Friday, April 18, 2014

ADDitude Magazine: Oversharing Time for Daddy

Parent/Teacher conferences and IEP meetings are the bane of my existence apparently. This blog from last May over at ADDitude Magazine is all about those ADHD moments when your mouth starts running and your brain can't catch up. I'm sure you can't relate. Well, you probably can't. I mean who talks about their daughters' bra sizes at a table filled with female educators? Oh, I do. Read Oversharing Time for Daddy at the Family Guy.

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Friday, April 11, 2014

ADDitude Magazine: Who Needs Sleep Anyway?

Almost exactly a year ago this little fiasco was posted to ADDitude Magazine. Who needs sleep when you can stay up all night filling out the paperwork you promised to finish and turn in? That reminds me, the Leprechaun is eagerly awaiting a packet of papers I was supposed to have finished and submitted the other day. Good thing she can't fire me. You can read all about Who Needs Sleep Anyway? over at the Family Guy.

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Thursday, April 10, 2014

What Willem Defoe Was Warning Me About

Everything is A-OK!

I am sick today and alone with my thoughts. It's probably a nice day outside, but my shades are drawn, and I am in the dark. I'm quite happy, however, so you needn't worry about me. I'm as happy as one can be with a stomach bug.

I wish I could say that the most notable thing about today was my success in a new freelance job. However, I can't shake from my mind this morning's vivid dreams. I overslept for hours, obviously because I was ill, and I dreamed. I haven't done that in a very long time.

It was at first a very bland dream. I was at a baseball game and we were trying to convince some people to leave our seats. I had tickets to prove that the seats belonged to us, but one of my ticket numbers was damaged and the person refused to leave that seat. The entire dream comprised of me running around trying to find somebody to help me. It was very detailed and there was an awful lot of stair climbing and running around shouting at people in yellow jackets for help. Then when I achieved enough of a lucid state to realize this dream was very boring, a hallway I took led outside into the streets of New Orleans where everybody was celebrating Mardi Gras. I came across Willem Defoe who was dressed up in a carnival inspired Man-Bat costume. He informed me that everybody was going to rue the day when something or other was going to happen. Then he swept his cape at me and wandered off while I went on looking for somebody to help me with my baseball tickets.

How could any event today top that dream? It can't. I might as well stop trying and go back to bed.

Then it occurred to me that I needed to share this dream with somebody, and I opened up my Facebook app only to stop midway and think, “This would be better on my blog.” Putting it on Facebook seemed like such a waste. I had no guarantee that anyone would even see my post, never mind comment on it. At best a few friends might comment or like it today, then my dream would be washed away into the stream of the past, never to be seen again.

I think I have figured out why I am so displeased with Facebook in recent years. I used to enjoy using Facebook to interact with readers, but Facebook's emphasis on quantifying personal relationships has isolated me. I am such an eclectic individual that I rarely post things that my nuclear family is interested in, though my daughters are good sports. Mostly friends who I have known for years are my regular commenters, which is ironic because Facebook has decided that they are closer to me than my actual family. It does all of this by calculating comments and likes. My ability to interact with new readers who friend me lasts only for a brief time before Facebook decides we don't actually know each other in the real world sense. Its algorithms then isolate us across a great digital divide. Occasionally I will look over at the sidebar and see a post by them and think “Oh, hey! I haven't heard from them in a long time. I forgot we were friends.” Or is it that they forgot about me?

I understand that people could be unfollowing my feed but staying friends, or that they are stingy with their likes, but in all likelihood it is Facebook's meddling with the flow of information that is at fault. The end result is the death of conversation. Facebook in its effort to create stronger ties actually prevents us from creating newer friendships and stifles our efforts to personalize the service. We could friend 100 new people today, but after a week or two Facebook will have us interacting only with the small group we started with.

And then I remember that dream. How frustrating it was as I ran around doing pointless things seemingly in real-time while nobody paid me any attention. When I am sick I am too tired to chase social media tails. I stop and wonder, “What is the point of all this?” I know somebody who has three times as many Facebook friends as I do, and all he does is regurgitate other people's posts. Am I putting in the proper amount of effort or am I putting my effort in a place where I shouldn't? I can ask the same question of my freelance work. With all the effort I am putting into making money, how much time am I leaving to finish my book? I only have so much energy to give today. Should I be wasting it on likes? I wonder if this is what Willem Defoe was warning me about.

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Wednesday, April 09, 2014

In the Aftermath of the Pittsburgh Mass-Stabbing, Where Do We Draw the Line To Feel Safe?

In Pittsburgh there was a mass-stabbing at a high school today. At least twenty victims, but no deaths. In a small way this is comforting. At least parents in Pittsburgh will not be grieving for the loss of their children tonight. Since anti-gun people jump on mass-shootings immediately, though, I’m wondering if it’s too soon to demand all kitchen knives be regulated. Perhaps Eric Holder’s gun bracelet idea can be modified so that only authorized, federally registered owners can use knives. Also, we need to do something about weaponized No. 2 pencils. Those things are sharp, ya know. I’m kidding, obviously, but I wonder these things when I read about tragic news like this. It is too soon in the news cycle for us to know what meds the stabber was on or not, but mental illness seems to always be part of the story. Should we lock up all the crazy people just to be safe? Should I volunteer?

We Volunteer To Give Up Our Liberties Already

I was in court the other day. As I approached the metal detectors I told the pumpkin shaped security guard that I had forgotten to leave my pocketknife in my car. I pulled out my knife, left my Boredom Survival Kit™ with him, and ran out to the car quickly so that I wouldn’t be late, but not before he gave me dirty, suspicious looks. Despite the fact that he mistook me for a lawyer and that he and his partner were armed with semi-automatic handguns, the mere mention of a pocketknife was cause for alarm. I shook my head and rolled my eyes as I ran. My Wenger Serrated Mountaineer has a four inch blade so it’s no small thing, but it’s hardly something I would take into battle. Also, true criminals wouldn’t admit they had a weapon. Against this guy I’d have to shove it up to my elbow before hitting a vital organ. My pocketknife was no threat, and certainly not as much of a threat as his gun. Even at sporting goods stores I can buy fully automatic tactical knives with extending and retracting blades—all with the push of a button—but I can buy deadlier knives still at Walmart in the kitchen section. Should those be regulated?

I know twenty or so stabbing victims is no laughing matter (despite the selfie in the article), especially to the families involved. I wonder, though, if the quest to be safe is in complete opposition to liberty. I’ve been told by my dad that I shouldn’t be allowed to own a gun because I am clinically depressed. I don’t own a gun (yet), but should one psychotic criminal’s actions punish a large part of the populace just because they have depression in common? Will that make us safer, or will that just make us feel safer? After all, can we truly prevent mass-stabbings without controlling our very thoughts and regulating all our actions? Perhaps, if all schools, malls, and public places have hired security guards with metal detectors. Sure, we can be safer if we submit to being searched everywhere we go, but then we’ll have lost our freedom as we willfully participate in a police state.

The Price of Safety

As I was leaving the courthouse, the security gourd was flirting with a redhead who was emptying her belongings into a tray. With his firearm strapped to his broad side, and the redhead flustered as she hurriedly gathered her belongings together, I marveled that he had no idea how intimidating his cheery banter was. Sure, the judges were safe, but this woman was being treated as a sexual object and a criminal by a massive man with a sidearm. Then she ran up the stairs to make her court appearance without looking back almost as if this was routine for her. Was this the cost we paid to be safe?

It occurred to me later that I had committed some colossal mistakes while at the courthouse. I pulled my pocketknife out of my bag in front of the security guards, then left the bag as I ran out the door. To that portly protector I could have been brandishing a weapon, then left behind a suspicious package filled with explosives. Frankly, he was not suspicious or dutiful enough in that situation. Does this mean that I agree with my dad that people like me should not be allowed second amendment rights because of the potential danger? Where do we draw the line? I’m not mentally ill as people understand it, but I have a mental illness. Should I be listed on a federal registry somewhere with the gun owners, Ginsu knives, No. 2 pencils, and psychotic individuals just so the public can feel safe? Obviously, I don’t feel that way at all, but sometimes I feel like I am the only one who does.

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Tuesday, April 08, 2014

59 Disability Bloggers You Probably Didn't Know About

I learned the other day that my blog, A Splintered Mind is one of the top 60 disability blogs according to Alexa and curated by Dr. Joe Reddington. He removed blogs from the list that were featured on heavy hitting sites like (where Alexa doesn’t break down individual stats for the blogs versus their parent sites) to come up with a balanced, more grassroots list of disability bloggers.

Now, these sort of things go up and down. I was #27 out of sixty when he compiled the list, but I could drop off the list entirely next month. Who knows? I’m just excited to be there. Assuming you aren’t as excited as I am about my placement, however, what I thought was more interesting for you to see was the rest of the list.

There are fifty-nine other bloggers on Joe’s list who write about disability. I recognized Brian Hutchinson’s ADDerworld, Tara McGillicuddy’s simply named “My ADD / ADHD Blog”, and my Twitter friend, Katy Rollins’ 18 Channels, but there were so many other blogs for me to explore—so many new minds to discover—that I had not encountered before. Sometimes these lists seem copied from other lists that perpetuate across the Internet. I like Joe’s original approach. I definitely recommend you check out his efforts: Top 60 disability blogs by traffic ranking – April 2014

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