Monday, June 22, 2009

space cadet: tales of the post-medicated

Sometime last week:

me: i need to renew my prescription for zoloft.
dr: i'd like to look into a few things. i'll call you in something.
me: ok, but i have an extremely low tolerance for anything that makes you drowsy.

Two days later:

dr: i called you in a mild sedative. (which turned out to be .25 xanax)


me: i will not be taking that again. i took one friday night, was out cold in 30 minutes, had weird dreams, AND basically had a hangover all day saturday.
dr: well, we can at least say we tried. you must have a low tolerance for that kind of drug.

my kingdom for a doctor who actually LISTENS!!! is that too much to ask? what about the statement "i have an extremely low tolerance for things that make you drowsy. so low in fact that i once slept, like, 8 hours after taking half a goody powder. " makes you think effin XANAX in ANY dosage is a good idea?!?!?! i tell the doctor that i am constantly tired and unable to concentrate and think clearly. somehow this translates in her mind to "she needs to be given meds that make even most people with normal tolerance levels a space cadet." if you can figure it out, let me know.

Sunday, June 21, 2009


Those close to me know that my grandmother, Mema, is the one who mostly raised me and is more of a mother than a grandmother. Given my entirely unstable childhood, her house became the one place in the universe that I could count on to always be there and always be the same. I was always safe and happy there. Some of my best memories are at that house on Country Drive. Hell, most of my oldest friends spent a ton of time there too and probably have memories there as well. Well, Mema isn't doing so well now. My uncle was doing a less than stellar job taking care of her and the state of Alabama took custody of her. She's in the hospital now because of a stroke and neglect basically. The alzheimer's that stalks the women on her side of the family is taking its toll, and she's going to have to be in a nursing facility. Mom's been made her guardian, at least for now, and Mema will probably be moved to a facility down here near us when it's possible in the next few months. In the meantime, Mom had to sell the house.

You know, it's been killing me that Mema has been steadily declining, but it didn't really hit me until I thought about the house being sold. My room will no longer be my room. Danny's room won't be his anymore. The flowers and the trees in the yard won't be hers anymore. There's thrift in that yard that came from Mema's grandmother's yard, for crying out loud. It's family history. And it was all I had of home for most of my life....

Friday, June 19, 2009

Ghost Adventures Season 2, Episode 3: La Purisma Mission, Lompoc, CA

This week's location was the La Purisma Mission in Lompoc, CA, which seemed to be relatively similar to the Mission San Luis here in Tallahassee--chapel, buildings, reenactors, etc. Eyewitnesses described some physical manifestations and other forms, and a California paranormal investigator, Richard Senate, related some very clear visual experiences. Novelist Tamara Thorne was also on hand to describe her experiences. Senate claims that the mission is likely one of the most haunted locations in the U.S.

Reminiscent of the prison shower in season 1, Aaron was sent into the old village area as bait, but they only got one questionable evp. They picked up another couple of evps in the infirmary as well. Better evidence came in the form of a thermal image near a battlefield and at least one fairly clear evp ("lay down") when nick was sitting on a bed known to be a center of activity after finding the bed covers messed up. My favorite was the weaving room. The guys measured an almost 30 degree temperature change and flute music.

While I was skeptical of Senate's weirdly specific description of the thermal image, the other evidence was pretty good. I'm excited to see next week's investigation of Magnolia Plantation in Louisiana.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Republicans Do Facebook Too...Unfortunately

Apparently South Carolina GOP activist and former head of state elections Rusty DePass decided to make a Facebook status on a zoo escapee. He said somethimg to the effect that people shouldn't worry about the escaped gorilla because it was just one of Michelle Obama's ancestors and was probably therefore harmless. WHAT?

It is 2009, people! Shouldn't we have begun to move past this race bullshit by now? I mean, I grew up in the Deep South and know that there are plenty of ill-bred people still flying their racism proudly, but stuff like this never ceases to amaze me and piss me off. The only positive thing I can say is at least he wasn't from Alabama...And just one question: does the use of monkey epithets by usually conservative Christian racists like DePass indicate a grudging acceptance of evolution, an intended jab at liberal belief in such, or just your run-of-the-mill "other races aren't human" stance? just a thought...

prescription abstractions

Lately I've been having a few relatively minor health issues--nothing major, but adding up to serious annoyance. And this has happened before, so I know how to fix it. But I'm getting ahead of myself. Anyway, I've been constantly tired, and even when I sleep 8 hours or more, I don't feel like I've slept. I'm having concentration and memory problems, headaches, increased problems with my arthritis and carpal tunnel, and I just generally feel bad. When this happened before (about 6 years ago), it all ended up being side effects of the rampaging OCD and the various other anxiety disorders I've managed to collect over the years. I went on Zoloft, and boom, problem mostly solved. Why mostly? Ah, dear reader, herein lies the blog.

Those close to me know I harbor a general distrust for the medical profession as a whole. As Emily recently noted, what they do is called "practice" after all. I've had a few doctors I would now classify as quacks, and I've done a bit of research into various aspects that has left me skeptical at the least and pissed off. The reading I've done on anti-depressants scares the holy bejeezus outta me, as well. The side effects, after-effects, etc. are icky, frightening, and sometimes bizarre. So, there's that to contend with.

The other thing is a bit more abstract. I've had OCD since I can remember. Some of my earliest memories are colored with my attempts at list-making and hyper-perfection. (I had the cleanest play kitchen on the block. :) ) So, I honestly consider the OCD to be at least a minor part of who I am. "Hi! I'm Dawn--lesbian, Pagan, feminist geek with OCD from low-income Alabama." That's me in a (slightly dysfunctional) nutshell. If I take meds to control it, what does that change? To put it another way, am I the hyper, bouncy, 0 to 60 in 2.5 seconds girl that comes with Zoloft? Or am I the slightly morose schizo with no chemical alterations (other than an odd addiction to Arizona diet green tea)? How much of who I am is tied up in the disorders, and how much will fade away with the meds? I want to be able to sleep, concentrate, and function, but as me--the Dawn my wife and friends love, not Dawn the Zoloft Zombie.

And you thought the hardest part of OCD was getting the vaccuum tracks even....

Friday, June 12, 2009

Ghost Adventures Season 2, Episode 2: Castillo de San Marcos

In the second episode of the season, zac, nick, and aaron travel to st. augustine, florida to check out the castillo de san marcos. according to several eye witnesses, they've had tons of activity including the diembodied head of osceola and soldiers still walking the walls above the cannons. it was interesting that everyone they spoke to described paranormal experiences, EXCEPT the park rangers. of course, the government wouldn't let an official employee avow any knowledge of surprise there.

anyway, the guys had several disembodied voices, and aaron heard footsteps running up behind him after which he RAN back to zac and nick completely whacked out by the experience. one of the clearer sounds was a sort of growl when zac was talking to the spirits in a dungeon cell.

tlhey had an experimental piece of equipment which they believe can be used by spirits to communicate actual words. the results they got with it were relevant and fairly cool. 'upstairs' was one of the responses, and so of course they went out onto the upper wall. on the left hand side of the video frame, you can see a couple of small flashes followed by a constant light moving out of the frame. it looks like a lantern being lit with a flint. you can even see the small back flashes which would be consistent with flint. there are also flashes in the alcoves on the wall where cannons were.

the evidence was pretty good this time, though i wish there had been more visuals. you can't regulate that though. i loved the new toy and am excited to see how it works out through the rest of the season.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Biblical Sex and the Fools Who Promote It, Episode 1

I am obsessed with Religion Dispatches, a fabulous site with tons and tons of articles about pop culture items, books, movements, etc. that are religiously inclined (or atheist as the case may be). Today I was reading an interview with Dagmar Herzog, author of Sex in Crisis: The New Sexual Revolution and the Future of American Politics. The image they placed alongside the article featured a sparkly bra and panties set from the Christian covenant marriage site Marriage Vineyard. Of course, seeing as I am studying this particular sort of Christian psychotic, I went surfing over to check them out. In the process of checking out the sexy wares they are peddling,I came across a free pdf of a book What the Bible Says About Sex. Of course, I downloaded it. One chapter in particular has given me serious pause: "Sex Before Marriage, Prostitution, and STD's".

At the beginning of this chapter, they list the 6 items specifically forbidden in the Bible/Old Testament; number 6 is "rape of an engaged or married woman (Deuteronomy 22:23-24)". My first thought was "what are the implications of that statement for single women? Can they just be raped willy nilly?" A few sentences into the first paragraph, I got my answer:

Seduction of an unengaged virgin is addressed in Exodus 22:16,17 - the penalty is to pay the full bride price and generally marry the girl. Rape of an unengaged virgin requires marriage to take place and the full bride price to be paid. (Deuteronomy 22:28,29) and he may not divorce her ever. The man gets stuck with a hurt, angry woman for life. Thus the penalty for sex before marriage- is marriage.

ARE YOU KIDDING ME? So, let me get this straight...if you rape an engaged or married woman is specifically dealth with as being forbidden. BUT if you rape an unengaged virgin, HIS punishment is to marry her. I have heard of women condemned to marry their rapists, but never from an American Christian source. The kicker is the fact that "the man gets stuck with a hurt, angry woman for life." Okay, what about the victim? They obviously aren't considering this a punishment for her, and do you want to know why? She is a non-person until married. Not an exaggeration, people. All of the literature I'm reading talks about women as pre-married and a furture bride. The woman is never a person until tethered to a man in marriage. She is her father's daughter, a burden to unload at a reasonable age onto some willing schmo, who may have been her rapist apparently...

yeah, gay people are bringing marriage way down with our committed voluntary relationships and crazy ideas about wanting to raise kids...more on this as the research unfolds

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

You can't catch poor, and an adult looks back at harriet the spy

For my Global Women's Issues class, we are reading Global Woman: Nannies, Maids, and Sex Workers in the New Economy edited by the fabulous Barbara Ehrenreich and Arlie Russell Hochschild. Ehrenreich's article mostly discussed the franchise maid industry (Merry Maids, The Maids--for which Anna worked for a while, etc.), and there's a lot about live-in nannies, mostly immigrant women. These articles caused so many things to run through my mind, but two appeared in particular.

Maids and cleaning services are apparently on the rise like crazy. The square-footage of people's houses is huge, almost normally at a point at which they can't handle the care themselves. Enter The Maids (or whoever). Sorry ass wages that do not count driving time and ending clean-up time and basic anonymity to the clients who pay a ton per hour, ostensibly assuming that the workers get this money. Wrong. Cleaning is considered one of the lowest occupations on the ladder, though it is necessary. People assume you are uneducated and somehow dirty and unworthy of any respect if you work in these jobs. Having briefly worked as a housekeeper in a hotel, I know all about this. You mention you cleaned hotel rooms (or anything) and a look of pity and/or horror creeps into the other person's face. It's like they think they can catch poor...

The second thought was about Harriet the Spy. This has been one of my very favorite books since I was like 10. The Nickelodeon movie was good, but anyway...what made me think of it is Golly, Harriet's nanny. As a kid, you just think "wow, Golly is super cool" (even if she isn't supposed to look like Rosie O'Donnell, who plays her in the flick), and her mom kinda sucks. Thinking back, you see the ridiculous way she was fired. (She had been with the family since Harriet was born, and they fired her based on one incident, which was way overblown in the first place.) Then you see her visiting her mother, who was apparently mentally incapacitated in some way (cut out of the movie completely), and Golly only got to see her once in a while because of her hours with the Welsch's. It seems almost idyllic to a kid. Parents kinda distant to the point that they leave you alone and an awesome nanny to give cool advice and such. As an adult, you see how Golly was exploited and the issues surrounding live-in nannies, even if Golly was white...

just some thoughts....

We already know the back of the bus sucks...

Recently I was castigated for saying that the LGBT community is treated as a group of second class citizens. Teh offended party (an extremely white man, btw) claimed that I was ridiculous for comparing gay people's problems with those of African Americans, which I never actually did. I find the aforementioned person unworthy of anymore personal replies, but I wanted to address this clearly if in a slightly disjointed way.

First, I recognize that African Americans (and all minorities actually) have suffered and still suffer many, many indignities to say the least. It is a long, painful, and complicated path to civil rights. I do not deny this. I applaud all the women and men who have worked so hard to ensure that their respective groups have the freedoms they deserve and desire.

Second, I will never retract or apologize for my use of the term "2nd class citizens". It is completely appropriate. The LGBT community faces evidence of this daily; trust me, I know.

A 2nd class citizen is someone who holds citizenship in a country but is denied rights considered basic based solely on membership in a group one does not choose to be a member of. (I know, I know...Most of our opponents maintain that gay is a choice. Well, whether you believe it or not, gay is genetic. I never chose who I was attracted to...I just was.) I am well aware that we can vote, etc., but what straight person do you know who doesn't consider love, marriage, and family a right? None that I know of.

The opposition's major claim is that civil unions are the same thing as marriage and that "marriage" is a religious institution. If this is true, explain why you need a license from the government for a marriage to be official. If "marriage" is only religious, the government would not be involved. As for the civil union thing, if they're the same thing, why don't straight people get them? Because they know they aren't the same. We are being handed the idea of a partnership that is separate and supposedly equal. Doesn't that sound familiar to anyone? We don't want separate but equal, we want motherfucking equal!!! End of discussion.

Sometimes I think it would have been easier to be an orphan...

Those of you who know me, know that my family has been going through some weird shit with my grandmother. Basically, my uncle is useless and horrible and unfortunately the only relative close enough to care for Mema. Well, my mom got a call from children and family services in Talladega County saying that Mema is in their custody in a nice safe nursing home and there are pending charges of neglect and abuse against my idiot uncle. I am so pissed off right now! My mom has been trying to get someone up that way to help for at least a year now. In that time, my uncle has done Goddess only knows what that could have been prevented by someone simply stepping in where they are SUPPOSED to do so.

Anyway, there's a court hearing on the 19th, which my mom is going to attend. The judge will decide whether mom or my uncle Vance can be awarded custody or if she needs to be put in state custody, which would mean a nursing home, but at least she wouldn't be with William. I don't know what to hope for honestly. She doesn't have complete dementia, but the Alzheimer's is pretty bad. I know that mom would be able to take care of her; for crying out loud, she worked at nursing homes for years and years when she was a nurse. Goddess knows I would love to be able to see her more often, but she isn't the same Mema anymore. Part of me thinks that it might be better for her to be with Vance and Janice or even in a nice nursing home. That's partially incredibly selfish, I know...I also know that being around that loud ass house couldn't possibly be good for her either. It's like living in the monkey house at the damn zoo. Hell, I'm mostly sane, and my anxiety levels are through the roof in that place. I don't know. I hate this. No one should have to grow old and worry about these things, you know?

Monday, June 8, 2009

Roy Moore rises again, or why is it always Alabama?

For those who do not know, I am originally from Alabama. Despite its many problems, I love my home state. It has some of the most beautiful land ever, not to mention most of our family and friends. But there are times when I am almost ashamed to even acknowledge my place of of those is when Roy Moore appears in the news. Roy Moore, also known as the 10 commandments judge, is best known for placing (and fighting to keep up) the ten commandments in his courtroom in Gadsden and a mammoth stone version of the same in the AL Supreme Court rotunda. (He was eventually forced to remove them both, thank goodness.) He failed once to get the Republican nomination for governor, but he's at it again. (I do have to give some credit, though: even the Republicans realize that the man is a psycho. For Jeebus' sake, James Dobson supports the guy...) The next election is 2010, at which time I will hopefully have been accepted to UA and will be eligible to vote against him IF he manages to get the nomination this time. Who knows, they may try it simply in a conservative backlash against the present presidential administration. I only hope that they have the good sense to deny him a second time. I will be forced to transfer grad schools if he gets elected.

Any state in which he basically has supreme power is not a state safe for anyone in the LGBT community. For example, he once removed a child from the home of her biological mother and her partner to give her to the father that had been accused of molesting her. The whole lesbian thing was apparently a much worse environment than daddy having his way with her on the dl. I don't know of any concrete examples of his stance on women and women's rights, but I can't imagine that they would be very promising given his supporters and very vocal EXTREME right leanings. So, women beware as well....

I will be following this as closely as possible. Stay tuned for more dispatches from the Alabamian in exile...

Here's an article at Religion Dispatches: "By the Way, "Ten Commandments Judge" to Be Alabama's Next Gov?"

Friday, June 5, 2009

ghost adventures season 2, episode 1: preston castle

Season 2 of the fabulous travel channel show Ghost Adventures premiered tonight. Zac, Nick, and Aaron explored Preston Castle, a former juvenile detention center, near Ione, California. While I've never seen a bad GA episode, this one was exceptionally good (and exceptionally weird).

Other paranormal investigators reported crazy numbers of evp's and disembodied voices, and the guys weren't disappointed. One of the first incidents was a disembodied female voice before they'd even really started. But the clearest one came much later.

They all went into the basement, which is where the head housekeeper, Anna, was brutally murdered back in 1950. Aaron was scratched--3 big long scrapes down the back of his calf, one of which you practically watch form. Zac then begins acting truly bizarre, the apparent result of at least a partial possession, and sends Nick into the basement alone. His digital recorder picks up a VERY clear "...never again..." Zac's possession and some truly classic Aaron facial expressions made this episode awesome...

Okay, we've been waiting for the new season forever! I love these guys. Unlike Ghost Hunters, the sci-fi channel's pitiful excuse for competition, I've never watched this show and thought "oh wow was that fake". I can't wait to see the restof the season!

Monday, June 1, 2009

jeebus i'm old

Yeah, so they university for some reason plays 80's music in the union food court and 90's music in the union courtyard. The other day, "Tootsee Roll" was playing, and I of course remember the words. So I was just bopping along with the music waiting on Meghan. This guy walks by talking to his friend and says, "Dude, do you remember this song? From the second grade!" Wow! I am that old. Since then I have been running this "When I was your age thing" in my head to amuse my enfeebled brain. And I will share because that's what blogging is all about--getting things out of your head that would otherwise gum up the works and make you crazy. :)

When I was your age/When I was little,

1. ...cell phones were big enough to be used as a weapon.
2. ...if we wanted to "jack" a song, we held a tape deck up to the radio.
3. ...Pluto was still a planet.
4. ...NKOTB were actually new and kids.
5. ..."Deborah" Gibson was known as Debbie and was not an actor.

I'm sure I'll think of more...and feel free to add some yourself fellow old people lol