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Showing posts from February, 2016

mental health mondays :: the long and the short of it

welcome, everyone, to week two of our look at post-traumatic stress disorder. last week, i posted an older piece i'd written about the condition by way of introduction. this week, i wanted to look at the peculiarities of the two broad types of ptsd. as i mentioned, there is a school of thought that believes that these two should be treated as separate but related conditions, because, while both are the result of trauma, their effect on the individual and their outward appearances are often quite different from one another.

the first, and most clear-cut type of ptsd is what used to be known as "shell shock", first observed as a clinical condition among soldiers who had fought in world war i. in this form, ptsd is a response to a potentially life-threatening situation, or that at least carried the threat of grievous and imminent bodily harm. there are a number of ways in which the condition can manifest after the victim is returned to normal life, but there is frequently s…

making faces :: so you look like s**t

yes, folks here with me in the northern hemisphere, it is that time of year. as winter creeps with agonizing pace towards spring, skin tones- all of them- are at their dullest and flattest. the combination of cold wind, indoor heating and extremely limited sunlight leaves us all a rather dusty version of our usual selves. and that's assuming that you get enough sleep and eat well, whic, let's face it, most of us don't all the time.

so that means that we can take solace in the fact that we probably don't look comparatively worse than anyone else, but it makes it hard to feel motivated to come out of your little mole hole to see the other animals. 
with my pasty skin, i've learned a few tricks that can help me keep mother nature at a discrete distance and make myself a little happier with the grumpy face that greets me in the mirror. the easiest trying to keep in mind is to keep hydrated. nothing robs skin of its vitality and causes more problems than not getting eno…

my little secrets

earlier today, i responded to a tweet-buddy [i don't even know what you call people with whom you interact on twitter, so that's what i'm sticking with] who asked followers to name an album that they loved but that no one else seemed to know about.

you'd think, given my interest in music that people usually assume is some sort of malfunction, that this wouldn't be difficult for me to do, but most of the people i know are ones i've connected with in some way or another because of music, which means that there's a pretty significant overlap happening at all times with at least some of them. nonetheless, there are a few albums that have stuck with me that no one seems to recall. either the bands were never able to reach that great and audience, or the earlier or later material was much better known, or they simply didn't stick around long enough to make a solid impression.

as more music gets released all the time, the dangers of missing out- of everyone mi…

mental health mondays [rewind] :: aftershocks

this is a repeat of a post from 2014, which is kind of lazy, but it also ties into a larger plan i had to do a couple of posts on post-traumatic stress disorder. this is a condition that is becoming increasingly [and disturbingly] widespread and yet our understanding of it hasn't progressed at the same pace.

i had started to write an introductory post about this when i realised that some of it sounded familiar. it turns out that i already had a perfectly good introduction to the subject written. i'll be returning to ptsd next week, but in the meantime, here's a look at the basics.

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although i read up a lot on mental health issues, i have to admit that one that i've studied very little is post-traumatic stress disorder, or ptsd. there's no particular reason for the avoidance, although i suppose it's partially because the term is quite self-explanatory. it falls within the anxiety spectrum and is the result of an event that caused a fear of imminent death or har…

red flags

the day of the last republican debate, i had to go to the pharmacy to fill one of my prescriptions. i took the medicine shortly afterward and settled in to observe the proceedings. about twenty minutes later, i was about to call the pharmacy and demand to know what prohibited substance they'd actually given me, because i was pretty certain i was tripping balls. 
donald trump was hollering about how george w. bush bore responsibility for 9/11. ted cruz was talking in spanish. marco rubio seemed to have consumed a dangerous number of red bulls before joining his compatriots on stage and john kasich was standing there imploring everyone to get along, sounding a lot like that poor substitute teacher with chalk stains on his pockets and sweaty spots on his shirt who you probably had in junior high school. i'm not sure at what point things went from their usual "ha ha" crazy to "these people need help" crazy. it might have been when the moderator told them he wa…

world wide wednesdays :: six places you must visit after you die

so many travel articles insist on adding the stipulation that their suggestions should be acted on "before you die". my reaction to this has generally been a sense of confusion that being alive was something that needed to be specified. going hiking in the himalayan mountains is tricky once your blood has stopped pumping, although, to be fair, the thin air is less likely to be a problem. but for years, this trope has continued, to the point where i started wondering, if there are so many lists of places to visit before you die, why aren't there parallel lists for the metabolically challenged? so to offer just a little bit of balance, i've come up with my own humble list of trips that are absolutely best taken dead.

post-life travel, of course, has some challenges. you will need a spouse, friend or family member with a good sense of humour, profound sense of humour and stunted gag reflex. on the plus side, you may be able to save a little money by having yourself che…

making faces :: essential cargo

cargo is one of those brands that i've been meaning to explore forever, but just never get around to. it doesn't help that they're not widely available in stores here in canada, since i'm as guilty as the next person of giving into immediate temptation rather than thinking about what i'd like to get over the long term. i received a sample of their lash activator mascara in a gift bag from murale and was mightily impressed, but somehow i've just not gotten around to exploring other things.

but i finally did succumb a couple of months ago and pick up a smart little eye shadow palette called "the essentials". it's a collection of twelve neutral shades, along with a black eye liner and a dual-ended brush. although laid out a bit differently, i'd say it's about the same size as the urban decay naked palettes and is clearly aimed at the same type of consumer. it's a go-anywhere-and-everywhere kind of palette with a mix of matte and shimmer s…

paranoid theory of the week :: are african countries still paying a colonial tax to france?

that's the sort of headline that's liable to make one throw up in one's mouth a little, isn't it? i mean we all know that former colonies still pay a hefty price for colonisation, but i think we all hope that that doesn't mean a direct outflow of money to their former overlords that involves nothing in return. it's a crazy theory, right? it has to be. there's no way that... well, i figured that it warranted a look, at least.

the theory :: 
fourteen african countries, all former french colonies, continue to pay a tax to france based on fees paid during the colonial period.

the origin ::
this popped up everywhere in the last couple of weeks, but one of the original articles on it is found on the website silicon africa. i did find a slightly earlier piece here, but it doesn't have the annotations of the silicon africa article, which makes it more difficult to fact check.

the believers ::
the story seems to have been limited thus far to sites specifically dedi…

we try not to talk about uncle jack at family reunions

in case you've ever wondered, i use all lowercase letters because i find the effect more aesthetically pleasing. there's an evenness to the text that looks better than the jagged chaos caused when you start including capitals.

and if you think about it, capitalization is completely arbitrary. each language has slightly different rules for what gets capitalized and what doesn't. german insists that you capitalize every single noun. dutch used to, but realised that this was a pain and a half and got rid of it. if you ever wonder why some people think german is an ugly language, it has nothing to do with how it sounds and everything to do with the fact that it looks like it's about to poke you in the eye with its many harsh capitals.

i would also have argued that capitals don't really serve any purpose. if i say something about 'venice', is there really anyone who's going to run to the dictionary because they assume it's some word they've never se…

a story of unintended unintentions

i figure i might as well share this, since it's been a while without sharing a new piece of fiction here. this isn't exactly new, but it's new-ish, which is close enough for me. it's something that i didn't intend to write, but something that just came out one time when i started typing. most of the time when i do that, i end up with some sort of strange fragment that doesn't go anywhere but which may end up being folded into a larger entity at a later date, like adding the filling to a layer cake. 
it wasn't until afterward that i realised what i wrote so unintentionally is a story about someone who gets famous for something he didn't intend to write. i didn't intend for that to happen. 
this one is tentatively named "the icon", but i'm not completely sold on that. and i feel like if i give it a permanent name, it should be something that comes to me by accident, something i never intended to be a title. that's really the only way t…