Tuesday, July 08, 2008
Deb: One for the “No Shit, Sherlock” files…
So, you ate less and exercised more and lost weight. But now the pounds are piling back on. You’re hungrier than ever, and you can’t seem to resist food. Once again, it’s all your fault, right?
Wrong. Blame evolution, and the fact that for the vast majority of human history, famine was a bigger threat than flab. Even your seeming lack of will power is part of a complex biological system that drives humans who have lost weight to regain it, according to new brain-scan research by scientists at Columbia University Medical Center.
Dr. Leibel also says that people should understand that regaining lost weight “is not free will. It’s biologically determined and the species that didn’t have this are the ones you see in the Museum of Natural History.” It’s only been in recent decades that this mechanism is contributing more to obesity than survival.
Monday, July 07, 2008
Jay: Not the Post I’d Planned
Have to go meet a recruiter today. The kids are crazy.
Sadie woke crying in wee hours with apparently a sinus headache. Which happened to Valerie 24 hours before, though she’s prone to headaches and it may not have been sinus.
Henry a little while ago drank a substantial amount of Valerie’s coffee and has gone all puffy and squinty-eyed and a little rashy, but he’s also been miserable, as has Deb. and for that matter me. People burning? No! Something blooming around the corner, smells like maybe honeysuckle, so strong it can be hard to sleep.
So we’re not sure how much is the coffee and how much is that. The coffee is about 1 part coffee, some sugar and dry creamer, and 5 parts cold water. He’s had black coffee with sugar before and not blown up, but the non-dairy creamer has dairy in it, along with whatever else, so who knows. At least it’s not almost pure milk as it would have been before we realized Val had a problem with the milk.
Anyway, I have to go get ready to go to the Stoughton town hall for Sadie’s birth certificate to sign up for RomneyCommunistCare and decriminalize ourselves in the eyes of the state, then the recruiter in Burlington. And other errands.
Thursday, June 26, 2008
Jay: Heller Decision
I posted this first at Tersosity, but it’s great news and on the long side for there, so I’m cross-posting here:
As expected, and thank the Flying Spaghetti Monster that 5 of the Justices can read and have a modicum of sense, as reported and elaborated at SCOTUSblog (where commentary will probably be ongoing, as it presumably will at Volokh), the Supreme Court has struck down the DC gun ban and clarified the scope of the Second Amendment in a way recognizable as sane to those of us with sense. One might suggest the decision falls short, or take a more absolutist view, but this is at least rational enough to keep the anti-human scum self-defense banners in check. It is sad that if was 5 to 4, and there are so many on the Court who clearly can’t read, but at least the anticonstitutionalist component of the Court isn’t in the majority as it was for Kelo.
Monday, June 23, 2008
Jay: Collected Aspie Posts
Once upon a time, I learned that a thing called Asperger’s Syndrome exists. Even though it and most such labels do nothing more than put names on shades of normal - no different from being labeled geeky or athletic or musical - it still provides fascinating insight. It even makes autism seem less odd, since it adds fuzzy shading to the borderlands between “us” and “them.”
Over time, I have posted on that and related topics, and this is an attempt to collect and revisit that, most notably by reposting the hard to find first post, less than two months into my blogging career, on my rapidly abandoned first blog. Some of the links are dead, notably those to Dandelion Wine, but are included for the sake of exactness.
This is that first post, which actually post-dates the beginning of my interest, but brought it online:
Saturday, April 19, 2003
A while back, Wired, to which I subscribe, had an issue with an article on ”The Geek Syndrome.” It was a fascinating look at Asperger’s syndrome, which is a form of autism, on the autism spectrum of disorders; sometimes also called high functioning autism. People with it tend to lead a reasonably normal life, and tend to be disproportionately computer/programming/engineering oriented. Thus the article was looking at the idea that a high rate of autism in Silicon Valley and the Route 128 region might be a genetic result of the large number of geek, and therefore possibly Asperger, parents in those areas.
The Wired article had a sidebar of an “Autism Quotient” test, which purports to measure where you fall on the spectrum. From what I have seen, many people don’t think it’s a particularly viable test. Nonetheless, I found it interesting and so I link to it here:
My score was 30. They say at the top of the test page that “Eighty percent of those diagnosed with autism or a related disorder scored 32 or higher.” Looks like I push the envelope a little.
I took the interactive EQ test and then, clicking from those results, the interactive SQ test. Both require Flash. There’s an option for manual tests as well. From the test pages you can then go to this final page to work out what type of brain you have, using a grid to plot the results of EQ and SQ and see which shaded area you fall into.
For what it’s worth, my scores were:
EQ of 41
SQ of 53
Overall brain type “Extreme Type S”
The original Wired article and AQ test led me to actually buy books on Asperger’s and to read all about it online, because I seem to approach but not quite cross over to it myself, and I suspected my nephew was so afflicted. That and it was inherently intriguing, as I find anything to do with brain function to be, given my own history. That has always applied to IQ testing as well.
- Jay Solo, 2:25 AM
The next relevant posts I located offhand were at Accidental Verbosity, in the form of:
Autism As Extreme Male Brain
Asperger’s Schizophrenic Hyperactivity Deficit Disorder
That second one points to a related discussion, starting from adult ADHD and going into more in the comments. It predates Caltechgirl having a blog, rather than being an avid commenter. Her comments on the set of topics are especially cool.
Again with over- and mis-diagnosis, the attention deficit stuff is as much as anything an excuse for drugging kids into being uniformly submissive, passive bots who can bear not to have recess and won’t have normal traits some people find inconvenient or hard to understand.
These Quizzy Things are only marginally relevant, but I remarked about the Aspie relationship to the perfectionist quiz especially, but even the other two are about being a certain way or collecting certain facts.
Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Aspieness had me linking a slicker AQ test, on which I scored 32. These always seem to vary depending on mood and change in thinking over time. Having written that, I took it again, going on a year later, and scored 36. Oops.
Most recently, last October 29, in How Aspie Are You? I linked another quiz, which interestingly I just retook and scored 138 and 58, versus 161 and 54 last time, an improvement. I must have gone less wishy-washy last time. Basically it’s no/never, or kinda yes/sometimes, or really yes, all the time, with a 4th option for not sure/don’t know. I saved the PDF, but didn’t bother with a screenshot.
I probably wrote about this elsewhere and didn’t find them all, but basically that’s what I had out there. Besides any instances where I mentioned autism and slammed the idiots who won’t let go of the vaccine preservative autism nonsense people grasp at like so many straws. But that’s an entirely different topic, though obviously these posts touch on it because of the clear genetic connection. Geeks beget geeks. Sometimes the curve goes too far and we call it autism.
It’s hardly shocking for two high IQ people with geek tendencies (remember, Deb went part of the way toward an engineering degree before resorting to expedience to graduate sooner) to have had Sadie, Valerie - who increasingly seems to make Sadie look normal and ordinary - and even, it appears, Henry. You never know, after all. I started out as charismatically sunny, amused and communicative and physically quick as he is. He doesn’t merely look like I did. He’s already getting into the “taking things apart” or “seeing how things work” kind of trouble I’d have thought would take longer. None of which means aspieness, but it’ll be interesting to watch. And again, nothing wrong with that. Someone has to fall on that part of the range of human, and it’s not like you can’t function. Well, kind of. Mostly. Sometimes.
Saturday, June 21, 2008
Jay: No Birthdays
Another day of no birthdays so soon? Well, it’s only the 4th of 6 during June. Seven, if you count as none the one where there was a birthday of an obscure relative, of unknown mortality, I barely saw fit to mention.
Presumably this is the longest day of the year, all 24 and a fraction hours of it. It’s all downhill from here, but I guess we can take solstice in it taking six months.
Actually, looks like the solstice was technically the 20th, but at a minute before midnight, so yeah.
This is a work day for Deb, so for me it’s a day being nibbled to death by ducks, in the form of a slew of kids, while trying to get something, anything done. As I get into a groove of more work that pays or generates money indirectly, I will definitely need cheap babysitting part of the time I am here alone with the gang of three. The great thing is even that will have flexibility. Even a day of it, in the absence of scheduled out of house work, would be helpful, and it shouldn’t matter which day, so if I have my mother come down, it needn’t interfere with the bit of sitting she still does for my brother.
Thursday, June 19, 2008
Jay: Best Day Ever, Sans Hill People
Next up: Microbes and microbe accessories.
Friday, June 13, 2008
Jay: Obama/McCain Poll at RWN
I participated in the latest Right Wing News poll, which has some interesting if not entirely unpredictable results.
Wednesday, June 11, 2008
Jay: Gout Attacks
I haven’t had trouble with gout to speak of, lately, until today, when it came on suddenly and at least as severely as ever.
As I may have mentioned, from peak weight to recent low weight I lost 55 lbs, 45 this year. The diet is a bit different, if not as much so as you might think, and more fully natural. Still, I’d expect if I ate pinto beans for a few days, I’d get an outbreak.
My first thought was limited fluid today, though I drank plenty yesterday, and stayed in AC a lot, and the weather in general. That’s likely a factor.
However, the cookout Sunday saw me sent home with a banana bread with cranberries, a bunch of sour cream bars, and most of a loaf of homemade bread. Deb and the kids ate the bread, though I had a slice or two at the event itself. However, I ate most of the banana bread and most of the squares in a binge of wanting them not to spoil and, hey, free food. Kind of weird, as I don’t eat much for sweets these days, and even carbs are only moderately from bread.
I’m intrigued by the possibility that the binge on that stuff was a factor. If anything, I’ve had less than usual that should contribute. Heck, I had salad two nights in a row, so I suppose I could speculate about that.
I just hope it goes fast. Now back to stuff I need to get done while I have the chance. I started replying to a job solicitation around 10 hours ago and it’s still on my screen, partly written. Figured I’d reply, even though I don’t think I have the qualifications they want.
Saturday, May 31, 2008
There was some discussion of karma lately, and what it is exactly.
It’s not tens of thousands of people killed in a natural disaster because the government, of which they individually may or may not approve, forcefully annexes and treats badly a sovereign country and culture, a process of which they individually may or may not approve.
Karma is when you tell your brother’s wife that he’s old and fat, and therefore will never land another job in his life, and shortly thereafter lose your own job, facing the possibility of having to change fields, accept even lower pay, or both.
That’s the way karma works outside of activist celebrity fantasies.
Sunday, May 18, 2008
Jay: Betrayed By Weather!
Oh wait. I mean, what a wonderful day it appears to be, and how nice it got for a large chunk of yesterday. Hooray for sun and warmth, and their power to dry previously soaked grass. Yeah, that’s it. Assuming the 50% chance of precipitation, focused in the afternoon and beyond, is worth the risk.
Which means it’s looking sadly, I mean happily, like the family gathering Easter egg hunt thing will happen today. That means getting a ride, which appears to be all set. That means preparing and bringing something the baby can eat. That means getting cash I can’t afford to contribute to the purchase of pizza, which means dairy, which means “hey, what’s Deb going to eat?” That means sitting here trying to remember what lyrics my brother wanted me to locate online and print for him, so I don’t have to be like “oops, forgot” or whatever.
But hey, it’ll make my brother and the other kids happy, so it must be worth it.
If it’s happening, and we have no idea for sure yet. As of yesterday it was completely up in the air. Not only does it depend on the lack of rain long enough for the grass to be dry, it also matters whether the grass was cut recently enough, or couldn’t be because mumble mower fixed mumble come do the lawn mumble, or it was too wet at the wrong time.
We also have no idea what time it is scheduled, since nobody in the family who schedules these things ever announces a time for them. Apparently naming the date is considered sufficient.
Oh well. Guess I’d better start frantically scrambling to be ready to go, rather than taking advantage of what for me is a work day with someone else to help redirect the kids.
I relaxed when my look at the weather told me it’s likely to be raining again by 2:00, but I’m told we should show between 12:30 and 1:30, so I really do have to scramble.
Friday, May 02, 2008
Was supposed to be the annual Easter egg hunt for the little kids, at my grandmother’s house, but I don’t even need to discuss it with anyone to know it’s off. The weather is, well, the kind of weather that makes us do this well after actual Easter in the first place. Cold. Rainy. Completely unsuited to scampering around the yard on a search and consume mission for plastic eggs and their contents.
My mother would be handy in a drought. Pick a day, have her plan an outdoor event on it, and voila, rain. It’s very nearly uncanny.
Wednesday, April 16, 2008
Jay: Interview With Carly (No, Not the Irish Singer from AI)
Sean Hackbarth interviewed Carly Fiorona, with economic policy questions for John McCain. It’s interesting and not all that long, so you might like to check it out. It includes a question from me, which I gave to Sean phrased as:
Maybe ask if he’d do anything to stop the ethanol-from-food madness, encourage waste biomass or alternatives instead.
Tuesday, April 15, 2008
Jay: Crunch Time
This is going to be a different post from the one I started the night before last, with the same title. That one started out on the topic of needing to locate the taxes I’d done, for the partnership and personal federal, and to do the state ones and get them mailed. I since located the partnership ones and mailed them, along with two books from Deb’s book shop. One was an advanced computer book from my collection, so went for $17.50 at about the cheapest price available. For us that’s real money. When it arrives in the twice a month payout. I also rewrote the federal to be neater, and did the state, cursing Romney over RomneyCare. There’s now a form HC, which at 3 pages if you need the whole thing is longer than the main Form 1 at 2 pages. I had the urge to ignore it, but you are supposed to use it to determine your personal exemption. By running too low on money to pay the last $1300 of insurance for Deb and the kids to cover October through December, and failing to apply for subsidized coverage, we paid a penalty of $220 in extra taxes.
Anyway, that’s all done. I have to mail those today.
Looks like the interview last week was a bust, which is fascinating in that it was a temporary gig. Which I suspect they planned to try to get someone permanent out of, and looked accordingly. The interview the week before was obviously a bust as well.
I have a possible something in the works with an internet marketing business. I have someone putting in my resume for a well-paid support job that just happens to be in Lowell, so it’d be on the $25 a day commuting plan. If I can stop worrying about money and the household long enough to chase an income just slightly harder and keep the household, something - even something great - should come pretty fast. It’s probably a matter of keeping the balls in the air a few more weeks.
Trouble is, we’re out of time, and while some awesome people have picked up distress, we haven’t been forthcoming on just where things stand. I’ve threatened to have a fundraising edition of Carnival of the Capitalists, even though I’m too busy trying to raise money to try to raise money. I’ve pointed out the resume, Deb’s Etsy shop and used book shop, and my availability for side work.
I haven’t asked for donations, apart from whatever is implicit in making the PayPal button available. And it feels wrong to do so, much as we get annoyed by unhelpful people who dwell on the fact history ought have been different, rather than acting on (or ignoring) what is. I could say and rue much about how we got here, but that doesn’t keep us from getting evicted.
Then again, I’d rather ask individuals for help than use public assistance paid for with stolen money. Or worse, stolen from the future, given the financing of so much of it through debt, creating a future need for inflation and/or higher taxes. But what do I know. I’m just a crackpot who saw the housing/credit bubble vividly starting years ago.
So yeah. Pretty much asking now, as I prepare to mail the tax returns and then throw ourselves on the mercy of the gas & electric department to avoid having those shut off tomorrow. When I gave them Henry’s birth certificate, which by itself should give us until August 20, they also wanted an income number. At the time, I wasn’t sure what I’d made last year. I would never have guessed it would be low enough for the EIC, or that rent, medical and health insurance technically took 2/3 of it. There was enough in residual, undrawn funds that it carried us a long time in the shutdown of the business (in which mailing the tax returns yesterday is the last major act, though I’ll have stuff to handle for a while).
If blogging is a bit slow, or you see as much on other blogs as here to keep them up enough to justify their value to advertisers, it’ll be because we’re scrambling. The ads, the selling things, the found money, the incredibly generous donations we already received, the Etsy sales - nothing to sneeze at but also in jeopardy because you have to have money for materials and shipping - and the bits of side work here and there only go so far. The fact I tend to stock the pantry as if I’m expecting to ride out the end of civilization - or something like this bad stretch - only helps stretch things so long before real money needs to be spent on groceries and sundries again.
Of course, if we lose power, that’s the end game. What money we do make is online. That would trigger a total meltdown of our situation. I don’t think that should be a problem, but we do have to start paying them Real Soon Now. We’ve been managing to get $250 or $300 a week to the landlord, staying basically half a month to a month or so behind. If we miss a week, game over, barring something like working with us because I just started a job and it’s all going to change. This week we’re sketchy but should manage it. Next week? No idea. I expect to do some small side work early in the week, but not likely enough.
Anyway, if you can hit the donate button, even in small amounts, that would be amazing. Alternatively, use the address deb at neatlytangled dot com for PayPal, as hers doesn’t have a transfer limit (to get it from there to the bank) and is useful that way. If we’ve ever entertained you through blogging, given you helpful advice, or even if you think I’m an idiot but want to keep the kids fed and off the street, perhaps it’s worth something.
Onward! Time to take care of business. Mail tax returns. Deal with utility crisis. Try to shake loose work. Planning to add Deb’s resume to the ones online and put a “hire us” box in the sidebar where “donate” is now, soon as I get a chance. So on. So forth.
Thanks for helping, or even just reading and quietly not saying or doing something unhelpful, no matter what you really think.
You guys are amazing. Not to replace individual thanks, but holy cow, we’re just blown away.
Thursday, April 03, 2008
Deb: I just get so *confused* sometimes.
I mean, there was the whole Bear Stearns thing, and then I saw an article this morning about how they’re making plans to try to bail out homeowners in trouble, and I just gotta ask: when do *we* get a turn? I mean, we looked at house prices, we looked at our bank account, and we laughed and rented because really? Wasn’t going to happen. Now, we’ve got credit troubles of our own, because there’s only so many bad turns your financial journey can take before it all goes to hell, but we’re not part of a recognizable electoral market segment. So as far as I can tell, that means that it’s on us to pay for keeping the people who *are* part of one happy.
And people wonder why I make little scoffing noises every time someone starts raphsodizing about the wonders of democracy.
Friday, March 28, 2008
Jay: Dreams Are Weird
I haven’t seen my stepsister in years, yet she was in dreams two nights in a row. Night before last, there was a mishmash of stuff that included one of my father’s houses, the dream version of it, which in the dream she’d ended up buying. Last night’s dreams included a scene in which I was telling my stepsister about the dream I’d had the night before. Very meta, self-referential, or whatever you want to call it.
The seemingly lengthy end part of the dreams last night involved being somewhere to the north, like NH, ME or VT - the highway I drove down was a generic stretch of what looks like northern New England highway that seems to recycle in dreams where it’s needed - and there being a giant snow storm. I needed to get home, apparently for work, and was trying and trying to get through it, leaving when I shouldn’t have, getting in shoveling scenarios, trying to bash through a snowbank a few feet taller than the car, that sort of thing. Eventually I gave up and stayed in a motel, though even that was a matter of getting a room, then continuing to try to flee.
In the motel, which seemed to double as one of those side of the highway tourist rest stops and the offices of some business (for that matter, in part it looked like a miniature section of some airport terminal, in rustic), there was the challenge of getting something to eat. People were strangely open, but not open, at a lunch counter and small store. I found my way into the dining area, where someone had just been served a sandwich, but most people were just hanging out, and was told they would be serving starting at a specific time. An odd time, though I forget when. It was at the motel where I ran into my stepsister, as I recall.
Fast forward and I am driving down the highway in the morning, bright, sunny, and not a speck of snow, immediately south of where I had stayed. I was fuming at having had to spend the money and time to stay over. I was also alone, but then I wasn’t, because Deb and a kid, presumably Sadie as a baby, were with me. This would fit with the blizzard when we had to stay an extra night at the Park Plaza for Arisia, when Sadie was less than 4 months old. On the way, we discussed the state of the credit cards, and which one I’d used for the stay, and how it sucked to have needed to do that because we so couldn’t afford the $40.
Next thing I know, pressed for time, I was driving straight to work with family in tow, which is odd in that we’d gotten almost home when I got onto the highway going north from here. In reality, I’d have had to pass work on the way there, then changed my mind and not spent an extra 10 minutes dropping them home. Then there was a bit of fuss about where Deb and the kid would hang out at the office, which was a cross between my former large client, a larger business, and the motel I’d stayed at in the dream.
That was about it. I woke up, amused at the whole thing, and started coffee brewing. I certainly hope we don’t get any snow, and that dreaming about my stepsister has no prescient bad significance. However, this wasn’t like one of those “dreams that happen” dreams, or like when I flashed “this could be the last time I talk to her” out of the blue and sat to converse with my grandmother at length less than 36 hours before she died.
Being Friday and not having had it early enough to mail it, I have to make arrangements to drop money to the landlord. We may look like we’re sitting around watching soaps and playing with the kids, but each week we have to come up with $250 or $300 toward rent to defer eviction proceedings. The drop-ins by people who are bringing food donations and don’t care what the house looks like at any random time are welcome but are still disruptions. Visits that are just visits on a couple hours notice tend to get “well, this is really a bad day” pretty uniformly. Friday is especially bad with the actual rent delivery, but today I need to make a post office run - a small contribution to our finances a couple weeks hence because someone bought a book, I need to go to Wal-Mart and figure out how to stretch $30 beyond all recognition - including a couple bucks for yarn for a custom order to help our finances in a week or two, stop at my mother’s for a special crib mattress cover a cousin got us for Henry not to be allergic to the crib anymore (she’s allergic to everything herself, apparently), reply to the person who is offering temp work that’ll be great if the interview Monday doesn’t work out, figure out whether I need $8 or $16 for the train Monday and walking directions from South Station to my destination, help unbury and select clothes sealed in the leaky closet for the winter, continue my office organizing project, make banana bread, figure out what’s for supper and start it ahead of time if needed, and probably some things I’ve forgotten. Like e-mailing someone who might want me to do a computer cleanup Sunday, or Monday evening, and might have others who could use that, if she’s recovered enough from surgery. A few of those and it’s close to another rent week.
And I still haven’t worked on the giant “we’re back” fundraiser edition of Carnival of the Capitalists, but I should, because that could contribute to groceries or to the rent on the 11th. Or gas for the truck, because even if you take six weeks to use a tank, eventually you need more.
And with that, off I go, because the day is getting no younger.