He says that he has been on this stage, always behind a piano.  (IN point of fact, it's an electronic keyboard, but let's not quibble.)  He makes a joke about always being behind a piano (keyboard!) but tonight, tonight is different.  Tonight, he is going to read some original poetry.  Lyrics, if you will, music without the music.

Reader, I should have fled.  But it was hot as balls out, and I was still eating my eclair, and I thought, "How bad can it be?"  This, by the way, is why I should never let my brain make decisions.  

He begins with something so amazingly banal I cannot call any of it to mind.  My tweet identified it as having denatured Christian themes.  It wasn't even as interesting as prosperity gospel.  It was more along the lines of isn't it nice that there's a God?  He then moves into a poem about driving which is a badly broken metaphor for a twelve step program, with a pretty heavy emphasis on let go and let God.  Excuse me, Higher Power.  At some point, he also decides that we should snap our fingers, instead of clapping, because it's beatnik night.  I do not Howl, though surely I felt like it. I certainly did not applaud, nor snap my fingers.  He says a couple of other banal but self-centered things to try to encourage the audience to engage.  I begin to look about me for sharp objects.  Alas, my coffee cup is plastic, and so even if I broke it, it would not be sharp enough to either attack my assailant or open my veins.

He then -- and Dear Reader, I wish I were making this up but I am not -- begins to read a "poem" in the voice of Mickey Mouse.  I believe the conceit is that Mickey is attempting to seal a deal in Hollywood?  I am unsure.  I am beginning to doubt my own sanity.  Surely I am hallucinating this?  I begin to think that hot as balls and getting to work 45 minutes early is vastly preferable to the current ordeal.

And then --

-- he says, "And this one is in the voice of Shatner."  I gather my plate and my coffee and begin to flee.  Behind me, I hear the absolute worst impersonation of Shatner doing bad poetry that I have ever heard.  I exit into the steamy, Midwestern evening, chased by the sound of a man, pretending to be Bill Shatner, saying, "But what is the mind?"

I would just like to say, no one died.  

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25th July, 2019. 9:33 am. In Which I Wish to Shake Rob Thomas Until He Rattles

So, I have had time to have thoughts, as well as feels, about the ending of Season 4 of Veronica Mars.  I will put them after the cut, since it's spoilerific.

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24th July, 2019. 6:47 am. Veronica Mars, Season 4

So, David and I just finished Season 4, and I have feels.   Cut for feels.

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Spoilers are fine in comments.  If you do not wish to be spoiled, do not read the comments.

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7th July, 2019. 12:37 pm. Big Brother Insurance?

So, Progressive, which is currently my car insurance company, offers a discount if I put a dingus in my car that assesses how safely I drive.  I guess it looks at things like speed, vigorous braking, and probably tracks my every move?  Does anyone have any experience with these things?  Anybody have any opinions?  

On the being tracked issue, well, I do carry my phone everywhere, so Der Google already knows where I work, even though I never told it and I have weird working hours.  Der Google probably knows anything said Progressive dingus could intuit, so my data she isn't safe, anyway. 

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30th June, 2019. 7:09 pm. In Which I Noodle About My Job

Every now and then, I rant about my job.  Ranting is kind of my default form of discourse.  Usually, my friends push back against some of the details, often pointing out that they do these exact same things, and why they do them.  I want to thank everyone who's done that, as it has made me better at my job. Often, there was a new perspective which helped me understand what my patients were trying to say.  The rest of the time, it was just useful to put things back in proportion.   I/ve learned a lot about how to phrase questions and elicit useful answers and not sound aggressive or judgmental.  In particular, I've really improved the way I ask questions about people's normal habits for bedtime and rise time, and have been able to  both get better information and set my patients at ease at the same time.

I have now started screening all my female patients for PTSD, anxiety, or depression.  If any of those conditions appear in the chart, wherever possible, I take that patient.  I have just had one too many female patients express relief that their tech was also female, and mention a history of sexual violence.  I always tell them that they can, in the future, request a female tech.  I try to assure them that they will not be asked to disclose why they prefer a female tech.  From  these conversations, it's very clear that a lot of women do not disclose and do not want to disclose past sexual trauma.  

There's another thing I've noticed which suggests unpleasant back stories.  Occasionally, I get patients who live in supervised environments.  The ones who have spent most of their lives in group homes typically have either serious physical or mental challenges which prevent them from independent living.  They tend to be extremely friendly, highly cooperative, and painfully eager to please.  They are a dream to work with.  They do what I ask them to do, they don't complain, they never yell, they are cheerful and friendly.  And I have begun to realize how this is a survival strategy.  I can see the edges of how they do this because they are dependent upon the grace and kindness of staff, and if they make the people who care for them uncomfortable or unhappy, their quality of life, or possibly even their life, is at risk.  And it troubles me, to think of these people who must live in a way that they are never angry, never make anyone else angry.  People with serious challenges and limitations who must put a significant portion of their available energy and skill into making people around them happy.  The people who have lived most of their lives in a supervised environment contrast with the ones for whom this is a recent occurrence, like rehab from a stroke or drug use.  Those patients, too, often have significant cognitive and physical limitations, but are not nearly as focused on people-pleasing, presumably because it was not a major survival strategy.

 I think I have also noted, in the past, the way doctors and others tend to assume that social competency translates to physical competency.  I had a very nice gentleman who literally could not stand up without aid, who could only walk a very few steps, but was incredibly good at social interactions.  His chart noted that he was fully independent and mobile.  He was not.  But because he was very good at talking and being friendly and socially ept.  he was also very capable of convincing people that he was just fine.  People with dementia whose social skills remain intact are frequently also assumed to be much more independent and competent than they actually are.  My disabled friends tell me the reverse is also true.  People in wheelchairs, using a cane, or otherwise visibly physically limited are assumed to not be fully socially competent, are cut out of conversations and decision-making and social gatherings.  And it isn't just an accessibility issue, it's actually that they are treated as less socially aware, less capable of interacting with other people.

TL;DR : people are weird, people have bodies, bodies are weird.

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29th June, 2019. 11:55 am. Triumphal Return of Cats and Mimosas

I really wanted a mimosa, this morning.  Something about last night just pissed me all the way off.  No idea what.  Co-worker no more than normally annoying, one patient, easy to work with.  Oh, right.  There was supposed to be another patient who had a lot of issues, and was supposed to be a 1 to 1, but scheduling fucked up.  So, I sent email to my boss, and he emailed back saying, roughly, it'll probably be fine and if it isn't just send him home.  Except, the patient in question is post-stroke, averbal, in a wheelchair, and in no way capable of just motoring on home if there isn't sufficient support.  So, sending him home requires that there be reasonable transport, a thing which my boss in no way could assess or arrange.  But, said patient didn't show.  Probably because our schedulers suck.  (In my experience, medical scheduling is the last refuge of the incompetent.)  So, it wasn't an issue, but it could have been.  So, that was probably why I was pissed off all night.

On my way to the co-op to buy orange juice for my mimosa, I realized I wanted a lamb hamburger, so I bought that, too.  It was adequate, not as good as I hoped.  The mimosa, however, was just fine.  So was the second one.  The third and fourth David drank, and that is the end of the champagne and the orange juice.

I am reduced to three cats, all of whom I have rattled on about at length.  Ninja is currently on prednisone for a hacking, horking sort of cough.  Ninja on steroids.  In what universe is this a good idea?  Nevertheless, he does seem to hork less often.   I give him his pills in pill pockets, which I call treason treats.   Lady Jane Grey is also very treat-motivated, so when I give Ninja his treason treats, she gets Greenies.  First, she gets the anti-hairball treats (which don't seem to be doing any good), and then the dental treats.  Ninja has to eat his treason treats first, then gets dental Greenies.  Lady has recently been able to differentiate between Ninja and Nuit, and is sufficiently comfortable around Ninja that if he doesn't finish his treats fast enough, she steals them from under his nose.  Which causes Ninja no distress at all.  He has been making attempts to play with Lady, and she responds by getting upset, swatting at him and hissing.  Ninnie doesn't take offense, he just backs off with a faintly confused look.  On occasion, Lady attempts to initiate play, but she really doesn't know how to go about it, and so is too aggressive.  Ninja attempts to play along, but then things get out of hand, and he backs off and looks at her with an expression of sad confusion.  I keep on hoping they'll work it out.

Nuit continues to hate hate hate Lady, and stalk and harass her.  It seems to be pretty clearly jealousy.  She celebrated my return from Fourth Street by attacking Lady, in an extremely ostentatious and performative sort of way.  At least no one has pissed on my bed in quite some time.  

I love my  cats, they are all wonderful.  Also, mimosas are pretty damn keen.

And with that, dear friends, good night. 

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22nd June, 2019. 8:55 pm. Three Random Topics from carbonel

Galaxy - As an sf fan, I am supposed to love astrophysics and astronomy.  I kind of...don't. I think stars are very pretty, and I know that a lot of galaxies look like stars unless you use a strong telescope, and sometimes even then.  I also know  that galaxies are designated by the letter M and a number, and that there was at least one Minicon that used the number of that Minicon, and an image of  the galaxy that it described.  Was that M31?  Really not sure.  Also, there was (is?) a famous sf magazine called Galaxy.  

Waltz - I cannot dance to save my life, and I'm crap at identifying time signatures.  However, I was delighted to realize (incredibly belatedly) that "The Times They Are A-Changing" is a goddamn waltz.  I have always wondered how much truth there was to the Vienna Waltz craze, where allegedly people sold their last stick of furniture to be allowed to waltz a bit longer, and some died of exertion after waltzing for several days, straight.  It sounds exactly like the many iterations of the killer drug and killer youth craze that I've seen in my own life, and none of those were particularly fact-based.  They were, however, reported solemnly by papers of record, and so historians are totally going to believe that LSD caused blindness, violence, and genetic mutations.  And that D&D was used to summon literal demons.

Train - Trains are much nicer than busses, and I really wish they ran more often.  I also know that Amtrak is badly managed by policy, and that we could have nice things if only the Republicans would stop trying to prove that they aren't fit to govern.  I also know that the whole thing is more complicated than that, but I pretty much want to start by turfing anyone who thinks that the point of being elected to office is to destroy the government from within.  Public transport is a public good, not a profit center.  Also, I used to really want to have one dress that had a train, but my goodness, where could I possible wear it?  Since I can't dance (see above) even if I were the type that got invited to historical re-enactment balls and such, I still wouldn't be able to show it to its best advantage.

I would also like to note that all three of my assigned topics are the subjects of passion and have intense fandoms associated with them, and wonder if [personal profile] carbonel  intended that. 

So, that's three random things about which I have demonstrated great ignorance.  If you also wish to have an opportunity to blather about three random topics about which you know nothing, I would be happy to assign them.

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