Thursday, July 9, 2009


I hate misinformation. I do not mean I just dislike it, am mildly annoyed by it or that it grates on my nerves. I absolutely loath it. But what is even worse is when people spread it around like it is the absolute truth as if they were some sort of Typhoid Mary of wrong.

Whenever I first hear it, I first must resist the urge to bang my head on the nearest hard surface and instead calmly and politely explain to them that what they believe is utter crap. Sometimes the person will accept the new explanation and stop the contagion then. But other times they will adamantly stick by their inaccurate belief. To make matters worse, others may also chime in supporting the wrong info.

When asked how they know that they are right about whatever it might be, I often get one of two responses. The most common one is that it is 'common knowledge'. Common knowledge is notoriously utter nonsense (such as the often spouted bit about the sky being blue because they reflect the oceans). The second one is that they read or heard it somewhere. They can almost never name what this source is or be able to show it to anyone else (or if they do it is from some place that is equally full of wrong).

I bring all this up because today at dinner, both my parents brought up the old myth that Michael Jackson is now white because he bleached his skin. Right then and there I spoke up saying no, he had Vitiligo, potentially compounded with Lupus. In Vitiligo, the immune system attacks the melanites (the cells that produce melanin, the pigment in human skin), leading to a lightening of the skin and, in most cases, an eventual lack of melanin throughout the body leaving the victim incredibly light in skin tone. My parents response to this? No, he bleached his skin. No explanation for how it was known, just that it was and this was the end of it.

When I got back home I brought forth the data showing that A) the beaching myth is just that, a myth and B) that there has never been a case of a person bleaching their skin to any way that even approached Jackson's skin tone (and the only times of any skin bleaching period are dubious at best). When presented with this information I got a very simple response. Verbatim, the response was "I really don't care".

This nearly got my visibly agitated (which I rarely do). The fact that my family does not care whether the information they pass around as absolute truth is actually right or not confounds me. How can you not care whether what you say is right or not? Granted I really don't care about the topic, but the fact that the info was wrong was what pulled me in.

I am further curious as to how I am the only one in my family that actually seems to give a damn about accuracy. Yes the others will want accuracy in what they know well such as their profession. But beyond that, utter apathy at best and contempt at worst. I say contempt because I have been told many times from my family that no one cares how accurate something is and I should just stop being so elitist (I should note that I don't go around condescendingly telling people they are wrong just pointing out when something is wrong and the reason it is wrong, I never condemn the person for it). I wasn't aware that valuing knowledge and intellectual honesty made one elitist, I thought it was just being responsible.

I suppose this is just one more reason why I am not that close with my family, we simply see the world in ways that are so different as to be incompatible. I find beauty in knowledge. But to know that those I am kin to not only do not care about the beauty but actually think it is an ugly, bad thing, well, I find this quite sad.
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Saturday, July 4, 2009

Personal walk

Normally my posts here are about a specific topic that I focus on without revealing to much about myself, other then my personal feelings on one topic or another. Personal events are usually kept out of the discussion as I realize that they tend to influence things more then I would like. I much prefer to be as objective as I can be when writing about something. But at the same time I realize that this limits my quite a bit. So now I believe would be as good a time as any to begin throwing that concept aside (just a bit). I will still try to remain objective as possible, but this is a place for me to rant aimlessly, might as well not limit what those rants shall be about.

Anyway, after that pointless explanatory intro, I shall tell you what happens when I, Cyc, gets a stupid idea in his head and follows through with it. To start I'll need to set up some back story. I recently started taking a new medication to treat my depression (Double Depressive Disorder if anyone, like me, is nerdy enough to want to know). I know what some will be thinking, someone who can be classified as 'goth' is depressed? How shocking! Often inaccurate stereotypes aside, I was put on this new medication after my previous one made me break out in hives (nothing like body wide itchy welts to make you feel better about yourself). One of the side effects of this new one is impulsive behavior, and like all anti-depressants, the chance for suicidal ideations. Now add these effects with being stuck in a house alone with in the middle of bloody nowhere and things start taking a turn for the stupid.

Around this time I began having quite a high level of pain (yes, the previous post is from personal experience), I decided I needed to get into town to pick up some medication that I knew would help (note: you have lived in a rural area for to long when you call the closest thing recognizable as civilization as town). So I scrounged up some money and began walking.

Now this might not sound to bad (except for the pain part), but I also require a cane to walk and have Fibromyalgia. Two things that do not lend themselves well to long journeys on foot. I knew I would be in significant pain when I arrived but I thought with the infusion of a pain medication I would be able to make the return trip easily.

About a couple miles into my walk, I was doing ok, singing to the music from my mp3 player, able to walk relatively easily when I realized I was starting to get a bit thirsty. Now before I left I had set up multiple water bottles knowing I would need it for my walk. But at this moment I realized that I had forgotten my carefully layed out water. But I thought it was to late to turn back so I went ahead anyway.

After a while I stopped at some random persons house and asked if I might get a bit of water and the rather kind lady gave me two bottles of water to take with me. Anyway as I finished the first half of my journey I thought I was doing ok. I stopped in and saw a good friend who was working at a local restaurant and got some water to rehydrate while cooling down. Then I continued on with my walk. But about two miles into the return journey, I realized something was amiss. I had difficulty concentrating, was beginning to have mild hallucinations and a quite strong urge to lay down and go to sleep.

While my mind wasn't at it's best, I immediately recognized this for what it was, the first stages of heat stroke, and I still had a good ten miles left to go. At this I turned back and tried to make it to my friends restaurant. About this time I was cursing myself in multiple languages for being such an idiot. Thankfully a friend was able to come and get me and take me back to my house, for which I am incredibly grateful for heat stoke is no where near as fun as it sounds.

When I finally got home, I began taking off my clothing and found that my socks were especially difficult to remove. I had walked so far that the blisters had popped and the interstitial fluid had bound itself to the fabric (once again, no where near as fun as it might sound). But I have since made quite the recovery despite it still being a bit difficult to walk and use the arm that I hold the cane in.

The key point to all of this is simple, something I could have said in a couple paragraphs and be done with it (but where would the fun in that be?). While the medication did help push me towards the action, I know quite well it was not the sole cause. It was also a test of myself to see how much my body had degraded, to see if I could still do what I could before if I pushed myself hard enough. While some would say walking twelve miles one way in 90-100+ weather is an accomplishment in itself, I know I could have done better before my body began to fail. So while I may have done better then some would think, I still see this as a failure. I wish I would have been able to push myself further, but at least now I know my limits. Limits that I am anything but grateful for, but at least it is not to the point where I am no longer able to walk at all (aided or otherwise).

In the end, the key to this post is simple. If you decide to challenge yourself, talk it through with someone who knows you well and cares for you before you do it, as there is a good chance you are simply being a moron and will end up hurting yourself. I am a good testament to this, I am back in my cool home only thanks to a friend, had I had one of my seizures (oh yes, I have those too) on my way it could have been much worse. Pushing your limits is good, as long as you aren't an idiot about it like I was. Now I'm going to relax my blistered feet with a bit of cherry vodka to relax away the day. Oh and for the American readers, enjoy your 4th of July, I plan to make random explosions that have no connection to the Revolutionary War as well later tonight (what can I say, explosions = fun).
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