My Space, Your Space, MY Space, YOUR Space!

My father just got burned for leaving a critical comment on a popular photo site. You know, one of the sites where you upload your photos for others to comment on? Yeah.

I sympathize with him. I was chased off of (before it was a smut-site) for commenting on a poem. ...Slightly different case, since my comment was re-writing the poem... but I don't want to get into details.

The result was that I was mobbed by the person's followers, as was my father for his comments. ...And, coincidentally, my wife was just telling me about a friend of hers was mobbed for a negative review on

My thought for the day is that perhaps what causes this behaviour (besides the basic law that people are stupid and obnoxious) is a sense of space and ownership. ...When we leave comments on a person's page, it's on their page... it's in their space. We're pissing on their lawn.

I wonder if these events would occur as frequently if it became a habit for critiques to be posted on our own pages. For example, if I had created a post in my own space, linking to the bad example of poetry, and added my own comments... would that have saved me from being mobbed?

Hmmmn. ...I'm not sure it would have, in my case. ...Yeah, as I think about it, the other person would still have seen my post, and he/she would have posted about it, and then the same flock would have decended upon my site.

Okay... so perhaps there's really just no room for critique in Web 2.0.

People are stupid and obnoxious!

The Most Important Thing You Will Read Today

Seth Godin:

Marketing (the use of time and money to
create a story and spread it) works. Human beings don't make rational
decisions, they make emotional ones, and we've seen time and again that
those decisions are influenced by the time and money spent by
So, assuming you've got no argument with that (and if you're a marketer
who doesn't believe marketing works, we need to have a longer
discussion...) then we get to the next part of the argument:
Your marketing changes the way people act.

...Please read the rest of this post. I think it's one of the most important things Seth has written about.

This ties in quite nicely with The Corporation, which is one of the most important books I've read.

On the Media

My father and I have been talking recently about movies and
television.  He made the excellent point that (paraphrased) "it's okay
to think deep thoughts about the media--it's a moden totem."

Things rings true with an ongoing conversation I've had with my wife,
where I posit that "stars" (popular people) hold a similar role in our
modern psyche that ancestors
held in the psyches of our predecessors. Instead of tribal elders
telling us the stories of the heroics of our ancestors, we watch the
media telling us stories about our (fictional) heros.

Following that thread a little ways, I argue that it's one of the
reasons we want to know personal details of famous people: we consider
them, in a convoluted way, members of our "tribe".  Just as tribesmen
would ask the elders to give details about ancestors that have passed,
we seek information on these heros.  The problem is that, despite being
conceptual tribesmen, they are real people.  They're very much not
in our tribe!  And sometimes we forget that, and we end up with front
page news about drunken misadventures and other side-effects of being real people.

This isn't what I wanted to write about.  I wanted to say that media
(film and television) are important to us, whether we want them to be
or not.

But I don't think I have this all sorted out in my mind.  More meditation on the matter is required.  ...I'll just have to go watch more Farscape...

(It's research, honey!)

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Playlist for a Friday Afternoon

Just thought I'd randomly post the next 20 songs on my playlist. (Well, sort of. I'm presently on track 5 of this list.) ...Nothing "deep" here: it's just a global shuffle. Still, it gives you an idea of what I'm listening to these days.

Playlist files:

  1. Afro Celt Sound System - When You're Falling - featuring PGabriel (6:46)
  2. Toad The Wet Sprocket - Stories I Tell (5:35)
  3. Vibrasphere - San Pedro (8:39)
  4. Aaron Jasinski - HyperHoly (7:09)
  5. .j0r0 - modes - mode 1 (6:59)
  6. Introspective - Gewesen (Part 2) (16:12)
  7. Spyra-03- Future Of The Past - Non disperde nell ambiente part 2 (13:33)
  8. DaveBrubeckQuartet-Take Five (5:27)
  9. Toad The Wet Sprocket - Nightingale Song (2:03)
  10. Nuclear Ramjet - Folding Time (Ambient Version) (6:35)
  11. alexey v - s.o.s (4:02)
  12. Boards of Canada - sunshine recorder (6:12)
  13. Shpongle - Turn up the Silence (3:21)
  14. Nine Inch Nails - All The Love In The World (5:15)
  15. FahrenheitProject-PartFive-10 - Hol Baumannn - Final (5:14)
  16. Toad The Wet Sprocket - Butterflies (4:26)
  17. esem - instlr (4:14)
  18. kilowatts - linquini breaks (6:17)
  19. Afro Celt Sound System - House Of The Ancestors (8:03)
  20. Red Hot Chili Peppers - Naked In The Rain (4:25)

Health Scare Officiall Over

Good news: the doctor who said "you need to see a specialist" just called me.  Apparantly, the specialist he wanted me to see just called him, and, looking at my bloodwork, said "Uhhh, dude: it's totally his thyroid, he doesn't need to see me".  (Well, more or less.)

So, basically, it's:

...and we all lived happily ever after, thanks to Levothyroxine.

The End.

Sociological Spiders

Whoa.  Huge find: a species of spider that cooperates like ants.

That's truly amazing... I wonder what kind of genetic differences they display from related, non-social species...

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A Closer Look at Thyroxine

From wikipedia:

"The thyronines act on the body to increase the basal metabolic rate, affect protein synthesis and increase the body's sensitivity to catecholamines (such as adrenaline)."  (Empahsis added.)

No wonder my inhaler made me so bloody dizzy the other day.  The medicine I'm taking is actually just a dose of thyroxine (thus the name, "Levothyroxine").

Other than that, I just feel profoundly funky, and I was browsing this article trying to figure out why.  ...Apparantly there are a myriad of possible reasons for it... my entire system is being mucked with at a very low level.  I'm not sure I'm enjoying it.  ...Though I do feel much better than a month ago, there's a bunch of bizarre side-effects that seem to be concomitant.  [shrug]

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As I might have explained before, hypothroidism is a condition, not a diagnosis.  I got my diagnosis today: hashimoto's thyroiditis.

This is good news.  It's the most common cause, and it "just" means my immune system attacked my thyroid.  Realtively common, and not "serious"... it could have been a lot, lot worse.

Treatment is totally making me feel better.  Sore throat, and I still can't fully stretch my major muscles... but I'm just a completely different person.  Getting a lot of comments at work: about showing up in T-shirts instead of sweaters, about being animated, about seeming "cheery".

Good stuff.

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On The Mend

I feel 100% better.

Not 100%, but 100% better.  My cramps are much more "dull", and there are fewer of them.  I have more energy.  I have body-heat.  I have hunger (I didn't realize just how not-hungry I had been)!

There are only three things I have to complain about right now:

  • My inhaler does evil things to me, when I use it, now.  I just used it for the first time since starting, and I've never come so close to passing out.  I need to talk to the doctor about this.
  • My wife was violently ill the other night.  Violently.  It was even painful to listen to.  Sheesh.  Poor thing.  She seems to be much better today, but... wow.
  • My neck.  It's swollen.  No, not my thyroid: it's the lymph-nodes.  Painful.  Dry throat, too.  But I'll take this over muscle cramps and fatigue any day of the week (and twice on Sunday, which it is).

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Beliefs (courtesy of Seth)

Seth Godin says:

People don't believe what you tell them.

    They rarely believe what you show them.

    They often believe what their friends tell them.

    They always believe what they tell themselves.

...isn't that just perfect?  (Seth is The Man.)

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Personal Kiss Of Death

Observation #1: parallel-processing is not my strength. I handle things so much better when I focus on them individually, and not let myself do "a little of this, then a little of that".

The reason for this truth might be in part because of:

Observation #2: My strength is improving things, not finishing things. I'm never content with anything: it's part of my mantra of continuous improvement. Here's one of those areas of contradictory virtues: it's a virtue to be receptive to continuous change, and it is a virtue to get things done, and be satisfied with them as-is... but these states cannot co-exist. Socially, I think people are dispersed along the spectrum... and I tend to lean very heavily toward the improvement end. So be it. But... heh... in improving myself... heh... I do need to try harder to complete things.

The solution there might be to focus more seriously on iterations. Hmmmn. I need to ponder that, but I like the sound of that. Smaller increments of improvement. I like it!


So my wife and I did a little homework on my pathology last night. I came up pretty much blank: all of the myopathologies I could discover were either genetic (and I've no history of family members with MD or anything like it), or temporary.

My wife, on the other hand, hit the nail on the head right away: it's gotta be the hypothyroidism. And this suggests that the neurologist who wants to send me to the expert is freaking out for nothing.

...And thus causing me to freak out for nothing.

So, if this article is right, it's probable that in the next few months, the muscle pains should start to resolve themselves. Months? Argh. ...But, still, that's quite a bit better than ending up in a wheelchair, which is the endpoint for most of the other myopathies. : )

Medical Update

Honest and Transparent, right?

First, the good news: I'm feeling some slight effects of the hormone therapy... I'm slightly less cold (still sweater-wearing, but starting to roll up my sleeves more often), and today I was actually hungry, which hasn't happened in a long time. I'm also mostly getting by on only 8 hours of sleep each night. Small indications as these things may be, they're good signs.  Now the bad news. I enjoy telling stories, and rather than just announce things, I'm going to explain exactly what transpired.  This will make it seem a bit hyper-dramatic, for which I apologize... but, dammit, I yam what I yam.

Today I had my appointment with the neurologist to run some test on my muscles involving needles and shocks and other forms of anti-fun.

It didn't go as planned.

I got there, the nurse asked me to don The Gown (you know the one), and I sat there, cold and full-bladdered, for quite some time, worrying about the nature of the test. Eventually, Herr Doktor comes in and immediately looks red-faced, shakes my hand and says "I'm not going to run the test."

He explains that the test involves poking with lots of needles, and that there are two reasons that this is bad.  The first, he says, is that he doesn't want to risk any kind of irritation or side-effects of said proddings, because of the second point, which is: the doctor to whom he is going to refer me to "likes to run this test himself", and may want to biopsy the muscles.   And it would be bad to have irritations that limit the sites from which the biopsies can be taken.

Caveat: when one hears the word "biopsy", one thinks cancer, and there's no indication of that.  So stop thinking it.  These biopsies serve a different purpose.

"What I think the endpoint of your condition will be", he explains, "is that you will have to be seen by this specialist at the university medical center."  I have seriously elevated "CK" levels in my bloodwork (I forget the exact numbers, but they were double the normal high), and I am slightly anemic, which he says indicate--this is a mouthful--"statin-induced myopathy".  Statins are a drug used to treat high cholesterol... When I first experienced muscle pains, it was on statins, and it's because of the pains that I stopped (and the pain stopped).  The weird thing is, the muscle pain came back a good four months after I had stopped the second statin I tried (we tried two flavors of them), and thus I thought the muscle pains were coincidental with, not causal of, the statins.  And the doctor says, this indicates a serious problem.  (Though he won't say more than that.  As I said in an earlier post... he's clearly not a speculative person.)


Then he gets a shade redder and explains that "these people are very hard to get an appointment with".  It should be a week, I find out from his secretary, before I even get a callback to make an appointment, nevermind actually have one.

He concluded by giving me another neurological once-over, and again confirming that, nope, nothing grossly neurological was going on here: it's purely muscular.

So, with that, I'm back in the dark, worried about what it is my body's up to... and playing an obnoxious waiting game.  While I understand preference needs to be given to the people who are in more serious conditions, it's unfortunate that the people who catch these things early essentially have to risk those conditions in the waiting.  Our society is so far off-track for preventive care, it's frightening.

So... I'm frustrated.  And stressed.  But, truth be told, my muscles (and joints) really have only gotten worse, while other signs of improvement are cropping up... so there are possible indications that there's a secondary problem, here, so I'm taking him seriously.

Unfortunately, the nature of his breaking this news to me was such that it caught me completely off-guard, and I didn't have a chance to ask two of the things I had planned on asking: what I could be doing to manage the condition, and whether or not the joint pain was myxedema (and, if so, what to do about it).

As usual, I will keep you posted.


So, as most of you were told during my trip, I have been diagnosed with hypothyroidism. And--surprise--the muscle pain is caused by muscular breakdown.

I just spoke to my doctor about it, and he says that my TSH levels are "through the roof", and were "one of  the highest levels he's seen". He admitted to regret and dismay ("I'm just kicking myself for not seeing it") and not having run the TSH test earlier. For those of you in the know, the actual TSH number is 331.  ("Generally, a normal range for TSH is between 0.3 and 3.0 mIU/mL" - ibid)

He's going to start me on medication for that tonight. He thinks this should affect everything: the muscles, the hypercholesterolemia... the gamut.  He's not discouraging going to see the neurologist about the muscle-scan next week, though--just in case.  He'll follow up with me in two weeks and if things aren't really improving, we'll shift to an endocrinologist and keep digging... but he's got a few more tests to run himself to rule out the usual causes of hypothyroidism (follow the earlier link to see a few--hashimoto's is the first we'll look into).

So: relatively minor problem.  Not completely in the clear (nor the know) yet, but it could be as simple as "yup, this fixes everything!"  We'll see in two weeks.

Interestingly, I presently find myself most looking forward to not being cold.  Though today, it's really the stiffness that's been bothering me most.