Friday, October 20, 2006

Emily and I were discussing my slight preference towards holistic medicine, and when I mentioned that things like the Hanna Kroeger method proport to being able to provide cures, not just symptom-focused treatments, for things that are considered incurable in mainstream medicine (like herpes and Alzheimer's), she asked why they weren't catching on. When I typed the word "conspiracy", AIM suspiciously shut down and would not open again until I closed that window, after which I logged back on continued my deviant plan to plant a seed of doubt in the mind of my highly influential friend in the...medical research assitant field.

FieryGwenivere: The popular theory is that there's a conspiracy to keep people sick and dependent on medications
InfiniteAaah: : blame it all on capitalism
InfiniteAaah: : and now with the outsourcing of medical care... you have to wonder how things like that will change
FieryGwenivere: outsourcing of medical care?
InfiniteAaah: : they are flying people to India to have surgery because it's cheaper
FieryGwenivere: interesting
InfiniteAaah: : health insurance companies. how resourceful!
FieryGwenivere: and, they get to see monkeys. Nothing bad about that.
FieryGwenivere: It's so like those greedy corporations to declare war on upper-upper-class by outsourcing the medical procedures that our surgeons so desperately need to feed their families, and their servant’s families, for that matter. I smell Lou Dobbs’ next book.
InfiniteAaah: : well, except that the care is sub-par in many cases
FieryGwenivere: Are you hearing that from your own sources, or from the angry American doctors that you work for?
InfiniteAaah: : I don't work for doctors
InfiniteAaah: : I work for highly political ex-hippie statisticians
InfiniteAaah: : for the most part
FieryGwenivere: you understand that this is less me arguing and more me trying to provide all possible points of view, yes?

InfiniteAaah: : yes.
FieryGwenivere: But I am proud of myself for making a topical, politically relevant joke about outsourcing and socioeconomics.
FieryGwenivere: That's a rare opportunity, there, and I didn‘t let it go to waste.
FieryGwenivere: Normally my topics are limited to sex, relationships and television, like Carrie Bradshaw, minus the shoes and social life.

And now, a mini-installment of Linda Recommends.

Linda recommends:

  • The equally entertaining and thought-provoking Micheal Crichton book, State of Fear, which will help neutralize the doomsday negativity that many have felt in recent years in regards to the threat of global warning, heightened now by the relative popularity of Al Gore's Book/Documentary, An Inconvenient Truth. (Working title: A Conveniently Timed Propagandism. Not, as you may have expected, on my list of Recommendations.) Don't have time to chew through 688 pages of slightly incredible death-defying thrills? Allow me to summarize the important points: Wear sunscreen, drive fuel efficient cars, and don't sweat global warming. Most people don't realize that it's still a highly controversial theory, and for every piece of evidence that the ice caps are melting and atmosphere is heating up, there's a piece or two that it's not, plus a picture of Al Gore with his potatoe-shaped up his asse.
  • Olay's Total Effects Anti-Aging Anti-Blemish Daily Cleanser. The other day I sat in a salon chair, studying my face in the flourescent-lighted mirror as a hairdresser gave me a much-needed trim, and I was for to notice, as I have lately, that the lines formed by my cheeks when I smile have begun to make themselves a more permanent feature in my face, appearing, when I am expressionless, as something that would be classified as a "fine line". I've always been a fan of prevention when it comes to the kinds of vanity issues that years of watching the Golden Girls has taught me to fear, so I decided that now was as good a time as any to start investing in the health of my fifty-year-old face. I perused the selection in the Hannaford next door and bought this cleanser on the basis of visual appeal (I am sucker for aesthetics in marketing) and practicality: I might not be able to justify buying a fifteen-dollar tub of wrinkle cream when I don't have any actual wrinkles, but every girl should have a good cleanser. The cream has a pleasant odor, a soft, non-greasy texture and very subtle exfoliants, plus it's 2% salicylic acid, enough to work for minor acne. What's more, having only used this product a handful of times over the course of a week, I noticed that my complexion was a bit clearer and brighter, but what shocked me, when I checked the mirror today, was the discover that the fine lines I so feared are already nearly invisible. Granted, I'm twenty-two, but that's still pretty freaking impressive. Go out and buy some, and give yourself a fighting chance to spend your Golden years as more of a Blanche than a Dorothy.

On with it.

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The Sunday Scribblings' prompt is "good", and I want to get listed near the top, hopefully boosting readership a bit, now would be a good time to talk about it. What it is that I think "good" is.

When I was young, I thought "good" was easy. I would apologize to God every time I experimented with a swear word, and lay in bed at night, saying "excuse me" repeatedly, hoping to neutralize any tiny burp I may have missed in the years before I learned how to speak. I had, at a suspiciously early age, bisexual feelings and kinky, mastubatory fantasies, and I guarded these things as my most frightening secrets, wraught with a kind of shame that only a little catholic girl can know. My Sunday School teacher told me that "good" was confessing to a man in a booth: I remember the way she explained it, the visual I had in mind that your soul was like a an outline of you drawn on paper, and each sin was a black dot somewhere on your pastel person, slowly but surely clogging out your big-eyed "Precious Moments"-esque purity. I remember being in that terrifying booth, looking at the obfuscated face of the man behind the screen, trying, for the first time, to verbalize the awkward words for my shameful deeds, thinking that he must never have heard anything so terrible in his life. I remember crying, being unable to finish-- I was maybe seven, and they were asking me to talk to a complete stranger about secretly masturbating? All for my own good, they told us. Confession, my teacher told us, would wipe away all those dots, all at once, if you admitted to them, so you had to make sure you went often enough so that you didn't turn completely black.

Call me Whoopi Goldberg, baby, 'cause I ain't never been back.

Eventually, my big, tear-shaped eyes, which welled and weeped every time I thought to that horrifying moment alone in that box and my soul-bound obligation to return, changed shape. They grew smaller and slanted, like I was scrunitizing everything that I could see, and the more corruption I discovered, the more I found it's footsteps traced back to that box, but it wasn't until I was about twelve when I found relief from my guilt in the form of an Alanis Morrisette song. "Forgiven" talked about growing up Catholic, the skepticism and jadedness it can breed. "I confessed my darkest deeds to an envious man// My brothers they never went blind for what they did// But I may as well have." I never understood that second line until now; had I understood the reference, it would have brought me even more comfort than it did. Still, I saw her words as my permission to be defiant-- she spoke of people clinging to religion out of blind belief, and it opened my eyes. It was sometime in the hours I would lay awake in bed, no longer saying "excuse me" but listening to "Jagged Little Pill" over and over again that I found the courage to cultivate my doubt into declared atheism.

My parents tried to scare me back into spirituality with the whole "Christmas" angle. It took me about a month to come up with my retort-- that I was happy to participate as a celebration of humankind. They saw this as a cop-out, but, in the end, didn't have the follow-through to disclude me in the ritual, or else they knew I'd have sent them the bill for my resulting therapy.

And now, now I still don't believe in God. I keep my mind open to the possibility of spiritual realities, but I think there's about as much chance of the universe being ruled by a single, monotheistic man as there is of it being ruled by one of the burps I didn't cancel out. Intellectually, I feel I've made progress, but the question remains: is my moral compass pointing me any closer to the all-powerful "good"? The shame has passed; I blog about vibrators and hope any priests who happen to read enjoy it. I've married, but remain open, with my husband's blessings, to the possibility of the bisexual experiences that I once hoped to grow out of wanting. But I also stick any change I find on the floor of McDonald's in my pocket, rather than the padlocked RMH collection banks in front of the registers, which is, essentially, stealing nickels from terminally ill children. I don't find anyone that I don't love worthy of the simple respect of honesty, and will lie furiously to avoid blame or perceived judgement. And, as if by habit, I say hurtful things to the people I do love, without really meaning too. Nowadays, when I do pass on something that could be to my benefit based on a moral objection, I find I am genuinely shocked by the turn of events.

So, what is good? And is this sick, dirty feeling that overcomes me when I'm finished with my Magic Wand or the tense embarrassment I feel when friends speak loudly in public about same-sex encounters just the leftovers from an upbringing of fear and repression? Or is it my moral compass trying to point my way home?

Just in case: Excuse me.

On with it.

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Monday, October 16, 2006

A little bit of writer's block. Let's break through it with something list-y.

Linda Recommends:

  • Neutrogena Men Razor Defense Shave Gel for women who want a clean, bump-free shave know, the place where a woman wants a clean, bump-free shave. Ironically, this men's product works better in the bikini zone than the product called "Bikini Zone".
  • Tab Energy Drink, another female-friendly product, is the first consumable energy drink on the market, as far as I'm concerned, and the pinkest thing I've ever seen in my life-- it even tastes like pink. My bringing this up one day at my former workplace prompted an intersting discussion on what kinds of things "taste like pink", a list which included bologna, strawberry wine, and pepto bismo, but, until I intervened, completely omitted the obvious. ("What tastes like pink? Well, in my husband's experience, Neutrogena Men Razor Defense Shave Gel.")
  • Clicking the Flickr button in the newly-added "Family Obligations" section of my sidebar, and checking out the photography of my sister, known as CateForgotten to those in the online photography circuit (And as "Cathy, Queen of Everything" to those who were around during the weekend she got her wisdom teeth out.). To be honest, the range of Cathy's work begins with shots that might be labelled as contrived ("Let's make this photo black and white, except for in select places, where the color stands out! Surely, no one has thought of that before!"), but ends with vivid portraiture that captures the spirit of youth or simple shots that capture the slow pace of a life in a quiet, coastal town. (Browse My Favorites to see some of her best.)
  • Happy Penis Wild Cherry Flavored Massage Cream. Something else that tastes like pink.

Well, I couldn't end the list with a supportive, sentimental "Full House" moment. That'd be like Kim Anderson-level sappy.

Linda doesn't Recommend:

  • The 43 Things website. All week, I've been sitting on an entry I've been wanting to write about this website, a community site where people make a list of up to 43 things they want to accomplish in their lifetime, and then are linked to the other people who share a goal (350 people want to help make the world a better place, 807 people want to watch every episode of "Lost", etc.). I wanted to write a recommendation for the originality, as well as for the motivating quality that writing down your goals, and putting them out, for all to see, can have. However, I've discovered as I've been using it that this website has more technical glitches than a Milli Vanilli concert. I could deal with this much, but when I tried to report the problems, I've found that the typical technical support section (underestimated in all it's practicality) had been replaced by a relative clone of their home site, this time called 43 ideas, where people can list their suggestions and and grievances, and are, surprise surprse, linked to the other people who share an idea (117 people wants the 43 Things staff to add a friends list, at least one person wants 43 Things staff to go fuck thesmselves.) Seemingly, these people mastered exactly one website's worth of advanced coding and then went back to playing Super Smash Brothers.

However, I do recommend that you check out my favorite screenshots from my 43 things experience.

From the "Buy A House" Goal.
Ah, the American dream: Marriage, Kids, and Firefox.

My favorite part of this rather ironic mispelling situation is the top advertisment. "They can't spell 'college'? they have a tuition check?"

Willing to help.

It's gonna take me all freaking night to perfect that HTML. Fun fun.

On with it.

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