Greeting Card by J.C. Duffy (c) 1981
I bought this greeting card back in 1981, when I was 25. I didn’t buy it to send to anyone. I bought it because the woman in the picture looked like I felt: shocked, exhausted, raw.
I was reminded of this picture this week, when I came across multiple blog posts that described my family-of-origin with eye-popping completeness and specificity. In just the last 5 years, the toxic dynamic that shaped my life has become recognized and understood by enough people that it can be googled.
Mean Girl Times a Million
Everybody knows about “mean girls”, and how they bully and torment their targets. Mean girls are narcissists (or, more technically, suffer from Narcissistic Personality Disorder, NPD). They have an exaggerated sense of their own worth, and think that their chosen minions can do no wrong because they chose them. Conversely, they view those they deem unworthy as legitimate targets of libel, slander, gossip, derision, contempt, ostracism, and worse. Mean girls don’t feel bad about hurting people’s feelings because narcissists can’t empathize. They can feign it, but they don’t feel it. Narcissists don’t actually recognize the existence of other human beings as such. Other people matter only insofar as they impact the narcissist’s own life. Character traits like loyalty, responsibility, and integrity are not part of the NPD world. Only what the narcissist wants, needs, and feels matters. Ironically, if you try to assert your own wants, needs, or feelings with a narcissist, you’ll be called “selfish”. How thoughtless of you to consider your own needs above those of the narcissist – or at all, for that matter!
Continue reading ‘Scapegoating in Families’ »
You’re probably iodine deficient because most people reading this will be American, and most Americans are iodine deficient. Whether it will cause out-and-out disease in your body depends on whether you have any physical “weak links”, so to speak.
I have a history of “hot” thyroid nodules – nodules that spew thyroid hormone without regard for what my body needs, making me hyperthyroid. I had a partial thyroidectomy when I was 19, and most of my thyroid was removed. My doctor told me to take synthroid for the rest of my life to suppress my thyroid activity, but I didn’t and I was fine for many years. But recently the nodules recurred.
The problem was caught in a blood test. Again my TSH (thyroid stimulating hormone) was very low, indicating that my body somehow already had enough hormone – i.e., nodules again. It occurred to me that I had recently switched from regular, iodized salt to sea salt, which is not fortified with iodine. So I did a google search to see if iodine deficiency could cause hot thyroid nodules. The answer was yes, so I then researched supplements. After taking a high dose supplement (details below) for about a month, two miraculous things happened:
- My thyroid nodules went away and my thyroid levels returned to normal.
- My ulcerative colitis went into complete remission for the first time in 10 years. (HUH?!?!)
Continue reading ‘You’re Probably Iodine Deficient’ »
I’m a technophile, and I particularly love tablets. I bought the iPad within weeks of its initial release. I have a really nice Android tablet – Google’s Nexus 10. And now I have a Microsoft Surface Pro with Windows 8. I’ve used all three extensively. What do I think of the Surface Pro? It’s not perfect, but it’s very good.
Continue reading ‘Surface Pro with Windows 8: My Take’ »
I recently switched over to Outlook 2010 from Outlook 2007 (I’m slow). I always disable the Junk E-mail filter in Outlook because I use something better: Popfile. But I was having trouble doing that in Outlook 2010. I selected the radio box for no filtering, but messages were still being directed to the Junk E-mail folder.
I took to the internet to search for an answer, and discovered that I was having this problem because I have multiple accounts, and Outlook 2010 handles junk mail filtering on a per-account basis. But there was mass confusion on how to access the settings for each account. There is no global setting area in the interface.
Even Microsoft MVPs on Microsoft sites were giving misinformation. Many were suggesting that people disable Junk E-mail in the registry. That didn’t sound right to me, and I didn’t want to do it. I do use some pieces of the Junk E-mail feature – the disabling of links and the safe/blocked sender lists. Plus, judging from peoples’ complaints, it seemed like the suggested registry tweak just disabled the interface and not the functionality!
Continue reading ‘How to Turn off the Junk E-mail Filter in Outlook 2010’ »
On October 18, 2012, I was accused of stealing at Empire Cake (formerly Lulu’s) on 8th Avenue between 15th and 16th Streets. I’ve never been accused of stealing before since I’ve never stolen. It was a shocking, insulting, and humiliating experience that I did not deserve.
I made a $5.90 purchase, and paid with a $20 and a $1 (as I recall). The cashier gave me $5.10 in change, and I said I’d given her a $20. She gave me the additional $10, but looked uncertain, so I offered my phone number in case her drawer was short.
Just then, two men (I believe the owners – they wouldn’t tell me who they were) came out from the back and accused me of stealing $10. I said I was just offering to leave my phone number in case the drawer was short. The short one sneered, “You’d never return the money.” He said I could come downstairs and watch the security video that “proved” I was a thief. It showed the cashier placing my bill in a slot where there now were no $20s. Okay, so either the $20 bill disappeared somehow, or I made an honest mistake. But he wouldn’t let me speak. He said I’d been harrassing the cashier and I called her a cheat. This was completely untrue. We’d been making small talk about salted chocolate, and when she gave me the change I thought she’d made an honest error. But nothing I said mattered. He insisted that I came into the store with the intent to steal, and demanded that I return the $10 or he’d call the police. I gave him the $10 and left.
Continue reading ‘Bad Business at Empire Cake’ »
The arguments to Mayor Bloomberg’s proposed ban on super-sized sugary drinks show the ignorance that proves why the ban is necessary. There is no comparison between the health hazards of a large pastrami sandwich and a giant sugary drink (as Jon Stewart complained). Saturated fat isn’t dangerous, as the blog post linked below explains. Nor does the argument that “donuts are dangerous, too” make sense. A large sugary drink is more dangerous than a solid sugary dessert because of the speed with which the sugar hits the liver. Plus the danger isn’t only obesity – it’s heart disease, obesity, cancer, and more.
Most people are unaware of the dangers of sugary beverages – or the debate from the early 1970s over which dietary factor caused heart disease: sugar or fat (it is sugar, not fat – Ancel Keys is now widely thought to have been wrong).
Read this blog post: Sugar Is Toxic: Heart Disease, Cancer & More. It clearly explains the biochemistry of sugar metabolism, and why large-sized sugary beverages are the greatest threat to health of any food.
I resisted the Kindle for a long time. I read a lot and I’m headache-prone, and those low-contrast early Kindles were not going to work for me. Also, I saw in reviews that Kindle books often lacked the footnotes and indexes of the paper versions. When I had occasion to create a Kindle book I realized why: the format is very limited and inconvenient for publishers.
But then I bought an iPad. The Kindle app is free, so I tried a couple ebooks. For most books I read, footnotes and indexes are not an issue, and I’m chronically low on bookshelf space. I like the built-in dictionary and being able to carry several books in a small package. So now I was sold on ebooks, but the iPad was not the ideal hardware. It’s just heavy enough that I don’t want to carry it around, the screen washes out in bright sunlight, and the battery life is only so-so. I can read books on my Droid X phone, which also has a Kindle app, but that drains the battery fast.
Amazon had dropped the price of the Kindle when the iPad was released, and the new Kindle 3 with its light weight, improved screen contrast, long battery life, and readability in direct sunlight was starting to look pretty good. So I bought one, and I like it a lot. I used it for a few days without reading the manual – the basics are not hard. But once I read the manual and did a little googling, I discovered some interesting things I didn’t know. What follows is a collection of tips and tricks for the Kindle 3 that I found especially useful:
- Viewing PDFs and Other Document Types
- Zapping that Ghost Dictionary in the Archive
- Hotkeys and an Easter Egg
- The Hidden Image Viewer
Continue reading ‘Kindle 3 Tips and Tricks’ »
I was attracted to the basic concept of this book: an analytic approach to cooking that includes the whys and wherefores, not just the whats. But, for the record, I would like to clarify that as a software engineer I would call myself a “nerd” rather than a “geek”. The word “nerd” derives from the word “drink” spelled backwards. The nerds were the ones who stayed back at the dorm and studied while everyone else went out and got hammered. Geeks, on the other hand, have no special technical or intellectual gifts. They’re just inept – socially and physically uncoordinated, messing up even the simplest tasks.
The first two chapters of this book are targeted towards geeks – people who have never stepped foot inside a kitchen and don’t have any concept of nutrition. The author uses programming code as metaphors for basic cooking concepts. Now who could possibly be this in-the-dark about cooking, and find computer code enlightening as metaphor? They would have to be male. No girl grows up without any exposure to the kitchen. So the target audience is apparently the stereotypical male programmer sitting behind a keyboard 18 hours a day living on pizza and soda pop. I thought these were creatures of the 1980s and now extinct – either dead from the all-pizza diet or evolved into healthier eating, while younger programmers were not spoiled by homemaker mothers into total kitchen ignorance. Perhaps I’m wrong. Are you still out there??
The book gets much better after the first two chapters, which – in the author’s defense – he does say you can skip if you are experienced in the kitchen.
Continue reading ‘Book Review: Cooking for Geeks’ »
I didn’t like this movie half as much as I thought I would, for two reasons:
(1) The trailer gives away too much.
(2) The part the trailer doesn’t give away is the worst part of the movie.
I actually liked the trailer more than the movie.
What follows is a spoiler, so if you don’t want to know, do not continue reading!
Continue reading ‘Movie Review: “The Kids Are All Right”’ »
I was surfing around the Web last week and came across a picture of English muffins cooking in a cast iron skillet. I’m always interested in recipes that make special use of cast iron, and I didn’t realize until I saw this picture that English muffins were made in a skillet. I like English muffins and I’m getting a little tired of popovers for breakfast, so I thought I’d look up the recipe.
Well, it turns out there are a million different recipes for English muffins, and they vary widely. Some are rolled out and cut like biscuits into circles. Some use a wet batter that is poured into crumpet rings. Some are baked in an oven rather than cooked on a skillet – either partially or completely. Some are cooked in a covered skillet (news flash: that is baking, not skillet cooking).
Judging from reviewer comments, most of the recipes lacked the large holes and sourdough flavor characteristic of English muffins. A few tried to correct this problem by the addition of vinegar for the sour flavor, and baking soda just before cooking to create holes. That sounded like artifice to me so I continued my research, and eventually discovered the authentic source of that characteristic taste and texture. I tested my theory with a recipe of my own creation, and the result was fantastic. Here is my recipe – with pictures!
Homemade English muffin with natural nooks and crannies.
Homemade English muffin, nooks and crannies filled with butter.
Continue reading ‘Recipe for Authentic English Muffins with Natural Nooks and Crannies’ »